It is with great pleasure that i stand witness to today’s event

Beijing, 27-28 March 2008
Integrating the Paris Declaration Principles into Development
the United Nations Experience in China
Renaud Meyer
Deputy Country Director
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the United Nations, I would like to start by thanking DFID and CIDA the co-organizers of this workshop for inviting the United Nations and giving me the opportunity to share with you the experience of the UN on the important topic of aid effectiveness. As many previous speakers have highlighted, there are no lessons to be given. Nevertheless, I believe there are experiences to be shared. I am happy to present some of them based on our work in China, both from UNDP and the UN more The Paris Declaration was a milestone in establishing a global commitment to clear guidelines for improving aid effectiveness—now the challenge is to also deliver on that commitment. This is no small task, since the development challenges we must address are as many as they are complex, and a large number of aid organisations will be needed to respond to them all. But tackle them we must, if we are to reach the Millennium Development Goals in the seven years that we have left. In the last few years, the resources pledged to supporting global development efforts have been on the rise, and as much as donors should be thanked for this, it is also expected that they will be making good on those pledges. Since 2002, donor promises to step up their Official Development Assistance have in part been met. Flows reached almost $78 billion in 2006, up from $57.5 billion in 2002. Yet, on closer scrutiny, the bulk of this increase is debt relief – and the actual resources that countries can programme to meet their development needs has risen little in real terms. But any amount of resources will not be sufficient unless both development agencies and recipient countries also learn new ways to translate them into genuine impact. This is the core of the development effectiveness agenda, and the UN has a particular responsibility for honouring it by creating new approaches to increase transparency, accountability and results. This responsibility derives from our mandate and raison d’etre and has the people and their well-being at its core, delivering results to improve people’s lives in developing countries while at the same time ensuring highest cost-efficiency standards so to reassure taxpayers from donor countries on the added value of the UN development assistance. China is a wonderful place for us to develop these new approaches, given its extraordinary record of translating pragmatic experiments and step-by-step reform into stellar growth and tangible results. Aid effectiveness needs to be more than a mere slogan or a narrow concern of donor bureaucracies, and in our work here we are called on regularly to demonstrate that our ideas and recommendations are indeed resulting in benefits for the people of China. And as much as this complicates our lives, In responding to the Paris Declaration, the UN has repositioned its development assistance along its five main principles: national ownership; alignment; harmonization; managing results; and mutual accountability. I will address them one The continued focus on national ownership in the UN reflects a wide consensus that
sustainable development must be rooted in national leadership and local vision and action. As a result of stronger national ownership and greater coherence with national sector plans and budgets, UN organizations are aligning their financial contributions to sector plans and budgets. For example, my Organization, UNDP is increasingly changing its model of funding from stand-alone thematic projects to joint funding modalities, including sector budget support, pooled and basket funds. UNDP strives to only allow stand-alone projects when they are of an innovative character, such as pilot activities, and are compatible with sector level arrangements. National ownership is a hallmark of all the UN’s work in China. In the spirit of the alignment principle, we are constantly looking to integrate our assistance into China’s
own development agenda, through a consultative process that encompasses discussions at all levels, from grass-roots field work and surveys through our annual review of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) with senior representatives of all our government counterparts. The UNDAF itself, which is the coordinating document for all UN activity in China, serves as an accountability instrument by which the UN is answerable to China for the progress we are achieving, has proven to be highly effective in this respect. Harmonization among the donors is a theme that the UN is emphasizing. We
recognize that for the UN to be an effective coordination champion among the donor community, it should first start by achieving greater coordination within UN agencies. Globally, the UN is piloting a considerably more integrated approach in 7 pilot countries, Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam, where the One UN experience is implemented. In so doing, the focus is changing from individual agencies to team interventions, shared knowledge and joint accountability. We hope that this model for Delivering as One will increase the impact that the UN can have, and that the UN can set a good example for other donors when it comes to coordination of resources and knowledge. In China, given the size of the UN system with 21 residing Agencies and more than 700 staff, increasing coordination is a must and coordination should not be limited to substantive content of development activities but also look into operational issues where differences in rules and regulations complicate matters. Supported by the UN Resident Coordinator function, UN Agencies are increasingly pooling resources in areas such as procurement, recruitment and financial transactions in an effort to consolidate and streamline operational work. On the programmatic side, a number of initiatives have been launched to strengthen cooperation in key programme areas. These are: 1. The UN in China now responds jointly to the challenge of HIV and AIDS through a joint programme that spans all the agencies that used to work separately in this field. This joint programme was launched in December 2007 and is already 2. Drawing on the MDG Fund established with the support of the Spanish government, the UN China Country Team is launching joint programmes on climate change; youth employment; and the special needs and potential of ethnic 3. All UN agencies actively participate in Theme Groups set up along each of the national priorities outlined in the UNDAF framework, exchanging knowledge, coordinating efforts and creating joint initiatives. As harmonization and alignment increases, the crucial question becomes how UN country teams manage for results, both at the agency level and the country level, to
make a genuine difference across a variety of local contexts. • At the agency level, the UN has developed results based management and reporting frameworks, backed up by IT systems that help increase transparency and enables instant snapshots of how resources are being used. • At the country level, the UN increasingly works to build national capacity in developing and tracking development indicators that support local priorities by identifying challenges and monitoring impact, including the reporting of progress Regarding mutual accountability between donors and recipients, the United Nations
can, as a neutral partner, help governments in reviewing implementation of the Paris Declaration at the country level as part of the effort to ensure the countries’ own Delivering on the Paris Declaration matters. It is an ongoing process, and moving forward, the UN needs to deepen efforts in several areas. At the country level, the UN needs to work still harder on coordination between agencies, since recent efforts have been positive but also shown clearly the many improvements that remain to be achieved, especially on the operational aspects in harmonizing rules related to finance, human resources, etc…. At the agency level, we need to strengthen our own capacity, as the skills, experience and expertise demonstrated by our staff in fulfilling the new roles expected by governments and donors are increasingly important As I have emphasized in these brief remarks, China is proving to be fertile soil for our efforts, thanks to the ever-present need to demonstrate results. But in addition to that, there are two elements that add to China’s tremendous importance in the global drive for effectiveness as we try to fully attain the MDGs. 1. One is China’s own process of reform and development, which has been marked as much by a willingness to learn from the examples of others as it has by the strong determination to find Chinese solutions to Chinese problems. Rather than accept policy prescriptions from outside, China’s reformers took the pieces that made sense and rearranged them to fit into their own particular context as it evolved. This, surely, must be the true meaning of national ownership: learning from friends with open-minded humility, but reserving the right to decide for 2. The second element is China’s gradual transition from recipient of aid to non-recipient, and the growing importance of the country in trade, investment and intergovernmental partnerships with developing nations across the globe. a. Thanks to it unique experience, China can provide invaluable advice to other countries faced with similar choices and challenges on the path towards prosperity. With very strong emphasis on south-south cooperation, the UN stands ready to support this transfer of knowledge through a b. For the same reason, China is uniquely placed to convene developing countries in the global dialogue on aid effectiveness. By virtue of its experience as well as its size and global economic and political importance, China can be a critical facilitator in bridging the perspectives of developed and developing countries to arrive at workable solutions. To conclude, donor countries, development agencies and recipient countries all have a tremendous responsibility to improve our performance and use the increasing resources for the benefit of the poor and vulnerable. The UN has a particular role to play in this, and I hope that you will continue to scrutinize our work to ensure our own promises are matched by the material change and improvements that we help deliver. In the continuous learning process that this entails, China has the potential to play a unique role by sharing its experiences and engaging wholeheartedly in the development effectiveness dialogue. The UN is honoured to be supporting China’s deepened involvement in this critical effort, as we move beyond the halfway mark to the MDGs target with an ever increasing responsibility to make every aid dollar count



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