Thank you, Chair.
I thank you, Madam, Deputy Secretary-General, for your comprehensive briefing. We appreciate your continued efforts to ensure transparency in the process of reforming the regional structure as part of repositioning the UNDS.
I join others in emphasizing the importance of the regional architecture of the UNDS in carrying out the mandates of the UN. The Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) indeed contain a wealth of information and expertise and are, thus, best placed to address the multi-country challenges and provide in-country integrated support to the programme countries to implement the SDGs.
The regional work of the UN needs to be more coherent and efficient by fostering better coordination, communication and collaboration, as mentioned by you. I am happy to see the emphasis on data, the progress made on creating “Knowledge Management Hubs” as system-wide activities, initiation of integrated reporting, launching of SDG Gateways-all these initiatives, we believe will lead the regional structure in the right direction to support the member states in achieving the SDGs, particularly in this Decade of Action.
I hope that the new generation of UN country teams will dovetail RECs to better leverage regional assets and expertise in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the country level.
A unified mechanism in each region will foster better coordination on sustainable development across the UN entities operating at the regional level. From that perspective, the Regional Collaborative Platform (RCPs), is expected to provide better regional and country collaboration by adopting a consolidated yet tailored approach to each region. I am happy to see the core functions of the RCPs and we hope that these will be synchronized with the regional and country priorities.
Engaging with the multiple actors of the regional architecture namely, RECs, regional teams of UN Sustainable Development Group, the UN country team and the Resident Coordinator is difficult for many of the developing countries when there are also multiple implementation Ministries on the side of national governments. A single, dedicated interface with national governments would perhaps address this development coordination challenge and here some role of the RCPs could be envisaged.
While launching transparent and results-based management at regional level is definitely crucial, introducing too many initiatives may make the regional architecture too loaded. I hope that RECs would remain mindful of it.
We are of the view that the centralised function through Development Coordination Office (DCO) will streamline reporting lines and reduce coordination costs across various UN agencies. However, the original mandates of the RECs need to be preserved, and they should enjoy autonomy required to pursue their priorities and plans in consultation with the national governments.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that it is fundamental to ensure national ownership and leadership in the operations of the revamped regional architecture. Any arrangement undertaken should not compromise the prerogative of the Governments to communicate directly with the regional entities.