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Statement by Minister Counsellor YAO Wenlong, at the 2008 Substantive Session of ECOSOC, on Agenda Item 3: Operational Activities for Development, (a) Follow-up to Policy Recommendations of the General Assembly and the Council and (b) Reports of the Executive Boards of the UNDP/UNFPA, UNICEF & WFP
New York, 11 July 2008



Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation thanks the Secretary-General for providing the three reports on this agenda item. China endorses the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Under this agenda item, I would like to offer the following additional remarks:

First, the General Assembly adopted last year Res. 62/208 on the triennial comprehensive policy review (TCPR) of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system. The document points out the direction for the United Nations operational activities for development in the next three years. To ensure the full implementation of the mandate set forth in the resolution, all programmes, funds and specialized agencies of the United Nations development system should, in pursuance of the goals as defined in the resolution, have a clear division of labour, work out a specific programme of work, and further refine the responsibilities of all parties so that the Member States can both learn about the progress in implementing Res. 62/208 and detect gaps and obstacles, providing policy guidance in a timely manner.

Second, resources have a fundamental bearing on the operation of the development system. Adequate core resources that enjoy long-term stability and predictability constitute both the basis of operational activities for development and a guarantee for the real implementation of the national ownership principle. In recent years, in most programmes, funds and specialized agencies, the share of core resources in the overall resources has been declining annually, resulting in multifaceted negative impacts: it tends to make the programmes and funds focus their energy on competing for non-core resource contributions by satisfying the requirements of the donors; it also tends to shaken the multilateralism, neutrality and gratis nature of UN relief activities and undercut the monitoring and managerial functions of their governing bodies. We expect all programmes, funds and specialized agencies in the development programme to implement expeditiously the mandate of Res. 62/208 by reversing the excessively low ratio of core resources, beefing up management and reducing the negative impact of non-core resources. Meanwhile, we call upon all donors that are able to do so to honour in real terms the Monterrey Consensus and increase their contribution to the core resources of the development system.

Third, developing countries are the focus in the attainment of global common development. The true measure of the effectiveness of UN assistance lies in whether such assistance helps developing countries achieve their national development strategies. As countries vary in their national conditions, the United Nations should, in its national operational activities, tailor its help to the varied needs of the recipient countries, emphasize flexibility and avoid imposing one-size-fits-all or fixed models. The resident coordinators should follow the principle of "national ownership by the recipient countries" and, under the leadership of the recipient governments, increase the synergy and efficiency gains of UN country teams in order that the recipient countries can reap real benefits.

Fourth, as strengthening the capacity building of developing countries represents the core of development and entails a lengthy process, it should be regarded as a priority area of the UN operational activities for development. Despite the fact that the UN development system has in recent years taken quite a few measures and invested commensurate resources in national capacity building, its efforts need to be further systematized and intensified; the recipient governments should be allowed to play a greater coordinating role in UNDAF's formulation; greater efforts should be made to disseminate the national execution model; greater use should be made of the experts and expertise from the recipient countries. In addition, South-South cooperation, as an important complement to North-South cooperation, holds huge potentials for further development. The United Nations development system should open more funding channels for South-South cooperation, work hard to explore new lines of thinking and methods for its promotion and provide greater backstopping for deepening South-South cooperation among developing countries.

Thank you, Mr. President.



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