Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6013
    9 July 2002

    Speakers in Economic and Social Council Focus on Need for Coordination, National Ownership of UN Activities for International Development Cooperation

    Decline in Core Resources Stressed by Many Delegations

    NEW YORK, 8 July (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations development efforts should be effective and efficient, well-coordinated and nationally owned, the Economic and Social Council was told this morning as it began discussing the operational activities of the United Nations for international development cooperation.

    United Nations operational activities must be conducted effectively and efficiently and produce tangible results that contributed to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed targets, the representative of Japan said. In addition to traditional agenda items such as development through economic growth, there were new ones that required increasing attention, such as health, education, HIV/AIDS, and the environment. The United Nations system must take all of them into account in a comprehensive manner, and promote coordination of the activities of its various bodies.

    Venezuela's representative, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said operational activities must meet the development needs of developing countries and must be consistent with national priorities and strategies. Enhancing capacity was a joint effort, he stressed. While it was necessary to enhance national actions rather than focus on international cooperation, a proper international framework to channel those efforts was crucial to achieving social and economic development. Developing countries were not shirking any responsibilities. On the contrary, they had taken on their responsibilities. Donor countries must also honour their commitments.

    The representative of Denmark, speaking for the European Union and associated States, said capacity-building had to be firmly rooted in national ownership; the latter being indispensable for sustainable development efforts. Providing assistance for strengthening and maintaining national capacities to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including those in the Millennium Declaration, should remain at the core of what the United Nations funds and programmes were doing.

    Development should be promoted through a comprehensive participatory approach that was adequately supported by resources and political will and commitment, said the representative of Bangladesh. There should be a participatory people-centred model of development, which enhanced rather than marginalized human dignity and human life. Development policies should take into account specific needs and conditions, including population, the availability of natural resources, and the situation with regard to world trade and involvement in a process of economic transition.

    Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the reports of the Secretary-General before the Council. He said that in many ways the United Nations operational entities were called upon to perform a focused task built around the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences. He joined many speakers in emphasizing the importance of resources. He added that, given the focus on development partnerships, the United Nations system could not deliver unless there was a corresponding commitment to development at the national level.

    Statements were also made today by the representatives of Pakistan, Russian Federation, China, Australia, United States, Ecuador, Norway, Qatar, South Africa, Peru, India, United Republic of Tanzania, Brazil, Iran, Canada, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, Jamaica, Indonesia, Bhutan, Nigeria, Chile, Iraq, Suriname and Nepal.

    Also speaking were representatives of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank.

    The Council will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday 9 July to hold a dialogue with the United Nations system country team from Eritrea.

    The Economic and Social Council met this morning to begin the plenary of its operational activities segment, which opened with a high-level debate and panel discussion last Friday, 5 July. The discussions will be devoted to the activities of the United Nations for international development cooperation. The Council will also focus on efforts to improve the functioning of the United Nations system at the country level through reforms, modalities, rules and procedures of the relevant funds and programmes.

    The segment will provide an opportunity for ministers and high-level officials from both developing and donor countries, as well as executive heads of major international organizations, to discuss policy issues affecting future aspects of development cooperation, focusing on capacity-building and rationalization of operational modalities of the United Nations system. Later in the day, the Council will review progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 56/201 on the triennial policy review of operational activities for development.

    [Assembly resolution 56/201 emphasized several points in particular. Those included the notion that national ownership of United Nations operational activities for development is fundamental, that United nations development cooperation should be participatory and country driven, and efforts to enhance the functioning of the Organization's development system at the country level should be intensified. Among other important issues raised are the need to strengthen the relationship between public and private partners and domestic and international resources.]

    The Council will have before it several documents, which provide an evaluation of the progress achieved; statistical data on operational activities for development for the year 2000; and an assessment of the effectiveness of United Nations system operational activities for development.

    The main document, the Secretary-General's report on the operational activities of the United Nations for international development cooperation (document E/2002/47), is the first report on operational activities since the 2001 triennial review, which resulted in the adoption of General Assembly resolution 56/201. The review took place at a critical time when United Nations development cooperation was being increasingly charged with new responsibilities. Among the Organization's goals is providing support for developing countries, which are seeking to achieve higher development goals, while adjusting to a continuously changing world.

    By providing the international system with a single overarching policy framework for its support to national development efforts, the Millennium Summit was a fundamental development for the 2001 triennial review, the report states. Currently, overall approaches, system-wide strategies, country programmes and individual initiatives are being reviewed on the basis that framework. The Declaration's coherent set of objectives and time-bound targets reinforced the need for a stronger and more coordinated role of the United Nations in development cooperation, recognizing that ultimate responsibility for the implementation of those goals rests with the countries themselves.

    The operational activities segment will take place in a climate of renewed resolve on the part of the international community to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development, the report states. The most recent manifestation of that commitment was the recently held International Conference on Financing for Development, which highlighted the need to generate sustainable capacity in developing countries to achieve the targets contained in the Declaration and to do so by ensuring the optimal use of official development assistance (ODA) and other forms of development financing.

    The report goes on to say that the review will consider the funding sessions for development cooperation activities under multi-year frameworks, the needs of other United Nations agencies, appropriate timing of the pledging events, and options to enhance public support for the Organizations' operational activities for development. Among the key actions planned by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) is the revision of the common country assessment (CCA) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) guidelines to facilitate higher quality of country-level programming and strengthen the focus on the Millennium Development Goals.

    The report suggests that the Council may wish to request United Nations agencies to give more attention to ensuring the integration of their operational activities for development with national development efforts through concrete initiatives that stimulate active and full government participation. The Council might also wish to encourage the Organization and the Bretton Woods institutions to multiply their efforts to ensure that greater consistency be established between the common country assessment and UNDAF, and poverty-reduction strategies to ensure greater integration with national development planning.

    A related report before the Council on comprehensive statistical data on operational activities for development for the year 2000 (document E/2002/47/Add.1) details the resources channelled through the various organizations of the United Nations in 2000. The report is divided into three parts: contributions from governments and other sources; expenditures on operational activities; and procurement activities of the United Nations development system. Each part consists of a number of charts, allowing the study of the information from different perspectives. One chart details operational activities of the United Nations system in the least developed countries.

    Another report, on the management process for the implementation of Assembly resolution 56/201 (document E/2002/47/Add.2) contains clear guidelines, targets, benchmarks and time frames for implementation of the resolution. It states that the management process should also help the Council fulfil its main responsibility in the areas of development cooperation: to improve the quality and impact of the operational activities of the United Nations, to promote an integrated approach and to ensure that policy directives formulated by the Assembly during the triennial review are implemented on a system-wide basis.

    Also before the Council is the Secretary-General's report on United Nations system support for capacity-building (document E/2002/58), which notes the evolution in the scope and importance of capacity-building, and urges Member States to recognize capacity-building as a major component of overall efforts to achieve sustainable development. It also urges States to devote more attention and resources to strengthening the national capacities necessary to make progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

    The Secretary-General stresses that capacity-building has been central to United Nations operational activities from their beginning. The wide-ranging expertise of the United Nations development system has the potential not only to suggest better ways of building the necessary capacity in recipient countries to pursue those goals, but also to support the efforts of those countries to develop their own capacities more effectively.

    He says that a review of United Nations progress in addressing current capacity-building issues should be seen in the context of the rapidly evolving environment in which it is taking place. Broad demands for capacity-building have emerged from globalization. The Council might, therefore, wish to encourage a stronger focus on the explicit capacity-building strategies in the evaluation mechanisms of all the funds and programmes of the United Nations system.

    Also before the Council is a report on simplification and harmonization of rules and procedures for operational development activities (document E/2002/59). That document outlines the steps being undertaken by the United Nations system, in particular its funds and programmes, to harmonize rules and procedures for operational development activities in accordance with paragraphs 57 to 65 of Assembly resolution 56/201, in which the Assembly emphasized the need for additional groundbreaking measures in that regard.

    According to the report, the Assembly urged the United Nations system to initiate specific measures and timetables to simplify and harmonize procedures for development. Those steps that the Assembly felt would move the process forward included decentralization and deregulation of authority, common shared services in country offices, recruitment and training of national project personnel, and improved financial regulations.

    To that end, the use of the common country assessment and the UNDAF as a common planning framework are expected to produce a "simplification effect" on the procedural requirements for country funds and programmes. The report suggests that the Council might wish to invite the executive boards of the funds and programmes to take into account at their next session the Council's comments during the 2002 substantive segment in order to launch a programme of action based on the proposed reform measures containing clear guidelines, with the aim of ensuring full implementation by 2004.

    Also before the Council is a report of the Secretary-General assessing the effectiveness of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document E/2002/60). The report responds to paragraph 53 of General Assembly resolution 56/201, which requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide, in the context of the triennial comprehensive policy review, an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the operational activities for development of the United Nation system and the functioning of the United Nations development system at the country level.

    The report contains sections covering the concept of assessment and its purpose; an agenda for the assessments and an outline for an indicative work programme; results-based management and effective assessment; impartiality and independence; a participatory approach; lessons from the past, as well as a multiplicity of tools and approaches. The report highlights that future assessment must be independent, impartial and participatory. Key concepts underlined are national ownership and the involvement of priority beneficiaries, the resident coordinator system, and system organizations.

    Also before the Council is a consolidated list of issues related to the coordination of activities (E/2002/CRP.1).

    Statements

    Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, NITIN DESAI, introducing the documents, said the main report was progress in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 56/201, document E/2002/47, which had two addenda: one giving the comprehensive statistical data on operational activities for development for the year 2000; and the second on the management process for the implementation, which gave an overview on implementation. There were three other reports on: capacity-building; the simplification and harmonization of rules and procedures; and assessing the effectiveness of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system.

    Placing all reports in context, he said in many ways the operational entities were called upon to perform a focused task built around the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences. He emphasized the availability of resources. At the field level, a step forward had been made in Monterrey, which was only a first step. Given the focus on development partnerships, the United Nations system could not deliver unless there was a corresponding commitment for development on the national level.

    Given the policy framework, the United Nations at the field level needed to come together in a more focused way. The issue of harmonization was absolutely central, because the burden of the multitude of procedures was a huge one for many countries. There was also more emphasis on the impact and effectiveness of development systems, he said.

    VICENTE VALLENILLA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that operational activities was an important tool for the development of the countries in his group. Operational activities must meet the development needs of developing countries and must be consistent with national priorities and strategies. The primary responsibility for them lay with national governments. The CCA must help to strengthen the analytical capacity of the national government and its preparation must include all actors involved at the national level.

    Enhancing capacity was a joint effort, he noted. While it was necessary to enhance national actions, rather than focusing on international cooperation, a proper international framework to channel those efforts was crucial to achieving social and economic development. Developing countries were not shirking any responsibilities. On the contrary, they had taken on their responsibilities. Donor countries must also honour their commitments. Robust international institutions were also necessary. The United Nations must facilitate the channelling of those efforts through its various funds and programmes. Efforts must be stepped up, particularly those that supported national poverty-reduction strategies.

    On financing development strategies, he expressed appreciation for the commitments to increased assistance made at Monterrey. However, the current situation was still troublesome. He hoped the recent slight increases would lead to significant increases and would apply to all United Nations funds, agencies and programmes. Granting greater resources to short-term activities or emergency activities did little to support long-term activities. What was needed was decisive political commitment to international development goals.

    MASASHI MIZUKAMI (Japan) said the operational activities of the United Nations must be conducted effectively and efficiently and produce tangible results that contributed to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed targets. In addition to traditional agenda items, such as development through economic growth, there were new ones, such as health, education, HIV/AIDS, and environment that required increased attention. The United Nations system must take all of them into account in a comprehensive manner, and promote coordination of the activities of its organizations.

    His Government attached importance to national ownership for development, he said. Developing countries must analyse their agendas for development, make their own strategies and policies, and implement their development programmes. The international community must respect the recipient country's ownership and provide assistance in a spirit of partnership. He commended the efforts of the United Nations funds and programmes to harmonize their programming processes. The purpose of harmonization and simplification of rules and procedures was to lessen the burdens borne by recipient countries and increase the efficiency of the operational activities of the United Nations.

    ELLEN MARGRETHE LOJ (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, said that the operational activities of the United Nations had an important role to play in assisting national governments as they translated intergovernmental commitments and the outcomes from major United Nations conferences and summits into national development strategies. Moreover, to keep track of the gradual realization of those international development targets, benchmarks at the national level would have to be consolidated. Those could ultimately also contribute to assessing the effectiveness of United Nations operational activities in assisting national governments in meeting those targets.

    The preparation of the CCA, she noted, and the subsequent implementation of the UNDAF should be firmly anchored in the principle of national ownership of development. Therefore, it was important for the CCA/UNDAF process to integrate fully with poverty-reduction strategy papers and for progress towards that to be kept under review.

    In general, she said, the Union subscribed to the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's report on capacity-building, which represented a sensible strengthening of the ongoing work to place capacity-building as the goal of technical assistance provided by the operational activities of the United Nations system. Finding what works at the local level to meet the challenges of development required adopting an approach mindful of the specific national development context.

    Capacity-building, she continued, had to be firmly rooted in national ownership; the latter being a sine qua non for sustainable development efforts. Providing assistance for strengthening and maintaining national capacities to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including those in the Millennium Declaration, should remain at the core of what the United Nations funds and programmes should be doing.

    She expressed interest in discussing in the ECOSOC in 2004 proposals by the Chief Executives Board on Coordination for benchmarks and indicators on capacity-building linked to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including those in the Millennium Declaration. The result of that exercise should be fed into the programming cycles of the individual United Nations agencies.

    Although she agreed with many of the principles presented in the Secretary-General's report on assessment of operational activities, she said that there was a need for further consultations to clarify the purpose of those assessments. In particular, she would have liked the report to discuss more practical proposals to increase the usefulness and relevance of field-level assessments for the United Nations country teams and recipient governments involved. The challenge was to ensure that the United Nations operational stakeholders forge tighter links between evaluation results and lessons learned on the one hand, and decisions regarding policy, programming and organizational learning on the other hand.

    As such, monitoring and evaluation constituted an important part of results-based management, she said. To be truly valuable as both a tool for learning and accountability, the assessment function of the United Nations would have to cover issues of developmental effectiveness, as well as organizational effectiveness.

    MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the report on implementation of resolution 56/201 contained some useful proposals. With regard to enhanced coordination, he said such coordination was important at field and headquarters levels, but all agencies need not coordinate all activities in all areas. The question of relevance must be borne in mind. Coordination with national governments was important as well. Pakistan, for instance, was developing a poverty-reduction strategy paper and had ownership of that paper. It was important for the United Nations to provide help to those developing countries who needed it to build ownership for such papers, so that they were not externally inspired. Coordination, too, could be a source of external imposition.

    The UNDG should continue to focus on coordination of development activities and avoid bureaucracy, he said. It must be subjected to some form of intergovernmental oversight with regard to activities expenditures and results. The effectiveness of operational activities for development should be assessed by their impact on poverty eradication, sustained economic growth and development -- not by imposing various frameworks and strategies. The UNDAF, too, should be subjected to some type of oversight.

    He welcomed the fact that mechanisms for evaluation had been established, but the evaluation needed to be made against the development objectives of the countries concerned. It also needed to be carried out not by those responsible for carrying out the programmes, but by other agencies. Resources available to the United Nations system was the key issue. In that regard, there was a "Catch-22" situation, with core resources declining and with donor countries making increased funding conditional on increased effectiveness. The effectiveness was negatively affected by, among other things, the creation of priority themes by donors, which negated the concept of ownership of development programmes. Resources needed to be available to match the needs identified by the developing countries.

    YURI FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said as countries began to seriously undertake efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the goals of other international conferences, there was now more focus on the importance of United Nations operational activities and system-wide coordination. To ensure maximum results, United Nations agencies and funds would be required to further coordinate their activities, elaborate joint system-wide strategies, improve country-level operational activities, enhance partnerships and develop new ones, and mobilize adequate financing.

    The key, he continued, was to ensure country ownership, as well as mainstreaming the programme activities of operational agencies into national priorities and development plans. He said the reports before the Council gave a realistic account of where the organization stood: inter-agency coordination was improving; there had been some progress in country-level cooperation with the Bretton Woods institutions; and the UNDG had markedly intensified and updated its activities. At the same time, progress towards universal improvement in operational activities, particularly in the context of globalization, was far from complete.

    He went on to advocate, in particular, continued efforts to incorporate, as appropriate, the CCA and the UNDAF in activities at the country level, ensuring comprehensive and active participation of as many United Nations agencies as possible. At the same time, there was the question of expediency of universal application of UNDAF in all programme countries, particularly those with low programme resources. He said further attention should be given to harmonizing programme cycles and guidelines for the elaboration and approval of country programmes, including by streamlining them, when and where necessary.

    He said more attention should be given to ensuring greater harmony between the CCA/UNDAF and Bretton Woods institution strategy papers aimed at poverty eradication, as well as integrating those instruments into national poverty-eradication strategies. He said building and strengthening national capacities was the central task of the United Nations system. That function helped recipient governments to overcome poverty and ensure economic growth and sustainable development. It was necessary to assist governments in undertaking the overall assessment of operational activities. He supported the idea that the general assessment should focus on the progress in integrating operational activities into national development efforts.

    ZHANG YISAN (China) said in the past year, new progress had been made by the funds and programmes of the United Nations operational system in mobilizing resources and formulating the CCA, UNDAF and field-level coordination. Although the core resources had been increased, somewhat, they were still far away from the target set in the Multi-Year Financing Framework. He regretted that, due to insufficient core resources, the normal development activities had been undermined, leading to reductions or delays of assistance programmes. Should that situation continue, he said, it would be difficult to reach the goal of reducing by half the world's poor population by 2015.

    The issue of simplification and harmonization had been first mentioned more than 20 years ago, he said. The complex procedures and disharmony among funds and programmes had resulted in increasing burdens for the recipient countries. He hoped that the funds and programmes would accelerate their efforts in simplifying and harmonizing rules and procedures to ensure a remarkable change in the near future.

    Operational activities for development should be strengthened. Funding was key. As a result of insufficient core resources, development activities of the United Nations development system had been crippled, and the interests of the developing countries, including those of African countries and least developed countries, had thus been seriously infringed upon. The funds and programmes ought to mobilize more resources to support the economic and social development of the developing countries. Capacity building was also country driven. Capacity-building plans for each country should conform to local conditions and national characteristics, and should be effective and feasible, he said.

    MARK PALU (Australia) highlighted the importance of the national government's responsibility for development. The international community, through development cooperation, should play an important role in support of national efforts. The Australian budget for development cooperation this year had increased 3 per cent -- some $90 million -- but its was crucial for developing countries to use their own financial resources and create enabling environments to make the most of both international and domestic resources.

    He went on to reiterate the strong concern expressed by the Secretary-General in his relevant report at the stagnation in the provision of core resources to the United Nations system, accompanied by the growth of earmarked funding. That trend was a reflection of several things, including the global tendency to critically assess the past performance of United Nations agencies, increased demand on aid budgets, and stronger requirements for developing agencies to produce results.

    It was, therefore, imperative for the United Nations, system-wide, to ensure the maximum efficiency, effectiveness and relevance of operations, in order to attract sufficient regular resources to enable agencies and funds to undertake their respective mandates. Australia remained a committed supporter of the United Nations and would provide over $68 million in core support to the Organization's humanitarian and development agencies in 2002-2003. In addition to that, substantial non-core funding would also be provided. It was important that United Nations agencies not spread their efforts too widely, in order to ensure maximum impact and demonstrable sustainable outcomes.

    Australia welcomed the progress made towards reforming the United Nations system. He was encouraged by what had been achieved and by what initiatives were under way. Among the achievements of particular note were the implementation of the CCA and the UNDAF process, moves to harmonize the programme approval processes and to strengthen field-level coordination and strengthening the resident coordinator system. There were areas, however, where more could be done, he added.

    There was a need to do more to integrate the evaluation functions of the different agencies and funds, so that a stronger country-level system evaluation capacity could be attained, he said. That would make it easier to assess the outcome of development interventions and help secure maximum benefits from lessons learned. It was also important to ensure that the CCA and UNDAF evaluation process not only examined their relevance to the Millennium Development Goals and national priorities, but also the strengths of the system and coordination with bilateral donors and the Bretton Woods institutions. He added that achieving genuine gender equity was vital. While Australia valued the work that had been done to date, it would urge the Organization to intensify efforts in that area.

    SICHAN SIV (United States) noted that some 101 CCAs and 53 UNDAFs had been completed at substantial cost to the United Nations system. Those tools could not be stand-alone United Nations exercises; they must relate to other development frameworks, including the poverty-reduction strategy papers to remain relevant. They should by now be of considerable assistance to national policy dialogue and policy formation. He encouraged the United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies to ensure meaningful government participation and close consultation with other development partners to make the CCAs and UNDAFs truly effective.

    The report on the United Nations system support to capacity-building clearly showed that in the past capacity-building had not always been sustainable, he said. A thorough debate had now begun on the concept of capacity-building and how it must change to remain effective. The realization that developing countries themselves must invent, develop and maintain institutions and organizations that were capable of learning and bringing about their own continuing transformation was most timely. The organizations of the United Nations system were heavily involved in capacity-building and training, which was a multi-faceted challenge. While it was easy to determine, from the appendix to the report, what each agency did, it was very difficult to establish whether there was cohesiveness to their activities.

    Regarding field-level cooperation, he said that it made sense that theme groups were becoming the most effective vehicles for such coordination. They were efficient and task-oriented. The concern that the proliferation of such groups might lead to too much emphasis on coordination, rather than programme activities, was well-taken, but could be contained by effective leadership from the Resident Coordinator.

    DENYS TOSCANO (Ecuador), aligning himself with the statement of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77, said operational activities for development were among the most pragmatic activities for the international community and of the greatest benefit. The reports had given a clear description of progress achieved in implementation of resolution 56/201, which aimed at making multilateral cooperation a more efficient instrument for capacity-building in countries. He supported the recommendations from those documents. He was confident that UNDAF would enable proper coordination among all agencies in conjunction with the national counterparts, including bilateral and multilateral donors, civil society, private sector and other non-traditional partners.

    Simplifying and harmonizing procedures, strengthening of the institution of resident coordinators, increasing South-South cooperation in the economic and technological field, as well as the involvement of other agencies had given the UNDG useful instruments to integrate. However, the international community must realize that the political support for cooperation agreed to in Monterrey would only be viable if financial contributions to agencies involved in development reached the goal of 0.7 per cent of annual gross national product (GNP) of the donor countries. Only the proper implementation of commitments taken on in the international conferences would enable real cooperation and effectiveness, he said.

    ECOSOC should take advantage of the commitments made in Monterrey, based on cooperation, solidarity and good governance, in order to ensure that Member States and agencies would continue with innovative action in strengthening the operational activities of the United Nations system, he concluded.

    OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said the United Nations system had made headway in defining its role in international development cooperation. The strategy for further cooperation would be based on poverty reduction, as enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals. United Nations development cooperation was to be based on nationally owned poverty-reduction strategies, he noted. Development cooperation must have a broad, long-term view on poverty reduction and conflict prevention. It was also essential that human rights be an integral part of global and national poverty-reduction and conflict-reduction efforts.

    The Millennium Development Goals were now at the core of all United Nations activities and were thus the "marching orders" for all Member States that had committed themselves to reaching those goals, he said. Norway strongly supported the broader Millennium Declaration goals of democracy, human rights and meeting the special needs of Africa. He also welcomed the participation and support of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in mapping out a core strategy for meeting the Goals.

    He said the United Nations development system needed to achieve greater synergy and impact. If the Organization was to succeed in implementing the cross-cutting global plans of action and the time-bound Millennium Development Goals, it would have to use a more collective and coordinated approach than in the past. The ultimate objective must be to contribute to national development by ensuring that United Nations development activities were integrated into national poverty-reduction strategies. He concluded by stressing, "If we are to realize the ambitious development agenda set out in the Millennium Declaration, then burden sharing must remain the most important principle for funding the United Nations operational activities".

    NASSIR BIN ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) said that the operational activities of the United Nations system should respond to the ever-changing conditions and the economic situation of the world. Globalization, liberalization, technological change and the need to integrate the developing countries into the world economy represented major challenges facing development and influenced the content of United Nations operational activities.

    He emphasized the need to follow a results-oriented approach, and to prepare a report on the status of the operational activities and the specific results of each activity, as well as a financial statement for the assessment of the effectiveness of the activity. Moreover, operational activities should not be imposed on the recipient countries, and the United Nations system and all other donors should accord full respect to national ownership. Also, the government must play a leading role in analysing the development needs of the country and in establishing a national development framework.

    He noted that while numerous initiatives had been undertaken to improve the efficiency of funds and programmes, including the integration of some funds and programmes, the basic problem remained the lack of financial resources. He expressed concern over the steady decline in the basic resources of the funds and programmes, in view of the preference by donors for supplementary resources.

    HENRI S. RAUBENHEIMER (South Africa) reiterated the important principle of national ownership with regard to the CCA and welcomed efforts to improve their preparation. Regarding the resident coordinator system, he had taken note of the progress made in response to General Assembly resolution 56/201. Resident coordinators must be sensitive to the political, economic and social environment of the host country to ensure progress in the implementation of country-level activities.

    Also, he continued, it must be ensured that the programmes proposed and accepted would lead to poverty reduction and sustainable development. In addition, a proper and regular evaluation programme would detect any defects at an early stage. He also supported housing the United Nations system organizations in a common United Nations house, which would be cost-saving and contribute to better coordination at the field level.

    He reiterated that capacity-building and its sustainability should be an explicit goal of the technical assistance provided by United Nations operational activities. It was also important that, in addressing capacity development, attention be given to non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations, which played an important goal in achieving development goals. Within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), capacity-building had a significant role and was a theme that cut across all areas. He also emphasized that core resources for the United Nations system must be provided at a regular and predictable level. He hoped that the positive spirit of the Monterrey Consensus would continue to elicit further funds.

    MARCO BALAREZO (Peru) said he supported the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's reports. He called for more regular updates on the results obtained by the United Nations in the area of capacity-building. The regular evaluation of operational activities could not be separated from an equally regular evaluation of resources used for those activities.

    He said he would like to see regional and subregional mechanisms put in place to assess progress made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Of great importance was simplifying and harmonizing rules and procedures in the area of development to lessen transaction costs and increase the efficiency of operational activities.

    He underlined the importance of the UNDG for improving the coordination and effectiveness of United Nations operations and noted that realizing the Millennium Development Goals would require both developing and developed countries to share responsibility in the process. He called for tightening the relationship between the UNDG, the World Bank and the WTO.

    IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said his country had consistently maintained that development should be promoted through a comprehensive participatory approach adequately supported by resources and political will and commitment. There should be a participatory, people-centred model of development that enhanced human dignity and human life, instead of marginalizing it, and which distributed income more equitably, rather than concentrate it.

    He said development policies in specific countries or regions should take into account specific needs and conditions, including population, the availability of natural resources, and their situation with regard to world trade and involvement in a process of economic transition. Special attention, he added, must be given to the building up of national capacity.

    Technical cooperation must focus on strengthening national capacities, rather than using international expertise and procuring equipment tied to aid, he said. The system must also scrutinize whether its activities contributed to the promotion of national ownership and capacity-building.

    A. GOPINATHAN (India), associating himself with the statement of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77, said the reports were useful and comprehensive. The importance attached by Member States to the role of the United Nations system in support of capacity-building was evident from the prominence given to the subject in the last triennial comprehensive policy review. It was necessary for the operational activities of the United Nations system to be able to change and adapt themselves to the evolving environment. Such adaptation should, however, be in keeping with the evolving needs of programme countries, and not in reaction to periodic shifts in "external thinking" on what was good for those countries.

    Capacity-building consisted of interventions that addressed the human, physical and financial assets of the poor. Although constrained by the availability of resources, such interventions were useful. Though small, they allowed recipient countries to experiment with what they perceived as innovative solutions.

    Advocacy, policy advice and monitoring were new dimensions to the notion of capacity-building, he said. However, advocacy for the purpose of influencing change in laws and social practices could often be perceived as criticism of governments, systems, peoples and cultures of the South and be seen as implying a moral superiority of the donor community. Monitoring, at a global level, of progress achieved towards the attainment of internationally agreed development goals was important. Those goals represented, for the developing countries, an acceptance of common responsibility by their partners in the North. The fulfilment of that common responsibility by the North could not be confined to advocacy, advice and country-level monitoring. Scarcity of resources and the consequent limitation on the power of States with regard to development outcomes should also be taken into account, he said.

    DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said that, despite its shortcomings, UNDAF remained an instrument rich in potential, particularly with regard to implementation of development goals. With adequate, predictable and regular funding, United Nations funds and programmes could play a catalytic and critical role in supporting developing countries to manage their own development process. However, current funding for core resources was not enough to meet the development challenges of the developing countries. It was paradoxical to note that, while core resources were on the decline, non-core resources were increasing. The decline in core resources was another obstacle to development objectives. He appealed to the donor community to reverse that declining trend.

    He agreed with the Secretary-General that capacity-building remained an important ingredient in achieving the goals and commitments of the United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s. In the same context, there was an urgent need for the United Nations system to continue supporting the process of upgrading skills and acquiring new skills for developing countries, particularly the least developing countries, so that they would have the capacity to take full advantage of the new opportunities generated by the changing economic and technological environment.

    While he appreciated efforts being undertaken by the funds and programmes to harmonize their procedures at the field level, and measures being taken by the UNDG to increase collaboration at Headquarters level, efforts should be doubled so that transaction costs on recipient countries would be reduced, hence making the United Nations system at the country level more efficient and effective.

    LUIZ TUPY CALDAS DE MOURA, (Brazil) said the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development presented a unique opportunity to reinforce commitments, move forward in their implementation and find new answers to development challenges through a more collaborative approach. For developing countries to follow a sustainable development path, national efforts needed to be complemented at the international level through partnerships that addressed the fundamental question of the means of implementation. Those means were new and additional resources, technology transfer, access to the markets of developed countries and capacity-building.

    Although the increases in foreign aid announced by donor countries in Monterrey were positive, the pledges were still far below what was needed to achieve the inter-governmentally agreed Millennium Development and poverty eradication goals. For development cooperation to be effective, sufficient, predictable and stable financial sources were required. He recognized the progress towards closer cooperation between the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions and encouraged the strengthening of those efforts, so as to increase complementarities and ensure a better division of labour consistent with their respective mandates and comparative advantages.

    Technical cooperation should serve the purpose of long-term capacity-building, he continued. South-South cooperation could also play an important role in that regard, as technical cooperation among developing countries was an important vehicle in promoting development. Brazil, he went on, had been involved in technical cooperation with developing countries throughout the world in several areas, and was convinced of the added value that the best practices in developing countries could bring to others with similar problems and realities. To that end, he called for further support from the international community and, in particular, donor countries, to that modality of cooperation.

    NASROLLAH KAZEMI KAMYAB (Iran) said that poverty eradication should continue to be the major pillar of the operational activities of the United Nations. The provision of resources for operational activities was a precondition for implementing country programmes. They should be provided on a predictable and consistent basis. The announcements concerning increases in official development assistance (ODA) made in Monterrey had been important in signalling a reversal in the declining trend in international assistance. He urged the international community to channel part of those increases to strengthen the core resources for United Nations operational activities.

    Capacity-building, he stated, was a major component in the overall programme to achieve poverty reduction and sustainable development. Among the questions to be considered was how to strengthen the development role of the United Nations system and enhance the effectiveness of its development activities. The United Nations system had acquired substantial experience in the area of capacity-building. Benchmarks and indicators could now be used by recipient countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals. He welcomed the proposal for those benchmarks and indicators to be elaborated in conjunction with recipient countries.

    The major responsibility for coordination of operational activities for development lay with national actors, he said. It was crucial to ensure country ownership. Programme countries must participate in all phases of designing, implementing and evaluating country-level programmes.

    IMELDA HENKIN, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said as part of the UNDG, UNFPA was fully committed to supporting programme countries in their quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and was working to build national capacity, so that countries could play their leadership and coordination role. Its country and inter-country population and development programmes had been especially targeted towards those countries furthest from the goals contained in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.

    She said multi-sectoral policies and programmes designed to achieve the Millennium Goals should take into account the linkages between the different goals and the critical intervening role of population factors and reproductive health. Progress towards the goals depended in part on making progress towards the Population conference goal of achieving universal access to reproductive health services and education, which contributed, among other things, to: improved maternal health; reduced infant, child and maternal mortality; combating HIV/AIDS; and promoting gender equality.

    The UNFPA was pursuing results-based approaches and implementing its multi-year funding framework, she said. Together with other UNDG Executive Committee members, it had achieved clear progress in simplifying and harmonizing programming cycles, country programme preparation, joint programming and budget harmonization. That would help to increase efficiency and accountability and to reduce transaction costs. The new UNDG guidelines for the CCAs and the UNDAFs should facilitate a more streamlined situation and increased country ownership.

    Conference follow-up could not be discussed without an honest recognition about the critical need for an adequate level of financial resources, she said. The Monterrey Consensus offered new hope, given the pledges of increased assistance by the European Union and the United States. However, the UNFPA was confronted with a shortfall in resources that had resulted in cutting of programming funds for the current year. UNFPA needed strong political and financial support, as well as increased, stable and predictable core funding, in order to carry out its mandate effectively.

    She emphasized that developing countries that had invested in health and education, enabling women to make their own fertility choices, had registered faster economic growth than those that had not. The greatest deficits in access to health services and education could be found in the poorest segments of the poor countries. By channelling resources to reproductive health care, lives could be saved, population growth stabilized, the spread of AIDS slowed, poverty reduced and gender equality fostered.

    CLARE FLEMING, World Bank, said the bank remained firmly committed to the spirit of Monterrey, an evolving, results-oriented partnership for development that aimed to ultimately lead all humanity towards shared benefits and shared responsibilities on a healthy planet. In the heat of Monterrey, the international and donor communities had written a "beautiful story" together about new and evolving partnerships.

    But, in order to prevent that story from becoming a mere fairy tale, it was time to do some truth-telling on three levels, she said. Politically, the synergies built into the new development agenda must be enhanced and the divisions constructively dealt with. Institutionally, greater clarity regarding each player's role must be achieved -- moving to true partnership based on comparative advantage and individual convening power. And, operationally, all must address the shortage of practical, implementable measures and solutions, which required a sea change in understanding and capacity.

    That point was particularly critical, she said. Without effective implementation, policy evaluation meant little. Political differences might be embedded in the agenda, but operational disconnects in the system exacerbated the problems. On the other hand, operational coherence and effectiveness could help mend political divides and provide a clear framework in which policy could be delivered and resources used wisely and effectively. Operational effectiveness was best achieved in an environment based on action, balanced with patience and deliberate caution.

    In recent months, she continued, the Bank had joined its United Nations partners to help developing countries by examining new ways to craft a more action-oriented approach based on careful choices for effective collaboration, best use of comparative advantage and well-placed resource use. With the Millennium Development Goals as the foundation of its strategic framework, the Bank had undertaken a two-pronged approach: building a coherent approach to operational frameworks; and joining together in a drive for results.

    On operational framework coherence, she said the Bank, serving as an observer in the UNDG, aimed to engage in a more seamless, coherent dialogue at all operational levels, including by bringing coherence and joint technical expertise to the process of developing realistic implementation plans for the Millennium Development Goals. On creating a joint drive for results, she said the Bank's recently held round table with multilateral development banks and key United Nations staff had identified advances in strengthening linkages among strategy, day-to-day management and partnerships. The international community must study the best way forward on such issues as post-conflict and HIV/AIDS support, debt vulnerability and deepening poverty in the poorest countries.

    JACOB THOPPHIL (Canada) welcomed the guidance notes on the monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals and on support of the poverty-reduction strategy papers process. He hoped the United Nations system would assist developing countries in meeting their commitments of the global compact adopted in the Monterrey Consensus, helping them in their pursuit of good governance and sound economic policies, in order to create the enabling domestic environment essential for mobilizing domestic resources, attracting foreign direct investment, fostering trade and making effective use of debt relief and other international assistance.

    He said the proportion of women in the pool of sitting resident coordinators remained low, and he was pleased with the decision of UNDG organizations to submit men and women candidates on a 50-50 basis. He remained concerned with the difficulties encountered in mainstreaming gender in operational activities, and hoped that measures would be undertaken to rapidly address the situation.

    He supported the proposal to reconsider the content of the consolidated list of issues requested by the Council in its resolution 98/27. Many of the issues covered in that document were already covered in the general reporting on the implementation of the triennial comprehensive policy review and in reports transmitted to the Economic and Social Council by the funds and programmes. Only those issues where specific guidance was required should be brought to the attention of the Council by the executive heads of funds and programmes.

    URS ZOLLINGER, observer of Switzerland, said CCAs and UNDAFs remained key instruments of the whole United Nations reform process. His country considered capacity-building a key function of the United Nations system, and it was therefore crucial that this was being addressed with clear objectives and indicators in all CCA, UNDAF and country programmes. With regard to funding, while the World Bank's International Development Association and other funds had continuously received increased financial means, the core contributions to United Nations funds and programmes had only marginally increased, and in certain cases even decreased.

    He said Switzerland was not against the Development Association receiving more resources, but thought that the core resources of the United Nations funds and programmes should flow at least at the same pace as the Association's donor resources, in order to allow those institutions to continue to play their roles and to support activities of importance. The United Nations should focus more on policy development and capacity- and institution-building -- leaving the financing of larger investment programmes, with important equipment and infrastructure components, to the international financing institutions.

    OH HYUN-JOO (Republic of Korea), acknowledging progress made in implementation of resolution 56/201, underscored the importance of an enhanced relationship between United Nations development agencies and the Bretton Woods institutions. Close cooperation between the United Nations and those institutions was crucial to the implementation of development activities. Simplification and harmonization of the rules and procedures for operational activities were the keys to the reform of those activities. She hoped to see further progress in that regard through common utilization of the CCA and UNDAF, as well as joint programming. The further utilization of information and communication technologies would be a cost-effective tool in enhancing simplification of procedures.

    She said that as a key component of any strategy for implementing development activities, capacity-building was closely linked to national ownership and accountability. Development processes could not be owned if countries did not have the capacities to formulate, implement and monitor development programmes. It was therefore crucial to involve programme countries in the entire process of development, so that learning by doing would lead to capacity-building and ownership. Programme countries were encouraged to actively participate in formulating the CCA and UNDAF and to incorporate United Nations operational activities in their own national development plans.

    She was concerned by the downward trend in core resources for funding operational activities. It should, however, be taken into consideration that it was not always easy to obtain domestic consent for increasing contributions to core resources. Many governments preferred to make earmarked contributions. The expansion of thematic trust funds might be a good method to help increase contributions, she said. The role of technical cooperation among developing countries within South-South cooperation, particularly in the field of information and communication technologies, was of great significance. It was important to increase broad social awareness of those technologies along with individual information and communication technology skills in developing countries through a variety of cooperation programmes in order to bridge the digital gap.

    MARKIYAN KULYK (Ukraine) joined other countries in emphasizing the critical importance of United Nations operational activities to the governments of programme countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. He strongly believed that the United Nations system should continue to use mechanisms such as the UNDAF and CCA to increase the effectiveness of its operational activities in order to fully integrate them with national development plans with full respect for national priorities and country specificity.

    Cooperation between the United Nations operational agencies and the World Bank and IMF was also very important, he said. He was pleased with the considerable results achieved in strengthening collaboration between them. He encouraged the United Nations operational funds to continue that work, taking full account of comparative advantages of each agency involved.

    Despite progress made, one of the main challenges for the development process -- mobilization of core resources -- remained unsettled, he said. He believed that the Monterrey Conference would serve as a new impetus towards further substantial increases in ODA, complementing those announced at the Conference by the European Union and the United States. He added that his Government welcomed the increasing involvement of the United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies in activities aimed at elimination of the long-term consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

    JOAN THOMAS (Jamaica) said development could not be undertaken without adequate funding. Disappointingly, the reports indicated a trend towards a decline in ODA, which had adversely affected the core resources for operational activities of development cooperation. Core resources were the bedrock of the operational activities of the United Nations system and should be made available on a predictable, continuous and assured basis.

    She said the issue of capacity-building was central to the sustained development of developing countries, and to that end must be addressed in a holistic, integrated fashion. The renewed focus on the national ownership of the development process based on a bottom-up approach made it imperative that the requisite skills and expertise be developed locally and sustained -- targeted not only to the government sector but also to the various stakeholders.

    Emphasis must also be placed on building partnerships among the various stakeholders and on ensuring that adequate capacity was developed among them to carry out the task of national development. She firmly supported the view that more attention should be directed towards capacity-building within the non-governmental organization community, which was often involved with national development concerns at the grass-roots level, but lacked the resources to implement them. Pointing out the asymmetrical relationship between donors and recipient countries, she said the present thrust towards national ownership of the development process could only be achieved if donors allowed recipient governments to be in the driver's seat.

    DARMANSJAH DJUMALA (Indonesia) said that it was important for the United Nations Development Group to revise the CCA programme and the UNDAF guidelines. Those revisions should focus on improving coordination within the United Nations system. There should be increased country level coherence, and an emphasis on national participation in and control of the development process. In addition, cooperation with civil society and other stakeholders should be improved. The resident coordinator system should reflect those objectives.

    Regarding the relationship of the United Nations system with the Bretton Woods institutions, he said there was no doubt that the Millennium Development Goals had provided more opportunities for convergence on the objectives, principles and coordination of action between those two systems. It was necessary to move away from ad hoc consultations between the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions to a more institutionalized form of dialogue. Greater national control over external assistance and more effective coordination between donors and recipients should be facilitated. Pursuing those objectives was in keeping with the spirit of the Monterrey Consensus.

    He strongly believed that core resources were the bedrock of operational activities, and that they helped preserve the multilateral character of the United Nations system. He called on donor nations to live up to their pledges on ODA, including an increase in core resources devoted to operational activities. He stressed that the significant progress made by the United Nations system in reforming its governance, and its functioning for development activities, should be rewarded with a significant increase in core resources for operational activities for development.

    YESHEY DORJI (Bhutan) said the only way the operational activities of the United Nations system could be carried out for the benefit of recipient countries was to ensure a country-specific approach to efforts undertaken by the various organizations involved in development cooperation. The operational activities of the United Nations system must continue to respond to the needs of the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, in a flexible manner and in accordance with specific development priorities.

    In that regard, he continued, Bhutan noted the progress towards fostering greater national ownership and participation through the CCA and UNDAF. Those mechanisms also facilitated greater participation and coordination within the United Nations system and other important stakeholders.

    He said that the lack of predictable, continuous and assured resources for development was an issue that needed to be addressed urgently. Bhutan had been greatly concerned by the decline of both ODA and its implications for the share of multilateral organizations, which had apparently affected the operational activities of the United Nations system in many countries. He welcomed the recent commitments to substantial increases in ODA that had been made at Monterrey. The issue of capacity-building also posed a critical challenge, as it encompassed a number of other important development concerns, including human resource capacity, infrastructure and private-sector development. Strategies must be integrated into social, economic and political dimensions.

    OLUSEGUN AKINSANYA, Director, International Organizations Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said the 2001 triennial comprehensive policy review of progress made in implementation of resolution 56/201 should focus on three basic elements: the general principle behind United Nations operational activities in achieving the Millennium Goals; the tasks specified for all parties; and implementation by all stakeholders.

    He said that all had recognized and accepted the notion of country ownership, leadership and responsibility, as emphasized in resolution 56/201. The report of the Secretary-General had identified four key roles for United Nations operational activities in that regard, including providing assistance to developing countries to integrate international development goals into national policies, promoting capacity-building, placing recipient countries in the driver's seat, and enhancing the functioning of the United Nations system to make it more coordinated, effective and efficient.

    He went on to say that the global economic slowdown posed serious challenges to efforts to achieve the Millennium Goals. Given the steady decline in core resources necessary to optimize United Nations operational activities as the key instrument for development, coupled with the reluctance of donors to dig deep into their coffers to provide additional resources, the international community remained anxious. Much as the outcome of Monterrey had been celebrated, the success of that conference had been mitigated by the realization of the vast resources needed to meet the commitments made there.

    He said one year was too short a time to undertake a comprehensive review of progress in implementing far-reaching goals and targets. Still, Nigeria supported the review and urged more such processes in order to assess results and make adjustments. He said there should be greater and sustained consultation and coordination between donors and the United Nations system to quickly find a way to reduce transaction costs, particularly in the area of environmental impact assessment charges.

    JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) said United Nations operational activities gave developing countries an opportunity to manage their own development processes. He supported the extensive recognition expressed by delegations for the reports of the Secretary-General. The Council had an important role to play in monitoring implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus. That consensus was the first step in dealing with development and the imbalances inherent in globalization. He noted his support for the documents to be adopted at Johannesburg.

    Multilateral aid for development was extremely important and must be improved on, he stressed. He appealed to donor countries to fulfil the assistance targets set out in the Millennium Declaration. Chile was not a direct recipient of a large part of the programmes of multilateral assistance, but strongly supported it nonetheless.

    He said that programmes directed at countries at a middle level of development, which targeted, for example, the most vulnerable members of society -- should also be maintained. He valued those areas of multilateral cooperation that contributed to the economic and social aspects of society. International cooperation helped strengthen national efforts aimed at economic and social development.

    SAID SHIHAB AHMAD (Iraq) praised the work of the United Nations to harmonize and coordinate its operational activities. At the same time, he wondered how those efforts could help bring about development in countries suffering the tragic effects of economic embargoes. His own country had been suffering such a blockade for some 11 years, impeding all efforts at national development and particularly affecting children, who made up some 43 per cent of the population. More than 1 million children below the age of five had perished since the embargo was put in place. The embargo had also seriously affected the education system in general, and had forced many children to leave school to seek employment or care for their families.

    He said that even though the United Nations had striven to make the new century the age of protection of human rights and the rights of children, children in Iraq still suffered greatly. The Iraqi people would, however, continue to struggle to make progress. But sad to say, the United Nations had not always been able to deal with the tragic effects of economic embargoes.

    IRMA LOEMBAN TOBING-KLEIN (Suriname) said her delegation attached great importance to United Nations goals in such areas as investing in human capital as a cornerstone for economic growth; strengthening capacity for environmental management; preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases; and promoting human rights.

    She noted that consultations were ongoing between her Government, United Nations agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders. Pilot projects had been launched to fight poverty, manage the environment and address AIDS.

    She strongly supported the Millennium Goals but was convinced that strong support was need from donors and financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF, which were preparing indicators in close cooperation with the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). She stressed the importance of capacity-building, and noted her country's support for mainstreaming information and communication technologies into the development process. Among the others issues she drew attention to was the need to promote human rights education as a key to development. Doubling ODA was imperative for achieving the goals set out in the Monterrey Consensus, she concluded.

    MURARI RAJ SHARMA (Nepal), associating himself with the statement made earlier on behalf of the Group of 77, said operational activities were a fundamental part of the Council's work. Addressing that topic thoroughly appeared daunting. The Council must, through its various organs, create conditions to contribute to lasting peace and stability around the world. Still, worldwide economic instability might be too imposing, and the amount of available resources too meagre to make any real progress.

    Turning next to capacity-building, he said the steep decline in core resources had seriously crippled the United Nations in its ability to help States in need. He called on all donors, particularly the wealthier countries, to provide those core resources. On the issue of harmonization of operational activities, he warned that as core resources dwindled, the United Nations might not have the ability to manage its projects and priorities at the country level.

    He went on to say that efforts at harmonizing and streamlining operational activities should not be undertaken at the cost of a programme's delivery of overall effectiveness. He added that more attention, particularly within the developing countries, should be given to efforts to foster increased South-South cooperation. Only such increased cooperation would send a message to partners in the North that they needed to do more.

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