A boost in coordination proves fruitful

Three years ago, Member States adopted one of the boldest reforms of the UN development system, including by substantially upgrading and investing in development coordination for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Only a year into the implementation of the reform, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The boost in coordination was crucial to immediately make available all the UN’s expertise at country, regional and global level. 

Resident Coordinators led UN Country Teams in responding to the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic in 162 countries and territories, working closely with WHO, UNDP and OCHA in setting the foundations for a better recovery.

The value of enhanced coordination was evident in: 

  • Enhanced leadership at the country level, with clear entry-points with Governments
  • A more coherent positioning of the UN’s work, and a stronger system response through effective UN Country Team working relationships
  • A cohesive whole-of-UN response, enabling urgent scaling-up of support to countries, in emergency mode, leveraging response with the health and humanitarian action
  • Swift system-wide effort to develop a UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19 and UN Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plans, repurposing and mobilizing resources
  • Business continuity while tackling the pandemic to keep delivering on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The COVID-19 response accelerated the implementation of reforms for the UN development system to be fit for purpose, advancing a new generation of UN Country Teams that are better equipped to address complex challenges through an integrated approach

Three years into the reform we clearly see:

A marked shift towards joint programming and planning
Increased integrated policy advice
Better and more tailored access to full UN capacities
Increased accountability and transparency for results
Improved ability of the UN to speak with one voice
Closer collaboration with international financial institutions

Evidence shows that the reform has taken root in 2020

 

Governments' feedback on Resident Coordinator role

77%

of programme country Governments report that, since the UN development system repositioning in 2018, the UN development system currently works together better

Government feedback: Resident Coordinator effectively leads UN Country Teams

 
88%

of programme country Governments believe that Resident Coordinators effectively lead the UN Country Team to support countries' priorities, an 11% increase from 2019

Blue social media card with an icon of the people alongside text.
88% of programme country Governments believe that Resident Coordinators effectively lead the UN Country Team to support countries' priorities, an 11% increase from 2019
https://undg.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/overview?card=372

Government feedback: Resident Coordinator has sufficient prerogative to fulfil his/her mandate

 
79%

of programme country Governments agree that Resident Coordinators have sufficient prerogative to filfil their mandate, up from 71% in 2019

Blue social media card with an icon of a lightning bolt alongside text.
79% of programme country Governments agree that Resident Coordinators have sufficient prerogative to fulfil their mandate, up from 71% in 2019
https://undg.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/overview?card=374

Governments' perception of how Resident Coordinators have led the UN Country Team response to COVID-19 in 2020: 

92%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinators have ensured a coherent UN response to the COVID-19 pandemic

74%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been comprehensive

76%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been timely

77%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been effective

84%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has targeted at-risk groups
 

84%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been coherent with the Cooperation Framework/UNDAF

81%

of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been coherent with the humanitarian response 

Evidence from UN Agencies

  • Many Resident Coordinators agree that UN agencies are supportive of the empowered Resident Coordinator role
14

UN development system entities report that their UN Country Team member representatives’ job descriptions include provisions that recognize their country representative’s relationship vis-a-vis the Resident Coordinator

12

UN development system entities recognize reporting obligations to Resident Coordinators for planning, programme implementation and resource mobilization

17

UN development system entities have reported to their governing body on recent actions taken to identify and address institutional bottlenecks, with the aim of promoting greater programmatic collaboration and coherence with UNCTs

The Resident Coordinator system review before the end of the 75th session of the General Assembly will address remaining issues and course-correct as needed


 

To learn more visit the report's resource page and glossary