Shored Up Funding of Resident Coordinator System Key to Deliver on 2030 Agenda, Secretary-General Tells Operational Activities for Development Segment

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the 2024 Economic and Social Council Operational Activities for Development Segment, in New York today: 

This annual Economic and Social Council discussion is more important than ever.  We stand at a pivotal moment in our journey towards the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  And the UN development system, led by our resident coordinators, is critical to getting us there.

The SDG Summit in September called for a rescue plan.  And the UN is shifting gears to accelerate action. We are ensuring support across the six targeted areas where urgent transitions are most needed.  We are supporting the capacity development of countries, including efforts to strengthen policy and regulatory environments.

The development system is increasingly the last bastion of UN support when missions close or draw down, such as those in Mali, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The UN continues to stay and deliver.  And our resident coordinators are building new partnerships and tapping into innovative financing mixes to achieve results.

My latest report on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review clearly shows that our work across the system and with Governments is becoming more joined-up and coordinated every year.  Ninety-six per cent of Governments agree that our teams are aligned with their national priorities and responding to their SDG-delivery needs through the Cooperation Frameworks.  Ninety per cent have affirmed that the UN development system provides adequate support in securing SDG financing.  And 94 per cent find that the UN provides adequate evidence-based policy support.

Notably, our resident coordinators are now more diverse than ever — 50 per cent are women and 54 per cent are from host countries.  The report also shows a remarkable return on investment — $553 million in efficiency gains last year alone — an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year.  We’re also enhancing our focus on results through the system-wide evaluation office, which is now up and running.

But we must — and we will — continue seeking improvements. And we welcome your guidance in the resolution from this segment and in the fall.

At the same time, I’m deeply concerned about the system’s funding — especially as we increase the pace and scale of our work to reach the SDGs. Core funding for development entities has plunged to 16.5 per cent of total funding, with some agencies declining to 12 per cent.  Voluntary contributions for the resident coordinator system also fell short last year.  This jeopardizes our ability to deliver at a critical moment.

That’s why I submitted a proposal to the General Assembly to provide funding from the regular budget for the resident coordinator system.  As I said to you last year, this is the only logical and principled solution.  Securing sustainable and predictable funding is my main priority for the system this year.

I count on Member States to consider my proposal and provide the system with the vital resources needed.  Above all, we need solidarity — with countries more able to provide support helping those less able to do so.

The re-energized Funding Compact I presented provides an important new push for Member States to raise and align their funding ambitions to meet countries’ needs.  And it raises the bar for UN entities to report on greater impact and results like the ones we’re discussing today.

As we embark on the next quadrennial comprehensive policy review cycle, now is the time for ambition.  In this new era of SDG acceleration, let’s redouble our efforts for all people and the world we share.  Thank you for being part of this essential work.

For information media. Not an official record.