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Second Committee of the 54th General Assembly

Statement by Dr. Jana Simonova, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on Agenda Item 101: Operational Activities for Development Statement by Dr. Jana Simonova, Representative to the UN Pledge ConferenceNew York, November 2-3, 1999 Statement by

  • Statement by Dr. Jana Simonova, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on Agenda Item 101: Operational Activities for Development

  • Statement by Dr. Jana Simonova, Representative to the UN Pledge Conference
    New York, November 2-3, 1999

Statement by Dr. Jana Simonova, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on Agenda Item 101: Operational Activities for Development

Mr. Chairman, As this is the first time, the Czech delegation is taking the floor, let me congratulate you on having been elected to the Vice-Chair of the Second Committee and wish you, other members of the Bureau, as well as all of us productive negotiations.

The Czech Republic associates itself with the EU statement on this item as presented this morning by the Finnish Presidency. We fully share the views expressed on the Technical and Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries and UNIFEM. The Czech delegation welcomes the endorsement of all dimensions of TCDC, triangular modalities in particular, in which, by the way, the Czech Republic would very much like to participate. In addition, let me address another issue of general nature which is becoming more and more important - the future role of UN operational activities in the globalized world. I also speak on behalf of the delegation of Bulgaria.

The United Nations system has provided technical and development assistance to developing countries through its operational activities over decades. Enormous efforts and considerable financial resources have been devoted to implementation of development programmes in attempts to assist developing countries in coping with their own development problems. While historical accomplishments have been achieved in integrating developing countries into global markets, there is still a great number of development challenges to address. To name just few:

* socio-economic data show that the number of people living in poverty is still growing, * gap in income between rich and poor is steadily enlarging and deepening,

* long-standing poverty is very often linked to social unrest and increasing number of arm conflicts,

* deterioration of global environment continues to cause huge damages. As a result, the demand for development assistance is steadily growing as well as the need for costly post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction in the wake of environmental disasters.

On top of these "traditional challenges", globalization brings an additional requirement for performance of individual countries in order to succeed in globalized markets. This new requirement is good governance. As demonstrated in the recent crisis, financial capital, in an economic situation of increased volatility and uncertainty, easily recognizes markets with weaker governance and moves very quickly to countries with stronger economies and sound governance. This move towards more secure environment is basically a warranted and sound reaction of the market that recognized a mistake - a lack of good governance.

As crises are likely to arise in similar situations in the future, most developing countries and countries in transition have to profoundly enhance their governance in order to avoid or at least minimize the foreign capital out-flows in situations of extreme market volatility. However, the crisis prevention is not the only reason for good governance. There is an urgent need to improve governance for protection of public goods, for making domestic market truly competitive and for development purposes in general. It is imperative to enhance rule of law, strengthen law enforcement, promote democratization, introduce transparent regulatory systems as well as strong financial oversight. It is also extremely important to promote transparency and accountability in the public administration and public finance and to develop participatory approaches in policy-designing and decision-making processes. In all these areas, knowledge and lessons learnt can and must be effectively shared. The message of today is very clear: there is an enormous need for technical and development assistance in all areas of good governance in most developing and transition countries. Our current concern should be whether this latest demand is being reflected in UN operational activities in adequate manner.

Mr. Chairman, Our delegation fully endorses that the United Nations system, with UNDP in the lead, has focused on the difficult balance between macro-economic reforms and the need for a "Credible State", where the latter, while performing important functions in support of market development, should also engage itself in creating legal structures, institutions and regulatory frameworks. It is warmly welcomed that UNDP, in cooperation with World Bank, pays more attention to a new role of government in globalization, promoting democracy, good governance and social development. We believe that these kinds of development assistance could be also helpful in preventing the occurrence of social upheavals, military conflicts and huge migrations that have been arising at a rather high frequency throughout the world over the recent years. Generally speaking, an increased support to UN operational activities would obviously strengthen the preventive role of the United Nations. Daily experience shows that prevention is always better, more efficient and cost-effective than post-conflict rehabilitation.

In our view, UNDP has proved its unpararelled expertise and competitive advantage in the area of sustainable human development which is very close to good governance. We believe that its priority focus in the years to come should aim at capacity building for good governance in globalization as the most important factor of future development. UNDP as a key player of UN operational activities is very well equipped for this role due to its universality, neutrality, deeper understanding of country specific needs and efficiency which are well renowned and highly valued by its development partners in the field. In addition, UNDP and UNFPA recognized the need for change and started to develop a new result-oriented approach to funding and management of assistance. The Czech and Bulgarian delegations strongly support UNDP current efforts in setting standards for good governance and development goals, specifying outcomes of the development assistance and simultaneously devising indicators for measurement of progress achieved. We are convinced that emphasis on results-based approach will make UNDP even more efficient and better prepared for addressing new development challenges in a closer cooperation with other development players, mainly members of UNDG and BWI.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me conclude with sharing our delegation´s concern regarding the continuous decline in financial resources for UN operational activities. Despite the increasing need and new challenges for development assistance in globalization, the downward trend continues. In the light of our common desire to promote preventive role of the United Nations, sufficient financial support for reformed, result-based UN operational activities should be resumed without delay.

Statement by Dr. Jana Simonova, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities

Mr. President,

Let me congratulate you on your having been elected to the chair of our conference.

Mr. President,

The Czech Republic associated itself with the statement of the European Union as presented by the Finnish presidency earlier this morning. The Czech delegation also believes that the Pledging Conference has outlived its usefulness and that it is not the most cost-effective way of presenting commitments. In addition, the current schedule of reporting on the Pledging Conference does not enable countries to be informed about the payments provided during the whole year. We, therefore, fully support the proposal to pursue its formal abolition next year.

However, the existing Pledging Conference and the way of reporting on it should not been abolished without replacement, without introducing another mechanism which would provide needed information in a less costly way. We welcome new multi-year funding frameworks being established in those funds and programmes, such as UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF, but in addition to that, there is still need, in our view, for having the whole picture about the funding of all funds and programmes engaged in UN operational activities for development.

We, therefore, suggest to request SG to report annually on pledges and payments made in the course of each year in breakdown by funds and programmes and by countries. This report should be distributed by the end of April next year so that all member countries have complete information about pledges and payments made to UN funds and programmes in the previous year. This report should also serve as one of the key reports for the annual consideration of financial situation of the funds and programmes by ECOSOC.

Mr. President,

Hoping that this is the last Pledging Conference in this format, let me announce that the voluntary pledges of the Czech Republic for UN development activities in 2000 have been communicated to the Secretariat in due time. Our voluntary contributions to UN funds and programmes, which are still subject to Parliament approval, are going to grow by 13% in 2000. The increase is mainly aiming at UNDP and UNITAR. Another additional 13 %, which has not been included into the submitted pledges, is planned to directly support a UNDP project of regional cooperation.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude with reiterating our continuing strong support to UN operational activities for developoment and expressing our belief that a more suitable format will be found.