Statement by Mr. Norimasa Shimomura, UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan At the Round Table Meeting for the occasion of UN Day 2019

Speech for the occasion of UN Day 2019

inister of Foreign Affairs,

Your Excellencies,

My Dear UN Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

        I am glad to be here today, commemorating our important day – The Day when the like-minded countries decided 74 years ago to create an international order in which they collectively pursue peace and security, sustainable development and full realization of human rights for all.  During these 74 years, the world has continued to face challenges of conflicts, terrorism and violation of humanitarian laws, climate change, increasing disparities, discriminations against minorities, and inequality between women and men.  Yet, the United Nations has remained the most legitimate platform that is always available for the Member States to overcome some of these challenges.  There has also been quite a number of achievements – in the effort to set human rights standards, reaching out and saving lives of those in need of humanitarian assistance, by reaching incremental but monumental agreements especially in the sphere of environment protection, in brokering peace, and more. 

The UN can get as good as its Member States want it to be.  This is why I have always appreciated Kazakhstan’s commitment to realize its international visions through the prism of the UN – e.g., its effort toward denuclearization, facilitating multilateral peace processes, taking on the global responsibilities as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, promoting sustainable development by organizing the Astana International EXPO in 2017, to name a few. 

Such an active membership only motivates us at the UN System to do better, to support the constructive visions of the Member States.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the world leaders back in 2015.  This as you know is a set of most ambitious development goals that has been adopted by the human kind to date, consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals – the SDGs, aimed to “leave no one behind” from the benefits that development brings to our countries.  We also know that SDGs offer best measures for conflict prevention as they address root causes of conflicts and violence. 

Given this paradigm shift, the UN System was put to support the Member States to attain these development goals.  However, the Member States and UN Secretary-General felt that the UN System is not sufficiently fit for this purpose.  As such, the Secretary-General embarked on reforming the UN in its peace & security pillar, management pillar, and the Development System. In this context, the UN General Assembly adopted last year a resolution 72/279 on the repositioning of the UN’s development system, which led to the launch of the reform of the UN’s development system from January this year.  A number of key reform priorities have been determined at the global level, regional level, and country level. 

At the country level, this reform requires the UN entities, agencies, funds and programmes to work much more closely together, coherently, efficiently and effectively under the strengthened leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator. The independent and empowered UN Resident Coordinators are responsible for bringing the whole United Nations system together to deliver on the ground, according to national needs and ensuring system-wide accountability. 

For this purpose, UN Resident Coordinators are now delinked from UNDP, and report directly to the UN Secretary-General as his designated representative at the country level.  A new Management and Accountability Framework (MAF) has been agreed for the UN country teams working at the country level, and signals a significant shift in organizational culture, as it sets out a new dual accountability system for agency representatives: to their respective agency headquarters, as well as to the UN Resident Coordinator.  

While all of us at the UN system are still trying to figure out what this actually means for our day-to-day work, we are starting to see early signs of change and success.  This includes increased effort for coordination on our work related to SDGs, Prevention of Violent Extremism, effort to address violence against women and girls, and more.  Joint events held among the UN agencies that involve UN Resident Coordinator are becoming more of a norm than exception - such as UNODC’s technical meetings, FAO’s country programme meeting, UNICEF’s annual review meeting, UNFPA’s advocacy events, UNDP’s upcoming SDG meeting, the joint meeting held between the President and senior officials of UN ESCAP, UNDP and UN Women together, a workshop organized jointly by UN Human Rights agency (OHCHR) and UN Women only last week, are only few of the examples.

Even more important than the question of UN’s internal dynamics with the current reform is that virtually everything that all UN entities work on at the country level in the future must focus on the SDGs and respond to the priorities of the country that they work in.  And that all of these UN agency initiatives must be captured and delivered through the new 5-year programme framework of the UN under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator.  This new programme framework is called the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework – We have just started to formulate one here in Kazakhstan in consultation with the Government, Civil Society and other partners, with a particular emphasis on our effort to leaving no one behind, promoting gender equality and human-rights based approach to development. 

I am glad that today, our colleagues from the Government will be presenting more in details about Kazakhstan’s work on the SDGs that we support.  I would only emphasize that SDGs provide an excellent instrument for Kazakhstan in achieving its development vision to meet OECD standards and join the top 30 most developed countries of the world.  Later, my UN colleague will also speak more in details about UN’s new common programming framework, i.e., the Cooperation Framework.

Mr. Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude my part by thanking once again for giving me this opportunity to brief you about the ongoing UN reform.  Today’s event also marks the start of a process that leads to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations that we will celebrate next year.  With your generous support, I am sure we will be able to achieve a lot in the next year, and so we truly look forward to continue working with you.

Thank you.

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme