UN Considering Reforms to Deliver the SDGs
In December 2016, more than one year after the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) 2017-2020, which is the policy instrument aimed at aligning the UN development system with the SDGs. The process that led to the QCPR spanned two years of intense negotiations and consultations between Member States, the UN system, and external experts. The QCPR mandated that, in June 2017, the UN Secretary-General should present reform proposals for the UN development system, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In a briefing to Member States on 5 May 2017, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed explained the method through which the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, was developing the reform proposals, noting that she had created an internal mechanism to follow up on the QCPR mandates. Mohammed said her office was: working with external experts to gather and analyze the data underpinning the system-wide outline of functions and capacities; undertaking advanced technical work and studies to ensure evidence-based proposals; and conducting in-house research to draw on the perspectives of Member States on accountability, transparency, coordination and oversight. Mohammed also announced that a reference group of individuals with experience in development practice and policy had been put in place, to serve as an informal “sounding board” to test ideas for upcoming proposals.
Published on 30 June 2017, the Secretary-General’s report draws on: a report titled, ‘System-Wide Outline of the Functions and Capacities of the UN Development System,’ prepared by Dalberg Global Development Advisors; a Contribution by the UN Joint Inspection Unit; and an analytical study commissioned by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). As Member States and civil society begin the process of evaluating the implications of the Secretary-General’s report, this policy brief seeks to enhance the level of understanding and engagement in the debate through a review of the assessment of the UN development system undertaken by external experts and the Secretary-General’s related reform proposals.
Photo courtesy of Isriya Paireepairit.