Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Economic and Social Council Operational Activities for Development Segment Morning Session (10:00-12:00)

(As delivered)
 
Thank you very much for giving me the floor. I thank this opportunity to hear the Secretary-General directly in explaining his report, which outlines very concrete policies and progress, and we appreciate this very much.
 
Japan strongly supports the reforms led by the Secretary-General that aims to enhance the efficiency and the effectiveness of the UNDS in order to improve the quality of services delivered by UN country teams on the ground. Japan commends the numerous efforts by the Secretary-General, and Deputy Secretary-General, and your team in the process of fleshing out the reform. I would like to make a few points, four points specifically. First concerning the reinvigorated RC system, second the improving cost efficiency, third the Multi-Country Office Review (MCO), and fourth the strengthening of partnerships.
 
First with regarding the reinvigorated RC system, which is in a way the central pillar of the reform, we realize as our colleague from Guinea said, that a unified United Nations acting as one is a very powerful entity and that it can do a lot. So we have followed the RC system, although it is still new, we have asked our embassies to follow what the progress that is being made, and although this is still early, we hear some voices, some mixed messages coming out from the ground, and that is that in some cases, we hear from the ground that information sharing among the RCs and the UN agencies has increased, we also hear other areas, other countries that there seem to have been difficulties with regard to the establishment of the dual reporting system between the RCs and the respective UN Funds & Programs and the communication between them. So, we are looking forward to an even stronger leadership from the Secretary-General to ensure that all the Funds & Programs will be able to act and function as “One UN”, as we are hoping that it will.
 
The second point with regard to improving cost efficiency, we welcome the various efforts by the Business Innovation Group (BIG), including the harmonization of administrative procedures and increasing the proportion of the UN common premises. Japan places particular importance on achieving efficiency gains based on the belief that while a certain amount of investment is certainly necessary at the early stages of the reform, that investment should ultimately be recovered and result in savings in the medium and long-term. We commit ourselves to monitoring the progress realizing these efficiency gains through such monitoring framework as was mentioned, as specified in the Funding Compact. We look forward also to the finalization of the System Wide Strategic Document.
 
My third point is regarding the Multi-Country Office (MCO) Review. Japan supports the policy expressed by the Secretary-General that we should take measures to ensure that the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are not left behind in the UNDS system reform. We would like to request a concrete explanation from the Secretariat on how to secure financing and implementation in order to get it done, the actions explained in the Report, such as the establishment of the dedicated MCO in the North Pacific, and the deployment of additional professional staff.
 
My last and fourth point is regarding the strengthening of partnerships with a view towards maximizing development impact. Japan has always believed in the importance of partnerships with other development agencies and international financial institutions, building on the comparative advantages of the United Nations. In this regard, we welcome recent developments with relevant institutions such as World Bank and the African Union. We look forward to further expansion of such partnerships and collaborations.
 
To conclude, Japan is determined to continue to fulfill our commitments in the advancement of the Secretary-General’s reform in order to ensure that the UN Development System functions more effectively and efficiently toward the achievement of 2030 Agenda.
 
Again, I would like to thank you Mr. Secretary-General for your very clear statement and very strong commitment to the reform.
 
Thank you very much indeed.