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Statements in International Organisations


Working Party on the Medium-Term Plan and Programme Budget 2008/2009, 50th session: Opening Statement by Martina Lodrant, Permanent Mission of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union

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  • We should like to congratulate the Chairman of this session of the Working Party on his election and assure him of the full support and constructive engagement of the EU.
  • The Accra Accord that resulted from the UNCTAD XII process is a solid outcome, but it is its implementation that will determine the future success, impact and relevance of the organization.
  • To lay the ground for effective implementation of the operational parts of the Accra Accord, it is crucial that we faithfully translate these into a work programme for the period of the next four years with clearly defined objectives and outputs as well as timeframes and expected outcomes.
  • This exercise cannot in any way be about renegotiating the Accra Accord. We must work strictly within the boundaries it defines regarding the areas of work.
  • At the same time, the secretariat must make sure that there is a comprehensive and consistent results-oriented performance measurement and evaluation system in place. As part of this system, we are looking for meaningful and ambitious indicators of achievement that are as close as possible to the impact. The informal consultations on indicators of achievement, held on the decision taken at the Working Party session last July, have produced some useful results and ways for improvement that, however, need to be further elaborated and put into practice.
  • The Working Party has an important role and contribution to make in both these respects.
  • The EU thanks the secretariat for the first draft of the work programme required by article 221 of the Accra Accord while regretting at the same time that it has only just been presented, which means that we will not be in the position to have a full discussion or reach conclusions on the document within this session. We are also still awaiting an implementation plan covering sub-theme 4 of the Accra Accord.
  • We appreciate that the preparation of this elaborated work programme is no small challenge and that quality must come first; nevertheless, we are obliged to urge the secretariat again to respect agreed timelines, in particular with respect to the submission of pre-session documentation.
  • We should, however, at this session complete, in light of the outcome of UNCTAD XII, a thorough review of the strategic framework for the biennium 2008-9 and of the proposed strategic framework for the next biennium 2010-11 and agree on recommendations to the General Assembly and its competent bodies.
  • In this regard, and with the objective of allowing the implementation of the Accra Accord to start with the minimum delay possible, the EU can agree with the procedure suggested in the annotations to the agenda of this session that the proposed strategic framework for the period 2010-11 as it emerges from our examination under agenda item 3 be also considered as a revision to the strategic framework for the current biennium (2008-9).
  • General comments on the draft proposed strategic framework as contained in document TD/B/WP/L.129
  • Let me now make some comments limited to more general observations and questions on the draft proposed strategic framework as contained in document TD/B/WP/L.129/Rev.1 in front of us.
  • We will provide more specific and detailed comments during the interactive discussion as we read through the relevant parts of the document.
  • Our first call would be for more consistency in the way objectives, strategy, expected accomplishment and indicators of achievement are defined across the various sub-programmes, taking into account the best practices that exist within the organization (for example, in all sub-programmes there should be appropriate references to the cross-cutting issues and to subgroups of developing countries with special needs; where divisions are engaged in comparable type of work albeit on different themes they should use similar indicators, thereby creating an additional dimension for internal evaluation).
  • We have noted that some paragraphs that are part of the UNCTAD contribution section of the Accra Accord (for example, paras. 43, 170) are not referenced in any of the sub-programmes: this should be rectified.
  • On the other hand, some paragraphs are referenced that are, however, addressed to the wider community (section "Policy Responses") rather than establishing a mandate for UNCTAD (paras. 62, 74, 85): we believe these should be removed.
  • We are furthermore of the view that the strategic framework should at least make a reference to the institutional measures and adjustments agreed under sub-theme 4 of the Accra Accord establishing their importance for the effective and efficient delivery on the organization's mandated substantive objectives.


  • With respect to the expected achievements and the corresponding indicators, we see an overall improvement in the last revision over what was contained in the earlier draft of this strategic framework and I wish to thank the secretariat for taking on board some of our comments from the informal consultations.
  • For our discussion here to add further value, it would be useful if the secretariat could begin by explaining briefly the changes made so far and how they address our concerns; in some cases we hope that further options will be presented to us.
  • We would also appreciate some additional definitions of the concepts used in the indicators as these are not always clearly spelled out in the explanatory note provided by the secretariat in the context of these earlier consultations.
  • Even if they were further improved, however, the limited set of indicators that are included in the strategic framework, in our view do not provide a sufficient basis for the kind of evaluation we believe should be carried out internally and for the purpose of discussion with member States here in Geneva.
  • We therefore urge the secretariat to take performance evaluation and reporting beyond the formal requirements of the UN budget process; we are encouraged by the model framework developed for this purpose within the Division on Investment and Enterprise and believe it could usefully be applied organization-wide.
  • An important element in the evaluation efforts will be to modernize and improve feedback mechanisms, making full use of ICTs and particularly of the internet.
  • As a final general but no less important remark on this issue, Mr. Chairman, indicators on the integration of cross-cutting issues and on management must be added and be given appropriate attention in the evaluation.
  • Implementation of paragraph 183 of the Accra Accord
  • Regarding the implementation of paragraph 183 of the Accra Accord, I would like to clarify the criteria and considerations that have guided and will guide the EU position:
  • First of all, let me stress that the EU is committed to the faithful implementation of paragraph 183, taking into account the discussion that took place at the time of its negotiation, as we believe this will increase the profile and secure the necessary attention to UNCTAD's work on commodities.
  • Secondly, the implementing arrangement must strictly respect UN budgetary rules.
  • Thirdly, we also believe that member States should not micro-manage the secretariat.
  • The proposed arrangement for implementing paragraph 183 which the secretariat has presented does establish a unit directly reporting to and receiving policy guidance from the Secretary-General. With regard to the degree of autonomy from a budgetary point of view, the idea of a sub-programme was discussed in Accra but did not gather consensus. At the time of the adoption of the Accra Accord the understanding of no program budget implications applied overall.
  • The EU remains open to discuss ways in which budgetary autonomy may be achieved short of creating a sub-programme, within the UN rules and without entering a renegotiation of the Accra Accord. We invite the secretariat to provide clarification on the different options.
  • In any event, to implement paragraph 183 it is necessary to clearly identify the resources currently made available to the work on commodities.
  • A final word to underline that in considering institutional arrangements we should not lose sight of the real - and shared - objective which is to ensure that UNCTAD delivers in substantive terms on its mandate on commodities. It is this that should be at the forefront of our discussions.
  • As in Accra, we continue to be engaged with a view to reaching a pragmatic and consensual solution and we invite all member States to keep a spirit of cooperation and compromise.


  • We make all these comments in good faith; our sincere intention is to create conditions in which UNCTAD can enhance its relevance and impact.
  • We stand ready to discuss our comments and those of other groups and member states in the same spirit of partnership and trust that characterized the UNCTAD XII negotiations with a view to make this a productive session.

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Date: 19.06.2008