Statement by Estonian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Headquarters and Other International Organisations in Geneva Mr. Jüri Seilenthal at the UNDP Executive Board Annual sessioon 2012
Mr. President, Madam Administrator, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank Madam Administrator for the 2011 annual report in its new comprehensive and readable format, as well as the achievements made to target the 2008–2013 strategic plan. We are glad to recognize the progress of UNDP activities in many areas, especially mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment to increase women’s participation in elections, policies and leadership. My delegation appreciates the overview of political and economic events through development prism, and agrees with the conclusion that the persistence of frozen conflicts is a pressing concern. With regard to UNDP’s work in the area of the rule of law, Estonia urges UNDP to continue to engage in capacity building by strengthening the ability of domestic systems to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
But as evidenced in the report, more efforts are also needed to build resilience among vulnerable populations and in vulnerable countries. In 2008 we faced major food crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the interventions under the MDGs acceleration framework and assistance focused on food security, we have to admit that efforts of development actors, including UNDP, have not been enough to assist the affected countries, when we face in 2012 once again 18 million people affected by food and nutrition crisis in Sahel. We would like to see more efforts of UNDP in the field of resilience, and we urge for stronger cooperation and better coordination with other development and humanitarian actors to increase resilience in Sahel region.
Sustainable development is acutely on our minds this year, as many of us are fresh back from Rio+20 Conference last week. I have to say that my delegation would have wished for a stronger political commitment from Rio, since there really is no alternative to sustainable development. UNDP and UNDG will play a significant role in implementing the post 2015 sustainable development paradigm.
At the same time the UN itself has to show an example of sustainability – efficiency and effectiveness needs to be a norm in the UN system. We commend cost-savings via common procurements at country offices, yet, the Independent Evaluation of Delivering as One report notes that some, but little, progress has been made on efficiency in the pilot countries. This applies also to headquarter level. As the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs said also in Rio: „It is unbeliavable that UN spends 2,355 dollars for translation, editing, printing and distribution of one page of document.” My delegation urges UNDP to explore free market options and electronic possibilities in its document management and administration.
We note the very moderate increase of core and non-core resources to the UNDP in 2011, whereas the local resources provided by programme countries themselves increased by almost 13%. Estonia has supported UNDP activities since 2000 with annual and increasing core funding. We believe that UNDP should be the flagship organization for promoting democratic governance and reform in the world and are therefore making annual contributions to the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund. We have also supported UNDP activities in several transition countries, in Moldova for instance since 2008, where we will start a joint open governance project in a few days, leveraging new technologies. Estonia is committed to continue to support UNDP activities also in future.