The reinvigorated Resident Coordinator system, three years later
A boost in coordination proves fruitful
Three years ago, Member States adopted one of the boldest reforms of the UN development system, including by substantially upgrading and investing in development coordination for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Only a year into the implementation of the reform, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The boost in coordination was crucial to immediately make available all the UN’s expertise at country, regional and global level.
Resident Coordinators led UN Country Teams in responding to the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic in 162 countries and territories, working closely with WHO, UNDP and OCHA in setting the foundations for a better recovery.
The value of enhanced coordination was evident in:
- Enhanced leadership at the country level, with clear entry-points with Governments
- A more coherent positioning of the UN’s work, and a stronger system response through effective UN Country Team working relationships
- A cohesive whole-of-UN response, enabling urgent scaling-up of support to countries, in emergency mode, leveraging response with the health and humanitarian action
- Swift system-wide effort to develop a UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19 and UN Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plans, repurposing and mobilizing resources
- Business continuity while tackling the pandemic to keep delivering on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
The COVID-19 response accelerated the implementation of reforms for the UN development system to be fit for purpose, advancing a new generation of UN Country Teams that are better equipped to address complex challenges through an integrated approach
Three years into the reform we clearly see:
Evidence shows that coordination matters to speed up the SDGs
Governments' and contributing countries’ feedback on the Resident Coordinator’s role and Resident Coordinator system continued to improve
of programme country Governments report that, since the UN development system repositioning in 2018, the UN development system currently works together better
Governments' perception of how Resident Coordinators have led the UN Country Team response to COVID-19 in 2020:
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinators have ensured a coherent UN response to the COVID-19 pandemic
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been comprehensive
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been timely
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been effective
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has targeted at-risk groups
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been coherent with the Cooperation Framework/UNDAF
of programme country Governments indicate that the Resident Coordinator-led UN Country Team response has been coherent with the humanitarian response
Evidence from UN Agencies
- Many Resident Coordinators agree that UN agencies are supportive of the empowered Resident Coordinator role
UN development system entities report that their UN Country Team member representatives’ job descriptions include provisions that recognize their country representative’s relationship vis-a-vis the Resident Coordinator
UN development system entities recognize reporting obligations to Resident Coordinators for planning, programme implementation and resource mobilization
UN development system entities have reported to their governing body on recent actions taken to identify and address institutional bottlenecks, with the aim of promoting greater programmatic collaboration and coherence with UNCTs
The Resident Coordinator system review before the end of the 75th session of the General Assembly will address remaining issues and course-correct as needed