KIGALI - Countries implementing the “Delivering as One United Nations” have been urged to use the process aimed at putting all UN agencies under one roof, to uplift the living standards and have a real impact on the lives of the people.
Speaking on behalf of President Paul Kagame at the official opening of inter-governmental meeting on the Programme, Prime Minister Bernard Makuza said that like other development-oriented processes, the initiative has to respond to the needs and aspirations of citizens of the Pilot Countries.
“It is imperative that our countries assume greater leadership and ownership of UN system operational activities for development in order to ensure that our citizens are better served by this enhanced cooperation between our governments and the United Nations as a whole,” Makuza urged.
He added that Rwanda as a country has already carried out major reforms by merging different institutions which have consequently improved on service delivery and proven to be cost effective.
The two-day meeting has drawn participants from 11 UN countries implementing delivering as one, including the eight pilot countries namely; Rwanda, Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam and others.
Also participating are countries that have voluntarily adopted the ‘Delivering as One’ UN initiative which include Malawi, Angola, Benin, Bhutan, Comoros, the Pacific island states of Papua New Guinea and Kiribati.
Top of the delegate’s agenda are discussions on the impact of UN system in development cooperation.
Now in its third year, Delivering as One initiative calls for UN agencies to deliver as “One”, looking at common elements, such as ‘One Programme,’ ‘One Budgetary Framework,’ ‘One Leader’ and ‘One Office.’
Finance Minister James Musoni said that by Rwanda hosting the meeting, the country will draw experiences from other nations learning the programme to even improve on the initiative which is already taking shape.
“We will get to know how others have approached it, the challenges they have faced, and how they have tried to overcome them, so that we can reflect on what we are doing. This will enable us to judge whether we are on the right track, and where we need to improve, we do so.” Musoni said.
He said that so far, it is clear that the ‘Delivering as One UN’ system provides the most efficient means to carry out major reforms, allocate resources, implement projects and streamline coordination between UN agencies and government.
In her keynote presentation on Rwanda’s implementation of the programme, the Government’s Chief Economist, Pichette Kampeta Sayinzoga, emphasized government ownership, commitment and support of the One UN initiative.
“Institutionalization of the UN as one has given us a structured communication channel to know where we are in reforms and where our emphasis is and priorities,” Sayinzoga said.
She added that One UN has been able to increase donor coordination and allowed a coherent response by UN system to development priorities.
Highlighting key achievements under Delivering as One initiative, Sayinzoga cited predictability of funding as well as harmonization of business practices as issues that needed to be addressed for optimum UN output.
Sayinzonga challenged the UN to reinforce and quicken its pace in catching up with the country’s economic agenda.
Other key challenges identified through other pilot country presentations include lack of effective methods of monitoring and evaluation and communication.
On her part, the UN Deputy Secretary General, Asha-Rose Migiro, hailed Rwanda’s economic growth and its concerted efforts towards rebuilding the country that was in shambles fifteen years ago.
“In volunteering to be a pilot country for the UN’s Delivering as One initiative, Rwanda has taken a pioneering role in improving how the UN system supports development country level,” she said.
She noted that the three-day meeting would be an opportunity to share experiences and results of delivering as one since its establishment three years ago.
“Continuous evaluation will help adjust Delivering as One in all countries, and provide a firm basis for the UN system to be more coherent and effective,” Mirigo.
Migiro cited the one fund and communication group management as notable achievements.
The meeting will evaluate and assess the process and then come up with recommendation known as ‘The Kigali Declaration” which will be forwarded to the UN for approval and use it as a benchmark for other countries to implement the programme.