Building capabilities to advance the 2030 Agenda
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has tested the renewed leadership capabilities of the Resident Coordinator system at all levels, making the value of coordination far more evident than in any other year and providing proof of concept for increased investments.
Resident Coordinators today are more diverse than when the reform started
- There are more women Resident Coordinators than men
- Geographical balance remains close to a 50/50 benchmark
- Diversity in Resident Coordinators’ background continued to increase
- Resident Coordinators come from a variety of nationalities
Resident Coordinators must be highly qualified leaders to support efforts to advance the SDGs successfully
Now more than ever, Resident Coordinators must have a deep understanding of the conceptual shift of the 2030 Agenda, the ability to respond to the specific needs of different country contexts, and experience across the three pillars of the UN’s work.
- The Resident Coordinator Leadership Profile was developed
- The Resident Coordinator Assessment Centre was fully redesigned
- Individual Executive coaching was provided for first time Resident Coordinators
- First-time Resident Coordinators also benefited from six-months of additional mentoring
- A certification in SDG essentials (the SDG Primer) was launched
- The Talent Pipeline for Resident Coordinators acting as Humanitarian Coordinators was also launched
- The performance appraisal of Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams was improved, with Resident Coordinators included as additional supervisors of representatives of 18 UN Country Team entities and UN Country Team members’ feedback included in the Resident Coordinator performance appraisal
Resident Coordinators’ leadership benefited by Offices fully staffed and strengthened
Efforts were ramped up to build capabilities and skillsets in Resident Coordinator Offices through peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing, webinars, tailored regional trainings and thematic global onboarding sessions.
Results are visible:
Strategic Planners have contributed to boosted Resident Coordinator leadership and UN intellectual capacity, leading to improved analysis and programming in Common Country Analyses and Cooperation Frameworks.
Partnerships Officers have advanced discussions on country-level pooled funds, SDG financing and private sector due diligence.
Economists have been game-changers in increasing the focus by UN Country Teams on issues of economic transformation and SDG financing, working closely with entities like DESA, the International Trade Centre, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, as well as international financial institutions.
Communication Officers have brought UN Country Teams together to disseminate information, particularly on countries’ needs on COVID-19, including by translating documents in languages and dialects tailored to the elderly, ethnic minority communities and indigenous people.
Data Officers infused a more data-savvy and evidence-based approach and engaged in cross-regional exchanges on best practices around country-level data visualization of the COVID-19 response.
Resident Coordinator Offices also benefited from additional capacities, such as Peace and Development Advisors, Gender Advisors and Human Rights Advisors, deployed by the UN system in response to specific country contexts.
Coordination at regional level to support the Resident Coordinator system
Regional teams of the Development Coordination Office are now fully operational, having reached full capacity
staff members of regional teams of the Development Coordination Office are women
Regional teams of the Development Coordination Offices provide mostly country-level support, while also supporting regional collaboration, cross-border initiatives and global connectivity
In 2020, regional teams of the Development Coordination Office have:
- Supported the COVID response
- Provided quality-assurance for UN Country Teams preparing new Common Country Analyses and Cooperation Frameworks
- Supported the implementation of the UN development system reform
- Engaged in the implementation of UN regional strategies
- Connected countries with global processes
Quality of analysis and programming
UN development system reform
In the Asia-Pacific region, the regional team of the Development Coordination Office and ESCAP jointly mobilized financial contributions from over 30 Bangkok-based entities to offer resources and expertise to UN Country Teams through a newly created knowledge management hub.
The regional teams of the Development Coordination Office for Latin America and the Caribbean region, and for Europe and Central Asia, provided guidance, technical and quality assurance support on Business Operation Strategies resulting respectively in 15 and 17 countries adopting the new Business Operations Strategy.
The regional Development Coordination Office teams in
Africa provided technical support and facilitated Resident Coordinator participation for the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, the Comprehensive Regional Prevention Strategy for the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes Strategy.
Latin America and the Caribbean supported Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico for the Comprehensive Development Plan for Central America, coordinated by ECLAC.
Europe and Central Asia, with DPPA-DPO and UNDP, helped Resident Coordinators implement the Western Balkans Action Plan, and coordinated a Regional Risk and Resilience Assessment on the Fergana Valley and Central Asia’s border areas with Afghanistan.
The support provided by regional teams of the Development Coordination Offices was considered as appropriate or very appropriate by 94% of Resident Coordinators, across all types of support received
Source: UNSDG Information Management System (IMS), 2020
Global support for the UN development system
The Development Coordination Office supported the Resident Coordinator system and the UN development system at large to ensure business continuity and leveraged the COVID-19 response to recover better
The Development Coordination Office co-led with UNDP the preparation of the UNSDG Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response and corresponding indicators to monitor the results from the UN’s support to countries.
By May 2020, business continuity plans across 131 Resident Coordinator Offices were activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
At the same time, the Development Coordination Office continued to serve as the backbone of the Resident Coordinator system
The Development Coordination Office provided support through policy tools to Resident Coordinator Offices and UN Country Teams, resulting in improved analysis, programming and results reporting.
The UNSDG supplemental guidance on the Cooperation Framework was finalized and launched. Additionally, the Development Coordination Office engaged regularly through formal and informal channels with key UN agencies, funds and programmes to streamline the preparation of quality Cooperation Frameworks, working closely with regional teams of the Development Coordination Office
The Development Coordination Office has contributed to the implementation of the UN development system reform mandates, including the multi-country office review, and the efficiency agenda
- New, additional, outposted coordination officers and regional coordination specialists have been recruited across multi-country offices in the Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China regions. The new multi-country office in the North Pacific is being established
- The Development Coordination Office took the lead in facilitating interagency implementation of efficiency commitments on Business Operations Strategies, Common Back Offices and Common Premises. An inter-agency task team is working to establish clearer parameters and methodologies for advancing efficiencies
The Development Coordination Office also helped to facilitate the UN development system engagement with Member States to communicate results and help mobilize resources for the reinvigorated Resident Coordinator system, while also strengthening the quality of funding for the UN development system, including by tracking implementation of the Funding Compact
The Development Coordination Office has continued to serve as the engine room of the UN Sustainable Development Group, while also supporting other key interagency mechanisms and priorities
- The Development Coordination Office supported efforts to strengthen synergies across development, humanitarian and peacebuilding actions in 8 priority countries, as part of the joint secretariat of the Joint Steering Committee on Humanitarian and Development Collaboration
- It worked to advance implementation of Secretary-General’s initiatives on disability, youth, gender parity, climate action, data, and SDG financing.
of Resident Coordinators reported that support received from the Development Coordination Office was appropriate or very appropriate
The Development Coordination Office is almost fully staffed
As of March 2021, the Development Coordination Office at global level had
Staff on board
Staff from programme countries
The Development Coordination Office job listings seeks to recruit persons living with disabilities, with a small fund to enable accommodation for disabilities of applicants, new hires or current staff
The capacities of Resident Coordinator Offices and of regional teams of DCO are still maturing and vary considerably
- Resident Coordinator Offices will continue to be strengthened, networking them within and outside the Offices, linking to existing assets and expertise throughout the UN development system, at all levels
- The implementation experience of new regional capacities of DCO will undergo continuous review and will inform the RC system review
- The RC system review will enable a deeper analysis of these and other challenges, including to identify ways to reduce process burdens, and consider the broader set-up and performance of DCO.