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
     

Designated Resident Coordinators by gender

 

First year with more women

There are now more women Resident Coordinators than men

A blue card with an icon of the gender neutral symbol for women and text.
First year with more women there are now more women Resident Coordinators than men
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=40

Designated Resident Coordinators by geography

 

Gender and Geographic Balance

Resident Coordinators remain close to a 50/50 benchmark, despite continuous movement

Blue social media card with an icon of the globe and text.
Gender and Geographic Balance Resident Coordinators remain close to a 50/50 benchmark, despite continuous movement
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=42

Resident Coordinators by UN agency of origin

 

Diversity of Origin

After the reform, Resident Coordinators have been joining from a greater variety of UN entities and also from outside the UN family

Diversity of Origin after the reform, Resident Coordinators have been joining from a greater variety of UN entities and also from outside the UN family
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=44

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. 

In 2020:

  • 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

Government feedback: Resident Coordinators have shown increased authority, leadership and impartiality

 
77%

of programme country Governments believe that Resident Coordinators have shown increased authority, compared to 59% in 2019

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77% of programme country Governments believe that Resident Coordinators have shown increased authority, compared to 59% in 2019
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=47

Government feedback: Resident Coordinators have the right profile and skillsets

 
88%

of programme country Governments agree that the Resident Coordinator has the right profile and skillsets to support their country's development

Blue social media card with an icon of a gear with arrows surrounding it, alongside text.
88% of programme country Governments agree that the Resident Coordinator has the right profile and skillsets to support their country's development
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=49

Government feedback: UN staff have the right capacities

 
85%

of programme country Governments say that the UN staff in Country Teams have the right skills and capacities to support their country's development

Blue social media card with an icon of the people alongside text.
85% of programme country Governments say that the UN staff in Country Teams have the right skills and capacities to support their country's development
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=51

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.

Growth in staffing and gender balance across the core functions of the Resident Coordinator Offices

 

In 2020, most Resident Coordinator Offices had recruited their five core positions

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In 2020, most Resident Coordinator Offices had recruited their five core positions
https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=53

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

64%

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

    COVID Response

    In Latin America and the Caribbean, the regional team of the Development Coordination Office convened a strategic dialogue between the private sector and the Resident Coordinators to increase engagement of businesses in the national responses to the COVID-19 crisis.
    A borderless map of the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
    In Latin America and the Caribbean, the regional team of the Development Coordination Office convened a strategic dialogue between the private sector and the Resident Coordinators to increase engagement of businesses in the national responses to the COVID-19 crisis. 
    https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=69

    Quality of analysis and programming

    The Regional Development Coordination Offices for Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia and the Arab States helped to articulate and mainstream climate change in Common Country Analyses and Cooperation Frameworks in the regions.
    A borderless map of the Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia and the Arab States regions.
    The Regional Development Coordination Offices for Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia and the Arab States helped to articulate and mainstream climate change in Common Country Analyses and Cooperation Frameworks in the regions.
    https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=71

    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.

    Global Processes

    On the UN 75th anniversary, the regional team of the Development Coordination Office for Europe and Central Asia monitored and reported on dialogues to mobilize people across 18 countries around the UN@75 global initiative.  
    A borderless map of the Europe and Central Asia region.
    On the UN 75th anniversary, the regional team of the Development Coordination Office for Europe and Central Asia monitored and reported on dialogues to mobilize people across 18 countries around the UN@75 global initiative.
    https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=78

    Resident Coordinator Office feedback: Support received from the regional teams of the Development Coordination Office

     

    Regional teams of the Development Coordination Office provided support particularly for knowledge sharing, capacity building, quality assurance and reform implementation.

    Blue social media card with an icon of the of two parallel arrows pointing in opposite directions alongside text.
    Regional teams of the Development Coordination Office provided support particularly for knowledge sharing, capacity building, quality assurance and reform implementation.
    https://unsdg.un.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/leadership?card=55
    A group of adolescent girls are working together to coordinate plans.

    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. 
       

    UN development system feedback: The Development Coordination Office effectively supported entities' engagement with:

     
    71%

    of agencies, funds and programmes agree or strongly agree that the Development Coordination Office provided support for their engagement in the Funding Compact

    More than 90%

    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

    67 of 68

    Staff on board

    62%

    Female staff

    53%

    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.