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Report of the UNSDG Chair
on the Development Coordination Office


A new leadership at country, regional and global level


A new leadership at country, regional and global level

At country level, full-time, empowered and independent Resident Coordinators are mobilizing UNCTs towards integrated planning and tailored responses to national needs. At regional level, newly established regional offices of DCO deliver country-level support tailored to the specificities of each region. Globally, improved coordination is bringing the system together around system-wide strategies to advance the 2030 Agenda.

Resident Coordinator leadership to lift UNCT support for the SDGs

Resident Coordinators are now fully dedicated to coordinating country-level development activities, with a direct reporting line to the Secretary General, enhanced analytical capacities in their offices, and dedicated backstopping from new regional development coordination offices and a stand-alone global DCO.

Renewed Resident Coordinator system leadership is being built at the country, regional and global level through:

A high caliber Resident Coordinator cohort, fostered through

The SDG Primer, to ensure a deep understanding of the 2030 Agenda

A new leadership development strategy to form the new and old Resident Coordinator cohort vis-a-vis their renewed role

A new performance appraisal system that includes final evaluations signed off by the Secretary General

  • 25 new Resident Coordinators were recruited in 2019
  • The gender gap closed in 2018
  • Geographic balance increased from 41% in 2018 to 46% by March 2020
  • Diversity in Resident Coordinator’s UN agency of origin also increased

Currently designated Resident Coordinators by gender

2 years
Gender Parity

Efforts have come a long way to achieve gender parity among Resident Coordinators.

For 2 consecutive years we have gender parity.

Currently designated Resident Coordinators by geographic origin

Ensuring that Resident Coordinators come from all regions of the world has also been a priority. The gap between Resident Coordinators coming from the global North vs. the global South decreased in 2019.

Resident Coordinators by UN agency of origin

Diversity of origin
After the reform, the composition of Resident Coordinators by agency of origin is changing. Compared to 2018, Resident Coordinators are coming from a greater number of UN entities.

Clearer accountabilities between Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams through the newly rolled out Management and Accountability Framework (MAF)

More than 90% of Resident Coordinators who responded to a DCO survey have indicated that the MAF has changed the way UNCTs work

Resident Coordinators feel empowered with sufficient capacity to perform key functions within the UN Country Team

After the UN development system reform, Resident Coordinators report varying degrees of increased capacity to make final decisions on joint planning, mobilize and distribute collective resources and avoid duplication.

Strengthened Resident Coordinator Office (RCO) capacities

Each RCO now has five core positions for
  • 1.Strategic planning
  • 2.Economics
  • 3.Data management, monitoring and evaluation
  • 4.Partnership and development finance
  • 5.Communications and advocacy
In 2019, a global call was launched to hire 196 international RCO staff, mainly strategic planners and economists.
As of March 2020, 140 were recruited, of which:
  • 44% Women

    Two fifths (44 %) are women

  • 69


    69 nationalities are represented so far

Staffing of Resident Coordinator Offices as of March 2020

5 core
Recruiting RCO staff to service UNCTs has been a major focus during 2019. Each RCO has 5 core positions made up of a combination of national and international staff. As of March 2020, 74 % of RCO staff has been recruited.
  • Over 90% of Resident Coordinators agree that UNCT see the RCO as a common resource for analysis, policy and programming

Enhanced coordination at regional level

5 new regional offices of DCO have been established in Panama, Istanbul, Addis Ababa, Amman, Bangkok
The functions of the regional offices of DCO include:
  • Providing Resident Coordinators with technical support and quality assurance
  • Supporting regional collaboration and cross-border initiatives
  • Connecting country and global levels, including channeling the reform
73% of staff has been recruited so far

Stronger and more effective global coordination

DCO supports Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams, and the UN Sustainable Development Group, through
  • Setting policies, guidelines and standards to guide the Resident Coordinators and RCOs
  • Rolling out knowledge management systems for technical support, information sharing, peer learning
  • Ensuring transparency of Resident Coordinator system activities and budget
  • Securing resources for the Resident Coordinator system

Staffing of the Development Coordination Office (DCO) by gender


As of March 2020, 82% of DCO global and regional staff has been recruited. The strong, diverse cadre of professionals in DCO is made of staff that is 66% female, 56% from the global South and includes 47 nationalities.
  • Close to three quarters of Resident Coordinators report that DCO has provided adequate support in rolling out structural changes and new coordination instruments

Adequacy of support to Resident Coordinators received from the UN Development Coordination Office

DCO support is deemed particularly strong in support of change management and repositioning, RCO staffing as well as Cooperation Framework, BOS and MAF rollout and implementation. Areas that need improvement are those where work is still in progress, including the performance appraisals of Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams, UN Country Team configuration processes, dispute resolution, and collaboration across development, humanitarian and peacebuilding interventions.