'Poverty eradication should be focus of UN development work'
New York: India has said that poverty eradication should be the focus of the United Nations operational activities for development, which must have the ability to respond and adapt to the evolving environment and expectations of individual countries.
For UN development system to be successful globally, it needs to be firmly rooted in its core focus area, which has primarily to be development related only, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien, who is part of a visiting delegation of Indian Parliamentarians, said.
Noting that poverty eradication still remains the over-riding priority for developing countries and the greatest global challenge, O'Brien said India believes poverty eradication should be at the heart of UN's operational activities for development.
"In Bengal, the region of India I come from, we call this humanistic philosophy one of 'Ma, Maati and Manush', signifying an equilibrium of the universally caring Mother, the Earth that nurtures us and the Human Beings who must be central to our developmental endeavours," he said in his address on Operational activities for Development in the Second Committee session here yesterday.
O'Brien said the development operational activities of the UN system must have the ability to respond and adapt to the evolving environment and expectations of individual countries, stressing that the programming activities need to be harmonised with the budgetary and planning cycles of recipient governments.
Amid the global economic slowdown, financing for development has been increasingly coming under acute pressure and requirement of enhanced development assistance is all the more critical when developing countries are faced with curtailed capital flows, economic slowdown and increased programming requirements, he said.
"These needs must be met by efforts to promote investment and trade that is pro-development and by facilitating transfer of and access to advanced technologies by developing countries, and by expanded and innovative financing of development activities," he said.
O'Brien further said even though 'South-South Cooperation' continues to be the "buzzword" in the narrative of the developmental discourse, much more remains to be done to give it the necessary "muscle”.
While South-South cooperation is distinct from North- South development cooperation, South-South cooperation can complement North-South Cooperation but cannot substitute or dilute the obligation and quantum of North-South cooperation, he said.
“Given the vast difference in development levels between countries of the North and those from the South, it is important that development projects under South-South Cooperation are not strait-jacketed in terms of rigid rules and regulations or policy prescriptions.”
"Flexibility and adaptability is the key to the success of South-South Cooperation. These must not be compromised," O'Brien said.
O'Brien noted that strengthening institutional capacity building in developing countries has to be a key focus area of any operational activity for the development agenda.
Terming it a "strategic choice and investment" that should be made by all stakeholders, he said many countries could do more if additional finance and technology were available.
India believes that for the operational activities of the UN development system to be a real 'force multiplier', it should foster national and local capacities, strengthen networks for sharing of knowledge and best practices, and promote national ownership by building institutional capacities in developing countries, he added.
As nations plan for the post-2015 development agenda and impart substance to the ongoing discussions on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) process, they should also look at forging synergies within the overall policy framework of the UN System.
"Economic development, social inclusion of all stakeholders and environmental sustainability are all equally critical as components of sustainable development architecture.”
"The task before us is to give practical shape and content to this architecture in a manner that allows each country to develop according to its own national priorities and circumstances," he said.