Seventy-Fifth Session of the United Nations Second Committee
Explanation of Position
"Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of Operational Activities
for Development of the United Nations System"
UN Headquarters, 8 December 2020
The Holy See wishes to thank Guyana for presenting, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, the draft resolution “Quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) of operational activities for development of the United Nations system” as well as to thank all Delegations that constructively engaged in the discussions on this text.
By providing system-wide strategic policy orientations for development cooperation and country-level modalities of the United Nations development system (UNDS),the QCPR resolution is of crucial importance to the UN’s efforts “to end poverty and hunger everywhere.” It will serve as a blueprint for the next four years and, therefore, guide efforts during most of the first half of the Decade of Action. In light of the many challenges facing integral human development and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holy See hoped that the QCPR this year would reaffirm the overarching goal of the 2030 Agenda: the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty.
To ensure this, the QCPR resolution needs to build upon previous resolutions, preserving continuity. It should reflect correctly the development commitments as they were agreed as well as their priorities to facilitate implementation, and provide overall coordination and clear guidance for the United Nations development system to make a difference on the ground. Given the essential nature of this text and especially in these most unprecedented times, its adoption by consensus would have been an excellent opportunity to reaffirm not only our commitment to multilateralism, but above all and most importantly the integral development of the peoples the United Nations system is designed to serve.
There is much to be welcomed in the adopted resolution, notably its affirmation of key principles for development. These include inter alia:
- The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the eradication of poverty and hunger, is and must remain the goal of the UNDS and its entities;
- United Nations Development System [UNDS] entities must work in accordance with the national development policies, plans, priorities and needs of programme countries, and in full respect of their respective mandates;
- Countries in special situations – including Least Developed Countries [LDCs], Land-locked Developing Countries [LLDCs] and Small Island Developing States [SIDS] – and the specific challenges they face must be given particular attention, including through the targeted implementation of specific plans, agendas and pathways;
- Progress towards sustainable development requires that not only the 2030 Agenda, but also the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Sendai Framework, be implemented, recognizing that these support and complement each other.
At the same time, however, the Holy See is compelled to voice its disappointment with certain aspects of the resolution just adopted by this Committee:
- A number of new paragraphs have been added to the resolution that concern topics that fall outside the mandate of the Second Committee. The QCPR is not an omnibus text that addresses all issues, including divisive issues that clearly fall under the competence of other Committees.
- The QCPR is and must remain a development resolution, focusing on policy orientations for the UNDS. The constant attempt by some Delegations to alter the very nature of the QCPR remains concerning. Requesting the deletion of entire paragraphs dealing with development-focused issues, which are and should remain the very core of the text, or seeking to overload the text with new language that distracts from its development-focus, does not serve this specific and important resolution. Although many such issues were ultimately rejected, ever-repetitive discussions undermine this Committee’s consensus-based approach.
- In this regard, it is of particular concern that some Delegations opposed reaffirming that the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is an overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda. The watering down of agreed language, if not outright opposition to it, sets a dangerous precedent for future negotiations and for continuity in the work of this Committee.
In light of these concerns, the Holy See is very pleased to see the retention of:
- Operative Paragraph 38, which calls upon “the United Nations Development system to improve and ensure support and assistance to programme countries, upon their request, in developing their national capacities to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”;
- The several paragraphs addressing the specific challenges of countries in special situations; and
- Operative Paragraph 94 stating that “the focus of the resident coordinator system should remain sustainable development, with the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions as its overarching objective, consistent with the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda and in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework and national leadership and ownership.”
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
A/RES/70/1, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, preamble.