Statement by Deputy Minister Marius Fransman of the Republic of South Africa to the UNDP Segment of the Annual Session of the Executive Board of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 13 June 2011

I thank you, Madam President, for giving my delegation the floor.

I would like to thank the UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark, for her very comprehensive statement this morning. Let me also emphasize the strong support of our country for the UNDP in carrying out its enormous responsibilities in contributing at the national, regional and global levels to the advancement of human development. 

Madam President

South Africa attaches significant importance to the Mid-Term Review as an important precursor to the development of the next Strategic Plan, in that the Mid-Term Review helps to focus our discussions in the Executive Board on the future focus of the Organization, in terms of the most important priorities and strategic directions. The continued strong vision and strategic leadership of the Administrator, Ms. Clark, will be critical in this regard.

South Africa is pleased to learn from the Mid-Term Review of the Strategic Plan that the UNDP has become a more gender aware organization and is making a significant contribution to the delivery of sustainable results on the ground.  We are of the view that the inclusion of women in decision-making at all levels is imperative to the realisation of economic growth as well as sustainable development.  Therefore, South Africa has therefore committed itself to mainstreaming gender in all sectors.

South Africa is only too conscious of the fact that there are no quick fixes in the complex world of sustainable human development. Members of the Board are in general agreement that there can be no “one size fits all” in development practice, given the wide-ranging development continuum that characterizes the globe today. Now, more perhaps than ever, given the current global economic context, in accordance with the fundamental principles of national ownership, national leadership and sovereignty, the programmes and operations of the UNDP must be directly relevant and fully aligned with the priorities of the host county. They must be demand-driven.

 In the case of South Africa, our national priorities have evolved over the last few years. We look therefore to the relative comparative advantage that the UNDP has in the role of the Organization as a broker of knowledge and knowledge sharing, rather than, for example, a project-driven approach at the operational level. 

In this connection, my Government undertook a joint evaluation, together with the United Nations Evaluation Group, on the role and contribution of the United Nations system in South Africa between September 2008 and March 2009. The joint evaluation assessed the relevance and effectiveness of cooperation between South Africa and the United Nations system. Some of the recommendations contained in the Report are ground-breaking and may have significant implications for the future operations of the United Nations system in South Africa and, indeed, in the region. South Africa is committed to closer collaboration of the United Nations system, in order to maximize the mutual benefits of the relationship. Government will provide on-going leadership in this regard by embarking on a process of engagement with the United Nations Country Team in South Africa on how the recommendations contained in the Report of the joint evaluation could best be implemented. Reform of the United Nations system as a whole must continue.

Madam President

South Africa is pleased with the role being played by the UNDP in further enhancing cooperation amongst the countries of the South.  South-South Cooperation plays an increasingly important role in helping to create a better life for all in developing countries. Timelines, indicators and targets for the purposes of the monitoring and evaluation of the achievements of the Organization will need to be refined on an ongoing basis.

The UNDP depends on the availability of sufficient core funding to discharge its mandate to the fullest, and that is why South Africa makes an annual voluntary contribution to the core funding of the UNDP, with a view to contributing to predictable funding. South Africa attaches high importance to core resources as the bed rock of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system.  South Africa notes with concern, therefore, the declining trend in funding, especially the decrease in core resources, which further complicates the ability of the UNDP to implement its Strategic Plan effectively. South Africa is also deeply concerned with the continued imbalance between the core and non-core resources. The imbalance in funding thwarts the efforts of the UNDP to plan according to host countries’ national priorities and objectives.   

Whilst South Africa applauds the overall increase in contributions for 2011, it is regrettable that a number of donors have indicated their intention to reduce their contributions. The need to make funding more predictable, effective and efficient must be taken more seriously. South Africa will therefore not be considering any reduction in its voluntary contribution to the core funding of the UNDP for the current financial year.

Madam President

Distinguished members of the Executive Board

I thank you most sincerely for your kind attention.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale

13 June 2011.

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