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Joint cross regional statement at UNDP Executive Board Meeting 2 February 2021

02.02.2021  21:51

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Joint cross regional statement delivered by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann on the evaluation of UNDP support to conflict-affected countries at UNDP Executive Board Meeting 2 February 2021

I deliver this statement on behalf of Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Estonia, the EU as a donor, Finland, France, the Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Romania, Saint Lucia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and my own country, Denmark.

Let me start by thanking The UNDP Independent Evaluation Office for the evaluation of UNDP support to conflict-affected countries. We take note of the evaluation’s findings, conclusions and recommendations.

We also thank UNDP for its management response, which we fully support, outlining its proposed actions in response to the recommendations.


Today’s crises and conflicts are more complex and long lasting. By 2030, it is estimated that two thirds of the world’s extreme poor will live in vulnerable and conflict-affected contexts. Add to that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that uniquely complicates peace and reconstruction efforts in conflict-affected countries, jeopardizing public health responses and threatening peacebuilding efforts.

Countries affected by conflict are those furthest behind from reaching the SDGs. As we have all recognised, reaching the furthest behind first is imperative to responding to the principle of leaving no one behind. The current situation should be a global call for us, as Member States, to step forward and express our international solidarity. Development gains are at risk and the pathway towards a sustainable development require collaborative and coordinated action, as we seek to build back better in the recovery from the pandemic.


Working towards realising the 2030 Agenda in complex country-contexts, where multifaceted humanitarian, development or peace-related challenges are present, is a daunting task. For the countries themselves and for the international community supporting efforts at country level.

In this regard, we note the long-standing and important contributions and comparative advantages of UNDP’s support in conflict-affected countries referenced in the evaluation, including its integrated approach to the restoration of basic services, and in connecting reconstruction with recovery, development and peacebuilding. UNDP should use this to further develop a more strategic and concerted engagement, in partnership with others.

We encourage UNDP to do more to build on its comparative advantage promoting prevention, and supporting inclusive and accountable governance-processes by applying a more strategic medium- to long-term vision, in its support to programme countries, hereby creating the necessary linkages.

The evaluation also points to the achievements of UNDP in furthering gender equality and women’s empowerment. We applaud UNDP’s strategic emphasis on this, while also reiterating the finding in the evaluation that women should be engaged as agents of change in order to achieve sustainable and transformative results on the ground, to the benefit of the countries and their peoples.


Stronger efforts should be made to ensure policy coherence at country level. In this regard, the Crisis Bureau is already manifesting its relevance as an anchor for organisation-wide policy development and support, and knowledge management. We encourage regional bureaus to work with the Crisis Bureau to elevate learnings from country engagement, to clarify responsibilities, and to ensure that UNDP’s development programmes are context-appropriate and consistent with policies and good practise.

Effectively addressing the challenges facing conflict-affected countries also requires applying a partnership approach and addressing crosscutting elements of the crises at hand. The evaluation highlights that comprehensive strategies and working through a sustained collective engagement are needed, including to forcefully address the multiple crisis facing the Sahel and Horn of Africa.


Here, the integrator role of UNDP at country level implies that UNDP has a special responsibility. Stakeholders – within and beyond the UN family – should join forces in pursuit of supporting common analysis and collective outcomes through enhanced inter-agency cooperation, collaboration and coordination. We recall the guidance of Member States in this regard as agreed in relevant provisions of the 2020 QCPR-resolution, providing operational guidance for the UN Development System at country level in applying stronger collaboration and coordination among entities.

We would be interested to hear from UNDP on what specific steps you plan to take to strengthen partnerships on the ground in conflict-affected countries?


To conclude, we are confident that UNDP will strengthen its offer even further within this domain, leveraging its comparative advantages, and using the important findings, conclusions and recommendations of this evaluation. We look forward seeing UNDP’s leadership role and approach to working in conflict-affected settings articulated in the next strategic plan.

Thank you.