Prof. Dr. Igor Lukšić
Candidate of Montenegro
for the position of UN Secretary General
ENSURING AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT UN SYSTEM IN ADDRESSING EXISTING AND EMERGING CHALLENGES BY EXTENDING PARTNERSHIPS AND STRENGTHENING COORDINATION
“Responsibility, Inclusiveness and Engagement”
Many believe this is by far the best time in history to be born. Growing life expectancies, ever better medical aid and care for the elderly, IT revolution opening new windows of opportunities. But does the youth globally share this sentiment? People tend to grow pessimistic, and many lie down or wake up in fear.
2015 was a pivotal year for concluding several multilateral agreements that will shape our future development efforts. Against the current state of global affairs it may sound as a paradox.
The adoption of milestone agreements comes at a time when we increasingly realize the challenges simply cannot be solved by individual countries alone regardless of their economic power and level of development. There is no better way to achieve peace and security, foster development and protect human rights than by pursuing our common Agenda through global and coordinated endeavor supported by extended partnerships. There is reason for optimism! The first task ought to be building optimism through committed efforts. We must show our youth we deserve this chance!
The role of the next Secretary General will not be to reinvent the wheel, but to make sure to optimize delivering on agendas agreed including through mobilizing collective wisdom to make the UN more effective, efficient and relevant. To make ever more value for money invested in order to achieve the commitment to leave no one behind.
PEACE AND SECURITY
Complex challenges such as contemporary and protracted conflicts, dire humanitarian situations, migration/refugee flows, spread of international terrorism and violent extremism are testing our ability to protect the Charter and ensure effective protection of civilians, especially the most vulnerable.
Confronting these challenges through compliance with international law warrant our collective efforts to be redoubled towards:
• Placing primacy on political solutions for achieving sustained peace.
• Greater prioritization and strengthening of prevention and mediation capacities and tools across the UN.
• Addressing the underlying causes of conflict; addressing drivers of international terrorism and violent extremism. Role of youth is vital in this.
• Stipulating holistic and integrated approach to preventing, mitigating and resolving conflicts.
• Stronger partnership and collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations.
• Revitalization of disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, keeping in mind a vision of the world free of nuclear and other WMDs.
• Enhancing coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance.
• Increasing coordination and cohesion within the UN in the area of counter-terrorism; intensifying activities across all levels to combat the growing threat of terrorism.
• Strengthening participation and partnerships with women and youth in peace processes.
• Seeking solutions to migration challenges that place HRs of migrants at the forefront.
• Maximizing the potential of the three review processes.
• Further mainstreaming of R2P agenda within the UN and utilization of HRuF initiative for the benefit of prevention.
• Ensuring accountability for grave violations.
More efficiency and effectiveness in addressing challenges in the peace and security pillar can be brought about by setting up the Peace Operations Group within the Chief of Executives Board encompassing key USGs (DPKO, DFS, DESA, OHCHR, OCHA, DPA) including leaders of crucial AFPs. UNPOG will have to be closely supervised by SG and DSG. This modification can make difference in supplying the Security Council and the Peace Building Commission with necessary and improved insight enabling better decisions and improved coordination including more effective use of the core budget and voluntary contributions as well as consistent implementation of the HRuF initiative. Additionally DSG should have more accentuated role in dealing with regional and sub-regional arrangements, as well in the field of mediation and prevention.
The 2030 Agenda, along with Addis Ababa Action Plan, Sendai Framework and Climate Agreement, create global development framework for spurring action in areas of critical importance to humanity while responding in the long run in a viable way to challenges in all three pillars of UN work.
Understanding that efficient implementation of new development framework requires integrated, holistic approach undertaken by countries, it is ever more important that the UN be efficient and effective in supporting countries to successfully deliver on the SDGs. This stipulates work across all UN pillars, but also strengthening capacities of the UN system, including Resident Coordinators System, for supporting countries to integrate the SDGs into national strategies and plans, monitor and report on progress achieved, while ensuring national ownership. The UN system, including all agencies, programs and funds, should be improved in a way to ensure policy coherence and close collaboration, while drawing on each other’s expertise. In order to avoid duplication, it is critical to define leading UN AFPs for each goal, which should be results-oriented and cluster-shaped, without giving any single AFP exclusive ownership of or responsibility for the review of a specific goal.
Cooperation must be strengthened with other multilateral partners (WB, IMF, OECD, WTO), but also with regional arrangements for ensuring adequate support/expertise related to specific goals and targets. Development of cooperation mechanisms with the private sector is needed.
UN Regional Economic Commissions should be an important player in the establishment of Regional Fora for Sustainable Development consisting of different stakeholders, which can be pivotal in making sure the global development agreements are implemented. This could be crucial for better communicating the 2030 Agenda to the ordinary people. Such communication could be done through appointing new or reorienting some existing Special Envoys for every SDG, both women and men of different age and professions from the public sphere to engage in spreading the potential of the 2030 Agenda globally, without incurring additional costs.
Being aware that millions of people are still being left behind, despite significant achievements made in implementing MDGs, new global development framework requires working differently. It requires the UN system to be fit for purpose by undertaking measures to fine-tune, streamline and engage in further UN internal reforms in order to have more impact on the ground. This must be a priority for the next Secretary General. Furthermore, UN Development Group should be transformed into a UN Sustainable Development Group, co-chaired by the UNDP Chief Administrator and Human Rights High Commissioner, and with participation of AFPs defined for each SDGS, along with other multilateral and regional partners as observers, should be put in place. UNSD Group should make sure that the new generation of UNDAFs fully reflects the overlapping and complementary Agendas related to development and human rights.
Promotion of the principles of non-discrimination, gender equality and women’s empowerment, promotion and protection of universality and indivisibility of all human rights in close cooperation with member states, regional organization and civil society, must be seen as a core of the UN human rights agenda. The fact that human rights permeate the whole 2030 Agenda but are at the same time in the core of the peace operation give that pillar a very prominent role.
One of the main challenges is a more coordinated use of instruments and policies related to human rights. This requires strengthening UN’s human rights capacities and additional knowledge and skills improvements on both sides. The new generation of UNDAF, based on human rights and recommendations of all human rights mechanisms, will help national authorities to improve human rights situation and meet the international standards of human rights protection. It will increase and emphasize responsibility of the UN system to act in accordance with the country’s development needs and international obligations. A particular attention in making this happen will be to continue and further strengthen the HRuF initiative as it gives higher priority to early warning and prevention and to better integration of UN action across the three pillars of its work.
In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness on the ground, we need to reinforce partnerships with Governments, civil society, NHRIs and regional organizations. That will enable us to deliver more effectively in areas that are more strategic-oriented, to discuss in more details our common challenges and improve our results.
HRC has proved itself as the main global body for improving human rights agenda. It deserves a debate about making it one of the principal bodies particularly given the 2030 Agenda.
Many of the challenges and tasks ahead need to be considered, not exclusively in the light of absence of political will, but in the context of capacities of certain groups of member states to accept and incorporate international norms into national legislation.
People continue to be excluded and marginalized on different grounds.
Although there are a number of internationally agreed norms and standards related to ending violence against women, still there is no specific UN legally binding instrument explicitly addressing the violence against women. The large scale of violation and consequences indicates that it is reasonable to consider this issue.
Reducing inequalities and combating discrimination requires system-wide coordinated engagement and further strengthening of collaboration between UN entities. UNCTs must perform in terms of raising awareness of the existing international legal instruments and standards and building up capacities of states for the development of policies and mechanisms that will improve their abilities to counter discrimination and to fully realize human rights.
Recent events have clearly demonstrated how an absence of the rule of law leads to violations of human rights, repressive rule and conflicts. It can never be taken for granted and therefore further strengthening and coordinating UN rule of law activities in order to improve the ways and means of developing the linkages between the rule of law and its main pillars are needed.
MANAGEMENT AND STRENGTHENING OF THE UNITED NATIONS
The 21st Century UN must have results-oriented, modern, efficient and truly global Secretariat, with adaptable and dynamic workforce that is better suited to meet growing expectations and deliver on its mandates within budgetary constraints. Building upon the lessons learnt and taking forward the “Delivering as One” model continues to be central in generating more cohesion in the work of the UN, resulting in better outcomes.
Thus the next Secretary General should appoint Deputy Secretary General with more specified roles and should seek to meet gender as well as northern-southern hemisphere equality principle in that case. Nairobi should be discussed as a seat of the DSG. The Senior Management Team should strive to reflect regional participation as well as gender equality. Office for the Youth should be established in the Secretariat.
Secretary General as part of the preparations to deliver 2018-2019 has to undertake a deep review of the current budget in line with the need to prepare to deliver on the vast agenda agreed globally in 2015. It also means that program budgeting has to be the central effort in order to strengthen results and indicator-oriented activities resulting in the mid run with the more flexibility to produce tailor made solutions and less earmarked contributions. Extending partnerships should lead to avoiding duplications and more effective role of other donors including the private sector. This will also lead to more flexibility in making decisions about individual programs, which will create an opportunity to better prioritize in favor of prevention, mediation, human rights agenda as well as to strengthen the position of offices in charge of close cooperation with regional arrangements in the core budget in particular.
Regarding internal procedures reforms it is both needed and inevitable. The ongoing implementation of the Mobility Framework will continue. While staff concerns need to be taken into consideration, regular consultations between the Senior Management and staff unions have to continue. The UN needs a mobile staff to “share the burden” as it is unfair that some spend years and years in hardest duty stations, while others never leave the Headquarters. The same applies to the necessary consolidation of the fragmented administrative structures within and across duty stations. The continuous implementation of Umoja across the Secretariat is of crucial importance. There can always be room for modifications and improvements as we go ahead, so retraining and acquisition of new skills should be seen as a lifelong learning process and our own commitment to SDGs within the UN itself.
Our role and the role of the future UN administrations will be to do our best to reflect the needs of the ever changing world and life. We cannot afford to resist changes. Nothing lasts forever but the certainty of change, therefore we have to work to be able to accommodate for those that come up. The vision is about ensuring effective and efficient UN system in addressing existing and emerging challenges by extending partnerships and strengthening coordination. We NEED to reinvent multilateralism through the principles of responsibility, inclusiveness and engagement.