UN envoy praises “One UN Initiative in Viet Nam”
United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. John Hendra said that the implementation of the “One UN Initiative in Viet Nam” has made significant progress.
The “One UN Initiative” was launched at least in part to better harmonize the activities of the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes as a means of achieving greater focus, efficiency and development, Hendra said in an interview with Viet Nam News Agency.
He said Viet Nam has been at the forefront of United Nations reform at the country level for two years now. It started with the Vietnamese Government’s approval in 2005 of the Ha Noi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness, which calls on donors to better align to national development strategies and national systems, to reduce the transaction costs associated with delivering ODA, to focus more on managing for development results and to establish systems of mutual accountability.
“The UN reform process in Viet Nam is first and foremost a response to national priorities and requirements, especially as outlined in the Ha Noi Core Statement,” Hendra said.
According to the UN official, the central theme of the “One UN Initiative” in Viet Nam is to “Deliver as one” of all UN agencies, funds and programmes in Viet Nam through greater harmonization, better coordination and enhanced development of UN assistance.
In the future, all UN bodies in Viet Nam are expected to have one leader, one programme, one set of management practices, one budget, and one office.
“While there are already a number of lessons learned, by far the most important one is the critical importance of strong and concerted leadership of the Vietnamese Government and ownership of the reform effort which is the main reason why reform in Viet Nam has advanced as far as it has,” Hendra stressed.
However, during the process of implementing UN reform in Viet Nam, there remain challenges that need to be overcome, Hendra said.
“Real reform is tough and to continue to progress we really need to be prepared to invest, invest and invest more in reform. On a practical level, we are asking staff from all across the UN family, already facing significant workloads, to devote extra time and energy to moving the One UN Initiative forward,” he said.
He continued that the other challenge is try to find a way to work within each of UN respective agency systems and procedures, as each agency has very different approaches to how they do things.
“For example, most Agencies use custom-made software systems for financial reporting. This hampers our efforts to deliver and report as ‘one’,” Hendra said.
Another challenge is “to keep our eye on the prize” – that is to ensure that the “One UN Initiative” leads to maximizing the policy, advocacy and normative impact the United Nations can have on some of the most critical challenges facing Viet Nam today, he added.
The UN Resident Coordinator elaborated that all UN staff working in Viet Nam had a meeting to discuss the overall One UN Initiative in June of this year.
“Both myself and my fellow Heads of Agencies participating were struck by both the enthusiasm and critical interest shown by staff. What we have found in the midst of this challenge is incredible resolve and commitment from our staff here to make reform work so that we can better serve the people of Viet Nam,” he said.
Hendra confirmed that the UN bodies in Viet Nam are working hard with the Vietnamese Government and the international community to provide effective and efficient support to the country.-(VNA)
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