Roll out of the Regional Reform: State of Play, Bottlenecks, and Aspirations

June 1, 2021

“Nearly two years into the regional reform rollout process, it is clear that there is still a lot of work ahead. Nonetheless, the reform presents a critical opportunity for the regional level to embed the fundamental infrastructure to facilitate joint action across UN and non-UN stakeholders”.

With the regional reform process underway and progressing, Cepei and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung assessed the progress made by the United Nations Development System in deploying the regional reform.

In 2020, mutually reinforcing global health, economic, and social crises warned us that we can no longer solve problems as isolated, quasi-independent points in separate social and ecological spheres. The needs of the Member States and vulnerable populations across the globe have become more dire and complex than ever before, and demand concerted action.

Organizations are transforming to become more flexible, agile, and proactive in order to adapt to the current disruptions to society. All are having to innovate, invest in new ways of working and creating value, and take new risks to prepare themselves for uncertain futures. Above all, they are recognizing that resilience cannot be achieved by a single organizational entity, but only among a broad ecosystem of collaborators.

Cepei analyzed the available UN documents on the regional reform, and conducted three (virtual) experts meetings, consulted the regional Agencies Funds and Programs (AFPs) offices, the Regional Commissions (RCs), and interviewed (virtual) UN Staff, states, civil society, academia, and think-tanks in the five regions.

Principales Hallazgos

Inter-regional collaboration is critical to delivering on the 2030 Agenda more efficiently and effectively. Although the regions are diverse, they share many implementation challenges; the lessons learned in one can create value in another.

Interviewees noted that the lack of incentives for collaboration continues to be a serious impediment to the reform at the regional level and across the UN system. The true drivers of behavior in the UN system are the mandate and funding, and funding is allocated according to precedent and political motives rather than impact on the ground.

Nearly two years into the regional reform rollout process, it is clear that there is still a lot of work ahead. Nonetheless, the reform presents a critical opportunity for the regional level to embed the fundamental infrastructure to facilitate joint action across UN and non-UN stakeholders.

Main Findings

Inter-regional collaboration is critical to delivering on the 2030 Agenda more efficiently and effectively. Although the regions are diverse, they share many implementation challenges; the lessons learned in one can create value in another.

Interviewees noted that the lack of incentives for collaboration continues to be a serious impediment to the reform at the regional level and across the UN system. The true drivers of behavior in the UN system are the mandate and funding, and funding is allocated according to precedent and political motives rather than impact on the ground.

Nearly two years into the regional reform rollout process, it is clear that there is still a lot of work ahead. Nonetheless, the reform presents a critical opportunity for the regional level to embed the fundamental infrastructure to facilitate joint action across UN and non-UN stakeholders.

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