Viet Nam becomes a pilot country for UN efforts to reform and improve efficiency

Viet Nam becomes a pilot country for UN efforts to reform and improve efficiency

As part of ongoing United Nations efforts to make itself more efficient and responsive to national needs, Viet Nam today was selected as the first pilot country in the “One UN” reform programme, involving six UN agencies working more closely together to avoid duplication and fragmentation.

“Viet Nam is at the forefront of the UN move to deliver as one. The UN family has to combine the diversity of skills and mandates present in our agencies to realize our tremendous potential as partners in development,” said Kemal Dervis, who heads the UN Development Group and is the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The “One UN” pilot programme will include at least five other countries and aims to move beyond coordination to consolidating a single presence in countries, UNDP said in a press release from the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

This Viet Nam pilot programme will comprise six participating agencies: the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNDP, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), UN Volunteers (UNV) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Other agencies are expected to join or cooperate with the programme in the near future.

“There was a realization that while we were doing a good job, we weren’t being fully efficient,” said UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam Jesper Morch. “By working together, UNICEF will be able to deliver far more for Vietnamese children. It seemed obvious to embrace the idea.”

The “One UN” plan envisions agencies working as one team, with the aim of avoiding fragmentation and duplication of efforts and instead ensuring a unity of purpose, coherence in management and efficiency in operations while maintaining the distinct personality, agenda, and purpose of the different agencies.

Today’s announcement came after a meeting between a taskforce on UN reform and the Vietnamese Government, which also involved participating UN agencies, funds and programmes, and bilateral donors.

“Viet Nam is always pushing us to do things better, to be ever more responsive and efficient, and the UN team here is working to answer that call for more effective assistance,” said UN Resident Coordinator John Hendra.

“With this very exciting pilot opportunity, Viet Nam is being recognized for its openness and drive to make the UN work better. In a sense, this pilot is like bringing global reform efforts home, and the development community will be very interested in what happens here as Viet Nam is now literally at the centre of UN reform efforts.”

This announcement comes nearly a month after the UN High-Level Panel on Systemwide Coherence released its report, Delivering as One, which recommended, among other things, that the UN “deliver as one at the country level, with one leader, one programme, one budget, where appropriate, one office.” Additional pilot countries will likely be announced at the end of this month.