The United Nations
need multilateral institutions like the
United Nations (UN) today more than ever because global problems demand
The UN, with its 192 member states, holds a unique legitimacy and convening
power to lead on challenges such as climate change, HIV/AIDS, avian influenza,
energy security and mass migration.
The UN’s mandate spans peace and security, development and human rights. It
plays a vital role in establishing global standards such as those on human
rights and international criminal law.
Its unbiased and respected position makes it the natural leader to broker
peace, help fragile and conflict states recover from crises, and lead
humanitarian assistance efforts.
The UN is also well placed to help developing country governments deliver
basic public goods and services to their citizens such as education and
healthcare and it is the overseer of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the first time the international
community has united behind one set of development targets.
DFID and the UN
DFID works with individual agencies of the UN to try and optimise their role
in development and in post-conflict recovery. In 2005/06, DFID gave around £299
million to the headquarters of UN agencies. DFID offices in developing countries
also provide money directly to UN agencies in-country to deliver specific
projects. For example, our office in Mozambique supported
to improve rural water and sanitation.
We also work closely with other UK governmental departments when we have a
joint role to play with the UN, such as, the
of Health in the
Health Organisation (WHO),
on the environment and the
in a number of areas.
If we are to achieve the MDGs, urgent action is required. We need a UN that
at over 60 years of age is fit to tackle today’s challenges and, a UN that is
much more than the sum of its individual parts.
Change is necessary. UN delivery must be smarter and simpler. There should be
a unified UN presence in-country, supported by planned long-term financing.
Reform of the UN’s overall development system is a key area of DFID's engagement
with the UN and one that underlies all our work with individual UN agencies.
DFID is committed to delivering a UN that works effectively and coherently and
follows developing country’s national priorities.
Following a call to action from the
World Summit to review progress towards the MDGs, the UN Secretary General’s
Level Panel on System Wide Coherence produced a series of ambitious
recommendations to revamp the way the UN works in areas of development, the
environment and in humanitarian affairs. This package of reforms can bring a
change in the way the UN operates giving it a greater focus on performance,
efficiency, accountability and results.
The UK is a steadfast and vocal ally of these reforms. Change does pose
challenges for donor countries like ours, but it is crucial to strengthen the
UN. UN reform will directly benefit developing countries and give them a greater
say in how aid works.
Last updated: 4 April 2007
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