• Reform of the UN Development System

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Reform of the UN Development System: Analysis and Comments

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the reform of the UN Development System (UNDS) has received a new urgency. The UNDS is the biggest multilateral development actor, accounting for $18,4 billion, or 33%, of multilateral aid in 2015 (UN 2018). But its way of working is defined by path dependencies and old paradigms of mostly project-based development work. Systemic ills such as fragmentation and lack of system wide governance and management limits its coherence, effectiveness and efficiency. So more than any other development organization, the UNDS needs adjust its functions and overhaul its structures to be able to effectively deliver change towards sustainable development worldwide.

In 2017, the new UN Secretary-General Guterres proposed a number of ambitious reform proposals to member states. A draft resolution was negotiated in spring 2018 and is expected to be adopted by the General Assembly later this year. Reforms in related areas, notably the UN’s regional structures, will be decided in 2019. Implementation will take several years. The UN Research Project at the German Development Institute is publishing a series of Briefing Papers on the reform of the UN Development System. Its purpose is to provide high-quality input to the reform discussions and to bring in diverse perspectives.

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