The Committee recalled that CEB, at its 2012 second regular session, agreed to include a review of the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the country level as part of its semi-annual meetings through 2015. The inaugural review was held at its first regular session of 2013, where it examined progress in the fight against hunger and poverty (MDG1) in Niger and Tanzania and in reducing maternal mortality (MDG 5) in Ghana.
Noting that the Secretary-General attached great importance to this initiative, Simona Petrova, Director, CEB Secretariat, stated that CEB members had embraced the review as an important opportunity for the United Nations system to help accelerate progress towards the MDGs in the remaining two years before the 2015 deadline.
Dominique Bichara, World Bank Group Special Representative to the United Nations, informed the Committee that the feedback received from the field had been very positive, confirming that the exercise had been useful for taking a fresh look at strategies to achieve the MDGs at the country level.
Paolo Galli, Chief Multilateral Affairs and United Nations Coherence Cluster, Multilateral Affairs and United Nations Coherence, UNDP, observed that the CEB MDG review had encouraged even greater cooperation between the United Nations development system and the World Bank at the country level.
In the discussion that followed, the Committee welcomed the changes to the review format to create more space for interaction with country representatives, generate more ownership in the review process, and ensure that the session led to additional actionable commitments. A number of speakers expressed strong support for the initiative and conveyed the intention of their organizations to offer commitments at the second review. It was noted that the co-benefit of having the country directors and resident coordinators come together had already been visible at the first review.
The Committee discussed how to ensure that genuine value added was achieved through the CEB MDG review. It was stressed that the review should bring out critical issues and obstacles, and that members should approach them head-on. A few Committee members mentioned that to do so would require going beyond the existing MDG Acceleration Framework and toolkit. Executive Heads should use this opportunity to make high-level interventions that would deliver the “big push” to 2015. The Committee recognized that the review process was not intended to be a systematic approach to reaching the MDGs worldwide, but rather to have a catalytic effect in specific country cases. The review should yield solutions to bottlenecks that were constraining progress at the level of the United Nations system. The World Bank and UNDP welcomed suggestions for further improvement.
The Committee took note of preparations for the second CEB review of MDG implementation.