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«Jomo Kwame Sundaram Vikas Rawal Michael T. Clark Tulika Books Published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Viale delle ...»

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Which are shared responsibilities and which not? How are such activities to be coordinated and by whom? Who is to be held accountable and by whom?

Towards a new international architecture for nutrition To establish a viable framework for the kind of broad and ambitious global agenda on nutrition suggested by ICN2 outcomes, it is useful, first, to think in terms of key functions, and then ask how existing institutions already fulfil, or can be adapted, streamlined or strengthened to perform these functions in the most efficient manner possible. Box 6.1 summarizes the main functions to be performed in a working global institutional framework that is adequate to the range of tasks to be performed. It then identifies existing institutions that can support these functions, the main responsibilities that each institution currently has or could take on, and also the mechanisms that exist for making each of these institutions accountable to the member-states. Nearly all of these accountability mechanisms are intergovernmental in nature, and most embody the UN’s Governance 99 multilateral principle of sovereign equality, meaning that the rules are made and oversight conducted in a system in which all states have an equal voice and vote. A key aspect of the proposed architecture, in other words, is that nearly all of its elements are linked to a multilateral intergovernmental process that governs its design and operations, and assesses its impact.

This institutional architecture, for the most part, already exists. At the apex of the system stands the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the world’s most inclusive and authoritative intergovernmental deliberative forum. UNGA decisions, carried by consensus, reflect the general will of the global community and therefore considerable political legitimacy, even if, like in all legislative bodies, they bear the imprint of conflict and compromise. The UNGA, directly or through delegated authorities, sets the global development agenda on terms mutually agreed by developed and developing countries, and thereby determines the priorities of UN agencies, funds, and programmes. The prolonged process to define a new post-2015 development agenda, with SDGs at the core, is fundamental for global governance, embracing not only prioritized goals and targets, but also institutional frameworks for implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

Major intergovernmental conferences, such as the 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development, are often mandated by the UNGA, and the outcomes of such conferences are not considered fully endorsed by the UN member-states unless they are explicitly confirmed by a subsequent UNGA resolution. The ICN2 outcomes were formally welcomed by the UNGA on 6 July 2015.¹¹ While deliberating on the new development agenda, UN member-states devoted considerable attention to implementation issues, and recognized the need for a robust system for monitoring, reporting, and evaluating progress.

A major institutional innovation for monitoring SDGs during the next fifteen years is the establishment of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), an annual review process in which government ministers or, quadrennially, heads of state and government meet to review evidence, share experiences, and deliberate on appropriate policy responses. The principal objective of the HLPF is to ensure ongoing and high-level member-state attention to the effectiveness of policies implemented, and other actions taken to improve progress towards the established goals and targets.¹² Ministerial meetings will take place under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, a principal intergovernmental organ of the United Nations; quadrennial meetings with heads of states and governments will take place in the General Assembly. UN agencies, funds, and programmes provide the needed data and reporting, and support the UN Secretariat in accordance with their respective mandates.

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Box 6.1 Functions, Institutions, Responsibilities, and Accountability for Nutrition Governance Set global goals, targets and indicators

• Process/Institution: SDGs/UN General Assembly

• Key responsibilities:

– Define global schedule of developmental priorities with integrated economic, social and environmental objectives – Ensure broad stakeholder consultation – Establish indicators and framework for ongoing global monitoring and reporting – Promote and track international cooperation toward shared ends

• Accountability – Mutual accountability among sovereign member-states within framework of voluntary commitments, mutual reporting Make national political commitments and develop comprehensive framework for action on nutrition

• Process/Institution: ICN2 (Member-States Conference), jointly organized by WHO and FAO and endorsed by UN General Assembly resolution

• Key responsibilities:

– Provide definitive member-states’ commitments – Provide comprehensive framework for action as policy guidance – Enable participation of civil society and private sector in preparatory and follow-up processes

• Accountability – Mutual accountability of member-states and partners through follow-up process to be determined by UN General Assembly Provide ongoing oversight of and mutual sharing/learning from national experiences

• Process/Institution: High Level Political Forum – UN General Assembly for quadrennial meetings of heads of state or government; Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) for other annual meetings





• Key responsibilities:

– Monitor performance/outcomes on SDGs – Facilitate experience sharing and learning on a voluntary basis – Identify emerging issues and propose new actions Governance 101

• Accountability – Voluntary national reporting and review through UN Regional Commissions and voluntary reporting; high-level policy review and experience sharing; changing topical focus Provide specialized norms and policy guidance for food security and nutrition; science-policy interface; specialized global monitoring and analysis for food security and nutrition

• Process/Institution: Committee on World Food Security and Nutrition (CFS) supported by multistakeholder Advisory Group, High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) and joint secretariat of FAO, IFAD, and WFP

• Key responsibilities:

– Stand-alone specialized forum for review and analysis of global outcomes – Multistakeholder forum, including civil society and private sector, for generation of norms and policy guidance on food security and nutrition – Specialized entity (HLPE) for review of nutrition science on agreed topics

• Accountability – Ultimate decision-making authority rests with member-states, who are accountable for decisions and outcomes; reports main findings and activities to EcoSoc Develop global programme of action to support integration of nutritionrelated SDGs and targets, within ICN2 commitments and framework for action

• Process/Institution: Decade or multi-year programme of action on nutrition declared by UN General Assembly, with inter-agency coordination by FAO and WHO, supported by UN SCN Members and Secretariat

• Key responsibilities:

– Documentation and review of global commitments on nutrition – Gap analysis, identification of opportunities for streamlining and improving impact – Publication of synoptic programme of action taking into account commitments at national, regional and global levels – Tracking of programmatic initiatives at country, regional and global levels – Preparation of regular periodic reports on actions taken and outcomes – Raising awareness for global norms and standards 102 Ending Malnutrition

• Accountability – Reporting to and review by UNGA, EcoSoc or HLPF as directed in resolution on a UN decade or ten-year programme of action;

FAO and WHO would be lead coordinating UN agencies, owing to their joint role in organizing ICN2 Coordination of UN system activities in support of global action for nutrition

• Process/Institution: (Reformed) UN Standing Committee on Nutrition:

UN and allied international organizations with substantial mandates in nutrition and nutrition-sensitive areas

• Key responsibilities:

– Streamlined to focus on inter-agency coordination of inputs to global nutrition and related processes – Monitoring and coordination of UN-system global activities in support of SDGs and ICN2 follow-up, including ten-year programme of action – Guidance to UN system agencies and allied institutions for implementation of global norms and standards in UN-supported operations; monitoring of adherence – Internet presence: single point of entry to UN system resources, tools and instruments for nutrition support

• Accountability – UNSCN activity would be reported to EcoSoc; could be reviewed by CFS and reported through CFS to EcoSoc – UN SCN member organizations are accountable to their respective governing bodies (e.g., World Health Assembly for WHO) Coordination of UN system advocacy on nutrition and related subjects under aegis of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC)

• Process/Institution: UN Secretary-General’s High Level Task Force on Global Food Security and Nutrition (HLTF) – 22 UN agencies, funds, and programmes, OECD, and WTO

• Key responsibilities:

– Coordinate HLTF members’ advocacy on nutrition in context of ZHC – Coordinate members’ support to SDG 2 and ZHC-related SDG goals and targets – Develop programmatic framework guidance to support and link joined-up regional and country action across five elements of ZHC, including elimination of stunting Governance 103 – Contribute, through CFS, to development of global norms

• Accountability – HLTF members are accountable to respective governing bodies;

HLTF is chaired by the UN Secretary-General; Director-General FAO acts as executive Vice Chair and oversees independent HLTF coordination team Enable timely, effective action for scaling up nutrition actions at country level, with focus on high-burden countries

• Process/Institution: Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement – Coordination of UN system action through the UN Network for SUN (replacing the REACH Partnership), a joint secretariat supported by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO

• Key responsibilities:

– Mobilize nutrition advocacy at all levels – Provide separate channels (“networks”) for coordination of civil society, private sector, donor, and UN system support – Promote adoption of common results frameworks for monitoring and ensuring accountability for participating governments – Enable sharing of experiences and accumulation of best practices among SUN member-countries and partners – Promote partnerships with the private sector

• Accountability:

– As a self-described “movement”, SUN has no accountability to any UN intergovernmental body or process; it has a Lead Group appointed by the Secretary-General that provides high-level guidance, a Secretariat managed by the SUN Coordinator, and UN technical support from SCN and the participating agencies of the UN Network for SUN; countries and partners participate voluntarily; SUN places emphasis on making members accountable to citizens and partners for keeping commitments and resource mobilization 104 Ending Malnutrition Specialized intergovernmental review of food security and nutrition issues can be provided by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), which has a mandate to do so, although it has given limited attention to the full scope of nutrition issues in the past. Initially established to enable member-state oversight of inter-agency action in response to the food crisis of the early 1970s, the CFS was reformed in 2009 to incorporate two new features: an Advisory Group was established to enable the participation of non-state actors (among others, civil society organizations, private sector and producer organizations, non-governmental organizations, philanthropies, and policy experts) in the CFS policy deliberations; and a scientific advisory body, the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE), was established to review the state of evidence and scientific thinking on key policy issues identified by the CFS in its periodically revised MultiYear Programme of Work. Most of the staff and funding for the CFS Secretariat are provided by the three Rome-based agencies (RBAs): the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Today, the CFS is regarded by most experts as the state of the art in global-level multistakeholder platforms, giving voice to a wide variety of stakeholders and drawing on world-class scientific expertise, while also leaving the final decision-making to the UN member-states. According to sources closely involved in the CFS reform, the decision to limit non-state actors to an advisory role was strongly advocated by civil society as indispensable to ensuring member-state ownership of, and accountability for, CFS policy guidance and decisions (McKeon, 2014). It is the combination of structured access by non-state actors and ultimate member-state ownership that accounts for the unique success of the CFS framework.

A different type of multilateral framework frequently used in recent decades, and recommended in the ICN2 Rome Declaration, is the UN Decade of Action. The UN decades are often seen as boondoggles, expensive and practically useless publicity or advocacy exercises that are seldom supported by member-states, and which often deflect high-level attention away from established programme priorities. While there have been notorious failures in the past, more recent experience has shown that well-targeted decadal programmes of action, linked to widely shared developmental objectives, can help to catalyse intergovernmental cooperation, and even generate emulation and positive competition to improve results.



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