Remarks by UNCDF Executive Secretary at the 1st workshop with the Executive Board on UNCDF Strategic Framework, 2018-2021

  • April 26, 2017

  • New York, USA

Ambassador Petersen,

Thank you, Ambassador Petersen, for those welcoming remarks, and thank you all for joining us today. As you mentioned, we very much intend for this to be an open dialogue so that we can benefit from your reflections as we develop our next Strategic Framework.

2017 is an exciting year for UNCDF, with a top priority on the development of our next Strategic Framework for 2018 to 2021. We are developing it as the international community works to operationalize the new global development agendas, and as we in the UN development system work to maximize this joint planning opportunity inspired by the QCPR.

What we propose to our Executive Board will shape UNCDF’s responses to the changing development landscape. We aim to build on what works while also expanding the frontiers of last mile finance in ways that we think will help LDCs rise to the challenge of the SDGs. We also need to make sure we have the right partnerships and structures in place to deliver on our goals.

UNCDF is a very focused organization. Our work fills a significant gap in the development finance landscape by concretely demonstrating how blended finance approaches can unlock public and private sector investment, and shift how resources flow to support growth at the local level that is inclusive and sustainable.

We provide technical support and investment capital – in the form of performance-based grants, loans and guarantees - to both the public and the private sector.

This positions UNCDF as an early stage investor to de-risk opportunities that can later be scaled up by public and private partners, philanthropic capital, and private sector and impact investors. This is very much in line with the shift from “funding to financing” that emerged from the QCPR negotiations.

Our capital mandate can provide strong complementarity to the work of UNDP and other UN agencies. UNCDF and UNDP were designed with comparative advantages that translate in a number of countries into joint programmes and strong win/win approaches.

As Ambassador Petersen noted, this is our second consultation with the Board on our Strategic Framework, following our informal briefing in January. Since then, we’ve continued to consult with a wide range of stakeholders: LDCs in Africa and Asia, development partners and member states, donors, impact investors, outside experts, and members of our peer networks. We’ve also had a management retreat to reflect on what we’ve been hearing and chart a course forward.

This workshop therefore provides an important occasion to exchange views with you on some of our initial considerations for the next Strategic Framework; to provide an overview of findings from our consultations to date; and to offer an update on preparations and next steps.

Let me take a few minutes to walk you through our objectives for the day.

There are three main sessions. Each will start off with a short presentation, followed by an interactive discussion.

For the first session, we want to look back with you at the results and lessons we have learned from the current Framework so that we can move forward, building on what works. We pride ourselves on innovation, risk appetite and “learning by doing,” and we very much see this as a chance to carry those lessons into the next planning cycle of innovation to scale.

We will look briefly at the opportunities and challenges LDCs face; provide a short preview of our cumulative results review that will be presented to the Board in June; and reflect on our collaboration with UNDP, other UN agencies, and other partners.

For the second session, we would like to discuss with you the main purposes and objectives of the next Strategic Framework, as well as initial considerations for what we are thinking of reinforcing and which areas will be new or different.

Here, as throughout today’s session, we would welcome your feedback. Are there other specific areas or sectors where UNCDF should be focusing? What else can UNCDF do to strengthen its partnerships?

Finally, we want to discuss some of the initial design considerations of the new Framework, how it aligns with the new global development agendas and the QCPR, and spend a bit of time looking at results-to-resources scenarios.

This last point is important. As Ambassador Petersen noted, the Strategic Framework is a compact between us and you, our member states. We have been struggling through some lean years in this Strategic Framework period and we would like to discuss with you the different business models we need to consider going forward, based on the levels of resources we can expect. So we have spent a lot of time working through scenarios and drawing up examples to illustrate what different levels of funding could mean in terms of our ability to help LDCs to meet the global development challenges ahead.

Before lunch, we will have a quick wrap-up session and discuss next steps in our consultation process. Here too, we would welcome your ideas on how best to engage with you.

Thank you for your support, and for joining us today so we can work together to put together the best possible Strategic Framework for the Board to approve in January 2018. With your help, we are confident that we will craft a plan that ensures UNCDF will continue to make finance work for the poor.

With your permission, I will suggest we go right into the first session.