Date: 25 May 2011
Venue: United Nations Headquarters, New York

Coordinator: Mr. Olivier Portoff


The challenges and demands facing the Organization in the field of development have evolved considerably over the past 60 years. In many areas, the existing structures, systems and resources of the United Nations are strained, not least due to the increased volume of operational activities for development around the world.

The 2005 World Summit outcome document invited the Secretary-General “to launch work to further strengthen the management and coordination of United Nations operational activities so that they can make an even more effective contribution to the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals”. Last summer 2010, General Assembly resolution 64/289 on System-Wide Coherence was another landmark in realizing what was initiated in 2005 and aimed at strengthening the governance of United Nations operational activities for development and improving its structure. As part of this resolution, Member States have requested UNITAR to offer an orientation course for diplomats “on the functioning of the United Nations operational activities for development [..] including on the roles and responsibilities of governing bodies”. This seminar is the first implementation of the requested annual activity.

The seminar is intended to provide delegates information on the functioning and governance of United Nations operational activities for development. More specifically, by the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the evolution and current structure of United Nations development activities including the three-tier governance;

  • Explain funding mechanisms and inter-agency coordination;

  • Define and distinguish the responsibilities and governance of funds and programmes;

  • Describe key elements of procedures and decision-making of QCPR.


The one-day seminar will consist of six sessions. The first session gives an overview of United Nations contribution in development activities and architecture. The second session addresses in more detail the three-tier governance including the roles of General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and Executive Boards. The third session exposes the participants to the main trends of funding operational activities for development. Afterwards, the fourth and fifth session examine the role of funds and programmes. The former session discusses the role of inter-agency coordination in promoting system-wide coherence and the latter examines the governance of funds and programmes. Finally, the sixth session is a case study on the procedures, decision-making and implementation of QCPR.


The seminar is open to delegates of permanent missions to the United Nations in New York who are involved or interested in United Nations operational activities for development, and other representatives of international, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations. Selected participants are requested to regard their participation as a firm commitment.

Working Language: English

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