"The Future of UN Development Assistance" article by Stephen Browne in Journal of Poverty Alleviation and International Development



Abstract: While the UN did not set out to be a development organization, this function now constitutes the fourth and largest pillar of the “second UN” of organizations, taking on the roles of norm-setter, dispenser of technical assistance, and source of ideas and research. The UN has adapted to change in its other main functions, but its development role has been disadvantaged by the parallel structures bequeathed to it. In this role, the UN has become less cohesive and more marginalized in spite of the fact that there are growing development challenges requiring urgent responses from the world organization. A new blueprint for reform in 2006 remains only partially implemented and provides an agenda for change which should be pursued.

In 2015, the UN passed an important watershed with the expected agreement of a new set of development goals. “The UN we want” for “the world we want” thus becomes an urgent priority. In the future, the technical foundations of the present development UN need to be downplayed in favor of the normative. With the support of the “first” UN of member-state governments, successful change can come through new enlightened leadership within the “second” UN of organizations, able to respond to the messages and opinions emanating from the “third” UN: the global public in whose name the UN was originally conceived.

Journal of Poverty Alleviation and International Development (JPAID)
Volume 6 Number 2, December 2015
Yonsei University, South Korea

Stephen Browne is co-Director of the FUNDS Project.

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