The Resident Coordinator (RC) system encompasses all organizations of the United Nations system dealing with operational activities for development, regardless of their formal presence in the country. The RC system aims to bring together the different UN agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operational activities at the country level.

Resident Coordinators, lead UN country teams in more than 130 countries and are the designated representatives of the Secretary-General for development operations. Working closely with national governments, Resident Coordinators and country teams advocate the interests and mandates of the UN system while drawing on the support and guidance of the entire UN family.

Coordinating development operations promotes more strategic support for national plans and priorities, makes operations more efficient and reduces transaction costs for governments. This helps the UN to be a more relevant and reliable partner for governments.

In Pakistan, the UN RC is the representative of the Secretary-General for the UN system. As the chair of the UN Country Team (UNCT), comprising the head of all UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and as such plays a central role at the country level in making possible the coordination of UN operational activities for development in order to ensure alignment of UN assistance with national development priorities, plans and capacity building in the context of internationally agreed treaty obligations and development goals, and placing the UN centrally in development and international cooperation in the country.

The Resident Coordinator (RC) is responsible for the operational activities for development, policy and political affairs. The RC acts on behalf of the UN system in an impartial way, strategically positioning the UN in each country. The RC upholds and promotes the UN’s responsibilities with regard to preventing and responding to serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including the responsibilities of UN entities and staff in this regard. Recognizing that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and that development is a central goal in itself and constitutes a key element of the overarching framework of the United Nations operational activities for development, the RC system contributes to respond effectively to the needs, priorities, and challenges of programme countries in accordance with the UN’s comparative advantage, and in recognition that programme countries should have access to and benefit from the full range of mandates and resources of the UN development system.

The RC is responsible for implementing the ten core coordination functions of the Resident Coordinator System (UNDG, 2014):

  1. Strategic analysis and planning
  2. Oversight of the UN country programming cycle
  3. Representation of and support of UN Secretariat and UN agencies/NRAs
  4. Support to national coordination systems and processes
  5. Development and management of shared operational support services
  6. Crisis management preparedness and response
  7. External communication and advocacy
  8. Human Rights and Development
  9. Joint Resource mobilization and fund management
  10. General UNCT oversight and coordination

The Resident Coordinator is supported in his/her functions by the Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO). The office assists the RC to fulfil those core coordination functions which pertain to the operational activities for development.

Mr. Knut Ostby, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. 

Knut Ostby took up his position as United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Pakistan in September 2019. As UN Resident Coordinator, he coordinates and leads the UN Country team’s work in Pakistan. As Humanitarian Coordinator, he leads the work of the humanitarian community to meet needs in support of Pakistan’s national efforts. As the UN’s Designated Official, he is responsible, on behalf of the Secretary General, for the safety and security of all UN staff in Pakistan.

Mr Ostby has extensive experience in development, human rights and humanitarian affairs across 17 countries. He has served as a United Nations Resident Coordinator for over 13 years, including in Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Fiji and nine Pacific countries, and Iran. During his career with the United Nations, he has held leadership positions in Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Maldives, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and at headquarters in Copenhagen and New York.

He holds a Master of Science degree from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim, and has conducted studies in development theory with the University of Uppsala in Sweden.