Agenda Item

Action date

28/02/2006

Background

Update on management reform in the United Nations Secretariat and other organizations of the UN system

The Committee members exchanged views on management reform initiatives being undertaken in their respective organizations so as to benefit from “lessons learned”.

Committee was informed by the United Nations that the Secretary General was embarking upon the most sweeping reforms since creation of the organization.  A number of measures had already been implemented. These included the establishment of an Ethics Office with the primary responsibility for administering the whistleblower protection and financial disclosure policies and for providing ethics advisory and standard-setting services.  This office reported directly to the Secretary General.  In addition, to address shortcomings identified by both the General Assembly and the Volcker Inquiry, an Oversight Committee had been created to ensure that appropriate and prompt management action was taken to implement Office of Internal Oversight recommendations.  The Committee learned that other major reforms were to be announced by the Secretary General in early March.  Among the proposals under study were a streamlining of the Secretariat’s structure, simplification of personnel and financial rules and regulations, upgrading of ICT systems, adoption of a universal knowledge management system, alternative service delivery models such as outsourcing or off-shoring, modernization of procurement operations, expanded authority to redeploy posts and to use savings from posts, and linking results more explicitly to managerial performance through more rigorous monitoring and evaluation..

Discussion

Several common themes emerged during the discussion.  A number of organizations had already adopted, or were considering alternative service delivery models such as off-shoring or outsourcing selected administrative processes, particularly in the information technology area.  Initiatives were also being undertaken regarding management accountability, simplification of personnel and financial regulations, contractual reform, and activities aimed at ensuring ethical conduct and financial disclosure

Action

The Committee:

  • Agreed that there should be more systematic sharing of practices and to this end requested that the secretariat survey organizations on ongoing efforts in this area upon specific request from HLCM members;
  • Agreed that the Committee convenes inter-sessional video conferences on specific emerging issues such as the Secretary General’s forthcoming reform proposals and alternative service delivery models;
  • Urged that the management reforms throughout the system focus on achieving greater impact, and better use of resources, and not just on reform for the sake of reform.