To more fully identify bottlenecks in business practices at the country level, the Chairs of the United Nations Development Group and the High-level Committee on Management commissioned a high-level joint mission during the second quarter of 2010. The mission revealed considerable progress in the country offices visited (the Delivering as One pilot countries of Albania, Mozambique and Viet Nam as well as the “Self-Starter” country of Malawi), both on the basis of headquarters guidance and country-level innovation, with the most successful initiatives involving close working relationships between country-level and headquarters staff.

The mission resulted in a joint implementation plan to address obstacles to harmonization and simplification of business practices, focusing on the following key areas:

  • ensuring strong leadership and consistent levels of commitment across agencies;
  • creating incentives for change in agencies’ staff through their performance appraisal mechanisms and promotion of staff involvement and contribution to joint initiatives; (c) adopting an integrated approach to programmes and operations, including by preparing an operations plan concurrently with the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks;
  • promoting a culture of sound analysis, through cost-benefit analysis or other mechanisms and effective monitoring for business practices;
  • strengthening management focus on people management at the country level;
  • ensuring implementation of the existing information and communications technology and harmonized procurement guidance at the country level;
  • promoting harmonization in financial management, focusing particularly on issues raised by countries on the application of various policies and procedures;
  • exploring options for financing common premises; and (i) speeding up the review and clearance of legal agreements.

The High-level Committee on Management and the United Nations Development Group have also collaborated with the United Nations System Staff College to ensure that an integrated approach to programmes and operations is implemented at the country level. To that end, the United Nations development assistance framework roll-out support structure was augmented by a separate focus on business practices and country-level leadership in the area of operations. Those interventions, funded by the High-level Committee on Management Plan of Action and the Development Operations Coordination Office, are ongoing and are linked to regional support given to the United Nations development assistance framework roll-out countries.