Extensive discussions had taken place within the High-level Committee on Management on harmonization and reform of business practices. The approach taken to the reform of business practices in the United Nations system was to be driven by programme priorities rather than by bureaucratic considerations and would be based on clear business logic and demonstrated system-wide benefits, concentrating on areas of harmonization and reform within the purview of executive heads.

A comprehensive proposal for the reform and harmonization of United Nations system business practices was being developed within the High-level Committee on Management. The proposal addressed six major categories: cross-cutting areas of general management; accountability and oversight; data warehouses; human resources management; financial management and knowledge-sharing.

A coherent approach focusing on the six areas identified would eventually constitute a draft action plan on United Nations business practices geared to provide a comprehensive approach to enhancing system-wide coherence. The Board was informed that the High-level Committee on Management had heard the views of staff representatives who had urged that the initiative should lead to an improvement of system-wide conditions on the basis of best practices rather than the lowest common denominator and who had asked for a regular consultation process. The Board considered that the success of the initiative would ultimately depend on the leadership and will of executive heads who should provide a strong mandate in that regard to their heads of management attending the High-level Committee on Management. The Committee had set up an intersessional task force to take the matter further in order to develop a full-fledged action plan for CEB endorsement at the fall 2007 session.

The Board expressed strong support for that initiative as an important element of the drive towards greater system-wide coherence and recalled that the harmonization of business practices had emerged as a central recommendation of the High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence. The Board endorsed the initiative of the High-level Committee on Management on the development of the proposed Action Plan and decided to revert to it at its fall 2007 session. The Board also endorsed a proposal of High-level Committee on Management for the preparation of a study by the CEB secretariat on the functioning of the International Civil Service Commission for the Board’s subsequent consideration.

CEB Management Themes