In March 2011, the High Level Committee on Management (HLCM), which is the highest management body of the CEB (the members of which are listed on the right of this page), asked all members to come up with measures that could be implemented with the aim to improve operational efficiency and cost avoidances.

In July 2011, each organisation submitted their top five priorities and provided further detail on financial impacts, challenges of implementation and projected return on their initial investment. These priorities were then grouped according to themes, with the initiatives mapped in a chart shown below illustrating potential financial savings against relative difficulty of implementation.

Some of the initiatives will be implemented across the entire UN spectrum, these are grouped under the name ‘Harmonization of Business Practices’ and include: Common Procurement, Common Treasury Services, Collaborative Procurement in the Field and ICT Solutions in the Field (e.g. the countries in which the UN operates excluding headquarters locations). These initiatives are projected to save the UN system millions of US dollars every year, providing a return of 5-100 times greater than the original investment.

Other priorities for cost cutting include measures that address: promotion of conference calls to decrease travel, travel expenses themselves, cloud computing/open source software, outsourcing/out-posting, the speeding up of the procurement process and the freezing of UN staff posts that are not absolutely essential to the smooth running of the United Nations. Currently, these initiatives are only being implemented by a few specific agencies; though many have shown sufficient efficiency and cost avoidance gains that they have the potential to become standard practice across the UN system.