The present report provides an overview of major developments in inter-agency cooperation during 2004/05 within the framework of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).
In the course of 2004/05, CEB completed its programme of pursuing themes identified in the report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. CEB reflections on these themes were designed to provide a system-wide perspective to the process of monitoring and reporting by the Secretary-General on progress achieved in the implementation of the Declaration. In that context, it took up the themes “Bridging the digital divide and fostering inter-agency collaboration in information and communication technology” and “Prevention of armed conflicts” at its fall 2004 and spring 2005 sessions, respectively. While CEB and its structures continued to cover a wide range of issues to ensure greater coherence and build synergies in the actions taken by the system, since 2003 it has given high priority to the elaboration of the system’s collective contribution to the comprehensive review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration at the 2005 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly. A report from CEB entitled “One United Nations — catalyst for progress and change: how the Millennium Declaration is changing the way the United Nations system works” will be presented to the Assembly. CEB also continued to review its support for Africa and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and for curbing transnational crime, among other issues.
In the management area, CEB continued to focus on the safety and security of staff and adopted a unified security management system and new approach to costsharing and field-related security costs. It also decided on various measures to strengthen managerial capacity across the system and harmonize staff management policies and practices, a common framework for results-based budgeting to guide inter-agency work, and the development of accounting standards for the organizations of the common system.
The following information on existing mechanisms to coordinate the fight against hunger has been included in the present report in response to a request by the Committee for Programme and Coordination at its forty-fourth session.
Since 2001, CEB has continued to give high priority to engendering and extending effective and coordinated support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Its main objective has been to provide policy guidance to ensure that United Nations system support for NEPAD remains responsive to the needs of Africa. During 2004, the High-Level Committee on Programmes, on behalf of CEB, undertook an in-depth examination of the system’s support for NEPAD in the broad context of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.
Coherence in the delivery of services by organizations of the United Nations system at the country level, particularly in the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, was high on the agenda of CEB during the year, and is expected to remain so in the follow-up to General Assembly resolution 59/250 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development, and the September 2005 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly.
A main concern of the United Nations system continued to be the strengthening of system-wide security policies and infrastructures. CEB, through its High-Level Committee on Management, endorsed the new unified security management system. It reiterated its view that security, a prerequisite for programme delivery, is a core responsibility of Member States and should be funded centrally under the United Nations regular budget.
CEB also continued to provide oversight, through the High-Level Committee on Management and its Human Resources Network, of staff management policies and practices across the system with a view to promoting best practices, harmonization and administrative simplification. Issues addressed included:
Inter-agency collaboration in the financial and budgetary areas has received renewed attention in the work of CEB through the Finance and Budget Network of the High-Level Committee on Management. The focus has been on:
Since 2001, the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) has built its policy agenda around the themes identified in the Secretary-General’s first report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration (A/56/326). In that report, the Secretary-General set out a broad road map for the follow-up process and proposed two topics on which the process might focus each year, leading to a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Declaration in 2005.
CEB member organizations continued to participate actively in the review and follow-up of specific recommendations emanating from oversight reports by the Joint Inspection Unit, the Board of Auditors and the Office of Internal Oversight Services. Priority attention is given to maintaining the highest levels of transparency and accountability, strict compliance with established rules and regulations and enhancing the capacity of the United Nations system for oversight and audit.
In 2004, CEB began to consider its contribution to the preparations for the 2005 comprehensive review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. It decided that a special report focusing on the impact of the Millennium Declaration on the workings of the system and on the quality of the support that the system is extending to Member States would serve as a useful contribution to the 2005 review.
CEB and its High-Level Committees have continued to address ICT from two interrelated vantage points: first, the coherence of the policy advice that the system provides to countries in setting comprehensive, forward-looking strategies to harness information and communication technology for economic and social progress, and second, the imperative for the system to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunity that ICT offers the organizations of the United Nations system for the creation, sharing and management of knowledge.
An increasingly important focus of inter-agency work is to enhance the system’s support for an effective response by the international community to the Secretary-General’s call for a strategic shift from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. This requires a collective approach to conflict prevention and calls for a deeper understanding of the causes of tensions within and between nations. It also implies a sustained system-wide effort to effectively integrate a conflict-prevention perspective in development programmes at the country level.
When it first took up the issue of transnational organized crime, in April 2003, CEB recognized the need for strengthening collective action by the United Nations system in confronting the threats posed by transnational organized crime. Two basic considerations underlay this conclusion. First was that transnational organized crime, while not a new phenomenon, had grown in strength and severity over the last decade, benefiting from technological innovations and establishing new links with terrorism.