During 2009/10, the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) continued its ongoing efforts to align the strengths of the United Nations system in support of countries’ efforts to deal with the challenges confronting the international community. Throughout the reporting period, CEB has played a key role in ensuring a coherent approach by the United Nations system in addressing the needs of the international community and delivering as one at the global, regional and country levels.

Joint United Nations system efforts over the past year have clearly demonstrated the benefits of integrating the United Nations Development Group into the CEB structure. The three committees of CEB — the High-level Committee on Management, the High-level Committee on Programmes and the United Nations Development Group — have continued to advance close cooperation on numerous issues, ensuring a strong link between programme, policy and country-level implementation, facilitated through enhanced coherence in management practices.

Noteworthy advancements were the coordinated approach of the United Nations system to climate change, the implementation of nine Joint Crisis Initiatives in response to the global financial and economic crisis, progress towards enhancing harmonization and simplification of business practice in the United Nations system, and ensuring safety and security of staff worldwide. The General Assembly recognized those efforts in its resolution 63/311 on system-wide coherence, which placed considerable emphasis on the role of CEB and its three pillars in enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency and coherence of the United Nations system. Member States also acknowledged the joint efforts of the United Nations system at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, where organizations of the system demonstrated increased coherence and collaboration in delivering as one on the challenges of climate change.

The very fact that the challenges of poverty, food, energy, a global economic downturn and climate change are all interrelated has presented the international community with the complex task of tackling them in an integrated manner. CEB has cautioned of the negative impact of the financial and economic crisis on implementing the Millennium Development Goals and the threat to the development gains of the past decade. The United Nations system, through CEB, continues to act on all fronts to fight against hunger and poverty and support efforts to achieve all internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

While there were signs during the year that parts of the world were slowly recovering from the global financial and economic crisis, it remains clear that the crisis continues to impact most negatively on those who have least contributed to it, and who have reaped the least benefits from globalization. A number of key challenges, therefore, remain to be addressed, in particular for the poor in developing countries. Indicators such as increases in malnutrition, child poverty, rising food prices, decline in household income and constrained funding for health and education are of concern, given increasing unemployment, declining budgets and threatened services. Through the pursuit of its nine Joint Crisis Initiatives, CEB has maintained its focus on the world’s most vulnerable, and has thus stressed the need to continue to monitor and address the impact of the crisis on the lives of people.

The organizations of the United Nations system remain steadfast in their support of the Secretary-General in his important leadership role on these key issues. CEB has reaffirmed its strong commitment to assist Member States in striving for a development process that is more inclusive, equitable and environmentally and socially sustainable.

During the reporting period, the Board has produced concrete results in the transformation of United Nations management systems for improved and more flexible support to the delivery of programmatic mandates. The disastrous effects of the earthquake in Haiti and the deadly attacks against United Nations staff in Kabul, in Islamabad and other places during the year serve as reminders of the increased risks faced by United Nations staff around the world and the need for the Organization to maintain its strong focus on staff safety and security. The system coming together as “One United Nations” remains the modus operandi in these crisis situations as well, and remains an essential focus area for CEB to enable the system to deliver coherently and effectively in response to intergovernmental mandates.

The Board, represented by the CEB secretariat, has continued its regular and ad hoc briefings and has attempted to strengthen the substantive dialogue with Member States on its ongoing work, not least through the system-wide coherence consultations, and on the global crisis.

During the reporting period, the Board welcomed the appointment of several new Executive Heads: Irina Bokova, the new Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Yukiya Amano, the new Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and Filippo Grandi, the new Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.