UN system organizations operate through an array of different business models. However, at the foundation of all programmatic activities is a set of core functions that are common to all organizations, including budget and accounting, human resources, procurement, and ICT. Strengthening the inter-linkages between the common functions of the UN system is a delicate process. Where there are strong business cases, HLCM is committed to strengthening such linkages through harmonization, joint approaches, and mutual recognition, in order to preserve the ability of each individual entity to deliver on its programmes. This includes investing in vertical (streamlining processes within an agency) and horizontal (strengthening between agencies) improvements.
There is a clear consensus regarding the fact that the 2030 Agenda calls for integrated solutions and that an integrated approach should apply to business operations as well. CEB Common Principle n. 6 - Effective Service Delivery, is unequivocal on the objective to pursue: “Global and integrated service delivery approaches and policy platforms for joint and more efficient service provision will enable the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They will provide value for money and lower administrative costs and support integrated programmatic action, transparency and accountability for results and impact”. And, in the 2016 Report of the Secretary General on the QCPR, the message is equally clear: “Existing collaboration mechanisms can be improved further to move towards integration of functions […] the UNDS needs better integration of back-office functions”.
The professionalization of support service provision in the UN system lies at the heart of the work of HLCM. At the core of this effort will be the mainstreaming of the global service delivery approaches and policy platforms for joint and more efficient service provision in the area of procurement, financial management, ICT and human resources that have already been developed and successfully piloted. This work will have to proceed concurrently and in full coordination with UNDG’s effort to advance the modernization and integration of business operations at the country level.
Concurrently, operational integration can build on the work that has already been conducted by the Committee on mapping global service delivery models and global service centers and the discussions and experience sharing sessions held around these. A move towards further integrating service provision horizontally across organizations is expected and required. For this shift to be successful, the necessary emphasis must be placed on transparent and carefully costed common solutions, to enable individual organizations to make fully informed decisions on the most suitable approach for their specific needs. Furthermore, HLCM needs to look more closely at location-specific collaboration for joint approaches to service delivery, as well as common out-sourcing and in-sourcing among UN organizations.