Mutual Recognition

Supporting the transformation of United Nations system operations towards a repositioned United Nations development system

The Secretary-General, in his reports on repositioning the United Nations development system (A/72/124-E/2018/3 and A/72/684-E/2018/7), set a number of ambitious objectives for a radical transformation of United Nations system operations, which were subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 72/279. The high-level commitments contained in that resolution are focused on actions to be taken by United Nations entities to increase transparency, visibility, efficiency and reporting on collective activities, spending and results.

The Committee, in full coordination with the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, conducts specific actions towards achieving the high-level commitments contained in General Assembly resolution 72/279, and that could directly contribute to the realization of the funding compact between the United Nations development system and Member States, in particular with respect to transparency, reporting and efficiency.

Mutual Recognition Statement

In a joint effort to advance global and country-level change in business operations by expanding mutual recognition of policies, procedures and system contracts, HLCM and UNSDG worked together in 2018 to develop a Mutual Recognition Statement.

The “Mutual Recognition” Statement is a fundamental enabler of management reform, removing barriers to greater consolidation of shared services. The Statement formalizes the joint commitment to apply the principle of mutual recognition, allowing an entity to use or rely on another entity’s policies, procedures, system contracts and related operational mechanisms for the implementation of activities, without further evaluation checks or approvals being required, to the greatest extent practicable.

The “Mutual Recognition” Statement is a direct response to GA resolution 71/243, which calls for entities within the UN development system to “operate according to the principle of mutual recognition of best practices in terms of policies and procedures, with the aim of facilitating active collaboration across agencies and reducing transaction costs for Governments and collaborating agencies.” In his report on Repositioning the UN Development System, the Secretary-General had also requested all entities to accelerate their efforts to operate according to the principle of mutual recognition.

The mutual recognition statement has been signed by the Secretary-General and 22 other executive heads, namely the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


Mutual Recognition Coordination Group

At its 44th Session (October 2022), HLCM agreed to create of a small group of members to coordinate between the different strands that support the operationalization of Mutual Recognition. The group was launched at the beginning of 2023.

In close collaboration with UNSDG, the first tasks of the group will be to:

  • Coordinate with HLCM networks for the development/revision of management policies to address bottlenecks in the application of MR principles as identified by relevant reform streams (UNSDG task Team of MR, BOS at country level, etc.).
  • Formulate common comprehensive operational guidance on Mutual Recognition that can be shared with entities and also disseminated to country/field offices.
  • Business Operations
  • Coordination with other UN Mechanisms
  • High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM)

Related content