UN Secretary-General Issues Third Report on Management Reform
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The latest report on the Secretary-General's envisaged shift in the UN's management paradigm details the creation of two new departments, to be created through the reorganization of the existing Department of Field Support and the Department of Management.

The new functions will be created within existing resources through the reassignment and redeployment of existing posts.

The text also notes that the forthcoming Umoja Extension 2 strategic planning, budget formulation and performance management solution will enable planning and reporting on utilization of resources based on results frameworks, including contributions to the SDGs.

15 May 2018: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has presented a set of proposals for reforming the UN’s management structure. His proposed reorganization includes the creation of a Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and a Department of Operational Support, which would be focused on surge support to entities in weak environments.

An informal meeting of the UN General Assembly will convene on 22 May 2018, in New York, US, to hear a briefing from the Secretary-General on the proposals contained in the report. The UNGA’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) also will meet to consider the report.

Through its resolution 72/266, adopted on 21 December 2017, the UN General Assembly welcomed Guterres’ commitment to improving the UN’s ability to deliver on its mandates through management reform, approved some changes, and indicated that it looked forward to receiving a comprehensive report on further proposals. The report published on 21 March 2018 (A/72/492/Add.2) is titled, ‘Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations: implementing a new management architecture for improved effectiveness and strengthened accountability.’

Guterres’ third report to Member States on his envisaged management reforms contains proposals aimed at: eliminating duplicative functions; establishing a clearer division of roles and responsibilities; and ensuring that appropriate checks and balances are in place. The report specifies that both proposed departments would service and support the entire UN Secretariat at the global, regional and national levels.

The overarching goals of the management reform proposals are:

  • bringing decision-making closer to the point of delivery;
  • simplifying rules, policies and procedures;
  • decentralizing authority; and
  • enabling interoperability across the UN system.

The report explains that the two new departments would be created by reorganizing two existing departments, the Department of Field Support and the Department of Management, and that the new functions would be created within existing resources through the reassignment and redeployment of existing posts. In order to minimize disruptions in support and to leverage the specialized knowledge and relationships that have been built up over time, the publication envisages, offices away from Headquarters and regional commissions will continue to deliver location-dependent services, on the one hand, and operational support functions to their existing clients on behalf of the Department of Operational Support, on the other.

While the restructuring of the two departments is cost-neutral, the report says, some additional financial resources may be required to lay the foundation necessary to establish the new structures as from 1 January 2019, including for aligning capacities with the level of additional delegations of authority, training and transfer or possible agreed separation of staff, which may be required “in exceptional situations.” The document notes that no additional resources are being requested of the UNGA, as the Secretariat will seek to meet the needs through voluntary contributions.

The Secretary-General also proposes measures to build a culture that is focused more on results than on processes, manages risk better, values innovation, and demonstrates a greater readiness to take prompt corrective action. The text also notes that the Umoja Extension 2 strategic planning, budget formulation and performance management solution, to be deployed in September 2018, will enable planning and reporting on use of resources based on results frameworks, including contributions to the SDGs. This will include risk-based dashboards for programme delivery, which will permit visualization of the impact of UN’s work through performance indicators.

In the report’s introduction, Guterres says that, taken together, his reports on the repositioning of the UN development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the restructuring of the UN’s peace and security pillar, and shifting the UN management paradigm comprise a road map for strengthening UN’s capacities to deliver on its mandate. [Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations: implementing a new management architecture for improved effectiveness and strengthened accountability] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Fifth Committee decisions on UN management reform] [SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of UN reform processes] [Letter on informal briefing on report]

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