Following his September 2017 report titled, 'Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations: ensuring a better future for all,' outlined the principles guiding management reform efforts,' UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefed UN Member States in a meeting on 9 November.
The Secretary-General's management proposals are currently being reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, after which the UNGA’s Fifth Committee will consider them.
9 November 2017: In a briefing to UN Member States, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the management reform process has identified that the main problems are the UN system’s “enormous” bureaucratization, centralization and lack of effectiveness. His management proposals are currently being reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), after which the UNGA’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) will consider them.
In July 2017, Guterres introduced his plans for UN management reform at a meeting with the UN Staff Union, noting that the goals of the reform include enabling more freedom of movement, more decentralization, more effectiveness, and increased transparency and accountability. The Secretary-General noted that, while the UN is a field-based organization with two-thirds of its staff working in the field, its management remains centralized. The reforms would also address: slow and unresponsive service delivery; weak performance management culture; incentives for hardship locations; and barriers to locally recruited staff’s career prospects, among other issues. He said his proposals would entail a structure with two departments, one for operational support, and another for policy, compliance, governance and oversight.
In September 2017, a Report of the Secretary-General titled, ‘Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations: ensuring a better future for all,’ outlined the principles guiding management reform efforts. In the report, Guterres notes that he is suggesting a “new management paradigm that will empower managers to determine how best to use their resources” to deliver programmes and implement mandates. The new paradigm would also, he said, transfer greater responsibility to managers and hold them accountable for programme and financial performance.
The three main reform proposals conveyed in the report are:
- streamline and improve the planning and budgeting processes, to support better decision-making and better reflect the link between resource use and programme delivery;
- delegate managerial authority to programme managers and demand greater accountability for mandate delivery; and
- make changes to management and support structures to better support delivery of programmes and provide managers with quality assurance and strategic policy guidance.
Guterres also updated governments on the peace and security reform process, and reforms to the UN Development System, on 9 and 10 November, respectively. [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNDS Reform] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Peace and Security Reforms] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on July Presentation] [Report of UN Secretary-General (A/72/492)]