Background

At its Workshop of 17 November 2011, HLCM completed its discussion, started in the spring of 2011, on high-yielding measures in the pipeline or put in place across the UN system with the aim to improve efficiency and control costs, as well as on difficult and recurring issues with which HLCM member organizations are confronted when working on improving efficiency and effectiveness. The HLCM Sub-Committee on Improved Efficiency and Cost Control Measures was established for this purpose and carried out its work in close consultation with the UN Change Management Team.

Discussion

Mr. Alexander Aleinikoff (UNHCR) reported on the conclusions of the HLCM Sub-Committee. He explained that this phase of the Sub-Committee’s work centred on those areas considered most promising in the search for economies of scale and improved administrative efficiencies.

A workshop was organized by the CEB Secretariat, which took place on 17 November 2011, with 10 duty stations connected via video/audio conference and 20 HLCM member organizations represented. The objectives were to share experiences about what does and does not work in increasing efficiency and cutting costs, as well as to identify barriers ‐ system‐wide or agency‐specific ‐ to putting in place efficiency measures.

The workshop was designed to increase understanding and awareness among participants of successful (and unsuccessful) measures that have been taken to improve efficiency and cut costs. The workshop also provided an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned regarding feasibility, value‐added, obstacles, visibility/recognition and timing that can be applied across the system or within individual organizations, as appropriate. A central point in the discussion was that the focus on cost‐savings and improved efficiency should lead to reinvestment into organizations’ core programmes.

Action

The Committee agreed to take up, on a voluntary basis, the challenge to implement at least three cost-cutting and efficiency measures in their organizations, building on the experience of other organizations as shared in the course of the HLCM exercise. HLCM members agreed to share progress made and lessons learned after one year.