Background

The Chair of the High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM), Mr. Francis Gurry, introduced the report of the Committee’s 28th session held on 8 October 2014 at UNICEF Headquarters in New York.

This was a special session for HLCM, as it was mostly dedicated to elaborating the Committee’s contribution to the Board’s discussion on making the UN system Fit for Purpose (FfP) for the post-2015 agenda.

Discussion

The Chair noted that HLCM had started an internal assessment of its own fit for purpose already two years before, with a process of reflection and analysis that culminated with the development of the Strategic Plan 2013-2016, subsequently approved by CEB. The Strategic Plan, with its five strategic priorities, represented a key contribution to the CEB Post 2015 - Fit for Purpose Strategy. And, the Committed was already delivering concrete and valuable outcomes in response to the Plan’s priorities.

Among the current top priorities for HLCM, the Chair listed the active engagement with the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) in the context of its Review of the Conditions of Service for UN system staff. He recalled that a high-level Steering Group led by the HLCM Vice-Chair and composed of selected HLCM representatives was providing strategic guidance throughout this exercise, which was now reaching the crucial time when concrete proposals will be developed and put on the table. It was therefore important that the organizations continued to be together in this process, so to ensure that their needs and requirements would be properly addressed within the new UN Common System that this Review will design and put in place. In doing so, organizations should be strategic and rise above the current contingent circumstances and constraints, looking ahead to an outcome that will be there to stay for many years.

Besides the Compensation Review, the HLCM Chair informed the Board that the ICSC had confirmed its recommendation to the General Assembly to extend the Mandatory Age of Separation to age 65 for current staff, starting as of 1 January 2016, and that a deliberation by the Assembly was expected by the end of the year.

The Chair was then pleased to report the completion of work on a Reference Risk Management, Oversight & Accountability Model, in direct response to the HLCM Strategic Plan’s mandate “for the development of a consolidated and trust-based relationship with Member States on the level and quality of controls in place in Organizations to allow for rationalized oversight, focus on key risks and better internal resource allocation”.

The new Model recognized the value and applicability of an internationally recognized standard – the Three Lines of Defense - developed by a professional body, the Institute of Internal Auditors. The Model represented a strong and defendable reference which all organizations could adhere to, with the necessary adjustments and variations that their differences require. It would also strengthen organizations’ common positioning with Member States in discussions on oversight and monitoring.

The HLCM Chair then informed the Board that, in response to a request by UN-OCHA, the Committee had established a dedicated group to develop, in close coordination with UNDG, a UN system policy to deal in a consistent and coordinated manner with fraud cases of implementing partners. This issue had resonated loudly with HLCM members – organizations want to engage more with partners, and they are moving to put systems and tools in place that would allow them to do so with the proper assessment and mitigation of the inherent risks, and in a fair sharing of such risks with all stakeholders, including Member States.

Finally, the HLCM Chair brought to the Board’s attention, for its consideration and approval, the new UN System policy on Organizational Resilience Management System, or “ORMS”. Recognizing the need to clearly articulate the roles, responsibilities and relationships of the actors involved in emergency preparedness and response, the General Assembly had mandated the development of an organizational resilience management framework. This undertaking was embraced by all HLCM members, who strongly shared the need to set the fundamentals to enhance organizations’ ability to manage increasingly complex operational risks.

Action

  • CEB endorsed the report of HLCM on its 28th session, including the UN System policy on Organizational Resilience Management System, or “ORMS” (CEB/2014/5 - HLCM 28th Session Summary of Conclusions, Annex III).