Climate change

The CEB initiative launched early in 2007 in response to the global challenge of climate change took more concrete shape during the reporting period, with the identification of focus and cross-cutting areas for coordination and action. The United Nations system increasingly spoke with one voice on this issue, for example, through the statement delivered by the Secretary-General at the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008.

Security and safety of staff

The Board expressed serious concern over the increasing safety and security risks faced by United Nations personnel in many parts of the world. Following the release of the report of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of United Nations Personnel and Premises Worldwide in June 2008, the Secretary-General requested the High-level Committee on Management to undertake a detailed review of the recommendations contained in the Panel’s report and to prepare actionable recommendations and options for a more effective United Nations system-wide security management system.

Business practices

The Board has been active in developing a plan of action for the harmonization of business practices in the United Nations system. The plan proposes initiatives in a number of key areas, covering all of the major management functions of organizations of the United Nations system (i.e., human resources, information communications and technology, finance and budget, and procurement). Its scope is limited to the functions and processes for which responsibility rests within the purview of the authority delegated to the executive heads by their respective governing bodies.

Global financial and economic crisis

The unfolding global financial and economic crisis, the most severe economic downturn that the global community has experienced in the past 60 years, was at the top of the CEB agenda during the period under review. In a communiqué issued following the CEB session in April 2009, the executive heads emphasized that the social effects of the crisis were already disturbing and could worsen. Unless urgent action were taken, the crisis could have devastating effects for the most vulnerable and voiceless, with growing social insecurity and displacement of people.

Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)

In its resolution 63/230, the General Assembly considered that a theme for the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty should be “Full employment and decent work for all”. CEB had, through the development of the toolkit for mainstreaming employment and decent work, already made important contributions to promoting United Nations system policy coherence in this area.