Enhancing the contribution of the United Nations system to the Economic and Social Council

The organizations of the United Nations system work together within the context of the mandates provided to them by Member States and under the direct oversight of their respective governing bodies. CEB and its three pillars aim to ensure overall coherence in the efforts by United Nations system organizations to collectively respond to intergovernmental mandates and system-wide challenges.

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

In response to General Assembly resolution 63/230 on the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), a time-bound inter-agency cluster group was set up by the High-level Committee on Programmes in 2008. To enhance the coherence of United Nations system-wide activities in the areas of employment and decent work in the context of poverty eradication, the group prepared a plan of action, which was endorsed by the Committee in 2009.

Science and technology

CEB member organizations reviewed how the United Nations system can best respond to the international attention to science and technology transfer, as reflected in the 2005 World Summit Outcome (see resolution 55/2) and the report of the Secretary-General on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system (see General Assembly resolution 62/208).

Support to staff in emergency situations

CEB has emphasized the need to concretize the discussions and deliberations on the United Nations system’s ability to protect its staff — national, international and non-staff personnel — with the lessons learned from the earthquake in Haiti. Furthermore, it has stressed the need to adequately compensate staff and/or their families in the event of service-incurred injuries, illness or death, resulting from both malicious acts and natural events.

Human resources

During the reporting period, the Human Resources Network of the High-level Committee on Management made progress on a number of areas. The review of the mandatory age of separation in the United Nations common system was completed, and the Network presented the document to the International Civil Service Commission at its sixty-ninth session, in July 2009, with a proposal to increase the mandatory age of separation to 62 for those staff members with an entry on duty date prior to 1 January 1990.

International Public Sector Accounting Standards

During the reporting period, system-wide support towards implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) had brought important activities to fruition. In particular, an 18-course training suite has been completed and made available to United Nations system organizations, some of which have already started to deliver courses based on the materials provided.

Financial management

In the context of the Plan of Action for Harmonization of Business Practices the Finance and Budget Network’s Working Group on Common Treasury Services had launched its activities. The Working Group set up a web-based knowledge-sharing tool allowing inter-agency discussions on technical treasury-related subjects in its online forum. Preliminary steps have been taken to start the next phase of the group’s activities — a feasibility study to evaluate the potential harmonization opportunities in the treasury area.

Procurement

In April 2008, the Procurement Network submitted to the High-level Committee on Management a funding proposal as part of the plan of action for the harmonization of business practices in the United Nations system. Funding was received in August 2009 to develop a common policy framework for the sanctioning of unethical vendors. The framework includes mechanisms for information sharing, individual organization decision-making and decision recording.

Information and communications technology

The United Nations system took further steps to enhance operational coherence in the area of information and communications technology by building on past projects and charting new territory. Building on the successful pilot of a United Nations system global contact directory, this system became operational during the reporting period, with organizations joining to make their contact information available using the jointly managed secure and sustainable platform.

Collaboration with the Joint Inspection Unit

The United Nations system took further steps to enhance operational coherence in the area of information and communications technology by building on past projects and charting new territory. Building on the successful pilot of a United Nations system global contact directory, this system became operational during the reporting period, with organizations joining to make their contact information available using the jointly managed secure and sustainable platform.

System-wide coherence

General Assembly resolution 63/311 on system-wide coherence covers a number of areas of significance for the ongoing work of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and its three Committees. The Board’s work to enhance harmonization of business practices is, in this regard, expected to have a significant impact on streamlining administrative practices of United Nations system organizations, thereby helping ease the administrative burden on programmes.