CEB continued its consideration of management issues in a more integrated and concrete fashion over the 2006/07 period with the support of its High-level Committee on Management. The Committee and its networks had recently given considerable time and attention to the subject of management harmonization and reform within the competence of United Nations system executive heads, with the aim of sharing information, avoiding duplication of efforts, identifying successful experiences as benchmarks and setting common directions for future work. In a new environment which called for a focus on delivery and results, there was an increased need for adjusting the management of United Nations system organizations to the new environment. A strong internal commitment to deliver was creating a very positive momentum for harmonized management reform throughout the system. The system-wide adoption of international public sector accounting standards offered further impetus for the United Nations system organizations to work together.

In the area of information and communication technology (ICT), the High-level Committee on Management had established an ICT strategic framework which included a range of initiatives intended to strengthen cooperation on ICT-related activities among the organizations of the United Nations system. Two areas addressed in particular were enterprise resource planning and ICT training. The overall objective in the Committee on the concept of common shared ICT services was to find ways for providing enhanced services at lower cost instead of each organization investing heavily and separately in its own ICT infrastructure.

Concerning the safety and security of staff, at its fall 2006 session the Board took note of progress made by the Department for Safety and Security since its establishment and the consultative approach adopted by the Department within the framework of the inter-agency security management network. The network had made specific recommendations concerning the production and launch of an inter-agency learning course on advanced security in the field and the development of a training package for inclusion in the forthcoming workshops for field security officers on how to cope with mass casualties, the improvement of security measures for women and cooperation of non-governmental organizations. The High-level Committee on Management had established a technical working group for reprioritizing the activities of the Department and corresponding funding mechanisms to meet the objectives set for 2008-2009 within the 2006-2007 cost-shared budget ceiling and to develop an effective surge capacity should resources become available.

CEB expressed satisfaction that the focus of the Committee’s work had increasingly shifted from administrative matters to management policy, and called for further efforts to coordinate more closely with the work of the United Nations Development Group concerning management issues at the country level.

A number of important and emerging issues were on the Committee’s agenda at its spring 2007 session, as outlined below.

Harmonization of United Nations system business practices

Extensive discussions had taken place within the High-level Committee on Management on harmonization and reform of business practices. The approach taken to the reform of business practices in the United Nations system was to be driven by programme priorities rather than by bureaucratic considerations and would be based on clear business logic and demonstrated system-wide benefits, concentrating on areas of harmonization and reform within the purview of executive heads.

Confidentiality of internal audit reports

The High-level Committee on Management reviewed current practices within the system for sharing information contained in internal audit reports through its finance and budget network. In that regard, initial criteria that could serve to guide the exercise were under consideration with a view to establishing a common approach to disclosure of information contained in internal audit reports.

United Nations security management system

The Board reviewed the financing of the United Nations security management system and the pending agreement on the cost-sharing formula for the system. The Board noted that the only outstanding matter in that regard was the concurrence of the World Bank on the formula on the basis of further information to be provided by the United Nations. CEB expected a full agreement would be forthcoming on that important issue shortly.

Senior Management Network

In line with the earlier discussion of CEB, the Senior Management Network and its Leadership Development Programme had been launched. The key objective of those initiatives was to inculcate among senior officials a new corporate culture to further system-wide coherence. Senior Management Network membership would initially consist of approximately 600 to 1,000 senior staff. The Board highlighted the need to strengthen the competencies and training of staff.

United Nations Convention against Corruption

CEB agreed to study further the applicability of the principles and standards of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in order to combat corruption and strengthen institutional integrity and respond to demands for accountability system-wide. The Board requested the High Level Committee on Programmes and the High-level Committee on Management and its relevant networks to be actively engaged in pursuing the matter further with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, with a view to establishing a concrete proposal for CEB.