HLCM also recognizes the need to focus more on key risks and to improve the UN system’s capacity to manage and mitigate them. These include threats of all kinds, including programmatic, strategic, business disruption, security threats, cyber security and reputational.
HLCM has started developing a number of policies and tools in this area. The UN system must continue to build on them and devise a comprehensive new framework that provides for the appropriate vetting, monitoring and accountability of partners (within and across the system), for the safety and security of staff, for the mainstreaming of the human rights factor in every aspect of the UN’s work, and for the protection against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
It is critical for the UN system to continue to improve policies, operational tools and administrative procedures to enable the UN to operate in high risk situations, while meeting its duty of care for staff, without whom the implementation of programmes would not be possible. Concepts of risk management and duty of care should be seen as two sides of the same coin, mutually reinforcing. A new approach to “how to deliver” requires the UN system to look at completely new ways to integrate risk management across all programmes.
In moving forward on this topic, the HLCM will draw on the expertise and lessons from the development of the “UN System Organizational Resilience Management System and the Reference Risk Management, Oversight & Accountability Model”, and will be informed by CEB Common Principle n. 8 - Transparency and Accountability: “The UN system entities, individually and collectively, will hold themselves to the highest level of accountability to those they serve, including the most vulnerable and marginalized…”.
During the next period the Committee will provide support and technical advice to the Special Coordinator on Improving the United Nations Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, towards the operationalization of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. This work would also be instrumental to a more effective roll-out of the Human Rights up Front initiative, which calls for a cultural change within the UN system to ensure staff recognize prevention and protection as a core responsibility and that they have a better understanding of how their work reinforces pillars other than their own.
HLCM will also work to respond to the General Assembly’s mandate to develop a single agreed definition, across the United Nations system, of what constitutes fraud, as well as cases of suspected or presumptive fraud; and commonly agreed definitions for vendors, implementing partners and grant recipients. As part of this work, and in close coordination with UNDG, HLCM will engage to develop and implement approaches for vetting and sharing information on implementing partners.
United Nations organizations are confronting unique challenges, as they balance the need for increased cyber security with delivering their mandates, which often calls for significant levels of transparency while also protecting privacy of at-risk populations. Organizations would, therefore, benefit from collaboration across the UN system and with partners on monitoring of, and response to, cyber threats, and implementing mitigation measures. HLCM will engage in a renewed effort in this area.