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Department for General Assembly and Conference Management

Planning and Programming Unit

The Unit is responsible for planning and preparing the biennial calendar of conferences and meetings of the United Nations using eMeets as the global scheduling tool, in close cooperation and coordination with the substantive and technical secretariats of intergovernmental bodies meeting in New York, and through consultations with counterparts in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi for bodies meeting at other duty stations. This exercise is a monumental task having to match the mandated entitlements of intergovernmental bodies to meetings and documentation with availability of meeting rooms and conference resources. The draft biennial calendar is considered by the Economic and Social Council and by the Committee on Conferences before adoption by the General Assembly. This document is dynamic, necessitating adjustments and changes as a result of legislative decisions. The calendar is updated monthly and is available electronically at http://conf.un.org


The biennial calendar is then broken down by year, month and week. In preparation for the General Assembly each year, the Unit is heavily involved in preparing projections of high-level meetings during the General Debate based on past experience and new requests, especially since demand for rooms and services far exceeds supply. During the main part of the General Assembly and during the substantive session of ECOSOC, the Unit reviews and analyzes all draft resolutions and decisions for information on new activities which may give rise to additional meetings and documentation. Statements of conference-servicing implications are prepared in consultation with the substantive and technical secretariats, and with the Programme Planning and Budget Division.


The Programme Team in the Unit takes over the programming and fine tuning of the programme of meetings on a weekly and daily basis, and provides the information to all service providers and the Journal Unit. In addition to the mandated meetings in the calendar of conferences and meetings, the Programme Team is responsible for scheduling meetings of bodies entitled to meet on an "as required" basis, regional and other major groupings of Member States, informal meetings, and special events, based on availability of conference rooms and services. The scheduling of those ad hoc requests is very demanding and dynamic, requiring a thorough understanding of the policies and guidelines of conference management.

 

Another major function of the Unit is to monitor and analyze statistical data on meetings generated by eMeets for reporting to the Committee on Conferences. The Unit works closely with the meetings management staff at other duty stations to provide consolidated statistics on the utilization of conference services. A master list of meetings held away from their established Headquarters is maintained and updated by the Unit.

As an innovative and consolidated approach to organizing meetings, gMeets has been developed as a one-stop-shop user interface of eMeets, and facilitates coordination with and among the essential service providers. It provides a single-entry point for requesting meeting rooms and services. Business processes have been streamlined and cost estimates for services are readily available. Clients requesting meetings will now have the flexibility to select the services they require from a menu that enables direct access to: conference room allocation; interpretation; nameplates, podium signs and room set-up; publishing material in the Journal; audio-visual services; loaning of technological equipment; webcast services (UN Web TV); access and security related services.

 

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