I. Strengthening the Organization
The rapidly changing global environment described above is increasing demands on the United Nations, even as the available resources shrink. The United Nations must adapt in order to deliver successfully. To that end, I continued to prioritize efforts to put in place a modern and accountable global organization able to deliver at the highest standards while minimizing administrative and support costs, streamlining and simplifying procedures, and harnessing the full potential of partnerships and of information and communications technology.
Staff members are and will always be the most valuable asset of the Organization. The Organization must be able to develop and deploy the most appropriate and qualified staff when and where there is a need. The mobility and career development framework now under consideration by Member States seeks to foster the skills and capacity of our staff and help the Organization to better manage our global workforce. Member States have welcomed my commitment to this approach and asked for further information, which I will submit at the sixty-eighth session. I look forward to a decision of the General Assembly later in 2013. In addition, to ensure that staff is equipped with the latest knowledge and skills, I am taking a comprehensive approach to the range of our learning, training and knowledge service activities as well as exploring possibilities for knowledge services consolidation. I continue to mainstream a results orientation into the working culture of the Organization, including through the results-based management concept that I presented to the General Assembly in 2013, our enterprise risk management initiative and efforts to increase implementation of the recommendations of oversight bodies.
Careful stewardship of the resources entrusted to the Organization by Member States — human, financial and material — is also a priority. Efforts to improve and integrate the management of these resources continued in the past year, with a focus on enterprise resource planning solutions through the Umoja project. By making available transparent, real-time information, Umoja will permit better and faster decision-making on administrative issues. It was officially launched in July 2013 in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon. Meanwhile, the global field support strategy is currently piloting shared service delivery for peace operations in the field, which may in turn yield valuable lessons for the rest of the Secretariat.
To enhance transparency and accountability in the use of global resources and to enable Member States to access improved monitoring and decision-making information, we implemented the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) on 1 July 2013 in peacekeeping operations. These standards will be the basis for the financial statements of peacekeeping operations for the 2013-14 fiscal period and from 2014 for the rest of the Secretariat.
Across the Organization, we are finding ways to make maximum use of the potential of information and communications technologies, both in our substantive work and in our administrative and management systems, collectively referred to as the “digital Secretariat”. We are making use of affordable emerging technologies to facilitate information-sharing, collaboration and internal communication. Social media platforms are cost-effective tools for expanding our reach and we now have millions of followers on our major platforms in all official United Nations languages. Significant progress has also been made in digital dissemination of United Nations knowledge products.
As the Organization increasingly relies on information and communications technology, I am mindful of our vulnerability to cyber attacks. The Organization has strengthened the security of information and systems but we must do more. I am committed to ensuring the appropriate protection of the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the Organization’s information, and of the systems used for its storage, processing and transmission.
The capital master plan has also modernized the way we work, having introduced open and modern accommodation for staff and delegates working in the renovated Secretariat and Conference buildings. The open office environment and new technologies available encourage communication and collaboration among staff while reducing our carbon footprint through lowered energy consumption. At the General Assembly’s request, we are also examining the long-term accommodation requirements of the Organization in New York City.
In 2012, the United Nations continued to strengthen its security management system in order to enable the Organization to deliver its programmes and activities, including in areas with heightened security risks. This entailed strengthening crisis response capacity, restructuring security management training, modernizing information tools for security threat and risk analysis, developing practical policies and guidelines and enhancing collaboration with host Governments, as well as with governmental and non-governmental organizations.
With the growing number and complexity of our mandates, there is a need to broaden our human, operational and financial resource base. The private sector, philanthropy, and civil society have dramatically expanded in size, sophistication and global reach, especially in developing countries. We must find ways to use the partnership tool more, and more effectively, to help us deliver on all our goals and mandates. As we look at ways to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and as we work on a framework to meet future global development challenges, it is imperative to match our ambitions with concrete ways to get us there. That is why I have submitted to the General Assembly my proposal for a new partnership facility to achieve greater accountability, coherence, efficiency and scale, and a more supportive enabling environment for United Nations partnership activity. Strengthening the Organization’s capacity for strategic partnership can ensure that the United Nations remains relevant at a time in which business, philanthropy and civil society are increasingly active, resourceful and vibrant in the global public goods space.
In the past year, we continued to make use of multi-stakeholder partnership initiatives to achieve key goals. These include Every Woman Every Child and Sustainable Energy for All. Our Women’s Empowerment Principles and Caring for Climate initiatives are the world’s largest business platforms for action on these issues. These initiatives include stakeholders from all relevant sectors and use the comparative advantages and core competences of each to catalyse wide-ranging changes in behaviour, achieving greater scale and impact because benefits accrue broadly. Partnerships such as these supplement traditional development assistance and have proved to leverage the increase of both official development assistance and non-traditional financial flows. The task at hand is however to move beyond consideration of financial flows only and adopt a vision which encompasses a range of contributions such as innovation, technology, research, human capacity and more to make progress on the Millennium Development Goals and serve as a model for achieving the post-2015 development agenda.
The Global Compact has continued to serve as a powerful corporate citizenship initiative, with more than 7,500 companies in 140 countries committed to universal principles and with the potential to contribute significantly to achieving United Nations goals, in particular those related to the post-2015 global development agenda.