UNITAR and Permanent Mission of Switzerland join for a workshop on: Strategic Thinking for UN Reform
6-7 December 2012, New York, USA - In view of the complexity of UN reform, the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UNand the UNITAR New York Office convened a two-day intensive workshop on perspectives and policies for reform. Ambassador Paul Seger, the Swiss Permanent Representative, opened the workshop emphasizing Switzerland’s goals to promote efficiency and effectiveness, but also transparency and accountability. Ambassador Seger further recalled Switzerland’s efforts for Security Council reform, by increasing openness,acceptability and legitimacy of the Council.
In the context of global challenges, Mr. William Pace, the World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy,compared the UN budget to the state budget Wyoming, which are roughly the same- (US)$3 to 4 billion annually. Wyoming is not tasked for bringing inter alia peace and security, sustainable development, human rights throughout the world. It is instructive, however, of how much the UN is tasked to do, with a limited budget. He noted the achievements of reform, especially with the establishment of the Human Rights Council. Professor Martin S. Edwards, John C. Whitehead School for Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, explained that reform should bring about: increased engagement; increased coherence; enhanced efficiency; and, strengthened accountability of the UN.
On issues of Security Council reform, the session focused on reform goals of efficiency, transparency and productivity into an intrinsically political body. Ambassador Seger further discussed Switzerland’s goals for promoting principles of democracy and for improving the Council’s working methods. The New Zealandpermanent representative, Ambassador Jim McLay agreed that it is very important to reform the Council’s working methods, which does not require a Charter Amendment.
Ambassador Cesare Ragaglini, the permanent representative of Italyto the UN, discussed “Uniting for Consensus”. This calls for inter alia enhancing the Council legitimacy by building consensus in decision-making and increasing participation – 70 states never sat on the Council and the Council never refers issues to the General Assembly. H.E. Mr. Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Executive Director, The Security Council Report,echoed the three Ambassador’s call for reform, pointing out that there has not been any change since 1963. He detected four goals for the Council: Proactive use of the Charter; Effectiveness; Project Authority; and Act transparently. He recommended a focus on Charter articles 11, 26, 34, 40, 99.
On enhancing the role and capacity of civilians in UN Field Missions, UN Police Advisor, Ms. Ann-Maried Orler, described intensified efforts to increase recruitment of civilian police for UN missions, especially women police, for community policing. In the area of Field Support, Mr. Christopher Coleman, discussed the increase of special political missions, which must embrace an inclusive political process. Mr. Jeremiah Kramer, of the UN civilian capacity project, pointed out that missions need to be nimble and to create national partnerships. Mr. Xavier Devaulx de Chambord, Department of Field Support, discussed inter alia the creation of Global focal points
On Human Resources and Staff Mobility Framework, Ms. Catherine Pollard, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources (HR) Management, underscored that UN reform in HR “means investing in people”. Mobility will be key for creating a Global Secretariat, an organization with a common culture with all posts being regularized. This is currently debated in fifth committee, could start in early 2015.
On issue of Change Management, Ambassador Kim Won-Soo, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General, explained the goals of Change Management. Change management goals focus on six clusters: Development; Peace and Security; Human rights; Management; Research and Training. In terms of the Training and Research Institutes, the aim is to integrate and bring coherence to the learning, research and knowledge services, with the libraries being digitalized. Change management cannot go ahead without Member States’ endorsement.
Umoja is about unity in management of processes, it is not about ICTs, stated Mr. Ernesto Baca, Assistant Secretary-General. It is about re-thinking how the UN manages information from HR to travel - pushing the organization to an end-to-end process. UNMOJA will result $140 million savings the first year. Mr. Chadramouli Ramanathan, Deputy Controller, and Mr. Hugh O’Farrell, Board of Auditors, explained the new International Public Sector Accounting Stands (IPSAS). IPSAS is an accounting system that will bring fundamental change compared to the current financial based accounting system.
On the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, Albania Permanent Representative, Ambassador Ferit Hoxja, explained this is not part of the reform process but more about the development architecture and “doing more with less”. Ambassador Ms. Josephine Ojambo, the Kenya Deputy Permanent Representative, found that this will bring about a clearer mandate for funds and agencies at the country level. Mr. Pio Wenubst, Counsellor of the Swiss Permanent Mission, emphasized that this is aspirational as well as relevant. Dr. Bruce Jenks, former UNDP Assistant-Secretary General emphasized that the world has changed fundamentally and this requires strategic thinking not only about development but also for UN reform.