Geneva, Switzerland: The Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Carlos Lopes, introduced the Report of the Secretary-General on UNITAR in Resolution 2009/27 that passed and presented the achievements of the Institute over the last year, as well as the future challenges of reform that lie ahead, at the annual Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) conference on the 27th of July, 2009.   In his opening statement at ECOSOC, Mr. Lopes explained that “cooperation begins with training and education.” Before sharing UNITAR’s achievements with the delegates, Mr. Lopes discussed the Institute’s reform phase of 2007-2009, which was based on four strategic priorities: strengthening institutional capacity for training and research; enhancing human capital; building and strengthening strategic partnerships; and rationalizing the organizational structure. The resulting reforms led to achievements, such as phenomenal financial growth that doubled the income from the previous to the current biennium,[1] the introduction of results-based management, and the provision of high-quality executive training; intended to make the Institute a leader in professional training and learning. Mr. Lopes was confident that this successful reform “will shape [UNITAR] into a centre of excellence, measured by international standards, recognized within and outside the United Nations system, for standard-setting methodologies, high-quality training and research capacity on knowledge systems.”   Mr. Lopes recognized that “positioning the Institute as a learning organization is also an ongoing effort, one which will be at the heart of efforts in the current and future bienniums.” He also discussed the importance of an increased cooperation between UNITAR and the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) of which he is the director; recommended in the Report. Finally, he emphasized “the Institute’s ability to continue to deliver on its mandate and provide Member States with targeted learning opportunities to develop knowledge and skills-related capacities of diplomats to operate effectively and efficiently in the multilateral environment.”  

The delegates present at the general segment of the substantive session on United Nations research and training institutes expressed a general enthusiasm for UNITAR’s achievements. While Guilherme Patriota, Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations in Geneva, acknowledged the positive strategic reform of the Institute, H.E. Omar Hilale, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva, thanked Mr. Lopes for turning UNITAR into a model for excellence in training. There was also general support for the proposed resolution by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG) on UNITAR, which was adopted by ECOSOC at the end of its conference.

[1] The financial growth of over 50.5%, reflected in the revised budget for 2008-2009, is 57% higher than the expenditures of the previous biennium.  

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