“Meet the UN-Agencies in UN City”, 3 October, 2013
There were nearly 70 participants at the meeting which took place in the new UN-City at Marmormolen in Nordhavn. The meeting had two parts. In the first, each agency presented: what they are doing in general and out of Copenhagen, what are the challenges in delivering on their mandates and what are the interactions with the surrounding Denmark. This was followed by questions and answers. Common challenges were found to include: inequities and continuing poverty, status of women and decreasing resources available for development. However, despite the latter progress was through drives for streamlining and improving efficiencies of the work.
The second part of the meeting focused on the One-UN concept, the UN Reform and the synergies emerging from the UN-City. After an introduction by Stine Junge from UNDP, the other panel members chipped in and there was a lively discussion triggered by questions from the floor. Following a trial of the “Delivering as One” in selected countries, this practice for funding and operation has been picked up for work in almost 100 countries around the world. While successes were reported, so were remaining challenges, including with respect to the different governance structures of the agencies and staff performance management systems. The latter do not always give credit for cross-agency work in particular as scarcer resources and sharper competition for resources become the reality.
With respect the UN-City, benefits are showing up in form of direct savings as well as additional gains at the same or lower costs. These benefits are beginning to be quantifiable. Agencies are now getting comfortable with integration of the ‘low-handing fruits’, such as, e.g., premise management, common reception, mail, conference services, canteen, security, IT, etc. The next steps could include the more difficult areas where agencies currently have varying standards and ways of operating, e.g., travel and medical services, procurement of office supplies, HR administration and management, etc.
The panel members from the eight UN-Agencies were: Pernille Fenger – Chief, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Nordic Office; Therese Ballard – Director, Sustainable Procurement Practice Group, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS); Taika Tuunanen – Intern, World Food Programme (WFP), Nordic Office; Asger Ryhl – Director, UN Women, Nordic Office; Stine Junge – Private Sector Officer, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nordic Representation Office; Olof Molander – Chief of Knowledge Management, Supply Division, United Nations Children’ Fund (UNICEF); Anne Olhoff – Head of the Climate Resilient Development Programme at UNEP Risø Centre, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Imre Hollo – Director of Administration and Finance, The World Health Organization (WHO, European Regional Office).
The meeting was moderated by Erik Blas, Chairman of “Ulandsfagligt selskab”
To read more about the UN-City Ulandsnyt.dk has published an article with reference to the meeting. The article can be seen here.
To see the powerpoint slides from the meeting, please click on them below.