Revised Strategic Framework

Revised Strategic Framework 2010-2019 (click here for the PDF version)

Introduction

The Joint Inspection Unit presented to Member States its long-term strategic framework for 2010-2019 in its annual report for 2009 (A/63/34 and Corr.1). The General Assembly, in paragraph 17 of its resolution 63/272, acknowledged the undertaking by the Unit of a medium- and long-term strategy approach for 2010- 2019 and decided to consider any resources associated with the implementation of the strategy in future programme budgets. Two subsequent budget submissions by the Unit did not result, however, in the anticipated and necessary increase in resources, despite several resolutions calling upon the Secretary-General to reflect the appropriate resource requirements associated with the implementation of the relevant portions of the strategy. At the request of Member States in Assembly resolutions 64/262 (para. 14) and 65/270 (para. 6), the Unit has decided to update and improve its medium- and long-term strategy for 2010-2019, taking into account the dynamics and challenges of the environment in which it undertakes its activities.

The updated strategy should be read in conjunction with the one submitted originally. It reflects mainly the fact that the resources necessary to attain  the objectives set out for the decade have not yet been obtained. The updated strategy builds on the experience gained in the first two years of its implementation and also reflects the challenges faced by the United Nations system at the time of the update.

 

Overall orientation and long-term strategy

Bearing in mind the provisions of its statute, in particular chapter III, the long- term strategy of the Unit will continue to be influenced largely by the needs and requests of its major stakeholders. The Unit will focus its future activities on the major areas identified through the mandates received from the General Assembly and the corresponding legislative organs of the specialized agencies and other international organizations in the United Nations system. The strategy also reflects the relevant provisions of Assembly resolutions 62/226, 62/246, 63/272, 64/262 and 65/270, in which the Joint Inspection Unit was requested to focus its work on system-wide issues of interest and relevance to the participating organizations and to provide advice on ways to ensure more efficient and effective use of resources in implementing the mandates of the United Nations system organizations. Owing to a scarcity of resources, JIU was not in a position to undertake independent oversight on peacekeeping missions.

 

Long-term strategic objectives

The long-term goals are inherent to the fulfilment of the Unit’s mission and mandate, and thus remain unchanged, namely:

  • To assist the legislative organs of the participating organizations in meeting their governance responsibilities in respect of their oversight function concerning management by the secretariats of human, financial and other resources;
  • To help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the respective secretariats in achieving the legislative mandates and the mission objectives established for the organizations;
  • To promote greater coordination among the organizations of the United Nations system;
  • To identify best practices, propose benchmarks and facilitate information- sharing throughout the system.

The main objective for the period 2010-2019 is to provide the United Nations system organizations with concrete guidance and benchmarks so that they can have in place:

  • Rigorous accountability principles, systems and mechanisms, including oversight, administration of justice and ethics;
  • Improved and harmonized administrative and management practices of the system in the areas of human resources management, results-based management, procurement, strategic management and planning, risk management, security and safety and information technology;
  • Better coordinated and more effective policies, strategies and collaboration on the realization of internationally agreed objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals; South-South and North-South collaboration; humanitarian, post-conflict and development assistance; environmental issues; “Delivering as one”; and the like;
  • Improved and more effective governance arrangements.

 

Medium-term planning (2010-2015)

The Unit’s expected accomplishments constitute the critical results to be cemented and assessed by the Unit over the first four years covered by the strategic framework. The four-year medium-term planning is underpinned by the Unit’s reform proposals, as issued in its in-depth review of the statute and working methods (A/58/343), as well as numerous General Assembly resolutions. The following medium-term objectives have consequently been established: (a) strengthening the follow-up system for the implementation of recommendations; (b) the development of strategic annual programmes of work focused on system-wide issues; (c) systematic review of all participating organizations; (d) improved relevance and outreach; and (e) enhanced qualifications and tools of the JIU secretariat.

 

Strengthened follow-up system

The General Assembly, in its resolution 65/270, welcomed the efforts of the Unit to develop a web-based follow-up system to track the acceptance and implementation of recommendations of the Unit and gave a green light for its funding and development in 2011. The implementation of a more efficient and transparent follow-up system is a medium-term commitment of the Unit, which includes concrete, expected achievements, as set out below.

 

Increased system-wide perspective of the work of the Unit

The medium-term strategy is implemented through successive programmes of work for the period from 2010 to 2013. The Unit considers that in order to meet client needs, its annual programmes of work should focus on the long-term strategic areas from a system-wide perspective, in accordance with the mandates received from the governing bodies. Specific mandates received from the competent legislative organs of the participating organizations of the United Nations system might have an impact on a given annual programme of work. However, the activities undertaken by the Unit, in the medium term, should show progress towards the achievement of its long-term objective.

 

Systematic management and administration reviews of the participating & organizations

The Unit is of the view that a more systematic approach is required to review the management and administration of participating organizations, and it intends to ensure full coverage of all organizations over a long-term time frame, starting with those entities that have not yet been fully reviewed, followed by organizations that have already been reviewed, starting with those reviewed earlier. Although the ideal target is a review of each of them at least once every five years, current resources allow for a cyclical review only every eight years. The table below indicates the dates on which participating organizations were last reviewed.

As already demonstrated during 2010-2011, the management and administration reviews are not considered useful only by the participating organizations and governing boards, they also help enhance the Unit’s knowledge of the participating organizations, allowing it to fulfil one of the major components of its mission, which is to identify and disseminate best practices across the system.

 

Improved relevance and outreach of the reports of the Unit

The first self-evaluation exercise, in 2008, helped JIU to better understand stakeholders’ perceptions of how the Unit is undertaking its activities and progressing towards the fulfilment of its mission. Furthermore, the introduction of a rating system for proposed topics has also contributed to a programme of work that increasingly reflects the priorities of the system and that of legislative and governing bodies. The Unit plans to use self-evaluation data and performance- related feedback for purposes of subsequent planning, accountability, learning and decision-making. The Unit’s website will be reconfigured to provide improved and fully searchable access to reports and other products of the Unit. A self-evaluation will be initiated in 2012.

 

Enhanced qualifications and tools for the evaluation staff of the Unit

The development of staff skills through adequate external and/or internal training programmes is a key component of the medium-term strategy. Staff will continue to receive training in state-of-the-art evaluation techniques as well as other technical skills. Furthermore, internal guidance materials will be prepared, refining the methodology, strategy and professional rigour of the reviews.

 

Short-term programming

Short-term programming and short-term performance reporting are not part of the present framework. For this purpose the Unit will continue using its annual programme of work, a strategic workplan for the Secretariat and  related performance reports.

It should be noted that the Unit is making every effort to link its medium-term planning, including expected accomplishments and associated targets, to its short- term activities. This is done through the cascading of meaningful and linked objectives at different levels down to the individual level, to be reflected in staff performance appraisals.

 

Resources

The implementation of the above long- and medium-term strategy requires, inter alia, the availability of commensurate resources, both human and financial. Given that the United Nations allocates resources on a biennial basis, the Unit continues to assume that the resources necessary for the implementation of its long- and medium-term strategy will be made available in due time. In particular, it is fundamental to ensure coherence and compatibility between budgeting and programming decisions (e.g. any budget cuts should correspond to specific identified programme cuts). The increase in system-wide coverage has also stretched the JIU budget even further, making it impossible to ensure adequate geographic coverage of the work of the United Nations. Therefore, the Unit stresses the need to align the long-term objectives with the appropriate resources.