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Report of the UNSDG Chair
on the Development Coordination Office





DCO serves as the secretariat to the UNSDG Business Innovation Group (BIG), co-led by WFP and UNHCR, to advance collective efforts to ensure more efficient UNCT operations.

This has required a heavy lift and we are now in a positive trajectory.

The Secretary General has established a target of all 131 (100%) of UNCTs to have a Business Operations Strategy (BOS) in place by the end of 2021. Through the work of the BIG and Resident Coordinators:


of UNCTs
had a BOS

55% of UNCTs had a BOS in March 2020, compared to 40% in 2018, on track to meet the target.

The BOS framework was revised to reduce the time and complexity to develop it

High impact services are being identified for replication in other countries.

Over 200 inter-agency personnel were trained by the first quarter of 2020 to develop and manage the BOS. An on-line version of the training is being developed to reduce cost of capacity development and target a greater number of personnel.

The target aims to establish a Common Back Office (CBO) for all 131 UNCTs by 2022.

A new methodology for CBOs is being piloted to include tools like cost-benefit analysis to identify functions with high potential for consolidation and a standardized Service Level Agreement that defines roles, responsibilities and performance metrics.

  • Evidence shows that the highest efficiency gains are in fact achieved from entities individually centralizing functions.

  • The BIG has mapped out 163 services that could be offered by at least one UN entity to UNCTs through global shared service centres and will broker inter-agency agreements in 2020

  • Viet Nam, Brazil, Cabo Verde and Eswatini have piloted common back offices to date

In addition, 50% of UNCTs should have common premises by the end of 2021

  • 1.

    DCO currently supports over 40 UNCTs in moving towards common premises

  • 2.

    The BIG is establishing an inter-agency database of UN premises to track every country’s current situation, finalize common premises pilots in six countries and devise a methodology for consolidation.

  • 3.

    Recently established Common Premises report significant results in terms of cost avoidance, UN image and reputation, and inter-agency collaboration.

The merger of 44 UNICs into RCOs has created efficiencies and savings while bolstering communication alignment between the Resident Coordinator system and DGC.

  • The 44 communications officers will remain on DGC accounts while reporting directly to the Resident Coordinator.
  • This has freed SPTF funds originally allocated to RCO communications officers, which will off-set other costs, such as for coordination measures around MCOs, in line with Member States’ decisions.
  • Of the 44 RCO-integrated UNICs, 30 (68%) are co-located in the same building as the RCO.

We have also made strides in establishing a system to report on efficiency gains across the UN development system.

  • In the second half of 2020, we will start reporting regularly to Member States on efficiencies achieved across the UNDS, through both qualitative and quantitative data.