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Ian Divers, OIC, and other members of the Umoja team travelled to Geneva last week for two days of discussion on its deployment strategy with the Directors of Administration of the three Offices Away from Headquarters. Also participating were representatives from ECE and ESCWA (on behalf of the Regional Commissions) and ITC, OCHA, OHCHR, UNCCD, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNFCC, UNISDIR, and UN-HABITAT. Umoja had a previous intensive workshop with DFS on 19-20 January.

The workshops were organised to validate Umoja's deployment approach with colleagues, introduce local preparatory activities that will enable deployment (including training and change management activities), and to work together to identify dependencies, risks and mitigating measures.

Umoja is an administrative reform initiative tasked with transforming the way the UN manages financial, human and material resources through a single organization-wide system. The first phase of the project (Umoja Foundation) will be deployed at a pilot site in early 2013 and will be continually rolled-out through 2014, while the second phase (Umoja Extension) will be deployed in 2015, realizing the full power of the system's technology and bringing about comprehensive improvements to UN resource management.

The participants provided great insights into the nature and structure of operations in their respective entities. Last week's bitter temperatures in Geneva did not cool the lively discussion, and Umoja received excellent input and recommendations, particularly on the criteria for deployment sequencing.

While participants expressed criticism of Umoja's slow pace during what has been a challenging time for the project, they all warmly reiterated their commitment to the initiative's success. Sandro Dessi, Umoja's coordinator in Geneva, summed it up when he declared at the workshop''s conclusion "the road is icy and slippery, but the sky ahead is clear". Umoja will keep moving forward.

The Umoja team will take the results of the workshop into account when finalizing the deployment strategy for the approval by its Steering Committee. Umoja is grateful to the participants for their active engagement and constructive approach.

As we prepare to build and deploy, collaboration with stakeholders across the global Secretariat on issues such as data cleansing and other preparatory activities will become ever more critical.

Originally published on iSeek in English and French on 15 February 2012

Blog Posts: Umoja Website
February 2012

  • Preparing to deploy - Umoja visits Geneva
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