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SG’s management reform initiatives are well under way but change is never easy!

Umoja and Mobility are indispensable for building a truly global and efficient Secretariat, along with other major transformative initiatives currently underway, such as IPSAS, the new ICT strategy, Global Service Delivery Model (GSDM).

The new mobility system will nurture a UN workforce, who is truly global, dynamic and adaptable to the future needs of our organization, through periodic movement of staff to different roles, functions, departments and duty stations. It will help staff gain wider experience, better insight and many more skills, allowing them to not only advance their careers, but to better meet the complex and difficult demands placed on the Organization.

With the approval of the General Assembly and after several years’ preparation, the colleagues from POLNET have already opted in to participate in the first managed mobility exercise. Vacancy compendium will be open for application in April.

Umoja is now a living operational system for 32,000 staff at 400 UN locations across the globe in almost 100 entities, with diverse cultures and mandates.  In stabilization stage, many of us are experiencing how challenging it can be to adapt to new ways.

Umoja, built on the same software successfully adopted by tens of thousands of leading global organizations, is the most ambitious transformative initiative undertaken by the Secretariat to date. It unifies hundreds of disparate operating models, databases and local practices into one common, harmonized solution that also enables a self-service element for staff and managers. It ensures that UN policies and standards are applied uniformly across all UN duty stations, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week anywhere in the world. It will allow us to run operations during emergencies by transacting from remote locations, if necessary. 

Umoja has already achieved tangible results:

  • We were able to establishthe first-ever UN emergency health mission (UNMEER) and have it up and running in a record time of 10 days;
  • 32,000 payslips are issued on schedule monthly;
  • 80,000 travel requests have been successfully processed on time;
  • 20,000 work orders have been processed, with 82% completed in less than 1.5 days;
  • 67,000 shopping carts worth $10.6 billion have correctly been processed;
  • 120,000 purchase orders worth $12.5 billion have been entered ;
  • 5,200 grants amounting to $4 billion have been created and managed

At the same time, Umoja represents an unprecedented and complex challenge for many of us to internalize and master the new operation system.  There are the teething issues which are to be expected from such a sophisticated solution. It will take time to master and to adapt to the stricter operational and fiscal discipline that the system demands. 

Thanks to the feedback received during the post implementation, every effort is being made by the Management team to resolve backlogs promptly, update policies, simplify processes, streamline service delivery and enhance systems solution.  I urge you to keep on being demanding and critical because, combined with a constructive attitude, it forms the basis for improvement. I would also urge you to always use the formal reporting channels if you find issues getting in your way to properly conduct business. This is, of course, the most professional and expeditious way to get your real problems solved.

The effort is producing result, but its success depends on all of us. Once we jointly manage to stabilize and master the new way of working, we will be able to proudly say that we were the generation that brought the most important business transformation to the UN in its 70 years of history.