A set of reflections for member states as the UN rolls out its reform at the regional level

February 3, 2020

“The regional reform needs to go well beyond technical collaboration; it needs to shepherd in a new internal politics, where the UN entities truly work together at the regional level. The SDG era has led the UN to call on all organizations to radically alter their ways of working in response to huge global challenges, but one wonders whether the UN is sufficiently aware of how it has to change itself, or the example it has to give to others”.

Cepei visited all the UN regions twice in 2019 and produced a well-received report that helped shape the Secretary General’s five recommendations for regional reform.

In the first half of 2019 Cepei produced a substantial report on what regional reforms might be appropriate. This document was based on hundreds of interviews across the world, in person and by video, and validated by a committee of independent experts drawn from various sectors. 

Through this research, Cepei was able to garner deep insights into the reform process across all five regions and came across six major findings that may help understand the strengths and opportunities identified at the regional level.  

Improving communication and encouraging leadership at all levels are some of the main findings based on this analysis, which was a reflection of what we were told in our many face-to-face encounters. 

Principales Hallazgos

The regional reform needs to go well beyond technical collaboration; it needs to shepherd in a new internal politics, where the UN entities truly work together at the regional level.

In all five regions we found reasonable levels of clarity on the five recommendations set out by the Secretary General. However, we found a much more limited understanding of the reasons behind these recommendations. They know the “what”, but they are unsure of the “why”.

The Secretary-General and his team cannot produce significant transformation on their own. They need the commitment of member states and the UN system as a whole. Collaboration is the key to this reform.

Main Findings

The regional reform needs to go well beyond technical collaboration; it needs to shepherd in a new internal politics, where the UN entities truly work together at the regional level.

In all five regions we found reasonable levels of clarity on the five recommendations set out by the Secretary General. However, we found a much more limited understanding of the reasons behind these recommendations. They know the “what”, but they are unsure of the “why”.

The Secretary-General and his team cannot produce significant transformation on their own. They need the commitment of member states and the UN system as a whole. Collaboration is the key to this reform.

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