By Max Patrick Ocaido
The United Nations (UN) has finalized plans to ‘relocate’ its Regional Service Center (RSC) in Entebbe in a move meant to cut on administrative costs.
This is after a report titled, “Global service delivery model for the United Nations Secretariat” was on January 15, 2019 submitted to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres submitted and is soon expected to be tabled before the UN General Assembly.
On May 01, 2018, Guterres wrote to the General Assembly committee to assess the 11 existing UN secretariats across the world, including the base at Entebbe, with the view of creating one-stop centres to streamline operations. Guterres recommended that the Entebbe base be shifted to Nairobi to save about $11.3m (about Shs42bn).
According to the report that Kampala Post has seen, UN intends to adopt the Global Shared Service Centres rather than the current regional service centers that “will offer proactive client support, where performance levels are measured consistently to provide greater transparency of administrative cost, improved quality and timeliness, and a mechanism for continuous improvement underpinned by a performance management framework.”
“The present proposal offers an attractive cost profile in comparison with the current cost of providing administrative support services (also referred to as the “baseline”).
Once the Global Shared Service Centres are established, there is estimated to be a $23 million annual cost reduction compared with the baseline,” the report says.
Currently, UN spends $62.3m in running baselines annually, but believes that through this global service delivery model, they will only spend $39.3m in running Global Shared Service Centres.
According to the report, UN has already assessed and identified member states where they will put up these Global Shared Service Centres and the assessment was conducted in all the 45 existing locations of the UN and all 193 Member States including Uganda were invited to express their interest in hosting a Global Shared Service Centre.
Consequently, 19 Member States proposed a total of 22 locations as potential hosts of the Global Shared Service Centres. Of those 22 locations, 15 had already been included among the 45 existing locations or the 11 locations of specialized agencies, related organizations and other entities. The remaining 7 locations were included in the assessment, resulting in a total of 63 locations being assessed.
The 19 Member States include; Uganda, Kenya, Bostwana, Germany and Denmark.
Of the 63 locations, 39 locations fully met the minimum requirements and Uganda is not among them, according to report.
“The results of the assessment indicated that Nairobi, Shenzhen, Budapest and Montréal were the highest scoring in their respective geographic regions (i.e., Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas). Consequently, it is proposed that all four locations should each host a Global Shared Service Centre. This recommendation would fully address the requirements of the General Assembly pursuant to its resolution 72/262 C,” the report adds.
“The Governments of the four recommended locations have all confirmed their recognition of United Nations privileges and immunities, including work permits for third-country nationals to work for the Global Shared Service Centres as locally recruited staff and work permits for spouses of international staff. Each Government has also proposed additional contributions of support.”
In a bid to ensure adequate capacity development in the centres, UN says that teams of experienced transactional staff will be assigned in each location for a period of 12 to 24 months to provide training and on-the-job coaching to new staff.
As a result, some of the experienced staff will be retained for the second year of operation to ensure that the centres retain the capacity to manage complex cases and to support the development of nationally recruited staff. The UN Entebbe base is reportedly employing 420 people directly.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO UGANDA
According to the report, the duty stations most affected by the implementation of the Global Shared Service Centres include New York, Entebbe, Kuwait, offices away from Headquarters and the regional commissions. The global service delivery model will move only location-independent transactional services to service centres.
Substantive offices will retain their full decision-making authority and be further enabled to focus on mandate implementation.
“As an example, the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda, will continue to perform functions not within the scope of the global service delivery model, including regional information and communications technology services, regional training and conference services and transport and movement services,” the report says.
The Entebbe Support Base logistics hub for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts the Global Procurement Support Section, the Civilian Predeployment Training Team, the Regional Ombudsman, the Office of Internal Oversight Services and the United Nations Mine Action Centre. It also hosts liaison offices and functions of neighbouring peacekeeping operations, including the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
UN in its committee report says that the above activities in the Entebbe base “will continue to be performed in Entebbe. As a result, 545 staff and contractors would remain in Entebbe to perform such functions.”
The report admits that 747 posts will be affected as a result of the implementation of the global service delivery model.