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ECOSOC – Consultative e Management meeting

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente d’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Consultative and Management Meeting (CMM) dell’ECOSOC —

Madame Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me in the first place thank the representatives of the training and research institutions of the UN for the informative presentations they have just delivered to the Council.

The agenda item under consideration today is indeed of paramount importance for the ability of the United Nations to pursue its core mission of jointly promoting peace and security, respect for human rights and sustainable development. Discussing research and training institutions of the UN means touching upon “knowledge” and “learning”, and we know how much “knowledge” and “learning” are key to the objectives of this Organization.

When we considered today’s agenda item last time, in June 2015, we were on the eve of the adoption of Agenda 2030. We are now in the second year of the implementation of the Agenda and it is becoming clearer, day after day, how the new Agenda has made “knowledge” and “learning” even more pressing priorities than two years ago.

Progress towards sustainable development requires, indeed, the support of the United Nations in spreading awareness and understanding of the contents of Agenda 2030 throughout the UN system and beyond. But that will not be sufficient.

If it has to live up to expectations, the United Nations system needs also to shift to a holistic and integrated mode of running its operations. No single SDG can be considered the exclusive mandate of any particular UN entity and no SDG can be excluded from the work of any UN system entity. Similarly, peace and security, human rights and sustainable development cannot be pursued independently from each other, but rather as a joint endeavor which should inspire the everyday activity of all the components of the United Nations.

Such holistic approach is today more necessary than ever, but it is also perhaps harder to pursue today than in the past. This is because the UN system has grown in size and complexity to respond to the challenges of a more interconnected and complex world.

How can we ensure then that such a holistic approach is actually endorsed and implemented across all articulations of the United Nations thus enabling each entity to be fine-tuned with rest of the system ?

The answer lies in enhancing “coherent and comprehensive thinking” and in building a common “organizational and management culture” among the staff of the United Nations system, aiming at an Organization that is “fit for purpose” and able to deliver as one.

This is precisely where an entity such as the United Nations System Staff College plays a fundamental role, thanks to its unique inter-agency and system-wide mandate. It was indeed the profound belief in the added value of this approach that made Italy a convinced sponsor of the Staff College since the beginning.

The College has managed to establish itself as centre of excellence within the UN system. Success is testified by the increasing number of UN staff taking advantage of its learning opportunities and by the ability of the College to establish partnerships and to attract resources from a variety of actors even outside the UN system.

The Staff College is a significant success story of how the UN system can be helped to better achieve its mandates. Further progress can be made in terms of fully leveraging on the potential of the Staff College. Finally, the experience earned so far should serve as a source of inspiration in facilitating management and organizational transformation, that are of critical importance to the effective and efficient delivery of the mandates of the United Nations.