Task Force on Secretariat structure, staffing and management systems
Information Bulletin No.6
24 March 2000
A New Website on UNESCO’s Reform
The new integrated website covering the three main dimensions of UNESCO’s reform
(programme, management and decentralization) is now online and can be consulted at:
http://webworld.unesco.org/taskforces/index.shtml. Prepared in collaboration with
the web team of the Communication, Information and Informatics Sector, it is still in a
development phase (French version to be available soon) but is already operational. It presents
the three task forces established by the Director-General, including all relevant information on
them (mandates, membership, work plans and deadlines) and documentation produced by them
(information bulletins, questionnaires, reports, etc.). It also provides direct contact possibilities
and links to other relevant documents and sites, in particular reform-related sites of other UN
agencies and different international and regional organizations and institutions. The website is
conceived both as a public information source and as an internal communication tool,
providing UNESCO staff with up-to-date information on the progress of the reform and
offering feedback possibilities. While the website has a uniform graphical and technical
concept, each task force is responsible for the content and maintenance of its pages and is free
to adapt them to its specific requirements.
Working Groups on Personnel policies and practices (WG 2), Intersectorality (WG 3) and
Management, lines of authority and reporting (WG 4) have produced their first reports.
Summaries of these reports are attached in annex and the full text versions are can be consulted
on the new reform site, respectively at:
After Working Group 2 has finalized its report and submitted it to the Task Force, the
UNESCO Staff Union came up with an addendum to that report containing specific proposals
by STU. The text of the addendum is also available on the Task Force’s website.
These reports, together with the replies to the reform questionnaire (available at:
http://webworld.unesco.org/taskforces/m/documents.shtml), will now be used for the
preparation of the draft report by the Director-General on the reform process to be submitted to
the 159th session of the Executive Board (9-25 May 2000).
From 28 February to 9 March 2000, the Task Force held two rounds of meetings with the
sectors and services to review their proposals for the “ideal” structure that, in their opinion,
would be optimal for the most effective implementation of UNESCO’s programmes. The
ADGs of the Sectors and the Directors of the Bureaux had been invited, when making their
proposals, to address the problems of top-heaviness, fragmentation of structures and
hierarchical complexity, as well as the need for the rejuvenation of staff. In order to ensure a
wider discussion, the first round of this review was conducted with the participation ADGs,
Directors of divisions and Chiefs of separate units. During the second round, the ADGs were
invited to propose a limited number of options based on the results of the first round. As usual,
representative of both staff associations participated in the review and provided their
On 13 March 2000, the Task Force met again to discuss the results of these review meetings
and to select a number of options to be submitted to the Director-General. As a result, from two
to four options were retained for each sector and bureau, including those discussed with the
respective heads and additional proposals by the Task Force based on the information obtained
during the reviews. The implementation of these options would reduce by 50 to 70% the
current number of divisions and separate units. Thus, the number of divisions/units in a
programme sector would not exceed five and sometimes could be limited to three. The
non-programme services could be reorganized along the same lines, with some divisions being
replaced by sections and some services regrouped in a more logical way.
It goes without saying that any such changes cannot happen overnight and would have to be
implemented gradually and without prejudice to the rights of the staff members concerned.
However, this exercise reveals that there exist real possibilities to streamline the overall
structure and reduce top-heaviness, and that just by eliminating overlapping and grouping
All the selected options have been submitted to the Director-General for consideration.
Agreed Separation Scheme
On 10 March 2000, the Task Force discussed options for an agreed separations scheme on the
basis of the recommendations contained on the report of Working Group 2 (see annex) and the
experience of other UN agencies, in particular WHO. It was agreed that such a scheme could be
instrumental in balancing the staff costs, reducing top-heaviness of the Secretariat,
rejuvenating staff and bringing in fresh expertise. It was also noted that in order to produce any
staff costs savings in the current biennium, such a scheme would have to be initiated quite
early. Based on these discussions, the Office of Human Resources Management is preparing a
concrete proposal for submission to the Director-General.
Cooperation with other Task Forces
The Chairpersons of the three Task Forces and their secretariats maintain close working
contacts. As the Task Forces advance in their work, such coordination becomes not only
desirable, but really indispensable because of the multi-faceted and interrelated nature of issues
under review, be it with regard to programme, management or decentralization.
Contacts with the Executive Board
On 22 March 2000, the Chairperson of the Task Force met with the Chairperson of the
Executive Board and briefed her on the latest results the Task Force’s work.