Advancing the new management paradigm: Management reform in action

The vision for management reform is to improve programme delivery by aligning responsibility for mandate implementation with the authority to manage resources, simplifying the administrative policy framework of the Secretariat, and moving decision-making closer to the point of delivery.

A key first step in achieving management reform took place on 1 January 2019 with the launch of two new departments: the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC) and the Department of Operational Support (DOS). These will cooperate closely to build a more responsive and field-oriented Secretariat. This includes co-chairing a Management Client Board to ensure systematic and integrated feedback between the new departments and their clients.

DMSPC provides strategic policy leadership in all areas of management. Through a clear and integrated global framework, the department is poised to shape a results-oriented and risk-aware culture of continuous learning and accountability. In addition, DMSPC will offer project management capacity, and support managers with results-based management, internal evaluation, enterprise risk management and other methodologies for continuous improvement, innovation and organizational transformation.

As the operational arm of the Secretariat, DOS delivers end-to-end guidance and support on supply chain management, personnel matters and training, ICT requirements, and support for uniformed capabilities to approximately 90 entities, comprising more than 400 duty stations and offices. As needed, DOS will exercise delegated authority on their behalf. The new department also has the capacity to provide more detailed planning and surge support in special situations.

Infographic depicting revised delegations of authority framework

Revised delegations of authority framework. (Click to enlarge)

To bring decision-making closer to service delivery and empower managers, a comprehensive, new framework for delegation of authority (ST/SGB/2019/2) was designed and entered into effect on 1 January 2019 with the Secretary-General delegating authorities to heads of entity globally.

The Office of Information and Communications Technology will have dual reporting lines to the heads of DMSPC and DOS to ensure continuous service for the entire Organization.

With enhanced accountability, transparency and client-focus, the new management paradigm will help break silos, harness good practices and develop common values across the United Nations system.


It might seem like critical situations or incidents should be second nature in the United Nations, yet sometimes capacities are stretched beyond any norm or barriers to reallocation of resources put up obstacles. As part of management reform, a dedicated capacity in the Department of Operational Support was created to support the start-up, surge, or closure of Secretariat entities, as well as to better respond to critical incidents. 

Due to the global and dispersed nature of the United Nations, system-wide collaboration has always been a challenge. In person meetings are not always possible and entities across the UN system employ different tools and systems for their own work.

In recent years, the United Nations has undergone a series of transformative changes that have impacted the Organization’s people, processes and technology.