Briefings held on new delegation of authority with heads of entity

To establish a dialogue with heads of entity who received enhanced delegated authority from the Secretary-General on 1 January 2019, the Under-Secretaries-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC) and for Operational Support (DOS) co-chaired two regional briefings, with support from their Assistant Secretaries-General in late January. At the time of the workshops, most heads of entity had accepted their delegation of authority via an online portal.

“Enhanced accountability should not be seen as an additional burden, but as an opportunity to innovate our business models and to redesign our processes,” said Jan Beagle, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance. “Now is the time to transform.”

Infographic: Cycles of Delegation of Authority

The briefings included an overview of the framework and discussions of the new authorities in each functional area. In budget and finance, the discussion included the redeployment of funds and certifying and approving authority. Questions on procurement included local procurement authority for strategic goods and services, and the use of exceptions to formal methods of solicitation. In property management and human resources, key topics included the use of service providers for physical verification and disposal of assets, the execution of decisions, and other transactional activities.

Frequently asked questions along with other resources for managers will be made available to help managers in exercising their new delegated authorities. DOS is available to help managers with advice and guidance on the exercise of delegated authorities. DMSPC, particularly the Business Transformation and Accountability team, is committed to working with managers globally to ensure compliance and accountability in this new paradigm of de-centralized decision-making.

“We are in the process of learning and I have to say how excited we are,” remarked Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. “I believe that we are entering into a thoroughly improved process of administration because now we will be closer to the way in which we are delivering on our mandates and we will be able to hold accountable those to whom we are sub-delegating.”

All heads of entity are expected to sub-delegate to qualified staff via the online portal, which makes tracking delegations and reporting more transparent. Heads of entity include, among others, heads of mission, departments, offices away from headquarters, regional commissions, and resident and regional coordinators.


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.