The 2007/08 reporting period marked several important events that have contributed to the continuous efforts of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) to further coordination and cooperation among United Nations system organizations on a wide range of programme, management and operational issues. The increasingly vocal calls from the international community for a more effective, coherent and better performing United Nations elevated the Chief Executives Board to new prominence in intergovernmental debates. With a view to strengthening the role and functioning of the Board, the review of CEB itself, which had been initiated at the request of the Secretary-General in 2006, was also completed during the reporting period.

A major outcome of the Chief Executives Board review was the integration of the United Nations Development Group into the CEB structure. The United Nations Development Group thereby became the third pillar of the CEB structure, alongside its two standing subsidiary bodies, the High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM) and the High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP). The Board held its first meeting under the new structure on 28 and 29 April 2008 in Bern, Switzerland. The integration of the United Nations Development Group into the CEB framework ensures the alignment of country-level operations with the strategic directions and priorities pursued at the programme level, while at the same time providing the mechanisms to strengthen coordination at the country level and incorporating feedback from country-level cooperation into programme and management processes at the Headquarters level.

The CEB review has also enhanced the decision-making capacity delegated to the Board’s three pillars, which will facilitate and accelerate the decision-making process of executive heads at formal CEB sessions. With the results of the review now in place, the Board is better poised to make a strong and timely contribution to addressing global issues confronting the international community — from food security to the impact of climate change — that demand a strong and coherent response by United Nations system organizations.

The role of the Chief Executives Board has, during the reporting period, featured more prominently in intergovernmental deliberations than has been the case in the past. The Board, for example, cooperated in developing a common United Nations system contribution to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, from 3 to 14 December 2007. The Board’s work also formed the basis for the Secretary-General’s overview report that was submitted to the thematic debate on climate change in the General Assembly in February 2008.

General Assembly resolution 62/208 on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development provides a comprehensive framework for Member States to provide policy guidance to United Nations system development cooperation activities. The resolution also places considerable emphasis on the role of the Board in ensuring system-wide coherence, effectiveness and efficiency. However, as has frequently been stressed in the informal consultations on system-wide coherence during the sixty-first and sixty-second sessions of the Assembly, coherence is only a means to the end of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in delivery of assistance to those that need it the most. On the basis of the belief that increased coherence in the working modalities of United Nations system member organizations can contribute significantly to the delivery of such results, CEB, therefore, further elaborated proposals to harmonize business practices in the United Nations system.

During the reporting period the Board also welcomed the appointment of Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter Agency Affairs, as the new Secretary of the CEB.