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UN honours staff for efforts to improve world body’s efficiency

UN honours staff for efforts to improve world body’s efficiency

Winners of UN 21 awards
From setting up community projects to employ ex-combatants in Sierra Leone to streamlining procurement procedures for peacekeeping missions, the efforts of United Nations staff to improve the world body’s efficiency received recognition today at a ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York.

Eight projects from across the UN’s many departments, agencies and missions won prizes as part of the annual UN 21 Awards, established in 1996 to encourage staff members to find more cost-effective ways of carrying out the UN’s work. Another four projects were commended.

The awards were expanded this year to include a new category recognizing programmes and field projects that demonstrate a positive impact on the UN’s clients.

Presenting the awards, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the winners that their initiatives have benefits that extend far beyond their immediate area.

“You have contributed to new and efficient means of sharing knowledge system-wide,” she said. “You have improved workflows by changing stagnant processes. You have helped us become more productive and efficient by adapting new IT applications.”

The winners included: the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON), which has developed a programme to support staff and their families affected by HIV/AIDS; the Department of Public Information (DPI), for providing the global “webcasting”, or broadcast over the Internet, of such events as Security Council and General Assembly meetings; and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which has streamlined its acquisition and deployment of motor vehicles in missions around the world.

The UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) picked up two awards. One was for its StopGap programme, where about 6,000 ex-combatants from the civil war and 1,500 others were given work on community developments projects until the Government was able to provide reintegration opportunities. The other was for an information technology application that allows security staff in the West African country to respond much more quickly to emergencies or evacuation requirements.

The Department of Management was recognized for developing websites to help staff learning any one of the six official languages of the UN, and for improving access to the medical records of more than 60,000 UN staff worldwide. Another award went to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for establishing the Tribunet, an Intranet-system that allows staff of the organ based in The Hague in the Netherlands to access and share information.