The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
46th session of the High-Level Committee on Management
Speech by Jorge Moreira da Silva, UNOPS Executive Director, at the evening reception of the 46th session of the High-Level Committee on Management – Copenhagen, 4 October 2023
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On behalf of UN City in Copenhagen, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all.
And how apt that your 46th session should take place here - a location that truly aligns with the mission of HLCM and HLCP.
Because UN City embodies so much that is good about working together as one UN. Over the years, our physical proximity has played a key role in making our joint UN activities more coherent, efficient, effective and relevant.
The gains and cost-efficiencies of this exercise have been proven time and time again over these years. Our experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of responding locally but more importantly our global response - is just one example.
In fact, this building was designed by a Danish architecture studio that believes that you can change behavior through architecture. The staircase behind you is intended to do exactly that. Inspired by the shape of a heart with arteries to the different floors and agencies, the staircase is one that unites us all, has us run into one another, and connect across agency divides. In other words, it is the vital organ – the heart - of the building and a constant reminder that we are here to deliver as one.
We are a big and diverse group - 11 agencies, and around 2000 colleagues who work across our two campuses.
But while our jobs and mandates differ - we are united in our commitment to playing our part towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Your visit comes as we gear up to celebrate UN City Copenhagen’s 10th birthday in our - now not so new - home.
And as we celebrate our achievements and look to the future - we have a vision. To make the best of our presence here and work closely together - in an inclusive and sustainable manner - to accelerate the SDGs. And together we want to be a strong voice for multilateralism, for our UN City to be an inspiring meeting place for engagement on global issues.
Halfway through that timeline - and with the SDGs in peril- we know that we need to pull together resources to deliver on the “rescue plan” agreed in New York last month.
And so today’s focus on the issue of digital transformation, and its impact on our work internally and externally in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is one that
is particularly relevant to all of us here.
We all want to respond faster, be more efficient, save more lives and do more to protect the people and the planet. Transforming our operations in the UN can make a huge difference - as the Secretary General’s UN 2.0 so effectively makes a case for. But how do we make the new technologies work for the benefit of the communities that we serve? In the face of a digital revolution that is changing every aspect of our lives at an unprecedented pace - how do we ensure that we pursue the benefits of AI while mitigating the risks?
I think the conversations today have been very helpful in both developing a shared understanding of AI, its opportunities and challenges, but also helping shape a collective approach to enhance our work as one UN family.
Over the next two days - I look forward to a host of conversations that will be instrumental in helping us all to work more effectively, efficiently and sustainably.
From issues around occupational health and safety, to progress on digital supply chains, measures to reduce the carbon emissions of our operations, and the crucial and ongoing work to address sexual harassment within the UN system - coordinated reforms are key so that we can deliver better for people and the planet.
I look forward to these conversations.