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Findings of the Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network regarding the UN Human Rights Office

Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

7 May 2019,
Palais des Nations,
Conference Room XXII

Excellencies,

It is a pleasure to be with you today.

I'm grateful to the Ambassador of Finland for having accompanied the MOPAN assessment of OHCHR over the past two years as institutional lead. I also particularly thank Suzanne Steensen, Samer Hachem, Jolanda Profos and Mark Singleton.

This was the first MOPAN assessment of OHCHR, and we highly appreciated the participatory process, which led many internal and external stakeholders contributing to this process.

The resulting assessment is of great value to me at this point of my mandate. It highlights OHCHR’s strengths, and the challenges we face in fulfilling our mandate. We consider its findings accurate and fair.

Notably, it acknowledges strengths developed in several areas that we have paid considerable attention to in recent years. They include our work to foster an inclusive corporate identity, and a clear and coherent vision and roadmap for the organisation. This was a key aspect of the development of our current Office Management Plan.

I am also pleased that the report acknowledges our longstanding commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women and efforts made to advance a culture of results across the Office. As many of you know, in recent years we have invested in results-based management, with a tailor-made Performance Monitoring System to monitor and report on the work done by every part of the Office across the world.

As the MOPAN assessment points out, there are areas in which we can improve. We are committed to addressing them.

We will be reinforcing our organizational arrangements for improved effectiveness and increased impact on the ground.

Regarding partnerships, we recently launched an internal task force tasked with identifying key partners -- and key enablers of partnerships -- as well as a vision and roadmap for the establishment of partnerships in the future.

In terms of human resources, we have increased our focus on talent management, emphasising our  Dignity@Work initiative which aims to ensure zero tolerance within our Office for abuse of authority or harassment, including sexual harassment.

We are also committed to strengthening our evaluation function, beyond the significant progress that has been made in building an evaluation culture in the Office since the establishment of our evaluation policy in 2014.

Coming as it does at the beginning of my mandate, MOPAN's independent assessment gives me a clear and unbiased sense of some achievements, and areas for future development. It brings me great satisfaction to be able to cite these passages, which summarise the overall spirit of the report:

“The Office has come a long way, despite the fact that its relatively limited resources are constantly stretched – across functions, themes and regions. Today, human rights violations are on the rise, and the fundamental principles that underpin their universality, indivisibility, interdependency and interrelations are being contested by UN member states themselves. Furthermore, the gap between OHCHR’s mandate and resourcing is increasing, and funding is becoming less predictable. Nonetheless, OHCHR’s organisational performance has, paradoxically, never been better”

and

“The relatively small Office of the High Commissioner is punching above its weight. This situation was created by the combination of (1) a corporate culture that sees as its mission to protect rights-holders, to set ambitious goals and targets for itself and to weather the storm if necessary, and (2) its dynamic inspirational leadership.”

Thanks to all who contributed to this endorsement of our efforts.