UN committee recommends to close Entebbe base

The Fifth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Budgetary and Administrative has made a business case for the establishment of three one-stop centers across the globe. The “global shared service centers” will be based in Nairobi, Budapest and Mexico City.

The committee report says that the majority of the posts within these service centers “will be created by abolishing posts in other duty stations.”

This report comes in after speculations on whether the UN would be closing their Regional Service Center in Entebbe. During the Committee’s April visit to the Entebbe base, Uganda reiterated its commitment to hosting the United Nations, with Ambassador Isaac Sebulime, Director for Regional and International Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminding the delegation of Uganda’s generosity in giving the United Nations 20 additional acres for expansion.

The base was established in 2010 to support UN activities as a Logistics Base but expanded to offer more services and became a Regional Service Center providing administrative support services to all Peacekeeping Missions in Africa.

However, only three cities were selected to cover Europe, Africa and Americas with centers recommended in Budapest, Nairobi and Mexico City.

Nairobi will be the biggest center and the home of the Director of Global Shared Service. It is expected to employ 368 people in the first two years, with the number dropping to 351 in the third year. Total staffing across the three centers will be 745 in the first two years, reducing to 684 “as efficiency gains and process improvements are realised.”

The Committee recommends a phased approach with the Nairobi center starting in Q1 of 2019; Budapest in the next quarter and Mexico City in the fourth quarter. Nairobi, the largest of all, will have two phases with its second phase starting in the third quarter of next year.

Once the project is fully delivered, the report estimates a “$11.3 million cost reduction per year over the baseline cost”.

They propose the abolishing of many posts, including over 350 posts under peacekeeping operations and the support account under peacekeeping operations. The committee suggests that there will be $10m available in the Global Shared Services Program budget for support under peacekeeping in FY18/19; and $16.4m for peacekeeping in the FY19/20.