On Monday, 1 July 2013 UNIFIL held a ceremony to inaugurate "Umoja" (Swahili for "Unity"), a new administrative reform initiative for the United Nations Secretariat that includes a thorough streamlining of UN business processes and the introduction of new technologies.
The ceremony went "live" at the Pilot Deployment at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), with support from UN Headquarters.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon inaugurated UMOJA through a video link.
Present at the ceremony at UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura, were UN Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, Ms. Ameerah Haq, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sir Derek Plumbly, UNIFIL Force Commander and Head of Mission, Major-General Paolo Serra, UN Assistant Secretary-General Enterprise Resource Planning, Mr. Ernesto Baca and UNIFIL Director of Mission Support, Mr. Girish Sinha. The event was attended in New York by USG Yukio Takasu, Department of Management, and members of the Umoja Steering Committee as well as the core team.
Speaking at the ceremony Under-Secretary-General Ameerah Haq said:" Umoja represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the United Nations to cut through unnecessary red tape and help us all work more efficiently and effectively" and she added :"It will enhance accountability, transparency and internal controls for all types of resources: human, physical and financial. This initiative will help improve decision making and planning capabilities by providing up-to-date and accurate reports and data. UN staff will not just be learning a new system, but more effective and efficient ways to work."
UNIFIL Force Commander and Head of Mission Major-General Paolo Serra emphasized the importance of this event:" With the knowledge that Umoja is among the Secretary-General top reform initiatives for the organization, it is a matter of honour and pride for the mission to have been elected to pilot this implementation" and he said: "I understand that this represents the first of many steps in a journey of transformation, and commit the ongoing support of UNIFIL as we strive to continuously improve the effectiveness of our peacekeeping operations"
At its core, Umoja will provide a simplified and real-time approach to the Organization's management of finances, resources and assets. As the Pilot sites for Umoja (Foundation) UNIFIL and UNSCOL represent the first testing ground for the Umoja solution which will centralize access to important data and harmonize administrative procedures by implementing new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.