About The Geneva Group


How does the Geneva Group work?

The Geneva Group functions at three levels:  (1) UN Directors, (2) Mission personnel who focus on governance and management issues or otherwise work directly with the UN and its affiliated agencies and funds and programs and (3) Ambassadors, who meet periodically to take a strategic overview of the progress being made at expert level.

What is the CLM?

The UN Directors meet twice a year in a Consultative Level Meeting (CLM).  The spring meeting takes place in Geneva, and the fall meeting in New York.  The spring meeting usually focuses on issues related to the UN specialized and technical agencies.  Because so many of these agencies are in Geneva (including ILO, ITU, WMO, WHO and WIPO), the spring meeting has a Geneva emphasis, but also incorporates issues from other UN cities such as Paris, Vienna and Rome.  The fall meeting usually focuses on issues related to UN headquarters.

What is the ELM?

The annual Expert Level Meeting (ELM), chaired by Canada, occurs just before the CLM in Geneva in the spring and involves mission personnel from Geneva, Vienna, Rome and Paris, as well as experts from capitals and New York.  The ELM identifies trends and issues of crosscutting importance to the UN system, and provides information and recommendations for action to the CLM.  The CLM decides which areas to emphasize for the upcoming year, guiding the work of the Local Groups.  All Local Group members are encouraged to attend the ELM.

How do the Local Groups work?

The Local Groups consist of experts who meet several times throughout the year.  There are eleven Local Groups in Geneva, two in Vienna, and one each in Paris, Rome, and The Hague.  Each Local Group monitors and tries to influence the UN agencies policies on governance and management issues. The Local Groups occasionally include non-members in their meetings, depending on the type of issue under discussion and the degree of interest that the issue generates.

Local Groups usually have excellent access to high-ranking officials in the secretariats of the UN agencies.  They routinely receive briefings on documents and strategies prior to their formal release.  These briefings provide opportunities for members to provide input to agencies and to influence their direction and policies.  Each Local Group submits an annual report to the ELM, and these reports provide input for the Directors to consider at their Consultative Level Meetings.

The Geneva Group is an informal grouping of like-minded countries, which means there are no ‘Geneva Group statements’ as such in governing body meetings.  Instead, Local Groups meet before governing body meetings and share information to ensure that Geneva Group countries’ national statements in governing body meetings and bilateral meetings with secretariats cover issues of importance to the Geneva Group.  This ‘chorus of voices’ approach has proven effective in generating action and change in the agencies.

The informality of the Geneva Group means it is not essential for all 16 members to act together on every issue.  Local Group Co-Chairs have found it effective to form various informal sub-groups to take forward work on particular issues.  This might involve a small group of Geneva Group countries undertaking joint lobbying of a secretariat or a burden-sharing approach whereby members of the Local Group seek to lobby non-Geneva Group members on particular governance and management issues.    

How do the Focal Groups work?

The Geneva Group also comprises Focal Groups that focus on specific thematic issues.  These issues cut across multiple agencies and funds and programs.  There are currently Focal Groups on Oversight,  and Human Resources in both Geneva and New York.  There are also Focal Groups on Buildings and Budgets in Geneva and Information Communications Technology and the Regular and Peacekeeping Budgets in New York.  The Focal Groups in Geneva and New York exchange ideas and collaborate on shared areas of interest.  The Focal Groups also frequently engage with other networks such as the Chief Executive Board’s High Level Committee on Management.

The Focal Groups often guide the Local Groups in the work that they do with specific agencies.  For example, the Focal Group on Human Resources in Geneva has developed a checklist of issues that each Local Group can use when discussing human resources practices with the UN agencies and funds and programs.



The Geneva Group in Brief

The Geneva Group (GG) has existed since 1964.  Permanently co-chaired by the US and UK, the GG consists of seventeen members that possess “like-mindedness” on administrative and financial matters - the current members are:

  1. Australia
  2. Belgium
  3. Canada
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Italy
  8. Mexico
  9. Netherlands
  10. Norway
  11. Russia
  12. Republic of Korea
  13. Spain
  14. Sweden
  15. Switzerland
  16. Turkey
  17. United Kingdom
  18. United States



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