Division of Administrative Services

UN in Kenya piloting the Common Back Office (CBO) as part of the United Nations reform and efficiency agenda

The UN Kenya is the first UN duty station globally to have successfully implemented a Common Back Office (CBO) as of January 2024. The CBO initiative stands as a pivotal component of the UN Secretary General’s Efficiency Reform, with the overarching goal of enhancing the UN's program implementation. This is achieved by consolidating services at the country level, thereby reducing duplication of functions and costs while concurrently elevating the quality and effectiveness of these services.

Why the Common Back Office?

The Secretary-General has set targets for “all United Nations country teams to ensure compliance and establish Common Back Offices for all United Nations country teams in order to increase efficiencies, provide better services to beneficiaries, and foster collaborative working relationships. 

In Kenya, UNON is the primary service provider while WFP and UNICEF are the secondary service providers. By consolidating administrative, finance, human resources, procurement, and IT and logistics services across the entire UN family in Kenya, tangible cost savings and efficiency gains are anticipated. These resources can then be reinvested into development and humanitarian programming, directly supporting the beneficiaries and contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals in Kenya. The main benefits of the CBO in improving efficiency are:

  1. Cost: By avoiding duplication and achieving economies of scale, it reduces costs of operations / improves financial sustainability
  2. Impact: Increases impact of programming through focus on core mandates
  3. Quality: Improves quality of operational services (specialised service centres, more reliable, etc.)
  4. Presence & Financial Sustainability: Facilitates continued experts’ representation of smaller offices which can outsource their administration to the CBO.
  5. Delivering as ONE: Strengthens perception and brand of UN as ‘One UN’, with CBO being a one-stop-shop for operations and administration.

UN Kenya Common Back Office Services


Budget and Financial Management Service

The Budget and Financial Management Service (BFMS) is responsible for the management of the financial resources and for the provision of financial and accounting services to the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), UNEP, UN-Habitat and other UN clients.

Information and Communication Technology Services

The Information and Communication Technology Service (ICTS) is responsible for providing overall computing, telecommunications, office automation, software and hardware support and infrastructure support within Nairobi, regionally and within the out-posted offices of UNEP and UN-Habitat.

Central Support Service

The Central Support Service (CSS) is responsible for managing a host of services on the UNON compound for UNEP, UN-Habitat other UN Agencies Funds and Programmes.  Services include - Facilities Management, Travel, Host Country Services, Transportation, Commercial Operations, Property Management, and Mail services.  

Human Resources Management Service

The Human Resource Management Service (HRMS) provides high-quality, efficient and effective Human resource services to UNEP, UN-HABITAT and other UN clients with a view to contributing to the attainment of their programme goals.  HRMS also incorporates the UN Joint Medical Service, which provides a range of medical expertise for UN clients throughout Kenya. The service covers the full suite of recruitment, classification, contractual management, staff administration, and training services.

Procurement Service

Procurement Service provides full service to UNON and the worldwide offices of UNEP and UN-Habitat, as well as other clients, including OCHA, UNODC and others.

Conference Capital Project

The Conference Facilities Capital Project aims to address the deteriorating conditions and limited capacity of the conference services facilities at UNON.