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International Organization in TimeFragmentation and Reform$
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Tine Hanrieder

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198705833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198705833.001.0001

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Decentralization and Fragmentation in the United Nations

Decentralization and Fragmentation in the United Nations

Comparing ILO and UNESCO

(p.117) 6 Decentralization and Fragmentation in the United Nations
International Organization in Time

Tine Hanrieder

Oxford University Press

The chapter studies path dependent decentralization within the wider United Nations (UN) system. Practically all UN organizations have decentralized some of their activities to territorial offices, but the governance of these offices varies. The chapter compares the decentralization trajectories of two UN agencies that differ with respect to their initial fragmentation: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO). While the ILO was designed as a hierarchical standard setter, UNESCO was partitioned into thematic sectors. Due to these different starting conditions, the ILO’s field activities remained subject to centralized control, whereas in UNESCO they reinforced sectoral fragmentation. UNESCO’s sectors strengthened their position by “parenting” theme-specific field offices (deepening fragmentation), and reformers layered new inter-sectoral programs on the IO (widening fragmentation). The variety of decentralization pathways in the UN also affects how the UN-wide Delivering as One agenda can be implemented in developing countries.

Keywords:   United Nations, International Labour Organization, UNESCO, federalism, sectors, Delivering as One, field offices

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