Enterprise architecture and intergovernmental organizations

This section traces the development of IGOs and discusses the extent to which EA is found in official IGO documentation.

What are ICOs?

In regular parlance, whenever one thinks of IGOs, the institutions that come to mind include those with global membership — such as those within the United Nations (UN) common system. Examples may include the United Nations Development Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund, as well as specialized agencies and related organizations (such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group, and the International Monetary Fund). There are also many other IGOs that have regional representation.4

Volgy et al. define IGOs as “entities created with sufficient organisational structure and autonomy to provide formal, ongoing, multilateral processes of decisionmaking between states, along with the capacity to execute the collective will of their members (states).”45 In order to distinguish an IGO from other types of international organizations, it must be established by an international agreement; must have its own separate organs; and must be established by international law.46 The IGO addresses issues or challenges that transcend national borders while possessing own international legal personality.4' This identity is separate from that of its members, which means that it can exercise certain powers, as well as enjoy certain rights and privileges.48

According to Abass, IGOs possess four types of privileges and immunities: "jurisdictional immunity, inviolability of premises and archives, freedom of communication, and immunity relating to financial matters.”49 Experts see the inviolability of premises and archives as enabling “privacy and the preservation of secrecy,” which is at the foundation of the independence of IGOs and is required for the fulfilment of their purposes.5"

EA implementation in IGOs

There are more than 300 IGOs throughout the world51 and therefore one might expect a significant number of resources on the use of EA in IGOs. However, discussions on the utility of EA approaches are quite sparse. One of the rare sources discusses the interaction between civil and military partners to support peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, and development support. " Another source discusses EA principles used to facilitate the design and implementation of an informationsharing system between the U.S. government and IGOs for the exchange of unclassified content.53 This section provides examples specific to three IGOs.

World Bank Group

The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five IGOs. Each institution has its own distinct purpose and set of founding documents, while all having a common commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development.54

EA was adopted as a strategy at the World Bank in the 2008 financial year.55 However, a decade later, a review team described EA as “an emerging tool used to support the design and implementation of strategic initiatives and significant process reengineering.”56 The review’s objective was to help the institution’s senior management understand the existing EA approach, as well as provide “information that would be useful for deciding how to improve the implementation of EA in support of strategic initiatives and high-level end-to-end process re-engineering.”' The review team noted that due to EA’s limited mandate within the institution, “its contribution to business process design or other strategic initiatives” was not optimal, and EA tools were not consistently utilized.58 For this reason, the team emphasized "the importance of connecting EA to all major business process improvement initiatives to ensure that business strategy, data, applications and technology are considered holistically.”59

The International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field.

The IAEA promotes the safe, secure, and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.60 In 2017, the IAEA’s IT steering committee approved the use of EA principles “to help guide the design and deployment of IT systems” across the institution.61 The IT steering committee noted that if EA guiding principles were properly followed they would “streamline and reduce the complexity of IT investment decisions and support IT governance decision-making by establishing relevant evaluation criteria.”62 So far, there are no published reports of more recent developments.

The UN Secretariat

The UN Secretariat is constituted by the Secretary-General and thousands of staff members who carry out the day-to-day work as mandated by the General Assembly and other principal organs.’ By 2013, the UN Secretariat had instituted an Architecture Review Board. ’ However, a review team noted that EA implementation in the Secretariat was deficient, characterized by either incomplete, unapproved, or outdated policies, procedures, and guidelines. *’ The review team added that such inadequacies could lead to “inconsistencies between information requirements and application development, inefficient planning of ICT-enabled investment initiatives and irrelevant data accumulation.’’66

By 2014 the Secretariat had “completed the development of a road map for network infrastructure, information security and data privacy, content management, unified communication, identity management, principles and guidelines, and application architecture,” in addition to establishing subcommittees for messaging systems and desktop management.6. However, in a report on the progress of enterprise resource planning published in 2017, the UN Secretary-General noted that

[o]wing to historical constraints in information and communications technology (ICT), such as decentralised ICT units and challenging global connectivity, localised solutions were deployed to meet the needs of individual entities, often with little or no enterprise architecture.'

Observations regarding EA in ICOs

Although there are hundreds of IGOs, the search for sources on EA implementation revealed minimal information. This has made it difficult to identify the full extent to which IGOs have used EA. Even when there is information on EA initiatives within an IGO, reporting on approaches is scant and is mostly available from review processes, such as internal oversight and audit activities. In turn, most of the review processes noted either patchy implementation and/or a lack of impactful adoption of EA within the IGOs. For this reason, this study sought to survey several IGOs to see whether the observations above are borne out by the staff working in those institutions.

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