Senior officials from the United Nations and the European Commission today decided to explore ways to share ideas on a range of administrative concerns, from auditing to hiring, according to a communiqué issued following their meeting in New York.Siim Kallas, the Vice-President of the European Commission, and UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown have asked their colleagues to examine “possible ways to exchange information and best practices in the areas of planning and budgeting, human resources, simplification of administrative procedures, financial management and controls, and audit, accountability and transparency.”The technical details of this cooperation will be discussed at the operational level in the coming weeks, and “could entail exchange of available information, organization of lectures or workshops at the UN or the Commission, information visits and exchanges of officials,” the communiqué said.The European Commission undertook a major internal reform of its administration between 1999 and 2005. Many of the issues raised in the current discussion about improving UN budgetary, financial and human resource policies are similar to those of particular importance to the European Commission. “It is the common interest of both sides to share their knowledge, experiences, best practices and reflections in this area,” the communiqué noted.Mr. Kallas and Mr. Malloch Brown noted their common commitment in adapting their multinational organizations to evolving challenges, and voicing their shared belief in the value of improved budgetary, financial and human resource practices.Secretary-General Kofi Annan last year launched a package of reforms to enhance ethics and accountability at the United Nations. In March of this year, responding to a request from the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, he built on this progress in his landmark report, “Investing in the United Nations: For a Stronger Organization Worldwide,” which proposes a gamut of measures to help the UN to accommodate its own shift from Headquarters-based work to life-saving operations in the field.