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UNICEF chooses Budapest

D&T
February 10, 2015

The Hungarian government and UNICEF announced this February that they agreed in principle to establish UNICEF’s first-ever Global Shared Services Center in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. The new center will conduct a broad range of UNICEF’s financial and human resources operations worldwide, enabling the children’s organization to realize greater efficiencies and cost savings.

As it was announced by State Secretary for Security Policy and International Cooperation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, István Mikola, Budapest was selected to host the center in the course of a tender announced in the summer of 2014, to which altogether twenty cities – among others Prague and Kuala Lumpur – have applied. The facility will be located in Wesselényi Street in the downtown area and, according to the current plans, it will employ 350 people, 85% of whom will be Hungarians.

“Hungary is truly honored to host the Global Shared Service Center of one of UN’s most important organizations,” the State Secretary said. He was of the view that “the Hungarian government is committed to the noble goals of the UNICEF and echoes the importance of the protection of children to guarantee children's rights and ensure healthy living standards. UNICEF’s decision reflects the strong cooperation between Hungary and UNICEF and our shared efforts to protect children and families.”

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake pointed out that “every dollar UNICEF can save is another dollar we can use to improve children’s lives. The more efficient we are, the more effective our programs will be for children. We are looking forward to working closely with the government of Hungary to bring the center on line as soon as possible.”

Key factors in UNICEF’s decision to locate in Hungary included a relatively low cost of doing business, highly-qualified workforce and robust infrastructure. Two other United Nations organizations – the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Foods and Agricultural Organization (FAO) – also operate global shared services centers in Budapest.

The Global Shared Services Center will serve the entire organization, operating in multiple languages. It will deliver a range of administrative services to all UNICEF offices, including payments and invoice processing, payroll, some human resources functions, and the Information Technology helpdesk.

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