STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS NADA TARBUSH, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 135: REVIEW OF THE EFFICIENCY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL FUNCTIONING OF THE UNITED NATIONS - ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM IN THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT, AND ON AGENDA ITEM 142: JOINT INSPECTION UNIT: REVIEW OF WHISTLE-BLOWER POLICIES AND PRACTICES IN UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM ORGANIZATIONS, AT THE FIRST PART OF THE RESUMED 73RD SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 22 March 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 135: Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations- Accountability system in the United Nations Secretariat, and on agenda item 142 Joint Inspection Unit: Review of whistle-blower policies and practices in United Nations system organizations.
2. The Group would like to thank Mr. Pedro Guazo, Director of the Finance Division, Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget, for introducing the Secretary-General's report, and Mr. Cihan Terzi, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for introducing its related report. We also thank Ms. Eileen Cronin, Inspector for the Joint Inspection Unit for the introduction of the JIU's report on whistle-blower policies and practices, and Ms. Frederica Pietracci, Senior Programme Management Officer, Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for the introduction of their related report on the matter.
3. At the outset, the Group would like to stress the importance, now more than ever of this agenda item. As the new management paradigm is being implemented, we would like to recall that last year the General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening accountability in the United Nations Secretariat as well as the Secretary-General's accountability to all Member States for the performance of the Secretariat; and emphasized that accountability is a central pillar of effective and efficient management that requires attention and strong commitment at all levels of the Secretariat, especially at the highest level.
4. The Group of 77 and China will carefully consider all the reports before us today, in particular the Secretary-General's report with the expectation to see responses to the requests of the General Assembly, as reflected in its resolution A/RES/72/303. In this regard, allow me to state the following remarks:
5. The Group is pleased to note that the Secretary-General report offers progress in three priority areas for strengthening the accountability system under the new management paradigm: (a) improving the system of delegation of authority; (b) strengthening the implementation of results-based management; and (c) establishing the Business Transformation and Accountability Division.
6. Nevertheless, the Group concords with the views stated by the ACABQ in each of these three areas and will be seeking further information during the informal consultations.
7. The Group welcomes the establishment of the Business Transformation and Accountability Division and looks forward to learning more about the dedicated support that will be provided to managers and staff to help them understand what is expected with respect to governance, policy, risks and internal controls.
8. In addition, the Group takes note that the report includes a new section with an overview of the status of accountability in the Secretariat against the six components of the accountability system, namely: The Charter of the United Nations, programme planning and budget documents, results and performance, internal control system, ethical standards and integrity, and oversight functions.
9. The Group remains concerned about the lack of information on the status of implementation of General Assembly resolutions on administrative and budgetary matters and emphasizes that such information and implementation is an essential part of the system of accountability.
10. With regard to the performance appraisal system and the implementation of an effective system of incentives for strong performance, remedial action for underperformance and sanctions for unsatisfactory behaviour and misconduct, the Group underscores the necessity for specific measures that would result in more credible ratings and looks forward to receiving an update on the implementation of the principles and guidelines for performance appraisal and management for the recognition of different levels of performance, approved by the General Assembly.
11. The Group welcomes the efforts to strengthen the compacts between the Secretary-General and his senior managers as a key element of the accountability system and looks forward to learning more about these efforts during the informal consultations.
12. The Group also acknowledges the deployment of the Umoja management module at the end of 2018 and will seek additional information about its functionality to create standard template agreements as well as anti-corruption and anti-fraud clauses.
13. The Group agrees with the ACABQ in stressing the importance of the risk management function under the new system of delegation of authority and looks forward to receiving in the next progress report comprehensive information on the findings and outcome of the second Secretariat-wide risk assessment which is being prepared.
14. The Group further agrees with the ACABQ in recalling that the General Assembly in its resolution 72/303, requested the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to ensure implementation of the provisions of the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Framework. In this regard, we reiterate that the implementation of recommendations of oversight bodies is an essential part of the system of accountability.
15. The Group reiterates its support of an effective and efficient accountability system across the Secretariat in order to foster and embed a culture of greater accountability in the working habits of staff at all levels and to move towards an improved management of financial and human resources. Given that the process of implementing an effective accountability system remains to be achieved, the submission of an annual progress report to the General Assembly for its consideration will continue to be necessary.
16. In conclusion, the Group of 77 and China would like to assure you Madame Chair of its readiness to engage constructively in the upcoming discussions with the aim of concluding this agenda item in a timely fashion.
I thank you, Madame Chair