STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS MEGAYLA AUSTIN, MINISTER COUNSELLOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 133: REVIEW OF THE EFFICIENCY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL FUNCTIONING OF THE UNITED NATIONS - ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM IN THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT, AT THE FIRST PART OF THE RESUMED 74TH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 11 March 2020)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 133: Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations- Accountability system in the United Nations Secretariat.
2. The Group would like to thank Ms. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, for introducing the Secretary-General's report, and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for introducing its related report.
3. As we expressed in our statement on Monday of this week, the Group recognizes the link that this agenda item has with agenda item 141: Joint Inspection Unit: Review of audit and oversight committees in the United Nations system. Audit and oversight committees are a very important part of the larger accountability framework of the United Nations, especially during the implementation of the current reforms in our Organization.
4. As we consider the management of Human Resources in the United Nations, where a new management paradigm has been in effect for over a year and liquidity conditions continue to be dire, guaranteeing accountability of the staff of this Organization, at all levels, is now more important than ever.
5. The Group notes that the Secretary-General report offers information with respect to the Business Transformation and Accountability Division, as well as its follow up on the implementation of the system of delegation of authority, through key performance indicators. The Group looks forward to discuss not only the efforts undertaken already, but going forward the Secretary General´s ideas on addressing gaps and issues raised by stakeholders after the first year of implementation; reviewing and adjusting the initial 16 key performance indicators; as well as the changes in workload and responsibilities resulting from the enhanced delegation of authority.
6. The Group appreciates the continuity of the section in the report regarding the 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.
7. The Group acknowledges that the Secretary General has scheduled an external evaluation to assess how the components of the accountability system are functioning in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, and during consultations we will seek information on this evaluation, the consultant to be used and how this follows the reiterated calls made by the General Assembly to use in-house or existing capacities as much as possible for these evaluations.
9. The Group agrees with the ACABQ that much remains to be included in future progress reports on accountability, like a brief analysis of the status of the implementation of General Assembly resolutions on administrative and budgetary matters; concrete information and specific examples of improvements resulting from the implementation of results-based management; and information on the actual use and impact of the information obtained on the performance of the Organization, amongst others.
10. The Group notes the redesign of the senior managers’ compact for 2019, and supports that further efforts are made to hold senior managers to account, especially since doing so is the best way of ensuring accountability among staff at every level, by leading by example. We welcome the reactivation of the Management Performance Board and are interested in finding more about its previous an upcoming work.
11. The Group further agrees with the ACABQ on the importance of adequate implementation of the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Framework. In this regard, the steps being taken to prepare an anti-fraud and anti-corruption guidebook, and the establishment of the anti-fraud task force, must be done bearing in mind the recommendations of internal and external oversight bodies.
12. We will raise questions as to how Member States can help improve the Secretariat´s accountability regarding the timely submission of documents and information, if the inclusion in the senior managers’ compacts of a related managerial indicator cannot help achieve the desired results.
13. There are many other issues to be discussed under the six components of the accountability system, to which the Group will give due consideration in the course of our deliberations. We wish to conclude by reiterating the support of the Group of 77 and China to 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. You can count, Mr. Chair with our constructive engagement with the aim of concluding this agenda item in a timely fashion.
I thank you.