STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 136: REVIEW OF THE EFFICIENCY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL FUNCTIONING OF THE UNITED NATIONS - PROGRESS TOWARDS AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM IN THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT, FOR THE FIRST PART OF THE RESUMED SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 9 March 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on the Agenda item 136: Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations- Progress towards an accountability system in the United Nations Secretariat, for the first part of the resumed 77th session of the Fifth Committee.
2. Our Group wishes to thank Mr. Christophe Monier, Director of the Business Transformation and Accountability Division, for introduction of the twelfth progress report of the Secretary General on accountability system in the United Nations Secretariat, and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for introducing its related report.
3. The reports before us are an important basis for the review of the Secretariat`s accountability system. The Group looks forward to receiving during the course of the year, the review of accountability frameworks in the United Nations system organizations that the Joint Inspection Unit has committed to complete in 2023.
4. The Group emphasizes 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. We place special emphasis on this aspect, as it is the means by which we are able to determine whether decisions that we make at the UNGA are respected and fully implemented. In this regard, the Group will engage constructively in the review of the accountability system, paying particular attention to how reforms should contribute to the enhancement of the accountability mechanism.
5. The Group acknowledges the efforts made to report on the status of the implementation of General Assembly resolutions on administrative and budgetary matters, as well as on the implementation of results-based management, the work of the Business Transformation and Accountability Division, the review of the performance management and development framework, the actual use and impact of the information obtained on the performance of the Organization, amongst others.
6. While recognizing the efforts made towards establishing a more robust system of accountability and efficiency by strengthening the Secretariat's accountability system under its six components, the Group underscores the importance of taking more practical steps of institutional and personal accountability into future progress reports.
7. In the face of the current financial constraints, our Group believes that the Secretary-General must continue strengthening internal controls in the accountability system through the constant monitoring of effective expenditures in order to fully implement agreed mandates and programmes.
8. Noting that the United Nations Values and Behaviours Framework was launched in 2021 across the Secretariat as the basis for shifting organizational culture, as was the accountability handbook, the Group looks forward to learning more about these initiatives during the informal consultations and hopes that further details will be included in the next report for the consideration of the General Assembly.
9. The Group also underlines the importance of an adequate implementation of the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Framework and calls for the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts in this direction. The Group notes that the Handbook on Fraud and Corruption Awareness was issued on 2022, and trusts it will be made available in all six official languages within existing resources.
10. On another note, we reiterate that the implementation of recommendations of oversight bodies is an essential part of the system of accountability. The Group emphasizes the need to hold programme managers accountable for the non-implementation of recommendations and trusts that all future reports on accountability will have further information in this regard.
11. Finally, the Group stresses the need to use as a reference in future reports on accountability system, including by agencies, funds and programs, the definition of accountability set forth in General Assembly resolution 64/259, which plays a central role in all reform efforts, as well as all organizational, administrative and operational changes. We remember that in accordance with this concept the Secretariat and its staff should achieve high-quality results and the full implementation of all the mandates approved by the UN intergovernmental bodies.
12. We reiterate the strong support attached towards an effective and efficient accountability system that is embedded in the working habits of the United Nations. We remain ready to engage constructively will all partners to conclude these agenda items in a timely manner.
I thank you.