STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 134: "PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR 2024: ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES OF THE UNITED NATIONS JOINT STAFF PENSION FUND, AT THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 6 November 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. The Group of 77 and China thanks all briefers for introducing their respective reports. The Group also congratulates the recently appointed officials to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund and assures you of our readiness to collaborate with you and other relevant parties to ensure that the System is able to deliver on its important mandate for the benefit of its members.
3. Our Group notes that as at December 2022, the total assets of the Fund decreased $13.16 billion compared to 2021 and that the market value of the Fund also dropped by $13.6 billion in comparison to the prior year. We will seek further information on the measures being adopted to mitigate the risks of current market volatility and its impact on the Fund, as well as efforts to reduce overpayments and to improve recovery of funds.
4. We also note that of the 35 outstanding recommendations of the Board of Auditors, as at 31 December 2021, 29 had been fully implemented and 6 were under implementation. The Group once again stresses the importance of implementing all recommendations of the Board of Auditors by the Fund and member organizations in a timely manner, and to continue to provide detailed annual updates to explain any delays.
5. The Group also notes that the creation of a Business Intelligence Team has been proposed with the aim of promoting business transformation and data-driven organization for Pension Administration. We look forward to receiving further information on the purposes of this Team and in what extent this complements or overlaps with the existing units in this area. We also hope to obtain detailed explanations on the establishment of new posts related to this Team, other units, as well as the creation of the Sourcing Coordination Unit.
6. On Governance matters, and in particular to the proposal of the Pension Board to approve an amendment to Article 15 (b) of the Fund's Regulations, Rules and Pension Adjustment System to codify the annual budget cycle, our Group looks forward to the discussions regarding this proposed amendment and its possible implications on the administration of the Fund.
7. Still on Governance, our Group acknowledges the importance of the role of the Budget Committee, as well as its contribution for an enhanced oversight of the resource requirements in the light of the operational needs and budgetary accuracy of the Pension Fund.
8. We also call on the Pension Fund to continue with its efforts to ensure equitable geographical representation and gender balance in appointments and nominations to various posts of the Pension Fund and at all levels.
9. Finally, the Group continues to encourage the Secretary General and the Office of the Investment Committee to constantly exercise the fiduciary responsibility over the Fund's assets and their investments, taking into consideration the four main criteria of safety, profitability, liquidity and convertibility, while giving more relevance to the impact of the investments. We also support further diversification of the Fund's investments in developing countries and emerging markets. That said, we hope to get updated information on the investments of the Fund by country and regions, as well as by types of assets.
10. In conclusion, the Group wishes to assure you, Mr. Chair, of its readiness to engage constructively on this important agenda item.
I thank you.