STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO, G-77 COORDINATOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 147: REPORT OF THE JOINT INSPECTION UNIT FOR 2020 AND PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR 2021, AT THE FIRST PART OF THE RESUMED 75TH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 2 March 2021)
1. I have the honor to submit this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on Agenda item 147: Report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) for 2020 and Programme of Work for 2021.
2. Allow me to thank Mr. Jorge Flores Callejas, Inspector and Chairperson, Joint Inspection Unit and Ms. Simona Petrova, Director of the Secretariat and Secretary of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, for introducing their corresponding reports on the Joint Inspection Unit for 2020 and its programme of work for 2021.
3. At the outset, the Group wishes to reaffirm its longstanding support to the important work the JIU has as the sole independent and external oversight body mandated to apply a system-wide perspective in its examination of the work of the United Nations.
4. Upon examining the report submitted by the JIU, the Group would like to recognize the efforts of the JIU in delivering on its programme of work during 2020 in view of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, that disrupted the Unit's working methods and led to the cancellation of planned activities, such as on-site interviews, and observation and inspection missions.
5. We note that 13 reviews were conducted in 2020, though 7 of these were already being carried over from 2019. We are pleased that only 5 reviews are to be carried over from 2020 into 2021. To help us gain a better understanding of the situation, the Group looks forward to discussing, during informal consultations, how the carrying-over of projects from previous years is occasioned.
6. The Group acknowledges the Unit's work on several topics during 2020, like the state of the investigation function, Multilingualism in the United Nations system and Enterprise risk management. We will be interested in learning if these reports have been or will be discussed by Member states, as is the case of Enterprise risk management to be reviewed here in the Fifth Committee.
7. The Group notes the average rate of acceptance of recommendations made for single organization and system-wide reports as well as the implementation rate of the accepted recommendations and believes the improvement of the figures presented in the report, in particular for recommendations made to address the enhancement of system-wide coherence, requires a strengthening of cross-agency work. The Group looks forward to discussing this in detail.
8. Next, the Group wishes to reiterate the importance of enhancing coordination in order to align the workplans, avoid duplication of work and maximizing the synergy between the Board of Auditors, the Office of Internal Oversight Services and the Joint Inspection Unit. The Group in this regard recognizes the increased efforts by these oversight bodies as they advance from annual to biannual tripartite meetings targeted towards continuous improvement in the conduct of oversight work.
9. On another note, the Group once again stresses the importance of having a well-functioning web-based system for tracking recommendations. We understand that a lack of additional specific funding and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to a pause of the planned development of new functionalities for the system. The Group will seek further information in this regard.
10. Though methods of work for the Unit in 2021 are likely to continue as in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Group encourages the Inspectors and their team to finalize all reviews within the calendar year, including the scheduled single organization reviews. The Group notes the wide array of topics for the system-wide reviews scheduled in 2021, and is keen to understand how these topics have been selected. Amongst those included in the Unit's programme of work the Group will follow with interest the completion of the Review of policies, measures, mechanisms and practices to prevent and address racism and racial discrimination in the United Nations system.
11. Last but not the least, the Group of 77 and China will examine once more the Unit's strategic framework for 2020-2029, since this Committee did not provide any formal feedback on this and all other elements regarding the Unit's programme of work during the 74th session when the framework was presented.
12. In conclusion Mr. Chair, the Group of G77 and China would like to assure you of its readiness to engage constructively with a view to achieving an outcome for this important agenda item in a timely manner.
I thank you.