Sumario: 13 March 2012, New York - Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union by Gerton van den Akker, First Secretary, European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly First Resumed Session Fifth Committee: Item 132 Review of the efficiency: accountability and JIU reports
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, the Member States of the European Union would like to thank the Under-Secretary General for Management, Ms. Angela Kane for presenting the Secretary-General's report on the Accountability system, contained in document A/66/692. We also thank the Chair of the Joint Inspection Unit, Mr. Mohamed Mounir Zahran, for introducing the reports of that Unit, contained in documents A/66/710 and A/66/380 and his colleague Mr. Cihan Terzi for introducing document A/65/788. We further thank the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Mr. Collen Kelapile, for introducing that Committee's report, contained in document A/66/738. We would also like to express our thanks to the representative of the Executive Office of the Secretary General (EOSG), Mr. Adnan Issa, for introducing the SG's comments on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, contained in document A/66/380/Add.1 and to the Senior Advisor on Information Management Policy Coordination of the Secretariat of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), Mr. Kenneth Herman, for introducing the notes by the Secretary General containing his comments and those of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the reports of the Joint Inspection Unit, contained in documents A/66/710/Add.1 and A/65/788/Add.1.
Allow me to make a couple of observations on this important issue.
The Member States of the European Union welcome progress made to implement an effective system of accountability in the Secretariat. Fostering a strong culture of accountability and a results-oriented perspective should be the main objectives.
We join the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions in commending the Secretary-General for the efforts undertaken so far in promoting a culture of accountability; at the same time we would like to express disappointment at the lack of in-depth analysis of the factors contributing to a strong culture of accountability, including the role of leadership, a rigorous performance appraisal system and a comprehensive system of rewards and sanctions. We regret that the Committee's report came in at a very late stage.
Achieving a culture of accountability is complex but crucial for any organisation to deliver results in an effective and transparent manner. Accountability will only work when there is mutual trust, true cooperation, common objectives, reliable measurements and associated rewards, recognition, incentives and corrective action.
A system with a clear and effective delegation of authority with well-defined roles and responsibilities is an additional pre-requisite for success. The Member States of the European Union look forward to receiving further information to get a clearer understanding of the comprehensive review process and its findings, as well as the functioning of the new system of delegation of authority and the improvement it is designed to bring about.
We share the view of the Secretary General that much work still needs to be done on mainstreaming the culture of accountability in the day-to-day functioning of the United Nations. This should go hand in hand with setting good examples and linking institutional to personal accountability. United Nations senior management should not only be vocal in its support of accountability, but should also practise it and hold themselves accountable. The system of results-based management and other accountability performance-related initiatives are setting the right parameters. The tone should be set by the top and the work of the Change Management Team will contribute to that. However, the Member States of the European Union are deeply concerned about the management and governance crisis of UMOJA that still persists. It clearly sends a contradictory message about the need for managers to be in the forefront of institutional and personal accountability.
A foundation of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) has been laid, but it is only a start. ERM should ultimately become part and parcel of the daily work of United Nations officials. The Member States of the European Union believe that risk management should be streamlined throughout the organisation and embedded in each and every function rather than being the responsibility of a centralised office.
The Member States of the European Union stand ready to engage constructively in discussions on these and other issues. You can count on our support on the challenges ahead of us.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.