Speaking on behalf of the European Union as a donor, I would like to thank UNHCR for the overview provided of the internal audit activities undertaken by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
We welcome that OIOS has decided promptly to refocus on the areas particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis and added five new engagements identified in the context of the pandemic response. This will allow donors to better assess UNHCR’s risk management capacity while delivering under exceptionally challenging circumstances in the key areas of supply chain management, partnership management, remote monitoring, cash-based interventions (CBI) and distribution of core relief items. UNHCR’s internal audit initiative sets a good example that we encourage other UN agencies to follow.
Regarding the regular annual audit, we welcome the wide coverage that includes audits of headquarters functions, thematic areas, information and communication technology as well as field operations. We take note of the recommendations made and recurrent areas for improvement identified, including on protection, cash and voucher assistance and partnership management. We would appreciate information on how UNHCR is planning to address them and the related timeline. On recommendations regarding cash and related needs assessments in particular and as a major donor in this respect, we look forward to engaging with you on the discussion on a revised strategy and associated design and targeting models.
We welcome that UNHCR has made efforts to address the backlog of past due recommendations and encourage further reduction.
Overall, we appreciate UNHCR senior management commitment to strengthening oversight. We welcome this strong level of engagement, which is important to properly deal with risk in operational settings that are becoming increasingly complex. In this respect, we also encourage UNHCR to maintain their transparent approach, which we consider a key element of partnership.