Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations 5th Committee: Review of efficiency on accountability

Bruxelles, 09/03/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171205_8
Statements on behalf of the EU

Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union by Jan De Preter, European Union Delegation to the United Nations, 71st Session of the General Assembly Fifth Committee on Review of efficiency: accountability (item 133): First Resumed Session.

– As delivered –

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

Madam Chair,

We would like to make a few short observations on this important agenda item.

First of all, the EU Member States welcome the broad information in the Secretary-General’s report on the activities of the Secretariat on Accountability and, in particular, on the process-focused initiatives undertaken. We do regret that the report is still lacking strategic focus in spite of the mandate given by the GA in last’s year’s resolution on accountability (70/255), in particular in OP23, where we requested the SG quote to take a more strategic approach and concrete actions to implement the accountability framework and to include in the progress reports comprehensive and tangible assessments of actions, activities and progress made by the Secretariat”.

The Member States of the European Union welcome the progress made in establishing structures and systems which provide the basis for a sound accountability framework. We do however share the concerns raised by ACABQ that additional practical measures should be introduced to ensure proper and enforceable institutional and personal accountability.  We would also question the overt focus on process rather than results and impact of activity, as was requested in last year’s resolution on accountability.

We would like to repeat that the credibility of the accountability framework rests on the ability of the Organization to operationalize and enforce measures for staff and officials who have not adequately exercised their responsibilities.  The effective use of resources, which has a direct impact on the delivery of mandates, should be central to any system of accountability.  While much of this will be grounded in process, there is also a real need for a cultural shift within the Organisation to address many of the issues, which does not require changes to processes or procedures but is already within the gift of senior managers.

We welcome the fact that the Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Framework was officially issued last year and we look forward to receiving regular updates on its implementation.

We welcome the assertion that the now implemented Secretariat-wide enterprise risk management framework has proven its added value and look forward to receiving more concrete information on this. Holding senior managers accountable for the delivery of results, not just outputs, clearly remains a work in progress, and more needs to be done to promote a real culture of accountability, ensuring this is mainstreamed throughout the work of the Secretariat.  In this respect, we are disappointed that the latest accountability report fails, yet again, to respond to the specific requests made in paragraphs 12 and 23 of A/RES/70/255.

Mr. Chairman, the Member States of the European Union stand ready to engage constructively in discussions on this important issue including the question of the future frequency of the report, and its future content. It is clear that some elements of the report need to be further developed, such as the framework for the human resources management of the Organisation, and that other elements need to be more carefully considered when we are discussing the reports of the oversight bodies of the UN, including the status of implementation of BOA recommendations and efforts to ensure personal or institutional accountability for addressing the audit concerns.

Thank you Madam Chair.


* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.