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- As delivered –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
Let me first thank, Mr. Pedro Guazo, Director of the Finance Division, Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget; Mr. Cihan Terzi, Chair of the ACABQ; Ms. Eileen Cronin, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit; and Ms. Federica Pietracci, Senior Programme Management Officer, Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), for presenting their respective reports.
Accountability of staff and managers is a cornerstone of the Secretary-General's reform agenda. In this regard, 2018 was a very important year in which the General Assembly adopted by consensus important resolutions in connection with the Secretary-General's vision.
The General Assembly endorsed the idea that reform should lead to a transformation of the Organization to ensure better delivery of programmes and mandates, through stronger support structures and smarter decentralization, together with a comprehensive shift in leadership and organizational culture. We agreed that the reform of the Organization should give greater responsibility to managers and ensure stronger accountability.
We would like to congratulate the Secretary-General for the initial achievements in the implementation of the reform strands. The EU Member States continue to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to create a true culture of accountability and transparency – a true culture of change – driven by strengthened leadership.
We believe that the Organisation should uphold the highest standards of conduct, professionalism and accountability, and in this regard, welcome the Secretary-General's report on the measures which are being implemented in order to strengthen the accountability system under the new management paradigm.
The Member States of the European Union welcome the establishment of structures and systems which provide the basis for a sound accountability framework. Improving the system of delegation of authority, strengthening the implementation of results-based management, and establishing the Business Transformation and Accountability Division contribute to this end. While some progress has been made, we encourage the Secretary-General to accelerate the implementation of these measures.
While much of this is grounded in process, there is also a real need for a cultural shift within the Organisation to address many of the issues. The Organization should continue working to prevent and address misconduct. Ensuring that UN staff maintain the highest standards of conduct and uphold the Organization's core principles remains an utmost priority for the EU Member States. A robust and comprehensive system for tackling sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment focused on prevention and accountability is essential.
In this regard, we also welcome the comprehensive review by the Joint Inspection Unit of whistleblower policies and practices in UN system organizations. We encourage more efforts by the UN to ensure effective protection of whistle-blowers and prevention of retaliation. Restoring UN staff's trust in the system is essential in our joint efforts to create a strong culture of accountability.
We look forward to engaging on this important item with all colleagues.
* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.