C5: Activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services

10/8/2011 // Senior Advisor Ingrid Mollestad of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signaled Norway's support for the UN Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in this statement presented to the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Mr Chairman, allow me first to congratulate you upon your election as Chairman of this Committee and assure you of our support and cooperation throughout the session.

Last year we had the pleasure of congratulating and welcoming Ms. Carman L. Lapointe as the new Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services. This year, we have the pleasure of thanking her for her presentation of the report on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011. We would like to congratulate her on a very successful first year in this important function and to ensure her of our continued support for the important work of OIOS.  

Allow us also to express our appreciation for the Report on the activities of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC) and thank its Chairman, Mr. David Walker for his presentation.  

OIOS plays a key role in promoting good governance, accountability and transparency in the UN, by providing independent and objective oversight. The operational independence of OIOS is closely linked to the credibility and legitimacy of the UN.

It is crucial that the UN manages its funds effectively, efficiently and in a manner consistent with the principle of zero tolerance for corruption, fraud and any other misuse of funds. This is no less essential in times of financial and economic constraints. We expect the UN as a whole to have appropriate policies, mechanisms and routines in place – and we expect them to be consistently used.

We are impressed by the ambitious programme and dynamic plans to increase the effectiveness and transparency of the activities of OIOS as reflected in the report before us. The outline of eight categories of prioritized action and the willingness of innovation and renewal of the organization during the leadership of Ms Lapointe is indeed very promising.  

We also welcome the decision to make internal audit reports available to the public on the web site. This meets a demand for increased transparency and will augment the visibility of OIOS and its important work. We are also pleased with the proposed changes in auditing reporting and the three ratings proposed in order to give better  guidance to the UN as well as to its member states.

In its report, OIOS refers to 323 reports containing 1702 recommendations to improve internal controls, accountability mechanisms and organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Many are classified as critical to the Organization. Some of the oversight results referred to in the report, clearly illustrate the advantage of the risk based approach. The recent establishment of the investigation unit is also a  welcome strengthening of the work done to address risk by OIOS. We would support OIOS’ plans to reduce the number of reports and recommendations in order to focus on the most critical issues.

The implementation rate of recommendations must be closely monitored and we support all efforts in order to enhance this aspect.

In conclusion, we would, as we did last year, underscore the importance of establishing congruity between responsibility and authority; between the mandate and work plan on the one hand and the financial and personnel resources available to OIOS on the other. We are pleased that important vacancies have been filled and would stress that it is of the utmost importance that the long-standing issue of the high vacancy rate be solved. OIOS must be provided with the resources and the management capacity needed in order to move ahead in the accomplishment of its ambitions and to build further on the positive work done so far.

We look forward to continuing our cooperation with Ms. Lapointe and her team.

Thank you Mr Chairman

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