I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and my own country Norway.
First of all we would like to commend UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS for their informative reports on the follow-up on the recommendations of the Board of Auditors and for the presentations made this afternoon as well as the informal consultations held earlier.
We would also like to commend the organizations for having implemented a large number of the recommendations and we are confident that the organizations will implement the remaining recommendations as planned. We would in this regard like to emphasize the importance of following up the recommendations related to IPSAS in order to get a satisfactory picture of the financial situation of the organizations.
Let me now share specific comments on each organization. I will start with UNDP.
We are very pleased to see the improvements made in managing the audit recommendations and to learn that UNDP’s new tracking system is recognized as a best practice by the Board of Auditors and ACABQ.
As for the implementation status of the top 10 audit priorities, we highly appreciate that good progress has been made. However, we note that more work remains in the follow- up of audit priority no. 2 - programme design, monitoring and evaluation. More information on how UNDP will assess the impact of quality improvements in the UNDAF, country programmes and integrated work plan would be helpful. Similarly, we note the progress on audit priority no. 3 - procurement management and request for an update on the impact of the improvements in the investigation capacity and anti-fraud reporting in the annual report of the Office of Audit and Investigation to be presented at the annual Board session. For these top audit priorities we would like to have more information on what specific issues are still outstanding and whether they can be implemented within the planned deadline of March 2012.
Next, we note that five high priority recommendations by the Board of Auditors related to end of service liabilities were still outstanding by 31 October. We request information on the current status of the implementation of these recommendations.
We would further like a clarification on why UNDP may not be able to recover all amounts due as was concluded after the review of legacy balances carried out in the context of the balance sheet data clean up and what this potential loss amounts to.
The report highlights UNDP’s progress in implementing IPSAS and we welcome the considerable investment in staff training to embrace this change. We request information on when we can expect the external information package so that we as member states can embrace this change also. We appreciate the information provided at the IPSAS Informal yesterday that the package will be available quite soon.
Finally, we would suggest that future reports be made even more reader-friendly by including explicit references to the paragraph number of each Board of Auditor recommendation that is included in the list of top 10 audit priority areas. Such a change is needed to facilitate robust monitoring by the Executive Board.
Let me now turn to UNFPA.
We have noted with appreciation the commitment shown by UNFPA in following up the Board of Auditor’s recommendations and would commend UNFPA for having made efforts to address the underlying causes for the qualified audit report for 2008 - 2009, in line with Executive Board decision 2011/9. We have in particular noted that all 13 recommendations related to national execution had been implemented by august 2011.
In particular we welcome the improvements in the timely submission of the national execution audit reports but note that this is due to the use of an external audit company. We would be interested to learn how UNFPA intend to retain the momentum on this going forward – do you have plans to use the audit firm not just to ensure audit reports are delivered but also to improve the abilities and knowledge of UNFPA staff to take this forward in the longer term future?
Addressing the underlying causes requires efforts to be consolidated and we would request UNFPA to keep the Executive Board informed through the annual reports of the Division of Oversight Services.
We would also request UNFPA to keep the Executive Board informed of progress in implementing the audit recommendations on strengthening accountability and management.
Further, we recommend that UNFPA keep the Executive Board apprised of progress on the roll out and implementation of IPSAS.
Finally, we would like to commend UNFPA for a clear and transparent report, including the grouping of recommendations around risk categories.
On UNOPS, we would like to compliment the management for a reader-friendly report.
We are pleased with UNOPS’ attention to risk mitigation strategies and its issuance of a revised procurement manual reflecting critical principles such as transparency and effectiveness. We especially welcome the disclosure of procurement plans in excess of $50,000 on the UNOPS website. We’d like to learn a bit more about the procurement processes the management has put in place, especially procedures to conduct bidding processes and mechanisms to address vendor /bidder complaints. We appreciate the information UNOPS provided on the implementation of IPSAS, and request the management to share with us some of challenges and lessons learned in the process.
Thank you, President.