September 30, 2016
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda items 144 and 133 entitled "Report on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services" and "Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations" respectively.
2. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank Ms. Heidi Mendoza, Under Secretary-General for Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), for introducing the report of the annual activities of the Office, the first under her new role, as contained in documents A/71/337 (Part 1), and Addendum 1. The Group also extends its appreciation to Mr. Joseph Christopher Mihm, Chair of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC), for introducing the report on the activities of the Advisory Committee contained in document A/71/295.
3. The Group of 77 and China continues to recognize the high value of the role of the Office in strengthening internal oversight in the Organization through improving internal controls, accountability mechanisms and organizational efficiency and effectiveness, in accordance with its given mandates. We take this moment to reaffirm our support to the operational independence of the Office in line with the given mandates, in particular within the context of General Assembly resolution 48/218 B, as well as the central role of assisting the Secretary-General in fulfilling the internal oversight responsibilities through internal audit, monitoring, inspection, evaluation and investigation.
4. The Group is confident that the new leadership of the Under Secretary-General is taking additional efforts to ensure the full implementation of the mandates and we look forward to receiving updates on the measures taken to restore the credibility of the Office which at times was questioned by Member States.
5. The Group also reaffirms the separate and distinct roles of internal and external oversight mechanisms and we appreciate the continuation of regular coordination between the Office and other oversight bodies, namely the Board of Auditors and the Joint Inspection Unit in the context of tripartite arrangements which play important role in improving the delivery of the respective mandates.
6. With regard to the annual activities of the Office, the Group of 77 and China has taken a good note of a number of oversight activities conducted as well as recommendations issued by the Office during the reporting period, aimed at cost savings, recovery of over-payments, efficiency gains and other improvements to ensure that risks were managed consistently and systematically through focused control processes across the Organization.
7. The Group has also taken note that during the reporting period, the Office issued a total of 1,068 recommendations 75 of which were classified as critical to the Organization. The Group is also pleased to note that financial implications of the recommendations issued for prior periods that were satisfactorily implemented during the period totaled approximately US$ 2.1 million.
8. The Group would like to encourage the continued efforts of all stakeholders to ensure all issued recommendations are implemented and risks are mitigated across the Organization. Our Group will examine a number of issues outlined in the report, including the rationale for the changes from the previous period and seek specific clarification during the informal consultations.
9. The Group recalls that vacancy rate in the Office particularly in the field has been one of the major challenges for the Office. The Group will be interested to receive updates related to recruitment, retention and human resources development during the informal consultations. We encourage continued efforts to address any underlying challenges so as to ensure the Office has the capacity to deliver its given mandates in most efficient and effective manner.
10. Turning to the specific mandated activities, the Group of 77 and China has taken note of the highlights provided in the oversight coverage of the Capital Master Plan, United Nations Compensation Commission, and Construction at the International Residual Mechanism in Arusha, and we look forward to discussing these detailed findings in the context of the relevant agenda items. The Group notes that finding on the construction of the additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa in particular the Africa Hall was finalized in July, but not included in the current report. The Group would like to stress the need for all reports on non-peacekeeping matters be presented to the General Assembly in a timely manner and efforts must be devoted to avoid future delays.
11. With regard to the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, the Group of 77 and China would like to once again express its appreciation for their work in providing expert advice and assistance to the General Assembly in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities, in accordance with the provision of General Assembly resolution 61/275 in particular the Terms of Reference.
12. We continue to attach great value to the Advisory Committee's presentation of concrete comments, observations and recommendations aimed at enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the audit activities and other oversight functions of the OIOS in conjunction with the review of the functions and reporting procedures.
13. The Group has carefully examined a number of comments, observations and recommendations by the Advisory Committee including those related to specific requests on the re-examination of the operational independence of the OIOS and we expect to devote a fair time in our schedule to a comprehensive discussion on these and related matters during our informal consultations.
15. In conclusion, the Group of 77 and China would like to reaffirm the high expectations and its confidence under the new leadership of the Office and we will continue to pay special attention to the issues we observed in previous years. Allow me to reassure you of our readiness to open, inclusive, transparent and constructive deliberation on this important agenda item which we hope to finalize it as soon as possible.
I thank you, Madam Chairperson.