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Statement on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 134: Information and Communications Technology in the United Nations, at the fifth committee during the first resumed part of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly

March 6

Madam Chair,

1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on Agenda item 134: Information and Communication technology.

2. I would like to thank Ms. Atefeh Riazi, Chief Information Technology Officer and Assistant Secretary-General, in the Office of Information and Communications Technology, for introducing the second progress report of the Secretary General on the implementation of ICT Strategy, and Mr. Carlos Rius Massieu, the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee for introducing the related report.

Madam Chair,

3. The Group takes note of the second progress report on the implementation of ICT strategy, and welcomes the Advisory Committee recommendations and observations.

4. The Group continues to support the management reforms initiatives which increase efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, credibility and accountability in the Organization, and considers the ICT strategy to be a pragmatic step in responding to the identified concerns, and consider that tangible progress can still be made.

5. In particular, while the Group notes the progress made for addressing information security issues as well as initiatives of the Secretariat to reduce fragmentation and costs in the deployment of security and monitoring measures, the Group emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the 10-point information security action plan can be completed as planned, in order, among others, to prevent and address potential security risks, address disaster recovery issues with a strong governance mechanism, helping to protect the Organization against massive surveillance, interception and collection of communications and data and son on.

6. The Group is particularly interested to get more information's related to the agreement over which ICT activities require central control and which merit operational freedom, as well as details related to the budget preparation process, and implementation.

Madam Chair,

7. The Group notes the efforts of the Secretary General for presenting an assessment of five-year budget projection, avoiding therefore the duplication of efforts of a two-track approach for the development of the strategy for ICT in peacekeeping and the remaining Secretariat.

8. The Group notes that the overall regular budget resources, including resources for the special political missions, have decreased from $368.1 million, as appropriated for the 2014-2015 biennium, to $354 million for the 2016-2017 biennium. Meanwhile, the peacekeeping budgets, including the support account, available for ICT programmes, decreased from $1,002.4 million during the 2014-2015 biennium to $991.8 million during the 2015-2016 biennium. The extrabudgetary resources increased from $26.6 million to $27.0 million from the 2014-2015 biennium to the 2016-2017 biennium, respectively.

9. The Group notes also, based on the SG report, that the distribution of ICT resources in peacekeeping missions, by type, has remained consistent over the past three fiscal periods: post resources account for approximately 30 per cent, non-post resources are distributed across equipment at 32 per cent, and 38 per cent goes to services, commercial communications and software-related costs. In this regards, the Group particularly encourages the Secretary General to continue his efforts for the economies of scale on the average ICT cost per user and increase the capacity building programs for the staff members, and the peacekeeping missions.

10. The group is also interested to learn in details the costs share for the annual Umoja maintenance managed by the Office of Information and Communications Technology amounting to $34.9 million and $34.4 million during the 2018 and 2019 financial years, respectively.

11. The Group concurs also with previous ACABQ observations, requesting that all ICT projects or initiatives with total costs starting from a specified threshold level should be supported by a business case with a level of detail that is commensurate with the size of the project. In this regards, we will request, during the informal sessions, the list of all ongoing and future initiatives supporting those goals and their costs, benchmarks and deliverables to measure their performance.

Madam Chair,

12. The Group welcomes the finalization of the Secretary General Bulletin on the organization of the Office of Information and Communications Technology and the policies and procedures for formalizing designation and delegation of Authority, and looks forward for further exchange.

13. In this regard, we stress that the cooperation of managers, in close coordination with the Chief Information Technology Officer, is critical for the successful implementation of the ICT strategy.

14. While we note the progress achieved, in particular between the Office of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Field Support, we call for a further improvement of collaboration between peacekeeping and non-peacekeeping entities on ICT matters.

15. The Group also encourages the Secretary-General to pursue a system-wide collaboration and calls upon the heads of United Nations entities to consider the possible harmonization and sharing of services of information and communications technology, in particular at field locations, while assisting the member states in need for support, in particular in capacity building.

16. The Group is also interested to learn the efforts of the ICT office with regard to the facilitation of the work of the Organization and support to Member States, including through the provision of relevant services to delegates at all main duty stations.

Madam Chair,

17. The Group is also particularly interested to learn more about the use of systems contracts and enterprise agreements, in particular local and regional procurement, the track of intangible assets management, the conformity with the rules and regulations governing procurement, as well as the implementation of the phase two of the ICT strategy towards the facilitation of the work of the United Nations.

18. The Group reiterates that all the proposals regarding policy changes related to career development of ICT staff or creation of opportunities to retain experienced qualified ICT personnel must be presented for consideration by the General Assembly in the context of the Secretary-General's report on human resources management.

19. Finally, the Group also calls upon the Secretary General to ensure the full implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors on ICT matters.

I thank you.

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