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Statement on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China, on agenda item 134: Rview of Efficiency: Shifting the Management Paradigm in the United Nations

Statement on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China by mr. Mohamed Fouad, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations

May 31

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 134: Review of efficiency: Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations.

2. At the outset, the Group thanks Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, as well as Mr. Carlos Ruiz-Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing their respective reports on this agenda item.

3. The Group also thanks the Secretary-General for briefing the General Assembly on his management reform proposal on 22 May. We note his continued commitment to a transparent, inclusive, and consultative process.

Mr. Chairman,

4. Management reform is about improving the ability of the United Nations to deliver on all its mandates in the different areas of its activities. The management functions of the United Nations Secretariat are the backbone of the system. Implemented correctly, management reform should underpin other reform processes including the repositioning of the UN development system, and the restructuring of the peace and security pillar.

5. The unanimous adoption of Resolution 72/266 by the General Assembly in December 2017 began this process of reform. It approved the Secretary-General's proposal to move the United Nations from a biennial to an annual budget, requested further elaboration of his initial proposal on the management structure of the Secretariat, and safeguarded the prerogatives of the General Assembly in administrative and budgetary questions.

6. The negotiations of Resolution 72/266 demonstrated that the Group embraced the need to improve what the United Nations does, and how the United Nations does it. The Group's position was the foundation on which this Committee built consensus for one of the most significant shifts in the programme planning and budgeting process of the Organisation since the 1970s. At the same time, the Group reiterated that oversight by Member States, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and reform driven by Member States, are non-negotiable principles.
7. Full respect for the intergovernmental nature of negotiations and for General Assembly procedure remains the cornerstone of this process. The United Nations arrives at better results through sound processes.

8. As the Organisation now moves towards preparing its annual budget, the Group calls for strict adherence to the framework established by Resolution 72/266. The Secretary General has worked hard to build trust with Member States, and this trust can only be sustained by taking reform measures through the proper channels, and in a transparent manner.

Mr. Chairman,

9. Today the General Assembly begins the second stage of its journey. It is worth restating some of the guiding principles of the Group of 77 and China in this negotiation.

10. First, increasing transparency and accountability to Member States is key. The United Nations needs to cut cumbersome bureaucratic procedures within the Secretariat, but this is distinct from the oversight functions of the General Assembly. The Group will carefully look into how accountability is strengthened in the context of reform.

11. Second, the goal of reform is not to cut costs or posts, but to enable the Organisation to better deliver on its mandates. To this end, the Group welcomes the Secretary-General's proposal to create a new Uniformed Capability Support Division, a single point of contact for troop- and police-contributing countries on all administrative and logistical issues related to force generation, memorandums of understanding, contingent-owned equipment, and reimbursement. We hope that this will facilitate much-needed and more responsive Secretariat support to troop- and police-contributing countries.

12. On a related point, the Group also reiterates that it is unrealistic to call for the United Nations to function effectively, fully implement its mandates and undertake major change without providing it with the needed financial resources or imposing unilateral political conditions for the payment of assessed contributions. If we expect the Secretary-General to implement reform, we must give him the tools to do so. While we acknowledge the constraints many developing countries face, the Group calls upon all countries in a position to do so to fulfill their financial obligations to the United Nations in full, on time, and without conditions.

13. Third, what is approved at Headquarters will have wider implications across the United Nations System. Reform must be undertaken to create a more responsive, but also more responsible and credible Organisation. Particularly as these reforms directly impact the financial and administrative management of the United Nations, the Group of 77 and China will carefully examine the proposals before us to assess how these changes can improve the delivery of outcomes; their potential impact on critical system-wide functions such as procurement, human resources, and ICT; and how they will complement the reform processes in other tracks.

14. Fourth, while the Group is appreciative of the Secretary General's focus on delivering results on the ground, it recalls that Headquarters also has mandates to Member States, including servicing legislative and judicial functions. Reform must be flexible enough to accommodate the full scope of the UN's mandates. The Group also welcomes greater utilisation of new tools to provide more information and detail to Member States on how the programme budget performs. This has helped Member States to more tightly link resource allocation with performance indicators and mandated tasks, within a commonly agreed strategic framework.

15. Fifth, the Group of 77 and China stresses once again the importance of ensuring equitable geographical representation and gender parity at all levels. The Group commends the progress made thus far by the Secretary-General, especially in gender parity. The time is ripe for intensified efforts towards achieving equitable geographical representation. Geographical representation and gender parity must go hand in hand. The Group of 77 and China looks forward to a comprehensive geographical representation strategy that also identifies the inherent biases in processes that allow for domination by certain regional groupings of particular departments or senior management posts. The Group also stresses once again the need to ensure fair and increased access to United Nations procurement opportunities for developing countries and countries in transition, as highlighted in multiple General Assembly resolutions.

Mr. Chairman,

16. Management reform is a process, not an event. Artificial deadlines should not be set. I take this opportunity to reassure you of the Group's commitment to engaging constructively in informal consultations on this important agenda item, with a view to reaching a concrete outcome in a timely manner.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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