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Statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 137: Programme Planning, at the Fifth Committee during the main part of the Seventy-third Session of the UN General Assembly


Statement by Mr. Mohamed Fouad, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United Nations.

October 10

Madame Chair,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 137 entitled "Programme Planning."

2. At the outset the Group of 77 and China wishes to commend the chairperson of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), Mr. Hae Yun Park, and the Vice Chairs of the committee, for their leadership and guidance that enabled the committee to successfully conclude its session this year.

3. The Group also extends its appreciation to Mr. Johannes Huisman, Director of the Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts Division of the Department of Management and Mr. Mario Baez, Chief of Policy and Oversight Coordination Services for introducing the relevant reports.

Madame Chair,

4. The Group firmly believes in the importance of Programme Planning, and highly appreciates in this context the role of the CPC in enabling the General Assembly to translate mandates agreed upon by Member States into implementable programs. We wish to underline the importance of the work of the CPC as the main subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council for planning, programming and coordination. The CPC not only gives guidance to the Secretariat by interpreting legislative mandates but also considers and develops evaluation procedures for the improvement of programme design and the avoidance of overlap and duplication. The CPC and its hard work are at the core of the General Assembly's capacity to provide guidance and oversight in the areas just mentioned.

Madame Chair,

5. Reflecting on the CPC report, the Group of 77 and China appreciates the continued commitment by the Committee to promote accountability, monitoring and evaluation for programme results in the Organization. The report provides a consistent basis for the consideration of the relevant items on the agenda of the Fifth Committee, and therefore endorses the recommendations and conclusions from its fifty-eighth session contained in report A/73/16.

6. The Group attaches great importance to the programme performance report as it is an important accountability and management tool for Member States and the Secretariat, particularly the sections on lessons learned where departments and offices should make better use of those experiences to improve their future work. This basic tool should be used now more than ever since the Organization is poised to shift to an annual Programme and Budget.

7. The Group wishes to emphasize that under the new annual format on trial basis, additional outputs during the yearly programme plan should mainly come from intergovernmental mandates, which is the case under the current biennial format.

8. The Group welcomes the information provided by the Secretariat during the CPC session this year, on the proposed strategic framework for 2020. We reiterate that setting priorities of the United Nations remains the sole prerogative of Member States. In this regard we also expect that the Secretariat, in accordance with the recommendations and conclusions of the CPC, when preparing the future programme and budget in the annual format, will fully take into account the need to consult with Member States and keep them apprised of the significant changes that the strategic framework will undergo.

Madame Chair,

9. The Group will be examining several other issues under this agenda item, in particular the triennial review of the implementation of the recommendations from the programme evaluation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. The discussion and recommendations related to these items contained in the CPC report are of great importance and value to the Group.

10. The Group also attaches great importance to the United Nations system support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The Group continues to express its support for the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa and emphasizes the need for the United Nations system and intergovernmental bodies to continue to take into consideration views, comments and inputs of regional and sub-regional organizations, in particular the African Union in their policy formulations and decision making. We strongly support the recommendations made by the CPC in its report, especially regarding the request to the organizations of the United Nations system to continue to promote greater coherence in their work in support of NEPAD, especially with respect to supporting African efforts in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063.

Madame Chair,

11. As part of the CPC report the Group also takes note of the work of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), as the sole independent, external oversight body of the United Nations system. The Group expresses satisfaction that the reports of the Joint Inspection Unit continue to be submitted for consideration by the CPC as one of the key mandates of the Committee is to assist the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly on coordination questions. The Group therefore encourages the Unit to keep up its efforts in continuing to introduce relevant and substantial reports for the benefit of the CPC so as to allow it to achieve its objectives and discharge its mandate.

12. The Group encourages the Secretariat to make better use of in-house expertise in carrying out evaluations in different entities thereof, taking advantage in particular of the experience available at the internal and external oversight bodies notably OIOS, the Board of Auditors and the Joint Inspection Unit. We believe that in a year of such significant changes, these bodies will be more relevant than ever.

Madame Chair,

13. In conclusion the Group of 77 and China reaffirms its commitment in supporting and strengthening the work of the CPC. The Group also reiterates its appreciation for the work done by members of the CPC and for the support received from the very efficient and tireless Secretariat during the past session.

14. The Group wishes to assure you - Madame Chair- of its cooperation and constructive engagement, with a view to conclude this agenda item in a timely manner.

Thank you, Madame Chair.


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