United Nations

A/RES/51/225


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

16 May 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 111


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

               [on the report of the Fifth Committee (A/51/849)]


            51/225.     Financial reports and audited
                        financial statements, and reports of
                        the Board of Auditors

      The General Assembly,

      Having considered, for the period ended 31 December 1995, the
financial reports and audited financial statements of the United
Nations, including United Nations peacekeeping operations, the
International Trade Centre and the United Nations University, 1/ the
United Nations Development Programme, 2/ the United Nations Children's
Fund, 3/ the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East, 4/ the United Nations Institute for
Training and Research, 5/ the voluntary funds administered by the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 6/ the Fund of the
United Nations Environment Programme, 7/ the United Nations
Population Fund, 8/ the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements
Foundation, 9/ the Fund of the United Nations International Drug
Control Programme 10/ and the United Nations Office for Project
Services, 11/ the reports and audit opinions of the Board of
Auditors, 12/ the concise summary of principal findings, conclusions
and recommendations of the Board of Auditors 13/ and the report of
the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, 14/


                                       A

      Taking note of the reports of the Secretary-General on measures
taken or to be taken to implement the current recommendations of the
Board of Auditors 15/ and of the responses of the executive heads of
the United Nations organizations and programmes 16/ to the
recommendations of the Board,

      Taking note also of the reports of the Secretary-General on
accounting standards 17/ and on the inventory control system for
non-expendable property at Headquarters, 18/

      Expressing deep concern about the persistence of problems and
defects observed by the Board of Auditors in the financial
administration and management of the United Nations,

      Noting with concern the observation by the Board of Auditors that
there had been no significant improvement in effective budgetary
control with regard to trust funds 19/ despite the fact that the
Board had drawn attention to this problem in its report for the
biennium ended 31 December 1993,

      Emphasizing the need to improve implementation of the
recommendations of the Board of Auditors, as approved by the General
Assembly,

      Commending the Board of Auditors for carrying out its reviews in
a comprehensive and efficient manner, in line with regulation 12.5 of
the Financial Regulations of the United Nations,

      1.    Accepts the financial reports and audited financial
statements and the audit opinions and reports of the Board of Auditors
regarding the aforementioned organizations, subject to the provisions
of the present resolution;

      2.    Also accepts the concise summary of principal findings,
conclusions and recommendations of the Board of Auditors, subject to
the provisions of the present resolution;

      3.    Notes with serious concern that the Board of Auditors has
qualified its audit opinion on the financial statements of the United
Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the
United Nations International Drug Control Programme, the United
Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Habitat and Human
Settlements Foundation and the United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements (Habitat II);

      4.    Requests the Secretary-General and the executive heads of
the United Nations funds and programmes mentioned in paragraph 3 above
to take steps to rectify the situation in order to avoid another
qualification during the next audit;

      5.    Reiterates its request that the Board of Auditors continue
its audit coverage of all peacekeeping operations;

      6.    Approves all the recommendations and conclusions of the
Board of Auditors and the comments thereon contained in the report of
the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, 14/
subject to the provisions of the present resolution;

      7.    Requests the Board of Auditors to indicate more clearly in
its future reports those recommendations which have not been fully
implemented and to point out, with greater precision, incidences of
malpractice and violations of rules and regulations;

      8.    Also requests the Board of Auditors to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session proposals for improving the
implementation, by the Secretary-General and the executive heads of
the United Nations funds and programmes, of the recommendations of the
Board, as approved by the Assembly, and for possible changes in
reporting on the progress of such implementation;

      9.    Notes with concern the delays in the submission to the
General Assembly, through the Advisory Committee, of the reports of
the Board of Auditors and the reports of the Secretary-General on the
implementation of the recommendations of the Board, and requests the
Secretary-General to ensure that the necessary financial and
administrative support is provided to assure the timeliness of the
transmission of those reports in the future;

      10.   Requests the Secretary-General and the executive heads of
the United Nations funds and programmes to provide timely responses to
the recommendations of the Board of Auditors, and reiterates its
request that the reports on measures taken or to be taken in response
to the recommendations of the Board include timetables for their
implementation;

      11.   Notes with deep concern the incidents of fraud and presumed
fraud reported by the Board of Auditors;

      12.   Requests the Secretary-General and the executive heads of
the organizations concerned to take the disciplinary measures
necessary in cases of proven fraud and to enhance the individual
accountability of United Nations personnel, including through stronger
managerial control;

      13.   Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session on measures taken to enhance
accountability;

      14.   Notes with satisfaction the improvement in internal audit
functions and structures in the United Nations, including the level of
professional expertise, and requests the executive heads of those
funds and programmes which continue to suffer deficiencies in this
regard to take appropriate corrective measures;

      15.   Emphasizes the need for greater transparency and stricter
controls for trust funds, including by ensuring, in particular, that
expenditure from trust funds is not incurred without receipt of the
corresponding income or on the basis of reimbursement to other
accounts or the regular budget;

      16.   Welcomes the efforts made by organizations in the biennium
1994-1995 to comply with the United Nations common accounting
standards;

      17.   Notes, however, that further work needs to be done in the
biennium 1996-1997 to bring the financial statements fully in line
with the United Nations common accounting standards, and requests the
Secretary-General and the executive heads of the United Nations
organizations and programmes to pursue their efforts to ensure full
compliance with those standards, regarding, in particular, disclosure
of valuation of property and cash held in non-convertible currencies,
calculation and disclosure of end-of-service liability for termination
benefits and better disclosure of delays in the collection of assessed
contributions;

      18.   Takes note of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors
concerning budgetary assumptions used in the preparation of biennial
programme budgets 20/ and the comments of the Secretary-General and
the Advisory Committee thereon, 21/ and requests them to keep the
matter under review;

      19.   Takes note also of the comments of the Board of Auditors on
the need to improve performance reporting, and concurs with the
recommendation of the Advisory Committee 22/ that the
Secretary-General should work towards improving the format of reports,
in particular by providing more up-to-date information relating to
actual expenditure figures;

      20.   Stresses the importance of the timely completion of the
self-evaluation of subprogrammes, and requests the Secretary-General
to ensure better coverage and monitoring of self-evaluations;

      21.   Requests the Board of Auditors, the Office of Internal
Oversight Services and the Joint Inspection Unit to maintain and
enhance, whenever possible, their cooperation, while respecting the
clear distinction between internal and external oversight
responsibilities;

      22.   Regrets that there was a steady decline in net income from
revenue-producing activities during the biennium 1994-1995;

      23.   Also regrets that the United Nations Postal Administration
and the services to visitors incurred net losses during the biennium
1994-1995, and requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary
measures to redress the situation and to report thereon to the General
Assembly;

      24.   Decides to consider the other substantive findings and
recommendations of the Board of Auditors under the relevant agenda
items, and decides also to consider in future, where appropriate, the
substantive findings and recommendations of the Board under the
relevant agenda items;


                                       B

      Expressing concern at the failure of some implementing and
executing agencies to comply with funding and project agreements
concluded with United Nations funds and programmes,

      1.    Notes with deep concern the serious irregular financial
practices in the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements and the
decision by the management of the United Nations Habitat and Human
Settlements Foundation to divert $900,000 from Foundation funds in
order to meet the financing requirements for the preparatory
activities of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II); 23/

      2.    Draws the attention of the Commission on Human Settlements
to those irregularities with a view to its requesting immediate
corrective action at its sixteenth session;

      3.    Notes the actions taken by the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees and the Executive Committee of the
Programme of the High Commissioner at its forty-seventh session with
regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the Board of
Auditors; 24/

      4.    Welcomes initiatives taken by the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to improve the procedure for
selecting  implementing partners and auditing their activities, and
emphasizes the need for improvement by other funds and programmes in
the process of selecting  implementing and executing partners;

      5.    Notes with grave concern the serious problems identified
with regard to the United Nations Development Programme reserve for
field accommodation;

      6.    Notes the actions taken by the Administrator and the
Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme at the
first regular session of 1997 of the Executive Board of the United
Nations Development Programme and of the United Nations Population
Fund with regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the
Board of Auditors; 25/

      7.    Notes also the actions taken by the Executive Director and
the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund  at the
first regular session of 1997 of the Executive Board with regard to
the implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors; 26/

      8.    Takes note of the recommendation 27/ that the United
Nations Children's Fund review its policy of recording cash assistance
in connection with programme expenditures for consistency with
financial regulations and programme management procedures, and notes
the finding that financial control over cash assistance was not being
fully achieved;

      9.    Takes note also of decision 19/26, adopted by the Governing
Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on 7 February
1997, on the report of the Board of Auditors, and the Council's
request that the Executive Director implement the necessary corrective
actions recommended by the Board before the end of the biennium
1996-1997;

      10.   Notes with great concern the serious problems in the United
Nations Environment Programme reported by the Board of Auditors,
including the fact that eight out of twelve projects audited had
suffered cost overruns and nine had undergone time overruns because of
difficulties in identifying consultants;

      11.   Draws the attention of the Governing Council of the United
Nations Environment Programme to those irregularities with a view to
its requesting immediate corrective action at its next scheduled
sessions;

      12.   Notes the actions taken by the Executive Director of the
United Nations Population Fund and the Executive Board of the United
Nations Development Programme and of the United Nations Population
Fund with regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the
Board of Auditors. 28/

                                                          95th plenary meeting
                                                                  3 April 1997


                                     Notes

1/    Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 5 (A/51/5), vol. I, sects. I and V; vol. II, sects. I
and V; vol. III, sect. IV; and vol. IV, sects. I and V.

2/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5A (A/51/5/Add.1), sects. I and IV.

3/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5B (A/51/5/Add.2), sects. I and IV.

4/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5C (A/51/5/Add.3), sects. I and V.

5/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5D (A/51/5/Add.4), sects. I and V.

6/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5E (A/51/5/Add.5), sects. III and V.

7/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5F (A/51/5/Add.6), sects. I and V.

8/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5G (A/51/5/Add.7), sects. I and V.

9/    Ibid., Supplement No. 5H (A/51/5/Add.8), sects. I and IV.

10/   Ibid., Supplement No. 5I (A/51/5/Add.9), sects. I and V.

11/   Ibid., Supplement No. 5J (A/51/5/Add.10), sects. I and IV.

12/   Ibid., Supplement No. 5 (A/51/5), vol. I, sects. II and III; vol.
II, sects. II and III; vol. III, sects. I and II; vol. IV, sects. II
and III; ibid., Supplement No. 5A (A/51/5/Add.1), sects. II and III;
ibid., Supplement No. 5B (A/51/5/Add.2), sects. II and III; ibid.,
Supplement No. 5C (A/51/5/Add.3), sects. II and III; ibid., Supplement
No. 5D (A/51/5/Add.4), sects. II and III; ibid., Supplement No. 5E
(A/51/5/Add.5), sects. I and II; ibid., Supplement No. 5F
(A/51/5/Add.6), sects. II and III; ibid., Supplement No. 5G
(A/51/5/Add.7), sects. II and III; ibid., Supplement No. 5H
(A/51/5/Add.8), sects. II and III; ibid., Supplement No. 5I
(A/51/5/Add.9), sects. II and III; and ibid., Supplement No. 5J
(A/51/5/Add.10), sects. II and III.

13/   A/51/283, annex.

14/   A/51/533.

15/   A/51/488 and Add.1.

16/   A/51/488/Add.2.

17/   A/51/523.

18/   A/C.5/50/51.

19/   See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 5 (A/51/5), vol. I, sect. II, paras. 57 and 58.

20/   See A/51/488, paras. 6-11.

21/   Ibid., paras. 6-13, and A/51/533, paras. 39 and 40.

22/   A/51/533, para. 41.

23/   See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 5H (A/51/5/Add.8), sect. II, para. 13.

24/   See A/AC.96/869/Add.1, paras. 4-7; and A/51/12/Add.1 and Corr. 1,
para. 25; see Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 12A.

25/   See DP/1997/3; DP/1997/6; and DP/1997/11, decision 97/3.

26/   See E/1997/32 (Part I)-E/ICEF/1997/12 (Part I), sect. II.K; and
ibid., sect. III, decision 1997/10, para. 2.

27/   See Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first
Session, Supplement No. 5B (A/51/5/Add.2), sect. II, para. 11 (a).

28/   See DP/FPA/1997/4 and DP/1997/11, decision 97/2.
 

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