The United Nations Board of Auditors (the ‘Board’) established in 1946 by the General Assembly and comprised of the heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions from three Member States, has for more than 60 years provided independent external audit services to the General Assembly. This has involved certifying the accounts of the UN and its funds and programmes, and providing reports covering a wide array of managerial and value for money issues. The overarching goal of the Board is to use the unique perspective of public external audit to both help the General Assembly to hold UN entities to account for the use of public resources, and add value by identifying ways to improve the delivery of international public services.
The Board fully recognises the vital role played by the UN and its funds and programmes in delivering their complex mandates often in extremely difficult environments. But at the same time fiscal constraints mean many member states are seeking to radically change the way in which public services are delivered to help reduce deficits and stimulate growth. The UN and its funds and programmes face similar challenges over the next three years, needing to operate with less resource, re-examine costs, processes and service delivery models, deploy new skills many of which are in short supply, whilst simultaneously delivering major business transformation projects. This will have a major impact on the ways in which UN entities are managed.
The Board must also work within budget constraints and will be stretched to respond. The Board has increasingly focused its efforts on the major business transformations being undertaken in the UN, including the introduction of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and new enterprise resource planning systems to name just a few; but this is just the start. Our work must be increasingly relevant to the development of strategic thinking and improved accountability and transparency in the UN system, whilst also offering insights into the way in which services are delivered on the ground. We must also use our core expertise in financial management and cost-effective service delivery to help management realise the opportunities from the new tools and information becoming available to them to drive lasting and beneficial change.
My Board colleagues, Mr. Liu Jiayi, Auditor-General of the People’s Republic of China and Mr. Ludovick Utouh, Auditor-General of the United Republic of Tanzania, share my commitment to ensuring the Board achieves its aspirations. We recognise the need to respond objectively, quickly and flexibly to the concerns and changing priorities of the General Assembly and Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. We are committed to working collaboratively in a fair and transparent manner with governing bodies, audit committees, oversight functions and administrations to deliver our mandate, while continuing to observe the highest professional and ethical standards.
Comptroller and Auditor General,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Chairman of United Nations Board of Auditors