DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICES OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AND THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT

8 April 2008

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICES OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AND THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT

8 April 2008
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICES OF THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

AND THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT

 

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Janos Tisovszky, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Good afternoon, all.

**Press Conferences Today

At 1:15 p.m. today, there will be a press conference by Mayor Helen Zille of Cape Town; Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Population Division; Eduardo Moreno, Chief of the Global Urban Observatory of the Monitoring System Branch of UN-HABITAT; and others, on the work of the forty-first session of the Commission on Population and Development.

**Security Council

Hédi Annabi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Haiti, this morning told the Security Council that Haiti has made significant gains in politics, security and institution-building.  At the same time, he warned, this progress remains fragile and subject to swift reversal.  He said that there has been a rise in anti-Government demonstrations, with a particular focus on the recent dramatic increase in the cost of living, notably in a violent demonstration last week in Les Cayes.  He said that, in order to combat the threat of criminality and violence, the UN Mission has reinforced its collaboration with the Haitian authorities and has enhanced the sharing of information.  We have his remarks to the Council upstairs.  Mr. Annabi spoke to Council members about Haiti in closed consultations.  He is still in consultations right now and we will let you know as soon as he can make it to the stakeout. 

Then, at 3 in the afternoon, the Council will hear in an open meeting from the head of the International Independent Investigation Commission dealing with Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, and will follow that meeting with consultations, as well.  He’ll provide an update on the Commission’s work, following the report that went to the Council two weeks ago, which confirmed that a network of individuals acted in concert to carry out the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and that this network, or parts of it, are linked to some of the other cases within the Commission’s mandate.  Mr. Bellemare will hold a press conference in this room at approximately 4:30 p.m.

** Nepal

Counting down to Nepal’s historic Constituent Assembly election this week, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Nepal, Ian Martin, in a press conference today, appealed to the political parties and the people, stressing that much now depends on election day itself and on the days that follow.  Stressing that the United Nations is playing an important support role through its mission on the ground, Martin said Nepal is within reach of a historic achievement, in which the country has come in a relatively short time since the end of the armed conflict.  Martin said that preparations are now “in good order” for an election more complicated than any Nepal has carried out before.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, while noting that there have been serious acts of violence and violations of human rights during the election campaign, appealed to the armed groups that have been claiming responsibility for violent acts to call off any of those efforts to disrupt the process.  He also appealed to the political parties to fulfil, on Election Day, their commitments to improve their respect for the election Code of Conduct and avoid all violence amongst their supporters as well as to respect the result of the elections, whatever that result may be.  To both the armies, Martin urged them to respect fully their commitments to remain in their barracks or cantonments, respectively, on Election Day.  The Special Representative of the Secretary-General also urged voters to trust that this is a secret ballot and not to be influenced by threats or inducements and urged all Nepalese people to be patient during an inevitably prolonged period as election results come in.

** Sudan

The African Union and UN Special Envoys for Darfur are in Sudan this week to conduct consultations with officials of the Government of National Unity.  The consultations come as a follow-up to the recent informal consultations held with regional partners and members of the international community in Geneva last month, 17-18 March.  Jan Eliasson of the United Nations and Salim Ahmed Salim of the African Union plan to meet with Government of Sudan Chief Negotiator Nafie al-Nafie, Senior Assistant to the President Minni Minnawi and Foreign Minister Deng Alor, to discuss the way forward in the Darfur political process.  They will also travel to Juba to meet with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.  From 15 to 20 April, the Special Envoys will conduct consultations with non-signatory movements and representatives of civil society in Darfur.

** Chad

This Wednesday, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad is launching a training programme for some 77 Chadian police and gendarmerie commanders.  The Mission says the Chadian officers will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to enforce law and order and respect for human rights in camps for refugees and the internally displaced, as well as in the major towns of eastern Chad.  The intensive training is expected to last four weeks and will take place in N’Djamena.  Once they have completed their training, the officers will deploy in both the capital and the eastern region and will remain under UN police supervision for six months.  The Mission says that a total of 850 trained gendarmes and police officers will be required to meet its mandate requirement.

**Democratic Republic of Congo

In his latest report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is out as a document today, the Secretary-General says that, despite numerous setbacks, critical steps have been taken towards finding a solution to the instability in the east.  The Nairobi and Goma processes, he says, have set up frameworks to deal with outstanding security problems, particularly in the Kivus.  However, success in both processes will ultimately depend on the determination, good faith and political will of all parties.  In this regard, continued international engagements remain essential.

Meanwhile, the increasing number of verified ceasefire violations is a matter of serious concern.  And the Secretary-General calls on all signatories to respect their obligations under the statements of commitment.  He encourages the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government to ensure that the follow-up process is inclusive and he welcomes recent executive orders seeking to do just that.  Continued dialogue among countries in the Great Lakes region is also a welcome development, and the Secretary-General is appealing to the Congolese Government to resume full diplomatic relations with its neighbours as soon as possible.

**Management Reform

The Secretary-General today addressed the General Assembly’s thematic debate on management reform, noting that the subject is one of his top priorities.  The Secretary-General told the Assembly that, today, “history is swinging our way,” with the United Nations being called to do many tasks with proportionately fewer resources.  As a result, he said, the UN will need to be made more modern, more flexible and more efficient.  He stressed that the United Nations needs an integrated, multi-skilled and mobile global workforce, and to achieve it, it must streamline its contractual arrangements and improve conditions of service.  He added that we must be able to recruit staff more quickly than at present.  He also noted what the United Nations is doing to ensure accountability, including a new system for the administration of justice that is to be introduced next January.  We have his statement upstairs.

** Gulf States

Continuing his travels to the Persian Gulf region, Under-Secretary-General and Humanitarian Relief Coordinator John Holmes today commended Gulf States for their support of humanitarian efforts around the world, but urged them to step up their collaboration in order to address such needs more effectively and multilaterally.  Speaking at a humanitarian aid conference in Dubai, Holmes noted that close to 60 per cent of UN emergency assistance is provided to countries with Muslim populations.  Greater engagement between Gulf countries and the UN would help build a more representative system and keep humanitarian assistance from being viewed solely as a Western enterprise, he said.  We have more information upstairs.

**Appointments

I have two appointments to announce.  First, the Secretary-General has appointed Ajay Chhibber of India as Director of the UN Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.  Mr. Chhibber replaces Hafiz Pasha of Pakistan.  Mr. Chhibber has worked for the World Bank for over 25 years in a variety of capacities, and has worked across Asia.

Meanwhile, Inés Alberdi of Spain has been appointed by the UN Development Programme’s Administrator as Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women, better known as UNIFEM.  Ms. Alberdi replaces Noeleen Heyzer of Singapore, who is now the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.  Ms. Alberdi brings with her over 25 years of professional experience on issues related to gender and development and in politics.  We have more information on these appointments upstairs.

** Sri Lanka

On Sri Lanka, the United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka today in a press statement strongly condemns the suicide attack in Colombo that killed 15 people on Sunday during a peaceful sporting event.  Condemning all violence and indiscriminate attacks against civilians there, the United Nations offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, including one Government Minister and a number of athletes who died.  The United Nations urges all parties to the conflict to do everything within their power to avoid civilian casualties and appeals to them to seek a negotiated and peaceful solution to the conflict. 

** Colombia

The UN refugee agency is signing an agreement today with the Colombian Government on the protection of land rights and the restitution of property for the country’s displaced population.  The agreement will help coordinate various existing programmes in Colombia to legally protect abandoned lands.  It also envisions new initiatives to restore the property rights of people who have lost land through forced displacement.  We have more information in the UNHCR [Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] briefing notes upstairs.

**UNHCR/Google

The UN refugee agency and Google have unveiled a new online mapping programme.  It provides an up-close view of some of the world’s major displacement crises, as well as the humanitarian efforts aimed at providing assistance to millions of people.  The programme takes advantage of Google Earth technology by letting agencies overlay text, audio and video explaining their work in various places.  The web address, for those who are interested, is www.unhcr.org/googleearth.  You do have to download Google Earth first in order for the programme to work.  We have more information, of course, on this upstairs.

**World Food Programme

And the World Food Programme (WFP) has launched the world’s first humanitarian video game in Arabic.  “Food Force” lets players join a virtual team of WFP experts to get food to the needy in emergencies.  The game has already clocked around six million players worldwide in other languages, and is available for free on the Internet.  You can get more information on that upstairs also.

And this is all I have for you.  I would make the questions short, if you don’t mind, because we have Janos, who is briefing us today.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  Has a new country chief for Burma been appointed?

Spokesperson:  Not yet.

Question:  How long will it take?

Spokesperson:  I don’t know at this point.  I’ll let you know as soon as it’s done.

Question:  The Pope is coming next week to the UN.  I wanted to ask you if the Secretary-General has any expectations or if he expects to raise any particular issues in his talks with the Pope and if he has any expectations of what will come out of his present visit to the UN?

Spokesperson:  He’s expecting that visit and, as you know, he met the Pope before when he went to Rome.  He visited the Pope at the Vatican.  The Secretary-General is looking forward to the opportunity to meet him again and at this point I cannot tell you which issue they will be discussing, but we’ll try to give you a briefing before he comes.  First, you have a logistics type of briefing with Gary Fowlie on how things will be mapped out, and you’ll also have, after that, in that briefing, [something] about the visit itself.

Question:  Will Inner City Press be available on the UNHCR/Google website?

Spokesperson:  What are you talking about?

Question:  I don’t know.  Google has had a problem with one of our colleagues in the past. 

Spokesperson:  I don’t know.  I can’t answer that question.

Question:  I know, but another question about it.  Are Palestinian refugees going to be included, since they’re not being taken care of by UNHCR but by a separate refugee agency?

Spokesperson:  Of course they will be included.

Question:  I have a question on Iraq.  Has the Special Representative of the Secretary-General come up with any assessment in Iraq following what happened last week and what is now being described as a situation that’s going from bad to worse again?  Did he come up with any report as yet?

Spokesperson:  No, we don’t have anything new.  You asked the question yesterday and I answered what I’m answering now.  We don’t have any report yet.  But of course the Secretary-General gets regular briefings from his Special Representative on the ground, but we don’t have a written report at this point.

Question:  Talking about UNHCR, is there also no report on the Iraqi refugees in Jordan?

Spokesperson:  UNHCR has constant reports on the situation of refugees.  You can consult their site and get more information on that.

Question:  In his speech just now on management reform, the Secretary-General has said that some of his Special Representatives earn less and serve under less favourable conditions than those in UN funds or programmes.  Can we get more information on what he meant, in terms of what Special Representatives of the Secretary-General are paid and who in UNDP or any programme he’s comparing it to?  He seemed to say he’s calling for a reform of this, but if we can get underlying facts.  Are all Special Representatives of the Secretary-General paid the same amount?

Spokesperson:  We can get that information for you from the Management Office.  I don’t have it with me now.

Question:  I wouldn’t expect it.  Also, this issue off the coast of Somalia, the pirates who took the French boat.  Does the UN have any involvement in trying to get the sailors released?

Spokesperson:  No, the UN has no involvement in this.

Question:  Just France.  Okay.  There’s also an AP story I wanted to ask you about these two appointments, UNIFEM and UNDP in Asia.  It seemed to say that the Secretary-General had been approached by a coalition of NGOs very much in support of an Indian candidate for UNIFEM, but that somehow the Spanish candidate was chosen, and it seems to imply that this was based on contributions by Spain to the UN, both to UNDP and to UNIFEM in particular, and that the appointment, at the same time, of an Indian to this other post was somehow to make up for that.  Is that something the UN rejects in full?  What’s the connection between giving money and getting a post and the nationality of these two persons?  

Spokesperson:  There is no direct connection.  I can tell you that there is a constant concern to have geographical distribution within the system.  And in the case of the appointment to the post of UNIFEM, she has been appointed at the D-2 level and the selection process was comprehensive.  It was extensive.  It took into account both the challenges that UNIFEM faces and the broader requirements of strengthening gender-focused work within the whole gender architecture of the United Nations.  It was done in close cooperation, with the board choosing the candidates and the Secretary-General and the Director of UNDP.

Question:  The NGO group seems to think that this other candidate, Ms. Sen, was actually recommended by the panel.  Was the candidate ultimately selected the one with the highest recommendation of the panel?

Spokesperson:  I don’t have all the details.  I can tell you that it was a long process, a very thorough process and a very careful one.

Question:  In UNDP, selecting a head of a region for them, I know they do it in consultation, but it definitely involved the Secretary-General’s office?

Spokesperson:  It does.

Question:  And then one last thing that came up in the course of this.  It seems that Peacekeeping is going to open a logistics base in Valencia?  There’s a photograph showing Mr. Ban meeting with the Vice-President of Spain.  Does that compete with the Brindisi Centre?

Spokesperson:  It completes the Brindisi Centre.  It’s a different set up.  You can have the information on that very easily.  Okay.  Thank you very much.  Janos?

Briefing by the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President

Good afternoon, good to see you.

**General Assembly Debate on Management Reform

Let me start with something that Michèle already mentioned and that is this morning’s meeting that opened in the Trusteeship Council Chamber on the Management Reform.  Management Reform is one of the five priority areas of the current General Assembly session.  The meeting was called for, convened and opened by General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim.  The title of the two-day thematic debate is, “Towards a common understanding of management reform.”  And as the title suggests, the aim is for Member States, as well as Secretariat officials, to work towards a common understanding on management reform.  The debate is intended to take stock of ongoing reforms especially in light of the proposals of the 2005 Summit Outcome Document and also to provide Member States with the opportunity to express their views on management reform.

President Kerim in his opening statement stressed that a more effective United Nations was an essential part of bridging the gap between the global public’s high expectations and our ability to deliver.  He said, “All our reform efforts are fundamentally about improving the image, authority and relevance of the United Nations.”  “It is imperative that the whole of the Organization becomes more efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable to Member States, and ultimately to the peoples of the world.”  Taking stock of the reform agenda, the President noted that there is a need to advance further on human resources, procurement, information and communication technology, accountability and oversight to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organization.

He also called for the United Nations to not only match the high ideals and public purpose it was founded upon, but to set the lead for others to follow in international management practice.  He urged Member States to use the debate as an occasion to agree to give greater coherence to all past management reform initiatives and reach a common understanding of the future role that they envisage for the Organization.  The President asked Member States to especially focus on three interrelated issues of crucial importance to the process of transforming decisions of Member States into delivered activities.  These are:  the way mandates are formulated, implemented and evaluated; the planning and budgetary process of the Organization; and finally, the management of human resources.

As regards these three issues: on mandates the President noted that the way these are formulated, implemented, and evaluated, was at the heart of the credibility of General Assembly’s decision making process and the outcomes that this organization delivers on behalf of Member States.  On the budget process, he pointed out that the membership had expressed its concern with the piecemeal approach to this, adding that Member States would be more informed in their debates about the organization’s spending priorities, its budgetary discipline and requests for additional resources if a more complete, timely and coherent analysis of spending, outputs, and outcomes were available.  The President also underlined that modern human resources management was essential to unleash the untapped potential of the Secretariat.  Human resources policies should encourage better career advancement opportunities and conditions of service, training, mobility, and retention of the best staff.  The full speech of the President is available for you upstairs in the Spokesperson’s Office and also on the website of the President.

Following the opening statement of the President, the Secretary-General addressed the meeting and after that, Member States made statements.  The meeting will continue this afternoon in that format, meaning that Member States will deliver their statements.  The second part of this thematic debate is going to be tomorrow in the afternoon and it will be in a different format, in the form of an interactive session among Member States and senior Secretariat officials.

**Rule of Law

Let me go back to something that happened yesterday.  President Kerim yesterday attended the presentation of the final report and recommendations from the Austrian Initiative 2004-2008 on “The UN Security Council and the Rule of Law.”  It was at the 59th General Assembly that Austria launched this initiative and worked on a final report in cooperation with the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law.  The President, in his statement at the presentation meeting, noted that respect for the rights and sovereignty of other States, based on the rule of law, was the basis for a well-functioning society of States.  Each state, in turn, had a responsibility to protect and promote the human rights and dignity of their people, and support participatory decision making at the national level.

He stressed that the principal organs of the United Nations, such as the General Assembly and the Security Council, had to act in a way that bolsters international relations based on clear and agreed rules.  In this regard, he pointed out that that the General Assembly had reaffirmed that the promotion of and respect for the rule of law at the national and international levels should guide the activities of the United Nations and its Member States.  And as regards the various initiatives already taken by the UN system in promoting the rule of law, the President said that it was important to ensure that these efforts were sustained and supported by all principal organs of the United Nations.  And in this regard, the Security Council had an important role in promoting justice and the rule of law as an indispensable element of lasting peace.

**Disarmament Commission

A couple of other things.  You may have noticed from the Journal, and also among the press releases, that the Disarmament Commission opened its 2008 substantive session yesterday.  It is the third year of a three-year cycle in which the Commission is focusing on the agreed agenda items, which are nuclear disarmament and nuclear proliferation; and confidence-building in conventional weapons.  The Commission is expected to end its session on 24 April.

I am mentioning this because the Commission is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, it is composed of all Members of the United Nations and it reports annually to the General Assembly through the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).  So the report, as regards the outcome of this session, which as I said is expected to end 24 April, is going to come before the General Assembly through the First Committee at the next session, that’s the sixty-third session.

**Criminal Accountability of UN Officials on Mission

Something else that began its work, and that is one of the ad hoc committees established by the Sixth Committee (Legal).  This one is on Criminal Accountability of UN Officials and Experts on Mission.  I already talked about this before and I will brief you on the outcome as it wraps up its work this week.

**Upcoming Events

And just a very quick reminder of upcoming things.  One I mentioned already.  Tomorrow afternoon, the thematic debate on Management Reform continues in the interactive format session.  On Thursday, this is important, you have all been sort of waiting for, if I may say so, but I mentioned this already, and that’s the second meeting, meaning the second meeting as part of the sixty-second session of the Assembly, of the so-called Open-ended Working Group on the Questions of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council, so in other words, on Security Council reform.  That’s going to be on Thursday starting at 10 a.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.  Unfortunately for you, it is a closed session and it is expected to last the whole day.

And the third thing I wanted to flag, and this relates to some of these things because you will get more background information from it, is the press briefing of the President of the General Assembly.  That’s going to be on Friday at 11:00 o’clock.  So he’s going to talk to you about the outcome of the meetings on Security Council reform, on management reform and other things.

So that’s all I have.  If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  I just want to clarify, the Disarmament Commission is composed of all Members?

Spokesperson:  Yes, it is.  It’s a subsidiary body of the General Assembly.  It was set up by the First Special Session on Disarmament in 1978 and it is open to all Members of the United Nations.

Question:  Who are the active Members?  Are all Members active Members?  I know they have been meeting since yesterday but I thought the CD was composed of forty nine Members or so but you say no, it’s all Members.

Spokesperson:  As far as I know and according to my notes it’s open to all Members.  Who are the active Members?  There’s a good summary record of the meeting in the form of a press release so you can see from that who are the active Members, the ones making statements.  (Note: the Conference on Disarmament is a separate entity based in Geneva and has a membership of 65 Member States.)

Question:  Now, on this all important thematic debate on reform of the Security Council, which you say is going to be a closed door session, for my background, I want to know whether the debate will be based on the report of the last Assembly President or whether it will also include the report by the Ambassador of Germany.

Spokesperson:  It’s part of the process.  As you pointed out, the outgoing President of the sixty-first session, on the closing day of the session, on 17 September, had the report of the working group on Council reform adopted. Building on what is contained in that report, the current President, President Kerim, began his work on Council reform and had the first meeting of the open-ended working group during the current session on 14 December – and in fact even a month before there was also a meeting within the framework of the General Assembly on the work of the Security Council. Since the first meeting of the open-ended working group on 14 December, the President called on Member States to engage in intensive negotiations.  And as part of that phase of intensive negotiations, you had various different groupings of States working amongst themselves, trying to work together with other groups, and come up with various proposals.

As a result of that three letters arrived to the Office of the President: one by the Africa Group; one by the Ambassador of Cyprus on behalf of the so-called overarching group, with an attached set of proposals that this group thought to use to advance the work on Council reform; and then of course there was the Uniting for Consensus group, which also had a short proposal with a cover letter coming from the Ambassador of Italy.  So all that, together, will be part of the discussions on the second meeting of the open-ended working group.

Question:  What’s going to come out of these two days on management reform?  Is it as the G-77 wants it?  Is it actually going to have no impact on all actual reforms that are being considered by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary)?  That’s how I read their statement, which is saying the Fifth Committee is the place for this, not this format.  And also, why is the debate on management reform closed?  Why is a debate on management reform and transparency closed?

Spokesperson:  First of all, this first day of the session is open and we’ve been saying this.  It’s tomorrow, the interactive session which is with Member States and Secretariat officials, which is designated to be a closed session.  That was on the advice of Member States.  That’s the way they wanted it.  As regards the statement of the G-77 and what their approach is, either the statement speaks for itself or you have to ask them to interpret this. 

Question:  And the outcome?

Spokesperson:  The outcome, this is what I mentioned while you were out, the title basically says it in the sense that what is intended here is to have a common understanding of how to go about management reform, first of all to take stock of what has happened over the various different reform initiatives emanating from the 2005 Outcome Document.  Then, it’s an opportunity for Member States to voice their views and ideas about how they think the Organization should track forward, how management reform should be understood and ideally, and this is what the President would like, and what the title is about, is to have a common understanding of what management reform is, a common understanding among Member States and common understanding as regards Member States and Secretariat. Ideally, to have coherence amongst Member States views as to how to approach management reform.

This is my understanding of what is the intention.  But let’s see what happens after the statements and after the interactive session.  But this is why it will be good to have the President here on Friday at 11:00 o’clock and he will be able to brief you on the outcome of the management reform thematic debate, as well as the Security Council open-ended working group meeting.

Question:  Going back to the President’s speech and human resources practices, he praised the Fifth Committee for normalizing the conditions of service and he said he hopes the discussion held in March, he sounded very upbeat, whereas Mr. Ban, on the very same topic, said he was disappointed that this topic was not finalized in March.  What was the President praising in terms of human resources?  What was actually accomplished in the March session of the Fifth Committee that he was praising so much.

Spokesperson:  If you remember, this issue did come up.  I don’t have my background notes here on the Fifth Committee, but I do remember that the Fifth Committee ended on 28 March.  On 31 March, I did give a briefing on the outcome.  If I remember correctly, human resources issues including conditions of service, contractual status, etcetera, were issues that were deferred to later action.  And I don’t really see a discrepancy here from the point of view that the President is optimistic that this issue is taken up by Member States and is going to be taken forward.  

Question:  On the other hand, it hasn’t been adopted.

Spokesperson:  I don’t detect pessimism here at all.  This is an issue that is with the Member States.  It is going to be discussed and it is taken forward and it is with the Fifth Committee.  And as you know, the Fifth Committee will continue in May and then, of course, will pick up again with the sixty-third session.

Question:  This system wide coherence and this management reform, do these things overlap?  Has anybody discussed that?

Spokesperson:  The interrelationship between the two and how the current President and the current Assembly session look at it, is something you can ask from the President on Friday.  But, while management reform is a broad subject, as I have mentioned the President asked Membership to concentrate on mandate issues, the formulation and evaluation of mandates, the budgetary process and the human resources aspects.  System-wide coherence is also something that emanates from the past couple of years and it is also a process that is taken up by the Member States, taken forward by this Assembly session, and in fact, I think it was actually yesterday that Member States, with the co-chairs, have taken forward the initiative.  The co-chairs are the Ambassadors of Tanzania and Ireland.  Yesterday they looked at funding issues as regards this exercise.

As you know, there are eight pilot countries.  That’s kind of an experimental approach.  These two co-chairs have recently visited four of those eight pilot countries and those four were Cape Verde, Tanzania, Viet Nam and Mozambique.  On 28 March they had a meeting when they discussed their experiences as regards those four countries.  Also, there was a meeting in Vienna, convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on the same issue of system-wide coherence, which was attended by the co-chairs.  So this exercise is continuing, plus it ties into the CEB process and the upcoming CEB meeting, so it is definitely there.  Okay, last question.

Question:  In the G-77 statement, they talk about procurement, and they say that no procurement reform will be complete or effective without diversification in origins of vendors in UN Procurement.   The EU didn’t even mention procurement in their discussion of reform.  First of all, does the President view procurement and the diversification of procurement as part of management reform?  And there was a previous General Assembly resolution on exactly this topic.  Does he feel that it’s been effectively implemented by the UN in terms of where they actually issue these big contracts from DPKO? 

Spokesperson:  Again, this is one of those things you’ll be able to ask the President on Friday.  I don’t have an answer for you at this point.  But he will be here on Friday, as I said, and it’s a golden opportunity to ask him this.

Thank you very much for your attention.  See you soon.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.