Debate Focuses on Work Programme for 2017, Special Political Missions as Fifth Committee Resumes Seventy-first Session

GA/AB/4225
6 March 2017
Seventy-first Session, 24th Meeting (AM)

Debate Focuses on Work Programme for 2017, Special Political Missions as Fifth Committee Resumes Seventy-first Session

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) opened the first part of its resumed seventy-first session today with a review of its 2017 provisional work programme, the 2016-2017 programme budget for special political missions concerning Syria and the status of implementing the Organization’s information and communications technology (ICT) strategy, among other matters.

Fifth Committee Chair Inga Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) opened the resumed session, saying that she was sure delegates would work together to ensure solid results.

Several delegates highlighted concerns over some of the agenda items and the organization of work, among them the timely issuance of documents in all official United Nations languages and the importance of completing its work before the 31 March deadline.  Transparency and inclusiveness were also critical, delegates agreed.  Pointing to priorities for the session, speakers said topping the list were accountability, procurement management and the ICT strategy.

Delegates also shared perspectives and suggestions for future actions after hearing the introduction of reports on special political missions.  Introducing the Secretary-General’s report on lessons learned on coordination activities of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Patrick Carey, Director of the Department of Management’s Facilities and Commercial Services Division, said mixed results of the Organization’s first ever emergency health mission had shown that UNMEER’s structure could have been improved to create a more streamlined model in the future. 

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introducing the entity’s related report, said that the approach taken was not thoroughly analysed and fully justified, and resulted in resources being expended to build administrative structures rather than on operational activities.  Nor did the Secretary-General’s report provide the detailed information requested by the General Assembly on the final performance, liquidation and disposal of the assets of the Mission and the Office of the Special Envoy.

The representative of Chad, on behalf of the African Group, said he shared the Advisory Committee’s views, including on the organization of the Mission and the lack of effective support to local actors and of coordination and collaboration among different entities.  “The Group hopes that the lessons learned on activities of UNMEER will guide Member States and the entire United Nations family in dealing with future global, regional and local health crises,” he said.

The Committee also discussed the proposed 2017 resource requirements for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism and United Nations Monitoring Mechanism for Syria.  Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller of the United Nations, introducing the Secretary-General’s reports on the matter, said $3.28 million would be needed for the OPCW-United Nations Investigative Mechanism from 1 November 2016 to 16 November 2017 and $3.89 million for the Monitoring Mechanism for 2017.  Mr. Ruiz introduced the Advisory Committee’s corresponding documents.

Syria’s representative said the Secretary-General’s report on the Monitoring Mechanism on aid distribution did not accurately reflect the situation on the ground, including the fact that his Government had provided 75 per cent of aid.  The Secretariat, instead, was promoting cross-border aid, some of which was falling into the hands of terrorists.  Moreover, the conclusions in the Secretary-General’s report on the Joint Investigative Mission were unconvincing, he said, calling for the Mechanism to be fully financed from the United Nations regular budget.

Turning to the status of implementing the United Nations ICT strategy, speakers welcomed progress thus far, with Switzerland’s representative, also speaking for Liechtenstein, noting improved collaboration between the Office of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Field Support.  The European Union’s speaker called for the creation of more robust policies to strengthen governance and focus investment on strategic delivery, including cybersecurity.  

Ecuador’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasized the importance of ensuring that the 10-point information security action plan be completed as planned.  More broadly, cooperation of managers was critical for the strategy’s successful implementation, he said, called for better collaboration between peacekeeping and non-peacekeeping on ICT matters.

Atefeh Riazi, Chief Information Technology Office and Assistant Secretary-General of the Office of Information and Communications Technology, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the matter.  Mr. Ruiz introduced ACABQ’s corresponding report.  

Also today, Jeremiah Kramer, Chair and Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the Unit’s annual report for 2016 and its programme of work for 2017, highlighting how horizontal cooperation in the United Nations system — demanded by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable — was an opportunity for the Unit to make contributions which drew on its comparative advantages of a system-wide perspective and independence.  Kenneth Herman, Senior Adviser on Information Management and Policy Coordination of the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, presented the Secretary-General’s note on the Unit report.

In other business, the Fifth Committee filled a vacancy in the Advisory Committee, deciding by acclamation to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of Mutaz Hyassat (Jordan) as a member, beginning from his date of appointment until 31 December 2018.

Also speaking today were representatives of El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), China, Mexico, United States, Japan, Cuba, Turkey and Israel.

The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 9 March, to consider reports on accountability, procurement and after-service health insurance.

Organization of Work

HORACIO SEVILLA BORJA (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed hope that all delegations would engage constructively in the spirit of compromise.  Concerned by the status of documentation, he said that despite improvements, the late issuance of reports remained a chronic problem affecting the Committee’s work and urged that documents be submitted on time.  He reaffirmed a commitment to consider and conclude work on the items before the Committee and to work towards a successful outcome.

ABDALLAH BACHAR BONG (Chad), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the work programme included issues of great importance to his region, such as the Secretariat’s accountability system, procurement and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).  On the latter, he believed that lessons learned would require an adequate response, in particular a need to strengthen global coordination and enhance prevention mechanisms.  With a view to completing the Committee’s tasks, he reiterated a request that no parallel meetings be held, as he did not subscribe to any sort of negotiations in small groups behind closed doors.

CARLOS ALEJANDRO FUNES HENRÍQUEZ (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), highlighted a number of issues, including the budgetary consideration of the proposed global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration; accountability and procurement management.  Strengthening accountability would improve the Organization and all delegates should be working towards a related draft resolution on the matter.  Congratulating the Joint Inspection Unit for its work, he stressed the importance of its continued independence.  Negotiations must continue to be held in a transparent, inclusive manner.

JAN DE PRETER, European Union, reiterated the importance of the timely and simultaneous submission of all required documentation in all official languages, which remained key to the much-needed inclusivity and transparency that would help ensure a successful negotiated outcome.  Time management was another concern and the Committee must be able to reach decisions by consensus during normal working hours without working weekends or nights.  Among the items before the Committee, accountability remained the highest priority.  He also looked forward to discussing the information and communications technology (ICT) strategy of the Secretariat.  Procurement rules should be as transparent as possible and potential vendors should be able to compete freely to offer the best value for money, with the reduction of the United Nations ecological footprint a critical priority in that regard.  He anticipated working with delegates in trying to enhance the added value of the Joint Inspection Unit.  A solution to improve the financing modalities of the resident coordinator system was long overdue, he said, expressing hope that the Committee could meet its responsibility in that regard.

FU DAOPENG (China) said his delegation was ready to take part in discussions and consultations on the agenda items, working in a constructive spirit.  The Committee must provide strong support for the implementation of various United Nations mandates while pushing for enhanced efficiency of the Organization.  He hoped the Secretariat would strengthen internal management, strictly comply with budgetary discipline and put to good use every cent Member States had contributed.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) highlighted a range of issues that were of great importance to his delegation, including accountability, ICT and procurement.  On the latter, the Secretariat should try to diversify the origin of the goods it purchased, ensuring greater participation of vendors in developing countries.  Regarding the budgetary implications of the global compact on safe migration, he said the Committee had the responsibility to provide the necessary resources for efforts in that regard, calling on all stakeholders to work together.  Multilateralism must be pursued as the approach to solve common problems, he said, calling on Member States to respond together, with more dialogue.

MAURA CONNELLY (United States) said the Committee had the opportunity to ensure critical reform initiatives would continue to develop and thrive.  Financing for two special political missions — the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea panel of experts — must ensure the provision of resources necessary to implement their mandates.  Turning to ICT, she said that with a resolve to bringing the United Nations into the twenty-first century, transformational reform and cost containment depended on real-time, accessible and actionable information.  She supported the inclusion of a full and updated five-year budget projection, including peacekeeping requirements.  Although Secretariat-wide compliance with the ICT strategy remained a challenge, progress had been made by the Office of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Field Support.  She urged the Secretary-General to provide the Committee with clear indicators of tangible progress and benefits, as defined by performance metrics.  She also appreciated the Joint Inspection Unit’s positive efforts, including findings and recommendations on the issue of fraud in the system.

KATSUHIKO IMADA (Japan) said he was convinced the Committee would conduct its work in a transparent and positive manner and finish its session on time.  He expressed commitment to working with all delegations to reach consensus on all agenda items.

SERGEY KHALIZOV (Russian Federation) said his delegation was grateful for the expressions of condolence following Ambassador Vitaly Churkin’s passing.  The Committee should give particular attention to the Secretary-General’s report on the Organization’s procurement activities, notably with regard to aviation services and the notion of environmentally safe procurement.  His delegation was seriously concerned that several reform initiatives were being carried out in the absence of clear criteria and indicators of their economic effectiveness.  Such projects could only be implemented with clear evidence that they reduced costs and saved resources.  He added that his delegation favoured reducing the fragmentation of ICT systems and related costs while enhancing the productivity and effectiveness of their use, including doing away with duplicative software packages.

The Committee then adopted its programme of work without a vote.

Appointments to Fill Vacancies in Subsidiary Organs and Other Appointments

The Committee then decided, by acclamation, to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of Mutaz Hyassat (Jordan) as a member of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), beginning from his date of appointment until 31 December 2018.

Joint Inspection Unit

JEREMIAH KRAMER, Chair and Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the Unit’s annual report for 2016 and its programme of work for 2017 (document A/71/34 and corrigendum 1).  He said the report drew attention to the Unit’s effort to deliver results that responded to the contemporary needs of participating organizations, not least their legislative bodies.  Included in its 2017 programme of work were studies that continued to project support for integrity and accountability as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Unit would also review whistle-blower protection and complete system-wide reviews on travel and donor-led reviews.

He said the report highlighted how horizontal cooperation in the United Nations system — demanded by the 2030 Agenda — was an opportunity for the Unit to make contributions which drew on its comparative advantages of a system-wide perspective and independence.  In addition, the report touched on the support the Unit required from the General Assembly with respect to website maintenance and its consideration of the Unit’s reports and recommendations.

KENNETH HERMAN, Senior Adviser on Information Management and Policy Coordination of the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, then presented a note of the Secretary-General on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit for 2016 (document A/71/779).  He said the United Nations system placed high value in the Unit’s work, adding that dialogue between the secretariats of the Board and the Unit had improved mutual cooperation and collaboration.  Looking ahead, the Secretary-General would continue to pursue a closer working relationship with the Unit, particularly in light of its increased measures to strengthen its system-wide focus and the monitoring and follow-up of implementation of system-wide recommendations.

AMÉRICA LOURDES PEREIRA SOTOMAYOR (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” and China, underlined the Unit’s important role.  She said the Group regretted that little progress had been achieved regarding the maintenance of a web-based system for tracking recommendations, adding that it would be interested in exploring sustainable funding options.  The Group also took note of the reported gap in the consideration of the Unit’s reports by the General Assembly, and looked forward to exploring ways in which its high-quality work could be better utilized.

JAVIER E. SÁNCHEZ AZCUY (Cuba) requested that, during informal discussions in the afternoon, guidelines of the Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts and the Office of Information and Communications Technology were clearly present in order to analyse paragraphs 66 and 67 of the Joint Inspection Unit’s Report.  His delegation would be asking for concrete answers regarding a General Assembly mandate that had not been fulfilled.

Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism, Syria Monitoring Mechanism

BETTINA TUCCI BARTSIOTAS, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller of the United Nations, introducing the Secretary-General’s report titled “Estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council” (document A/71/365/Add.8*), said his proposed resources totalled $3.28 million, net of staff assessment, for the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigation Mechanism for the period from 1 November 2016 to 16 November 2017.  Because the mandate of the Mechanism was expected to be terminated on 31 October 2016, no resources were included in the revised appropriation approved by the General Assembly for the biennium 2016-2017.  However, the Security Council, by resolutions 2314 (2016) and 2319 (2016), renewed the mandate of the Mechanism until 16 November 2017, resulting in the present proposal.  Pending the General Assembly’s decision on the current proposal, the $961,900 in requirements for the period from 1 November 2016 to 31 March 2017 had been funded under the Secretary-General’s commitment authority relating to unforeseen expenses.  

Next, she introduced the Secretary-General’s report titled “Revised estimates relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 under sections 27, Humanitarian assistance, and 36, Staff assessment” (document A/71/761), which contained revised estimates for 2017 for the United Nations Monitoring Mechanism for Syria related to humanitarian aid delivery to people in need.  Set up by Security Council resolution 2165 (2014) to monitor cross-border humanitarian operations of the United Nations and partner agencies, the Monitoring Mechanism and its mandate were extended until 10 January 2017.  As such, no resources were included in the revised 2016-2017 appropriation approved by the General Assembly.   The Secretary-General’s report presented before the Committee contained the resource proposals for the Monitoring Mechanism for the period until December 2017, amounting to $3.89 million, net of staff assessment, and included a staffing complement of 42 temporary positions.  Those requirements would represent a charge against the contingency fund, she added.

CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU (Mexico), Chairman, Advisory Committee on the Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced the entity’s corresponding report on resource requirements for the Joint Investigation Mechanism (document A/71/595/Add.8), noting that $93,000 for staff costs for the final months of 2016 was not part of the Mechanism’s estimated $3.28 million in requirements.  The Advisory Committee also expected that the requirements for operational costs should be better justified; notwithstanding those observations it recommended approval of the Secretary-General’s proposal for 2017. 

Presenting the Advisory Committee’s report on the revised estimates for 2017 for the United Nations Monitoring Mechanism for Syria (document A/71/811), he recommended the overall approval of the Secretary-General’s proposed resources, except for slight reductions under operational costs and a need for higher vacancy rates to reflect operational realities.  The Advisory Committee welcomed the initiative to relocate the Office of the Chief closer to the Mechanism’s current operations and looked forward to the realization of related savings.  It also noted that the proposed revised estimates were again issued once the new mandate period was already under way.  As another yearly renewal, at the end of the year 2017, could be anticipated, the Advisory Committee expected that resources for the Monitoring Mechanism would be included in the proposed 2018-2019 programme budget.

MOUNZER MOUNZER (Syria), referring to the Secretary-General’s report on the Joint Investigative Mechanism, said his delegation condemned the use of chemical weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.  Syria had acceded to the OPCW due to its belief in that matter, he said, renewing a call to free the Middle East of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.  Since the start of the Syrian crisis, Syria had repeatedly warned, through 87 messages to the Security Council and other bodies, of the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups that had obtained those arms from other States.  Committed to transparency, Syria had fully complied with all requirements since investigations began in 2014 and had provided evidence that those terrorist groups had been responsible for chemical weapon attacks.  The conclusions that the Mechanism had reached were unconvincing, he said, and final conclusions still had not been made.  Syria called for the Mechanism to be fully financed from the United Nations regular budget.  Having warned of the politicization of the issues by certain Governments sponsoring terrorism, he noted that the results had been released even before investigations had been completed.  Syria was committed to continuing constructive engagement on the issue.

AMMAR AWAD (Syria), delivering comments on the Secretary-General’s report on the monitoring mission on aid distribution, said facts on the ground continued to be ignored, including that 75 per cent of aid had been provided by the Government of Syria.  It would have been better to use the last sums of money mentioned in the report for humanitarian aid in an arrangement with Syria.  The Secretariat, instead, was promoting cross-border aid, some of which was falling into the hands of terrorists.  Similarly, cross-border vaccination campaigns had resulted in widespread illness among children.  He raised concerns about figures on humanitarian action, which had failed to reflect the reality on the ground.  Syria rejected allegations in the report.  Further, it had not considered the many complaints made by the Syrian Government, he said, pointing out the aid delivery was experiencing severe challenges due to changing battle lines.  Outlining other concerns, he expressed reservations about the Mechanism’s actual goal.

ZEYNEP ERŞAHIN AŞIK (Turkey) said the Committee should not be used for political issues.  The crisis had seen hundreds of thousands of people dying and 12 million displaced.  Turkey was providing shelter to more than 3 million Syrian refugees.  Millions of Syrians required food and aid, she said, adding that Turkey had played a role in efforts to address those needs.

Mr. AWAD (Syria) said he had not, in his previous statement, referred to neighbouring countries or those that were wreaking havoc in his country, but had focused on discrepancies in figures appearing in the Secretary-General’s report.

United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response

PATRICK CAREY, Director, Facilities and Commercial Services Division, Department of Management, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on lessons learned exercise on the coordination activities of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (documents A/70/737 and A/70/737/Corr.1).  The first-ever emergency health mission adopted by the General Assembly had resulted from requests in 2014 by the presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to the Secretary-General that the United Nations lead a global effort.  Providing a summary of the report, he said results had been mixed.  On the political front, the Mission’s establishment had been viewed as playing a catalytic role in mobilizing the necessary financial and human resources to scale up response to the Ebola crisis.  On the operational front, however, it had initially been perceived as too static and focused on establishing mission apparatus.

The Mission, he said, had been a unique solution to an unprecedented crisis and had been created to galvanize and align all response partners with a unity of purpose.  While findings of the lessons learned had concluded that the Mission’s structure and the implementation of its mandate could have been improved, the exercise had determined that there was support of its concept and strategic benefits that it had brought to the response in terms of leadership, facilitation, logistics support and the availability of assessed funding.  The exercise had found that there would be support in the future for a lighter, more streamlined model that leveraged, to a greater degree, existing capacities and coordination mechanisms while deploying benefits.

He said the key findings represented a critical analysis that should not detract from the individual and collective efforts of all involved in the response.  Undertaking a reflective and constructive review of the system-wide intervention did not take away from the heroic contributions and shared commitment of United Nations entities and personnel who had heeded the call to action, but supported gaining the understanding required to more effectively address possible future crises.

Mr. RUIZ, introducing the Advisory Committee’s corresponding report (document A/71/810), said that in view of the compressed timeline for addressing the Ebola health crisis, with operational targets to be achieved over periods of 30, 60 and 90 days, the Advisory Committee had questioned several aspects of the approach taken.  That included the need for such a large structure, the rationale for a large presence at the Mission’s headquarters rather than in the affected countries, the reason why the functions of the Head of the Mission could not have been performed by an incumbent at the Assistant Secretary-General level and the reason why existing institutional arrangements were not used.  The Advisory Committee felt that the approach taken was not thoroughly analysed and fully justified, and resulted in resources being expended to build administrative structures rather than on operational activities.  

Moreover, the Secretary-General’s report did not provide the detailed information requested by the General Assembly on the final performance, liquidation and disposal of the assets of the Mission and the Office of the Special Envoy, he said.  At the request of the Advisory Committee, the Board of Auditors would present its findings on the Mission’s expenditures in the context of its report of the financial statements on the United Nations for 2016.  The Advisory Committee would revert to that matter at the time of its consideration of the Board’s forthcoming report.

Ms. PEREIRA (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said that since the outbreak, it had become evident that one country alone could not face that threat and that international and regional organizations in charge of health had not had the relevant mechanism and resources in place for a rapid response.  The availability of immediate funds in an emergency intervention was very important, she said, commending the Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola for mobilizing extrabudgetary resources.  It was important to build on existing institutional and coordination mechanisms, work with entities already on the ground and support local actors.  The world was now a big village, where the borders between countries were crossed by millions every day for different reasons.  No country was immune from a disease outbreak, no matter where it emerged.  The lessons learned would guide Member States and the entire United Nations system in dealing with future global health crises whenever it occurred.

Mr. BONG (Chad), on behalf of the African Group, shared the views of the Advisory Committee, underlining many aspects, including the organization of the Mission and the lack of coordination and collaboration among different entities and the lack of effective support to local actors.  The lack of capacity and preparedness had contributed to an ineffective and delayed response to the disease as well as to its extension.  The lessons learned should have emphasized the need for resilience to protect populations, strengthen the capacities of Member States and establish greater preventive measures to avoid any similar scenarios.  After the Ebola crisis, there was a need to establish a global centre for emergency preparedness and response, with regional and local sections.  There was also a need to provide support to strengthen, in the context of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the health sector of vulnerable Member States, strengthen global coordination mechanisms and avoid reducing resources allocated to the health sector.  “The Group hopes that the lessons learned on activities of UNMEER will guide Member States and the entire United Nations family in dealing with future global, regional and local health crises,” he said.

Status of United Nations Information and Communications Technology Strategy

ATEFEH RIAZI, Chief Information Technology Office and Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Information and Communications Technology, then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the status of implementation of the information and communications technology strategy for the United Nations (document A/71/400).  She said the ICT strategy was progressing well, although full consolidation of ICT remained difficult, causing redundant investment in solutions while creating organizational silos due to ungoverned system deployment.  She noted a need to invest in capital upgrades in key area, such as infrastructure, with an eye to deploy new innovative solutions.  A lack of visibility over ICT resources meanwhile impeded efforts to strengthening information security across the Secretariat.

Looking ahead to 2017, she said efforts were being made to direct necessary reinvestments towards technology solutions that supported effective mandate delivery in field operations, including deployment of innovative technologies for camp security, convoy protection, situational awareness and support for a common operating picture.  In closing, she expressed confidence that the Organization was proceeding in a very positive direction in delivering the ICT strategy, with project management in place and under the stewardship of established governance structures.

Mr. RUIZ, introducing the related report of the ACABQ (document A/71/785), said it welcomed reported progress on implementation of the ICT strategy.  All Secretariat departments and entities were expected to fully comply with the Organization’s ICT strategy.  With regard to Umoja mainstreaming, he emphasized the importance of achieving all milestones and strengthening in-house capacity.  On information security and disaster recovery, remaining activities should be completed in a timely manner so that a 10-point information security action plan could be implemented.  Turning to enterprise application centres, he encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to further rationalize and to reduce the number of the 1,000 applications that were expected to remain in 2020.

Mr. SEVILLA (Ecuador), speaking again on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, emphasized the importance of ensuring that the 10-point information security action plan be completed as planned.  He stressed that cooperation of managers was critical for the successful implementation of the ICT strategy, and called for better collaboration between peacekeeping and non-peacekeeping on ICT matters.  The Group called on United Nations entities to consider the possible harmonization and sharing of ICT services, in particular at field locations, while assisting Member States in capacity-building.

Mr. BONG (Chad), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, called for renewed commitment by all managers to comply with guidelines and fast-track implementation of the ICT strategy.  While noting progress in ICT strategy implementation, many aspects still needed to be strengthened, especially with regard to preventing and addressing potential security risks.  Global sources were a matter of crucial importance for the African Group, he said, adding that the Organization needed to formulate a well-defined, effective and coherent application development strategy that would eliminate redundant and obsolete applications and reduce a high level of fragmentation.  He went on to encourage the Secretary-General to strengthen capacity-building programmes for staff members.

FIONA GRANT, European Union, also welcomed progress made in implementing the ICT strategy, which was progressively transforming the Organization’s technology environment.  While the strategy had brought numerous achievements, challenges remained, she said, adding that compliance and governance needed to be reinforced.  Continued leadership from managers at all levels in all Secretariat entities was crucial.  Strong governance and consolidation would promote the optimisation of resources, resulting in getting the best value from ICT assets and investment.  She called for more robust ICT policies to be established that would strengthen governance and focus investment on strategic delivery, including cyber security.

ALEXANDRA BAUMANN (Switzerland), speaking also on behalf of Liechtenstein, said that some notable progress had been made, such as improved collaboration between the Office of Information and Communications Technology and the Department of Field Support.  Much remained to be done, however.  The Secretary-General must continue to foster closer coordination and collaboration within the Organization and ensure the full support and commitment of senior management.  She also called for redoubled efforts to reduce ICT fragmentation.  With regard to Umoja, she emphasized its mainstreaming and integration within the overall ICT strategy.

YARON WAX (Israel) emphasized the need for adequate training and dedicated personnel in order for advanced systems to operate at full potential.  A well-managed ICT strategy also required senior management leadership.  Noting that cloud technology permitted centrally-based management, he said that that now was standard procedure in many large organizations as it reduced duplication.  He stressed the need to protect information by facing cyber security challenges.  He added that, in reviewing and assessing implementation of the strategy, vital reforms should not inadvertently be blocked.

For information media. Not an official record.