United Nations Board of Auditors Holds Sixty-Eighth Session at Headquarters

25 August 2014

United Nations Board of Auditors Holds Sixty-Eighth Session at Headquarters

25 August 2014
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Board of Auditors Holds Sixty-Eighth Session at Headquarters


The United Nations Board of Auditors held its sixty-eighth regular session at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 23 to 24 July 2014.  The main purpose of the meeting was to review and approve 23 audit reports of the Board to be discussed by the General Assembly, and six reports to be presented to other legislative or governing bodies.  A list of reports approved is attached to this document.

The Board continued to acknowledge the positive progress on the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), and the positive results on audit opinions in the period under review.  The nine funds and programmes that implemented IPSAS in 2012 all received unmodified opinions in 2013 and the Board noted the continuing improvements in financial management processes and capacity.  The entities going live in 2013 and 2014 still face challenges, and the Board will report in 2015 whether they have successfully delivered IPSAS compliant financial statements.

The Board highlighted the concerted action needed to reap the benefits of the new accounting framework, using the new information to drive improved financial management and performance, and the more cost-effective delivery of mandates.  This will be the true measure of success.  In particular, given the growth in mandates and trends in donor funding, entities need to use the new information to better understand their costs and drive down administrative overheads so that more resource can be transparently directed towards frontline activities.   

The Board also reports on a range of other important topics, including:

-The need for effective approaches to Enterprise Risk Management as a fundamental strategic management tool, and the lack of progress in some entities.  The Board highlighted the positive developments at the United Nations itself where senior management have identified the six most strategic risks, but noted the further work needed to embed a risk based approach across the organisation.

-The challenges faced by entities in managing highly decentralised operations and their increasing reliance on a complex network of implementing partners, reporting lines and relationships, where accountabilities are often unclear.  The need for enhanced control frameworks was considered essential to manage the risks in diverse fields of operations.

-The need for improved and risk based management of the selection, monitoring and close-out of projects delivered by implementing partners; in particular the need for better sharing of information between entities on partner performance and fraud risks.

-The need for a more integrated and strategic approach to tackling fraud risks, both within and across United Nations system entities, with a much greater focus on external fraud risks.  And linked to this the need to better protect the reputation of United Nations system entities when they are involved in handling donor funds or allowing other organizations to operate in their name whether delivering activities or raising funds.

-The progress on implementing the United Nation’s new enterprise resource planning system (Umoja) where full roll-out of the first phase in peacekeeping operations has revealed the scale of the managerial challenge in introducing new ways of working.  The Board continues to support the need for this vital new managerial tool that will help modernize the United Nations.  But also emphasised the need to improve the level of business readiness in future roll-outs, the level of accountability for all managers in embedding and using new business processes, and the realism of plans going forward.

-The continuing growth in the aggregate amount of staff end of service liabilities ($8.52 billion as at 31 December 2013, an increase of some 16 per cent since 31 December 2011).  Although more entities are now fully disclosing their liabilities, more needs to be done to manage these liabilities.  Only a few entities have developed a funding plan for these liabilities to enable them to better manage the impact of increasing costs on the resources to deliver mandates in the future.

The Board comprises Amyas Morse (Chair), Comptroller and Auditor General, United Kingdom; Ludovick S. L. Utouh, Controller and Auditor-General of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Shashi Kant Sharma, Comptroller and Auditor General of India who replaced Liu Jiayi, Auditor-General of the National Audit Office of China, on 1 July 2014.  Each member has a non-consecutive tenure of six years.

Further background information on the Board is available on its website (http://www.un.org/en/auditors/board/reports.shtml).  The Board’s current suite of reports will be available on the website in August/September 2014.


List of Board Reports for Review and Approval

Reports submitted to the General Assembly

1.                United Nations University (UNU)

2.                United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

3.                United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

4.                International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR)

5.                International Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

6.                United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

7.                United Nations Human Settlement Fund (UN-Habitat)

8.                United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

9.                United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

10.            United Nations Women (UN-Women)

11.            United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

12.            United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

13.            The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT)

14.            International Trade Centre (ITC)

15.            Capital Master Plan (CMP)

16.            United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — (UNHCR)

17.            Umoja

18.            Concise summary of findings and conclusions

19.            Progress on implementation of IPSAS

20.            United Nations, Vol.1

21.            United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNODC)

22.            United Nations Office for Projects Services (UNOPS)

Reports submitted to other bodies

23.            United Nations Escrow/Iraq Account

24.            United Nations Framework for Combating Climate Change (UNFCCC)

25.            United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF)*

26.            United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD)

27.            UNRWA SPF Staff Provident Fund

28.            United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP)

29.            United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC)

* *** *

*Discussed by the General Assembly

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