Fifth Committee Approves Resolution Asking for Action to Address United Nations Financial, Managerial Weaknesses

GA/AB/4182
15 December 2015
Seventieth Session, 20th Meeting (AM)

Fifth Committee Approves Resolution Asking for Action to Address United Nations Financial, Managerial Weaknesses

Speakers Also Examine Requests for Extra Funds to Implement Post-2015 Goals

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today approved a draft resolution calling for action to address the weaknesses in the United Nations identified by the Organization’s main external auditing body.  The Committee also scrutinized the Secretary-General’s request for additional resources in the coming biennium to implement the post-2015 development goals.

The draft, agreed on by consensus, would have the General Assembly ask the Secretary-General to address the financial, managerial and value-for-money weaknesses identified by the Board of Auditors and accept the outcome of the Board’s independent external audit services for dozens of United Nations entities.  The Assembly would reiterate its request for the United Nations top management to ensure full implementation of the Board’s recommendations and the related proposals of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a body examining the Organization’s budgets.

Also by the text, the Secretary-General would be asked to provide a full explanation for the delays in complying with some recommendations, and an expected timeframe for implementation.  The Assembly would note with concern the general deficiencies identified by the Board regarding control and fraud prevention, stressing the need to take corrective measures.

As for the budgetary implications arising from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its financing framework, some Member States pointed out that the Secretary-General’s proposal failed to provide sufficient justifications, and its late submission prevented ACABQ and the Fifth Committee from fully discussing the matter.

The representative of the European Union said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda would first and foremost take place at the country level, and the main effort across the United Nations system should be to reprioritize and redeploy resources, avoid duplication and improve coherence and efficiency.  But the Secretary-General’s proposal missed that point, and perpetuated silos.  The “financing for development” agenda agreed on in Addis Abba was an integral part of the 2030 Agenda, but the report treated them as two largely autonomous processes.  Further, the report made no suggestions on how to make sure that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) worked in a more integrated, coordinated fashion.

Japan’s delegate said that “even at first glance”, the Secretary-General’s proposal included additional resources based on assumptions subject to outside consideration.  It was alarming that Member States were not consulted on the elaboration of those estimates, which did not seem to involve redeploying and fully utilizing the existing resources within different parts of the Organization, including the United Nations Development Group.

The Committee also discussed financing of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the Former Yugoslavia, and a mechanism to handle the residual work of the two courts, which would be liquidated starting in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Regarding the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the Rwanda Tribunal, ACABQ recommended certain reductions to the staffing for the liquidation team, but the United Republic of Tanzania’s delegate, speaking for the African Group, disagreed with all of ACABQ’s conclusions related to the Tribunal’s liquidation budget, emphasizing the need to preserve its work over the past 21 years.

The Fifth Committee also heard Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduce the Secretary-General’s report containing the proposed additional resource requirements of $5.03 million (net of staff assessment) for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism for the period from 1 January to 30 September 2016.  Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairman of ACABQ, presented the body’s related report.

Ms. Bartsiotas also introduced the Secretary-General’s statements on the budgetary implications of various draft resolutions.  Mr. Ruiz Massieu presented his body’s comments.

Johannes Huisman, Director of the Department of Management’s Programme, Planning and Budget Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on the agenda items for the world criminal tribunals.

Also speaking today were the representatives of South Africa (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Switzerland (also for Liechtenstein), Republic of Korea, Syria, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Wednesday, 16 December, to take up the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 for the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, and revised estimates for the Human Rights Council, among other items.  It will also review the effect of changes in rates of exchange and inflation on revised estimates, and take action on a draft resolution on the Capital Master Plan.

Biennium 2016-2017 Programme Budget:  Special Political Missions

BETTINA TUCCI BARTSIOTAS, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, introduced 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 Thematic cluster II:  sanctions monitoring teams, groups and panels” (document A/70/7/Add.17 & Corr.1), which contained the proposed additional resource requirements for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism in the amount of $5.03 million (net of staff assessment) for the period from 1 January to 30 September 2016.  She said those resource requirements would allow the Investigative Mechanism to implement its mandate pursuant to Security Council resolution 2235 (2015), which established the entity for a period of one year with the possibility of future extension by the Council if deemed necessary.

Given the urgency of setting up the Investigative Mechanism to be fully operational in a short span of time, she said, the Secretary-General had been given the authority to commit just over $1 million for its initial activities for the period 1 October to 31 December 2015, under the terms of Assembly resolution 68/249 on unforeseen and extraordinary expenses for the biennium 2014-2015.

CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced his body’s related report (document A/70/348/Add.7).  He said the Committee recommended the approval of the proposed resource requirements for the Investigative Mechanism, apart from the requirements for one General Service position, at the G-6 level, in the New York office.

Programme Budget Implications

Ms. BARTSIOTAS, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s statements detailing programme budget implications for the biennium 2016-2017 resulting from various decisions.

For A/C.5/70/11, which contains the implications of draft resolution A/C.4/70/L.9/Rev.1, titled “Matters relating to activities under the United Nations Programme on Space Applications in 2016”, an extra $197,800 would be necessary under section 6, Peaceful uses of outer space, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017, and charged against the contingency fund, to implement relevant activities in 2016.

Regarding A/C.5/70/14, which contains the implications of draft A/C.3/70/L.47 titled, the Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, an additional $50,900 would arise under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and charged against the contingency fund.

For A/C.5/70/15, which contains the implications of draft A/C.3/70/L.14/Rev.1 on Persons with Albinism, an extra $50,900 would be needed under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and charged against the contingency fund.  The same amount would be needed under the same section for A/C.5/70/16, which contains those implications of draft resolution A/C.3/70/L.26/Rev.1 on the Rights of indigenous peoples, additional resources of $152,700.

For A/C.5/70/12, which contains those impacts of draft resolution A/C.3/70/L.39/Rev.1 on the Situation of human rights in Myanmar, additional resources of $1.1 million would be required and, if approved, would be charged against the provision for special political missions under section 3, Political Affairs

For A/C.5/70/13, which contains the implications of draft resolution A/C.6/70/L.13 on the Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-seventh session, additional resources of $232,100 would be required for travel related to the extension of the session from 10 to 12 weeks, and would be reflected under section 8, Legal affairs, and charged against the contingency fund.

For A/C.5/70/17, which contains those impacts of draft resolution A/70/L.22 on Oceans and the law of the sea, additional resources totalling $968,900 (net of staff assessment) would be required to strengthen the capacity of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and would be charged under section 8, Legal affairs, and 29D, Office of Central Support Services, and against the contingency fund.

For A/C.5/70/18, which contains those implications of amendment A/70/L.26 to the decision recommended in the report of the First Committee (document A/70/460) on Open-ended Working Group on the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament, additional requirements totalling $392,900 would be charged under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and against the contingency fund.

She also introduced the Secretary-General’s report on Revised estimates resulting from the decisions contained in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, entitled “Transforming our world:  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/70/589).  The report contained a proposal for additional resources slightly exceeding $15 million for the immediate implementation of the mandates called for under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Secretary-General intended to submit a substantive report for the consideration during the Assembly’s resumed seventieth session, in preparation for the 2016 meeting of the High-level Political Forum, which would outline critical milestones toward coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review.

Mr. RUIZ MASSIEU then introduced ACABQ’s related reports on those programme budget implications (documents A/70/7/Add.27, A/70/7/Add.31, A/70/7/Add.33, A/70/7/Add.32, A/70/7/Add.29, A/70/7/Add.36, A/70/7/Add.38 and A/70/7/Add.37).

Regarding the implications relating to activities under the United Nations Programme of Space Applications in 2016 (document A/70/7/Add.27), he noted the Secretary-General’s proposal for an extra $197,800 under section 6, Peaceful uses of outer space, comprising $17,800 for staff travel and $180,000 for grants and contributions.  ACABQ noted that the language used in the final sentence of paragraph 9 of the Secretary-General’s statement and operative paragraph 2 of the draft resolution was not consistent with the relevant provisions of the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.  In that regard, the Committee stressed that the correct interpretation of those Regulations and Rules should be reflected in the Secretary-General’s reports to the General Assembly and that the Secretary-General should provide all intergovernmental bodies with the required information on procedures for administrative and budgetary matters.

Concerning the implications related to the Situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/70/7/Add.29), he recalled that the extra $1.1 million in resource requirements for the Office of the Special Adviser were included in the Secretary-General’s report so as to consolidate the overall resource requirements of all special political missions.  ACABQ recommended the Assembly approve that amount.

With regard to the implications relating to the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-seventh session (document A/C.6/70/L.13), ACABQ recommended that the full amount of resources required for sessions of up to 12 weeks be addressed within the overall proposed allocation for section 8, Legal affairs.  The Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to absorb the additional requirements in the amount of $232,200 under section 8.

Introducing the report on the implications for Oceans and the Law of the Sea (document A/70/7/Add.38), ACABQ recommended the Assembly approve the establishment of the two requested posts (one P-4 Programme Officer and one P-3 Legal Officer) and apply the vacancy rate of 50 per cent for the new Professional posts.  While ACABQ understood the special technical needs of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the requirements of $147,000 as requested should be prioritized.  Furthermore, the Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to absorb the additional $968,900 requirements requested in under section 29D, Office of Central Support Services.

Turning to the implications relating to the decision recommended in the report of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) (document A/70/7/Add.37), ACABQ recommended that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that adoption of the text, as amended by document A/70/L.26, would give rise to an extra $392,000 in resource requirements under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

On the implications of draft resolutions of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on persons with Albinism, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the human rights situation in Syria (documents A/70/7/Add.33, A/70/7/Add.32 and A/70/7/Add.31, respectively), ACABQ recommended that the Assembly request the Secretary-General to make every effort to absorb the additional $152,700 requested under section 2; if despite those efforts, the requirements could not be absorbed, the additional expenditures related to implementation of the activities arising from the relevant draft resolutions should be reflected in the second performance report for the 2016-2017 biennium.

Finally, on the report relating to Revised estimates resulting from the decisions contained in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the outcome of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, entitled, “Transforming our world:  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document A/70/7/Add.39), he noted that the late submission of the report had impeded ACABQ’s ability to properly examine the Secretary-General’s proposals and to provide its observations and recommendations thereon to the Assembly.  ACABQ therefore recommended that the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments into no more than $7.55 million in the first year of the biennium 2016-2017 in order to ensure implementation of the related activities could commence January 2016.  ACABQ would revert to its consideration of the Secretary-General’s proposals during the course of the next session.

LYLE DAVIDSON (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, fully supported the mandate of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and its lead role in helping implement the outcome of the Addis Ababa Agenda and the 2030 Agenda.  However, the Group was concerned that the revised estimates for resource requirements did not fully address the needs of Member States, specifically regarding the incorporation of regional consultations and views in the preparatory work for both processes, including the follow-up and review forum for the Financing for Development framework and the review of the 2030 Agenda by the High-Level Political Forum.  A comprehensive proposal should be provided as expeditiously as possible to the Assembly for its consideration and approval.

JAN DE PRETER, a representative of the European Union, expressed serious concerns regarding the Secretariat’s report on the 2016-2017 budgetary implications of decisions related to the Addis Abba Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda.  His delegation had thought that the Secretariat was preparing a comprehensive, system-wide proposal on how the United Nations system would adapt to the 2030 Agenda, including budgetary implications.  But the Secretary-General’s report did not seem to be based on such an overarching vision.  Rather, it was the product of a bottom-up, DESA-centered approach.  The methodology was imprecise, requests were not sufficiently substantiated, and baselines were unclear.

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda would first and foremost take place at the country level, he said.  The main effort across the United Nations system should be to reprioritize and redeploy resources, avoid duplication and improve coherence and efficiency.  The report missed that point, and perpetuated silos.  The Addis Abba Action Agenda was an integral part of the 2030 Agenda, but the report treated them as two largely autonomous processes.  Further, the report made no suggestions on how to make sure that DESA worked in a more integrated, coordinated fashion.  The expertise in following up on the 2030 Agenda was available in the Secretariat, but the report did not offer an integrated vision.  Therefore, the Union concurred with ACABQ’s conclusions.

MATTHIAS DETTLING (Switzerland), also speaking for Liechtenstein, noted that the adoptions of Addis Abba Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda were without doubt ground-breaking achievements.  However, he expressed regret that the submission of the Secretary-General’s report on the budgetary implications resulting from those decisions had been delayed, preventing the Advisory Committee from devoting sufficient time to assess those implications.  He urged the Secretariat to address the delay.  He was not convinced of the need for the proposed resource requirements as there was no evidence that the Secretary-General sought ways to deliver mandates in a more coherent manner.  His delegation had no objection to the commitment authority but looked forward to more discussion during the Assembly’s first resumed session on the matter.

JAESIN KO (Republic of Korea) stressed the need for a holistic and coherent approach across the United Nations system to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  He looked forward to seeing the Secretary-General’s blueprint on how to transform the Organization to make it fit to implement the 2030 Agenda; a clear picture of the funding mechanism and each entity’s role should be presented as soon as possible.  Additional resource requirements should be minimized by reallocating existing resources and realigning business structures.  Mindful of the urgency for the Secretariat to start preparing for various activities, especially follow ups and reviews, mandated by the Addis Abba Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda, he said it was time for collective wisdom and shared efforts to find the appropriate financing solutions.

SHOKO FUJIMOTO (Japan) said that the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Abba Action Agenda were important milestones for sustainable development.  The Secretary-General’s initiative of “do more with less” must be applied in their implementation since resources were limited.  Even at first glance, the revised estimates included additional resources based on assumptions subject to the consideration of Member States outside of the Fifth Committee.  It was alarming that Member States were not consulted on the elaboration of those estimates, which did not seem to involve redeploying and fully utilizing the existing resources within different parts of the Organization, including the United Nations Development Group.  Furthermore, the revised estimates were not presented until about a week before the closure of the Fifth Committee’s business, leaving not enough time for both it and ACABQ to fully discuss them.

AMMAR AWAD (Syria) said that his delegation had rejected the draft on the Situation on Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, which was offensive.  The text was sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, countries that should look into their own human rights violations.  Therefore, his delegation expressed reservation regarding the appropriation of additional resources for the matter.

PAUL EDWARD HANNA (United States) said that, in line with the newly adopted Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Member States had envisioned that there would be “new ways” of financing its implementation.  He expressed his delegation’s concern with the proposed programme budget implications presented today, stressing that it had been his understanding that a coordinated response on how the United Nations could best support the Action Agenda’s implementation would come after a thorough review.  Unfortunately, the financial situation appeared to be “business as usual”.

MAHMOUD AMEEN (Saudi Arabia) said the work of the Fifth Committee was technical in nature, and not political.  He therefore condemned the “desperate” attempt by the Syrian delegate to defame his delegation.

In response, Mr. AWAD of Syria said that everything he had said was “nothing but the truth”.

Financing of Tribunals for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia & Residual Mechanism

JOHANNES HUISMAN, Director, Programme, Planning and Budget Division, Department of Management, introduced the Secretary-General’s report titled “Budget for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994, for the biennium 2016-2017:  Liquidation” (document A/70/448), which contains the resource requirements for 1 January to 31 May 2016.

The overall requirements for the Rwanda Tribunal for 2016 totalled $2.5 million before recosting and included 43 staffing positions for varying periods until May 2016, he said.  The workload during the liquidation phase would include asset disposal, repatriation of staff members and their families, the settlement of liabilities, the dismantling of temporary structures, and repair and handover of rented premises.  He also introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the budget performance of the Rwanda Tribunal for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/70/553), in which he proposed a final appropriation of $169.3 million, an increase of $74.5 million from the revised appropriation.

Presenting the Secretary-General’s report, titled “Budget for the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, for the biennium 2016-2017” (document A/70/397), he said that the overall resource requirements for that body totalled $113.6 million before recosting, down $87.7 million from the 2014-2015 revised appropriation.  The proposal included the retention of 328 temporary posts until December 2016 and 97 temporary posts until December 2017, abolishing 282 posts, or 74.4 per cent of the current authorized staffing level of 379.  He also introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal’s budget performance for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/70/554), which indicated a final appropriation of $191.1 million, a decrease of $10.2 million from the revised appropriation.

Mr. HUISMAN also introduced the Secretary-General’s report titled “Budget for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the biennium 2016-2017” (document A/70/378), in which he proposed overall resource requirements of $140.9 million before recosting, up $25.4 million from the 2014-2015 revised appropriation.  A total of 177 temporary posts were proposed, including the establishment of 51 new posts, most of them in Arusha.  Presenting the Secretary-General’s report on the Residual Mechanism’s budget performance for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/70/558), he said the report proposed a final appropriation of $71.6 million, down $43.9 million from the revised appropriation.

Mr. MASSIEU introduced ACQBQ’s related report on the Second performance reports for the biennium 2014-2015 and proposed budgets for the biennium 2016-2017 of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (document A/70/600).  He said that, with regard to the second performance reports, ACABQ recommended that the Assembly approve the final appropriations for the biennium 2014-2015 as proposed by the Secretary-General for both Tribunals and the Residual Mechanism.  Regarding the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the Tribunal for Rwanda, the Advisory Committee recommended certain reductions to the proposed staffing for the liquidation team, in consideration of their functions and existing capacity.

Turning to the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ACABQ recommended reductions under non-post requirements based on its analysis of the requested items of expenditure.  The Advisory Committee also reiterated that continued efforts should be made to ensure the timely completion of the Tribunal’s mandate.  For the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the Residual Mechanism, ACABQ recommended against creation of a temporary P-3 post in New York and made other recommendations on non-post requirements.

Mr. DAVIDSON, , speaking again for the Group of 77, noted the revised appropriations for the Rwanda Tribunal, the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal and the Residual Mechanism of $169 million, $191 million and $71.6 million, respectively.  He said that, with the exception of the Rwanda Tribunal, accounts reflected a decrease of resources from the revised appropriations.  The Group would seek further information on variances during the informal consultations.  The Group noted the 2016-2017 resource proposal for the Rwanda Tribunal of $2.5 million (before re-costing) to cover the liquidation activities for a five-month period.  Noted that the funds would cover key elements in the Tribunal’s wind down, he expressed concern over the challenges faced in similar liquidation processes of United Nations entities. The Group would therefore carefully scrutinize the Rwanda Tribunal’s liquidation process and the proposed resources.

On the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he noted the proposed resources of $113.6 million before re-costing, a decrease of 43.6 per cent from the current biennium, as well as the proposed staff reduction target.  The Group remained concerned about the level and pace of implementation of the completion strategy, which was far behind that of the Rwanda Tribunal.  It would seek further information on the planning assumption in that regard, as well as on the ability of the Tribunal to complete its given mandate in a timely manner.  The Group also sought further information on how the imbalance in geographical representation in the Tribunal had been addressed.

Regarding the Residual Mechanism, he went on to note the proposed resources of $140.9 million before re-costing, an increase of 22 per cent compared to the current biennium.  The Group would seek further information on travel patterns and expenditure, including travel by the Registrar between Arusha and the Hague.  The Group would also examine the merit of the existing “double-hatting” arrangement between the Residual Mechanism and the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as well as staff costs in the two stations, with the aim of enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in mandate delivery.  He noted with concern the problems in the Residual Mechanism’s Arusha Branch absorbing of general service staff, including security staff, from the Rwanda Tribunal.  The Secretary-General should address that issue as a matter of priority.

JUSTIN KISOKA (United Republic of Tanzania), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Group had taken note of the observations, comments and recommendations of the Board of Auditors, including those related to completion strategies and records and archive management in the Rwanda Tribunal, delays in closing the Tribunal’s activities, out-of-date statistics and delays in the preparations of the plans for transfer of archives, as well as updates of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards’ (IPSAS) implementation and other financial indicators in the Residual Mechanism.  On the performance for the period 2014-2015, the Group had taken note of the information outlined in the second performance reports of the three entities with revised appropriation totalling $432.1 million, reflecting a decrease of about $22 million from the revised appropriations.  The Group would be examining elements of variances to seek specific clarification on budget performance as connected to the mandate implementation of each entity.

The Group had taken note of the proposed 2016-2017 resources of $2.5 million for the Rwanda Tribunal, $113.6 million for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal and $140.9 million for the Residual Mechanism, he said.  It had carefully studied the Secretary-General’s proposals and would seek clarification on many of the proposed elements related to the implementation of mandates, in particular the resource requested for liquidation of the Rwanda Tribunal and transitional measures for the Residual Mechanism.  The Group disagreed with all of ACABQ’s conclusions related to the Rwanda Tribunal’s liquidation budget, emphasizing the need to carefully handle the liquidation exercise to ensure the Tribunal’s work over the past 21 years was well preserved.  On the Residual Mechanism, the Group emphasized the need for timely completion of the new facilities in the Arusha Branch, so as to enable the occupancy in a timely manner and avoid cost overruns.

SERGEY KHALIZOV (Russian Federation) noted the gradual winding down of the Tribunals, and expressed concern about the slow completion of work of the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal.  He expected that the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the Rwanda Tribunal would be the final one.  It was unacceptable to have duplicate functions or “uneconomical” use of resources as that Tribunal finished its work.

Reports of Board of Auditors:  Action on Draft Resolution

Acting without a vote, the Fifth Committee approved draft resolution A/C.5/70/L.8, by which the Assembly would accept the financial reports and audited financial statements and the reports and audit opinions of the Board of Auditors for numerous entities in the United Nations system, including funds and programmes.  The Assembly would also approve the conclusions and recommendations contained in the reports of the Board of Auditors, and endorse those contained the report of ACABQ.  Also by the text, the Assembly would decide to consider further the Board’s reports on the Rwanda Tribunal, the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal and their Residual Mechanism under the respective agenda items.

The Assembly would reiterate its request to the Secretary-General and the executive heads of the funds and programmes of the United Nations to ensure the full implementation of the Board of Auditors’ recommendations and the Advisory Committee’s related recommendations in a prompt and timely manner, to continue to hold programme managers accountable for lack of implementation of recommendations and to effectively address the root causes of the problems highlighted by the Board.  The Secretary-General’s reports on the implementation of the Board’s recommendations should include a full explanation for the delays in the implementation, in particular those not yet fully implemented that were two or more years old, as well as an expected timeframe for implementation.

The Assembly would express concern about the Organization’s continued deficiencies and weaknesses identified by the Board, and in that regard ask the Secretary-General to address those weaknesses as a matter of priority.  Similarly, the cross-cutting and systemic risks identified by the Board in the other United Nations entities should be addressed by the heads of those entities.

The Assembly would note with concern the general deficiencies identified by the Board with respect to control and fraud prevention, activities that are particularly necessary given the high-risk environments in which the United Nations and all its entities operate, and stress the need for them to take measures to address these deficiencies, including through the development of comprehensive fraud risk assessments and counter-fraud strategies, the issuance of a standard definition of fraud for application across the United Nations system and standard operating procedures for fraud prevention.  The Assembly would also stress that the Board’s report on the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund should be submitted separately to the Assembly, and decide that a copy should continue to be annexed to the report of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board.

For information media. Not an official record.