25 NOVEMBER 2019

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

/…

Question:  Just a follow‑up on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) from a few weeks ago.  When the statement announcing the Commissioner‑General’s resignation was put out, it made reference to preliminary findings of a report.  Are there any plans for a final report to be released or issued, or what can you tell us?

Spokesman:  At this point, it’s somewhat ongoing, but what I can tell you is that the Secretary‑General wrote to Member States last week to inform them that, in its investigation into the allegations concerning UNRWA, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) recently submitted four investigation reports.  Those reports are currently under review, with a view to [taking] a possible managerial, administrative and/or disciplinary action as appropriate.  The Secretary‑General confirmed to Member States that the investigation reports do not find that there was any fraud involving donor funds.  And he said he and the acting Commissioner‑General, Christian Saunders, are personally committed to ensuring UNRWA practises the highest standards of professionalism, transparency and efficiency.  And Mr. Saunders is taking immediate steps to implement a management plan to strengthen the administration of UNRWA in general, particularly in the areas of oversight and accountability.

Question:  Just a quick follow‑up.  You said four reports.  Are there any more reports to come?

Spokesman:  That’s what I have at this point.

Question:  Any more to come?

Spokesman:  I will share more information as I…

Question:  And any plans to release these publicly, or at least the findings?

Spokesman:  They will go through the usual OIOS processes for these kinds of reports where, after a certain amount of time, they’re available on request to Member States, which is the usual procedure.  Yes, ma’am?

Question:  I don’t understand whether this is the end of the OIOS investigation or whether there is still further investigation to be done.

Spokesman:  When I have an update to share with you, I will share it with you.  On that note, I wish you all a pleasant Monday.

For information media. Not an official record.