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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2009

64th Session of the General Assembly, Fifth Committee, Items 140: Activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services

Statement by H.E. Jim McLay, Permanent Representative, Wednesday 7 October 2009

Mr Chairman,

I have the honor today to speak on behalf of the delegations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  I thank Ms Ahlenius for introducing her report on the activities of the OIOS for the reporting period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.  I would also like to thank Ms. Neeta Tolani for introducing the related note of the Secretary-General, and Mr David Walker, Chairman of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee for introducing the corresponding IAAC report.

At the outset I would like to reiterate the importance that CANZ attaches to an effective, highly professional, and operationally independent internal oversight function. The role of OIOS is central to the governance and accountability structure of the organisation and provides assurances to member states that resources are being used in an effective and efficient manner.  

Mr Chairman,

CANZ welcomes the various OIOS initiatives aimed at strengthening internal procedures to better assist the Secretary-General, management and Member States in the execution of their respective responsibilities.  In particular, we welcome the adoption of risk-based work plans for the Internal Audit, and the Inspection and Evaluation Divisions.  It is our hope that this approach will enable OIOS to better focus its Audit and Investigations functions on the Organisation’s high risk operations and activities.  However, in the absence of an internal control framework, we would encourage OIOS to modify their risk based approach to include the effect of controls that management have put in place, as outlined in paragraph 8 (b) of the report of the IAAC.
The CANZ delegations note the ongoing organisational changes that have been undertaken by OIOS in the reporting period, aimed at optimal utilization of staff and resources.  While not making any judgment on the restructuring, both planned and already carried out, CANZ does look forward to the forthcoming assessment of the hub and spoke structure at a later date.

Mr Chairman,

CANZ believes that the operational independence of OIOS is critical to its effective functioning.  In this regard, we note the definition of operational independence as set out in paragraph 19 of the report of the IAAC. CANZ believes it essential that we as member states agree to a robust definition of this concept.  We believe that a clear definition would empower all stakeholders and result in a more effective and transparent internal oversight function.  We look forward to discussing this issue in more detail in the forthcoming informals.

Another interesting observation of the IAAC is the suggestion that OIOS could add more value by including input from program managers and staff prior to, as well as after the preparation of draft audit work plans.  CANZ agrees that this would give OIOS the opportunity to more fully consider program priorities prior to the finalisation of work plans. 

Mr Chairman,

We note the IAAC’s recommendation that Member States consider requesting the Secretary-General to direct the OIOS to prepare an internal oversight charter to serve as the terms of reference for the office.  CANZ believes that this proposal has merit. Such a charter could encompass all elements of relevant decisions of the GA and contain a detailed description of the mandate, authority, functions, accountability and reporting procedures of the office and its relationship with the General Assembly.

Before concluding Mr Chairman, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the IAAC for another high quality report.  CANZ looks forward to working closely with the Committee in the future, and we wish to assure Mr Walker and the rest of the Committee of our ongoing support.  

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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