United Nations: Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS – Annual Session 2022

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Joint statement delivered by New Zealand Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger

Thank you Madam President.

I am delivering this statement on behalf of Australia; Austria; Belgium; Canada; Denmark; Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Japan; the Republic of Moldova; Kingdom of the Netherlands; Sweden; Switzerland; Republic of Türkiye; the United Kingdom; the United States of America; and my own country, New Zealand.

This statement focuses on UNDP audit and investigation functions. We thank the UNDP Office of Audit and Investigation for its report to the Executive Board. We have three short requests on audit and investigation matters.

First, in the context of ensuring the Office of Audit and Investigation is appropriately resourced to undertake its work in a comprehensive and timely manner, we would like to hear more about the impact of the staffing shortages due to turnover and the significant increase in planned assignments over the year.

We note particularly the increased number of investigations, with 330 carried over into 2022, and would appreciate further clarity about the nature and length of the more complex cases on your books, as well as any barriers (such as linguistic or technical capability) that should be addressed.

Second, the BDO review last year suggested that a combined review be undertaken of OAI, the Ethics Office and Human Resourcing, to ensure that investigations involving individuals who claimed whistleblower status were managed in a fair and expeditious way.

Are there plans to undertake such a review, or will it be included in the scheduled external review of OAI, which we understand is currently taking place?

Third, we wish to express our appreciation for the regular reporting on audit findings and system strengthening to the governance bodies of the vertical funds.

This has been very useful, and could be even more so if the reporting were shared with this Executive Board independently and simultaneously vis-à-vis the management.

In the wake of the UNDP Standards and Labels case and, more recently, the UNOPS S3i programme, it is critical that OAI brief the Executive Board more regularly on issues of concern.

Confidential briefings, designed so as not to interfere with due process or privacy, would give member states greater confidence by helping to monitor and understand how changed systems and processes are taking effect, and identify risks and ‘red flags’ in reporting to the Board.

It would also ensure UNDP is fully meeting its obligations in enabling the Executive Board to fulfil its oversight functions, as set out in Resolution A/48/162.

Once again, let us express our thanks to the Office of Audit and Investigation for their work over the year – especially given on-going constraints in their operating environment. We look forward to future engagement with the office and its staff.

Thank you, Chair.


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