Thank you, Mr. Chairman
I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to Mr. Anand Bajaj, Director of External Audit and Chair of the Board of Auditors’ Audit Operations Committee, Ms. Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller and to Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairman of the ACABQ, for introducing their respective reports. We would also like to thank Tanzania for their work on the Board of Auditors, and welcome Chile, who will join in July.
The United States places great importance on the work of the Board of Auditors. This year’s report once again provides valuable insight into a number of issues essential to efficient functioning of peacekeeping operations. The Board’s findings and recommendations afford member states the information necessary to take informed decisions to improve peacekeeping. My delegation notes with appreciation that the Board’s report indicates that 96 percent – or 128 – of the Board’s recommendations from the prior three financial years, 2012-2013 through 2014-2015, have been implemented, and only five remain under implementation. We look forward to discussing progress related to procurement, counter-fraud initiatives, and human resources management, among others.
My delegation is pleased to note the Board’s conclusion that all peacekeeping operations remained financially stable within the reporting period, with sufficient cash resources to sustain core operations. We note with appreciation that 2016/2017 is the first year where financial statements for peacekeeping operations were prepared without use of the legacy financial system, enabling timely submission of statements. In this regard, we urge the organization to continue to improve its IPSAS-based accounting processes.
Mr. Chairman, audits are important tools to ensure that financial risks are mitigated, and ensure that resources are properly utilized.
As they comprise roughly 20 percent of peacekeeping expenditures, my delegation echoes the Board’s recommendation for a more systematic and comprehensive determination of mission staffing requirements. We urge the Secretariat to develop a methodology to determine these requirements, based on key performance indicators measuring workload, to ensure an objective approach across all missions, to support mission planning, and to facilitate the budget process.
As it represents close to 10 percent of overall peacekeeping expenditures, air operations are a major cost-driver for peacekeeping missions, and one that my delegation is closely examining in the context of the Secretary-General’s recent review and the observations by the Board of Auditors. We support the Board’s call for better performance indicators for peacekeeping air fleet beyond utilization of budgeted flight hours. We urge the Organization to achieve continued efficiencies in the use of existing aircraft, to identify required air assets based on clear military and logistical requirements, and to pursue the most effective options for procuring them.
Mr. Chairman, in closing, we call on the Secretariat and field missions to better integrate the Board of Auditor’s recommendations into its day-to-day operations. Doing so will improve performance by increasing good governance, transparency, and ensuring that Member States and UN stakeholders are able to make informed decisions regarding peacekeeping resources. Through this implementation, supported by strong leadership, the Organization can achieve real, demonstrable improvements in mandate delivery. We look forward to working with other delegations in considering this issue.