Remarks at a UN General Assembly Fifth Committee Meeting on Agenda Item 134: The Accountability System in the United Nations Secretariat

Anca DiGiacomo
Adviser for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
June 8, 2018


Thank you, Madam Chair.

I would like to thank Mr. Christian Saunders, Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Central Support Services and Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chairman of the ACABQ, for introducing their respective reports on the Secretary-General’s Seventh Progress Report on the Accountability System in the United Nations Secretariat.

At the outset, the United States would like to acknowledge the ongoing initiatives undertaken by the Secretariat, including enhancements to and promulgation of the protection against retaliation policy, as well as the issuance and review of the anti-fraud framework. Furthermore, my delegation supports the Secretary-General’s view that overall enterprise risk management is essential to accountabilty and must be ingrained within the organization’s culture. In this regard, we look forward to learning more about how the proposed new Department of Management, Strategy, Policy and Compliance will take on this important responsibility and advance efforts in addressing and mitigating risk.

Madam Chair, this year is unique because the accountability report before us has a connection to an important reform initative before this Committee on shifting the management reform paradigm. We see the links between the discussions on management reform and the accountability system on issues such as delegation of authority as essential. My delegation noted in our remarks, on management reform last week, that the status quo is not an option, as the fragmented nature of the UN and the inefficient nature of accountability systems are simply unsustainable. While we note the inherent linkages, the effective accountability system is key to the successful management of the Secretariat. The Secretariat must therefore continue to strengthen organizational accountability, regardless of any decision that may be taken on the management reform initiative, as noted by the Advisory Committee.

Madam Chair, my delegation notes that the accountability system touches on many aspects of the organization’s management responsibilities, including the Senior Manager’s Compacts to Results Based Management. For that reason, my delegation concurs with the Advisory Committee that future reports must expand on the implementation of the accountability system as a whole while providing more complete information on the overall status. We agree that the best way to accomplish this would be to include benchmarks and data to substantiate the impact of accountability initiatives.

In conclusion, it is my hope that we can devote sufficient time to all aspects of the report with the limited amount of time left in the session. My delegation stands ready to work constructively with all other delegations on this important issue in order to reach consensus. Thank you.