Statement in the Fifth Committee on Accountability in the UN Secretariat

Anca DiGiacomo
Adviser for UN Management and Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 11, 2020


Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The United States appreciates the Secretary-General’s Ninth Progress Report on Accountability, as well as the Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. We are encouraged by the Secretariat’s continued focus on strengthening organizational accountability, and this report reflects progress on several key elements of the accountability system.
For example, the relatively new Business Transformation and Accountability Division (BTAD) is one of the most important components of accountability. BTAD should be the engine room of accountability for the UN Secretariat, leading the way through change and raising the warning flag when things go awry. In this regard, we will carefully follow BTAD’s progress and impact this year and in the coming years.
The United States also welcomes the Secretary-General’s focus on conduct and discipline, especially considering the need to focus on addressing harassment, including sexual harassment. We encourage the United Nations to continue to undertake a cultural change in order to ensure a workplace where sexual harassment is never tolerated, abusers are held accountable and staff feel safe to report incidents.
Returning to the Advisory Committee’s report, the United States supports the Committee’s recommendations, especially regarding the delegation of authority framework, the implementation of results-based management, senior manager compacts and the timely issuance of documents. The UN Secretariat should continue to develop and improve tools to strengthen its accountability.
Regarding the Joint Inspection Unit’s Review of audit and oversight committees in the United Nations system, we support the JIU’s recommendations to the UN Secretariat to comply with good practice regarding independent audit and oversight.
In closing, Mr. Chair, the United States intends to work with all delegations this session to strengthen the accountability system so that the United Nations becomes more transparent and responsible in the delivery of programs and stewardship of resources.

Thank you.