21 November 2003


NEW YORK, 20 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Sixth United Nations Tripartite Oversight Coordination Meeting delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, today, 20 November:

Each of the three entities participating in this gathering plays an indispensable role in the work of the United Nations.  Your sharing of expertise, best practices and lessons learned reflects the spirit of openness and transparency that I have sought to instil throughout the Secretariat as part of my reform programme.  I am pleased that you are focusing your attention where it is most needed -- where the potential risks to the Organization are highest.  Not only is this a more effective way of managing scarce resources, it will also ensure that the Organization’s activities, assets and reputation are better protected.

Together, the oversight bodies serve an invaluable function in the Secretariat, by seeking to ensure that programmes, activities, operations and management are as efficient and effective as possible, while subjected to adequate control mechanisms.  Internal transparency and integrity are vital principles for the Organization in and of themselves, as well as crucial to our external work for better governance and accountability in countries around the world.  The United Nations Convention on Corruption, which will be opened for signature in Mexico next month, is the crowning effort of that aspect of our work, and illustrates the increasing importance that Member States attach to this issue.

I am also heartened by the Organizational Integrity Initiative that was launched earlier this year.  The initiative reflects the continued commitment of the United Nations to accountability and transparency, and is intended to promote greater awareness of ethics and good professional practice while serving as a reminder to all of us of the need to get our own house in order before we tell others what to do.

I am delighted to send my warmest wishes to this Sixth United Nations Tripartite Oversight Coordination Meeting.  I thank every one of you for your dedication, and wish you a most productive session.

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