7 March 2006
Fifth Committee Considers Budget Implications of Proposed Human Rights Council, as It Opens Resumed Session
Also Takes Up Issues Concerning Joint Inspection Unit, Strengthening Investigative Capacity of UN
NEW YORK, 6 February (UN Headquarters) -- As the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) opened its first resumed session with programme budget implications of the proposed Human Rights Council, the work programme and selection of members of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), and measures to improve the investigation functions at the United Nations, several speakers focused on the fact that the Committee's programme of work is closely related to the ongoing reform of the Organization and stressed the need to ensure that its negotiations were conducted in a transparent and inclusive manner.
Noting that during the main part of the session the Committee had approved the budget for the current biennium, and that the Secretary-General would shortly report on the review of mandates and management reform, the representative of Guyana, speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the agenda for the session revealed the range and gravity of issues that required continued negotiations.
The United Nations was in the spotlight of international media for perceived weaknesses in its management practices, he continued. The Rio Group welcomed the implementation of measures to increase efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of the Organization's work and urged continued efforts to improve management practices and procedures. He commended the endeavours of the Secretary-General in that connection, especially in improving the system of accountability and the administration of justice within the United Nations. He believed that in concert with the expert bodies -- the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), which must retain its place and function, and a Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) strengthened to execute its distinctive role in the review of programmes -- there was much promise of full success.
Speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, the representative of South Africa said that the frank assessment of the sixtieth session thus far would show that the results had been mixed. The Committee had managed to deal with many important and time-bound items within a very short period of time, including some that had only been introduced during the last few days of the session. It had also adopted a good programme budget that would enable the Organization to implement its mandates and programmes for the next two years. The unfortunate link, however, that some had made between reform and the budget had resulted in the unprecedented decision to impose a spending cap on the Secretary-General.
She hoped that through an open and frank dialogue, it would be possible to ensure that the interests of all Member States were reflected in the final decisions of the Committee and that the practice of consensus decision-making remained intact. Established practices and rules of procedure of the General Assembly, which provided a transparent intergovernmental framework for negotiations, should be respected.
Among the most important items on the Committee's agenda, the representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, noted in-depth consideration of the requested allocations for special political missions, the Capital Master Plan, the establishment of the Peacebuilding Support Office, the review of rules and regulations of the Organization, and methodology models for the scale, under which Member States' assessments for the United Nations budget are calculated. Also of great importance was the technical review of the administrative and financial aspects of the report on the implementation of the management chapter of the Summit Outcome Document.
Also today, several speakers welcomed the proposal for new procedures of selecting inspectors for the JIU, which the representative of Canada, who also spoke on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, characterized as a critical issue to improve that body's quality of work. In that connection, the representative of South Africa (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China) said that the reform should be guided by respect for the intergovernmental nature of the process and by the need to ensure that potential candidates to the JIU were technically qualified and selected in accordance with the principle of equitable geographical distribution and reasonable rotations. Speakers also expressed appreciation for early introduction of the JIU's programme of work for the year.
As the Committee turned to the budget implications of a draft put forward by the President of the Assembly in connection with proposed transition from the Commission on Human Rights to the Human Rights Council, several speakers emphasized the need to provide necessary resources for that body. The representative of Egypt, however, wondered about the viability of starting the drafting of programme budget recommendations, while the negotiations on the main resolution were still continuing.
The representative of the United States was among the speakers who addressed a report on the progress achieved in the efforts to strengthen the investigation functions in the United Nations. In that connection, he took note of a December "whistle-blower protection" bulletin that had put into place protection for staff cooperating with investigations. He also noted an information circular issued in August 2005 regarding rules and procedures addressing misconduct and encouraged the Department of Management, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop and implement rules and procedures that would eliminate all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions.
Also participating in today's debate were the representatives of Slovenia (on behalf of the successor States to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) and Argentina.
The Committee will hold its next meeting at a date to be announced.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was expected to begin its first resumed session this morning, taking up the programme budget implications of the creation of the Human Rights Council; a report on the measures to strengthen the investigation function within the United Nations; and the programme of work of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and the procedure for the appointment of its members.
The first document before the Committee related to the proposed transition from the Commission on Human Rights to the Human Rights Council (document A/C.5/60/28), which contains a statement on programme budget implications of the text put forward by the President of General Assembly following consultations on the matter.
By the terms of draft resolution A/60/L.48, the Assembly would establish a 47-member Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, in replacement of the Commission on Human Rights, to address violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and promote effective coordination and the mainstreaming of human rights within the United Nations system.
The text envisions "a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States". Members of the Council would be elected by direct secret ballot and absolute majority of 96 countries.
Among new elements contained in the draft is the possibility to suspend members who have committed gross violations of human rights, by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, as well as a meeting schedule of "not fewer than three sessions per year, for a total duration of no less than 10 weeks". The text also provides for a possibility to convene special sessions in the event of an emergency situation.
According to the programme budget implications statement, re-evaluated requirements for conference servicing amount to about $4.06 million -- $64,500 above the earlier estimate of $4 million. The programme budget and the calendar of conferences for 2006-2007 already include a total of six weeks of meetings per year, interpretation and documentation in the six official languages, as well as summary records in English and French. With the new body meeting for at least 10 weeks a year, there would be additional requirements for four weeks of meetings and 60 pre-session documents totalling 900 pages. The summary records of the Council would be in all six official languages.
Additional staff would be needed to carry out universal periodic review of States' fulfilment of their human rights obligations, as called for in the draft. Noting that the Council will be developing the modalities of the review mechanism within one year of its inception, a core staff of two Professionals (one P-4 and one P-3) is proposed at this stage. The proposal would be revisited based on experience gained. Additional requirement of $333,700 under human rights section of the budget includes $298,100 for two new posts, $31,000 for travel of the President of the Council, and $4,600 for data-processing equipment for the new posts. Some $60,100 would be required for general operating expenses.
According to the document, total additional requirements for the biennium 2006-2007 would total some $4.5 million, but part of that amount would be met from the resources already approved and offset by income from staff assessment. The balance of about $4.33 million would be subject to the procedures governing the use of the contingency fund. In that connection, the Assembly may recall that, in its resolution 60/248, it noted that a balance of $4.97 million remains in the contingency fund.
The Committee also had before it a note by the President of the Assembly on the procedures for selecting the JIU Inspectors (document A/60/659), which "has long been an issue of concern for Member States, for the Unit itself and for many of its participating organizations".
In its report on the in-depth review of its statute and working methods (document A/58/343/Add.1), the Unit stressed that "in the political context of appointments made by the General Assembly, the complex process foreseen in the statute ... cannot always guarantee the prevalence of technical over political considerations. Once a regional group has agreed on the country that is to be requested to propose candidates, who are supposed to meet the established qualifications, there is no real possibility for any of the participants in the process to question the credentials of the proposed candidates. By the same token, where there is no agreement within a regional group on the country to be selected, the Assembly has to resort to a vote, the results of which might be more dependent on the support candidate countries can muster, rather than on the qualifications of their potential nominees for the post of Inspector". The participating organizations see the present process of selecting inspectors as "an eminently political one, in which specialized agencies have a rather perfunctory role".
In order to enhance the efficiency of the procedures for the appointment of inspectors, as requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 59/267, the President of the Assembly states that the selection process should be simplified and suggests that a process similar to those followed by other intergovernmental expert bodies should be considered. Under this procedure, at the beginning of a given year, the President would inform the chairmen of regional groups of the posts becoming vacant and invite Member States to submit their candidates for those positions. The candidacies would then be simultaneously submitted to the President of the Assembly in March and evaluated in consultations with all those involved in the review process in the period of April through July. Upon completion of those consultations, the President would submit the names of all qualified candidates to the Assembly for appointment in August-September. The new inspectors would begin their term on 1 January of the following year.
The JIU programme of work for 2006 was being presented to the Committee in document A/C.5/60/CRP.1.
The last document before the Committee is a note by the Secretary-General on the progress achieved in the efforts to strengthen the investigation functions in the United Nations (document A/60/674). Measures in that regard were envisioned in resolution 59/287, by the terms of which the Secretary-General was requested to establish an administrative mechanism for the mandatory reporting by programme managers of allegations of misconduct to the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and to report on the establishment of such a mechanism to the Assembly at the resumed part of its sixtieth session.
The Secretary-General believes that full implementation of the request requires a considerable change in existing procedures and the establishment of a supporting information tool. Shortly after the adoption of resolution 59/287, in view of the special focus on sexual exploitation and abuse and other misconduct in field missions, the OIOS, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and the Office of Human Resources Management addressed in the first place the need for procedures to ensure prompt reporting of cases arising in field missions. Interim procedures and protocols have been put into place and are currently being reviewed to address related issues. Once this is done, and learning from the experience already gained, the OIOS, the Department of Management, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations will work, in consultation with other stakeholders, on a mechanism that would apply Secretariat-wide. Currently, a database is being designed to improve reporting, monitoring and tracking of misconduct in peacekeeping missions.
In connection with other requests contained in the resolution, the Secretary-General reports that, through issuance of his bulletin ST/SGB/2005/21 last December, an appropriate mechanism was put in place to protect "whistle-blowers", or staff members who report misconduct within the Secretariat. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to ensure that all staff are informed of the most common examples of misconduct and criminal behaviour and their disciplinary consequences, with due regard to the protection of the privacy of the staff members concerned. This was done by the issuance on 30 August 2005 of information circular ST/IC/2005/51 on the practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters.
Organization of Work
During the organizational part of the meeting, KAREN LOCK (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that it was an opportune moment to reflect on recent unfortunate experiences in the Committee, so that corrective measures could be taken. Through an open and frank dialogue with other Member States and the Secretariat, it could be possible to ensure that the interests of all Member States were reflected in the final decisions of the Committee and that the practice of consensus decision-making remained intact. Established practices and rules of procedure of the General Assembly, which provided a transparent intergovernmental framework for negotiations, should be respected.
In 2005, the Fifth Committee had dealt with an unprecedented workload, she continued, which placed Member States and the Secretariat under tremendous and constant pressure. However, having managed to end the fifty-ninth session in early September, with most, if not all, agenda items brought to a satisfactory conclusion, the Member States and the Secretariat had demonstrated their professionalism and dedication to complete the task at hand. The frank assessment of the sixtieth session thus far, however, would show that the results had been mixed. The Committee had managed to deal with many important and time-bound items within a very short period of time, including some that had only been introduced during the last few days of the session. It had also adopted a good programme budget that would enable the Organization to implement its mandates and programmes for the next two years. The unfortunate link, however, that some had made between reform and the budget had resulted in the unprecedented decision to impose a spending cap on the Secretary-General. The views of the Group in that regard had been clearly expressed during the debates on the matter.
The Committee had, furthermore, found itself in the unfortunate situation, where it had to resort to a vote on a purely procedural matter, which could have been resolved through negotiations. It had also had to defer negotiations on several draft resolutions, she added. Several resolutions had been put to it for a decision on the last day of the session without any prior consultations or any clarity on their origins or sponsors. On the time-bound items, the position of the Group was that Member States were not doing, either themselves or the Organization, a favour by deferring action on important "non-time-bound" items dealing with such issues as planning, accountability, management and oversight of the Secretariat.
In the future, the Secretariat should make every effort to provide Member States with complete and unbiased information and submit its reports on time, she said. She recognized that the Secretariat was faced with a heavy and additional workload, but there were several items that were standard in nature. Reports thereon should be submitted earlier than in the last few days of the session. Many important items before the Committee, including the follow-up to the World Summit, would require sufficient allocation of time. The Bureau should ensure that the programme of work was realistic, reflected the interests of the collective membership, and allocated sufficient time for through consideration of both new and deferred items. The Bureau should also continue to engage with the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) to ensure that reports were submitted well in advance to the Committee.
She also expected that the breach of procedure that had occurred last year, whereby several resolutions had been put to the Committee for adoption without going through the usual processes, would be corrected. And finally, she trusted that Member States would be willing to engage in negotiations in informal and informal informal settings, as had been the practice of the Committee. The Group stood ready to engage in negotiations from the start of the session. The Group firmly believed in the oversight role of Member States and the negotiating framework provided by the Committee. The dialogue among Member States was crucial to ensuring that decisions were taken to strengthen the Organization.
The Committee then approved its proposed programme of work, on the understanding that it would be reviewed and adjusted, as necessary, during the course of the session.
ENNO DROFENIK (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said there was a demanding programme of work. When agreement had been reached on the budget last December, there had not been sufficient time for in-depth consideration of the requested allocations for special political missions. The Committee had allocated only an amount of $100 million for the period ending 30 April. It was now a priority to provide the necessary resources for the rest of the biennium.
He said one of the most pressing items was the Capital Master Plan, as the renovation of the Secretariat Building was long overdue. More detailed information was necessary on the project during the current session. It was crucial to ensure the clear commitment of all Member States, in particular of the host country, to fully participating in the financing of the project. There was also a need to finalize the methodology models regarding the scale of assessments. Those models would provide additional information for the upcoming negotiations during the sixty-first session. The report on unpaid assessed contributions of the former Yugoslavia should also be addressed.
He said the Committee would also have to play an important role in the implementation of the 2005 World Summit recommendations. A priority item was the establishment of the Peacebuilding Support Office. The report on the review of rules and regulations of the organization would also be presented soon. The way in which the implementation of the management chapter of the Summit Outcome Document had been dealt with had been very constructive. He hoped that the method in which the work of the plenary and the Fifth Committee complemented each other would continue to be followed. The Fifth Committee would undertake the technical review of the administrative and financial aspects of the report. In that context, he stressed the importance of handling that report expeditiously.
GEORGE TALBOT (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, noted that the Committee was resuming its work at a time of ongoing reform of the United Nations. It had approved the budget for the current biennium, and the Secretary-General would shortly report on the review of mandates and Secretariat and management reform. The agenda revealed the range and gravity of issues that required continued negotiations, and it was necessary to address them in a transparent and inclusive manner. The Group attached particular importance to ensuring that the Organization was oriented to function as an efficient modern entity in accord with its Charter responsibilities in contemporary circumstances. Accordingly, the Group was committed to active collaboration with other delegations on the items on the agenda.
The countries of the Rio Group saw the financial health of the Organization as essential to allow it to fully accomplish its mandate, he continued. In honouring the clear obligation of Member States to provide the finances that would enable the United Nations to implement its programme budget, the Group believed that real capacity to pay remained the pivotal consideration in finalizing the scale of assessments of members. The countries of the Group exerted maximum efforts to fulfil their financial obligations to the Organization and encouraged all Member States to strive to fulfil their obligations without conditions.
Concerning the refurbishment of the Headquarters, he said it was important to proceed with the implementation of the design and pre-construction phase of the Capital Master Plan. While scope and possible options remained to be further analysed, the Group had taken note of the preference of the Secretariat for the fourth strategy -- execution of the project by stages.
The United Nations was in the spotlight of international media for perceived weaknesses in its management practices, he continued. The Group welcomed the implementation of measures to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of programmes and related utilization of resources in all aspects of the work of the Organization. He urged continued efforts to improve the management practices and procedures within the United Nations and, in that connection, commended the endeavours of the Secretary-General, especially in improving the system of accountability and integrity and transparency of the administration of justice within the United Nations. He believed that, in concert with the expert bodies -- the ACABQ, which must retain its place and function, and a Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) strengthened to execute its distinctive role in the review of United Nations programmes -- there was much promise of full success.
The Rio Group was committed to collaborating with colleagues and would advance more specific proposals in the negotiations, he said. Sufficient time should be allocated for the consideration of all agenda items. He also stressed the importance of timely provision of all documentation.
ROMAN KIRN (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of all successor States of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, said that those countries had thoroughly studied the report of the Secretary-General on the unpaid assessments of the former Yugoslavia and its corrigendum and found them an insufficient and inappropriate basis for the Fifth Committee's deliberations. Therefore, he requested the Secretary-General to submit a revised report that would take into account the successor States' views, which had been expressed in a letter dated 9 August 2005, as well as concerns raised in further discussions with the Secretariat last December.
YASSER ELNAGGAR (Egypt) aligned himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and said the delegations of South Africa had made the statement.
Ms. LOCK (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, reiterated the Group's position regarding consideration of the Secretary-General's report in response to paragraph 163 of the Outcome Document. The Group had stated before that the established practices, rules of procedure and relevant Assembly resolutions should be respected. The agreements reached in December 2005 should also be fully respected. In view of that, the Group would adopt the Programme of Work on the understanding that it would be amended to reflect ongoing developments.
The Committee then approved the proposed the Programme of Work, on the understanding it would be reviewed as necessary by the Bureau.
Introduction of JIU Reports
The Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the President of the General Assembly, LARS-HJALMAR WIDE, introduced the note by the Assembly's President on procedures for the appointment of JIU inspectors (document A/60/659). He said the Assembly President, with a view to enhancing the efficiency of existing procedures, had proposed a simplified process for the selection and appointment of the Unit's inspectors, similar to those followed by other intergovernmental expert bodies. At present, the implementation of the procedures was a two-step process that began two years prior to inspectors taking up their mandate. In the first year, the President would draw up a list of countries that would be requested to propose candidates. Consultations would take place the following year.
He said the simplified proposal would be that, in January, the Assembly President would inform the chairmen of the regional groups of the posts becoming vacant at the end of the year and invite Member States of the relevant regions to submit names. In March, the regional chairmen would simultaneously submit the names of the countries and of the candidates. From April to July, the President would proceed with the consultation process and review the qualifications of the proposed candidates. After consultations, from August to September, the President would submit the names of all qualified candidates. It should be noted that the President would not determine the number of candidates to be submitted, but would submit a list of all qualified candidates. The Assembly would then proceed to the appointment process.
DEBORAH WYNES, Chairperson of the JIU, introduced a conference paper containing the programme of work of the Unit. In response to requests the Unit had received, the programme was being presented to the Committee to allow for timely consideration of the issues involved. The Unit also focused on administration and management issues, including management review of several United Nations organizations, and was continuing its internal reform process. Review of the implementation of results-based management was also being initiated. Another review would cover staff mobility in the United Nations.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, Mr. DROFENIK (Austria) said that the note of the President of the General Assembly corresponded to the request in resolution 59/267, where the Assembly had mandated the President to review the appointment procedure for JIU inspectors to enhance the efficient application of article 3, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Unit. The European Union strongly supported the efforts to improve the selection process for inspectors. The process must become more simple, transparent, reliable and must ensure that the candidates meet the necessary professional requirements. Strengthening the consultative role of the General Assembly President and the shortening of the overall process were important means to that end. The Union welcomed the proposals contained in the document before the Committee.
He also thanked Ms. Wynes for having introduced the programme of work of the Unit. During the main part of the session, several delegations had emphasized the need to discuss the programme of work in a more timely manner. He was, therefore, pleased to see that the JIU had listened to the concerns of Member States and made the programme of work available to the Committee at an early stage.
SIMON ANDREW CARDY (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the Group would carefully study the proposal with a view to early approval. The effort to reform the selections process should be guided by respect for the intergovernmental nature of the process and by the need to ensure that potential candidates to the JIU were technically qualified and selected in accordance with the principle of equitable geographical distribution and reasonable rotations.
He hoped additional information would be made available on the safeguards to ensure the equitable geographical distribution of JIU posts and the precise roles of the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in the selection process. Clarity was also needed on whether a country whose original candidate was eliminated on technical grounds prior to the submission of the final list could submit new candidates.
SHANNON-MARIE SONI (Canada), also speaking on behalf Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), welcomed the proposal for the procedures of selecting inspectors for the JIU, as it was a critical issue to improve that body's quality. She said that, at the fifty-ninth session, some progress had been made in defining qualifications and experience requirements for the inspectors and improving the screening process. The present proposal sought to increase the efficiency of the process, and her Group wholeheartedly supported it.
KHUSHALI SHAH (United States) said that the proposal for the election procedures was better than the current process, and she hoped it would lead to the appointment of better qualified inspectors. She also expressed gratitude for the introduction of the JIU's programme of work, but said that she would reserve specific comments to a later meeting. In general, she reiterated her country's position that the Unit should focus on efficiency, rather than more academic issues. She also asked about the progress achieved in the implementation of the reforms of the JIU as mandated by Assembly resolution 59/267.
Ms. WYNES of the JIU said that, as mandated by that text, the Unit now strictly enforced the principle of collective wisdom. For instance, the programme of work for 2006 had gone through a very in-depth collective wisdom process. To demonstrate the implementation of the provisions on the continuity of the Bureau, she said that she had been a member of the Bureau and had now been elected chairperson. Out of the Unit's 11 new projects, six were multi-agency in nature. The Unit would also continue with management risk-assessment studies. It also continued work to establish management criteria, and its concrete management benchmarks, endorsed by the CPC, were now considered standard.
The Unit focused on management and accountability, she continued, with eight out of 11 themes dealing with those issues. It would also continue a series of reviews of administration and management and continue elaborating a follow-up system on its recommendations. It was now moving to a system that monitored the potential impact of the Unit's recommendations. The Unit also continued to adjust its working procedures. To ensure efficient use of resources, the JIU had introduced videoconferencing and had started the process of recruitment of an inspection officer.
Programme Budget Implications for Human Rights Council
SHARON VAN BUERLE, speaking on behalf of the Controller, introduced the programme budget implications statement contained in document A/C.5/60/28.
RAJA SAHA, ACABQ Chairman, introducing its Committee's related report contained in document A/60/7/Add.34, said the Committee had noted that aside from the establishment of two posts for human rights workers, most of the costs related to conference servicing, to which it had no objections. It encouraged the Secretariat to pursue innovative means, such as digital recording, to provide those services.
Mr. DROFENIK (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Human Rights Council would represent a major step towards further strengthening of the UN human rights system and welcomed the outcome of negotiations conducted by the Assembly President. The Union concurred with the programme budget implications. Necessary resources must be made available to ensure the proper functioning of the Council. He welcomed the fact that the additional expenditures could be accommodated from within the remaining balance of the contingency fund.
ALEJANDRO TORRES LEPORI (Argentina) reiterated his country's support for the establishment of the Human Rights Council -- an institution that was fundamental to the reform. He also supported the proposed resources as approved by the Advisory Committee.
As the Committee's Chairman, JOHN WILLIAM ASHE (Antigua and Barbuda) announced that the Committee would hold informal consultations on the matter following the adjournment of the formal meeting.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said he wondered about the viability of starting the drafting of programme budget recommendations, while the negotiations on the main resolution were still continuing. The programme budget implications statement related to the resolution as it stood now. If one letter in that text changed, the programme budget implications would change, as well. If the resolution changed, the matter would go back to the ACABQ and then the Fifth Committee. Thus, consultations on the matter at this point could turn out to be a waste of time.
The CHAIRMAN said that all concerns would be taken into account during informals this afternoon.
Review of Efficiency of Administrative, Financial Functioning
Ms. LOCK (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that during the fifty-ninth and sixtieth sessions, the Committee had approved several measures aimed at strengthening the investigation functions in the United Nations, as well as ensuring that staff would be held accountable for misconduct. It had been emphasized that the OIOS had been entrusted with investigations in the United Nations. The Committee had furthermore approved measures to prevent and address allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and had requested the Secretary-General to develop a comprehensive policy on the matter. The Committee had also established the Ethics Office.
She said Member States had reached consensus on the focus of the comprehensive governance review and the necessity of submitting the independent external evaluation of the audit and investigatory system to the General Assembly before the comprehensive governance review. The Group of 77 had asked for information on the steps that had been taken to ensure adherence to the reached consensus agreements, she said, and would appreciate further elaboration on the status of the interim procedures and protocols that were intended to ensure prompt reporting to the OIOS of cases arising in field missions, as well as on the development of the database.
She said that, as the Secretary-General would submit a full report on the implementation of resolution 59/287, and in view of the various measures approved in the past years by Member States, it would be useful to ensure that the report would cover the entire spectrum of activities that were intended to strengthen investigation functions and enhance accountability. That would ensure that Member States received a comprehensive assessment of how the various components of the broader accountability framework were working together towards ensuring that staff at all levels, and irrespective of their nationality, were held accountable for any wrongdoings, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the UN, due process and principles of justice.
ANDREW S. HILLMAN (United States) said he had taken note of the issuance in December 2005 of an administrative bulletin that put into place protection for those staff cooperating with investigations. He also had taken note of an information circular issued in August 2005 regarding rules and procedures addressing misconduct. He encouraged the Department of Management, the OIOS and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop and implement rules and procedures that would eliminate all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
* *** *