Press Releases

    GA/AB/3494
    6 March 2002

    FIFTH COMMITTEE MAINTAINS FOCUS ON OVERSIGHT
    ISSUES, INCLUDING ALLEGATIONS OF
    MISCONDUCT, MISMANAGEMENT

    Speakers Question Mandate, Prerogatives
    Of Office of Internal Oversight Services

    NEW YORK, 5 March (UN Headquarters) -- Concluding its consideration of six reports by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning focused extensively on oversight issues, including measures to enhance oversight activities and allegations of misconduct and mismanagement. The Committee, which is holding its first resumed session from 4 to 15 March, also began its consideration of the financing of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

    The representative of the United States said he was pleased to learn that various funds and programmes had implemented OIOS recommendations to improve internal oversight. It had been an ongoing issue, and he was pleased that OIOS was able to inform the Committee that progress had been made in that regard. Concerning the report on the so-called "boat project", while the report made for a "good read", he was dismayed to learn of the allegations of mismanagement and waste in the Vienna-based Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. He also asked if steps had been taken to improve the low level of staff morale at that Office, which resulted from mismanagement and a lack of consultation.

    Several delegations praised OIOS for its investigation into refugee smuggling at the Nairobi Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which they said could be used as a model for future investigations.

    Responding to the issue of refugee smuggling by the Nairobi Office, the representative of Kenya said that the influx of refugees into her country had created serious problems, including the proliferation of small arms, drug smuggling and now illicit refugee smuggling. Kenya strongly condemned the criminal activities against the refugees. The long arm of the law would catch up with all those guilty of such offences, and she called urgently for implementation of all the recommendations contained in the report on the investigation of criminal practices.

    Stressing the importance of respecting the letter and spirit of resolution 48/218 B, which established OIOS, the representative of Cuba said that under the terms of that resolution, OIOS activities with respect to funds and programmes were supposed to help those entities. That did not mean that the funds and programmes should necessarily use OIOS for their oversight. Every United Nations body had the prerogative of choosing its oversight mechanisms. While OIOS should help with internal oversight efforts, its activities should not be mandatory.

    Responding to comments from the floor, the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, Dileep Nair, stressed that OIOS was not going beyond what it had been asked to do. OIOS had been asked to ensure that oversight in funds and programmes was conducted properly. Ultimately, the funds and programmes were responsible to the world body at large. They must have a structure for ensuring that oversight in all its functions was being conducted. OIOS was in no way taking over responsibility for oversight, but was offering its experience and knowledge.

    Under organizational matters, after hearing complaints by several speakers on the late issuance of reports, the Committee decided to defer action on its programme of work until tomorrow.

    The representative of Cuba, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that as a result of the late submission of documentation, some items had not appeared on the Committee’s programme of work for the first resumed session. Complete documentation was still not available on some agenda items scheduled to be considered this week. That chronic problem of late documentation must be addressed to ensure that the Secretariat complied with the six-week rule, which the General Assembly reaffirmed every year.

    The representative of Syria stressed the need for specific measures to address the problem. It was not the first time that the Secretariat was determining the Committee’s work programme, which was linked to the state of preparedness of reports. Regarding the long-awaited report on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), he could not understand why the Secretariat had not prepared that document. It was inconceivable that the Secretariat could be so far behind. He officially requested that an inquiry be made into the matter.

    Responding to questions and comments from the floor were Ann-Marie Martin, Officer in Charge, Personnel Management and Support Service of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; Marianne Brzak-Metzler, Chief, Compensation and Classification Policy Unit of the Office of Human Resources Management; Claus Andreasen, Director of Internal Oversight at UNICEF; and Compton Persaud of the Budget Division.

    Statements were also made by the representatives of Costa Rica (on behalf of the Rio Group), Morocco (on behalf of the African Group), Canada, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania and Iraq.

    The Committee will meet again tomorrow, 6 March, at 10 a.m. to continue its work.

    Background

    When the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning, it was expected to take up its organization of work, reports on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), and the financing of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. [For background information and summaries of the OIOS reports, see Press Release GA/AB/3493 dated 4 March 2002.]

    On the financing of the International Tribunals, the Committee had before it the revised estimates resulting from the strengthening of the role of internal oversight services at the International Tribunals for the biennium 2002-2003 (document A/C.5/56/30/Add.1). The General Assembly, in resolutions 56/247 and 56/248 of December 2001, approved additional appropriations of some $156,300 and $189,200 (after recosting) for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, respectively. The additional appropriations were proposed to strengthen the role of internal oversight services at the International Tribunals for an initial period of six months during 2002-2003. To ensure that such services are provided during the entire biennium, additional appropriations of about $430,300 gross (some $312,700 net) and $493,300 gross ($398,800 net) would be required under the 2002-2003 budgets for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, respectively.

    Organization of Work

    EVA SILOT BRAVO (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that late submission of documents disrupted the smooth functioning of the Committee. The Group was concerned that, as a result of late submission of documentation, some items had not appeared on the programme of work for the first resumed session. The Committee had not been provided with all the relevant reports from the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) in writing, and complete documentation was still not available on some agenda items scheduled to be considered this week. This chronic problem should be addressed seriously to ensure that the Secretariat comply with the six-week rule, which was reaffirmed every year by the Assembly. Regarding recently announced cutbacks in conference and other support services, she requested that the matter be considered by the Committee under the agenda item on the programme budget for 2002-2003.

    Continuing, she sought clarification regarding the special briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Management scheduled for the morning of 14 March, and addressed the issue of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa. As indicated in the Advisory Committee’s report on the matter, delay in approving the requested funds might lead to higher costs in the long run. The Group was in favour of taking a decision on the matter, based on the proposals of the Secretary-General approved by the ACABQ.

    On the standards of accommodation for air travel, she said that tickets purchased from the capitals cost much less than the tickets arranged by the Secretariat through the designated travel agency. The Group would like to request that a detailed statement showing the difference in the costs be prepared. She also noticed with regret undue delays in reimbursement of the cost of tickets purchased in the capitals that were not procured through the designated travel agency because of shortage of time. The Group would appreciate it if a statement showing the procedures of reimbursement of such tickets was circulated for the delegates’ information.

    In conclusion, she said that the Group attached particular importance to the financing of the two international Tribunals, to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) gratis personnel, and to the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS). It expected the Committee to give proper consideration to those issues. As for the report on public information activities, the Group would be willing to consider it in the framework of the comprehensive review to be undertaken during the fifty-seventh session. The Group also looked forward to additional information on the arrears of the former Yugoslavia under the agenda item on the scale of assessments, as well as the views of other delegations on the proper way to approach the issue.

    CARLOS LIZANO (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, endorsed the statement of the Group of 77. He regretted the negative impact that the backlog of report publication was having on the Committee’s work. It was necessary for the Secretariat to take the requisite measures. Regarding the scale of assessments, the report before the Committee lacked concrete elements and recommendations. On the administration of human resources, the report on the mandatory separation age was not thorough enough. It would be better to deal with the matter jointly with other reports. He emphasized the importance of the International Tribunals and supported the need for appropriate funding for them. He regretted the fact that in the past, only temporary solutions had been adopted for their financing, because of a delay in the publication of reports. He hoped that final budgets would be approved in the present session.

    Stressing the importance of oversight service in the Organization, he said it was crucial to follow up on OIOS reports and their recommendations. On the financing of MONUC, the Group attached importance to that Mission and to the need for corresponding resources.

    ABDOU AL-MOULA NAKKARI (Syria) endorsed the statement made by the Group of 77 and thanked the Bureau for presenting a list of outstanding documents which had been requested yesterday. The concerns expressed by Cuba required the Committee to take specific measures. It was not the first time that the Secretariat was determining the Committee’s agenda. The work programme was linked to the state of preparedness of reports. It seemed that late issuance was becoming a work methodology for the Committee. He regretted that the requests of delegations had not been respected. He could not understand why the Secretariat had not prepared the report on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). It was a brief three-page report, and the Secretariat had had some 10 months in which to complete it. A number of other reports had been available two months ahead of the second resumed session, whereas other reports were being presented just this morning for the first resumed session.

    Before adopting the programme of work, a full meeting should be devoted exclusively to that issue to see where the gaps were, he said. He would continue raising the matter. It was inconceivable that the Secretariat could be so far behind. He officially requested that an inquiry be made into the matter. Regarding the cutback in conference services, the issue required an in-depth study.

    ANN-MARIE MARTIN, Officer in Charge, Personnel Management and Support Service of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, responded to questions on the financing of UNDOF, raised yesterday by the representative of Syria. She said that to comply with relevant General Assembly resolutions adopted on the financing of the mission, the report of the Secretary-General was to be presented. The review of the matter had not been fully completed. Once it was concluded, a full report would be made to the Assembly.

    Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) thanked Ms. Martin for her response and said that he was familiar with the resolutions in question. The answer provided was not acceptable, however. Perhaps the Secretariat had forgotten that a specific paragraph of the resolution required that information should be presented during the first resumed session of the Assembly. His delegation had studied the issue thoroughly, and it was in the spirit of compromise that it had agreed to the report being presented not at the regular, but the resumed session. He had not expected the report to require more than 10 months to be published. He wanted to know why it was taking so long to publish the short report, which was only three pages long. He would like to obtain a convincing response to his question.

    MARIANNE BRZAK-METZLER, Chief, Compensation and Classification Policy Unit of the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), said that, as requested, the Office had provided input to the report. A number of measures had been taken, and discussion on the matter was still going on.

    Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said that he had asked a specific question -- why the report had not been submitted in 10 months. He had not asked if consultations were being undertaken. If the Secretariat could not provide a convincing answer to the question, he was making an official request that an inquiry be made on the matter.

    Ms. SILOT BRAVO (Cuba) said that she also expected to receive answers to the requests and questions made in her statement today. In particular, she wanted to know when the relevant reports of the ACABQ would be published, as well as other documents that had not been published on time.

    The Committee’s Chairman, NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana), said that the Committee would have to defer taking a decision on the organization of work until tomorrow morning.

    Reports of Office of Internal Oversight Services

    DILEEP NAIR, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, responded to questions raised during yesterday’s discussion. On the West Africa case, the matter was in the public domain. There had been allegations of abuse of refugee children in certain West African countries, which involved representatives of eight United Nations organizations, including peacekeeping troops. As the investigation was currently in progress, he was not at liberty to comment on the case.

    OIOS would monitor the implementation of its recommendation on the refugee smuggling, he said. Regarding OIOS participation in oversight services at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), he had relayed the comments made yesterday and was told that a UNICEF representative would be available to the Committee to answer its queries.

    THOMAS REPASCH (United States) thanked OIOS and its staff for presenting the numerous well-written reports. On the enhancement of internal oversight mechanisms, the United States was pleased that the various funds and programmes had implemented OIOS recommendations to improve internal oversight. It had been an ongoing issue, and he was pleased that OIOS was able to update information on progress made in that regard. On the reference in the report to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), what was the "joint horizontal unit" and how did it relate to the Joint Pension Fund? OIOS covered the subject well, and he hoped the Committee would take note with appreciation of the report.

    On the allegations regarding the "boat project", he thanked OIOS and the Secretariat for responding to delegations’ concerns and releasing the report in time for budget negotiations last December. Complete information was necessary for approving the budget for that agency. He was not pleased, however, to read about allegations of mismanagement and waste in the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. The report had all the elements of a fascinating story, including interesting characters and unsavoury conduct. He asked OIOS to update the Committee on the status of recommendations made by OIOS in the report. It was disappointing to read of the low status of staff morale in the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, stemming from mismanagement and a lack of consultation. What had happened since the release of the report? Had morale improved, and could an increase in productivity be expected as a result?

    Regarding the investigation into allegations of refugee smuggling, he said that while the report was also a fascinating read, there were indications of serious problems. He commended OIOS for its innovative approach in pursuing the investigation, which could be used as a model for future investigations. He also commended the United Nations and OIOS for responding quickly to allegations of child abuse in West Africa. He asked for the status of recommendation 6 in the report, on the need to establish a procedure for speedy referral to OIOS of information obtained via external reporting processes relating to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff wrongdoing.

    Regarding the Nairobi Office, he asked OIOS and the Secretariat about the status of the recommendation that OHRM undertake a review of the administrative situation in the Office. The report contained indications of staffing problems at the Office and an inability to recruit high-quality staff. He welcomed comments on what could be done to resolve personnel issues. It was time for thinking "out of the box" on ways to improve recruitment. On UNHCR private sector fund-raising, he wondered what had been done by OIOS on fund-raising in other organizations, as UNHCR was not the only United Nations organization participating in private fund-raising.

    OMAR KADIRI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that his delegation attributed great importance to the work of OIOS. He supported the recommendations in the report on the inspection of administrative and management practices in Nairobi, and welcomed the fact that some of them were now being implemented.

    He expressed concern over the high vacancy rates not only in Nairobi, but in other duty stations in Africa as well. In that connection, he wanted to know what measures were being taken to rectify the situation. It was important to look into the budget situation in Nairobi, taking into account the balance between posts financed from the regular budget and those financed from extrabudgetary resources. He supported an increase in the budget for regular expenses, but even with those increases there remained a great dependency on extrabudgetary resources. Most activities should be financed through the regular budget, however.

    ALBINA CHEPKOECH CHEBOMUI (Kenya) said the report on the Nairobi Office clearly revealed the problems affecting the quality of its performance. Immediate pragmatic measures were needed to normalize the situation there. In paragraph 27 of the Secretary-General’s note on the inspection of administrative and management practices at Nairobi, reference was made to the fact that the Executive Director of United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) had sought clarification from Headquarters regarding her delegated authority. During the inspection, the Director-General of the Nairobi Office had requested OIOS to assist in clarifying and formalizing his authority. Urgent action was needed to address the situation and clarify the line of authority there.

    In general, she concurred with the recommendations of the report, she said. On the request by the Director-General at Nairobi for an OHRM review of the current human resources situation in Nairobi and for a paper on options for helping the Office to achieve the same status as other United Nations headquarters duty stations, she added that it should involve personnel incentive packages.

    Kenya was surrounded by countries in conflict, she said. As her country enjoyed a certain level of stability, it could provide assistance to others, but the influx of refugees had created serious problems, including the proliferation of small arms, drug smuggling and now illicit refugee smuggling. Kenya strongly condemned the criminal activities against the refugees. The long arm of the law would certainly catch up with all those guilty of such offences. Some of the perpetrators had been arrested, and investigations were continuing. She urgently called for implementation of all the recommendations contained in the report of the investigation of criminal practices.

    LOIPA SANCHEZ LORENZO (Cuba) referred to the report on the strengthening of oversight at United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. Regarding its recommendations for improving such oversight, she said OIOS should play a positive role. Its activities should not be mandatory, however.

    On the recommended creation of oversight committees within each entity -- which would have a mandate from OIOS -- she said that it seemed to create an enforcement mechanism. She felt that was contrary to the letter and spirit of resolution 48/218 B on OIOS. She reiterated that it was up to the funds and programmes to decide if they wanted to have recourse to OIOS. She asked how the Secretariat intended to take into account the statements by the three entities which had expressed their satisfaction with their own oversight mechanisms, saying that they did not find it necessary to have recourse to OIOS.

    Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) endorsed the statements by the representatives of Morocco and Kenya. He also wanted to make some brief comments. One of the reports before the Committee referred to OIOS acquiring help in its investigations. He wanted to know about the cost of such assistance in the field.

    Turning to the report on the inspection of Nairobi managerial practices, he said that the document had been prepared on the basis of a general review within the context of the revision of the administrative and financial performance of the United Nations. Did that mean that there was also a specific approach to be followed in revising administrative and managerial practices within the Organization on the whole?

    He expressed approval of the recommendation to recruit a staff member in charge of protocol, and requested clarification regarding paragraph 79 of document A/56/620 on the review of the human resources situation in Nairobi. The Nairobi Office should enjoy the same privileges as other duty stations, and he was glad the issue was receiving attention now. While mobility was an effective means to solve the Office’s personnel problems, it was not the sole solution. It should be considered along with other human resources options within the context of the General Assembly resolution on human resources. Such options as improving criteria for recruitment or encouraging applicants by providing them with incentives could also be considered.

    As for the fund-raising activities report, it did not include any recommendations. Paragraph 35 did mention previous recommendations by OIOS and general guidelines for the UNHCR, which should have been completed by the end of 2001. He wanted to know what those recommendations were. It was clear that the issue was still being considered and that UNHCR was still seeking new ways of fund-raising. It was important to consider new solutions.

    Regarding document A/56/823 on enhancing oversight at funds and programmes of the United Nations system, he believed that the representative of Cuba had tackled the question in detail. The matter still needed to be considered further in informal consultations. According to the report before the Committee, some organizations had responded to OIOS recommendations. Others had not responded, however. The document also referred to the Office of the Iraq Programme, and he wanted to receive more information on that matter. He also inquired about the reasons for the delay in issuance of the report on the possibility of racial discrimination at the United Nations.

    JOHN ORR (Canada) said the investigation into the allegations of refugee smuggling was both unique and innovative. Canada was pleased to have contributed to the investigation. Follow-up to the report by both UNHCR and the Kenyan authorities was essential. UNHCR had taken important steps, but senior management should place priority emphasis on a plan of action to address corruption in the Nairobi branch, and apply the lessons learned to other UNHCR programmes worldwide. Serious deficiencies had been uncovered and must be addressed urgently.

    ANAS ELTAYEB ELGAILANI MUSTAFA (Sudan), in reference to the investigation into allegations of refugee smuggling, expressed satisfaction with the measures taken by OIOS. He paid tribute to the investigators whose efforts had led to the demise of the criminal network. The arrangements regarding corruption in the Nairobi Office and OIOS recommendations would deal with the crisis and end any future attempts at corruption. He urged OIOS to follow up on the implementation of its recommendations.

    CLAUS ANDREASEN, Director of Internal Oversight at UNICEF, said it had been UNICEF’s position that there was no need to add an additional oversight function. UNICEF was confident that existing mechanisms allowed for the proper functioning of oversight activities, and that it had no need for an additional oversight committee. An audit committee already existed, and UNICEF had also considered a recommendation by the Board of Auditors to add an external representative to its audit committee. In that regard, UNICEF had invited a representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to sit in on its audit committee. That had proved a positive solution to the issue of expanding oversight functions. UNDP was also a field-based agency, and much could be learned from it. At the moment, UNICEF’s oversight function was well established and there was no need to consider external representation on its audit committee.

    Mr. REPASCH (United States) took note of the response given by UNICEF. Establishing a new committee at UNICEF was not OIOS’ suggestion. OIOS merely sought to be represented on the existing committee. It was wonderful that UNDP had been invited to the audit board. The argument that UNICEF would not benefit from having OIOS representation was unconvincing, however. He was positive that UNICEF would gain much from having OIOS on its committee. He was mystified as to why it could not accept that simple solution. As a major donor to UNICEF, the United States had been supportive of UNICEF efforts to improve oversight function, and he urged it to take advantage of a sound recommendation.

    Responding to questions and offering concluding remarks, Mr. NAIR thanked delegates for their comments on the various reports. On the question of oversight at UNRWA, the "joint horizontal audit" was an audit of funds and programmes with respect to how the pension fund was operating. It was felt that, since all agencies and funds had similar problems regarding the pension fund, a joint horizontal audit would be beneficial.

    On the "boat project", particularly the recommendation to recover some $15,000, that offer had been withdrawn, he said. There was no offer on the table as such. The acting Executive Director had put in place a number of the recommendations. OIOS reserved judgement until a follow-up inspection was conducted. Regarding staff morale, he said the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General had visited the office in Vienna. As a result of those visits, morale had improved. On refugee smuggling and procedures for referral, a good framework for operation had been established, whereby close consultation now existed.

    On the Nairobi review and the management of human resources, he said an in-depth study of the problem was needed. Mobility was not the only issue. It was a complicated matter that must be looked at in all its diversity. OHRM had taken up the review, but he could not comment thereon. Until the problem of low vacancy rates was overcome, other problems would arise. Regarding private sector fund-raising, he was not familiar with what was being done by other agencies. But it was an area in which OIOS could bring its experience to bear. UNHCR had appointed a new person in charge of private sector fund-raising who would take up OIOS’s suggestions.

    On the question of whether OIOS was overstepping its mandate, he stressed that OIOS was not going beyond what had been requested of it. OIOS had been asked to make sure that oversight in funds and programmes was conducted properly. Ultimately, the funds and programmes were responsible to the world body at large. For example, the Secretary-General would be responsible if something went wrong in UNICEF or UNDP. The funds and programmes must have a structure to ensure that oversight in all its functions was being conducted. The oversight committees suggested would not report to OIOS but to the executive heads or intergovernmental groups responsible for the respective funds and programmes. OIOS was in no way taking over responsibility for oversight, but was offering its experience and knowledge. OIOS was in dialogue with the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and UNRWA to see how cooperation could be furthered.

    On the cost of investigations of refugee smuggling, he said the countries involved in the investigation had covered the salaries of investigators. Out-of-pocket costs had been paid by the Organization. The costs as such were not significant. On UNHCR fund-raising, guidelines had been put in place. Many consultations had been undertaken with the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), including joint projects. Regarding the question on the Office of the Iraq Programme, oversight did not pose a problem. OIOS was involved in the audit. On the racial discrimination report, it was not an easy document to produce. OIOS would try to have it available for the May session. He would also look into what could be done regarding the request on the UNDOF report.

    MUHAMMAD YUSSUF (United Republic of Tanzania) said that he was rather intrigued by the report on private sector fund-raising, according to which the return on investment was one of the most important indicators of the success of any fund-raising activities. The report showed a very good ratio in that regard, but he wanted to know where UNHCR got money for the initial expenditures. Were those amounts budgeted?

    Ms. SANCHEZ LORENZO (Cuba) said that her delegation was very concerned over the procedure governing the Secretary-General’s request for funds, agencies and programmes to apply OIOS recommendations, which had not been approved by the General Assembly. Under the terms of resolution 48/218 B, OIOS activities with respect to funds and programmes were supposed to help those entities. That did not mean that the funds and programmes should necessarily use OIOS for their oversight. Every body had the prerogative of choosing its oversight mechanisms. According to document A/56/823, three entities had expressed satisfaction with their own oversight committees, and OIOS suggested that the memorandum of understanding should formalize the provision of its services to funds and programmes. Would the three entities in question be forced to accept the services of OIOS? Recognizing the Office’s role, she emphasized the importance of respecting the letter and spirit of the resolution in question.

    AHMED K. AHMED (Iraq) said the Office of the Iraq Programme had provided services to OIOS, as was stated in document A/56/823. OIOS had contacted the Office to prepare a memorandum of understanding with regard to future services. He would like to know what that document would be like and what it would include. He wanted information on any plan to deal with the problems and shortcomings of the Programme, to which his delegation had alluded in previous meetings.

    Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) thanked Mr. Nair for his response and stressed the importance of the report on possible racial discrimination. His delegation had been informed that the possibility of such practices was great. He realized that it was a sensitive issue to be considered with utmost caution. It should be studied in detail. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, he understood the difficulties encountered in issuance of the report. OIOS had sought to respond to requests made in that regard, and in the light of Mr. Nair’s responses, he believed the issue was more important than ever. The OHRM and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should not ignore the issue. The matter was urgent, and the report should be prepared as soon as possible.

    In a further response to questions, Mr. NAIR said that the money to generate revenues for fund-raising came from the resources budgeted for determined activities. He did not know if there was an accounting problem there, but at the end of the day, money taken for fund-raising activities was to be repaid to the programmes. The importance of generating revenues should be taken into account, however.

    Turning to the mandate of OIOS, he said that as an internal oversight body, it made recommendations to programme managers, telling them what needed to be done in order to comply with auditing standards and procedures. Those were not major policy decisions which needed to go the Secretary-General or the Assembly for approval. Speedy action was needed in cases where violations were found. Funds and programme were not coerced into implementing the recommendations. The best way was to make people realize the benefits of OIOS recommendations, and the fact that most programmes had gone along with them, testified to their feasibility. Most of the funds and programmes did not have the capacity to carry out their own investigations, and most of those entities concluded memorandums of understanding with OIOS, agreeing to pay for its services.

    Financing of International Tribunals

    COMPTON PERSAUD of the Budget Division introduced the Secretary-General’s report before the Committee, saying that resources were being requested for only 15 months. The amounts requested would be included in the revised appropriations for the 2002-2003 budget.

    Orally introducing the ACABQ report, the Chairman of that body, CONRAD S.M. MSELLE, said that the Advisory Committee was recommending acceptance of the amounts requested by the Secretary-General.

    Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) wanted to know whether the Committee was concluding discussion on the item today. He added that the ACABQ was supposed to issue its reports in writing.

    The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that it would continue its consideration of the item tomorrow.

    RAMESH CHANDRA (India) said his delegation attached importance to the work of the Tribunals and would endeavour to work for a consensus based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee.

    Ms. SANCHEZ LORENZO (Cuba) supported the comment by Syria. Cuba had always stressed the need to have ACABQ reports in writing.

    Mr. MSELLE said he had conveyed the ACABQ’s recommendation to accept the Secretary-General’s proposal. He trusted that the translation had been made correctly.

    Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) hoped that Mr. Mselle would understand the fact that he had complained about the issue numerous times. It was not proper to submit reports orally. The procedure of submitting oral reports had not been accepted.

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