Statement by Charles Chang, on UN Auditors Report for the 2006-2007 Biennium at the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board Session

New York, NY
January 21, 2009




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thank you, Mr. President.
I would like to thank the Board of Auditors (BoA) for its comprehensive reports, as we’ll as the management of both UNDP and UNFPA for their responses to the BoA recommendations. I will focus my remarks here on UNDP.

As we indicated in our statement at the opening session of the Board meeting, we are pleased to see that the Board of Auditors noted some important efforts by UNDP Management in addressing the issues identified by the Auditors in their last report. We encourage Management to build on this to continue to address weaknesses identified by the Board of Auditors.

While we have discussed many areas of concern with other members of the Board in formulating a decision, we would like to highlight several issues for particular attention:

The first is results-based management. The BoA found some serious weaknesses in how program indicators are constructed and measured. It recommends that UNDP review all indicators of achievement reflected in the results management database and ensure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

The second is treasury management. BoA noted that UNDP’s internal audit office, the Office of Audit and Investigations performed an audit of the Treasury Division of UNDP covering the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2007. An “unsatisfactory” rating was assigned to the Treasury Division based on the audit, due in part to UNDP's failure to complete monthly bank account reconciliations in 2006-2007. The BoA had the same finding for 2004-2005. Monthly reconciliation of bank statements is an essential internal control without which error and fraud could go undetected.

The third is audit coverage of headquarters. The BoA also found limited audit coverage of Headquarter functions by the Office of Audit and Investigation. This has been a persistent issue. We urge Management and the Office of Audit and Investigation to develop an audit plan to increase Headquarters audit coverage as soon as possible.

In closing, we would like to thank the member of the BoA for participating in this discussion and we join others in encouraging closer interaction between the BoA and the Executive Board. To that end, we would like to address a question to him, to ask him to please share some insights he might have on steps UNDP might take to further strengthen the procurement function, particularly a system to reduce risks surrounding the persistent problem of split procurement orders done to avoid mandatory reviews.

Thank you.

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PRN: 2009/023