Remarks to the Executive Board of the United Nations Office for Project Services

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative 
New York, NY
June 10, 2011

The United States would like to begin by thanking Executive Director Mattson for his statement and presentation of UNOPS’ annual report. It was cogent, clear and informative. Thank you so much.

As a self-financed organization, it is important that UNOPS demonstrate financial viability and financial responsibility, as you mentioned. We are encouraged to see that in 2010 UNOPS’ project implementation volume rose 16% higher than the previous year, to over $1.2 billion. UNOPS achieved this volume increase with cost efficiency, which contributed to a significant improvement in the operational reserve, from $48 million to over $56 million, as you stated. This is a welcome development. We encourage the management to continue to give due attention to maintaining the organization’s financial strength.

As you know, an independent and effective oversight system is critical for the confidence of the Board and clients, and is good for business. We welcome UNOPS commitment to greater transparency and accountability and, in this regard, encourage forward-leaning proposals and initiatives from the senior management to put UNOPS in the lead. Earlier in the Board session we had the opportunity to hear the reports of UNOPS audit/investigation and ethics offices. As relatively new creations, these offices have made considerable progress in providing oversight assurances to both the management and the Board. We encourage the management to continue to support them with sufficient resources to carry out their mandates.

As UNOPS expands its client base and activities in developing countries, it should pay greater attention to building local capacities. Where possible, UNOPS should nurture the local private sector by, for example, including them in UNOPS supply chain. And when partnering with governments on project implementation, we encourage UNOPS to be mindful of the need not only to help them build technical capacities, but also institutional capacities to foster sustainability.

The United States supports UNOPS’ mission and appreciates its work in advancing our shared development objectives. We look forward to working with the Board and UNOPS management to make it a stronger organization. Thank you.