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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations General Assembly – Thematic Debate: "Towards a Common Understanding on Management Reform" (New York)

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ambassador Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations


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Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

Mr President,

At the outset, let me thank you for your initiative to organize this thematic debate to take stock of the progress achieved so far and to renew our collective political commitment to follow-up on the 2005 World Summit Outcome document.

We would also like to thank the Secretary General for his remarks today, as well as for the work that he is doing toward implementing one of the priorities he set for the Organization at the very beginning of his mandate.

Mr President,

The European Union has always been a staunch supporter of improving effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and accountability of the Organization. We have worked in different fora towards these goals and will continue to do so in an effort to further improve the Organization’s ability to face current and emerging challenges.

The member states of the UN can point to a number of achievements in management reform already, but in many areas it is still lacking real progress. We are pleased to note, however, that there is a readiness from all sides to move forward.

We welcome the Four Nations Initiative, that has identified the areas that Member States should examine closely with regard to governance and management of the Secretariat, highlighting inter alia the need for improved accountability and transparency, and we thank them for their recommendations.

We would like to take the opportunity to provide comments on the three areas on which today’s debate is focusing, namely mandate generation, budgetary process and human resources management.

  1. Firstly, as Member States, we have a responsibility to thoroughly consider the mandates we are defining. The expected results, timeframes and criteria for completion of mandates, as well as resource implications need to be fully taken into account, when formulating new mandates or upgrading and updating existing ones. The European Union believes that every effort should be made to avoid duplication and overlap. This could be achieved by extending and intensifying coordination at all levels in the Secretariat and among the Member States, and by practicing better transparency regarding existing mandates. In this context, we would like to commend the efforts of the co-chairs of the Mandate Review informal consultations, Permanent Representatives of Namibia and New Zealand, for the outstanding efforts they have invested in developing a viable methodology for seriously tackling the issue of reviewing mandates older than 5 years, the task, which is long overdue.
  2. Secondly, we believe that the budgetary process, as set out in the rules and procedures, as well as the relevant General Assembly resolutions, contains many of the necessary elements for it to be efficient and transparent. We believe that returning to proper application of these rules can significantly help improve the shortcomings we have seen develop in the budgetary process. The European Union also supports the application of results-based management, the tool that in our view can further increase the transparency and efficiency of the budgetary process, including by providing additional information on the use of budgetary resources and on the achievements of the programmes. The planning process, outlining programmatic aspects of activities of the UN, is a crucial first step in the budgetary process. This strategic and programmatic part of the budgetary process for the 2010-2011 biennium is already starting, first by the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), to be followed by the discussion and adoption by the General Assembly at the end of this year. In the context of the budget, we have to also reiterate our well-known position for the need for maintaining budgetary discipline and avoiding a piecemeal approach to the budget.
  3. Thirdly, we have stated repeatedly that the effective and efficient organization needs qualified, motivated and well managed staff. It is regrettable that only limited progress could be made on the human resources management reform thus far, but we look forward to discussing it further in the fall, with a hope to achieve tangible results on various aspects of this complex issue.

Mr President,

Management reform extends beyond the three areas mentioned. We have achieved much in the area of Governance and Oversight. In the last year, we have discussed proposals on restructuring of Departments in the Secretariat, and we have not yet concluded debates on this. We look forward to discussing the issue of Information and Communications Technology in the near future.

The European Union also sees system-wide coherence and “delivering as one” as an important element in the functioning of the management – in particular in order to ensure coordination and avoid duplication, of activites.

We recognize that the management reform is a long-term process.

However, there is a perception among some of us that often only a partial or limited approach to management reform is being employed. And while we recognize that such an approach may also be due to resource constraints, we sometimes feel as though there were a lack of vision on where the Organization should be headed in the management reform process.

The 2005 World Summit Outcome has shown the way forward, and we have made the first steps in the right direction so far, but there is still a long way ahead and we hope we can continue to foster the necessary political will, flexibility and mutual trust to bring us to results that will meet the expectations of all.

Thank you, Mr President.


* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 09.04.2008