I am honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of Botswana, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Peru, United States of America and my own country, Norway.
Let me start by Congratulating UNOPS on your 25th anniversary!
And in these 25 years you have grown to become a strong UN-organisation with projects in around 100 countries, and with an expanding number of partnerships with program countries – a testament to your ability to provide effective assistance to these countries.
We thank the Executive Director for the presentation this morning, shedding light on some of the important work that UNOPS will undertake in 2020.
We acknowledge the efforts of UNOPS in establishing and following-up systems for cross-cutting sustainability elements such as human rights, gender equality, environment and anti-corruption.
Your “Impact” report summarizes key achievements in 2018 and UNOPS’ contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals through its work with partners. We are pleased that UNOPS is the first United Nations organization to adopt internationally recognized sustainability reporting standards, in your fourth sustainability report.
With the mid-term review of your Strategic Plan being underway, can you elaborate on the impact, if any, of the UNDS reform for the rewiew?
We are pleased to see that the demand for UNOPS’ services is growing strongly and that revenues are increasing. A growing portfolio and delivery pipelines also increases risks and pressures on the agency’s internal systems. How does UNOPS ensure that your administrative capacity and internal control systems stay aligned with increased outputs?
In that regard, we also encourage UNOPS to further continue and invest in the development of your Enterprise Ressource Planning system (EPR) oneUNOPS to reduce the risks of human errors and to facilitate even more standardized processes.
Your ability to operate in challenging environments is appreciated – as well as your valuable working relation with local governments and communities.
Equally, UNOPS’ increased partnership with small island states is encouraging, including your cooperation on affordable housing with four Caribbean states.
We would appreciate an update on the gender equality strategy – and current challenges.
We also take note of UNOPS’ growing operational reserves which is testimony to the organization’s solid financial health. As indicated by the JIU and Board of Auditor recommendations, the reserves raise some important questions: What is your investment strategy for the use of these funds? To what extent does the mandatory “risk” reserve needs to be adjusted in keeping pace with the overall growth of UNOPS? And what are the implications for UNOPS’ current cost-recovery rates? We look forward to further consultations on these issues during the Annual session and suggest that UNOPS’ organize a comprehensive informal on these matters prior to June.
Efficient use of resources is key for the UN Development System as a whole. Strengthened cooperation between UNOPS and other UN agencies continues to be important. In this context, we look forward to hear more about the client board, which we understand will meet for the first time later this year - and your assessments of it’s effects, as part of the Secretary-General’s management reform.
We would be grateful if you could give an update on your implementation of UNDS reform, including the Secretary-General’s target on common back office functions, UNOPS’ implementation of the 1% levy and other measures.
In this regard we reiterate the importance of regular consultations with the Executive Board on these important developments.