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Sessions of UN Panel of External Auditors and of UN Board of Auditors in Bonn

Business as usual is no option. The United Nations need to continue developing. If they do so, they will be able to perform their mandate successfully in the future and to achieve the best possible impact. In our function as external auditors, we can make an important contribution to this effort. When addressing an audience of international delegates, President Kay Scheller outlined the tasks facing national SAI representatives in the United Nations. At the margin of the Session of the United Nations Panel of External Auditors (Panel), on 2 December 2019, Mr. Scheller and his counterparts from 11 national SAIs met at the Bundesrechnungshof headquarters in Bonn.


UN Panel of External Auditors und UN Board of Auditors in Bonn - Gruppenfoto


The meeting of the Panel was held back-to-back with the meeting of the Technical Group at the UN campus in Bonn from 27 November to 3 December 2019. The meetings focused on the UN reforms underway in the fields of development, governance, peacekeeping and security. The delegates also discussed how to handle conflicts of interest within the UN, prevent and detect fraudulent activities, implement new IPSAS regulations and shape audit arrangements in the UN system.

President Scheller presented to the Panel the recent audit findings developed by the UN Board of Auditors. Major findings included the current liquidity situation at the UN Secretariat and the UN's high after-service health insurance liabilities for employees. Mr. Scheller also pointed up the shortcomings the Board had found in the selection and oversight of implementing partners and the weaknesses noted at regional service centres. He reported on the unsatisfactory data quality of target indicators to measure the progress towards sustainable development goals (SDGs). Mr. Scheller concluded by stating that in the coming years, the UN reforms would become one point of emphasis for the Board‘s work. Key reform areas include: the UN Secretariat, UN peacekeeping and the UN development programmes.

The Panel communicated the results of its meeting to Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General. At the same time, the Panel decided to largely publish its correspondence with the Secretariat in the future. In this way, the Panel seeks to provide more impact to its recommendations, enhance effectiveness and make its work more transparent to the general public. The next meetings of the Panel and its Technical Group are scheduled to take place in Paris at the end of 2020.

The Panel’s press release is available  here.

After the Panel meeting, Mr. Scheller and his colleagues, Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, from India and Mr. Jorge Bermúdez from Chile met for the special autumn session of the Board of Auditors. Ms. Qin Boyong, Deputy Auditor General of the National Audit Office of China joined the three Board members as an observer. At the beginning of November, the UN General Assembly elected China to succeed India on the Board from July 2020.

Chaired by President Scheller, the Board of Auditors discussed the future allocation of UN organisations among the SAIs of Chile, China and Germany. China will take over parts of the Indian and Chilean portfolios from summer 2020, in particular the UN Secretariat and the peacekeeping missions that Chile has covered so far. Chile intends to focus on larger client organizations such as UNICEF. The German SAI portfolio will remain the same as before.

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