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UN Board of Auditors publishes audit report on peacekeeping operations

As at 20 March 2017, the UN Board of Auditors published its new report on the United Nations peacekeeping operations. The full report (249 pages) was adopted by the Board in January 2017. In its report, the Board notes that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position.

The report may be downloaded on the website of the Board (pdf, 4.5 MB).

Following the appointment of the German SAI as a Board member, we prepared our first report on peacekeeping operations. To this end, our staff of the UN Board of Auditors unit carried out field visits at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and other operative sites of UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Spain and Italy. The report encompasses all findings developed by the German audit team and the auditors of the SAIs of India and Tanzania at other sites of UN peacekeeping operations.

Gepanzertes VN-Fahrzeug in der Zentralafrikanischen Republik (Hauptstadt Bangui)
Armored UN vehicle in the Central African Republic (Bangui, domestic capital)

The Board examined the 2015/2016 financial statements of the peacekeeping operations (1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016) which were prepared in line with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The approved peacekeeping budget was $8.30 billion. Actual expenses decreased to $8.02 billion. The Board issued an unqualified opinion on the financial statements.

Apart from the financial statements, the Board also examined other issues. Audit findings developed include the following:

  • The actuary’s valuation of employee benefits liabilities was understated by $440.1 million and needed to be revised.
  • The funds assigned to welfare and recreation committees shall be managed in accordance with United Nations financial rules and regulations for mission budgets. However, no comprehensive information on the funds, income or expenses of the committees was available. Therefore, the Board recommends that the committees prepare annual financial reports.
  • The Board focused its audit work on environmental issues. The Board noted that environmental action plans of some missions were lacking or had not been updated regularly. Furthermore, there was room for improving wastewater treatment, the use of solar assets and the use of vehicles. The Board recommends that peacekeeping staff also receive environmental management training. In addition, management should request peacekeeping staff to observe environmental requirements and to regularly report on their activities in this regard.
  • Procurement requires improvement. For example, a central procurement strategy needs to be developed. The Board also found that certain responsibilities were assigned to different officials which caused undue delays and extra costs.
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