United Nations UNDP works to bring greater transparency to global programs
(WNN) Geneva, SWITZERLAND: In a move to make The UN Development Program (UNDP) more transparent, the UNDP Executive Board today approved the agency’s plan to make UNDP audit reports publicly accessible by the end of the year, with audit executive summaries online beginning in July.
Calling it “the next step” in a series of moves toward increased transparency, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the decision by UNDP’s 36-member Board, saying it would enhance confidence among donors and stakeholders in UNDP operations and oversight.
“Transparency and accountability are a high priority for UNDP and for me personally as UNDP Administrator,” she said in a statement to the Board. “Step by step, and in close consultation with the Board, we have increased access to internal audit reports for member states and inter-governmental donors. Sharing critical audit information helps build trust in our oversight systems.”
UNDP’s proposal, submitted with UNOPS and UNFPA and approved Friday, would achieve “full transparency in disclosure of internal audit reports,” she said, by releasing executive summaries of all internal audit reports within weeks and making all internal audits issued after Dec. 1, 2012 available in full on UNDP’s public Website.
“I am convinced that these moves will increase confidence among our stakeholders that UNDP’s activities are subjected to rigorous and independent scrutiny, and that shortcomings are identified and addressed. I am also convinced that openness will strengthen our reputation as an organization committed to getting results and offering value for money.”
“Last year we published our spending for more than 7,000 projects, and launched an open data portal. This year we aim to publish more information, and with greater detail. We will also continue to advocate for the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) by leading workshops with other multilateral organizations and partner governments on implementing its standards.” UNDP is a founding member of the IATI, an OECD initiative.
Ms. Clark said the United Nations’ global development organization would “ensure the quality and accuracy of the information disclosed and apply… safeguards to ensure that no confidential or otherwise particularly sensitive information reaches the public domain. I have full trust that the Office of Audit and Investigations will properly manage these safeguards.”
In two messages posted on Twitter, US Ambassador to the United Nations for Management Joseph Torsella welcomed the vote, which he called a “big victory” and “an important step toward more transparency.” He added: “Public openness=public confidence in UN.”
Paula Schriefer, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, in May noted that “transparency and accountability across the UN system remain top priorities for the United States” and cited UNDP as “a leader among UN agencies in striving for greater transparency and accountability.”
UNDP earned a “Top 10” ranking in the inaugural Aid Transparency Index. From Jan. 1, 2012, UNDP also has officially adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
In December 2011, UNDP and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, & Malaria signed an agreement setting out terms for cooperation and sharing of information regarding investigations. That accord, signed by UNDP Director of Audit and Investigations Egbert Kaltenbach and Global Fund Inspector General John Parsons, further expanded UNDP-Global Fund efforts to maximize cooperation and strengthen oversight with the aim of eliminating fraud and corruption.
On Sept. 9, 2011, the Executive Board approved proposals by UNDP and two other UN entities to establish a secure, Web-based system for remote access to audit reports by UNDP and the Global Fund. Previously internal audit reports were made available to member states and to the Global Fund at UNDP headquarters.
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