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UN Issues First-Ever Performance Report

UN Issues First-Ever Performance Report Consolidating Financial And Programme Data

New York, Sep 14 2006

In a move that advances Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s reform agenda for the United Nations, the world body has released a corporate-style budget and programme performance report, consolidating information that had previously been scattered in numerous different documents and packaging it in a user-friendly format accessible to the general public.

The initiative stems from a proposal by Mr. Annan in his final reform report, Investing in the United Nations: for a stronger Organization worldwide, calling for a single, comprehensive annual report, that, for the first time, would contain both financial and programme information in one volume.

“The intention was to share, in a transparent, accountable way, what we do, how well we do it, and the nature of the obstacles and factors in play,” said Under-Secretary-General for Management Christopher Burnham, explaining that the report provides information on the UN’s efficiency.

Speaking to reporters in New York, he emphasized that those who produced the report deliberately used plain language. “In devising a style for this report, we made a conscious effort to express our work in understandable language, so that complex operations and issues are made more accessible to ‘non-insiders.’”

Mr. Burnham drew parallels with businesses and other entities that are accountable for producing results. “This report is what corporations around the world do. This report is what foundations around the world do. This report is what non-governmental organizations and government agencies do around the world,” he said.

“It starts off with what we might call a letter to shareholders. Of course we also want to reach out to the global taxpayers who pay our salaries, who pay the electricity bill here, who pay for the operations of the United Nations,” he added.

The report includes an independent assessment by the UN’s Inspector General as well as data on performance. “We have tried to be absolutely honest and fair in that appraisal,” Mr. Burnham said, adding financial information “shows you exactly where we are spending our money.” Audit information is also contained in the document.

With Mr. Annan now completing the final year in his decade-long service at the UN’s helm, Mr. Burnham said the initiative should endure.

“I hope this will set the standard for future secretaries-general to produce this kind of report so that we can continue with our commitment to transparency and accountability, first of all to the global taxpayer but equally to the Member States who comprise our board of directors,” the management chief said.


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