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Cablegate: Wmo Audit Committee: Two Steps Forward

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGV #1097 3361244
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021244Z DEC 09
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0458
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS GENEVA 001097

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

USDOC FOR NOAA FOR VNADOLSKI, CCORVINGTON
STATE FOR IO/GS FOR RDISSELKOEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: WMO AORC EFIN KUNR SENV
SUBJECT: WMO AUDIT COMMITTEE: TWO STEPS FORWARD

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

-------
SUMMARY
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1. (SBU) The World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Audit
Committee (AC) welcomed further progress on management reforms, but
challenged the Secretariat to close the books on many partially
completed recommendations from both the internal and external
auditors. AC stressed to the Secretariat that it expected results
and a more proactive approach to addressing the implementation of
recommendations. AC members held an in-camera session of
principles only to determine the best way forward. This Audit
Committee meeting showed members at their best, engaging in
critical, yet constructive, dialogue with the WMO Secretariat. END
SUMMARY.

--------------------------------
MEMBERS WANT CLOSURE AND CONTROL
--------------------------------

2. (U) WMO's Audit Committee (AC) held its 13th meeting in Geneva
October 26-27, 2009, to continue to promote management reform and
improvements in internal controls. AC noted progress in many areas
and welcomed the Secretariat's sustained efforts to address the
shortcomings cited in the numerous audits, internal and external,
conducted in recent years. At the same time, AC was not fully
satisfied with the pace of efforts in some areas and delays in
implementation. AC members requested an in-camera session (a meeting
of principle members only) to discuss how members, rather than the
SG, could drive the agenda. The members agreed that transparency was
lacking in some of the details presented by the Secretariat relative
to implementation of the internal auditor's recommendations.

3. (U) The issue of greatest concern to the AC was a suggestion by
the SG that many of the auditors' recommendations were not practical
or realistic and, consequently, would not be implemented. This
statement was not well received by the AC members, but the SG
deflected criticism somewhat by saying that as a "living list,"
recommendations would be closed and new ones added such that at no
given time was 100 percent implementation achievable. The AC
members proceeded to review each of the 31 outstanding
recommendations and requested that, in future lists, new columns be
added to the side of each recommendation that would show the date of
the recommendation, the current status of implementation, the
responsible party and the expected date of closure. The good news
was that in the process of this group exercise, a number of
recommendations were declared closed by the internal auditor and the
AC members gained insight into the complex issue of "ownership" of
implementation through the WMO.

4. (SBU) During the in-camera meeting, the AC members discussed the
value of beginning future AC meetings with an in-camera session in
order to candidly discuss issues without observers present. AC
members unanimously agreed to future in-camera sessions and to
provide more input into the agenda of future audit committee
meetings.

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COMMENT:
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5. (SBU) No one can question that WMO has made significant reforms
since its experience with fraud and corruption in 2003, but the
review of recommendations showed that their work continues. A 2006
AC reporting cable stating that although WMO leadership is ""talking
the talk" and "walking the walk" when it comes to reform, "yet it is
not clear how far their legs will carry them" is just as true today
as it was then. The WMO SG has inferred that he is tired of walking,
particularly as he feels that they have more or less reached their
destination. Fortunately, the members of the 13th AC meeting
reinvigorated the reform process and are actively steering the WMO
towards an organizational culture that implements reform
recommendations as readily as it predicts the weather.

GRIFFITHS#

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