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Statement by H.E. Ambassador LIU Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Thematic Debate on Management Reform
New York, 8 April 2008

2008/04/08

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation welcomes this thematic debate of the General Assembly on management reform. We will actively engage in dialogue and exchanges on this issue with other Member States and the Secretariat. The Chinese delegation endorses the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the G77 and China.

As the most important inter-governmental international organization, the United Nations is playing an irreplaceable role in international affairs. As the world situation evolves, the Organization is facing increasing mandates and a growing need for more resources and better management in authorization, planning, budget procedure and human resources; hence the greater necessity and urgency for management reform. China supports UN management reform as it believes that an efficient and vibrant United Nations that is capable of coping with various complexities and challenges in the world is in the interests of all countries. We are of the view that, in carrying out the management reform, it is imperative to adhere to the following principles:

Have a clear direction and explicit goals. Through the reform, we expect the UN Secretariat to introduce more stringent management, enhance accountability and oversight, ensure justice and transparency, maintain its integrity, avoid cross-cutting or overlapping responsibilities, and improve effectiveness and efficiency. Adhere to the principle of democracy. As management reform has a bearing on the interests of all Member States, the reform process should be an open, democratic and transparent one in which the views of the Member States should be widely sought. The reform measures should have the endorsement of the entire membership so as to reflect fully the inter-governmental nature and character of the United Nations. Increase dialogue and cooperation. The success of the management reform cannot be achieved without the joint endeavors of all parties. Active dialogues are needed among the Member States and between them and the Secretariat with a view to enhancing confidence and cooperation. Stick to the step-by-step approach. A Chinese saying is aptly captured in an English equivalent: "More haste, less speed." Reform is a process which cannot be completed overnight. We should follow the principle of "progressing steadily from easier issues to more difficult ones" with a view to pushing ahead with the management reform in a prudent and proactive manner.

Mr. President,

Since UN management reform was put on the GA agenda in 1997, particularly since the World Summit of 2005, the Member States and the UN Secretariat have worked hard to advance the reform, with noticeable results. To date, many of the management reform measures have been implemented; the United Nations has made marked improvements in such areas as accountability and oversight, transparency, standards of ethical conduct and financial disclosure. It is also working on mandate review and human resources management reform. On the major issues concerning the management reform, we wish to outline the following views and suggestions:

First, mandates. The formulation of mandates should be based on real needs and should avoid duplication. It is essential to ensure the seriousness and effectiveness of mandates as well as the availability of both financial and human resources. In carrying out the mandate review, it is necessary to make full use of the existing mechanisms, such as the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly. At the same time, we should also be open to other pragmatic review approaches on a case-by-case basis.

Second, planning and budgetary procedures. The budgeting process should continue to follow the principle of consensus. The methodology of result-based budgeting needs further improvement. The managers responsible for programming and budgeting should further raise their awareness of the importance of budgetary management, formulate expected accomplishments and indicators of achievement that are practicable, and terminate in good time obsolete and inefficient outputs so as to ensure the full and effective implementation of the priority programme activities as determined by the Member States. The Secretariat should increase communication and exchanges with the Member States, and provide in its budgetary and performance reports detailed data and information on the use of resources to facilitate the Member States in making informed decisions.

Third, human resources management. It is imperative to pay attention to and take effective measures to address the inadequacies in equitable geographical representation in the field of human resources management. The application of mobility measures should follow the principle of fairness, equity and transparency; meanwhile, measures should be taken to ensure the interests and work continuity of the staff. We support simplified contractual arrangements and unified terms of service, believing that this approach is in line with the overall direction of UN human resources reform and is conducive to attracting and retaining talents for the United Nations Common System.

Mr. President,

The Four Nation Initiative launched by Chile, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand contains a systematic study of the issue of management reform and sets forth some useful viewpoints, e.g. confidence building is a premise of the reform, accountability and transparency provide the tools necessary for confidence building, and strengthening dialogue represents a complement to such formal forums as the GA Fifth Committee. The Initiative also sets out recommendations on the delineation of responsibilities in the management process as well as the status of budget and mandate-related decision-making and evaluation in the process of management. The Four Nation Initiative serves as a useful reference point for deepening the management reform in the United Nations. We appreciate the efforts and contributions made by those countries.

Mr. President,

UN management reform helps enhance cooperation among the agencies, improve management, reduce waste, strengthen the Organization's role and boost its capacity of and efficiency in executing mandated programme activities. We hope that all Member States and the Secretariat will continue to enhance dialogue and cooperation and join hands in advancing the management reform process.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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