Joint Meeting of the
REPORTING SYSTEM ON JIU RECOMMENDATIONS
1. The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) proposed in 1997 the concept of an enhanced follow-up system on JIU reports and recommendations, to be implemented by all participating organizations. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) endorsed this proposal in 1999, and more recently at its 56th Session of September-December 2001, re-emphasised its system-wide application. The present document aims in particular to seek the Committees' expectations from such a reporting system, and to recommend practical modalities to put its implementation in FAO on a firm footing.
2. Ensuring effective follow-up to Joint Inspection Unit reports and attendant recommendations has been a long-standing concern of the Unit and has been addressed in a number of Resolutions of the UNGA. Reflecting the concept of "shared responsibility", the JIU prepared a short document entitled: Towards a more effective system of follow-up on reports of the Joint Inspection Unit. This was included as an annex to its annual report for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997 and is reproduced as Annex 1 to the present document.
3. The Programme and Finance Committees at their Joint Meeting of May 1998 noted the annual report, while not referring specifically to the proposed follow-up system. Based on this implicit endorsement by the pertinent organs of FAO, and pending formal approval of this system also by the UNGA, the Secretariat subsequently expressed readiness to implement it, as part of its ongoing dialogue with the Unit.
4. The General Assembly eventually endorsed the proposed follow-up system by Resolution 54/16 of 29 October 1999. It requested that the system be implemented expeditiously and that the Unit report on experience, including action taken and comments made by participating organizations, to its fifty-sixth session in 2001. The JIU submitted this report to the General Assembly (A/56/356), whereby the implementation of the follow-up system appeared to need further strengthening through the elaboration of specific modalities within each of the participating organizations. The General Assembly approved a comprehensive Resolution on the work of the Unit, as reproduced in Annex 2. The pertinent extracts of this Resolution of relevance to the follow-up system are highlighted below:
The General Assembly [...]
Requests the executive heads of those participating organizations that have not yet done so to take the necessary steps to facilitate the consideration of and action on the follow-up system on reports of the Unit, approved by Resolution 54/16 and contained in Annex I of the Unit's annual report for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997, and invites the legislative organs concerned to consider and act upon it;
Requests the Unit to submit, as part of its annual report, additional comments and recommendations on its experience with the follow-up system on reports of the Unit, focusing in particular on legislative actions and implementation of the approved recommendations, to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session, including measures it has taken to achieve a punctual and systematic follow-up of its recommendations as approved by the legislative organs of participating organizations;
Requests the Secretary-General to transmit the present resolution to the executive heads of the other participating organizations for their attention.
5. As far as FAO is concerned, it is worth signalling that subsequent to the Committees' consideration of the JIU annual report in 1998 as recalled above, a meeting took place in May 2000 between JIU officials and the Secretariat with a view to arriving at a common understanding on the modalities for implementation of the follow-up system. The main concern expressed on FAO's side was the absence of a well-understood common reporting format to facilitate its implementation across the UN system in a consistent manner. However, this has now been received and taken into account in the design of the internal reporting arrangements proposed below.
6. The Committees' current arrangements for handling of JIU reports were established at the Joint Meeting in September 1998 where they agreed that, at the beginning of each session, individual Members should communicate to their respective Chairperson their interest in discussing specific JIU reports listed in the agenda - in the absence of such a request, the report is not discussed and the Committees are recorded as having taken note of the report and the Director-General's comments. However, the proposed new arrangements seem to require a more proactive approach by the Committees, as does the emphasis being placed upon the follow-up system by the UNGA. Therefore, it is considered opportune for the Committees to revisit the subject and to address the practical implications of the proposed reporting system in the light of the modalities proposed below.
7. Beyond the aspect of reporting on the implementation of recommendations per se, it is pertinent to recall some general considerations in relation to the handling of JIU reports. These are mentioned more or less explicitly in the text issued by the JIU in 1997 on the proposed reporting system (i.e. that reproduced in Annex 1 to the present document) and in the report the Unit submitted to the UNGA in 2001.
8. The main consideration is that the impact of a given JIU report on the participating organizations clearly depends on two critical factors:
9. Therefore, the JIU has repeatedly underlined that the lack of specific legislative action on its recommendations is (or can be) a major obstacle for the implementation of the follow-up system. In particular, it has observed that legislative organs often content themselves with "taking note" of the conclusions and recommendations of JIU reports, without clearly expressing whether or not these are "approved".
10. In this context, the JIU stresses that effective follow-up can be hampered, as an action of "taking note", irrespective of possible interpretations of the term, may not be felt as sufficiently binding on the secretariats to ensure implementation and active monitoring.
11. A second aspect is that Article 12 of the JIU Statute, which constitutes the basis for implementation of JIU recommendations, refers to "recommendations ... approved by ... competent organs." These can be, and are generally interpreted as referring only to those approved through legislative action, and not to those addressed to and accepted by executive heads without legislative action.
12. The Committees would recall that JIU reports indeed include in most cases recommendations specifically addressed to either the legislative organs or the executive heads of the secretariats (and more rarely to third parties). Therefore, there has been some discussion at working level on whether any follow-up system should apply only to recommendations approved by the legislative organs, or also to those addressed to executive heads and accepted by them. The Director-General would suggest that, in the case of those recommendations in JIU reports of relevance to FAO, the follow-up system should cover all endorsed recommendations.
13. Another concern of the JIU has to been to see that the thematic reports of the Unit are listed under the appropriate substantive agenda items of the work programme of the appropriate legislative organs of the participating organizations. This has been supported by the General Assembly in paragraph 4 of its Resolution 50/233, where executive heads have been asked to take the necessary measures. This is a sensible proposal which is aimed at ensuring that JIU reports are considered at the most relevant point. It is recognized that there will not always be an appropriate agenda item under which a JIU report might be considered. Therefore, it would seem to be counter-productive to delay submission of available reports for this reason alone.
14. The provisions of the JIU Statute constitute the basic framework for the handling of JIU Reports in all participating organizations, the implementation of which will be facilitated by the follow-up system contained in Annex I, as further elaborated through the proposed modalities contained in this section.
15. Upon receipt of the draft of a JIU report for comments, the Director-General may indicate in his comments whether the report is, in his opinion, relevant to FAO, and if not, provide the reasons. The JIU has pledged to give full consideration to these comments in deciding whether or not to submit the final version of the report to the Director-General, in accordance with Article 11, para. 4(a) of the JIU Statute, for subsequent consideration by the Committees.
16. Basic criteria to determine the relevance of reports to FAO will be whether the report in question and the recommendations therein satisfy factors such as: (a) fits within the mandate and purposes of the organization; (b) has a bearing on the efficiency of the services and proper use of funds; (c) is aimed at improving management and methods, and at achieving greater coordination between organizations; (d) is aimed at assisting member states in carrying out the responsibility for external evaluation of programmes and activities; (e) is aimed at advising the organization on the methods for internal evaluation, or periodically assessing these methods, or making ad hoc evaluations of programmes and activities. It is understood that these factors may not be exhaustive and that the Director General may refer to other factors in his opinions according to paragraph 15 above.
17. The Committees will recall that they are the competent bodies for addressing JIU reports on behalf of the Council, as decided by the FAO Council itself in 1982. The provisions of the JIU Statute constitute the basic framework for the handling of JIU Reports in all participating Organizations, and would be supplemented and reinforced by the present reporting system. The submission of final reports to the Committees depends on the terms of the transmittal letter from the cChairperson of the JIU to the Director-General, as reports may be sent either for action or for information. Prior to that, upon receipt of the draft of a JIU report for comments, the Director-General may indicate in his comments whether the report is, in his opinion, relevant to FAO, and if not, provide the reasons. The JIU has pledged to give full consideration to these comments in deciding whether or not to submit the final version of the report to the Director-General, in accordance with Article 11, para. 4(a) of the JIU Statute, for subsequent consideration by the Committees. All reports addressed to FAO for action as the result of the above dialogue are to be submitted in their entirety to both Committees, with the comments of the Director-General and/or the UN system's Chief Executive Board (CEB), as appropriate. The comments of the two Committees, which may choose to consider reports separately or jointly, as they deem appropriate, are submitted to the Council as a part of their reports. These JIU reports are made available to the Council as INF (i.e. for information) documents.
18. The Director-General also accepts that JIU reports will be listed under the appropriate substantive agenda item of the Programme and Finance Committees, but that their submisssion to the Committees should not be delayed because of the absence of such a relevant item on the agendas.
19. It is expected that the Committees would focus mainly on the recommendations addressed to legislative organs for action. This will not, however, preclude that recommendations addressed to the Director-General on which he has divergent views may also be reviewed by the Committees, should they so wish. In this context, the Committees may wish to endorse the following procedure for all reports which are submitted to them under this procedure:
20. The Committees are invited to endorse the follow-up system contained in Annex I (JIU Annual Report for 1997, UN/GA document 52/34), as further elaborated through the proposed modalities contained in the previous section.
Towards a More Effective System of Follow-Up
on Reports of the Joint Inspection Unit
[Extract of UNGA document A/52/34 and of FAO Council document CL 115/INF/8, considered by the Committees in May 1998]
1. The value of a JIU report depends on effective follow-up. Effective follow-up requires (a) that the reports be given active and serious consideration by the legislative organs of the participating organizations, with the benefit of specific and timely comments on them by the secretariats, and (b) that there is expeditious implementation of the approved recommendations contained in them, with full reporting on the implementation measures taken and analysis of the resulting impact.
2. This system of follow-up is based on the JIU statute, which has been accepted by all JIU participating organizations, and on General Assembly Resolution 50/233 of 7 June 1996, including the resolutions reaffirmed therein.
3. The General Assembly, in Resolution 50/233, stressed that the impact of the Unit on the cost-effectiveness of activities within the United Nations system was a shared responsibility of the Member States, the Unit and the secretariats of participating organisations.
4. In order for the JIU reports to be thoroughly and effectively utilised by the legislative organs of participating organizations, as called for by the General Assembly in paragraph 13 of Resolution 50/233, the recommendations included in JIU reports must be (a) directed at correcting clear deficiencies with practical, action-oriented measures to solve significant problems; (b) convincing and well-supported by the facts and analysis in the report; (c) realistic in terms of implied resource commitments and technical capabilities; (d) cost-effective; and (e) specific regarding actions to be taken, and those responsible for taking actions, so that implementation and resulting impact can be clearly tracked.
5. The Unit should submit its reports to the executive heads of its participating organizations sufficiently in advance of the meetings of legislative organs to be thoroughly and effectively utilised at the meetings.
6. Upon receipt of reports, the executive heads concerned will distribute them immediately, with or without their comments, to the Member States of their organizations, as called for in article 11, paragraph 4 (c), of the JIU statute.
7. The executive heads concerned with a report will assure that the report, with their comments, will be submitted to the appropriate legislative organs within the time-frames specified in article 11, paragraphs 4 (d) and (e), of the JIU statute, that is, for a report concerning only one organisation, not later than three months after receipt of the report for consideration at the next meeting of the competent organ, and for reports concerning more than one organisation, not later than six months after receipt of the Unit's report for consideration at the next meeting of the competent organs concerned.
8. The executive heads, in addition to assuring that their comments on reports are timely, will also assure that their comments are specific in addressing the recommendations of the report and well supported.
9. As called for by the General Assembly in paragraph 4 of its Resolution 50/233, the executive heads will take the necessary measures to ensure that the thematic reports of the Unit are listed under the appropriate substantive agenda items of the work programme of the appropriate legislative organs of the participating organisations.
10. The executive heads should assist the appropriate legislative organs in planning their work programmes to assure that sufficient time is allocated for active and serious consideration of JIU reports.
11. With the assistance of the executive heads, the legislative organs should plan their work programmes so that sufficient time is allocated to allow for active and serious consideration of the relevant JIU reports.
12. The legislative organs should take concrete action on each recommendation of a JIU report under consideration, as called for in paragraph 8 of General Assembly Resolution 50/233, rather than just taking note of the report as a whole. This is a necessary requirement for JIU reports to have impact, in view of article 5, paragraph 5, of the JIU statute, which provides that the Inspectors of the Unit may make recommendations but have no power of decision.
13. Procedures to assure effective follow-up would involve tracking and reporting on (a) steps taken to assure active and serious consideration of the JIU reports after they have been issued by the Unit; and (b) measures taken to implement approved/accepted recommendations and determine their impact.
14. The Unit will establish a systematic process for tracking each step taken towards consideration of a report by the appropriate legislative organs, including measures taken by secretariat officials, in accordance with article 11, paragraph 4, of the JIU statute. This tracking system will be updated to reflect each step as it is taken, and reports in the form of a matrix will be issued quarterly for the information of Member States. This continually updated matrix will also be made available on-line.
15. To the extent that the matrix indicates that the reporting time-frames specified in article 11 of the JIU statute are not being met, reminder notices will be sent, initially to the JIU focal points in the appropriate organizations, and later to the executive heads if the delays are not corrected, with copies sent to the presiding officers of the concerned legislative organs. The sending of such reminder notices will be included in the matrix.
16. The JIU annual report will include consideration of problems experienced in having reports given active and serious consideration by appropriate legislative organs.
17. Once a report is considered by the legislative organs and decisions taken on the report as a whole and on specific recommendations, the executive heads of the concerned organizations will ensure expeditious implementation of approved/accepted recommendations (see para. 19 below) and full reporting on measures taken to the appropriate legislative organs. JIU will monitor actions taken.
18. Recommendations accepted by the executive heads of concerned organizations, even if not acted upon by the appropriate legislative organs, will be subject to follow-up and compliance.
19. At the conclusion of the meetings of the legislative organs, the executive heads of the participating organizations will send to the Unit a list of JIU reports given consideration at those meetings and indicate those recommendations within each report that were approved, including, with explanation, those recommendations the organizations believe have already been implemented.
20. The executive heads of concerned organizations, following a format developed by JIU, will prepare a chart (matrix) for each report given consideration at a meeting of a legislative organ, indicating:
- Unit responsible for implementation;
- Official in charge of implementation;
- Timetable for implementation;
- Initial impact of implementation.
21. The completed chart will be sent to JIU and to the bureau of the appropriate legislative organ.
22. Executive heads will submit reports on the implementation of JIU recommendations and their impact to their appropriate legislative organs in accordance with the established meeting schedules of the legislative organs, with copies sent to the JIU sufficiently in advance to allow for comments as the Unit considers appropriate.
23. In accordance with article 12 of the JIU statute, the legislative organs should systematically verify the implementation of approved recommendations and request the Unit to issue follow-up reports as they deem appropriate.
24. JIU will include in its annual report information and analysis on the implementation of JIU recommendations and their impact. This section of the report will note the extent to which established timetables for implementation of recommendations are being maintained. It will also indicate the status of action on specific recommendations, such as no action yet taken, action under way, action completed, or no action intended.
25. The legislative organs will examine these reports and give appropriate guidance to the executive heads concerned and the Unit.
Resolution Adopted by the UN General Assembly
at its 56th Session (2001)
JOINT INSPECTION UNIT
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming its previous resolutions on the Joint Inspection Unit, hereafter referred to as the Unit, in particular resolutions 50/233 of 7 June 1996, 54/16 of 29 October 1999 and 55/230 of 23 December 2000,
1. Takes note with appreciation of the annual report of the Unit for 20001;
2. Takes note of the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the programme of work of the Unit for 2001 and the preliminary listing of potential reports for 2002 and beyond2 as well as the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Unit on experience with the follow-up system on Joint Inspection Unit reports and recommendations3;
3. Also takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the recommendations of the Unit4;
4. Takes note in particular that, as noted in the preliminary listing of the potential reports for 2002 and beyond and reaffirmed by the Chairman of the Unit, the preliminary listing is of a tentative nature and does not necessarily imply that the Unit is committed to taking up these subjects;
5. Invites the Unit to improve the presentation of the listing of potential reports for the following year and beyond by providing information on the source, including legislative basis, objectives, problems to be addressed, duration and expected date of completion, and to present such information before the final quarter of each year;
6. Requests the executive heads of participating organizations to fully observe the time frame for submitting their comments, as called for in article 11, subparagraphs 4 (d) and (e) of the statute of the Unit;
7. Requests the Unit to consider including in its reports, where possible, the comments of the participating organizations on its findings and recommendations and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session;
8. Stresses the need for the Unit to place emphasis in its work on well-defined and timely items of high priority, identifying concrete managerial, administrative and programming questions aimed at providing the General Assembly and other legislative organs of participating organizations with practical and action-oriented recommendations;
9. Stresses also that the compliance with the provisions contained in paragraph 4 of the follow-up system on reports of the Unit5, endorsed by General Assembly resolution 54/16 is a responsibility of the Unit as a whole, and, in this regard, requests the Unit to fully exercise its collective wisdom in accordance with article 11, paragraph 2, of the statute;
10. Requests the Chairman of the Unit, in accordance with article 18 of the statute, to ensure compliance by the Unit with the provisions of its statute as well as the internal standards, guidelines and procedures as approved by the Unit;
11. Requests the Secretary-General and the executive heads of the other participating organizations to ensure that the Unit is provided with the information requested by it in due time, in accordance with article 6.2 of the statute;
12. Welcomes the initial steps taken by the Unit with other external and internal oversight bodies of the United Nations system to develop interaction and intensify relations with a view to achieving better coordination among them with respect, in particular, to the oversight coverage and sharing of best practices, thus enhancing the impact of oversight activities as a whole and endeavouring to avoid duplication, and requests the Unit to report thereon to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session in the context of its annual report for 2001;
13. Requests the executive heads of those participating organizations that have not yet done so to take the necessary steps to facilitate the consideration of and action on the follow-up system on reports of the Unit, approved by resolution 54/16 and contained in annex I of the Unit's annual report for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 19975, and invites the legislative organs concerned to consider and act upon it;
14. Requests the Unit to submit, as part of its annual report, additional comments and recommendations on its experience with the follow-up system on reports of the Unit, focusing in particular on legislative actions and implementation of the approved recommendations, to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session, including measures it has taken to achieve a punctual and systematic follow-up of its recommendations as approved by the legislative organs of participating organizations;
15. Decides to review the current state of coordination and cooperation among the United Nations oversight bodies with a view to ensuring greater synergy and mutual complementarity in their joint efforts to improve the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations;
16. Requests that the Unit place more emphasis on the evaluation aspects of its work, in accordance with recommendation 63 contained in the report of the Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts to Review the Efficiency of the Administrative and Financial Functioning of the United Nations6, as endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 41/213 of 19 December 1986;
17. Underlines that the evaluation function is envisaged in the statute of the Unit, and stresses the need for the Unit to pay special attention to the preparation of more evaluation-oriented reports;
18. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit the present resolution to the executive heads of the other participating organizations for their attention.
1 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 34 (A/56/34 and Corr.1)
5 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-second Session, Supplement No. 34 (A/52/34), Annex I
6 Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-first Session, Supplement No. 49 (A/41/49)
Form of Director-General's Comments on JIU Reports
1. Addressee of recommendation:
2. Recommendation (quote JIU Report):
3. Is Recommendation relevant to FAO?:
4. Decision and/or Proposed Action:
5. Explanation and/or Proposed Action (for "Endorsed" recommendations, state the follow-up action proposed by FAO. For ""Endorsed as modified" recommendations, provide the rationale for the modification and state the follow-up action proposed by FAO. For "Rejected" recommendations, state the rationale for rejection):
6. Include recommendation and action in annual
Format of Annual Monitoring Report on JIU Recommendation
JIU Report Number
Date considered by the PC/FC
Addressed to Director-General or Legislative Body
Follow-up action indicated
Timing and Status of Implementation and Initial Impact
(in full or in abbreviated form)
(Summary of measures to be implemented derived from the initial Director-General's comments or sometimes as additional measures identified during the implementation and monitoring process)
(Summary of measures taken, indication of extent of completion and initial impact)