(as delivered)

Statement by Ambassador Kenzo Oshima
Permanent Representative of Japan
On PKO Procurement
At Public Meeting of the Security Council

22 February 2006

Mr. President,

I thank Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, Chef de Cabinet, for his briefing. I also thank you for convening this public meeting this morning on an issue of great concern, not only to members of the Council but indeed to the entire membership of the Organization. The nature of the problem is such that it is important to ensure in our discussion a maximum of transparency and inclusiveness, and a public meeting allows for that.

Mr. President,

We are very disturbed at the report of a not insignificant incidence of fraud and mismanagement with regard to procurement in our Organization, especially in relation to peacekeeping operations. The report of the OIOS indicates that, for the period 2000-2004, the aggregated procurement value for peacekeeping operations is estimated at $3.7 billion, no small amount. We are struck by the remarks pointing to the grievous lack of internal controls and non-adherence to the existing controls. We are also alarmed by the reported lack of enforcement of accountability by management in handling such a large amount of resources that has been provided to the Organization by Member States.

PKO is a flagship operation of the UN in the area of peace and security, for which tens of thousands of personnel, both civilian and military and police, are working hard day and night in difficult environments. It is truly regrettable that the good image of the blue helmet engaged around the globe should have to be tarnished by some of these unfortunate allegations.

It goes without saying that in our countries good governance must ensure that taxpayers' money is spent not only wisely but also accountably, adhering to rules and regulations. The same should hold true for intergovernmental bodies including the United Nations. Member States, whatever the size of their contributions to the Organization's budget, are obliged to ask the Secretary-General and his staff, particularly those with management responsibility, to ensure that the resources entrusted to the UN are spent accountably, and any failings or shortcomings in this respect should be immediately and energetically addressed and remedied.

We therefore ask that the Secretary-General continue the thorough and rigorous investigation into the alleged wrongdoing in the procurement office in the DPKO as well as in other procurement related offices, in order to arrive as soon as possible at a full accountability of the facts, including the identification of all those who should be held accountable, as well as remedial measures to prevent the recurrence of such fraud and mismanagement in future.

In this connection, we recall that the Secretary-General referred to a "zero-tolerance policy" in the context of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers, Mr. Malloc Brown reminded us again in his briefing. We agree that the same spirit and rigor should also apply to the financial management of the Organization, including, in particular, procurement. I feel compelled to say that, unless immediate and convincing measures are taken to redress this problem, my government, which currently contributes about 20% of the PKO budget, will find it very difficult to maintain domestic support for underwriting peacekeeping operations, both ongoing operations and new operations including one possibly in Darfur.

Mr. President,

The issue before us falls clearly under the purview of the Security Council, as the organ responsible for the creation of the mandates of UN peacekeeping operations and for their overall oversight. In light of this responsibility, it is quite appropriate that the Security Council should take up this issue and Council members express their views.

At the same time, the issues of management, budget and procurement have generally been the prerogative of the General Assembly, as the chief deliberative and representative organ of the United Nations. And this applies to PKO operations as well. On the basis of a thorough investigation, Member States will in due course conduct a review of the current procurement system in the General Assembly, which has the responsibility of overseeing the administrative and financial aspects of peacekeeping operations, including a comprehensive review of the relevant policies, practices, rules and regulations.

There is thus some complementarity between the General Assembly and the Security Council in the handling of the issue before us. In light of the seriousness of the alleged wrongdoing, both the Security Council and the General Assembly need to work with a sense of urgency, by complementing each other and ensuring coherence in our overall approach to the matter. To do this, as a case of good top-level management within this Organization, we would expect that the Presidents of the Council and the General Assembly will consult closely between them and with the Secretary-General to ensure coherence of policy and approach. We appreciate the fact that you conferred with the President of the General Assembly for discussion on this issue. We support and encourage such consultations. After all, we have a common goal: an efficient, effective and accountable Secretariat, which will discharge the tasks entrusted to it by us, the Member States.

Thank you.

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