Statement of Mr. Ken Mukai
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda item 118 and 132
Programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009
Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations
Information and Communications Technology Strategy for the United Nations Secretariat
Enterprise systems for the United Nations Secretariat Worldwide
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity for the United Nations Secretariat
The Fifth Committee
Sixty-third Session of the United Nations General Assembly
22 October 2008
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
At the outset, I would like to express our gratitude to Ms. Angela Kane, USG for Department of Management, Mr. Kenneth Herman, representative of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and Ms. Susan McLurg, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing their reports.
My delegation is committed to the necessary reforms of the Organization and is ready to discuss any proposals. We should be aware, however, that the high price tags attached to the reform proposals are raising the stakes of investing into these proposals. We need to minimize the price by carefully examining the costs and benefits of each reform proposal. And the coherence and clear line of command are prerequisites for such deliberations.
Allow me to raise several specific points in line with the Information and Communication Technology, Enterprise Resource Planning and Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.
First, regarding the ICT in general, we share the view of the ACABQ that there is an obvious need for strong and central leadership and management of ICT activities at the United Nations and more efficient utilization of ICT resources. We welcome the efforts of USG for Department of Management, the Chief Information Technology Officer and other relevant staff to present a comprehensive report on this complex subject. Regarding the proposed structure of the Office of Information and Communication Technology, we understand that the CITO will be responsible for strategic or Organization-wide functions, while the DFS will be continuously responsible for the field operations. The division of labor and responsibilities between Office of ICT and ICTD-DFS all the more needs to be clearly worked out.
Second, on ICT strategy, the Secretary-General refers to economies of scale and scope, elimination of redundant operations, and reduction of fixed operating costs. What are the concrete efficiency gains that can be reasonably expected from the CITO governance in what time line?
Third, on ERP system, in light of the ongoing management reforms, we need to clarify the relation or sequence between introduction of ERP and reforms projects as those in the fields of human resources management, procurement, budget process, internal control and audit.
My delegation believes that the ERP system could normally enhance efficiency of the organization by simplifying the working processes. My delegation would like to know how and to what extent savings of operational costs, administrative costs or reduction of working forces would be identified.
Fourth, I would also like to discuss the high risks of introduction and implementation of the ERP. How will the United Nations address the possibilities of delay in the projects and overrun of cost estimates? Since the ERP would facilitate standardization of the work, the Organization should scrutinize the necessity of add-ons and avoid easy add-ons which directly lead to increase the costs. As is emphasized by the ACABQ, customization of the ERP software should be kept to a minimum. My delegation expects the Secretariat to stand to benefit from the lessons learned by other entities of the United Nations system in terms of the ERP budget, ERP project team and customization.
Fifth, the ACABQ notes that costs for software and customization and integration services will be known only when the business process reengineering phase is completed. If so, we should only take note of the overall resource requirement for the implementation of the ERP system, and approve the minimum amount necessary for the design phase for the remaining biennium 2008-2009. Then, with regard to most of the projects, we should request the Secretary-General to resubmit a more streamlined and economized cost estimation at the main part of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.
Sixth, with regard to contingency, my delegation concurs with the ACABQ which is not recommending approval of the contingency provision of the budget requested by the Secretary-General. It also shares the view of the ACABQ that such a provision is not warranted, given the reduced scope of activities envisaged during the remainder of the current biennium as well as the Secretary-General's phased approach for the integration services, which limits risks of cost escalation and uncertainty.
Turning to the business continuity and disaster recovery, my delegation would like to clarify the very necessity of a secondary data center at the Headquarters and a secondary active communications facility for the field and a disaster recovery and business continuity center for information technology. My delegation is also interested in hearing from the Secretariat what would be the minimum necessary ICT services and functions to continue the business in the event of a disaster. Three layers approach in the peacekeeping missions (mission on site, mission in theatre and off site, and off-site and out-of-theatre redundant data centers) needs to be clarified in terms of minimum necessity.
Finally, my delegation looks forward to discussing various technical and policy issues on this very important item further in detail at the informal sessions.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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