50th PCB - Intervention by Midnight Poonkasetwattana - Agenda item 8 Independent Organizational Oversight Reports and Management Response

Delivered by Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Asia and the Pacific, on behalf of the NGO Delegation

Thank you chair,

I speak on behalf of the NGO Delegation, and wish everyone a Happy Pride Month.

There have been positive developments and encouraging initiatives taken up to address grievances at the workplace. It is laudable to learn that the majority of staff at UNAIDS completed training courses on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) as well as courses on ethics and integrity and preventing fraud & corruption.

It was very interesting to learn about the Independent External Oversight Advisory Committee (IEOAC) observations and advice to the PCB and the Executive Director, with a view to strengthening governance and oversight within UNAIDS.

We suggest that:

  • UNAIDS fast-track the implementation of long-outstanding audit recommendations noted in the report of the Internal Auditor; and that
  • UNAIDS senior management ensures that the organization has sustainable funding for its core programmes.

Please note that the external auditor found that some indicators of UBRAF 2016-2022 were not recorded consistently, including one indicator related to a human rights related indicator. This was not addressed in any of the UBRAF reports, so we need to make sure that the new matrix will address issues found by the external auditor.

We are delighted that an Independent Ethics Office has been established and the head of the Ethics Office is now in place. Sufficient resources and support to the Ethics Office are needed – otherwise there comes a time when the office consists of only one person which may not be enough to effectively deal with the breadth and depth of the work required.

The Joint Inspector Unit (JIU) recommended that consideration is given to “how to best support the office with appropriate staffing and/or backup". We hope that PCB, UNAIDS Executive Director and Secretariat will ensure that the Ethics Office has adequate resources to carry out its functions.

The NGO Delegation would like to know what measures are in place to protect staff from retaliation because this is critical for ensuring that UNAIDS is a safe workplace. The 2020 Global Staff Survey showed that only 37% staff members reported confidence they would not face adverse consequences if they reported a case of abusive conduct. We hope that this percentage will improve in the next Global Staff Survey.

Thank you

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