Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee
Other financial and general questions
Follow-up on the reports of the Joint Inspection Unit
1. At the 271st Session of the Governing Body (March 1998), the Committee took note of the Director-General's intention(1) to submit for decision, at the present session, the proposals by the JIU to establish a new system for follow-up on its reports. The proposals are outlined in Annex I(2) to the JIU's annual report covering its activities between 1 July 1996 and 30 June 1997, submitted to the Committee in March 1998. These proposals would have far-reaching implications on the work of the Governing Body and on the ILO's own procedures for handling the Unit's reports. These proposals were submitted to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly (GA) in 1997 as part of the JIU's annual report. The Fifth Committee postponed its decision on this issue to its session in 1998.
2. This document examines the JIU proposals and its consequences for the functioning of the Governing Body, and indicates the consequences they could have on related Office work and its budget, as well as some legal considerations. Appendix II to this document provides a brief description of the ILO process for the preparation of and follow-up on JIU reports.
3. In section B of Annex I to its annual report, the JIU outlines the necessary conditions to be fulfilled for effective follow-up on its reports. These are structured by the actions required by the Unit itself, and by the executive heads and legislative organs of the participating organizations.
Distribution of the JIU's reports
4. The JIU proposes in paragraphs 6-8 of Annex I to its annual report, that --
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.
The reference in the proposal to the requirement under article 11, paragraph 4(c), of the JIU Statute is correct. However, with a view to achieving savings and reducing the considerable volume of the related documents, especially as system-wide reports of the JIU will already be in the hands of member States from other sources, such as the United Nations, the practice decided by the Governing Body since 1978(3) has been to make the JIU reports available to members of the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee or the Governing Body on request.
Discussion of JIU thematic reports under
substantive agenda items of the Governing Body
5. General Assembly resolution 50/233, referred to in paragraphs 9 and 10 of Annex I to the JIU annual report, calls on the executive heads --
to 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 organizations.
In accordance with the Statute of the JIU, the executive heads are to transmit JIU reports to the competent organs of their organizations. By established practice, reports concerning issues of oversight, management, administration and other Office-wide concerns have been submitted to and discussed by the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee, while the reports dealing with aspects of technical cooperation have been dealt with by the Committee on Technical Cooperation.
Concrete action to be taken on each recommendation
of a JIU report by the Governing Body
6. The proposals, in paragraphs 11 and 12 of Annex I to the JIU annual report refer to General Assembly resolution 50/233 and state that --
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.
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 an 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.
Article 11, paragraph 4, of the JIU Statute simply provides for the prompt submission of JIU reports to the competent organs of the organizations. The reference to article 5, paragraph 5, of the JIU Statute may be justified in so far as the power to make recommendations could imply that the organizations should take a decision on the extent (if any) to which the recommendation will be implemented, rather than simply noting a recommendation; but any requirement to take "concrete action" appears to go beyond the organizations' obligations under the Statute.
7. In accordance with the established practice and based on article 11, paragraph 4(e), of the Statute of the Unit, JIU reports are submitted to the Governing Body for consideration when comments of the ACC thereon are available. They are accompanied by a brief covering note which highlights the main features of the report and includes a complete list of its recommendations with comments by the Director-General, as appropriate. Copies of the JIU reports as well as the ACC's comments are made available in the Committee meeting room for consultation. Committee members, when they feel it appropriate, react and make specific comments on these reports. Subsequently, the Governing Body takes note of the JIU reports and the outcome of their discussion in the Committee. In general this applies to the reports as a whole as well as to their individual recommendations, depending on their relevance to the ILO. It is recalled that the Governing Body has considered some 100 JIU reports in the past 30 years.
Establishment of a tracking system
8. Paragraphs 14 to 16 of Annex I to the JIU annual report propose the establishment of an internal tracking system, which would enable the JIU to monitor each step taken towards the consideration of a report by the Governing Body and the measures taken subsequently by the Office. The JIU's tracking system would draw on the new measures and procedures to be introduced by the participating agencies themselves.
9. The detailed outline of this system is found in paragraphs 17 to 25 of Annex I to the JIU annual report. It comprises multiple distribution of initial reports, implementation plans and reports, explanations of non-acceptance of recommendations, comments on comments, all of which have to be translated into several languages. It prescribes regular action by the Governing Body, its Officers and the Director-General. The JIU would monitor the action taken on the reports by the agencies. Below are the main components of the proposed tracking system.
10. Paragraph 20 of Annex I to the JIU annual report states that --
The executive heads of concerned organizations, following a format developed by the JIU, will prepare a chart (matrix) for each report given consideration at a meeting of a legislative organ, indicating: (a) recommendation; (b) unit responsible for implementation; (c) official in charge of implementation; (d) timetable for implementation; (e) initial impact of implementation.
The introduction of a tracking system of this kind, which would require considerable increase in resources both in the agencies and in the JIU, appears to go beyond the implementation procedures that could be considered as implied by the JIU Statute as it now reads.
11. In paragraph 23 of Annex I to the JIU annual report, it is proposed that --
In accordance with article 12 of the JIU Statute legislative organs should systematically verify the implementation of approved recommendations ...
The words "should systematically", however, tend to restrict the discretion given to each organization with respect to follow-up in the actual text of the article referred to by the JIU, which reads (emphasis added) --
Such implementation may be subject to verification by the competent organs of the organizations ....
12. The ILO's contribution to the JIU budget amounts to US$405,000 in the current 1998-99 biennium. The proposals do not provide information as to their financial implications. Even if the JIU budget was not increased by the implementation of the proposals, the direct and indirect costs for the ILO would definitely be substantially increased. The Governing Body and the Office staff would have to devote considerably more time to this matter, making the process more costly to the Organization as a whole. The related overhead costs would increase at a time when every effort is made to contain them.
13. Since the proposals supplement the procedures set out in the JIU Statute and would increase the obligations that the Statute places on organizations, the Office feels that it would be more appropriate for the proposals to be submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations in the form of concrete amendments to the Statute. If adopted by the General Assembly, in accordance with article 21 of the Statute, it would be for each organization to decide whether or not to accept them.
14. Having regard to the financial, administrative and legal considerations set out above, the Committee may wish to propose that the Governing Body decide not to take a position at this stage on the proposals set out in the JIU annual report for July 1996 to June 1997, and that the JIU be informed of the reasons therefor.
15. Copies of General Assembly Resolution 50/233 and the Statute of the JIU are available to the Committee.
Geneva, 7 October 1998.
Point for decision: Paragraph 14.
[Report of the Joint Inspection Unit
Supplement No. 34
ILO contribution to the preparation of
and follow-up on JIU reports
1. The Bureau of Programming and Management (PROGRAM) acts as focal point for cooperation with the JIU and draws on the contributions from other units at headquarters and in the field, as appropriate, depending on the subject-matter and scope of the JIU reports. The ILO has been involved in the preparation of most of the system-wide reports the JIU has issued during the last 30 years. This involvement can be quite intensive, especially if more than one report is prepared at the same time requiring the substantial collection and analysis of data and information. Often such information needs substantial repackaging to meet the JIU requests. Currently, the ILO is involved in the preparation of four system-wide reports and the agency-specific report on the ILO's management and administration.
2. The process is as follows:
1. Para. 5 of GB.271/PFA/7/4 and para. 99 of GB.271/10/1.
2. See Appendix I to this document: Report of the Joint Inspection Unit, Supplement No. 34, doc. A/52/34.
3. GB.205/PFA/8/2; GB.209/PFA/2/7 and GB.212/PFA/5/5.