Friday, September 21, 2018

Smoke and mirrors in the UN Pension Board's communique, 21 September 2018

After roundly rebuking the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and rejecting its findings and recommendations in July, the UN Pension Board has put its efforts in full swing to discredit OIOS and its governance audit (requested by the General Assembly) along with any publicity about its own dysfunction.

First the Chair of the Board, John Levins (WFP), joined in August with UN officials from management, human resources and legal, to block the UN participant representatives to the Board from disseminating information to their 85,000 constituents about the Board meeting through the UN internal broadcast system.

Now the Chair and his cohorts have taken the unusual step of publishing a communiqué that elevates the art of smoke and mirrors, being much more notable for information it omits than for what it includes.

Readers will be none the wiser that the Board did not even consider three prior audits by OIOS (on the pension payment backlog; implementation of the troubled IT system; or irregularities in procurement management), because it’s audit committee didn’t submit them for consideration.

Pension Board communique, 21 September 2018

1. It has not been normal practice for the Pension Board to issue a Communique at the conclusion of its annual session. However, with information on matters considered by the Board not being generally available until the release of the Sessional Report and the Report to the General Assembly, some two months after the Board, and the need of Board Members to report to their constituents in a timely manner, this Communique is being issued.

2. The 65th meeting of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board (the Board) took place at the premises of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, from 26 July through 3 August 2018.

3. MATURITY: The Fund was established almost 70 years ago and presented its first financial statements in 1949. It has all the features of a mature defined benefit plan. The Board is confident that the Fund is actuarially and financially sound. The current strong situation is due largely to the initiatives developed by the Board’s 2013 Working Group on sustainability, endorsed by the Board and approved by the General Assembly, together with prudent management practices of the past.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Passblue: The UN Pension Board Rejects An Audit of Its Work

"The United Nations Pension Board’s recent meeting in Rome ended with a record number of disagreements and much acrimony. The chief cause of distress was the results of the internal governance audit requested last December by the General Assembly.
At the meeting, held July 29 to Aug. 3, board members directed much of their angst against recommendations to adjust the makeup of the board of the $65 billion fund to comply with General Assembly resolutions. The resolutions called for fairer and more equitable representation of member organizations, given that the UN secretariat, funds and programs control only a third of board seats despite accounting for two-thirds of pension fund members...."