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The efficiency and effectiveness of EU contributions channelled through United Nations organisations in conflict affected countries

Statement of Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs
Report of the Court of Auditors on
"The efficiency and effectiveness of EU contributions channelled through United Nations organisations in conflict affected countries"

"I welcome the new Court of Auditor's report on our work with the United Nations in Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq. Our work with the UN in parts of the world which may otherwise be difficult for us to reach is crucial in helping us to lift people out of poverty. I was pleased to see that the report highlighted that the Commission's work in these areas has had a positive impact in the majority of its projects.

"The report is particularly of interest to me because just last week I was in Sudan, where I had chance to witness how important the work that the UN and the Commission is doing is in making a difference to people's lives there. Having seen our work on the ground and the difference it makes to people's lives for myself, I recognise that it is more vital than ever that our aid gets to where it is most needed.

"We have already taken significant steps to make changes in the light of the first phase of the COA report which reviewed our work with the UN last year. Through the Joint Reporting Guidelines, for example, which were agreed with the UN at the end of 2010, we expect to receive reports of improved quality, and on time. This is essential, especially in conflict-affected countries, where reporting by our partners is one of the main ways in which we monitor and assess progress. The Reporting Guidelines will also help us to better develop appropriate objectives and indicators to make sure that our projects are better designed, and more efficient as a result.

"Yet there is no room for complacency. The difficulties in working in conflict countries cannot be under-estimated, and a flexible approach should prevail. However, we agree with the court's views that we must work even harder to make sure that our aid is delivered on time and on budget. 

"Similarly, we take on board the Court's view that we must make our work more results-focused. Everything we do is about achieving results, and EU taxpayers can be fully reassured that the Commission has a strong track record of good management of its aid. Aid can be a risky business, which is why the manner in which programmes are carried out is subject to strict delivery mechanisms and control systems (including on the spot checks by the Commission), regular audits by the UN's external auditors, and of course the Commission is subject to oversight by the European Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament.

"The EU's partnership with the UN is enables us to complement our expertise and human resources on the ground, helps to avoid duplication and  makes it possible to deliver aid to some of the world's poorest people everyday. It is vital that we now build on the recommendations of this report going forward and make sure that our work together makes even more of a difference."

Last update: 02/09/2014 |  Top