We would like to thank Assistant-Secretary-General Stephen Cutts for introducing the report of the Secretary General (A/71/681).
We also appreciate Mr. Babou Sene, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for presenting the related report (A/71/823) and Mr. Gopinathan Achamkulangare for introducing the report of Joint Inspection Unit (A/70/676) and Mr. Kenneth Herman, Senior Advisor on Information Management and Policy Coordination for introducing the relevant document.
We associate ourselves with the statement made by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Over the years, the role of the Procurement Division in the Office of Central Support Services has increased manifold. Pakistan is fully cognizant of the fact that the procurement volume of the Division increased to $3.1 billion in 2015. In this regard, increased efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness are the cross-cutting tools to further strengthen the UN Procurement System.
Efficiency cannot be achieved without having strong internal control and oversight regimes; robust accountability system over staff at all levels including senior management both at the Headquarters and the field; and the implementation of corresponding legislative mandates.
We have taken note of the ACABQ report and concur with its recommendations, inter alia, that the use of information technology plays an important role in achieving efficiency in processing of solicitations. However, such practices should not prejudice the chances of bidding for the Member States on that basis.
We reiterate that increasing procurement opportunities for vendors from developing countries is an integral and fundamental part of the United Nations procurement system. Equal, fair and non-discriminatory access must be given to companies from developing countries.
No procurement will be complete or effective without a significant increase in procurement from vendors from developing countries. The Secretary-General should continue to explore additional innovative ways to promote procurement from developing countries both at the headquarters and in the field offices.
Pakistan supports the use of business conferences and seminars in developing countries to effectively generate awareness about opportunities and procedural requirements to participate in procurement activities at the UN.
We have also taken note of the pilot project at the United Nations Office in Nairobi to provide procurement support to UNEP and UN-Habitat. Lessons learnt and results achieved through the implementation of this pilot project should be shared with the General Assembly before replicating them in other UN offices.
On the Award Review Board, we request the Secretary-General to provide an update to the General Assembly of the expansion on the coverage of the Board, reasons for rejection of solicitations and how these are processed.
Last but not the least, the General Assembly has not considered for the approval the concept of environmentally friendly and sustainable procurement. We urge the Secretariat to avoid any initiatives that would preempt a decision of the General Assembly. In this regard, more work needs to be done to refine the understanding of the concept of environmentally friendly and sustainable development and how it can be implemented in the UN System, keeping in view the capabilities of developing countries.
My delegation assures you of our continued constructive engagement on this agenda item.
I thank you.