UN affirms appointment of Filipino auditor Heidi Mendoza as oversight chief

MANILA, Oct. 14 -- The United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved the appointment by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Heidi S. Mendoza as Under-Secretary General of the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

Mendoza is the first Filipino ever to be appointed as Under-Secretary General in the UN Secretariat.

Ambassador Lourdes O. Yparraguirre, permanent representative of the Philippines to the UN, welcomed the appointment and thanked the regional groups of the UN for their endorsement and the member states for their affirmation of the appointment. Under UN rules, the appointment by the Secretary General is submitted to the General Assembly for approval.

“It is a great honor for the Philippines that a highly-qualified woman from the developing world was chosen to serve in a senior position in the United Nations,” Yparraguirre said.

She added that Commissioner Mendoza’s “qualifications and wealth of experience, coupled with her commitment to excellence and integrity, make her a wise choice for the job. Her qualifications are crucial at this juncture in the history of the UN which is celebrating its 70th anniversary, moving forward with an ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and pursuing a platform of reforms in various fields of UN work,” said Ambassador Yparraguirre.

She also emphasized that good governance, rule of law, and effective, accountable and transparent institutions within the UN are necessary for ensuring that it continues to be a credible champion in the global fight against corruption and achieves its lofty goals.

The United States and the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden also hailed the appointment. Speaking on behalf of the United States, Ambassador Isobel Coleman, ambassador for UN Management and Reform, said they look forward to working with Mendoza and are committed to ensuring a strong OIOS to carry out robust audits and effective investigations to ferret out waste, fraud and corruption.

In a similar vein, Sweden, speaking for the Nordic countries, said they are confident that Mendoza will lead the OIOS effectively and efficiently and noted that “an operationally independent OIOS is key to rebuilding the confidence among the member states that the office can play its role in protecting the integrity of the United Nations and promoting accountability within the organization.”

Earlier, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario hailed the announcement of the UN Secretary General’s intention to appoint Mendoza, saying that “the appointment of Ms. Heidi Mendoza as UN Under-Secretary-General of an important office that aims to be an agent of change to promote responsible, accountable, and transparent administration of UN resources, is a true testament of her skills and integrity as a public accountant.”

Mendoza is expected to begin her term on November 15, 2015. As per UN regulations, her appointment is for a fixed term of five years without renewal. As the UN’s Under-Secretary General for Internal Oversight, she will be responsible over the resources and staff of the organization through internal audit, monitoring, inspection, evaluation and investigation services. (DFA)

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