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The General Assembly, in its resolution 64/259, defined accountability as follows:

Accountability is the obligation of the Secretariat and its staff members to be answerable for all decisions made and actions taken by them, and to be responsible for honouring their commitments, without qualification or exception.

Accountability includes achieving objectives and high-quality results in a timely and cost-effective manner, in fully implementing and delivering on all mandates to the Secretariat approved by the United Nations intergovernmental bodies and other subsidiary organs established by them in compliance with all resolutions, regulations, rules and ethical standards; truthful, objective, accurate and timely reporting on performance results; responsible stewardship of funds and resources; all aspects of performance, including a clearly defined system of rewards and sanctions; and with due recognition to the important role of the oversight bodies and in full compliance with accepted recommendations.

Intergovernmental process

The Fifth Committee considers reports on implementation of an accountability system in the Secretariat annually during the first part of its resumed session in March.

GA resolution SG report ACABQ report Notes
A/74/658 A/74/741
73/289 of 15 April 2019 A/73/688 and Corr.1 A/73/800
72/303 of 5 July 2018 A/72/773 A/72/885
71/283 of 6 April 2017 A/71/729 A/71/820

Delegation of authority

An accountability framework, initially consisting of 16 key performance indicators, was established as part of the delegation of authority system implemented on 1 January 2020.