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Statement on findings about the German National Committee for UNICEF

NEW YORK, 19 February 2008 - Following allegations about the German National Committee for UNICEF, the audit firm KPMG conducted a special investigation into the matters in dispute.

However KPMG found no indications of personal enrichment in any of the issues it investigated relating to the German National Committee for UNICEF.  While it found that amounts paid to contractors corresponded to equivalent return services to the National Committee, KPMG identified violations of existing rules for awarding, realizing and monitoring contracts that are of concern to UNICEF.

UNICEF is also concerned about the loss of public confidence that has resulted from questions about the National Committee’s business practices. 

 A senior UNICEF official, Mr. Philip O’Brien, visited Germany to work with the National Committee on the steps necessary to improve transparency and accountability and to rebuild public confidence. UNICEF will provide assistance to the National Committee to rapidly implement the changes that KPMG has recommended.

KPMG’s list of recommendations for improving the Committee’s management structures and practices include a review of the statutes of the Committee, new codes of conduct and business processes, a clearer delineation and separation of authority between the Board and the management, the establishment of appropriate Board sub-committees and more transparency in reporting to the Board, changes to the way senior appointments are made, and an external audit of business processes. The KPMG findings and recommendations have been made available by the National Committee on its website (http://www.unicef.de/5188.html).

While in Germany, Mr. O’Brien, who is the Director of UNICEF’s Private Fundraising & Partnerships Division (PFP), held a series of meetings with KPMG, with the Interim Chair of the Committee’s Board, Reinhard Schlagintweit, with the full Board of the Committee, with the management team, with a representative of the Committee’s 8,000 volunteers, with Government officials and with a Parliamentary Sub-Committee dealing with UN Affairs. In these meetings, he emphasized UNICEF’s concerns and stressed that UNICEF will support the National Committee in the implementation of the KPMG recommendations regarding processes and procedures.

Subsequent to the KPMG report, there have been changes in the German National Committee’s Board and management.  On 10 April, the full National Committee, which has around 60 members, will hold an Extraordinary Meeting to appoint a new Board Chair and to elect a new Board.

Background

The 36 National Committees for UNICEF are independent Non-Governmental Organizations that raise funds for UNICEF and act as advocates for children’s rights both in their own country and worldwide. The Committees contribute around one third of UNICEF’s global budget, by raising funds from the private sector and through the sale of greetings cards and other products.

Formal cooperation agreements between UNICEF and each National Committee set out the rights and obligations of the parties.  UNICEF is currently working with National Committees to strengthen the cooperation agreements. Each National Committee has its own governing board and assigns an external auditor who prepares a yearly report on funds raised and their use.  The National Committees are subject to national legislation and public scrutiny, as is the case with all other national NGOs.


 

 

 

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