Note: Early inter-organization work on the establishment of common financial regulations, described in paragraphs 1-5 of this section, led to the adoption of similar regulations by UN and several specialized agencies. More recent work, described in the succeeding paragraphs, has been aimed at the development of standard texts wherever differences in policies and practice resulting from the different circumstances of the organizations enabled this to be done.
(1) At its 5th and 8th sessions (April 1949 and February 1950: CC/A.5/SR.4, CC/A.8/SR.1-5, CO-ORD/PREP/118 (annex I) and CO-ORD-PREP/R.176) CCAQ elaborated the form and content of a set of common financial regulations for UN and the specialized agencies. It recommended that organizations should submit the draft to appropriate legislative bodies for adoption. In transmitting the draft to ACC, the Committee drew attention to two points:
(a) Availability of appropriations for payment of liabilities - There was no concurrence of views among the representatives of agencies as to the limitation of the proposed period of availability;
(b) Budgetary savings - The Committee, although in favour of the principle of the distribution of savings on appropriations as a reduction in contributions, considered that this provision might temporarily have to be suspended to meet the requirements of certain agencies.
(2) At the 11th session (April 1951: CC/A.11/SR.6 and CO-ORDINATION/R.93) organizations stated their position with regard to certain amendments which ACABQ had made in the common draft.
(3) At the first part of the 16th session (April 1955: CO-ORDINATION/R.193/ Rev.1) the Committee noted that ACABQ had requested a detailed comparative review of the financial regulations. The desirability of inter-agency consultation prior to the adoption of any major revision in the common pattern was confirmed.
(4) At the 12th session (April 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.124), after reviewing the various interpretations followed by organizations in defining "Other legal obligations", the majority of the Committee felt that the interpretation to be followed should be left to each agency.
(5) At the 15th session (April 1954: CO-ORDINATION/R.162) CCAQ re-examined the question whether uniformity should be maintained in limiting the period for liquidation of obligations to the twelfth month following the end of the financial year. It noted UNESCO'S difficulties in operating under a twelve-month liquidation period, and expressed regret that alternative methods of solving a problem fundamentally of budgetary origin had not been found. It confirmed the standard financial regulation on liquidation of obligations as a desirable principle.
(6) The Ad Hoc Committee of Experts to Examine the Finances of the UN and the Specialized Agencies recommended in its second report (A/6343) that financial regulations should be standardized. A special session of CCAQ in September 1969 (CO-ORDINATION/R.762, para. 17) agreed that the subject could not be dealt with thoroughly until consideration of the recommendations on budget formats and standardization of nomenclature had advanced much further. The CCAQ secretariat was requested to make a comparative study of financial regulations as they existed and to circulate it for information.
(7) At the 33rd session (March 1971: CO-ORDINATION/R.864, paras. 47-49 and annex F) CCAQ agreed upon standard provisions for financial regulations concerning external audit. CCAQ noted that the intent of the regulation numbered 12.5 was that external auditors would make observations on administration and management only as they arose in the course of a normal audit. A management survey in the strict sense would not be performed unless a special request was made. CCAQ thought that it would be helpful if the term "common auditing standards" in the regulation numbered 12.4 could be more precisely defined by the Panel of External Auditors. The text of the standard provisions was to be translated into French, Russian and Spanish.
(8) The secretariat's comparative study of financial regulations was examined at the 34th session (October 1971: CO-ORDINATION/R. 903, paras. 35-37) and certain subjects were selected on which a Working Party was to attempt to agree common texts. At the 35th session (March 1972: CO-ORDINATION/R.930, paras. 23-36), CCAQ approved, on the basis of the Working Party's report, texts of regulations on custody of funds, investment of funds and delegation of authority. It also selected the next subjects for which the Working Party was to formulate common regulations. The CCAQ secretariat was requested to begin a comparative study of financial rules on lines similar to those of the study of the financial regulations.
(9) At the 36th session (Sept. 1972: CO-ORDINATION/R.960, para. 34 and annex B) CCAQ agreed the text of standard financial regulations on internal control and the accounts. It felt that this completed such of the standard texts as could be developed at the present stage. Consideration of the remaining subjects, mainly budgeting, appropriations, and the establishment of the various types of fund, would have to await developments in connection with biennial budgeting, programme budgeting, the surrender of surpluses, use of working capital funds, etc. In the circumstances there would be no need for the Working Party to meet again before the next session of CCAQ.
(10) At the 39th session (March 1974: CO-ORDINATION/R.1032, paras. 46-52), after hearing reports on the progress made by organizations in obtaining legislative approval for the texts already agreed by CCAQ and ACC, the Committee noted that UN was contemplating further changes in its regulations on the accounts and auditing in order to obtain the maximum benefit from biennial budgeting. CCAQ recommended that organizations that had adopted biennial budgeting, or were intending to do so, should attempt to develop common texts, and UN was encouraged to seek approval of a text with this objective, taking into account the comments of the other organizations.
(11) At the same session CCAQ instructed its secretariat to keep in view the possibility of further progress towards common financial regulations, and to complete its study of financial rules.
(12) At the 40th session (September 1974: CO-ORDINATION/R.1054, paras. 22 and 23) UN informed the Committee that the change recommended by ACABQ in the regulations on accounts and auditing had not found favour with the UN Board of Auditors. CCAQ recognized that further changes would now depend on the position taken by ACABQ, and maintained the views expressed at the 39th session.
(13) At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.1054, paras. 24 and 25) CCAQ reviewed its secretariat's comparative study on financial rules and decided that it would be useful to standardize approaches and procedures in the area of procurement of supplies and services. For further action in this area, see Section 21.3.
(14) At the 48th session (March 1978) CCAQ decided that all organizations should submit to the CCAQ secretariat any amendments proposed or approved in their financial regulations, and that the Committee should review such amendments once a year (CO-ORDINATION/R.1279, paras. 26 and 27). Regular reviews were subsequently held at the Committee's spring sessions.
(15) Also at the 48th session, CCAQ discussed a model financial regulation/rule on internal audit, agreed in September 1977 by the Tenth Inter-Organization Meeting of Representatives of Internal Audit Services for submission to the organizations' executive heads; it did not feel able to endorse the proposal (CO-ORDINATION/R.1279, paras. 29-31).
(16) In further discussions at the 48th session, in connection with a proposal by the UN Board of Auditors for amendments to the "Additional terms of reference governing the audit of the UN", CCAQ expressed the view that the standard text on external audit agreed in 1971 should be maintained, pending review of any new proposals made by the Panel of External Auditors (CO-ORDINATION/R.1279, para. 28).
(17) Following a discussion at the 51st session (September 1979) on changes proposed by UNDP to its Financial Regulations and Rules, the Committee expressed the general view that instructions concerning reports on activities financed by UNDP should be worked out by the Administrator in consultation with the participating and executing agencies; the changes proposed by UNDP also conflicted with the corresponding rules of those agencies and could give rise to difficulties should they come to affect any guidelines issued by UNDP. UNDP was unable to agree with the view of the Committee on what should be included and codified in its Financial Regulations and Rules (ACC/1979/R.69, para. 37).
(18) At the 52nd session (March 1980) the Committee agreed that its secretariat should attempt to determine specific areas where the adoption of model financial regulations might be feasible in present circumstances and draw them to the Committee's attention. The secretariat was also to examine the evolution of the organizations' regulations in areas where model texts had previously been developed (ACC/1980/16, para. 22).
(19) At the 53rd session (September 1980) the Committee considered the suggestions submitted by the secretariat, which concerned financial regulations related to biennial budgeting. It was agreed that common texts might be possible on the financial period (UN Regulation 2.1) and the programme budget (UN Regulations 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7), and that the organizations could reach to a common text on the final accounts (UN Regulation 11.1). On the other hand, differences in policy and practice appeared to rule out the possibility of standardization for texts concerning the provision of funds (UN Regulations 5.2 and 5.3) and the interim accounts (UN Regulation 11.4). The Committee requested the secretariat to continue its inventory of possible areas for standardization; when this work had been completed it would consider arrangements for the development of model texts (ACC/1980/32, paras. 18-20).
(20) Also at the 53rd session, UNDP informed the Committee of developments concerning its proposed revised Financial Regulations, which now would deal separately with its administrative or biennial budget, taking account of the UN Financial Regulations, and with the programme funding, control and reporting aspects of UNDP's activities. Members of CCAQ were to be provided with copies as soon as possible after the draft had been submitted to ACABQ (ACC/1980/32, paras. 14-17).
(21) In further discussions at the 53rd session, in the context of examination of a draft report on the unification of procurement rules and procedures, the Committee agreed that financial regulations and rules related to procurement should be studied in the next phase of work of its secretariat's inventory of regulations capable of standardization (ACC/1980/32, para. 47). At the 54th session (March 1981) it was agreed on the basis of proposals submitted by the secretariat that two existing regulations concerning procurement could be taken as a basis for model texts: the regulation on advertising requirements which was in effect in UN and some other organizations, and the regulation on the establishment of procurement rules which was in effect in ILO, FAO and WHO (ACC/1981/10, paras. 16 and 17).
(22) Also at the 54th session, the Committee noted that the latest version of the UNDP Financial Regulations had been circulated as agreed, and that UNDP would respond separately to the comments of individual organizations (ACC/1981/10, paras. 19-20).
(23) At the 55th session (September 1981) the Committee examined a checklist showing the status of development of standard financial regulations, with suggestions for further areas where the principle of model texts could be contemplated. Before going further, it wished to ascertain the evolution of the organizations' regulations where model texts had already been adopted, and requested a report on this subject at its next session (ACC/1981/30, paras. 27 and 28).
(24) Also at the 55th session, the Committee was informed of action by the UNDP Governing Council on the Administrator's proposals concerning the Financial Regulations of UNDP, most of which had been adopted. The discussion centered on Regulations 14.1, 14.3 and, notably, 14.4 (later renumbered 15.4), concerning the issue of guidelines by the Administrator regarding the procurement of equipment, supplies and services (ACC/1981/30, paras. 31-37). For further discussions concerning these guidelines, see Section 21.3.
(25) Following a review of amendments to financial regulations at the 56th session (March 1982), CCAQ requested that amendments to other basic documents, other than financial rules, which might be of interest to it should be brought to its attention during future reviews (ACC/1982/6, para. 50).
(26) At the same session, having studied a report on the use of model financial regulations (see para. 23 above), the Committee decided that further work on standardization in this area should be suspended for the time being (ACC/1982/6, para. 53).
(27) At the 59th session (September 1983) the Committee was apprised of a proposal being put before the General Assembly, on the initiative of the UN Board of Auditors, for amendments to the "Additional terms of reference governing the audit of the UN". Since this was an agreed inter-organization text, the Committee expressed its views on several aspects of the proposed amendments (ACC/1983/21, paras. 49-51). These views were taken into account in the submission to the General Assembly and in texts subsequently adopted in UN and other organizations. The text of the model financial regulations approved by CCAQ since 1971, incorporating amendments up to and including those referred to in this paragraph, appears in Handbook annex XIII.
(28) During a routine review at the 70th session (March 1989) of approved or proposed amendments to organizations' financial regulations, attention was called to amendments designed by IAEA to permit those components of year-end unobligated balances that corresponded to deferred programme activities (as opposed to savings) to be carried forward at the year-end for implementation of the activities, and funding of the activities from late receipts of contributions, where the activities had been deferred owing to an adverse cash situation. Participants believed that other organizations might study the usefulness of such arrangements at a time of uncertain receipts and programme reductions (ACC/1989/7, paras. 66, 67). Further amendments relating to deferred programme arrangements were reported during the review held at the 78th session (March 1993) (ACC/1993/7, para. 70).
(29) At its 82nd session (February 1995), during its regular review of changes in Financial Regulations, CCAQ(FB) was informed of substantial amendments to the Financial Regulations of UNDP, ITU and IAEA. Representatives of these organizations outlined the major thrust of these, which related not only to internal financial changes but also, in some cases, to recognition of the United Nations accounting standards (ACC/1995/6, para. 56).
(30) At its 90th session (August-September 1999: ACC/1999/14, para. 50) the Committee was briefed on changes or proposed changes to the financial regulations of the United Nations, UNFPA, ILO, FAO, ICAO, WHO, WMO and IAEA (ACC/1999/FB/R.23). It was also informed that the United Nations, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP and WHO were undertaking extensive reviews of existing Financial Regulations and Rules and developing changes to reflect new ways of doing business. Organizations planning changes were encouraged to inform the Secretary as soon as such changes were approved in order that the CCAQ(FB) web site could include these changes.
(31) At its 91st session (August-September 2000: ACC/2000/6, para. 37) the Committee was briefed on changes or proposed changes to the financial regulations of UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, FAO, UNESCO, ICAO, WHO, ITU and UNIDO (ACC/2000/FB/R.14). Organizations planning changes were encouraged to inform the Secretary as soon as such changes were approved in order that a page on the CCAQ(FB) web site could include links to governing body documents covering the changes. The Committee also noted that there were no UN system agreed definitions of what constituted fraud or attempted fraud and decided to return to this subject at its next session.
(32) At the seventh session of the FB Network (CEB/2007/HLCM/FB/10 23, paras. 81-90), UNDG Working Group representatives agreed that they would share with FB Network members the first draft of the harmonized Financial Rules and Regulations once the complete set would be finalized. This first draft is expected to be ready by September/October 2007.
(33) At the FB Network’s eight session (CEB/2008/HLCM/FB/4, paras.22-28), a first draft version of the harmonized Financial Rules and Regulations was shared with the organizations that are not part of the current Working Group after reflecting input received from the UN Office of Legal Affairs and an internal review by the five organizations of the input provided by OLA.
The harmonized Rules and Regulations would be in compliance with the accounting policies approved by the FB Network and would apply the content of the guidance papers consistently with the specificities and needs of the implementing organizations.
(34) At its twelfth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/FB/9, paras.34-35), the FB Network invited all organizations who modified their Financial Regulations and Rules (FRR) for IPSAS compliance to share them with other organizations and requested the CEB Secretariat to facilitate access to these FRRs through the CEB Secretariat website.
(35) At the sixteenth session of the FB Network (CEB/2011/HLCM/FB/11, para.20), the Working Group on Harmonized Financial Regulations and Rules (HFRR) had concluded its work on HFRRs. The draft HFRRs (http://www.unsceb.org/ceb/ref/fb/319/fna/) were now available to the UN system organizations for reference. However, the document had not yet been fully vetted by the Office of Legal Affairs.