1 RESTRICTED 22 July 2015 ( ) Page: 1/8 Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration REPORT OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 8 AND 25 JUNE 2015 The Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration met on 8 and 25 June 2015 under the chairmanship of Ambassador Daniel Blockert (Sweden). The terms of reference and composition of the Committee are set out in document WT/L/44/Rev.1. The agendas contained in documents WTO/AIR/BFA/3 and WTO/AIR/BFA/4 were adopted. 1 ACCESSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES (WT/BFA/W/362) 1.1. A member of the Secretariat introduced the document regarding the assessed contribution of the Republic of Seychelles following its accession and pointed out that the pro-rata Observer contribution for Seychelles remained unpaid. On that issue, the Government of Seychelles had informed the Secretariat that the outstanding amount would be settled shortly. 1.2 Consequent to the accession to the WTO on 26 April 2015, the Committee recommends to the General Council that a pro rata contribution to the 2015 budget amounting to CHF 20,086 be assessed to the Government of the Republic of Seychelles, as well as a contribution to the Working Capital Fund amounting to CHF 53,015 as an advance to the Fund. 2 PROGRESS REPORT ON THE WORKING GROUP ON AFTER SERVICE HEALTH INSURANCE (ASHI) 2.1. The Chair of the Working Group on After Service Health Insurance (ASHI) updated the Committee on the progress made within the Working Group on its three most recent meetings held on 10 th, 19 th and 25 th of June Since its establishment in November 2014, the Working Group met 14 times. The Chair noted that the Working Group reached its objective and would complete its draft report by the deadline of 30 th of June The draft report, which would be submitted officially to Members at the September 2015 CBFA meeting, contained recommendations from the Working Group to the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration. During its meetings, the Working Group examined: the benefits associated with the ASHI, the medical coverage schemes available to other comparable international organisations, the scope for additional funding in support of ASHI, and cconsidered the human resources required for management of the change process being proposed as well as the future management of ASHI and the WTO medical insurance plan in general The Chair of the Working Group emphasized that it was a complex issue that did not lend itself to simple solutions. He also emphasized that it was a technical and sensitive issue for stakeholders and that any strategy development process would require consultations with these stakeholders The Working Group recommended that the CBFA ask the Director General to develop, within 12 months of the CBFA s endorsement of the recommendations, a strategy in line with the final Working Group report. The report included guidance on how the strategy should be developed, implemented and monitored For example, the Working Group suggested that the CBFA mandate a new Working Group to liaise with the WTO Secretariat during the strategy s development. Additionally, considering the technical nature of the subject, the CBFA might eventually extend the new Working Group's mandate to assist the CBFA in monitoring the implementation of the strategy.
2 In conclusion, the Chair underlined the considerable work done by the Members of the Working Group. He thanked them for their engagement expressing great gratitude for their patience. He also extended his thanks to the Secretariat and to the Chairman of the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration for their commitment and helpful guidance with regard to the work of the Working Group The Chairman of the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration thanked the Members of the Working Group for their hard work in respect to the technical and sensitive matter, as well as the Secretariat for its engagement. The Chairman mentioned that the final report to the CBFA would be issued to Members during summer which would give sufficient time to Members to become acquainted with the report prior to the upcoming CBFA meeting in September. The Committee took note of the report. 3 PENSION PLAN REPORT 3.1. The newly elected Chair of the WTO Pension Plan Management Board reported to the Committee on the actuarial valuation of the Pension Plan, based on its situation at 31 December He pointed out the persistence of a funding imbalance and confirmed that the WTO Pension Plan Management Board had decided to take action to develop recommendations to address the imbalance in order to ensure the long-term viability of the Plan The Chair of the Management Board reviewed briefly the four measures contained in the document WT/BFA/W/367 that were being considered to address the actuarial imbalance. Those measures would be applicable mainly to future Pension Plan participants and would require amendments to the Pension Plan's rules and regulations. The Management Board was currently elaborating a draft document to incorporate these amendments and some additional more technical clarifications into the Pension Plan s regulations and which would be submitted to the General Council (via the CBFA) for approval. If approved by the General Council before the end of 2015, the amended regulations would enter into force on 1 st January A Member inquired whether there were any concerns from staff members on the proposed changes. The Secretariat answered that a meeting had been organized among staff and Management, where no concerns or fundamental issues had been raised The Chairman of the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration concluded by mentioning that the Committee would be waiting for the official report and that the item would be further discussed before the end of The Committee took note of the report. 4 BUDGET AND FINANCE REPORT 1 ST QUARTER 2015 (WT/BFA/W/364 AND WT/BFA/W 363) 4.1. A member of the Secretariat presented the situation regarding Members' and Observers' contributions received in the first quarter of Receipts of contributions and the cash position of the Organization were satisfactory. With respect to Members' contributions, 54% of the overall assessment had been received. On the Observer side, 30% had been received. As of 31 March 2015, 52 Members and seven Observers had no outstanding balance At the end of March 2015, 19 Members and six Observers were subject to Administrative Measures. Since the end of the first quarter of 2015, Argentina, Mongolia and Nigeria had made payment and had been removed from Category I. Grenada moved from Category III to I. Two Observers had made a payment and had been removed from the Administrative Measures The 2015 budget remained on track at the end of the first quarter with an expenditure rate of 29% of the budget or MCHF 57. The Secretariat drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that this figure also included commitments for several annual contracts until year end A member of the Secretariat presented then the financial situation on trust funds, especially focusing on the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF). Voluntary contributions totalling CHF 2.1 million were received by the DDAGTF during the first quarter from Australia, Denmark, the European Union and Estonia. The implementation of the 2015 activities would not meet any difficulty considering the amount of CHF 16.5 million carried over from 2014 in the fund.
3 - 3 - Contributions were additionally expected from France and Norway based on existing multi-year pledges The Secretariat reiterated the importance of financing the participation of Least Developed Countries during MC10 and urged Members to send funds at their earliest convenience, to ensure that the logistical aspects of planning could commence immediately following the Summer break. The Chair of the Committee encouraged Members to communicate and follow through on any plans to support the LDC fund. The Committee took note of the reports HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE ON GRADING STRUCTURE AND PROMOTIONS IN THE WTO SECRETARIAT (WT/BFA/W/366) 5.1. A member of the Secretariat updated the Committee on the grade structure and promotions within the WTO Secretariat. The overall grade structure highlighted the professional and support staff in grade 1 to 12. As of May 2014, WTO employed 724 staff with 94% funded from the regular budget and 6% funded from extra-budgetary trust funds. The professional staff represented 58% and the support staff 42% of the total staff in the Secretariat. The largest number of professional staff was in grade 9 and in grade 5 for support staff. The number of staff on grade 10 decreased from 118 in 2010 to 97 in December The Secretariat also stated that the average grade of professional staff had gradually decreased, since it was recruiting primarily at entry-levels (grades 6 and 7) since During the course of 2014, 22 of the 39 professional posts advertised were issued at grades 6 and 7. The Committee was also informed that the level of newly appointed staff in 2014 was on average two grades below the level of staff members leaving the organization during the same period. The Secretariat also drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that there had been no in situ promotions since On the issue of staff mobility, the Secretariat indicated that 31 inter-division staff movements were completed in The Secretariat anticipated an increase in internal mobility following the introduction of a new mechanism referred to as "Expression of Interest". Under this new mechanism, staff members who comply with the requirements of the post and are already at the level of the post being advertised may be considered for lateral movement. The Secretariat indicated that it was an effective method to implement greater mobility within the Organization Several Members thanked the Secretariat and expressed interest in the progress being made in that area. One Member sought clarification on the process used to define the grade at which a vacant post was advertised and who was responsible for such decision. The Secretariat replied that the division of Human Resources was in charge of advertising posts based on benchmarks standards and, if necessary, the Office of the Director General was also consulted. Some other Members requested clarifications on the status of the job profiling process The Committee took note of the report and expressed an interest to further discuss promotions at a future meeting. 6 WTO SECRETARIAT RISK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (WT/BFA/W/361) 6.1. A member of the Secretariat presented the second report on WTO Secretariat Risk Management System to the Committee. The Secretariat declared that references to risk management had been included in the WTO revised Financial Regulations, approved by the General Council, in Sixteen new risk issues were identified in Out of the 75 total risks contained in the risk registered at the end of 2014, three of them were considered as critical. The Administration had specifically identified only those three critical risks, which had both a high likelihood of occurring and a high impact if they occur, in the document WT/BFA/W/ A member raised a concern about the recent security issues related to the WTO e-campus system and underlined the importance that members being informed of any security breach in detail and steps to avoid future problems and asked that the Committee being informed on the IT policies of the WTO. A member of the Secretariat indicated that new IT Security policies had been put in place and were under constant review.
4 FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE REPORT (WT/BFA/W/365) 7.1. A member of the Secretariat presented the financial performance report for the year The Secretariat emphasized that the structure of the financial statements for 2014 reflected, for the third year, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), aiming to improve the quality and increase transparency and accountability The Secretariat presented the overview of the budgetary performance in The 2014 budget was MCHF 197 and the budgetary expenditure amounted to MCHF 182, displaying a generated budgetary savings - net surplus of CHF 14.5 million. Those budgetary savings were mainly a result of the high number of vacant posts throughout the year, the reduction of translation costs and a close monitoring of staffing resources. The Secretariat declared that it would be unlikely to continue generating budgetary savings as the vacant posts were being filled progressively. The other reason why savings were generated was that the Secretariat continued its efforts to streamline processes. The Secretariat notified the Committee on particular savings achieved on expenditures related to contractual services, travel missions, communications and permanent equipment, among others The Secretariat underlined that the surplus of CHF 14.5 million was only a budgetary result. This financial result included expenditures not previously budgeted but still accounted for. Consistent with IPSAS principles, the financial result was a deficit of MCHF 10.2 for the year The discrepancy between the budget surplus and the IPSAS financial result was mainly due to the negative impact of the actuarial cost of Pension and After Service health Insurance benefits for MCHF 13.2 and MCHF 11.5, respectively It was also reported that several improvements were incorporated into the 2014 Financial Report. Specifically, more detailed information was presented in the notes and tables supporting financial statements. The external auditor certified the 2014 accounts and acknowledged the improvements resulting from implementing the recommendations of the French Court of Audit. However, the German external audit retained a reservation relating to the consolidation of the ITC accounts The member of the Secretariat highlighted the high variance of the liabilities towards the pension and health insurance system from one year to another. The net liabilities on Pension Plan and After Service Health Insurance (ASHI) had amounted to MCHF 820, in Then it dropped to MCHF 660, in 2014 and the amount increased to more than CHF 1 billion, in The Secretariat declared that the high level of volatility was mainly due to actuarial consequences of variation in the discount rate applied and also related to the choice of independent variables such as the long term interest rates or inflation. The Secretariat concluded that those aspects should be considered, in consultation with the external auditor, to provide the most appropriate overall assessment of the long term financial situation of the WTO Several Members thanked the Secretariat for the detailed Financial Performance Report presented. One Member appreciated that the detailed reporting allowed a better understanding of the financial results. She also raised the fact that since the introduction of IPSAS the financial results showed a deficit and the Member wanted to know what the Secretariat's views were on this issue. On that question, the Secretariat answered that the deficit outcomes were largely the result of the discount rate applied. The Secretariat added that it would closely work with the external auditor to find a more appropriate discount rate methodology to have transparency and stability when reporting the WTO costs and liabilities related to post-employment benefits On the ITC Reserve, the Secretariat mentioned that it was the first year that ITC had implemented IPSAS and also that the ITC accounts were not yet certified by its external auditor. The Secretariat mentioned that the United Nations was not in favour of consolidating ITC as the budget of ITC allocated by the UN was not significant enough to justify. In addition the Secretariat declared that the WTO would investigate the nature of its relationship with the UN and the ITC EXTERNAL AUDITOR REPORT (WT/BFA/W/368) 8.1. The representative of the German Supreme Audit Institution (the Auditor) thanked the Director General and the Secretariat for the expert assistance during the audit. He said that the 2014 report was focused on the audit of the WTO 2014 financial statements and a performance
5 - 5 - audit regarding Procurement and IT Governance. On the basis of the audit conducted, the Auditor certified the 2014 WTO financial statements with one reservation, related to the consolidation of the International Trade Centre (the ITC) accounts, which was also raised by the French Auditor, in the past years. The external auditor assessed that the financial statements were in line with the financial situation of the WTO The Auditor recommended that the Secretariat develop a procedure to collect contributions from Members under Administrative Measures or with long term outstanding contributions. He also recommended that efforts of the Secretariat be continued to accelerate the reimbursement of US taxes on WTO staff and to seek agreement from the US Government on applying a reimbursement method based on the ILO ruling on the subject The external auditor assessed that the ITC was legally a joint technical cooperation agency of the UN and the WTO, and recommended that WTO negotiate with ITC or with the United Nations to clarify and then solve the legal situation, especially concerning control. On this, the Secretariat would further consult with ITC to clarify the legal nature of partnership The Auditor also made a number of other recommendations that the Secretariat had already implemented such as utilizing the United Nations operational exchange rate for accounting transactions in foreign currencies The Auditor presented the results of the performance audit of the Procurement and IT Governance. He addressed a number of recommendations that were listed for the Committee. The external auditor reassured the Members that the Secretariat took note of these recommendations and intended to implement the auditor's pending recommendations on Procurement and on IT Governance. Furthermore, the Auditor acknowledged that the Secretariat was pursuing its efforts to improve the WTO's IT Security to reduce IT environmental risk exposure. The external auditor concluded, on that issue, that he would continue to monitor the improvement of the WTO IT Security. The external auditor concluded by certifying the financial statements of the WTO Pension Plan for the year Members thanked the external auditor and team for their complete report. A Member questioned the external auditor on the ITC Reserve. The external auditor responded that during their audit at WTO, they had been made aware of a document established during the GATT that defined the possibility of the WTO to have a direct influence on ITC policies. He indicated that an update of that document could be sufficient to remove the recommendation that had been put in place by the external audit and solve the situation A Member emphasized that the reserve related to ITC should be solved before the accounts would be audited prior the following year. The Chair of the Committee thanked the German external auditors and confirmed that the ITC Reserve would have to be taken seriously into consideration and added that that item would be discussed in a future meeting. The Committee took note of the report and formulated the following recommendation The Committee recommends that the General Council approve the transfers between budgetary sections as outlined in paragraphs 2.30 and 2.38 of document WT/BFA/W/365. The Committee further recommends that the General Council approve the audited accounts for UPDATE ON THE ORGANIZATIONAL REVIEW OF THE WTO SECRETARIAT WT/BFA/W/360) 9.1. DDG Brauner updated the Committee on the progress of the Strategic Review. He underlined that recommendations for changes in policies were made by the Joint Recommendation Group (JRG) composed of some staff and members of Senior Management. Administrative memoranda were submitted either by the JRG or the Administration to the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) for its consideration. The JAC gave advice to the Director General who would implement the new policy, bearing in mind that if the policy modified the Regulations, Members would be consulted, prior the implementation He explained that the Promotion and Mobility Policies were submitted to the JAC who had finalized its deliberations on the Mobility Policy but was holding back the draft due to its
6 - 6 - interconnections with the draft on Promotions Policy to ensure full coherence. He then announced that the Administration had finalized its draft on the Office of Internal Oversight. The JAC had already finalized its deliberations on Mediation and submitted its report to the Director General for final approval. The Director-General would further discuss these two issues with the JAC and the Staff Council as he wished to maintain a transparent and inclusive approach. Finally, DDG Brauner informed the Committee that the Director General planned to consult with the Chair of the Committee on Budget and the Chair of the General Council on the appointment of the Head of the Office Internal Oversight Then DDG Brauner informed the Committee on the Administration's intention to implement the new promotion policy as an outcome of the Strategic Review process. DDG Brauner drew the attention of the Committee to the importance of reintroducing promotions within the Organization to maintain staff morale and to avoid talented staff leaving the Organization. He reassured Members that the limited number of promotions would respect the budget circumstances of the Organization. He also stressed that replacing grade 10s with grade 6s generated important budgetary savings To conclude, DDG Brauner informed the Committee on a new process that the Director General wanted to introduce, that would consist of creating a cross-divisional inclusive assessment process, which would be composed of WTO Directors and DDGs. They would evaluate eligible candidates that had been put forward for promotions, based on merit and subsequently would make a proposal to the Director General on a limited number of justified promotions. DDG Brauner concluded by reminding the Committee that the Director General had agreed to implement a normal pyramidal grade structure. He pointed out that from a high of 118 staff members at grade 10, only 63 would remain and already the number was down to 90. The DDG emphasized that the DG's commitment to the target structure would not be derailed by the reintroduction of promotions Several Members thanked the Secretariat for its update on the Strategic Review progress and the explanation of the new system. Some Members agreed that it was important to give incentives to the staff, others felt that the Secretariat should continue to respect the decision to freeze promotions. Several Members expressed the view that it was premature to assess the issue of promotions considering that the Organizational Review process was still under way. In that context, the Committee indicated that the Senior Management had to bear in mind that any reform taken, would have to be in line with solving the inverted pyramid and within a ZNG budget. It was also pointed out that the Director General should take sufficient time and careful considerations on how promotions would be implemented. Regarding tackling the pyramid, another Member requested to know what would be the extra financial implications to the recruitment of professional staff hired recently. One Member wanted to know the number of staff leaving the Organization because of lack of promotions opportunities within the WTO. Finally, a Member suggested to seek other mechanisms for recognizing performance. The Secretariat assured Members that it sought to introduce several mechanisms for recognizing performance of staff A Member raised concerns about diversity within the promotions process and mentioned that some countries were not enough reflected among the Secretariat. That same Member encouraged transparency in the process of promotions and recruitments taking place at WTO. Another Member said that reinstating promotions would inevitably slow down the process of resolving the inverted pyramid. He underlined that any action to increase grades in the Secretariat would have cost implications The Secretariat addressed the Committee's concerns on promotions issue by emphasizing the fact that, at this stage, the Senior Management was only reporting the progress made within the Strategic Review process and no decision had been taken yet regarding reinstating promotions. DDG Brauner also underlined that all that progress addressed were results from the work of the four groups, in conjunction with the JAC. He then added that it would be very difficult to run an Organization and continue to motivate incumbents without any promotions opportunity in the long-term. He also informed the Committee that the Secretariat, in cooperation with the Staff Council, would launch a survey to measure the staff morale in the near future. The Secretariat made the observation that the WTO was already well below other Organizations with regard to entry level. The grade level 6 at the WTO corresponded to a grade level P1 at the UN and virtually no-one was hired at a P-1 in the UN system.
7 The Chair acknowledged the Committee's concerns and drew the Members attention on their own perspective of being promoted within their respective career. He then acknowledged that it was a serious issue for Members and that the issue would therefore be addressed in a future meeting. Consequently, the Committee would continue to be informed on further developments. The Committee took note of the report. 10 PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A BUILDING RENOVATION FUND (WT/BFA/W/369) A member of the Secretariat provided the Committee with additional information on the evolution of the ordinary maintenance expenditure over the previous years. She pointed out that the regular maintenance had increased gradually over the last three years with the reduction of maintenance services provided by "Fondation des Immeubles pour Organisations Internationales" (FIPOI) starting in From 2012 to 2014, FIPOI had reduced its intervention on site as the WTO became the owner of its both buildings. Since 2013, the WTO had negotiated several contracts with outside companies related to, for example, Heating Cooling Ventilation (HCV) in the new building, electrical installations, maintenance of green areas, and the area inside the security perimeter, among others The original budget allocation was MCHF 0.5. However, the expenditure amounted to MCHF 0.9 in 2014 and was projected to increase to MCHF 1,5, in 2015 and The Budget for the biennium would have to be increased by MCHF 1, which, in a ZNG budget environment, would have to be financed from savings in other areas Another member of the Secretariat provided the Committee with additional information on the extraordinary maintenance of the WTO buildings and highlighted the purpose of a building renovation fund to finance extraordinary expenditures related to improvements of the WTO buildings, including the necessary periodic upgrading of its facilities. She underlined that the Fund would serve to cover the foreseeable medium and long term building and infrastructure projects, which were anticipated on the basis of the depreciation of a building over time. She added that based on the FIPOI model, extraordinary maintenance and renovation works were foreseen typically in 10, 15, 25 and 50 year cycles Regarding the necessary funding level, the FIPOI model suggested an annual amount of MCHF 2.6 to be set aside in anticipation of future renovation work on the WTO Site. The Secretariat recalled for the Committee that FIPOI, through the Swiss Confederation, was prepared to finance extraordinary maintenance of the Centre William Rappard building up to an amount of MCHF 1, on an annual basis. It was however, pointed out that any unused funds could not be carried over to the following year In order to build up the Renovation Fund, the Secretariat estimated, based on the FIPOI calculation method, that an annual amount of MCHF 1.3 would be necessary to provide financial reserves for the mid- and long term repairs and renovation needs of the WTO buildings and its facilities. The Secretariat emphasized that, based on existing situations in other Organizations, a lack of reserves or forward planning regarding their buildings had led to financial crisises in the funding of some international organisations. The Secretariat, finally proposed that the Guidelines of the Building Renovation Fund would be comparable to those set out in the Members' Transition Operating Funds. (MTOF) in terms of how the fund would be governed Members thanked the Secretariat and welcomed the report. Most of Members showed an interest in creating such a Fund to avoid future financial problems. They appreciated the additional information on the distinction between the regular maintenance and the long-term maintenance of the buildings. Some Members raised concerns about the regular maintenance amount of MCHF 1.5, being three times higher than the original allocated maintenance budget. The Secretariat listed a series of reasons why the budget had increased, since FIPOI was not any longer taking care of maintenance Members took note of the initial amount of MCHF 1.7 remaining from the MTOF at the end of December 2014 to serve as the initial amount to build up the Renovation Fund and agreed to say that it was a good start as the establishment of a Renovation Fund. A Member suggested the Committee to find a plan to incorporate funding for the Renovation Fund into the Regular budget.
8 One Member requested to know how much needed to be set aside to finance the long-term Fund and wanted also to know whether there were rules and procedures for using the Surplus Funds. In that context, some Members drew the Committee's attention on the other issues like ASHI liabilities that might be covered from the Surplus, as well. Another question was posed regarding the funding of the Renovation Fund when no Surplus would be available. Some Members showed also concerns about having long-term funds that could be subject to negative interests The Secretariat thanked the Committee on their constructive remarks and answered questions. A member of the Secretariat gave further explanations and provided examples of the increase of the regular maintenance. The Secretariat concluded by saying that if the approach of allocating surplus money to the Renovation Fund were followed, the Secretariat would not anticipate needing additional money for the Fund before at least 10 years The Committee agreed that that issue was very important and needed careful consideration. The Chairman encouraged Members to consult with their Capital on that matter. He also underlined that the Committee would have to further discuss at the next CBFA meeting. He pointed out that in autumn, the Committee would be very busy discussing the biennium budget in advance of the Ministerial Conference scheduled for December. The Committee took note of the report. 11 PROPOSED TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR A WORKING GROUP CONCERNING AN AUDIT COMMITTEE (WT/BFA/W/349/REV.2) The Secretariat presented the document which contained the revised proposed Terms of Reference set out in the document mentioned above. Then a member of the Secretariat provided the Committee with additional information regarding the roles and the responsibilities of the three different audit functions: external audit, internal audit and an audit committee. He then listed the International Organizations that have an audit committee and those which do not The member of the Secretariat then reminded the Committee about the existing audit bodies within the WTO, pointing out that the WTO had a team of eight auditors performing their duties twice a year on financial statements and, once a year on performance audit. In addition, he made reference to the WTO internal audit which published from one to two reports per year. He listed the WTO divisions which had been already audited and highlighted the existence of the technical cooperation audit unit within the WTO's ITTC division Members thanked the Secretariat for the detailed and useful presentation. At the end of the Secretariat's report, most Members expressed an interest in creating a working group which would determine the need to have or not an audit committee at WTO. One member suggested that it would be useful for the Working Group to also look at carefully the existing practices being followed in other international organizations and their experiences with the audit committees. Another Member drew the Committee's attention to the fact that the WTO remained a small Organization. It was also suggested that the revised Proposed Terms of Reference include a target date for completion of the Working group and suggested 31 March A Member took advantage of the presence of the External Auditor at the Committee to demand whether the external audit team had any views on an Audit Committee. The external auditor responded that an audit committee would not make significant difference to their activity. He added that the external auditor could either work in collaboration with a Committee like the CBFA or with an audit Committee The Chairman urged the Members to consult with their respective Capitals and that the topic would be further discussed at the next meeting. The Committee took note of the report The Chairman concluded by noting that he hoped that the Committee would be in a position to adopt the ASHI report, to move further on the establishment of a Building Renovation Fund, and to agree on the terms of reference for a working group on the Audit Committee question. The meeting was adjourned.