By Julian Pecquet - 03/28/13 05:40 PM EDT
The United Nations agreed Thursday to make its oversight audits public for the first time following years of pressure from the United States to do so.
The Obama administration immediately applauded the decision. The U.S. representative to the UN for Management and Reform, Ambassador Joe Torsella, celebrated a "major step forward for UN transparency" on Twitter, while the U.S. mission to the UN put out a statement saying it was "very pleased" with the "groundbreaking decision" to make all of the internal audit reports publicly available online beginning later this year.
"Taxpayers and citizens around the world are demanding of their governments more transparency and accountability and today’s decision helps ensure the United Nations itself maintains the standards it helps promote around the world," said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. "We believe this decision represents a turning point in the way the UN does business, and are committed to working with member states to ensure that disclosure of audit reports becomes a permanent fixture at the UN."
The United States began posting online the audits of the U.N.'s watchdog, the Office of Internal Oversight Services, in 2006 under the leadership of then-ambassador John Bolton. Torsella again urged the U.N. to make the audits public during his speech to the opening session of his committee last year.
“Will we choose true reform, or window dressing? Fiscal restraint or business as usual? Sunshine or secrecy?” he asked in September.