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    Press Release No:   UNIS/GA/1624
    Release Date:   14 March 2000
    Fifth Committee Opens First Part of Resumed Fifty-fourth Session

     NEW YORK, 13 March (UN Headquarters) -- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) opened the first part of its resumed fifty-fourth session this morning by adopting its programme of work as orally amended, and hearing calls for the timely submission of reports.

     The representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called for priority in scheduling to be given to agenda items on the scale of assessment, programme planning, the programme budget for 2000-2001, improving the financial situation of the United Nations, human resources management gratis personnel and the pattern of conferences.

     The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the resumed session provided an opportunity to resolve issues long on the Committee’s agenda.  He stressed the need for early consideration following this session of reports on proposed changes to a results basis for United Nations budgeting.

     When the Committee turned to other matters today, the representative of Syria expressed dissatisfaction with the performance and hours of operation of the Staff Cafeteria and Vienna Café.  He stressed that when outside contractors were awarded United Nations service contracts, they should be aware that their operations were not dictated by profit, but rather by the need to serve delegates.

     The representatives of Kuwait and Cuba also spoke.

     The Committee is next scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 21 March, when it planned to discuss its agenda items on review of efficiency, programme budget for 1998-1999 and programme planning.

     Committee Work Programme

     The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to begin the first part of its resumed fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly.  During the course of the three-week session, the Committee is expected to focus primarily on agenda items left pending from the main fifty-fourth session.

     This morning, the Committee had before it several documents concerning its organization of work for the session.  A note by the Secretariat (document A/C.5/54/L.40) listed the documents before the Committee for the resumed session, as well as the status of preparedness of new reports requested under various agenda items.

     A note by the Bureau (document A/C.5/54/L.41) concerns the Committee’s organization of work.  The Bureau recommends that the Committee postpone consideration of a number of reports to the second part of its resumed fifty-fourth session and the fifty-fifth session.  A report on the administrative and financial issues concerning the Non-Governmental Organizations Section of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs -? specifically, the number and level of posts -? would be postponed until the second part of its resumed session, as would reports on financing the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) and financing the two ad hoc criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.  The Bureau recommends postponing until the fifty-fifth session reports on the programme budget for 2000-2001.

     In addition, the Committee had before it a letter dated 2 March from the President of the General Assembly (document A/C.5/54/1/Add.4) informing the Chairman of the Committee of the decision taken by the Assembly at its ninetieth plenary meeting, to allocate to the Fifth Committee agenda item 175, entitled: “Financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.

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