24 May 2002
Speakers in Fifth Committee Concerned That Request for Additional Resources Could Imply Steep Increases in 2002-2003 Budget
NEW YORK, 23 May (UN Headquarters) -- While responding to the challenges of terrorism in a new age, the proposals regarding the new mission in Afghanistan, the Counter-Terrorism Committee and safety and security of United Nations premises contained substantial additions to the adopted budget for 2002-2003, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was told this morning.
As the Committee took up several requests for additional resources, including those for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and services extended to the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the representative of the Russian Federation stressed that those expenses, while justified, should not lead to the precedent of a substantial growth in the budget. It was necessary to adopt long-overdue measures to balance the budget through enhanced efficiency and maintain budget discipline.
While fully supporting the activities of the CTC, the representative of New Zealand (also speaking on behalf of Australia and Canada) advocated postponing further consideration of the $10.5-million conference and support services requirements for the CTC until the issuance of the first performance report during the fifty-seventh session of the Assembly, since the revised estimates for that purpose had been calculated on the basis of assumptions. Besides, the Assembly had already approved $449 million for conference services, and the Organization was now less than five months into a 2-year budget cycle.
[Established on 28 September 2001, the Counter-Terrorism Committee is entrusted with monitoring measures taken by Member States to prevent terrorism in implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). Through the end of 2001, the CTC was financed under the resolutions relating to unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances. At the beginning of this year, resources for substantive services to the Committee have been requested under the heading of matters of which the Council is seized. No provisions in this regard have been included in the budget for 2002-2003, which was adopted in December.]
Presenting the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the matter, its Chairman, Conrad S.M. Mselle said that the preliminary impression was that many of the statistical indicators contained in the Secretary-General's report represented a worst-case scenario. Adequate experience by the end of the year should provide accurate information as far as future needs were concerned. For that reason, the ACABQ was recommending that the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of some $7.5 million. If required, additional appropriations should be dealt with in the context of the first performance report for the biennium.
Syria's representative emphasized the need to avoid situations where the Secretariat was unable to cover future needs for lack of resources. As the Organization was frequently faced with insufficiency of resources and inability to provide services, he wanted to receive assurances that if endorsed, the amount of $7.5 million would be sufficient.
Referring to the cutbacks in services announced by the Secretariat following a $75-million reduction in real level of resources under the 2002-2003 budget, several speakers in the debate also expressed concern about unequal treatment provided to meetings of various United Nations bodies.
In that connection, Indonesia's representative said that although no provisions had been made in the 2002-2003 regular budget for the conference and support services for the CTC, they had been provided by utilizing already appropriated resources. At the same time, some of the meetings approved by the Assembly in relevant resolutions had not been provided with adequate services. Agreeing with that position, the representative of Cuba stressed the importance of providing services to all priority activities of the Organization, stating that there should be more integrated, non-selective treatment in conference services.
While noting the importance of appropriate conference support to the various bodies and committees, as well as customary arrangements as far as the needs of regional groups were concerned, the representative of Spain (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) said the Secretariat and Member States should also support the integrity of budget resolutions and levels agreed at the General Assembly last December. There would, on occasion, be a need to grant exceptions for unforeseen and urgent activities, but he did not believe that conference and support services fell into that category. The European Union had for many years consistently advocated strict adherence to the mandated hours of conference servicing, and believed that enhanced discipline would bring long-term benefits to the United Nations.
The proposals for the financing of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) received support in the debate, however. The representative of Iran expressed hope that the resources, if approved, would enable the Under-Secretary-General to fulfil the mandate of rebuilding Afghanistan. There was no doubt that reconstruction of Afghanistan was indispensable for peace and security in the region.
[The Secretary-General's budget for UNAMA totaled some $43 million, of which $34 million would come from the provisions for special political missions of the programme budget 2002-2003. An additional amount of $8.7 million was therefore sought under the procedures provided for in General Assembly resolution 41/213, which sets out guidelines for revised estimates arising from the impact of extraordinary expenses, including those relating to the maintenance of peace and security.]
The representative of Japan, while supporting UNAMA's activities, asked in that regard how Assembly resolution 41/213 and others would be applied to the financing of the Mission.
The Fifth Committee also considered the financing of the United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP), the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), and the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA).
The Secretary-General's reports before the Committee were introduced by the United Nations Controller, Jean-Pierre Halbwachs.
The Fifth Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning was expected to take up the financing of the new mission in Afghanistan, as well as performance reports and proposed budgets for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III)/ United Nation Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA).
The Secretary-General's report on estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is concerned: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) (document A/C.5/25/Add.4) contains the requirements of the Mission for 12 months from the date of adoption (28 March), totalling $44.39 million net ($48.32 million gross). After taking into account the existing appropriations for the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan and for the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, totalling $10.46 million, and the expenditures relating to those two operations as well as the initial preparatory phase of UNAMA, totalling $9.09 million, the net additional requirements for UNAMA through March amount to $43.01 million (46.94 million gross) over and above existing appropriations.
By its resolution 56/254, the Assembly appropriated $98.34 million for special political missions. Of this amount a balance of $34.30 million remains at the date of the report (2 May). Of the additional requirements for UNAMA, $34.30 million would be charged against the remaining balance for special political missions. Therefore, an additional appropriation of $12.64 million gross ($8.71 million net) is sought under the procedures provided for in paragraph 11 of annex I of resolution 41/213. [Relating to extraordinary expenses, including those entailed in the maintenance of peace and security, which shall not be covered by the contingency fund.]
The Secretary-General requests that the Assembly approve a charge of $34.30 million to UNAMA against the balance remaining in the provision for special missions, and to approve an additional appropriation of $8.71 million under section 3 of the programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003. In addition, an appropriation of $3.93 million would be required under section 32, Staff assessment, offset by a corresponding amount in the estimates of income, under income section 1, income from Staff assessment.
In a related report (document A/56/7/add.10), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) commends the Secretariat for the planning of the Mission, which seeks to ensure that all elements of support by the United Nations system and its partners could be coordinated by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan. It points to the need for an effective and viable mechanism for coordination among the participating agencies and a firm agreement on the details of such a mechanism to discharge the functions listed under pillar II, and requests that in the next budget presentation full information be provided on the matter. It also notes that information on performance of trust funds should be reflected in the relevant performance reports.
The Advisory Committee notes that the programme contains projects focusing on humanitarian needs, recovery, relief and reconstruction and governance support aimed at capacity building of the Afghan administration and civil society. It is therefore of the view that there is a need to establish clear programme targets and time frames for the capacity-building projects and interventions, to ensure that resources are well targeted and that funds will be allocated promptly.
The Advisory Committee points out that the role to be played by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the operations of UNAMA is not readily apparent, and requests that in the next budget submission that role be clearly explained and justified. It also requests that in the next budget submission information be provided on issues related to privileges and immunities of UNAMA. It further requests that the Secretariat explore the use of United Nations Volunteers in UNAMA.
Regarding operational costs, the ACABQ recalls that a number of peacekeeping missions are scaling down and recommends that before new vehicles, communication equipment and other equipment are purchased, full use should be made of existing assets in the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi and other mission locations. As efforts are being made to share headquarters with funds and programmes in Kabul to reduce overhead costs, the Committee requests that information on those efforts be included in the next budget submission.
As $2.99 million is requested for the procurement of 136 additional vehicles, the Advisory Committee states that, should surplus vehicles subsequently be identified in other missions, the provisions under transport operations should be adjusted downward. Noting that $327,600 has been requested to cover landing fees and ground handling in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Advisory Committee notes that that provision should be explained more clearly in the next budget presentation.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly approve the Secretary-General's proposals made in his report, summarized above. It points out that as the provision for special political missions would have been exhausted, future requirements would be dealt with in accordance with the provision of Assembly resolutions 41/213, 42/411 or 49/233. Since it had considered the report of the Secretary-General under great pressure of time, which did not allow for an in-depth examination of staffing structure and grade levels, the Committee further recommends that all posts be approved on a provisional basis -- and without prejudice to recommendations the Committee may take on the basis of information provided in the next budget submission, in which the number of posts, their structure and grades should be fully justified.
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on conference and support services extended to the Counter-Terrorism Committee in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) (document A/C.5/56/42). According to the report the experience of the last few months indicates that a significant level of additional conference and other support services are required for the Counter-Terrorism Committee's activities, which are not provided for in the programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003.
According to the report, it is estimated that the additional requirements in the year 2002 will amount to $10.54 million. Should the Counter-Terrorism Committee continue its activities in the year 2003, appropriate proposals will be submitted at the Assembly's fifty-seventh session. The activities related to the servicing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee are of an extraordinary nature and should, according to the Secretary-General, be dealt with as provided for in paragraph 11 of annex I to Assembly resolution 41/213. [That paragraph stipulates that revised estimates arising from the impact of extraordinary expenses, including those relating to the maintenance of peace and security, shall not be covered by the contingency fund and shall continue to be treated in accordance with established procedures and under the relevant provisions of the Financial Regulations and Rules.]
The Advisory Committee in a related report (document A/56/7/Add.11) states that it trusts necessary measures would be taken to reduce the cost of translation/revision, including through the increased use of contractual arrangements. Such arrangements should bring about savings in general operating expenses, including computers and other equipment maintenance costs and related supplies, now estimated at $314,400. The ACABQ stresses, however, the importance of ensuring that the use of contractual services does not negatively affect the quality of documentation for the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
Also by the report, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly invite the Security Council to ensure that the proceedings of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and other subsidiary bodies are conducted with due regard to the most efficient use of conference-servicing resources. The Council might wish to consider the merits of establishing appropriate guidelines for the format and volume of reports to be submitted for consideration by the new body.
The Committee recommends that the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $7.5 million for the provision of conference and central support services to the Counter-Terrorism Committee in 2002. Such additional appropriations as may be necessary can be dealt with in the context of the first performance report for 2002/2003, which should include detailed information on expenditures relating to those services.
The first of the Secretary-General's reports on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) is his financial performance report for the Mission for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 (document A/56/818). It states that some $49.32 million gross have been appropriated for the maintenance of MINURSO for that fiscal year, inclusive of $2.34 million for the support account and $365,778 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy. Expenditures for the period totalled $45.99 million gross, resulting in an unutilized balance of $3.33 million gross, or seven per cent of the total appropriation.
Full reported expenditure amounted to $49.66 million, including $3.67 million in voluntary contributions. The unutilized balance resulted from reduced requirements under military personnel ($306,200), civilian personnel ($2.45 million), operational requirements ($89,100), other programmes ($14,200) and staff assessment ($465,500).
According to the Secretary-General's proposed budget for MINURSO for 2002/2003 (document A/56/826), the resources required for the maintenance of the Mission amount to $41.53 million gross ($38.49 million net), exclusive of estimated voluntary contributions of some $6.1 million. Should the Security Council decide to continue the mandate of the Mission, the Secretary-General recommends assessing that amount at a monthly rate of $3.46 million gross.
Of the total budget, some 47 per cent relates to civilian personnel costs. Operational costs amount to some 29 per cent of the budget; military personnel 16 per cent, while staff assessment comprises seven per cent of the total. Estimated requirements for 2002/2003 represent a 15 per cent reduction in total resources in relation to the apportionment for the current period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002 in connection with suspension of activities of the Identification Commission and support staff. The provisions take into account requirements for 203 military observers, 27 military personnel and 26 civilian police, reflecting a proposed 7.3 per cent decrease in military staff and 21.4 per cent decrease in civilian personnel.
In a related report (document A/56/946), the Advisory Committee notes an over-expenditure of some $1.03 million in connection with air operations for 2000/2001 and requests that future performance reports for the Mission contain detailed justifications for significant variances in budgeting implementation.
It recommends that the unencumbered balance of some $3.33 million gross ($2.86 million net) for 2000/2001 be credited to Member States in a manner to be decided by the General Assembly.
Further by the report, the ACABQ states that it has considered the proposed budget of MINURSO on the understanding that, should modifications be made in its mandate and requirements pursuant to the Security Council decisions, the Secretary-General would report on them no later than September 2002. Regarding the budget presentation, the report points out that the administration of MINURSO should refine its approach to objective-setting requirements with a view, in particular, to providing specific and measurable indicators of achievement.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the amount of $41.53 million gross ($38.49 million net) be approved for the maintenance of MINURSO for the 12-month period from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003 and that the amount be assessed at a monthly rate of $3.46 million gross, should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of MINURSO beyond 31 July 2002.
The Secretary-General's report contained in document A/56/900 provides details on the final disposition of the assets of the United Nation Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). The inventory value of the assets of the Mission as of 20 June 2000 totalled some $89.31 million. Some 33 per cent of that amount has been transferred to other peacekeeping operations or to the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, for temporary storage. The remaining 67 per cent relates to assets disposed of in the Mission area ($31.89 million) and reported as written off/lost ($28.37 million).
The action set out in the document is to take note of the report on the final disposition of assets and to approve the donations of assets with total inventory value of $235.8 million and corresponding residual value of $81,700 to various United Nations agencies and non-governmental bodies.
The Advisory Committee in a related report (document A/56/948) recommends approval of the Secretary-General's requests.
The Committee also had the Secretary-General's report on estimates on the United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP) (document A/C.5/56/25/Add.5), stating that the Assembly appropriated $98.34 million for special political missions under section 3, Political affairs, of the 2002-2003 programme budget. Since that provision has been more than fully allocated for other approved operations, the resource requirements contained in the present report are being sought under the procedures provided for in paragraph 11, Annex 1 to Assembly resolution 41/213.
Under the procedures mentioned above, the Assembly is requested to approve for UNTOP, after taking into account the unencumbered balance of $221,900 under the existing appropriation, an amount of $1.86 million under section 3 of the 2002-2003 programme budget. In addition, an appropriation of $236,300 would be required under section 32, Staff assessment, offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, income from Staff assessment.
Introduction of Reports
Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts and United Nations Controller, JEAN-PIERRE HALBWACHS, introduced the Secretary-General's reports on estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized: the United Nations mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP). He said that on 28 March, the Security Council had endorsed the establishment of UNAMA, which was to promote reconciliation and rapprochement and manage humanitarian relief and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan. The Mission would be headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. The structure comprised two main pillars: pillar I was to encompass political affairs; pillar II would deal with relief, recovery and reconstruction. The mission's third component was administrative and logistical. Overall, the Mission would entail 615 posts. Operational costs would be $17.7 million.
Regarding UNTOP, he said the Office had been established in June 2000 by a presidential statement of the Security Council, and its mandate had subsequently been extended. In April of this year, the Secretary-General had informed the Council of the positive role played by the Mission, and of his intention to continue activities for a further period. The Council had taken note of the information. The present report contained the requirements for UNTOP for the period of 1 June 2002 to 31 May 2003.
CONRAD S.M. MSELLE, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced the Advisory Committee's report on UNAMA. Referring to its recommendations, he stressed that the Secretary-General's proposals would be approved on a conditional basis regarding recommendations the ACABQ might make on the basis of information provided in the next budget submission for the Mission.
Regarding UNTOP, he recommended that the Assembly appropriate an amount of up to $2.01 million gross ($1.86 million net) under section 3, political affairs, of the 2002-2003 programme budget for the period from 1 June 2002 to 31 May 2003, on the understanding that such assessment as might be necessary would be dealt with in the context of the first performance report for the current biennium.
DANIEL SOTO (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the events of last September had become a shocking reminder of the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and take sensible precautionary measures for security and protection of people. The European Union welcomed the Secretary-General's reports and the advice of the ACABQ on the means to enhance the physical security of United Nations buildings and provide for the effective functioning of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
Turning to the revised estimates of the programme budget for 2002-2003 for the provision of conference and support services to the Counter-Terrorism Committee, he said there was no doubt that its effective functioning was a high priority for the Organization. He urged full and timely provision of all necessary services to the Committee, as required. Noting that the Secretariat and the ACABQ had produced varying levels of budgetary estimates of requirements for those services, he said he recognized the complexities involved in forecasting and budgeting for a major biennial calendar of meetings. That demonstrated that the revised estimates presented to the Committee had been calculated based on a set of assumptions that could not yet be justified by previous or existing practice.
He said that the European Union remained fully committed to resolution 56/242 adopted in March, and noted the importance of appropriate conference support services to the bodies and committees of the Organization, as well as customary arrangements in servicing the needs of regional groups. However, he also believed that the Secretariat and Member States should support the integrity of budget resolutions and levels agreed at the General Assembly immediately before the biennium to which they applied. There would, on occasion, be a need to grant exceptions for unforeseen and urgent activities, but he did not believe that conference and support services fell into that category. The Union had for many years consistently advocated strict adherence to the mandated hours of conference servicing and supported the current practice in that regard. Enhanced discipline would bring long-term benefits to the United Nations in terms of better focused meetings and discussions and efficient allocation of resources, which could be used in a more creative manner to address the needs of the full United Nations membership.
However, he shared some of the concerns already expressed by other delegations and regional groups on the Secretary-General's report (A/56/919) on the implementation of the pattern of conferences resolution. It was disappointing that the report failed to look creatively at solutions to remaining problems, and that no analysis of possible efficiencies or further productivity improvements had been attempted. He therefore did not believe it would be productive to enter into debates based on that report. He would prefer to consider those matters later in the year, when the Committee would have the outcome of a number of reviews, currently under way.
SHINICHI YAMANAKA (Japan) said his delegation supported the activities of UNAMA and could go along with the ACABQ recommendations in that regard. He was interested, however, in how resolutions 41/213, 42/411, 49/233 and 56/256 applied to the financing of that Mission.
EVA SILOT BRAVO (Cuba), said regarding the programme budget financing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) that she shared concerns of other delegations about the importance of providing services to all priority activities of the Organization. The Group of 77 developing countries and China had in an earlier statement made reference to the need for all conference services to be provided for priority activities of the Organization. She was concerned about the differential treatment seen in providing services to the CTC, and asked why the provision of conference services to CTC was treated differently from that for other priority activities. There should be more integrated, non-selective treatment in conference services, she said, and she would make concrete proposals in that regard during informal consultations.
ALIREZA TOOTOONCHIAN (Iran) supported the proposed budget for UNAMA as endorsed by the ACABQ. He hoped that the resources, if approved, would enable the Under-Secretary-General to fulfil the mandate of rebuilding Afghanistan. There was no doubt that reconstruction of Afghanistan was indispensable for peace and security in the region.
He shared the ACABQ's concern about the late issuance of the report, as a result of which experts of the Advisory Committee and the Fifth Committee could not examine the report in-depth. He understood, however, the urgency of the issue and commended the Secretariat for submission of the proposal in such a short period of time. He would express comments and concerns, including the role of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the provisions of intensified efforts for return of refugees, rents of premises of liaison offices and the level of daily subsistence allowances, during informal consultations.
Mr. HALBWACHS then introduced the Secretary-General's report on the question of conference and support services for the CTC. He said that the CTC established in September 2001, the CTC had been endorsed by the Security Council in October. For the latter part of 2001 it had been covered under the resolutions relating to unforeseen circumstances. For the current biennium, resources for substantive services to the Committee had been requested under the matters of which the Council was seized. In view of the lack of experience and information on conference servicing requirements for the CTC, no provision for them was included in the current budget. This year, given the priority attached to the work of the Committee, conference services were being provided through the use of existing appropriations. It was clear, however, that such an arrangement could not continue without detriment to the work of the Organization. For that reason, the Secretary-General was requesting an appropriation of $10.54 million.
Mr. MSELLE said that having discussed the submission, the ACABQ had noted that the estimates had been prepared without the benefit of experience with respect of servicing requirements of the CTC. Because of the timing of the submission of the Secretary-General's report, the Advisory Committee had not had enough time to analyze the statistics provided in that document. A preliminary impression, however, was that many of the statistical indicators represented a worst-case scenario and that adequate experience by the end of the year should provide accurate information as far as future needs were concerned. For that reason, the ACABQ was recommending that the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of some $7.5 million. If required, additional appropriations should be dealt with in the context of the first performance report.
FELICITY BUCHANAN (New Zealand), also speaking on behalf of Australia and Canada, said that the approved mandate for UNAMA set a daunting task for the United Nations, which Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZ) fully supported. While operating under an integrated structure, each agency, fund and programme would implement activities, manage resources and recruit personnel under their own rules and regulations. Given that UNAMA would coordinate and oversee programme resources of around $1.7 billion, she concurred with the ACABQ request for additional information on coordination in pillar II. Noting that the overall number of United Nations staff working under pillar II was 3,700, she added that the scale and scope of UNAMA, the number of associated organizations located in Kabul and the need for close coordination provided a good environment in which to apply a common services approach. Like the ACABQ, her delegation also had some questions on suggested co-location of staff and application of common services in future proposals.
The UNAMA was intended to operate in seven regional locations in addition to Kabul, she continued, and it was likely that more staff would spend time in the field with their local Government counterparts. The delegations she represented were highly committed to issues of safety and security, and she wanted to know if the security element of the Mission was considered adequate to the task. Overall, the delegations of Australia, Canada and New Zealand were comfortable with the conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ and stood ready to support approval of the Mission budget from the special political mission fund, with the residual amount funded via an additional appropriation.
Turning to conference and support services for Counter-Terrorism Committee, she expressed strong support for the work of that body, saying that its work was a priority and must be adequately supported and serviced. As for the request for an extra $10.5 million, she said that while data on service capacity and provision was a necessary component of the issue, it did not provide compelling evidence for immediate action. General Assembly resolution 56/254 A had approved $449 million for conference services, and the Organization was now less than five months into a 2-year budget cycle. While the report provided information on the level of services delivered to the CTC, some aspects of the problem remained unknown. They included actual expenditures relative to the overall approved budget in that area and specific linkage to the actual cost of all meetings provided so far this year. The workload assumptions for CTC were based on productivity standards currently under review; confirmation that those standards were in line with current practice elsewhere would assist the decision-making process. The report focused exclusively on issues of supply, and she welcomed the proactive approach suggested by the ACABQ in also addressing the "demand side" of the conference servicing equation.
Earlier this year, she continued, the Secretary-General had decided to assist Member States in managing demand by restricting meeting times and introducing a no-night-meeting policy, she continued. That was a longstanding CANZ position, and she considered the introduction of that disciplined approach timely and reflecting an efficient and effective approach to work. As the sheer volume of documentation provided to the CTC by Member States was a significant factor, perhaps Member States could receive more guidance and advice from the Committee on the format of reporting. In conclusion, she said that the proposal for additional resources for the CTC should be considered in the context of the first performance report during the fifty-seventh session of the Assembly.
VLADIMIR A. IOSSIFOV (Russian Federation) said that what the current reports before the Committee had in common was additions to the already adopted budget. The proposals should be directly linked with the need to strengthen the United Nations role in maintaining and countering new threats to peace and security. The proposals regarding Afghanistan, the CTC and safety and security of United Nations premises responded to the challenges of terrorism in a new age, but contained substantial additions to the adopted budget. Those additional expenses for the 2002-2003 budget, while justified, should not lead to the precedent of substantial budgetary growth, which could have negative impact for the planning of Member States. The first report on budget performance was therefore very important. It was clear that the Secretariat would need to adopt long-overdue measures to enhance efficiency, and that there was a need to maintain budget discipline and further need for savings.
After 11 September, the need to strengthen the security of United Nations premises had become acute, and he therefore welcomed the Secretary-General's comprehensive review of the matter and his proposals. The new, long-term needs, in addition to the adopted budget, were to fill long-existing gaps in United Nations security in various locations. He viewed positively the Secretary-General's proposals for appropriation of the requested amount. Additional assessments should be considered only at the end of the year in the context of the first performance report.
He supported the ACABQ recommendations regarding the financing of UNAMA, including the need to analyze the staffing table and to make more active and fuller use of property, equipment and vehicles from missions which were winding down.
He said that after the tragic events of 11 September, the Security Council had established the CTC, whose functioning required additional conference and support services. He supported the ACABQ recommendations regarding the Secretary-General's proposals, and was ready to consider constructively the proposal to give the Secretary-General commitment authority for subsequent consideration of expenditures within the context of the performance report on the budget.
He stressed the important and positive role of UNTOP, and fully supported the Secretary-General's proposal to appropriate the necessary funds for continuation of that Office.
ABDOU AL-MOULA NAKKARI (Syria) had no doubt about the importance of the CTC and understood that the reports it produced required translation and documentation services. As provisions for the CTC had not been included when the resolution on conference services had been adopted, he understood that additional requirements for servicing the CTC were required. He had noted two differences between the Secretary-General's report and the ACABQ recommendations. One difference was that the Secretary-General believed that financing should be done in accordance with paragraph 11, Annex I of Assembly resolution 41/213, and that the ACABQ required a commitment authority for the Secretary-General, to be presented during the presentation of the performance report on the budget. The second difference consisted in the amounts proposed by the Secretary-General and the ACABQ. He had not seen the ACABQ comments on the fact that the Secretary-General had left the door open for requesting additional resources in the light of the work of the CTC. He asked on what basis the ACABQ had recommended $7.5 million instead of the $10 million requested by the Secretary-General, and if the $7.5 million would be enough to fulfil the CTC's mandate. If the Fifth Committee adopted the ACABQ recommendations, he would like to see the programme budget implications.
Regarding the ACABQ recommendation that the Assembly should invite the Security Council to ensure that the proceedings of the CTC and other Council bodies were conducted with due regard to the most efficient use of conference-servicing resources, and to establish guidelines for reports that States were requested to submit to the CTC, he asked if there had ever been another instance in which such a recommendation by the Assembly had been made to the Council. He was inclined to adopt the recommendations and conclusions in the Secretary-General's report, but was open to suggestions by the ACABQ, depending on the provision of programme budget implications.
DEWI SAVITRI WAHAB (Indonesia) said her country attached great importance to the work of the CTC and had been one of the first ones to present its report to the Committee. However, she noted with concern that the Secretariat was providing conference and support services to various bodies. Although no provisions had been made in the 2002-2003 regular budget for conference and support services for the Counter-Terrorism Committee, they had been provided by utilizing the appropriated resources. At the same time, some of the meetings approved by the Assembly in relevant resolutions had not been provided with adequate services. Unequal treatment was given to various bodies as far as conference and support services were concerned, and further clarification was needed on why flexibility was provided to some meetings and not others.
Mr. YAMANAKA (Japan) said that needless to say, the work of the CTC was important, but his delegation shared some of the concerns expressed by previous speakers. The reports before the Committee contained projections for conference and support services requirements, including the number of meetings with interpretation and documentation. Recalling that the ACABQ had recommended appropriating $7.5 million, he said that more information should be provided regarding the projections in informal consultations.
Ms. SILOT BRAVO (Cuba) first returned to the question of the Afghanistan mission. She inquired about the proposals concerning a large number of high-level posts proposed for the Mission, asking how those proposals related to the human resources resolution, which cautioned against increasing the level of such posts and creating an inverted staffing pyramid.
Regarding the CTC, she said that at the beginning of this year, the activities of that body had been covered by the Secretariat, although no provisions to that effect had been included in the budget for the current biennium. She wondered what meetings had been deprived of services in order to service the CTC, and what formulas had been used by the Secretariat to provide services to that body without having budget resources for that purpose. She also wanted to know on what basis the budgetary projections had been made. How could new requirements be foreseen at this point? What criteria had been used to provide proposals for concrete conference services in the light of recent resolutions on the matter?
As for the remarks of the representative of Spain on behalf of the European Union, who had suggested that the discussion on the matter should be postponed, she said that priorities of all groups of States should be taken into account in a balanced manner. Greater flexibility and a constructive spirit should prevail to deal with concerns and priorities of not one, but all groups.
Mr. MSELLE, responding to delegates' questions and comments, reiterated that in paragraph 10, the last but one line should read "the volume of communications", not "the volume of reports". Regarding the question asked by the representative of Syria, he said that in his introduction of the report, he had indicated the limited experience in servicing the CTC that had been used to prepare the estimates. The Secretary-General report had indicated in paragraph 6 that the number of meetings over the period October 2001 May 2002 was 62. Yet, in paragraph 13 it stated that the CTC would hold four to five meetings per week. That number had not been borne out by experience from October 2001 to May 2002. Translation and processing of 700 pages of documentation per month, as indicated in paragraph 13, was not borne out by the statistics given in paragraph 6. The ACABQ considered that 700 pages for translation and processing appeared to be on the high side.
He said the ACABQ believed that for the rest of the year, an additional capacity of $7.5 million should be provided. If that amount was not adequate, the Secretary-General would have to review the situation and nothing should prevent the Secretariat from apprising the Advisory Committee of any difficulties.
Regarding Syria's request for a statement of programme budget implications of the ACABQ recommendations of a commitment of $7.5 million, he said that if that practice were followed, the Fifth Committee would be required to submit such a statement on virtually every recommendation made. The Advisory Committee considered proposals of the Secretary-General and advised the Assembly as to the cost of action. If the Fifth Committee did not agree with the Advisory Committee, it could always go along with the Secretary-General's proposals.
The Assembly had in the past indeed followed the course of action as proposed in paragraph 10 of the ACABQ report, he said in response to another question. The Assembly had primary responsibilities for oversight of apportioned resources, and had the prerogative to request the Council and other bodies that resources allocated to them should be spent with due regard to efficiency and optimal results.
Mr. HALBWACHS said that when the CTC was established in September, the Secretariat had no way of realizing that Committee's workload. It turned out to be far greater than imagined. Money had therefore been taken from a pool for translations and processing envisioned for a period later in the year, which was why additional resources were now requested. If those resources were not provided, the level of translation services would have to be toned down even for CTC. Regarding the difference between treatment of resources in the report on CTC and in report A/56/919 on implementation of the provisions of resolution 56/242 on the pattern of conferences, he said the current report dealt with an unforeseen scope, while in the other report a request had been made to operate within available resources. That report also indicated that if Member States wanted restitution of services, an amount of $12 to $15 million would be needed. On the question of programme budget implications, he said the procedure was very clear: the Secretary-General proposed to the General Assembly, the Fifth Committee considered the proposals, armed by recommendations the ACABQ had made, and then made a decision.
Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said that he appreciated Mr. Mselle's comments and was satisfied with the proposed practice. As for the statement on programme budget implication, what he meant was that as the recommendations of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ varied, it was important to know the exact impact of the decisions made and dispel any ambiguities. In the future, it would be necessary to avoid situations where the Secretariat was unable to cover needs for lack of resources. As the Organization was frequently faced with insufficiency of resources and inability to provide services, he thought it would make sense to follow the practice of presenting a PBI statement. He was not going to insist on that, but he wanted to receive assurances that if endorsed, the amount of $7.5 million would be sufficient.
Regarding the use of contractual arrangements, he added that the Advisory Committee had stated that it would reduce the costs. While he had no problem with that in principle, it was important to remember that using contractual arrangements should not compromise the quality of documentation for CTC.
Ms. SILOT BRAVO (Cuba) said that she appreciated the answers provided to delegations. However, she wanted to receive an answer to her question regarding meetings which had not been provided with services in order to cover the work of the CTC at the beginning of this year. On what basis did the Secretariat act in that manner? There was no General Assembly decision stating that the Secretariat could choose not to provide services to some meetings, while providing them to CTC. Existing resolutions also contained clear provisions that budgetary decisions should not hurt Member States.
Mr. HALBWACHS, in response, said the Secretariat had not deprived any specific meeting of resources, but had used money earmarked for the second half of the year for translation services for the CTC.
Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said he had raised a question which remained unanswered, namely whether $7.5 million would satisfy the requirements to provide services to CTC.
Mr. HALBWACHS said that the report had estimated that $10 million would be necessary. The actual number of meetings was not carved in stone, however, and he could go along with the ACABQ recommendation of $7.5 million and, if necessary, come back to the question in the budget performance report.
The Committee concluded its consideration of the matter.
Financing of MINURSO and MONUA
Mr. HALBWACHS introduced the financial performance and budget reports of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Mr. MSELLE introduced the ACABQ's relevant report, as well as its report on the financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA).
Regarding the Secretary-General's report on MONUA, Mr. HALBWACHS said that the report detailed the final disposal of the assets of the Mission, according to the procedures endorsed by the Assembly in its resolution 49/233.
As there were no further speakers, the Fifth Committee concluded its consideration of the matter.
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