FIFTH COMMITTEE CONCLUDES CONSIDERATION
NEW YORK, 11 December (UN Headquarters) -- The new budget must faithfully comply with all mandated activities of the United Nations -- not a dollar more, not a dollar less -- said the representative of Mexico, as the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) concluded its consideration of the proposed budget outline for the biennium 2004-2005.
The Secretariat should maintain fiscal discipline, he said, which for his Government referred not only to a way of spending money, but also indicated commitment to transparency, accountability and achievement of results. It should also pursue greater efficiency in all its activities, which should be achieved through such means as introduction of flexible management systems and use of new technologies.
Continuing, he said that the estimates for the next biennium demonstrated a shift from zero nominal growth to a real growth of some 5.8 per cent. That increase could be explained by the fact that Member States had been approving more activities, and the Secretariat seemed to be overcoming its resistance to change. He endorsed the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) on the budget outline, and insisted that the proposed budget for 2004-2005 must include decisions emanating from the reform of the Organization.
The representative of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, agreed with the ACABQ’s recommendation to approve an estimate of $2.92 million for 2004-2005. The figure to be adopted, he said, should allow the Secretary-General to propose a programme budget commensurate with all the activities and mandates adopted by the General Assembly. In relation to provisions for special political missions, the Group noted the proposal of the Secretary-General to remove them from the outline, but felt that the current practice should be maintained. In that regard, the Group fully endorsed the recommendations of the ACABQ to approve a figure for special political missions of no more than $170 million.
Regarding the Contingency Fund, the Group supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to keep the level at 0.75 per cent. The Group also stressed the need to respect and fully implement the provisions of resolution 41/213, in which the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit, in off-budget years, an outline of the proposed programme budget for the following biennium. That explicitly provided for the procedure for meeting additional expenditure after approval of the budget. In that regard, the Group considered that, if during the biennium any additional resources were required, the provisions of resolution 41/213 should be strictly followed.
Cuba’s representative agreed with Venezuela’s statement, and also endorsed the recommendation of the ACABQ to approve an estimate of $2.92 million for 2004-2005. Moreover, she supported the inclusion in the outline of an appropriation of $29.8 million for information technology. She had also noted the Secretary-General’s proposal not to include in the outline preliminary estimates for special political missions, and she wished to keep to the current practice. The level of the Contingency Fund should be increased, she continued, and the provisions of resolution 41/213 should be fully implemented.
The representative of China noted an increase in resources in the Secretary-General’s proposed budget outline, and took note of the total estimate for the biennium. The proposed outline should fully reflect the Millennium Development Goals and the outcomes of recent international conferences, she said, and should fully conform with the priorities of the medium-term plan. The total should be set to ensure effective implementation of priority activities endorsed by Member States, in accordance with the principles of adequacy, efficiency and productivity. She supported inclusion of the requirements for special political missions in the budget, to reflect the full picture of the Organization’s activities for 2004-2005 and to enhance the transparency of the budget.
Also this morning, Venezuela (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China) introduced an amendment to the draft resolution on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), which he had initially introduced on 6 December (See Press Release GA/AB/3544).
The Fifth Committee will meet again this afternoon at 3 p.m.
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