10 May 2005
Budget Committee Takes Up Financing for Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo Peacekeeping Missions
NEW YORK, 9 May (UN Headquarters) -- As the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) considered the budgets of the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo this morning, speakers stressed the need to provide the missions there with the necessary financial and human resources, for successful implementation of all aspects of their mandates.
At the same time, members of the Committee expressed serious disappointment over the fact that, due to time constraints, the Secretariat had been unable to prepare a full-year budget for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), for which it had been proposed that the Secretary-General be given a commitment authority, with assessment, until the end of October this year, in the amount of $383.2 million.
Presenting the reports before the Committee, Catherine Pollard, Director of Peacekeeping Financing Division, said that MONUC’s budget for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 would be submitted at the main part of the Assembly’s sixtieth session. Meanwhile, immediate cash and additional human resources were required to support additional military personnel and to enable the Mission to reach its operational requirements. The request for commitment authority included 307 additional required posts and 52 volunteer positions to support the Mission’s expansion. The provisional establishment of posts was on a temporary basis and was requested without prejudice to the Assembly’s consideration of the 2005-2006 budget.
In that connection, China’s representative said that the arbitrary postponement of the full 2005-2006 budget to the sixtieth session, almost six months into the budgetary year, seemed unconscionable to him. The commitment authority, as he understood it, was a contingency measure. It was neither a panacea, nor a blank check. The report before the Committee provided an analysis of resource requirements that was often general and lacked specifics, and he expected to get a more detailed justification of the requirements in the future.
The representative of Canada, who also spoke on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that the delegations she represented appreciated the enormity of the task confronting the management of MONUC, but the very size and complexity of the Mission made the requirement for comprehensive and timely budget reporting critical.
Ethiopia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted that the current financing period would be critical for the electoral process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therefore, the Group urged the United Nations to provide an appropriate means to enable MONUC to assist the Government with the holding of elections. It was important that all peacekeeping missions, particularly MONUC, had an available force reserve battalion to confront emergency situations. In that connection, he encouraged the formation of integrated police units and the establishment of electoral focal points in the 11 provincial capitals and other major population centres. He also urged the establishment of an international task force on the rule of law, comprising multinational and bilateral donors, United Nations programmes and agencies and MONUC.
He was also among the speakers who commented on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by the personnel of the Mission, urging the Secretary-General and the management of MONUC to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such acts in the future. It was also imperative to take appropriate disciplinary actions against all the perpetrators by respective troop-contributing countries. In the interest of maintaining a positive image of the United Nations peacekeeping, the Group supported the proposal to establish an international fund to support the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse in all peacekeeping missions.
Commenting on the Secretary-General’s proposed budget of some $478 million for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) said that the Mission continued to be top heavy and its lines of authority blurred. There was continuing potential for duplication and grade inflation, and the travel programme proposed had not been sufficiently justified. The Advisory Committee’s report on the Mission might be seen by some as being rather harsh, but its observations and recommendations were aimed at promoting the most effective and efficient utilization of the Mission’s resources.
The representative of Guatemala, who also spoke on behalf of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, stressed the priority importance for the region of re-establishment of peace and security in Haiti. For the first time, a number of countries in the region had joined in an effort through the participation of national contingents in MINUSTAH. It was essential that the Mission have the financial resources to fully carry out its mandate and achieve progress in the fields of security, political dialogue and social and economic development.
While supporting the goal of restoring democratic institutions and promoting economic development in Haiti, Venezuela’s representative commented on the plans to provide budget support to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, which had traditionally been financed through voluntary contributions. A policy decision of the Assembly was required on that matter, he said. The Secretariat did not have the legislative mandate to use resources allocated to the Mission’s budget for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, which should be financed through voluntary contributions.
Also this morning, the Committee considered the Secretary-General’s proposal to use the cash balance of some $94.24 million from closed missions to supplement the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund in order to finance the initial requirements of new peacekeeping operations. A report containing proposals for possible transfer of financial and technical support to the Galaxy system from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to the Department of Management of the United Nations Secretariat was introduced by a representative of the Information Technology Services Division.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Egypt, India, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, South Africa and Nigeria.
The Committee will take up the financial situation of the United Nations at 10 a.m. Thursday, 12 May.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to consider proposed budgets for the United Nations Missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti and the assets of closed missions. It was also expected to take up several other reports related to peacekeeping, including the arrangements for the Galaxy system and the level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund.
UN Organization Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)
The Committee also had before it a performance report on the budget of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004 (document A/59/647). In it, the Secretary-General notes that the total expenditure for MONUC for the period has been linked to the Mission’s objective through a number of results-based frameworks, grouped by components, namely, peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Transitional Government and elections, rule of law and human rights, human dimension of sustainable peace, and support. The 2003-2004 period was the first period for which the Mission was able to assess its performance against the planned results-based frameworks set out in the 2003-2004 budget.
The Secretary-General asks the Assembly to decide on the treatment of the unspent balance of some $4.55 million with respect to period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004. It should also decide on the treatment of other income/adjustments for the period ended 30 June 2004 amounting to some $28.3 million from interest income ($4.63 million), other/miscellaneous income ($957,000), prior-period adjustment ($10,000) and savings on or cancellation of prior-period obligations ($22.68 million).
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on the financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document A/59/779). Pending submission to the Assembly during the main part of its sixtieth session of a full budget for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, including results-based frameworks, the report contains a request for commitment authority with assessment in the amount of $383.2 million, exclusive of budgeted voluntary contributions in kind in the amount of $1.07 million, to cover the Mission’s operational and human resource requirements for the period from 1 July to 30 October 2005.
The report states that the commitment authority provides for the deployment of 760 military observers, 15,774 military contingent personnel, 268 civilian police, 1,109 international staff, 1,549 national staff, and 543 United Nations Volunteers, including an additional 134 international staff, 194 national staff and 52 United Nations Volunteers. The proposed additional 380 personnel represent essential additional human resource requirements of the Mission, without prejudice to the Assembly’s decision following consideration of the Mission’s proposed staffing establishment for the 2005-2006 financial period.
In the report, the Secretary-General asks the Assembly to authorize him to enter into commitments in an amount not exceeding $383.2 million for the Mission’s maintenance for the four-month period from 1 July to 31 October 2005. He also requests the Assembly to assess some $290.5 million for the period from 1 July to 1 October 2005, and an amount of $92.7 million for the period from 2 to 31 October 2005, should the Security Council decide to continue the Mission’s mandate beyond 1 October 2005.
In its report on the financing of MONUC (document A/59/736/Add.16), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) notes that the Security Council extended the deployment of MONUC until 31 March 2005 and authorized an increase of the Mission’s strength by 5,900 personnel, including up to 341 civilian police personnel. By its resolution 1592 (2005), the Council extended the Mission’s mandate until 1 October 2005, with the intention of renewing it for further periods.
The Council’s decision was followed by the submission of revised estimates for MONUC, which the ACABQ considered in March 2005, the report notes. In its related report, the Advisory Committee pointed to serious and significant problems in the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates for MONUC. The inadequacies identified by the Committee extended across the proposed revised budget, including requests for additional staffing, as well as for additional operational resources. It was made worse by an attempt to reflect in the revised budget the resource implications of a major reorganization, which the Mission is in the process of implementing. The Mission has not been able to develop a clear vision for its managerial structure or processes.
The ACABQ expects that the rigorous review of the Mission’s structure and requirements, as called for by the Assembly and promised by the Secretariat, will lead to streamlining and economies, the report states. Regarding requested operational requirements, the Committee points out that the programme of acquisition of vehicles, equipment and services should take account of the delays in the deployment of Mission personnel. The Mission should, moreover, prioritize its programmes of acquiring vehicles, equipment and services, which may reduce requirements during the four-month period for which commitment authority is sought.
The ACABQ recommends that for the maintenance of the Mission from 1 July to 30 October 2005, the Secretary-General be granted commitment authority in the full amount of the $383.2 million requested, but with an assessment of $350 million as follows: $265.3 million to be assessed for the period from 1 July to 1 October 2005 and $84.7 million for the period from 2 to 31 October 2005 to be assessed should the Council decide to continue the Mission’s mandate beyond 1 October 2005.
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the budget for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 and expenditure report for the period from 1 May to 30 June 2004 (document A/59/745). The budget, which amounts to some $478.05 million, provides for the deployment of 6,700 military contingent personnel, 1,622 civilian police officers including in formed units, 489 international staff, 621 national staff and 179 United Nations Volunteers.
The report notes that the Mission’s total resource requirements have been linked to the Mission’s objective through a number of results-based frameworks, grouped by components: secure and stable environment, political process, human rights, humanitarian and development coordination and support. Human resources in terms of number of personnel have been attributed to the individual components, with the exception of the Mission’s executive direction and management, which can be attributed to the Mission as a whole. The rejustification of posts identified in General Assembly resolution 59/17 of October 2004 is included under executive direction and management and the relevant frameworks components.
In its resolution 59/17, the Assembly appropriated an amount of $49.23 million for the period from 1 May to 30 June 2004 for the Mission’s establishment, the report continues. This amount has been assessed on Member States. The total expenditure for the period amounted to $34.55 million gross (about $34.5 million net).
The Secretary-General asks the Assembly to decide on the treatment of the unspent balance of $14.7 million with respect to the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006. The Assembly is also asked to appropriate the amount of $478.05 million for the Mission’s maintenance for the 12-month period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, and to assess that amount at a monthly rate of $39.84 million, should the Council decide to continue the Mission’s mandate.
In its related report (document A/59/736/Add.13), the ACABQ recommends a reduction of some $7.95 million in the proposed budget for MINUSTAH for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006. The Advisory Committee also makes a number of observations and recommendations with regard to the Mission’s administration and management and opportunities for further savings.
The ACABQ concludes that the review of the Mission’s organizational structure still has not been carried out. Although the Advisory Committee has recommended the establishment of a number of posts, pending the review, every effort should be made to accommodate the additional functions through redeployment. The ACABQ has pointed to a number of instances where further economies are possible, for example, under maintenance, security, communications support and acquisition of vehicles.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the unspent balance of $14.70 million for the period from 1 May to 30 June 2004 be credited to Member States in a manner to be determined by the Assembly. The ACABQ is of the view that, in addition to reductions relating to the Committee’s recommendations on the proposed staffing requirements, a reduction of $7 million is possible under operational costs of the proposed budget. The Committee recommends, therefore, that the Assembly appropriate the amount of $470.11 million for the Mission’s maintenance for the 12-month period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006.
Closed Peacekeeping Missions
The Committee had before it the Secretary-General’s report on the financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2003 (document A/58/778), which provides information on 18 closed missions. The Secretary-General proposes that, following the crediting of $84.45 million to Member States on 30 June 2004 in accordance with Assembly resolution 58/288, the remaining cash available totalling some $94.24 million be retained until 31 October 2004 to supplement the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund in order to finance the initial requirements of the new peacekeeping operations.
In its report (document A/58/799), the ACABQ notes that the postponement of the return of “available cash” to Member States is a policy decision to be determined by the Assembly. The points made by the Advisory Committee in its previous report remain valid, however, and the Assembly might wish to take them into account in reaching its decision. In that report (document A/58/732), the ACABQ notes that cash from closed missions appears to be the only source that can be used for temporary cross-borrowing when the International Tribunals or active peacekeeping operations run out of cash. Cash from closed missions is also a source of funding for new missions, in addition to the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund. Borrowing from active missions is not permitted under General Assembly resolutions and the use of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund is restricted to the purposes set out in Assembly resolution 49/233 A of 23 December 1994.
The report of the Secretary-General on the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as at 30 June 2004 (document A/59/752) provides information for 18 closed peacekeeping missions.
The report states that the cash available in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund as of 28 February 2005 amounted to some $134.1 million. Some $100 million from the Fund has already been authorized under the terms of General Assembly resolution 49/233 A of December 1994 by the ACABQ consisting of $50 million pre-mandate commitment authority for the Sudan and $50 million for MONUC. Once the Council decides to authorize the new operation, there will be a need for immediate cash requirements before the Assembly has completed its review and approval of the full budgets for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. The available cash in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund is not sufficient to meet all of the foreseeable cash requirements, in particular for the start-up of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and the expansion of MONUC. Pending the payment of assessed contributions, the shortfall would have to be met from loans from closed peacekeeping missions.
The Secretary-General proposes that the cash balance of $92.9 million available in 11 closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2004 be retained. He will report to the Assembly at its sixtieth session on the matter.
In its related report (document A/59/790), the ACABQ recommends acceptance of the Secretary-General’s proposal.
Peacekeeping Reserve Fund
The report of the Secretary-General on the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund (document A/59/787) provides information on the status of the Fund, which was created by the Assembly in its resolution 47/217 as a cash-flow mechanism to ensure the Organization’s rapid response to the needs of peacekeeping operations. It was also decided that the level of the Fund should be $150 million. In its resolution 49/233 A, the Assembly decided to limit the utilization of the Fund to the start-up phase of new operations, expansion of existing ones or unforeseen and extraordinary expenditures related to peacekeeping. For the 12-month period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004, the level of the Fund was $163.79 million, including outstanding loans of $48.82 million.
The Secretary-General proposes that the excess balance of $13.79 million over the authorized level ($150 million) of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund be applied to meeting the financing of the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006.
The Advisory Committee, in a related report (document A/59/791), notes that in 2003-2004, loans from the Fund amounting to $119.4 million were made for immediate start-up requirements for Missions in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi and Haiti, and that a further $49 million was loaned to the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB), MINUSTAH and UNMIS during the period from 1 July 2004 to 31 March 2005. The loans are repaid as payments for assessed contributions are received. As at 31 March 2005, prior to the recording of investment income for the first quarter of 2005, the Fund balance was $165.02 million, comprising $134.2 million in available cash and $30.82 million in outstanding loans to UNMIS ($18 million) and the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) ($12.82 million). The accrued interest income of the Reserve Fund for the first quarter of 2005 amounted to $790,544.
The Advisory Committee states that, in the light of the immediate requirements, particularly for the start-up of UNMIS and the expansion of the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it would be more prudent to determine whether to utilize any excess over the authorized Fund level with reference to actual cash on hand, rather than a fund balance that includes credits from loans that have been outstanding for prolonged periods. The Advisory Committee recommends that, instead of being applied to meeting the financing of the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, the excess balance of $13.79 million be maintained in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund.
Another report before the Committee (document A/59/265/Add.1) contains proposals for the review of possible arrangements for the migration of financial and technical support to the Galaxy system from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to the Department of Management of the United Nations Secretariat.
According to the report, the Galaxy e-staffing tool integrates recruitment, placement, managed mobility and promotion of United Nations staff. Since 2002, the tool has been implemented in over 40 duty stations including all seven main overseas established offices, peacekeeping missions, the Tribunals and all departments at Headquarters.
The tool was developed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in close cooperation with the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), primarily using the resources of peacekeeping missions. Currently, the DPKO continues to provide financial and technological support for the development and maintenance of this electronic tool, despite the fact that this Secretariat-wide activity is not its core responsibility. Following its audit review of the Galaxy system in April-September 2004, the Office of the internal Oversight Services (OIOS) recommended migration of its technical development, maintenance and support from the DPKO to the Department of Management, specifically to the Information Technology Services Division of the Office of Central Support Services. However, the auditors considered that this transfer should not be effected until the Division was in a position to assure a continued level of service, given that significant financial resources might be required for this purpose.
The Secretary-General indicates that a review will be undertaken to establish the most appropriate technological infrastructure for the Galaxy system. Following that review, a report would be submitted to the General Assembly at its sixtieth session on a strategic plan for the technical support of the Galaxy system by the Department of Management and on possible financial implications of the new arrangements for the programme budget. In the meantime, the OHRM and the DPKO would continue the existing partnership in support and development of Galaxy.
In this connection, the Advisory Committee (document A/59/736) states that the study proposed by the Secretary-General is not limited to the transfer of technical support for the system from one department to another. It is broader in scope and amounts to an intention to evaluate alternative e-staffing systems. Given the well-known difficulties experienced with Galaxy, lessons learned and experiences acquired during its development should be fully documented and analysed. The Advisory Committee also finds it useful to review the experiences of other large organizations having installed similar systems and to consider sharing the applications developed or acquired by other international organizations. The results of the above should be reflected in the report to the Assembly. Special attention should be paid to the modalities of the transition and planning for a seamless transition without disruption of services to users and a clear definition of the phases during which there will be an overlap of responsibilities between the two Departments.
The Advisory Committee appreciates the effort of the Secretary-General to inform the Assembly of developments with regard to the Galaxy system and its future evolution. It looks forward to the full report that the Secretary-General will submit in the near future. In the opinion of the ACABQ, however, the study proposed by the Secretary-General is one that can be undertaken on his own authority, especially since there is no indication of any additional resource requirements for this purpose.
Democratic Republic of Congo
CATHERINE POLLARD, Director of Peacekeeping Financing Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the financing arrangements for MONUC for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2005, noting that the Secretary-General requested commitment authority with assessment in the amount of $383.2 million. The budget for MONUC for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 would be submitted at the main part of the Assembly’s sixtieth session. Pending consideration of that budget, immediate cash and additional human resources were required to support additional military personnel and to enable the Mission to reach its operational requirements. The Secretary-General request for commitment authority including 307 additional required posts and 52 volunteer positions to support the Mission’s expansion. The provisional establishment of posts was on a temporary basis and was requested without prejudice to the Assembly’s consideration of the 2005-2006 budget. The actions to be taken by the Assembly were set out in the report
VLADIMIR KUZNETSOV, ACABQ Chairman, introduced that body’s related report, noting that the revised estimate for the 2004-2005 MONUC budget had been seriously flawed. In response to the report of the ACABQ and a General Assembly resolution, the Secretariat had announced its intention to review MONUC, including its structure and requirements, and to reflect the findings of the review in a comprehensive proposal. The ACABQ concurred with the intention to use general temporary assistance to meet the requirements for 134 additional international positions, pending the submission of the 2005-2006 budget. Additional national staff should also be provided through general temporary assistance. Care should be taken to avoid the implication that the provision of resources in any way implied approval of the establishment of posts or the creation of new functions. The ACABQ expected that review of the Mission’s structure and requirements would lead to streamlining and economies. The Advisory Committee’s recommendation for full approval of the commitment authority requested, but assessment of a lesser amount, reflected those considerations.
HAILE SELASSIE GETACHEW (Ethiopia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, supported the request for commitment authority, with assessment, for MONUC for the period ending on 31 October. He recognized that, due to limited time since the adoption of resolution 59/285 of 13 April, the Secretariat had been unable to complete its revision of the Mission’s resource requirements, but regretted that fact. That would add to the heavy workload of the Committee, and he urged the Secretariat to make every effort to keep to the peacekeeping budget cycles.
The MONUC was at the forefront of efforts by the international community to establish peace, stability, democracy, respect for human rights and development in that country, he continued. While there had been some improvements in the security situation in the recent past, daunting challenges still lay ahead. The humanitarian situation remained critical, and an estimated 3 million Congolese remained in acute need of assistance in a complex emergency. As many as 1,000 preventable deaths occurred daily. By its recent resolutions, the Security Council had expanded the mandate of MONUC, increased its strength and adjusted its military and logistical concepts of operations to allow for greater concentration in the east of the country. In that regard, he noted that, although progress towards disarmament and demobilisation of Congolese combatants had been made, the results remained far short of the target of 5,000 combatants. As for the foreign combatants, the Group welcomed the recent decision of Forces démocratique pour la libération de Rwanda (FDLR) to cooperate in the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and resettlement process, and called on MONUC to continue to facilitate its full implementation. The Group also welcomed the progress in normalisation of relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighbouring States, particularly ongoing high-level contacts among regional leaders.
He also touched upon the elections, saying that there would be significant logistical challenges to the electoral process, particularly the lack of a road network or telecommunications infrastructure, as well as the fact that nationwide elections had not been held in nearly 40 years. The current financing period would be critical for the electoral process. Therefore, the Group urged the United Nations to provide an appropriate means to enable MONUC to assist the Government with the holding of elections. It was important that all peacekeeping missions, particularly MONUC, had an available force reserve battalion to confront emergency situations. In that connection, he encouraged formation of integrated police units and the establishment of electoral focal points in the 11 provincial capitals and other major population centres. He also urged the establishment of an international task force on the rule of law, comprising multinational and bilateral donors, United Nations programmes and agencies and MONUC.
Turning to the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, he reiterated the Group’s indignation against such criminal acts and urged the Secretary-General and the management of MONUC to take appropriate measures to prevent the future recurrence of such acts. It was also imperative to take appropriate disciplinary actions against all the perpetrators by respective troop-contributing countries. In the interest of maintaining a positive image of the United Nations peacekeeping, the Group supported the proposal to establish an international fund to support the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse in all peacekeeping missions. He would also appreciate a clarification of the measures that had already been taken in that regard.
The Group looked forward to a detailed budget proposal, he said, including a clear analysis of structure, resources and justification of posts, in the context of the Mission’s budget for 2005-2006 during the main part of the sixtieth session. Therefore, the Group would defer its substantive comments to the appropriate time. He concurred with the ACABQ that a rigorous review of the structures and requirements of all peacekeeping missions should lead to streamlining and economies. The Fifth Committee would also benefit from an update of progress in the implementation of all aspects of respective mandates, which would also identify current and potential challenges facing the Missions and the measures by which they might be addressed. Immediate cash and additional human resources were needed to support additional military personnel and meet the operational requirements of MONUC.
XUDONG SUN (China) said that he deeply regretted the Secretariat’s failure, due to time constraints, to provide the current session with MONUC’s full budget, as was customarily required for budgetary review and approval. That showed a lack of seriousness towards the Mission’s budget. The arbitrary postponement of the full 2005-2006 budget to the sixtieth session, almost six months into the budgetary year, seemed unconscionable to him. The Secretariat needed to make sustained efforts to avoid finding itself in a similar jam in the future.
As for the commitment authority, as he understood it, that was a contingency measure. It was not a panacea, nor a blank check. The report before the Committee provided an analysis of resource requirements that was often general and lacked specifics. He hoped that the Secretariat would provide further information on the detailed cost estimates of MONUC by category for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2005 and on the actual expenditure covering the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, or up to the end of April at the very least. Paragraph 13 of the ACABQ’s report pointed out that the total commitment authority requested represented more than a straight prorating of the revised estimates recently approved by the Assembly. The analysis provided by the Advisory Committee was “a little too succinct” to give a complete picture. His delegation hoped to get a more detailed rationale behind the request.
Out of concern for an improved budgetary process and enhanced budgetary management for MONUC, he endorsed the ACABQ’s recommendation that stressed the importance of the involvement of, and guidance from, the most senior levels of peacekeeping missions in the formulation of objectives, as well as the budgetary preparation process, he said. He hoped that MONUC would study carefully that very relevant recommendation and take effective measures to improve its management in the light of its own reality of the ground. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations, for its part, also had an important responsibility to provide concrete guidance and supervision to all missions and to share with them successful experiences and practices. China could be counted on to support the provision of resources to the Secretariat for that purpose.
Continuing, he said that there had been instances of sexual exploitation of female minors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by a few individuals in MONUC, in breach of discipline and the code of conduct. His delegation strongly condemned such behaviour. Following those incidents, the Secretary-General had restated his policy of zero tolerance and instructed the Office of Internal Oversight Services to investigate those allegations by following all the leads. His delegation called upon MONUC to give priority attention to the matter by earnestly and scrupulously acting on the eight OIOS recommendations in a resolute effort to prevent similar tragedies from recurring. Those that breached the law and the code of conduct must understand, in no uncertain terms, that they could expect swift and sure justice and severe sanctions. Chinese folk wisdom believed that it was never too late to mend the pen after a few sheep had bolted. Only by immediately putting in place and effectively implementing stern deterrents and preventive measures could MONUC stamp out acts of sexual exploitation, protect the local people and uphold the good name of United Nations peacekeepers.
YASSER ELNAGGAR (Egypt) expressed his severe discomfort with the fact that the Secretariat had not submitted a full budget for peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was the practice for Member states to thank the Secretariat for the submission of reports on the various items on the Committee’s agenda. This time around, however, he did not see a comprehensive report that would prompt him to thank the Secretariat. The Committee was being asked to approve commitment authority for the mission without having received a detailed statement or specific budget for the mission. Despite the difficulties faced by the Secretariat in preparing budgets for new peacekeeping op0erations, or in view of developments on mandates adopted by the Security Council, continuing the practice of not providing budgets was both unreasonable and unacceptable.
JAIDEEP MAZUMDAR (India) said he did not need to add anything further to the Committee’s deep disappointment. He supported the statement of the African Group by the representative of Ethiopia. Regarding reimbursements for MONUC, however, he wished to bring to the Committee’s and to the Secretariat’s attention the fact that his delegation had not been paid reimbursements for its commitment since 2003. Why had that been the case and what did the Secretariat plan to do in response to the situation? he asked.
Responding to delegations’ questions, Ms. POLLARD noted the disappointment and concern that the Secretariat had not able to submit the full 2005-2006 budget. However, in the revised 2004-2005, a number of issues had been raised by the ACABQ and endorsed by the Assembly. Time was needed to review those issues and reflect a positive response to concerns in the 2005-2006 budget. Addressing some of the issues might, in fact, extend into the 2006-2007 budget. The time period had been too short to provide a meaningful response to the issues raised. It would have been much worse to provide a full 2005-2006 budget that did not respond to concerns.
In response to particular questions, she said she would defer comment on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse to the Assistant Secretary-General for Operational and Planning Support, who would provide the Committee with detailed information on the issue. On the issue of elections, a joint assessment mission by the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had returned to Headquarters and was in the process of preparing the Secretary-General’s report to the Security Council. That report would be forthcoming. The information on status of expenditures as of 30 April could be provided in informal consultations. Those figures were still preliminary, as the current financial period had not closed. Regarding reimbursement for troops, the Secretariat understood the disappointment of troop-contributing countries that had experienced delays in reimbursements. The Secretariat had recently reimbursed contingent-owned equipment payments up to January 2004. Due to the expansion of the mission last October, the Secretariat had not come forward with a revised budget due to time constraints. The decision to use existing appropriations for the expansion had resulted in a delay in reimbursement to troop-contributing countries. With cash payments, the Secretariat would be able to catch up on troop reimbursements and bring MONUC in line with other missions.
The Secretary-General’s report on the budget of MINUSTAH was introduced by Ms. POLLARD, who said that the Secretary-General’s proposed budget of some $478 million for 2005-2006 reflected an increase of $99 million from the appropriation of $379 million for 2004-2005. The variances were due to the full deployment of the authorized strength of 6,700 contingent personnel (adjusted by a 2 per cent delayed deployment factor) and international staff (with a 10 per cent vacancy factor). Among other factors, there were also higher requirements under facilities and infrastructure attributable to an increase in construction services for upgrading of roads and seaport jetties and construction of 37 new helicopter landing sites and renovation of four airfields. Also, against the appropriation of $49.3 million for the period from 1 May to 30 June 2004 under the terms of resolution 59/17 of 29 October 2004, total expenditure had amounted to $34.6 million, resulting in an unencumbered balance of $14.7 million.
Mr. KUZNETSOV introduced a related ACABQ report, saying that during its consideration of the performance report for the Mission, the Advisory Committee had been informed that, under the pressure of time, national staff had been initially recruited as individual contractors for the Mission. However, functions of a continuing nature should be carried out by staff occupying established posts and related expenditures should be charged to staff costs. Every effort should be made to regularize the situation at MINUSTAH as a matter of urgency. For the current financial period, there was a potential for savings under civilian personnel and facilities and infrastructure. He expected the performance report of the Mission to reflect those savings. In the report, the ACABQ had also referred to its expectation that the 2004-2005 performance report should indicate the financial impact of Hurricane Jeanne on the Mission.
In MINUSTAH, as in a number of other missions, the ACABQ had noted an intention to provide budget support to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, which had traditionally been financed through voluntary contributions. A policy decision of the Assembly was required on that matter.
Continuing, he said that the Mission continued to have a top-heavy and fragmented organizational structure with blurred lines of authority. There was continuing potential for duplication and grade inflation. The ACABQ would expect, subject to further guidance by the Assembly, a renewed effort to rationalize the organizational structure of MINUSTAH. The Advisory Committee also requested that the Secretary-General ensure that the requirements of Assembly resolution 55/232 with regard to the criteria of cost-effectiveness and efficiency of outsourcing be fully met by the administration of MINUSTAH. The Committee had also made detailed comments with regard to the Mission’s request for consultants, where it felt that many issues could probably be dealt with by local, rather than international, consultants and travel, where it found scanty justification and expected efforts to reduce travel costs. The report also contained a call for the Mission’s administration to review all acquisitions and replacements of vehicles and information technology equipment to optimize the stocks and improve inventory control and reporting.
In conclusion, he said that the report of the ACABQ on MINUSTAH may be seen by some as being rather harsh. However, the Advisory Committee had not singled out any particular missions for special treatment, nor had it established linkages between missions. Its comments, observations and recommendations were based on an objective technical consideration of the proposals before it. The Advisory Committee’s recommendations should in no way hinder or impede the implementation of the Mission’s mandate. To the contrary, they were aimed at promoting the most effective and efficient utilization of the Mission’s resources.
ADELLE FERGUSON (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that the demands placed on the United Nations over the last year by the ongoing surge in peacekeeping had been unprecedented. If the burden on the Secretariat had been heavy, the task now facing the Fifth Committee was equally daunting. With over a dozen mission budgets plus a wide range of horizontal and policy issues for its consideration, it was incumbent upon members of the Committee to remain as focused and action-oriented as possible.
Notwithstanding continued progress in the implementation of results-based budgeting, she wanted to voice her concern over the unevenness of the quality of various budget presentations, she said. Proper budgetary processes were critical to the operation of every mission, and she underlined the importance of comprehensive, coherent and transparent budget presentations. She urged both the missions and Headquarters to do their utmost in that regard. The delegations she represented were also disappointed that the requested review of the management structures of all peacekeeping operations would not be available until May 2006. Given the growth of United Nations peacekeeping and the size of some of the missions, such a review was necessary for continued monitoring and future rationalization of the evolution of the structures of operations.
Turning to specific peacekeeping budgets, she commended the operation in Burundi for its thorough and considered budget presentation. She was also pleased to note the efforts at coordination and cooperation between ONUB and MONUC. Those missions, and others, should be encouraged to continue to seek opportunities for their inter-mission cooperation, wherever possible. She was disappointed that the Committee had only an interim budget submission for MONUC, at this time. The delegations she represented appreciated the enormity of the task confronting the Mission’s management, but the very size and complexity of the Mission made the requirement for comprehensive and timely budget reporting critical. She also sought clarification of the intended function of the proposed military support, planning and liaison office. Specifically, what gap did that office propose to address?
The budget of MINUSTAH highlighted many of the questions that currently existed regarding the functioning of the integrated mission concept, in general, and of the humanitarian pillar, in particular, as well as the funding of activities such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration through assessed contributions. She looked forward to taking up those questions both in the context of relevant mission budgets and the cross-cutting resolution.
With peacekeeping budget approaching the $5 billion mark, the requirement for rigorous budgeting and efficient management was greater than ever, she said. Rome had not been built in a day. United Nations peacekeeping, as it developed and evolved, would need an equal amount of work and attention.
JORGE SKINNER-KLEE (Guatemala), speaking also on behalf of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, noted that, for the region, the re-establishment of peace and security in Haiti, as well as the rebuilding of the Haitian economy and society, was a political and humanitarian priority. For the first time, a number of countries in the region had joined in an effort, through the participation of national contingents in MINUSTAH. It was essential that the Mission have the financial resources necessary for it to fully carry out its mandate and achieve progress in the fields of security, political dialogue and social and economic development. He noted with satisfaction the success of visits by the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council last April. The level of participation was clear evidence of Member States’ concern regarding the situation in Haiti and the need for immediate solutions to the country’s troubles. The Committee’s work must result in the allocation of adequate funding, so such concerns could be addressed.
While significant progress had been made, the security situation was still fragile, he said. That was especially serious given the upcoming general elections. Resources were needed, therefore, to ensure the holding of free and transparent elections. The political dialogue recently initiated by the Transitional Government, with the support of MINUSTAH, must involve the whole of Haiti’s society and must be focused on the need of the upcoming electoral process.
He was concerned about persistence problems for financing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. Reintegration activities were indispensable and must receive adequate financing. Hunger and poverty lay at the heart of the crises in many countries. He was pleased to learn that 57 quick impact projects had been approved since June 2004 and that 800 projects had already been proposed in such areas as education, health, and human rights. MINUSTAH troop centres were active in poor parts of the country. The implementation of quick impact projects enhanced the relationship between troops and the community and improved the United Nations image in the country. It was necessary to ensure that such projects were implemented in a timely manner. He called on all countries to give careful consideration to the resources needed. In the start of its consolidation phase, MINUSTAH needed all possible support.
FERMIN TORO JIMENEZ (Venezuela) said that, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1567 (2004), the Transitional Government was to establish the national commission for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration so as to carry out programmes in those areas. The ACABQ had noted that the Transitional Government had not published the decree to establish the national commission, which was intended to be the national framework for carrying out that programme. He wondered if the national commission had been established. For the programme to be successful, it should include paramilitary bands that destabilized the constitutional government.
He also noted with concern that, in the 2005-2006 budget, a contribution of some $4.55 million was envisaged for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme under the peacekeeping budget. Since the United Nations created MINUSTAH to legitimize the French-United States invasion, the General Assembly had not mandated the Secretary-General to use assessed contributions to carry out functions traditionally supported by voluntary contributions. The Council had also urged interested countries to disperse funds committed in Washington in 2004. He wanted to know the total amount received to date, how the monies had been used, and whether established practice of financing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme from voluntary contributions was being followed.
He concurred that the Mission continued to be top heavy and its lines of authority blurred. He regretted that the budget document did not include a section on the implementation of previous recommendations by advisory bodies. The travel programme proposed had not been sufficiently justified. The Administration of the Mission intended to use $2 million to carry out the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, for which no funds were allocated in the 2004-2005 budget. The Secretariat did not have the legislative mandate to use the resources allocated to the mission’s budget for such programmes. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes should be financed through voluntary contributions. The Mission should be reviewed by the Organization so that it could contribute to the restoration of democratic institutions and the promotion of economic development in the country.
MARIA ANGELA HOLGUIN CUELLAR (Colombia) said that her country attached great importance to peacekeeping operations. Regarding MINUSTAH, she said that the efforts of many countries which supported its functioning could be seen in that Mission. Haiti was a brother country where political instability had been compounded by natural disasters. Her Government had contributed a contingent of drug enforcement police to strengthen the work currently undertaken by MINUSTAH. It also provided support in the areas of sanitation and education. Countries of the region would act on the basis of solidarity, which had already been demonstrated by the participation in the Mission.
For decades, she added, the countries of Latin America had been supportive to the countries of Africa. Today, they were facing a great crisis in Latin America, and they should be able to prove that they could respond to the needs of their own continent. Just as they had been helping, they also hoped that they would receive the help so much needed for a current emergency. Taking into account the necessity to support the programmes aimed at solving the most pressing problems of the Haitian people, her delegation hoped that the Committee would decide to allocate the necessary resources for successful implementation of quick impact projects, electoral assistance, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities in Haiti. She also highlighted the achievements of MINUSTAH so far, saying that it was the only mission currently working in Latin America. The best way of supporting the Mission’s work was to allocate the necessary resources for its functioning in a timely manner.
RAJIV RAMLAL (Trinidad and Tobago) recalled that his country had welcomed the decision of the Security Council to establish the mission in Haiti, as well as the decision of the Economic and Social Council to establish an ad hoc working group on Haiti. Those efforts by the international community would contribute to the situation in Haiti, which required assistance. Today, he welcomed the submission of the budget of the Mission, as well as the fact that components outlined in the document would facilitate the formation of the democratic institutions and promote economic and social development. He expected that, in the context of the effective administration and management of the Mission, the Assembly would provide the necessary resources to ensure successful implementation of the mandate of MINUSTAH.
Responding to comments from the floor, Ms. POLLARD noted the requests for additional information, saying that it would be provided in informal consultations. Information on MINUSTAH was also included in the non-paper on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, which had been distributed in informal consultations.
Other Administrative and Budgetary Aspects
Ms. POLLARD first introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2004, which, she said, comprised a total of 18 closed missions. The financial situation of closed missions had been updated as of June 2004, and was based on audited financial statements as of June 2004. The cash available for credit to Member States amounted to $92.24 million. There were seven closed missions in cash deficit as of June 2004. The action to be taken by the Assembly was contained in the report.
She then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on peacekeeping reserve.
Introducing related reports, Mr. KUZNETSOV, Chairman of the ACABQ, said that body was provided with information on unpaid assessments payable to Member States and other liabilities of closed missions as of 30 June 2004. The Advisory Committee requested that the information be integrated, on a routine basis, in future reports. The ACABQ recommends accepting the Secretary-General’s proposal.
Turning to the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund, he said the Secretary-General was proposing that an “excess balance” be applied to meet the financing of the Support Account. Although the ACABQ has recommended accepting similar proposals in the past, each proposal should be considered on a case-by-case basis. The so-called surplus in fact included larger amounts in outstanding loans. Taking into account the immediate cash requirements for the start-up of UNMIS and MONUC’s expansion, the ACABQ recommended that the Fund not be used in connection with the financing of the Support Account.
GERALDO PRATO (Uruguay) said his country attached top priority to the Organization’s peacekeeping efforts. In that regard, Uruguay had done its utmost to keep its budget contributions up to date. Its most significant contribution, however, was in terms of its human resources. Some 10 per cent of the country’s armed forces were permanently located abroad. The debt for the Uruguayan contingent in the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) dated back 11 years. At its last session, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations specifically mentioned two missions that had not received reimbursement for more than a decade, namely, Somalia and Cambodia. He concurred that the financial statements of peacekeeping operations included too many outstanding questions. The administration should present proposals in that regard. He requested the Secretariat to produce the report on alternatives available to the General Assembly to resolve the problem. The Secretariat had to take a more energetic approach to solving the issue.
KAREN LOCK (South Africa) emphasized Member States’ legal responsibility to bear the financial expenses of the United Nations, in accordance with its Charter. It was also fitting to stress the common responsibility of Member States to ensure that assessed contributions were paid in full, on time and without conditions. However, she remained cognizant of the need to extend sympathetic understanding to those Member States that were unable to meet their obligations due to genuine economic difficulties.
Her delegation had been consistent in its view that Member States should follow a cautious approach by allowing the Secretary-General to retain the cash balance available in the accounts of close missions, she continued. It held that position, despite sharing the view that it was only fair to reimburse those Member States that had faithfully met their commitments to the closed missions in question. South Africa further based its decision on the conviction that, as a core task of the United Nations, peacekeeping operations made an important and valuable contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. Member States had a collective responsibility to ensure that the Organization was financially stable.
The Secretary-General reported that loans totalling $58.8 million from the special accounts of closed missions were outstanding, she said. While concerned over the practice of cross-borrowing, she believed that it was only fair to acknowledge that the Secretary-General was left with little alternative. The cash shortages in several active missions and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, due to non-payment of assessed contributions, were threatening the viability of those operations. That dire financial situation was, regrettably, also making unfeasible for returning the remaining credits to Member States. The course of action proposed by the Secretary-General and endorsed by the ACABQ was sensible. The United Nations was clearly not in a position at present to return the remaining amount to Member States without it impacting on the effectiveness of some active peacekeeping operations. The cash from closed missions was the only source that could be used for temporary cross-borrowing. Therefore, she supported a decision that would not only ensure the financial stability of the Organization, but also support its peacekeeping efforts.
Regarding the budgets of MONUC and MINUSTAH, she said that the Assembly had a collective responsibility to ensure that those Missions received adequate financial and human resources to successfully implement the mandates given to them by the Council. Creation of conditions for political stability, economic development and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti would require a long-term commitment on the part of the international community.
Thus, it was imperative that the Committee took a decision that would support the work of those operations in that crucial period.
Mr. MUZAMDAR (India) said that the Secretary-General had proposed that the cash balance of $92 million available in 11 closed peacekeeping mission accounts that were in net cash surplus be retained. That was deemed necessary to supplement the Reserve Fund, in order to meet the cash requirements of the Sudan and the expansion of MONUC until the time when assessed contributions were received. He supported that proposal. At the same time, he called on Member States to make prompt payment of their assessments to all peacekeeping missions.
Turning to the seven closed missions that were in net cash deficit, he expressed regret that it had not been possible, after all those years, to find a solution to the problem of non-payment of amounts owed by the United Nations to Member States for troop costs and contingent-owned equipment reimbursement. As pointed out by the ACABQ, some Member States had not paid their assessed contributions to those missions totalling some $93 million. India alone was owed over $16 million from the accounts of two of those missions. He wanted to know what steps had been taken over the past year to elicit payment from the Governments that had so far refused to make payment of their assessed contribution. If no action had been taken by the Secretariat, he would like to know the reasons for such inaction. He also regretted that the report on the feasibility of consolidating the accounts of peacekeeping missions sought in resolution 57/319 had not been presented to the Committee.
In conclusion, he noted that there had been a modest reduction in the deficits of some closed missions. In particular, for Somalia, the amount was $2.755 million, and for Cambodia, $384,000. He would be grateful if the Secretariat would confirm whether it proposed to make pro-rata payments to Member States who were owed reimbursements from those missions as a consequence of such reduction.
NONYE UDO (Nigeria) said her delegation attached great importance to the work of the United Nations and continued to play an active role in peacekeeping activities. Nigeria supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to retain the cash balance of $94.24 million for 11 closed missions, which the ACABQ had also recommended. The Secretary-General had little or no option other than to make that proposal. As a troop-contributing country, however, Nigeria had called for timely payment of all amounts owed by the United Nations to troop contributors. Delays in such payments placed additional difficulties on troop-contributing countries, many of which were from developing countries. The time had come for the Secretariat to make concrete suggestions on how Member States would be paid in a more timely fashion monies owed them for sacrifices made on the Organization’s behalf.
Responding to questions, Ms. POLLARD said all questions had been noted, in particular, the question on follow-up actions. Information would be provided in informal consultations.
Programme Budget for 2004-2005 Biennium
CHANDRAMOULI RAMANATHAN, of the Information Technology Services Division, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the Information and Communications Technology Strategy: Arrangements for the Galaxy System.
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