Press Releases

    GA/AB/3676
    17 May 2005

    Financing for Sierra Leone Court, Somalia Political Office among Issues Taken Up in Budget Committee

    NEW YORK, 16 May (UN Headquarters) -- Commending the Special Court for Sierra Leone for bringing to justice those bearing the greatest responsibility for the terrible crimes committed in that country, several speakers in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning addressed the Court's financial difficulties stemming from a shortage in voluntary contributions and anticipated drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), which could lead to a rise in security costs.

    Canada's representative was among those who supported the Secretary-General's request that a subvention of $33 million be granted to the Special Court for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2005. Emphasizing the need to ensure stable financing for the Court, she said that it had a "highly impressive and efficient record", particularly given the complexity of the trials, the challenging operating environment, and the fact that an entire Court structure had been built from the ground up.

    The international community could not afford to let the Court fail, said the representative of the United States. Doing so would send a negative message to those struggling to combat the culture of impunity and undermine respect for human rights and international law. The United States had strongly supported the voluntary-funded nature of the Court since its inception, but without a subvention or significant voluntary contributions, the Court faced insolvency at the crucial time when all three trials were under way. Despite the difficulties in securing sufficient voluntary funds, the Court continued to be a good model for an independent, efficient and effective tribunal.

    The representative of Japan, however, did not see the need to make an appropriation for the Special Court at this time. The tribunal had been established on the understanding that it would be financed through voluntary contributions. The General Assembly had agreed to authorize commitment authority to supplement the financial resources of the Court, on the understanding that the Secretary-General, in concert with the Management Committee, would redouble his efforts to raise voluntary contributions for the Court.  He would like to see tangible results in that regard.

    Another aspect raised by Japan was the completion strategy of the Court, which appeared to be unattainable at this time. [According to the documents before the Committee, the Court had anticipated completion of its trials by 31 December 2005, but only two of the three ongoing trials may be completed by the end of the year. The third one, owing to the delay in establishing the second trial chamber, is likely to continue into the early months of 2006.]

    He added that another question was whether the Security Council had been informed of the completion strategy, as requested by the Assembly in its resolution 58/284. Also, he saw a problem in accepting the current situation where the United Nations assessed contributions were channelled into the Court without specific guidance as to how to report on the use of those resources to the Assembly.

    Supporting the subvention to the Sierra Leone Court, the representative of Rwanda, on behalf of the African Group, also backed a request for additional funding for the expansion of the operation of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). Recent progress in the reconciliation process had renewed hopes for peace and security in Somalia, which had suffered widespread violence, anarchy and lawlessness for the last 14 years, he said. The expanded role for UNPOS included assisting in continuing the dialogue and reconciliation process, assisting in addressing the issue of "Somalialand", coordinating international support and chairing the Coordination and Monitoring Committee. The Office would continue to support the new governance structures and institutions and assist in the development of initial plans of action for each of them.

    The significantly expanded role proposed by the Secretary-General for UNPOS could not be conducted by five international and two local staff, he added.  The Group, therefore, supported the revised and increased staffing complement of the Office.  In his next report, the Group would welcome an assessment by the Secretary-General on the adequacy of the proposed human and financial resources to meet the varied and sensitive tasks of the Somalia Office.

    Commenting on several reports on human resources, the representative of Jamaica, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, stressed the need to use gratis personnel provided to the Organization by Governments and other entities on an exceptional and temporary basis and for specialized functions only.  Gratis personnel were not a substitute for staff to be recruited against authorized posts for the implementation of mandated programmes and activities. They should not be sought for financial reasons. Personnel loaned should be assigned to technical cooperation and extrabudgetary activities approved by the Assembly.

    Also this morning, the Committee took up the plans to introduce a standardized access control system at the United Nations, as well as the Secretary-General's report, which reviews the Organization's system of desirable ranges for staff in posts subject to geographical distribution and assesses the implications of possible modifications to several factors used in the calculation of geographical distribution, including membership, population and contribution.

    Statements were also made by representatives of India, Luxembourg (on behalf of the European Union), Sierra Leone, Cuba and Syria.

    The documents before the Committee were introduced by the new Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, David Veness; Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Vladimir Kuznetsov; Director, ad interim, of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, Sharon Van Buerle; and Director, Operational Services Division, Office for Human Resources Management, Sandra Haji-Ahmed.

    The Committee will hold a general debate on the financial situation of the United Nations at 10 a.m. Friday, 20 May.

    Background

    The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning was expected to take up a number of reports under its agenda items on the Organization's regular budget for the current biennium and human resources management.

    Strengthened Security System

    In his report on standardized access control (document A/59/776), the Secretary-General recalls that, by its resolution 59/276 on the strengthened and unified security management system, the Assembly had decided to defer its consideration of the proposal on the global access-control system until the current resumed session. Following a review of the project's scope and consultations within the Secretariat, the Secretary-General proposes a revised course of action for implementation of the project.

    According to the report, review of access control requirements constitutes one of the main priorities of the newly created Department of Safety and Security. The Department intends to establish a "project access control team", with the aim of planning and -- should the Assembly approve it -- coordinating a comprehensive, fully integrated and standardized access control system, in close consultation with the Office of Central Support Services. The team would address the issues of pass issuance, individual and vehicle access control, perimeter security monitoring, and response to incidents. The report envisions that the project would take from 24 to 33 months, including six to nine months for planning and preliminary design of the project, and 18 to 24 months for the implementation phase.

    In a related report (document A/59/785), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) states that the envisioned team would comprise internal and consultant security experts. Requirement for outside expertise is projected at $180,000 from within the overall resources for safety and security in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. Planned access measures would include United Nations Headquarters facilities, as well as offices away from Headquarters. Cooperative activities have been undertaken with United Nations funds and programmes, whose staff would require regular access to United Nations facilities worldwide.

    The Advisory Committee looks forward to a more developed time frame in the report to be submitted to the Assembly at its sixtieth session. It was informed that necessary measures will be taken to meet perceived immediate threats, pending completion of the project. The ACABQ sees merit in the careful and measured approach presented in the report of the Secretary-General, which would allow the Organization to proceed incrementally to ensure that the new access system will be balanced against the perceived threat to United Nations facilities. The Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report with the expectation that a comprehensive progress report will be presented during the sixtieth session.

    Special Political Missions

    Under this agenda item, the Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/59/534/Add.4) containing a request for additional funding in the amount of some $37.55 million gross for the expansion of the operation of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and requirements of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

    The expansion of UNPOS, which is expected to continue its activities in support of national reconciliation and new governance structures in Somalia, will occur in two phases: phase I will start immediately in Nairobi; and phase II is expected to start around September 2005, providing for an incremental and phased relocation of UNPOS to Somalia, bearing in mind security conditions inside the country and progress made by the Transitional Federal Government.

    Additional total requirements for the expanded operation of UNPOS for the period from 1 June to 31 December 2005 amount to some $5.39 million gross. They include provision for civilian personnel costs of some $2.69 million, and some $2.33 million for operational costs. Of the total requirements, an amount of $845,700 would be met from the unencumbered balance against the existing appropriations for the period ending 31 May 2005. The additional amount requested is, therefore, reduced to some $4.55 million gross.

    As concerns the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in its resolution 59/276, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General, in view of the difficulties faced by the Court, to enter into commitments in an amount not to exceed $20 million to supplement its financial resources, with effect from 1 January to 30 June 2005. It is estimated that the commitment authority of $20 million already approved would be fully utilized and an additional subvention of $13 million would be required for the period from 1 July through 31 December 2005.  Accordingly, the Secretary-General requests the Assembly to appropriate $33 million as a subvention to the Special Court for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2005.

    The Court had anticipated completion of its trials by 31 December 2005, but current operational information indicates that, of the three ongoing trials, only two may be completed by the end of the year.  The third one, owing to the delay in establishing the second trial chamber, is likely to continue into the early months of 2006. For that reason, it is the intention of the Secretary-General to submit a request for further subvention of $7 million during the sixtieth session of the Assembly.

    Commenting on that document in a related report (document A/59/569/Add.4), the ACABQ notes that the action proposed by the Secretary-General involves an additional appropriation under section 3, Political affairs, of the budget for 2004-2005. The Assembly, in its resolution 58/271, appropriated an amount of some $169.43 million for special political missions under this section. Following the adoption of resolutions 59/58, 59/277 and 59/282, the total provision under special political missions amounts to some $432.23 million.

    Regarding UNPOS, the Advisory Committee recommends approval of the resources requested for its expanded role, but is aware that savings may be achieved as events dictate possible movements. These should be reported in the performance report.

    Turning to the Special Court, the ACABQ encourages continued and intensified efforts to raise voluntary funding for the Court and trusts that prudence and fiscal discipline will be exercised in administering all items of its budget. It also believes that further cooperation should be sought from the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to explore possibilities for additional savings. The Advisory Committee also requests that thought be given to how best carry out the functions of the New York liaison office with a maximum of economy, including using facilities already available at Headquarters.

    The Advisory Committee further points out that it will be for the General Assembly, as a matter of policy, to decide whether another subvention should be made to meet the expenses of the Court. Should the Assembly agree to another subvention, the Committee recommends that commitment authority be granted in an amount not to exceed $13 million for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2005. This would bring the total subvention to $33 million, for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2005.

    Human Resources Management

    In connection with this agenda item, the Committee had before it a list of staff of the United Nations Secretariat (document A/C.5/59/L.34), showing, by office, department and organizational element, the name, functional title, nationality and grade of all staff members holding an appointment of one year or more as at 1 July 2004. The document has been issued in limited quantities only.

    The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on gratis personnel provided by Governments and other entities (document A/59/716), indicating, inter alia, their nationality and duration of service, gender, department where employed and functions performed. This is the first such report presented on a biennial basis and on the basis of a modified methodology, which presents the data on a cumulative basis for each calendar year, rather than presenting a snapshot of the situation at the end of the reporting period.

    For 2003, the report indicates a total of 1,149, of type I gratis personnel, who serve under an established regime and include interns, associate experts and technical cooperation experts obtained on a non-reimbursable loan. In 2004, that number increased to 1,290.  Concerning type II personnel, the report shows a total of 53 in 2003. The total number increased to 85 in 2004. Type II personnel -- staff provided by a Government or other entity responsible for the remuneration of their services -- were hired for very short periods, often for under one month, almost exclusively by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for humanitarian work and relief operations following disasters, such as floods and typhoons in Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Federated States of Micronesia or Vanuatu, as well as the tsunami catastrophe at the end of 2004.

    In that connection, the Advisory Committee, in a related report (document A/59/786) notes that this utilization of type II gratis personnel for short periods in the context of humanitarian emergencies is in line with the terms of General Assembly resolution 51/243 of 15 September 1997. As for the document, in general, the ACABQ recommends that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report.

    Recalling that in its previous report on the matter, it had recommended that information on gratis personnel be presented on a biennial basis in the context of the report on the composition of the Secretariat, the ACABQ maintains that such information is a logical component of the composition of the Secretariat report. It requests once again that in the future, details on gratis personnel be integrated into that report on a biennial basis, in the first year of the biennium.

    The Secretary-General's report on the assessment of the existing system of geographical distribution at the United Nations (document A/59/724) reviews the origin and purpose of the system of desirable ranges for staff in posts subject to geographical distribution and the changes that have taken place over time. It also assesses the implications of possible modifications to several factors used in the calculation of geographical distribution, including membership, population and contribution.

    According to the document, the representation of various countries' nationals at the United Nations Secretariat has always been a major concern of Member States. This concern is reflected in Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter, which governs staff selection: "paramount consideration in the employment of staff and in the determination of the conditions of service shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Due regard shall be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.".

    The Assembly's first decision on the matter -- resolution 153 (II) of 15 November 1947 -- reaffirmed the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographic basis as possible. It stated, among other things, that in order to avoid undue predominance of national practices, the policies and administrative methods of the Secretariat should reflect and profit to the highest degree from assets of various cultures and technical competence of all Member nations.

    In 1948, a system of "desirable ranges" was introduced through the Secretary-General's bulletin No. 77.  Under this system, specific posts would not be distributed to Member States, but rather a range of posts was established within which each State would be adequately represented. Confirming this system, General Assembly resolution 1559 (XV) (1960) also linked geographical appointment of staff with the concept of budgetary posts set aside for this purpose. While, initially, only the contribution of each Member State to the regular budget was used to determine the ranges, in 1962, the Assembly added two other factors:  membership in the United Nations, and the population of the Member State (resolution 1852 (XVII).  Since then, the weight of each factor varied according to successive Assembly resolutions, but preference was always given to the contribution factor.

    Successive discussions about equitable geographical distribution have been characterized by two dominant points of view. One group of Member States, composed largely of developing countries, wanted more weight to be given to the membership, or alternatively to the population factor, whereas another group, composed mainly of Member States with high rates of assessment, wanted to keep the greater weight on the contribution factor.

    Since 1988, the system's basic criteria for the definition of desirable ranges include a base figure used for the calculation of all ranges, which currently stands at 2,700 posts. The weight of the factors taken into account remains at 55 per cent for contribution, 40 per cent for membership and 5 per cent for population.  The membership factor -- applied equally to all Member States -- is equal to 5.65 posts for each State, which is the total number of posts for this factor (40 per cent of 2,700 = 1,080 posts), divided by 191, the number of Member States.

    The population factor is based on the proportion of each country's population relative to the global population of all Member States, using the Population and Vital Statistics Report of the United Nations.  For each country, this factor is equal to the total number of posts for the population factor (5 per cent of 2,700 = 135 posts) divided by the total population of all Member States and multiplied by the population of the relevant Member State. The posts allotted to the contribution factor are distributed in proportion to the latest scale of assessments for the regular budget of the Organization. For each Member State, this factor equals the total number of posts for the contribution factor (55 per cent of 2,700 = 1,485 posts) divided by 100 and multiplied by the Member State's assessment percentage.

    The posts allotted to each Member State through the application of the contribution, membership and population factors are added together to establish the midpoint of each Member State's desirable range.  A flexibility factor of plus/minus 15 per cent is then calculated to determine the upper and lower limits of the particular desirable range. If the figure resulting from the application of the 15 per cent factor is less than 4.8 posts, the latter figure is applied. The minimum upper limit is 14 posts.

    In his current report, the Secretary-General presents three scenarios, as follows: (a) changes to geographical distribution by varying the weight of the membership, population and contribution factors while holding the base figure of posts constant at the current level of 2,700; (b) changes to geographical distribution by expanding the population and the base figure, so as to include groups of staff not currently considered to have geographic status while keeping the weight of the factors (membership, population and contribution) constant at the current levels; and (c) changes in the application of the system of weighted ranges.

    Simulations using the variants described in the report show that changing the weights of the factors will result in important changes in the representation status of Member States. The same is true when the base figure is expanded to include staff currently not having geographic status. Expanding the base figure has financial implications, as it means granting international status, with its associated allowances and benefits, to a larger pool of staff. It is projected that the inclusion of staff in the General Service and related categories will cost the Organization approximately $55.5 million annually. In addition, enlarging the base figure to include extrabudgetary staff affects stability, which will consequently affect human resources planning.

    Introduction of Documents

    Introducing the Secretary-General's report on standardized access control, DAVID VENESS, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, said that he had been aware of the requirement to report on the issue since his assumption of duties at the end of February. Applying his professional experience in security and protection, two aspects had become apparent to him. The basic components of protection of locations included perimeter defence, access control, intruder detection, response arrangements and command and control. The plans he had reviewed contained those elements, but were all-encompassing. He believed that an incremental approach to get the basic requirements in place, based upon a threat assessment, would be a wise approach.

    The elements of the plan appeared to have arisen from different requirements and disciplines, he continued, and valuable work had been pursued. However, that work lacked cohesion and systematic plans for the future. Based on that, a structured programme should be devised to make progress on those issues. It should be emphasized that the access control initiative was distinct from the Capital Master Plan and the current work to enhance security at the Secretariat. The project also had direct implications for United Nations duty stations other than New York and included annexes in New York.  His recommendation was that access control should proceed on the basis of a defined project programme and assessment of the threat. It should seek to achieve measures commensurate with that danger.

    Presenting a related ACABQ report, the Chairman of that body, VLADIMIR KUZNETSOV, said that the ACABQ saw merit in the careful and measured approach presented in the report of the Secretary-General, which would allow the Organization to proceed incrementally to ensure that the new access system will be balanced against the perceived threat to United Nations facilities.

    JIADEEP MAZUMDAR (India) supported the idea of taking an incremental approach to the issue of security and safety, rather than an all-encompassing one. The new Under-Secretary-General had indicated that the initial proposal lacked cohesion and that there was need for a coordinated approach. That had been his delegation's view when the entire set of proposals had been submitted. He was confident that the Department would have a coordinated view on the security and safety issues facing the Organization.

    Special Political Missions

    SHARON VAN BUERLE, Director, ad interim, Programme Planning and Budget Division, recalled that in the context of the current budget proposals for special political missions, a total of some $2.64 million had been appropriated for UNPOS. No provision had been made at that time for the anticipated expansion of the Office, pending a submission of a report by the Secretary-General to the Security Council and the Council's decision thereon. On 18 February, such a report had been submitted to the Council, which welcomed the recommendations of the Secretary-General. The current mandate of UNPOS was valid through December 2005.

    The total requirements for the Office from June to December were estimated at some $5.39 million gross and took into account the additional staffing requirements, the anticipated relocation of the mission within Somalia and related operational and logistical requirements. As $845,700 was expected to remain unencumbered against the amounts already appropriated, the total additional resources requested for UNPOS at this stage amounted to some $4.55 million gross. The present staffing complement of UNPOS was seven positions funded through general temporary assistance at various levels. Resources for an additional 31 positions comprising 18 international and 13 local-level positions were requested for the Office's expanded operation.

    Turning to the requirements for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, she said that the efforts to mobilize resources for the Court had been "somewhat fruitful". In November 2004 and early 2005, the Court had received two additional contributions totalling some $2.17 million from the Governments of Denmark and the United States. Additionally, the Ford Foundation had provided a grant in the amount of $100,000.  The level of voluntary contributions had now been exhausted, with initial disbursement against the commitment being effected in March 2005.

    Updating the Committee on most recent developments, she said that with further recent disbursement, a total of $6.5 million had now been released. The Court anticipated that the full provision of the $20 million commitment authority already approved by the Assembly to supplement the financial resources of the Court for the period from 1 January to 30 June 2005 would be fully utilized. That comprised income over-expenditure of approximately $15.7 million, which would be met from the $20 million commitment authority and the balance of $4.3 million required to cover the liquidation of obligations corresponding to the period 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004.

    As for the financing for the period 1 July to 31 December 2005, it should be noted that, in March 2005, the Management Committee of the Court had approved the Court's proposed budget for the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 in the amount of $25.5 million. Of that approved level of resources, it was estimated that $13 million would be required to cover expenditures for the period 1 July to 31 December 2005. In addition, a further subvention of $7 million would be required in 2006 to allow the Special Court to complete the existing trials.

    Mr. KUZNETSOV introduced a related ACABQ report.

    NORMA TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said clarification had been sought on many issues when the proposal for a global access control system had been put before the Committee during the main part of the fifty-ninth session, including the implications for the Capital Master Plan, the principle and guidelines for information sharing, and the time frame for implementation. Following the establishment of the new Department for Safety and Security in February this year, a revised approach for implementing the project had been proposed and a detailed preliminary design and cost analysis would be undertaken within a six- to nine-month time frame.  Considering the issues raised and the clarifications sought, the Group appreciated the approach for an in-depth review of the project's concept and implementation.

    Turning to special political missions, she said the Group attached great importance to the work of those missions and the Secretary-General's good offices. In that connection, the Group valued the useful work carried out by the Special Count for Sierra Leone and the United Nations Office in Somalia. The Group trusted that the Committee would ensure adequate resources for the successful conclusion of their work.

    ANNE OOSTERLINCK (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the Union was fully committed to supporting the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in helping to end impunity for those most responsible for serious war crimes, and welcomed the progress that the Court had made in the ongoing trials and that a completion strategy was now in place. As the Court entered its closing stages over the next year, it would be important for it to have a sound funding basis. The fact that the Court had managed to operate effectively, while drawing down so far only a modest amount of the subvention agreed by the General Assembly last year, reassured the Union that due attention was being paid to the need to make best use of scarce resources. She encouraged the continuation of that careful management and noted that further fund-raising activities were planned for financing the Court once the subvention had been exhausted.

    NICHOLAS SHALITA (Rwanda), speaking on behalf of the African Group, recognized the Special Court's serious efforts to judiciously manage its resources. It was commendable that the Court had received voluntary contributions of some $2.2 million in November 2004 and early 2005, and had made plans to intensify its fund-raising activities this year. The Court had established a second trial chamber that would enable it to conclude its third trial by early 2006. With the second Chamber now functional, the Court was better placed to adhere to is programme of work and should be given the maximum support to complete its work successfully. As voluntary contributions had tapered off, the Assembly should do its level best to support the Special Court's work.

    In October 2004, the Special Court had adopted its completion strategy on the basis of operational information available at the time, he said. The completion strategy would be carried out in two phases.  The first phase -- the completion phase -- involved a wind down of core activities as cases were completed and final judgements. It would also involve a wind down of administrative and support activities. The second phase -- the post-completion phase -- would involve "residual activities" such as witness protection. While the completion strategy envisaged completion of trials by 31 December 2005, it was clear that only the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) trials were likely to meet the target. The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) trial, which had only begun in March 2005, was not expected to be completed until early 2006.  In addition, the two outstanding indictments were likely to further extend the Court's life once those cases came to trial.

    In the interest of justice and reconciliation in Sierra Leone and the country's long-term peace, security and development, as well as that of the wider West African subregion, the completion strategy should be revised as appropriate to reflect current realities, he said. He urged the international community to continue its support for the Court, as its work was not yet complete. The Group welcomed the Court's efforts to build the human resource capacity of the Sierra Leone judiciary, encouraging the Court to continue that initiative and calling on other ad hoc international tribunals to emulate that example. Encouraged by the fact that every effort would be made to achieve the most with very little resources, the Group supported the Secretary-General's request for an additional $13 million.

    Turning to UNPOS, he noted that Somalia had suffered widespread violence, anarchy and lawlessness for the last 14 years. Recent progress in the reconciliation process, however, had renewed hopes that peace and security, as well as law, order and development, could be restored in the near future. The African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) had made commendable efforts to support the Transitional Federal Government, particularly with respect to relocating the Transitional Government from Nairobi to Somalia. The Group welcomed the African Union's support for a protection force that would assist in the relocation of all members of the Transitional Government and Parliament. The Union also planned for the protection force to help safeguard humanitarian aid and train a new security force. In that connection, the Group agreed with the Security Council that improving the humanitarian situation in Somalia was an essential component of support for the peace and reconciliation process.

    Regarding the financing proposal, he endorsed the ACABQ's recommendation to approve the amount of some $5.02 million for the Somalia Office's expanded role. The Secretary-General had proposed an expanded role for the Office, including assisting in continuing the dialogue and reconciliation process, assisting in addressing the issue of "Somalialand", coordinating international support, and chairing the Coordination and Monitoring Committee. The Office would continue to support the new governance structures and institutions and assist in the development of initial plans of action for each of them. The presence of the Office on the ground in Somalia would strengthen the Transitional Government's efforts to rebuild the country.

    The significantly expanded role proposed by the Secretary-General for UNPOS could not be conducted by five international and two local staff, he added. The task required additional human and financial resources to carry out those important responsibilities effectively. The Group, therefore, supported the revised and increased staffing complement of the Office and fully supported the upgrading of the post of Representative of the Secretary-General to the level of Assistant Secretary-General, given the added responsibilities and the sensitive assignment to be taken in supporting the Transitional Government. In his next report, the Group would welcome an assessment by the Secretary-General on the adequacy of the proposed human and financial resources to meet the varied and sensitive tasks of the Somalia Office.

    ADELLE FERGUSON (Canada) addressed the requirements for the Sierra Leone Court, underlining her country's support for its important work.  Since its creation in January 2002, the Court had made significant progress in fulfilling its mandate. Two trial chambers were running three trials, full time.  There were nine indictees in detention. Further, the Court was fully on track to complete its work by early 2007.  That was a highly impressive and efficient record, particularly given the complexity of the trials, the challenging operating environment, and the fact that an entire Court structure had been built from the ground up.  Despite those important successes, the Court faced a number of challenges, notably in the sharp decrease in anticipated voluntary contributions for 2005 and beyond, and from the anticipated drawdown of all UNAMSIL troops by December 2005 and the corresponding rise in security costs. It was, therefore, all the more important that as much certainty and stability as possible be brought to the Court's financial situation.

    Noting both the rigorous efforts of the Court to solicit voluntary contributions, as well as the advanced state of its work, Canada fully supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding the Court's financing, she said. She also noted that the ACABQ was silent on the issue of appropriations. That was a question her delegation would wish to explore further during informal consultations.

    In closing, she quoted from the statement given by the President of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, at his assumption of office one year ago: "Justice, as we all know, was affronted when impunity reigns, bringing in its wake injustice and a challenge to civilized values and a peaceful world order. It is for this reason that the Special Court sees itself, and shall continue to function, as an important instrument of global justice and world peace."

    HITOSHI KOZAKI (Japan) recalled that the Special Court for Sierra Leone had been established on the understanding that it would be financed through voluntary contributions. The General Assembly had agreed to authorize commitment authority to supplement the financial resources of the Court, on the understanding that the Secretary-General, in concert with the Management Committee, would redouble his efforts to raise voluntary contributions to support the work of the Court. His delegation took note of the continued efforts of the Court to collect voluntary contributions, as described in the Secretary-General's report. He would like to see tangible results in that regard. Hence, he did not see the need to make appropriation at this time.

    The report of the Secretary-General explained that the completion strategy of the Court adopted in October 2004 appeared to be unattainable, he continued. If that meant that the completion strategy could be changed in a flexible manner, then his delegation questioned the value of the completion strategy. Another question was whether the Security Council had been informed of the completion strategy as requested by the Assembly in paragraph 6 of its resolution 58/284.

    It would not be appropriate at this juncture for the Assembly to take note of a possible proposal by the Secretary-General in the context of the proposed budget for 2006-2007. The Secretary-General had anticipated in December 2004 that the work of the Court would be completed by the end of this year and that up to $40 million would be required for the operations of the Court.  However, it should also be recalled that the Assembly had never approved a possible subvention of up to $40 million. His delegation would be placed in an uncomfortable position if there was any possibility on the part of the Secretary-General to assume the support from the regular budget in the amount of $40 million could be taken for granted. To talk about an amount in excess of that amount would be even more problematic. His delegation also saw a problem in accepting the current situation where the United Nations assessed contributions were channelled into the Court without specific guidance as to how to report on the use of those resources to the Assembly. While he trusted that strict budgetary discipline was exercised by the management of the Court and its Management Committee, it was time to have a clear idea of how the Assembly was to be informed regarding the utilization of the assessed contributions by the Court, and on how the Secretary-General was to be held accountable in that regard.

    CANDICE EBBESEN (United States) said the United States had been a leading proponent and financial contributor to the Court, which had made commendable progress towards achieving its goal of bringing to justice those bearing the greatest responsibility for the terrible crimes committed in Sierra Leone. The Court's important work, however, was at serious risk if sufficient funding was not secured for its fourth year of operations. The United States had strongly supported the voluntary funded nature of the Court since its inception and hoped that enough contributions would have been forthcoming to sustain its operations. From the beginning, the United States had been its largest contributor.  However, despite numerous appeals by both the Secretary-General and the members of the Court's Management Committee, there remained a significant shortfall in funds.

    Without a subvention or significant voluntary contributions, the Court faced insolvency at the crucial time when all three trials were underway, she said. The international community could not afford to let the Court fail. Doing so would send a negative message to those struggling to combat the culture of impunity and would undermine respect for human rights and international law. The Special Court had demonstrated that it could work quickly and economically. Despite the difficulties in securing sufficient voluntary funds, the Untied States believed that the Court continued to be a good model for an independent, efficient and effective tribunal. The United States supported the Secretary-General's request that a subvention of $33 million be granted to the Special Court to bridge the shortfall in voluntary contributions and to allow the Court to carry outs its operations.

    Regarding the expansion of the Somalia operation, she said the United States supported that office and looked forward to discussing several questions it had in informal consultations.

    JAMES JONAH (Sierra Leone) endorsed the statements by the Group of 77 and the African Group. He was pleased with the Committee's broad support for the Secretary-General's recommendation. The Government and people of Sierra Leone attached the highest importance to the Special Court. Failure to support the Court financially, whether by voluntary funds or a subvention, would come as a great blow to the people of Sierra Leone. He urged the Committee to endorse the Secretary-General's recommendations and support the Court.

    Ms. VAN-BUERLE said that the completion strategy of the Sierra Leone Court would be reviewed in the near future. Additional information in that regard and on several other questions would be provided to the Committee in informal consultations. Regarding proper utilization of resources, the Secretary-General had indicated in his report the procedures followed within the Secretariat. Those procedures remained in force, but the Secretariat remained open to the suggestions from Member States regarding the reporting requirements.

    Human Resources Management

    The Secretary-General's reports on the composition of the Secretariat, gratis personnel and geographical distribution of posts were presented by SANDRA HAJI-AHMED, Director of Operational Services Division, Office of Human Resources Management. She said that in his report on gratis personnel, the Secretary-General had significantly expanded the methodology and scope of the data analysis.  New reporting features allowed for much broader perspectives to be displayed. For example, gender distribution ratios had been presented for each year and aggregated gender ratios for each type and category of gratis personnel engagements. The volume of data had also increased, due in part to the significant expansion of emergency and relief operations by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Turning to the report on a comprehensive assessment of the system of geographical distribution, she said that expanding the base figure of posts could have significant financial implications, as it meant granting international status, with its associated allowances and benefits, to a larger pool of staff. It was projected that the inclusion of staff in the General Service and related categories would cost the Organization approximately $55.5 million annually. In addition, enlarging the base figure to include extrabudgetary staff affected stability, which would consequently affect human resources planning.

    Mr. KUZNETSOV introduced an ACABQ report on the matter.

    Ms. TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 AND China, said that the use of gratis personnel should be on an exceptional and temporary basis and for specialized functions only.  Gratis personnel were not a substitute for staff to be recruited against authorized posts for the implementation of mandated programmes and activities. They should not be sought for financial reasons. The programme of work and mandates approved by Member States must be financed in the manner determined by the Assembly, based upon proposals of the Secretary-General. The Group expected that those principles would be maintained in engaging gratis personnel in the work of the Organization. Personnel loaned should be assigned to technical cooperation and extrabudgetary activities approved by the General Assembly.

    On geographical distribution, the Group noted that it had been recognized since the inception of the United Nations as a fundamental principle to be adhered to in keeping with the international character of the Organization. Therefore, the Group attached great importance to the adoption and implementation of a fair and effective system. Taking note of various scenarios indicated in the report, the Group intended to closely examine all the issues put forward in that document.

    PABLO BERTI OLIVA (Cuba) endorsed the statement of the Group of 77 and noted that the Secretary-General's report on gratis personnel was the first report presented on a biennial basis, and he had no substantive objections to it. In the case of type I personnel, while there had been an increase in the number of countries represented, there was a need for broader representation in that category. He asked for updated information on their functions and the departments to which they belonged, as it would provide a clear understanding of the impact of those personnel on the Organization's work. 

    Regarding the Advisory Committee's report, he did not understand the recommendation that gratis personnel should be reflected in the report on the composition of the Secretariat, as such staff were not part of the Secretariat and should be covered separately. Regarding geographical distribution, he took note of the report and had no objection to considering the various proposals of the Secretary-General.

    MHD. NAJIB ELJI (Syria) took note of the improved presentation of the reports.  The use of gratis personnel was an unhealthy phenomenon and should, therefore, be restricted and exceptional.  Noting an increase in the number of interns, he said that increase was to benefit of nationals of some States.  In that connection, he asked the Secretariat to provide more information on the rules on the use of interns in the Secretariat and the reason why more interns from developing countries were not being appointed.

    Regarding type II personnel, he said the General Assembly had requested the Secretary-General to cease using such personnel, except in two situations which were regulated by resolution 51/243.  He noted a wider use of those personnel outside that context and asked for further information in that regard.  Concerning the Advisory Committee's recommendation that information on gratis personnel be presented on a biennial basis in the context of the report on the composition of the Secretariat, he noted that that the Assembly had not accepted that recommendation two years ago. Reflecting gratis personnel in the Secretary-General's report on the composition of the Secretariat ran counter to the exceptional use of that use of that type of personnel.

    Responding to comments from the floor, Ms. HAJI-AHMED said she would be pleased to provide additional information on the use of interns and the departments where they were working. At the same time, the Office of Human Resources Management had a website, which provided information on the Organization's intern programme. Also, the report on gratis personnel contained a listing of the departments in which gratis personnel were working.  She assured the Committee that the principles for the contracting of gratis personnel were maintained, especially with respect of type II gratis personnel. The periods for which they were needed were usually very short, and they were used in exceptional situations and for the kind of work where no expertise existed within the Secretariat.

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