Press Releases

    GA/AB/3700
    31 October 2005

    Budget Committee Recommends Additional Financing for Missions in Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti

    Also Debates Regular Budget Funding for United Nations Institute for Training and Research

    NEW YORK, 28 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning recommended that the Assembly appropriate for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 an amount of some $51.28 million for the maintenance of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and $46.41 million for the maintenance of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

    By the terms of two draft resolutions approved without a vote today, those amounts would be appropriated in addition to some $386.89 million and $494.89 million already appropriated for the two missions, respectively, for the current financing period, following recent decisions by the Security Council.

    For UNOCI, the Council extended the Operation's mandate through 24 January 2006 and authorized an increase in the strength of the mission of up to 850 additional military personnel and 725 civilian police personnel.  MINUSTAH's budget was reviewed due to the temporary increase in the Mission's strength in order to facilitate the country's elections and subsequent political transition.  The first round of presidential and parliamentary elections in Haiti are scheduled for 13 November.

    Also today, as the Committee took up several reports on the financial viability of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the representative of Jamaica, who spoke on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that it was time to take a positive decision on the Institute's request for an annual subvention from the regular budget, covering the cost of rent and maintenance charges, which would provide predictable support for that body.

    The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, supported retaining the present system of voluntary-based contributions as the primary source of UNITAR's financing.  While finding the work of UNITAR highly useful, the Union noted with concern that a number of the Board of Auditors' recommendations had not been implemented.  Under the present circumstances, it would be difficult to take a decision on any subvention from the regular budget to cover the expenses of UNITAR.

    The United States' representative insisted on the need to respect the mandate of UNITAR, which had created an activity that was funded through voluntary contributions.  Her delegation was disappointed that the Secretary-General's report on the matter only included one proposal to address the long-term, sound and predictable funding of rent and maintenance costs:  an annual subvention from the regular budget.  She had hoped to see "more creative and innovative ideas" for addressing the situation.  The United States believed that the rent and maintenance of the Institute should not be funded through a subvention from the regular budget.

    As the Committee concluded its debate on the regular budget of the United Nations for 2006-2007, several speakers reacted to yesterday's statement by the representative of the United States, which contained a variety of proposals seeking to reduce the Organization's expenses.

    The representative of Syria said that such proposals as the phasing out of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) were meant to undermine the interests of developing countries, which make up two thirds of the United Nations.  Syria would oppose any attempt to hurt those programmes.  The Organization had the right to have the necessary financial resources to implement its mandates without any conditions.  The fact that the United States insisted on conditions was blackmail of the United Nations, a practice that the United States had engaged in since the early 1990s.

    His delegation was not surprised that the United States had asked to eliminate the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division of Palestinian Rights because of its support for Israel, he said.  Those two programmes had been adopted by the United Nations to protect the people in that region and their rights.

    Also taking the floor was the Observer of Palestine, who reiterated that the package of resolutions adopted by the Assembly addressed the Palestinian issue in a balanced way and reflected the permanent responsibility of the United Nations until the issue was resolved.

    Several other speakers, including the representatives of South Africa, Jamaica (on behalf of the Group of 77), Egypt, Algeria and Yemen, emphasized that the Fifth Committee was not the right place to discuss legislative mandates and that any review of the mandates and decisions to maintain or discontinue activities needed to be made through appropriate bodies and intergovernmental processes.

    Also participating in the debate today were representatives of Sierra Leone, Cuba, Switzerland and Japan.  Documents before the Committee were introduced by the Officer-in-Charge of the Economic, Social and Human Rights Service of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, John Moffat, and the Acting Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Rajat Saha.  The United Nations Controller, Warren Sach, responded to questions and comments from the floor.  The drafts before the Committee were introduced by Committee Chairman, John W. Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Eric Saizonou (Benin). 

    The Committee will take up the pattern of conferences and human resources management at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 1 November.

    Background

    The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to continue its debate on the proposed 2006-2007 budget (for background information, see Press Release GA/AB/3695 of 25 October), as it began discussion on the financial viability of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

    The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the financial viability of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (document A/60/360) that provided a comprehensive report on all aspects of the Institute's financial situation.  The report was completed at the request of General Assembly resolution 59/276 of 23 December 2004.

    The report found that while UNITAR's overall financial situation was improving, subvention from the United Nations regular budget may be needed to maintain the core training programmes for international cooperation and multilateral diplomacy at its present level; to diversify the venue of events organized by the Institute; and address the numerous requests for training and capacity-building received from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

    The Secretary-General reiterated the position expressed in his previous report on UNITAR (document A/58/544).  This position stated that the General Assembly should consider -- in order to maintain or expand the current level of training programmes for international cooperation and multilateral diplomacy -- providing an annual subvention to UNITAR from the regular budget of the United Nations.  The subvention should equal the amount of annual rental, maintenance and other administrative costs associated with conducting the core training programme for the previous year.  The subvention should be subject to review by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) during its usual consideration of the UNITAR budget for the next financial period.

    In accordance with the statute of UNITAR, the expenses of training programmes for international cooperation and multilateral diplomacy and their operating costs, as well as other administrative expenses for day-to-day operations (including rental and maintenance costs), are covered by the Institute General Fund.  Meanwhile, other specialized training programmes and projects designed and conducted by the Institute for other United Nations bodies and entities are financed from the Special Purpose Grants Fund.  This is done on a fully reimbursable basis without resulting in any financial obligations to the General Fund.

    The UNITAR General Fund is financed from voluntary contributions and programme support costs reimbursement income generated by expenditures of the Special Purpose Grants Fund.  Because of the declining level of contributions to the General Fund and an increase in the number of special purpose grants, support costs reimbursement income has gradually become the major source of income for the General Fund.

    The Committee also had before it a related report, the fifth report of the ACABQ on UNITAR (document A/60/7/Add.4).

    The Advisory Committee noted that the objective of UNITAR's Board of Trustees to bring the balance of the General Fund to at least $1 million was reached.  The Fund had a balance $1.135 million as of 31 December 2004.  The Fund balance for the Special Purpose Grants Fund was $8.56 million as of 32 December 2004, with funds relating to it having been earmarked for specific projects.

    The Advisory Committee reiterated the statement contained in its previous report (document A/58/7/Add.10, para. 12) that providing UNITAR with an annual subvention is a policy matter to be decided by the General Assembly.  Should such a decision be made, an additional provision over and above the resources proposed under section 28, Management and support services of the proposed programme budget for 2006-2007, would be required.  The provision would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

    The Advisory Committee recommended that the Board of Trustees initiate a comprehensive evaluation and analysis of its training programme, perhaps with in-house assistance from the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), with a view to managing the overall programme in a viable manner.

    The Committee also had before it draft resolutions on the financing of UN missions in Haiti and Côte d'Ivoire.

    Statements

    Mr. DIAB (Syria) supported the statement of Jamaica on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China.  He said the budget should reflect the programmes and directions that had emerged from the main international conferences.

    He questioned whether the proposed budget would cover all the legislative mandates and was concerned that more programmes were being funded by extrabudgetary resources.  He said using extrabudgetary resources was not an indication of sound financial health and reflected a financing crisis, because there was not sufficient political support for the Organization's activities.  That undermined the Organization's ability to deal with international problems.  He said the Organization should be granted the necessary resources and rejected the principle of a zero-growth budget, saying it was not logical.  Mandates must determine the finances, not the other way around.

    He said the statement by the representative of the United States was of concern and confusing to Syria.  Various proposals, such as the phasing out of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), were meant to undermine the interest of developing countries, which make up two thirds of the United Nations.

    Syria would cooperate with other States to oppose any attempt to hurt those programmes.  Syria was not surprised that the United States delegation had asked to eliminate the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division of Palestinian Rights because of their support for Israel.  Those two programmes were adopted by the United Nations to protect the people in that region and their rights.  He said the United States was attempting to consolidate the position of Israel.

    He said he was not surprised by the United States position, but was surprised that a political issue was placed before the Fifth Committee, which deals with financial issues.  This Organization had the right to have the necessary financial resources to implement its mandates without any conditions.  The fact that the United States insisted on conditions was blackmail of the United Nations, a practice that the United States had engaged in since the early 1990s.  The United Nations should be reformed and the Summit Outcome was the basis for that reform.  The reform should strengthen the United Nations in a transparent way.  It was not acceptable to be carried out with a single vision that operated using blackmail.

    Responding to questions and comments from the floor, WARREN SACH, United Nations Controller, said that the Committee had heard some 30 responses to the Secretary-General's proposals.  Most had been in the nature of commentary on policy, which he did not intend to address.  As for the technical questions, he wanted to respond to the concerns regarding the budget's low rate of growth.  The budget proposal had been prepared within the budget outline, which had been reviewed and approved at the last session.  That was the financial framework for the proposals before the Committee.  On the question of the Development Account, he said that the level of resources would be consistent with the budget outline proposals decided on last year, as well.  He also drew attention to the recent review of the Development Account, as well as the regular technical cooperation programme.  A number of important proposals had been made on the operational modalities of both.

    Explaining the level of appropriations sought for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), he said that priority was given to African development.  The Secretary-General, in paragraph 3 of the introduction to the budget, indicated that the resources of the proposal were aligned with recognized priorities.  A growth rate of 1.7 per cent was actually shown for NEPAD -- that was higher than the rate of growth of the budget on the whole.

    As for the fact that the narrative of several sections of the budget was not in line with the adopted programme plan, he said that new procedures had recently been established for the review of the programme plan, the budget outline and the proposed budget, which were to ensure that the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) would have an opportunity to review budget fascicles, whose narratives differed from the approved plan, mostly as a result of the mandates adopted following its preparation.  For example, the fascicle for safety and security had been issued after the preparation of the plan for the review of the CPC.  Fascicles had been carefully reviewed and two corrigenda had been issued to ensure full consistency between the budget narratives and adopted programme plan. Resolution 58/269 specified that new procedures would be in place for a trial period and should be reviewed during the sixty-second session.

    To questions why a large proportion of discontinued outputs related to development activities, he said that many of those outputs tended to be time-bound and were often replaced by new outputs during the biennium.  Discontinuation was only undertaken after careful consideration, and the outputs reflected submissions of programme managers.

    On travel, he said that overall level of travel sought in the budget proposals reflected a reduction of some $45 million.  As comments had also been made on the use of consultants, he said that the issue had been subjected to careful review and the amount proposed also reflected a reduction, compared with the current budget.

    Much attention had been given during the debate to the Organization's dependency on extrabudgetary funding and its effect on priorities, he continued.  He cautioned against over-generalizing those estimates.  The projected increase from $5.4 billion to $5.6 billion in extrabudgetary resources was a relatively nominal movement from one biennium to the next.  Extrabudgetary resources were difficult to project, and those figures were never firm at this point of the budget cycle.  When it came to the handling of extrabudgetary funds, most of them (some $4 billion) were subject to intergovernmental review.  The estimates included the peacekeeping support account, which was also subject to review.

    Turning to the impact on the budget of the mandatory mobility policy, which is scheduled to take effect in 2007, he said that its costs were not expected to be of a significant magnitude, as it included movement not only between, but also within, duty stations.  Provisions for travel on transfer, appointment and separation of service were included in the budget proposal.  No separate request had been made on mobility of staff.  The situation would be monitored as the programme evolved.

    On the suspension of the General Service hiring freeze, he said that it had had an effect on the construction of the budget proposal.  Some had mentioned that opportunity had been missed in making changes in the staffing table.  In fact, the staffing table represented a reduction in General Service category posts.  That allowed a release of resources to strengthen junior Professional ranks within the Organization.

    He went on to point out the links between the budget and the follow-up to the Summit during the current session.  That was why the Secretary-General had placed special emphasis on managerial change and improvement.  The Secretary-General agreed with the position that the "oil-for-food" programme was a special operation, and negative reporting in that regard should not be used to negatively characterize the Organization's staff, on the whole.  However, it would be inappropriate to deny the tremendous damage done to the reputation of the United Nations as a result of the oil-for- food programme.  That was why the Summit had paid special attention to Secretariat reform.  In that respect, he noted the Summit's call for an evaluation of auditing and oversight and reiteration of the need for a comprehensive review of governance structures and accountability.  The resources to undertake those reviews and additional measures to strengthen oversight would be presented to the Committee shortly.  The Secretary-General hoped to receive support for the resources for the implementation of the resolution adopted in September.

    RAJAT SAHA, Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, said that comments had been made that the Advisory Committee had overstepped its mandate, probably in reference to the role of the ACABQ and the CPC.  The ACABQ had a broad mandate and it would be helpful if he could be informed of specific instances where "overstepping" had taken place.  That issue could be pursued in informals.

    As to the question why the Committee had not made quantified recommendations for reductions, he said that the reductions recommended did not significantly impact the level of the budget.  Should any or all of those recommendations be accepted, they would be taken into account in the traditional recalculation before adoption of the budget by the General Assembly.

    The main thrust of the recommendations was for the most efficient use of resources, and a number of them could result in savings that could be reported in the performance report, he said.

    RIYAD MANSOUR, Observer of Palestine, said the international community attached great importance to the budget proposal, as it provided the Organization with adequate resources to carry out its responsibilities.  His delegation was examining the budgets of the various Palestinian programmes and would provide its observation in due course, with a view to strengthening the programmes and activities mandated by the General Assembly.

    He associated his delegation with the statement of the representative of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  His delegation was not planning to speak, but was compelled to do so because of the statement given yesterday, and statements given by certain members in the Secretariat, that they were trying to do away with mandated resolutions as they related to Palestinian programmes.  He said those mandates were provided by Assembly resolutions and adopted on an annual basis.

    He said the Fifth Committee was a technical committee and should not be politicized.  There were other committees in the United Nations system where political debate could be taken appropriately, and the Fifth Committee was not one of those.

     He said one delegation attacked Palestinian rights by seeking to abolish certain entities -- the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division of Palestinian Rights.  He reiterated that the package of resolutions adopted by the Assembly addressed the Palestinian issue in a balanced way and reflected the permanent responsibility of the United nations until the issue was resolved.

    JAMES JONAH (Sierra Leone) said he had placed his reliance on the statements of the representative of Jamaica and, from time to time, the statements of the Africa Group.  He said he could not share the view that the report of the oil-for-food commission should not influence the reform of the Secretariat.  Anyone who had read carefully would know that all the reports of the Volcker Commission have revealed serous faults in the Secretariat.

    KAREN LOCK (South Africa) said that her delegation had listened to the statements of Palestine and Syria with great attention.  Her delegation's stated position on the matter was clear, and South Africa would continue to make it clear in appropriate forums.  The Fifth Committee, however, was not the right forum to review the mandates of the Summit.  Any review of the mandates and subsequent decisions to maintain or discontinue activities needed to be made through appropriate bodies and intergovernmental processes.

    NORMA TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of Group of 77 and China, agreed with South Africa and emphasized that, during negotiations, it had been made clear that there should be no special activity by the Secretary-General in reviewing mandates.  There was an established process and the Summit Outcome did not negate that process in any way.  All mandates, including those on Palestine, should be maintained until there was a decision by appropriate bodies.  She also stressed that the Group was prepared to have a budget resolution without conditions.

    YASSER ELNAGGAR (Egypt) supported the statement by Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and statements by preceding speakers.  The Fifth Committee and the programme budget had nothing to do with tackling political issues.  They were not an appropriate framework for discussing such issues, for which specific forums existed within the United Nations.  Political argument on the question of Palestine in the Fifth Committee was inappropriate, but some comments made yesterday made him reassert his full support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, who still lived under military occupation, and their right to self-determination under relevant resolutions.  He also reconfirmed his firm rejection of selectivity that some were seeking in the implementation of Security Council resolutions.  All United Nations resolutions should be provided for financially, without any conditions.

    Responding to comments by the Controller and Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, he said that the Advisory Committee had overstepped its mandate not only vis-à-vis the CPC, but also regarding the General Assembly, in criticizing that body in a number of paragraph and reflecting some national positions that had been rejected in the Assembly.  As for the Controller's statement, he associated himself with the position of Sierra Leone, saying that he did not believe that the Summit and the Outcome had tackled the Secretariat and management reform just because of the oil-for food incident.  Relevant reports should be submitted to the Assembly.  The international community's will to have reform was not confined to the oil-for-food programme.

    Turning to the role of the CPC, he reaffirmed its important role and appealed to the Secretariat not to reinterpret General Assembly resolution 58/269.  Neutral interpretation and adherence to that text were crucial.

    ABDELATIF DEBABECHE (Algeria) said he agreed with the statement of the representatives of Palestine, Syria, South Africa and the Group of 77 that the Fifth Committee was not a political committee.  He said everything relating to mandates must be dealt within in the appropriate framework.  The Assembly should decide if a mandate should be withdrawn or continued.

    PABLO BERTI OLIVA (Cuba) said he fully supported the statement of Palestine, the Group of 77, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa and Syria on that matter.  He supported the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.  He said national positions should not be brought to bear on the discussion of the budget with the objective of putting pressure on others.

    Cuba would not accept any pressure of any kind from those who wanted their national positions included in a resolution on the budget, which should be completed before 31 December.  Neither the Secretariat nor the Member States should attempt to use any form of scandal at the United Nations to put pressure on the reform of the United Nations.

    ARWA ALI NOMAN (Yemen) said she gave full and complete solidarity to the statements of the representatives of Palestine, the Group of 77, Egypt, South Africa and Algeria.  Yemen stressed that the Fifth Committee was a technical committee.

    Introduction of Documents

    The Officer-in-Charge of the Economic, Social and Human Rights Service of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, JOHN MOFFAT, introduced the Secretary-General's report on the viability of UNITAR.  In essence, despite the somewhat improved financial situation reported, the situation of the Institute was not stable.  Means of ensuring that it continued its current level of training of diplomatic personnel was to provide a subvention at the level of rent charged to UNITAR.  The data supporting that recommendation was provided in the annexes to the report.

    Mr. SAJA introduced a related ACABQ report, saying that its main observation was in paragraph 6 of document A/60/7/Add.4, where the Advisory Committee reiterated its statement that providing UNITAR with an annual subvention was a policy matter to be decided by the Assembly.  Should the Assembly decide to provide such a subvention in the full amount proposed by the Secretary-General, an additional provision over the resources proposed under Management and Support Services section of the proposed budget would be required in 2006-2007.  That would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

    Ms. TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica) spoke on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  She said the vision of Member States for UNITAR was as valid today as it was in 1963 when the Institute was created, considering the continuing need for training and orientation of representatives to the United Nations on the work of the Organization, as well as research supportive of the Organization's goals.

    Regarding the problem of the cost of rent and maintenance charges for UNITAR, she noted that the Secretary-General had examined the situation and reiterated that the only way forward to provide predictable support for UNITAR was for Member States to consider granting an annual subvention to UNITAR from the regular budget of the United Nations.  The Group believed that it was now time for the Committee to take a positive decision on that request.

    The Group was pleased to note the Institute's efforts to improve its financial situation, such as continuous fund-raising with Member States, more consistent application of the 13 per cent support cost for special projects, and the promotion of the Institute's facilities for training programmes.  Yet, that favourable development did not negate the need for Member States to positively consider the fundamental problem of unpredictable financing, which threatened the viability of the crucial training and research facility.

    The Secretary-General pointed out that the current surplus was not sufficient to carry out, on a full-cost basis, the training courses that UNITAR had been requested by the General Assembly to prepare and carry out.  It was clear that the Institute would fall once more in arrears if there happened to be a downturn in special projects.  The Group believed that the perennial problem relating to the rental and maintenance costs of the Institute should not be on the Committee's agenda.  A decision should be taken at this session to approve an annual subvention, requested and reiterated by the Secretary-General, to maintain the Institute's viability as a training and research facility for the diplomatic community.

    WILLIAM LONGHURST (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the Union attached great importance to training and education and found the work of UNITAR highly useful.  Having thoroughly examined the financial difficulties that were threatening the work of the Institute, the Union had learned with concern that a number of the Board of Auditors' recommendations had not been implemented.  In the present circumstances, it would be difficult to take a decision on any subvention from the regular budget to cover the expenses of UNITAR.  The Union, therefore, believed that it was necessary to retain the present system of voluntary-based contributions as the primary source of UNITAR's financing.  Further, the administration of UNITAR should address the question of arrears to the United Nations and implement at the earliest opportunity all the outstanding recommendations of the auditors.  More information was needed on the steps to be taken in that regard to be able to judge whether there was a real need to consider the subvention for UNITAR's programmes from the regular budget.

    KHUSHALI SHAH (United States) said that UNITAR served a very important function and had done so effectively over the years.  She was pleased to learn that the Institute had reached its objective to bring the General Fund balance to at least $1 million.  As of 31 December 2004, that Fund's balance had been actually over $1.23 million, and he hoped that the Board would continue to set more fund-raising objectives in the future.

    Contributions to the General Fund had decreased in recent years, while funding for the Special Purpose Grants Fund had increased, she continued.  She wondered if that represented an interest on the part of donors for more specialized training by UNITAR, rather than core training programmes.  Had UNITAR heard from other donors regarding their needs?

    The mandate of UNITAR, which created an activity that was funded through voluntary contributions, must be respected, she said.  Her delegation was, therefore, disappointed that the report only included one proposal to address the long-term, sound and predictable funding of rent and maintenance costs:  an annual subvention from the regular budget.  She had hoped that the Assembly would have received more creative and innovative ideas for addressing the situation.  The United States believed that the rent and maintenance of the Institute should not be funded through a subvention from the regular budget.  She looked forward to working with other delegations to find ways to address the financial situation of UNITAR.

    THOMAS STAHLI (Switzerland) noted that Switzerland was the main contributor to UNITAR and said he welcomed the improvement in the financial situation of the General Fund, which now totalled $1.5 million.  He would like to discuss the surplus with UNITAR's Board of Trustees at their next meeting.  He also noted that the request for subvention was less than the previous year. He said the numbers in the report were too general to allow a decision to be taken.  The Institute should refine its calculations so the Assembly could consider the issue of subvention.

    HITOSHI KOZAKI (Japan) said his delegation's position on budget discipline and the use of assessed contributions was well known.  Japan would raise the technical issues regarding that item during the informal sessions.

    Action on Drafts

    Committee Chairman JOHN W. ASHE (Antigua and Barbuda) introduced a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/60/L.4), by the terms of which the Assembly would appropriate an amount of some $51.28 million for the maintenance of the Operation for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, in addition to the amount of $386.89 million already appropriated for the same period under the terms of resolution 59/16B.

    The Committee approved the text without a vote.

    ERIC SAIZONOU (Benin) then presented a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/60/L.3), by the terms of which the Assembly would appropriate the amount of over $46.41 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the 2005-2006 financial year, in addition to the amount of some $494.89 million already appropriated under the terms of the resolution 59/17B.

    He said that during informal consultations, the Committee had not endorsed paragraph 22 of the ACABQ report on the matter.  Some delegations felt that the recommendations and observations contained in that paragraph, in particular those contained in the footnote, were unclear and confusing.  After the Acting Chairman of the ACABQ had clarified that the proposed reduction of $1.1 million was intended as a technical adjustment and did not target any specific programme, some delegations felt that the paragraph in question did not correspond to the rationale given by the Acting Chair.  In the future, observations and recommendations should be drafted in clear and concise terms.  At the same time, he wanted to express appreciation for the Acting Chair for trying to clarify the recommendations to the Committee.

    He also made an oral correction of a typo in the name of the Mission contained in the French version of the text.

    The draft was approved without a vote, as orally amended in French.

    The representative of China said that the Chinese version of the draft contained language "decides to endorse", while, according to the English version, the Assembly would decide not to.  Further clarification was required in that respect.

    The Committee SECRETARY said that the text had been submitted in English.  Now, attention of relevant translation services would be brought to the mistakes, and the document would be reissued for technical reasons.

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