Press Releases

    GA/AB/3707
    15 November 2005

    Budget Estimates for ECOSOC Decisions, Administrative Expenses for Pension Fund among Issues Taken up in Fifth Committee

    NEW YORK, 14 November (UN Headquarters) -- As the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) took up a series of reports in connection with the Organization's budget for the 2006-2007 biennium, speakers focused on the budget estimates in connection with the latest decisions of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the possibility of conducting guided tours at the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), and a proposal to reclassify from D-1 to D-2 the post of the Director of the new Coordination and Response Division within the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    The representative of Nigeria questioned the Secretary-General's recommendation against operating guided tours at the UNON premises for the reason that "the costs of operating a visitors' service would significantly exceed the potential revenue from the sale of tickets to visitors".  Saying that the educational and cultural value of guided tours of the Nairobi Office should have been taken into consideration, she wondered if a different standard was being set for Nairobi.  Was there any other United Nations office where guided tours were not conducted? she asked.

    Also addressed today was ECOSOC's decision to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the Council's substantive session next July, with the representative of Brazil supporting additional resource requirements of $13,500 for that purpose.  The representative of Guatemala, however, expressed concern about the differences in the presentation of additional resource requirements in connection with the Haiti Group during ECOSOC's substantive meeting last July and now.

    Several speakers supported the idea of considering the reclassification of an existing D-1 extrabudgetary post within the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs within the framework of the negotiations on the 2006-2007 budget.  The Committee also took up a request for a subvention for the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

    Also, as the Committee took up a report on the administrative expenses of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the representative of Jamaica, who spoke on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, welcomed that document, which contained "quite a wealth of valuable information".  However, she concurred with the Advisory Committee that efforts should be made to shorten the report, make it more user-friendly and bring it in line with results-based budgeting.  She also noted that the Pension Fund's market value had increased and encouraged the Board to continue seeking ways to diversity the Fund's investments, including through investment opportunities in developing countries.

    Also participating in today's discussion were the representatives of the United States, Japan, Argentina, Egypt and Senegal.

    The documents before the Committee were introduced by the Chief of the Economic, Social and Human Rights Service of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, John Moffat; the Chief of the Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service of the same Division, Dennis Thatchaichawalit; the Chief of the Common Services Unit of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, Vladimir Belov; the Acting Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Rajat Saha; and the Chairman of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board, Claudine Pichon.

    The Committee will hold its next formal meeting at a date to be announced.

    Background

    The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning was expected to take up a series of reports related to the proposed budget for the coming biennium.

    The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General entitled "Revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social council at its resumed organizational and first substantive sessions of 2005 (document A/60/396)".

    The report details the expenditure requirements - estimated at $4.14 million -- resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Council during this period.  The report estimates that $3.57 million of that amount could be absorbed within the resources provided for either the 2004-2005 or the 2006-2007 biennium.  The remaining requirement of $572,000 for appropriation for the biennium 2006-2007 would be subject to the procedures established by the General Assembly in its resolutions 41/213 of 19 December 1986 and 42/211 of 21 December 1987.

    These requirements of $572,000 stem from various Economic and Social Council decisions and resolutions made at its organizational and first substantive sessions of 2005.  These include resolution 2005/46, in which the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the substantive session of the Council in July 2006; decision 2005/255, which endorsed the Commission on Human Rights' decision to create a working group on the use of mercenaries; resolution 2005/256, in which the Council approved the Commission's decision to renew for one year the mandate of the open-ended working group on the right to development; decision 2005/273, in which the Council approved the Commission's request to the Secretary-General to appoint a special representative for two years on the issue of human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprise; decision 2005/278, in which the Council endorsed the Commission's request to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to appoint for two years an independent expert on minority issues; decision 2005/292, in which the Council authorized additional meetings of the sixty-second session of the Commission; and decision 2005/295, in which the Council endorsed the Commission's request to the Secretary-General to receive, at its sixty-second session, his five-point action plan on the activities of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide.

    These requirements are in addition to resources initially proposed for the biennium 2006-2007 under various sections as follows:  section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs and Conference Management ($414,700); section 9, Economic and Social affairs ($13,500); section 23, Human rights ($129,200); and section 28 E, Administration, Geneva ($14,600).

    But no provision was made under sections 2, 9, 23 and 28 E of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007 to cover the identified additional requirements of $572,000.  Consequently, a net additional provision of $572,000 is sought over and above the resources proposed in the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007.  This provision would represent a charge against the contingency fund for the biennium 2006-2007.

    The Committee also had before it a related Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) report (document A/60/7/Add.5).

    The Advisory Committee noted that the Secretary-General (in paragraph 83 of his report A/60/396) proposed to meet the additional requirements of $572,000 by following the procedures created by the General Assembly in its resolutions 41/213 of 19 December 1986 and 42/211 of 21 December 1987, regarding the contingency fund.  That would normally mean that the Assembly would note the estimated additional requirements at this stage and appropriate an amount towards the session's end, after considering the Secretary-General's wrap-up paper on the contingency fund.  But the ACABQ believes that, in view of the relatively minor amount involved, an additional appropriation may not be necessary.  It, therefore, recommended that such amount, if any, be reported in the first performance report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007.

    The Advisory Committee also noted that the $572,000 in additional requirements included $169,400 in connection with decision 2005/292, on the organization of work of the sixty-second session of the Commission on Human Rights.  Upon inquiry, the Advisory Committee learned that this estimate may be superseded by the results of the implementation and follow-up to the 2005 World Summit Outcome (General Assembly resolution 60/1) adopted in September 2005.

    Also before the Committee was the report of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund entitled "Administrative expenses of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (document A/60/183)".

    The report contains a revised budget of $89.56 million (excluding extrabudgetary resources totalling $642,400) for the 2004-2005 biennium, which reflects an additional appropriation of nearly $4.07 million.  The revised appropriation was linked to the growth in the benchmark value of the small capitalization portfolio, which led to a corresponding increase in management fees.  As of 21 December 2004, the active participant population of the Fund increased to 88,356, up from 85,245 at the end of 2003.

    The Standing Committee approved for submission to the General Assembly a proposed budget estimate of $108.55 million.  This included administrative costs of $57.44 million; investment costs of $49.39 million; and audit costs of $1.72 million.  Of this amount, nearly $92 million would be apportioned to the Fund and $16.58 million to the United Nations cost-sharing agreement.

    The resources requested by the Secretary/Chief Executive Officer for the biennium 2006-2007 totalled $130.36 million, compared with $99.50 million for the biennium 2004-2005.  The request included $61.88 million for administrative costs, $66.76 million for investment costs, and $1.72 million for audit costs.

    The report provided for 184 administrative posts. The request for additional administrative resources stemmed primarily from the request for 14 additional posts and the reclassification of seven.  Within Information Management Systems Service, the increase in resources was related to projects undertaken during the upcoming biennium.  The request for additional resources in investment costs were directly related to the recommendations made in the report of Deloitte and Touche. The consulting firm was hired to conduct a comprehensive review on the investment process, operations and organization of the Investment Management Service.  The report recommended a new hybrid structure that combined internal management and permanent and temporary external management of the Fund's investments.  The value of the United Nations Pension Fund stood at $29.4 billion at the end of 2004.

    The consulting firm's recommendations included the outsourcing of certain types of investments; retaining the in-house management of emerging market equities and creating a team specialized in emerging markets and alternative investments to seek improvement in the risk/return profile of the Fund; and creating an oversight position of chief of operations, information technology and risk.  Additional resources were also requested in this division for 10 new posts, the reclassification of six posts and the outsourcing of additional investments.

    The Standing Committee had formed a working group -- composed of two members from each of the constituent groups and two representatives of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants -- to review the proposals and make recommendations to the Committee.

    The Working Group welcomed the initiative take by the Investment Management Service to control risks and diversify and modernize its operations.  The Group noted that the significant policy changes regarding outsourcing, as well as restructuring of the Investment Management Service, had not been reviewed by the Board or the Investment Committee.  The Group agreed that only such expenditures as regarded as essential, irrespective of any policy review, be recommended for approval.  It was expected that the policy review would be undertaken by the Board at its next meeting, in 2006.

    In a related report, the Committee also had before it the eighth report of the ACABQ on the administrative expenses of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (document A/60/7/Add.7).

    The Advisory Committee recommends that the proposed budget for the biennium 2006-2007 for administrative expenses of the Fund be approved in the amount of $108.26 million.  This represents a reduction of $290,200, which reflects the Committee recommendations in paragraphs 16 to 18 of its report.

    In paragraph 16 of its report, the Advisory Committee supported the conclusions of the Standing Committee in respect of the staffing proposals of the Fund Administration, with the exception of the proposed reclassifications.  With regard to the proposed reclassification of the D-1 post of the Chief of Operations to the D-2 level, the Committee is aware of the increased workload of the Chief of Operations, as reflected in paragraph 32 of the budget document.  But, the reclassification cannot be justified by the information reflected in the organization chart (see A/60/183, annexes II and III).  The Committee recommends that reclassification of the Chief of the Operations post be revisited in the next budget submission on the basis of a clearer delineation of the responsibilities of the post and of the organizational structure of the Fund.

    In paragraph 17, the Advisory Committee notes that, in connection with the proposed reclassification of five P-4 posts to the P-5 level (two in administration and three in investment), the Advisory Committee is concerned that the implementation of the reclassifications would create imbalances in post structure, exacerbate the confusion of reporting lines and contribute to further fragmentation of functions.  The Committee is of the view that consideration should be given to a better organizational structure of the Investment Management Service, perhaps with the creation of a post of deputy to the Director of the Service at an appropriate level.

    In paragraph 18, the Advisory Committee is also of the view that the implementation of the proposed reclassification of two P-4 posts to the P-5 level in administration would contribute to the fragmentation of functions in the Information Management Systems service.  Moreover, since currently both the administration and investment sides of the Fund have their own information system services, the Committee is of the view that serious consideration should be given to consolidating these services under a single organizational structure to encompass all activities of the Fund.  Information to this effect should be included in the Fund's next budget submission.

    In addition, the Committee has no objection to the Standing Committee's proposal to supplement the voluntary contributions to the Emergency Fund by an amount not exceeding $200,000 for the 2006-2007 biennium (see document A/60/183, paras. 200-201).

    In regard to the revised budget estimates for the 2004-2005 biennium, the Advisory Committee recommends that revised estimated of $89.56 million be approved, taking into account its comments and recommendations.  And, while welcoming the efforts to present the budget document in a format that introduced some elements of result-based budgeting, the Advisory Committee was of the view that more efforts should be made to streamline and shorten the report, to make it more user-friendly and use a format that closely reflected results-based budgeting.

    Contained in document A/C.5/60/3 is a note by the Secretary-General presenting a request for a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in the amount of $476,500 from the regular budget of the United Nations for 2006-2007.

    Based on the continuing nature of the requirement for such a subvention, the document proposes that the subvention request be submitted on a biennial basis in the context of the consideration by the Assembly of the budget for the related biennium.  With related provisions already included in the budget proposal for 2006-2007 under section 4, Disarmament, the Assembly is also requested to approve the proposed subvention for 2006-2007.

    The Advisory Committee, in a related report (document A/60/7/Add.8), recommends that the Assembly approve the request of $476,500 (before recosting) for UNIDIR for 2005; no additional provision would be required under section 4 of the proposed programme budget for 2006-2007.

    According to another Secretary-General's report before the Committee (document A/59/793), the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) has undertaken a feasibility study for the operation of guided tours, gift shops and other activities on UNON premises, aimed at promoting the image of the United Nations.  The study indicated the possibility of a resumption, in the year 2007, of activities of a gift shop (previously closed for security reasons) and of the UNICEF card stand at the off-site building for UNON commercial operations.  It is envisaged that the gift shop will operate as a self-sustained commercial operation, run on a full cost-recovery basis, involving no programme budget resources for its financing.

    Regarding the guided tours, it has been determined that given the limited number of tourists anticipated, the costs of operating a visitors' service would significantly exceed the potential revenue from the sale of tickets to visitors, requiring consistent subsidies to cover its financial deficit.  On this basis, the Secretary-General recommends against operating guided tours at the UNON premises.

    Commenting on these proposals in its 2006-2007 budget report (document A/60/7), the Advisory Committee notes that, following the anticipated completion in 2006 of the off-site building for commercial operations of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, the United Nations gift shop and other similar operations will be relocated to that building and resume their activities.  The ACABQ further concurs with the Secretary-General's conclusion that the operation of guided tours at the UNON would result in financial losses for the Organization.  Accordingly, it does not recommend the establishment of a guided tours operation there.

    And the last document before the Committee was a note by the Secretary-General regarding proposed post reclassification from D-1 to D-2 under subprogramme 2 of section 26, Humanitarian assistance (document A/C.5/60/13.  The reclassification relates to the post of the Director of the new Coordination and Response Division, which, according to the document, "would be at the heart of the programme of work of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and responsible for the implementation of one of its core mandates".

    Commenting on the proposal of the Secretary-General, which was presented to the Advisory Committee in a letter, the ACABQ expressed its opinion that the post should be funded from the regular budget.  Should that view be implemented, approval of the reclassification would result in additional resources in the amount of some $35,600 gross under the proposed budget for 2006-2007.  However, should no action be taken on the view of the Advisory Committee, an existing D-1 post funded from extrabudgetary resources would be reclassified to the D-2 level under the same subprogramme.  That would entail no financial implications for the regular budget.

    Introduction

    JOHN MOFFAT, Chief of the Economic, Social and Human Rights Service of the Programme and Planning Budget Division, introduced the Secretary-General's report on revised estimates of the Economic and Social Council (document A/60/396).

    DENNIS THATCHAICHAWALIT, Chief, Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service, Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the reports on the subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) on the proposed post reclassification from D-1 to D-2 under subprogramme 2 of section 26 contained in document A/C.5/60/3, and humanitarian assistance contained in documents A/60/396 and A/C.5/60/13.

    VLADIMIR BELOV, Chief, Common Services Unit, Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the report on guided tours, bookstores and gift shops at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (document A/59/793).

    The Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, RAJAT SAHA, introduced that body's comments on the preceding Secretary-General's reports.

    The report on the proposed reclassification of the post of Director of the Coordination and Response Division (document A/C.5/60/13) was introduced by DENNIS THATCHAICHAWALIT, Chief of the Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service of the Programme Planning and Budget Division.

    Statements

    THOMAS A. REPASCH (United States) supported the ACABQ report on the revised estimates in connection with decisions and resolutions of the Economic and Social Council.  Regarding the proposed reclassification of the post of Director of the Coordination and Response Division, he said that the issue should be considered in the context of the proposed budget for 2006-2007.

    NORMA ELAINE TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica) speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, noted from the report of the Secretary-General on the Council decisions and resolutions that much of the funds required during the current and coming biennium would be absorbed from the budget of the Council.  The ACABQ had also recommended that the balance of $572,000 also be absorbed.  However, with the amount already absorbed, she wanted to see if the additional amount could, indeed, be absorbed from the Council budget.

    Turning to the report on the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, she welcomed that document, which contained "quite a wealth of valuable information".  However, she concurred with the Advisory Committee that efforts should be made to shorten the report, make it more user-friendly and bring it in line with results-based budgeting.  The Group would like to encourage the Board to review the presentation of its report.  She also noted from the Pension Fund report that the Fund's market value had increased, and encouraged the Board to continue seeking ways to diversity the Fund's investments, including through investment opportunities in developing countries. 

    NONYE UDO (Nigeria) said she supported the statement of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  Regarding the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, she said she would have several questions on the issue when it was introduced.

    Regarding the report on the possibility of operating guided tours at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, she would like to know what criteria the Secretariat used to make its comments concerning the viability of guided tours.  She could not determine from the report whether the tours could be operated at a profit.  She would not want them to run at a loss.  She also wanted to know if the Advisory Committee received additional information before issuing its comments on the matter, or whether their comments were based only on the Secretary-General's report.

    ALEJANDRO TORRES LEPORI (Argentina) said he agreed with the statement made by Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  Regarding the revised estimates for the Economic and Social Council, he said he would work during the informal sessions to ensure the resolutions received sufficient resources to be implemented.

    FERNANDO DE OLIVEIRA SENA (Brazil) said he supported the statement made by Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  Regarding the issue of the revised cost estimates for the Economic and Social Council, he said Brazil was interested in the reports and hoped they would be implemented. He noted resolution 2005/46 that was included in the Secretary-General's report and referred to the Council's decision to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the Council's substantive session of July 2006.  Paragraph 18 of the report noted that the General Assembly would need to meet the additional resource requirements of $13,500 for that item, and he supported that requirement.

    KEIKO KURODA (Japan) supported the reclassification of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) post to be taken in the context of the budget negotiations.

    Responding to a question regarding the recommendations on the operation of guided tours at Nairobi, Mr. BELOV said that the request of the Secretary-General had been made in the context of the budget proposal.  The Secretariat's understanding had been that the proposal would be considered on the basis of a technical review.  Financial aspects of the issue were part of that review, and the conclusion had been made that the operation would be at a loss on a technical basis.  The Secretariat had not taken any other considerations into account.

    Mr. MOFFAT said that the amount required for the Haiti consultation mission had been carefully analysed for the budget proposal.  As there was no "absorptive capacity" foreseen, a request for an additional amount had been made.

    Mr. SAHA said that he did not have information on guided tours available and would have to check on the matter.

    Ms. UDO (Nigeria) noted that Mr. Belov had said that the Secretary-General's report was based on a technical evaluation.  However, other questions had not been addressed.  She wanted to know if a different standard was being set for Nairobi and asked if there was any other United Nations office where guided tours were not conducted.  The educational and cultural value of guided tours of Nairobi also should have been taken into consideration.  What value had been placed in the analysis on that aspect of the issue?

    Mr. BELOV said that he fully agreed with the representative of Nigeria that, indeed, if the scope of the commercial operation of guided tours were compared at various duty stations, it was not always on par.  When the proposals were considered, the financial considerations had basically outweighed the other aspects.

    Ms. UDO (Nigeria) said the question of the viability of the guided tours at UNON still needed to be addressed.  She wanted to know what weight and consideration were given to the educational benefits, knowledge and interaction that might be provided by the tours.  She said she hoped she did have to ask for the information a fourth time.

    Mr. BELOV said there were several considerations made when arriving at the recommendation, and more information would be provided during the informal consultations.

    KARLA GABRIELA SAMAYOA-RECARI (Guatemala) commented on the Economic and Social Council's revised cost estimates and Council resolution 2005/46, which detailed its decision to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti until the Council's substantive session of July 2006.

    She was concerned because, when the resolution was negotiated by the Council in July, the Secretariat said the $13,500 resource requirement was needed for travel and conference-servicing costs for the Advisory Group. Now, in Paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General report, it was noted that the conference-servicing costs would be negligible and could be met within the resources available under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs and Conference Management, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007.  She said she was astonished to see in the resolution that the position had changed from July to now.

    Mr. MOFFAT said he did not see a change of position and that during the Council talks on the resolution, it was announced that there was a $13,500 travel requirement for the Haiti Group. He said the travel requirement remained the same.

    Ms. UDO (Nigeria) took note of the comments that the Secretariat would provide more information during the informal sessions and said she did not appreciate that line of action.  She reserved the right to resume discussion of the issue during a formal meeting if her questions were not addressed during the informal sessions.  She said the Secretariat should be prepared to answer questions.

    Ms. SAMAYOA-RECARI (Guatemala) said she asked in detail at the Council meeting if the programme budget implication statement for the Haiti Advisory Group included conference-servicing costs, and the Secretariat said it was for travel and conferences.  Now, the money had appeared.  She said she would like more details on the issue and the information could be presented during the informal consultations.

    Responding to the concerns of Ms. Udo (Nigeria) on the viability of providing tours at UNON, Committee Chairman JOHN W. ASHE (Antigua and Barbuda) said cost was the most important factor.  He said the other factors she raised were taken into consideration, but no one could say how much weight was given to each consideration.  An attempt would be made to provide more information.

    Mr. MOFFET said that two issues had been considered concerning the cost of the Haiti mission.  One was the cost of conference servicing, and the review had shown that there was some "absorptive capacity".  However, travel for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs had not been included in the budget proposal for 2006-2007.  Thus, an additional appropriation was sought.

    The Committee Chairman, Mr. ASHE (Antigua and Barbuda), said that related information was contained in paragraph 18 of document A/60/396.

    YASSER ELNAGGAR (Egypt) said that he did not think the Secretariat had understood the question correctly, and he looked forward to discussing the issue further in informal consultations.  He also supported the concerns of Nigeria's representative and would like to receive the answers to her questions. He reserved the right to come back to the issue in a formal meeting, if the need arose.

    Ms. SAMAYOA-RECARI (Guatemala) said that she had read paragraph 18 of the report on the Council decisions.  She was asking the Secretariat regarding paragraph 19 of that document.

    NDOME FAYE (Senegal) said that he strongly supported the position of Nigeria.  Precise answers should be provided in informal consultations.

    The CHAIRMAN said that the Secretariat had assured him that the information sought would be presented during informals.

    Mr. MOFFET said that the report had been prepared on the basis of the assumption that resources for conference services would be "absorbable".  He would provide further details in informal consultations.

    CLAUDINE PICHON, Chairman, United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board, introduced the report of the Standing Committee contained in document A/60/183.  With 21 member organizations and more than 142,000 active participants and beneficiaries, the Fund was serving a total number of individuals that increased at an average annual rate of more than 4 per cent over the past decade.  In 2004, the annual amount of benefit payments exceeded $1.3 billion, with payments in 15 currencies in about 190 countries.

    The proposed 2006-2007 budget for the Fund provided explanations for the three main components of the budget:  administration, investments and audit costs.  Detailed background was contained in the summary tables and Annexes I to VI.  She noted that within the budget estimates associated with administrative expenses, the Standing Committee approved additional resources for 12 new posts and three reclassifications.  Concerning investment costs, the Standing Committee welcomed the initiatives taken by the Investment Management Service to control risk, while diversify and modernizing its operations.

    Mr. SAHA, Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, introduced the Advisory Committee's report on the administrative expenses of the Fund (document A/60/7/Add.7).  Noting that a major feature of the Fund's budget was the request for posts, Mr. Saha said the Advisory Committee supported the conclusion of the Standing Committee in respect of the staffing proposals of the Fund Administration, with the exception of a number of proposed reclassifications.

    Other Matters

    Ms. TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, brought to the Committee's attention a circular letter from the Department of Safety and Security and the Office of the Capital Master Plan regarding the establishment of turnstiles at United Nations headquarters.  While informed that it was being done under the authority of three General Assembly resolutions, she recalled that a decision on global access control had not yet been taken.  While the Assembly had authorized the Secretariat to undertake certain projects to upgrade security in New York, she was puzzled by the fact that during a recent discussion with the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, he had said he was not aware of the letter that had gone out.  The Group wanted clarification regarding the status of construction of turnstiles.  If they were being built in the framework of the global access project that had not been approved by the Assembly, work should be delayed till proper authorization had been received.

    Secretary of the Committee MOVSES ABELIAN said that the concerns expressed by the Group of 77 and China would be brought to the attention of relevant programme managers, who would be invited to the Fifth Committee to provide further information.

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