23 December 2000


Press Release
GA/AB/3425



FIFTH COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT TEXTS ON SCALE OF ASSESSMENTS, PEACEKEEPING FINANCE, BRAHIMI REPORT IMPLEMENTATION

20001223

Concludes First Part of Fifty-fifth Session

Following informal consultations through Friday night and into Saturday morning, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) concluded the first part of its fifty-fifth session, approving draft resolutions and decisions on the outstanding items on its agenda, including a new scale of assessments for apportioning the United Nations regular budget.

Those drafts will now be forwarded to the General Assembly for its consideration and adoption.

If the Assembly adopts the recommended draft resolution on the scale of assessments for 2001-2003 -- one of the most important questions on the Committee's agenda this session -- it will set the maximum percentage that any one State must contribute towards the regular budget of the United Nations at 22 per cent -- down from 25 per cent for 2000. It would decide to review this in 2003 and, depending on the status of contributions and arrears, may then make further changes.

The new scale would be based on a State's gross national product (GNP) over statistical base periods of three and six years. The Assembly would also establish a minimum assessment of 0.001 per cent and a maximum assessment for least developed countries of 0.01 per cent.

It would note that the financial burdens resulting from changes to the scale for 2001 would be borne in part by a voluntary donation from the United States. The draft was approved by the Fifth Committee without a vote.

[The scale of assessments is a formula used to apportion the regular expenses of the United Nations among its Member States. Once those States decide on the formula, each is legally obliged to pay the resulting amounts. At present, a number of least developed and developing States are liable to pay the minimum amount established in the scale and the formula requires one State -- the United States -- to pay the maximum.]

It also approved a draft resolution which would have the Assembly establish a new means of determining individual Member States’ levels of financial responsibility for peacekeeping missions -- the peacekeeping scale. According to


Fifth Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/AB/3425 43rd Meeting (AM) 23 December 2000

the draft, Member States’ regular assessment levels would be adjusted according to their placement in one of nine categories, with discounts ranging from 7.5 per cent to 90 per cent applied to States with lower per capita incomes, and a premium to cover these discounts applied to the assessments of permanent members of the Security Council. The Assembly would, at the same time, establish a series of transition periods that would apply to States moving between categories.

The Committee also approved a draft resolution on implementing the recommendations in the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the Brahimi report). By its terms, the Assembly would approve some $400,000 in new funds for the regular budget to finance the initial phase of implementation, to start in January 2001. It would also approve expenditure of some $9.19 million from the peacekeeping support account for the period 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

The Assembly would agree to its Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations' call for the Secretary-General to undertake a comprehensive review of peacekeeping, and endorse the conclusions and recommendations from its Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) regarding the Brahimi proposals. The Secretary-General would be asked to ensure full implementation of the ACABQ proposals.

By other the terms of the draft, the Assembly would stress the importance of consultation with troop-contributing countries from the early stages of mission planning.

The Committee approved a draft resolution on programme planning, by the terms of which the Assembly would adopt the proposed medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005, together with all relevant recommendations of the Committee on Programme and Coordination (CPC). In presenting the medium-term plan, the Secretary-General would be requested to ensure that expected accomplishments, and, where possible, indicators of achievement are included to measure achievements in the implementation of the Organization's programmes and not those of individual Member States.

The Committee also recommended the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $150 million to finance the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) for 31 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. The Secretary-General would also be requested to establish a Special Account for the Mission.

The Committee made recommendations to the Assembly regarding the conditions of service and compensation of full-time members of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the Chairman of the ACABQ, and approved its report to the General Assembly on the main part of the fifty-fifth session by the terms of two further drafts. By another, it made recommendations to the Assembly on the programme budget implications and revised estimates for the contingency fund, and noted that a balance of $224,300 remained in that fund.

The texts before the Committee were introduced by Thomas Schlesinger (Austria); by the Rapporteur of the Committee, Eduardo Ramos (Portugal); by


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Gebhard Kandanga (Namibia); and Ramesh Chandra (India). Yeo Bock Cheng, Director of Peacekeeping Division, presented information on proposals for financing UNMEE.

Speaking in explanation of position on the Brahimi report were the representatives of Nepal, France (on behalf of the European Union), United States and Cuba. The Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Conrad S.M. Mselle, introduced several of that body's reports.

Also speaking on Friday morning were the representatives of Syria and Cuba; Mr. Mselle; the Secretary of the Committee, Joseph Acakpo-Satchivi; and the Director of Programme Planning and Budget Division of the Office of Programme Planning, Warren Sach.

On Saturday morning, the representatives of India, Brazil, Republic of Korea, Canada, China, Estonia, Armenia, United States, Israel, Singapore, Nigeria (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay and Turkey spoke, as did the Chairman of the Committee, Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala).



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Committee Work Programme

As the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning, it was expected to act on the remaining drafts before it, with the exception of those on the two scales of assessment. (For background information on the items not included in today's work programme, see Press Release GA/AB/3424 of 21 December.)

By the terms of the draft resolution on the Brahimi report (document A/C.5/55/L.32, the Assembly would agree with the views of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in its report on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping and endorse the conclusions of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), requesting the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation.

It would decide to appropriate an additional amount of $363,000 under section 3, political affairs, and $37,200 under section 27, management and central support services, of the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001. It would also approve the support account post and non-post requirements in the amount of some $9.19 million gross for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

Agreeing with the Special Committee's observations relating to proper representation of troop-contributing countries in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Assembly would further underscore the importance of consultation with troop-contributing countries from the early stages of mission planning. It would express deep concern over the delay in reimbursement of troop contributors and request the Secretariat to expedite the processing of all claims and present a progress report in that regard during the resumed fifty-fifth session.

Also by the terms of the text, the Assembly would note that the resource requirements presented by the Secretary-General were described by him as an emergency request, whereas according to the Advisory Committee, it was acknowledged that not all the proposals could be classified as an emergency. It would regret that the report of the Secretary-General on resource requirements was not presented in accordance with rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly and with established practices, and request the Secretary-General to strictly comply with those rules in the future.

It would also note that the report of the Secretary-General on resource requirements was not issued in compliance with the six-week rule and take note of the intention of the Secretary-General to submit future reports on the implementation of the recommendations of the Panel on Peace Operations, including the comprehensive review of the management, structure, recruitment processes and interrelationships of all relevant elements within Secretariat that play a role in peacekeeping operations, as requested by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on programme planning (document A/C.5/55/L.18). By the terms of that draft, the Assembly would adopt the proposed medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005, together with all relevant recommendations of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC). In presenting the medium-term plan, the Secretary-General would be requested to ensure that expected accomplishments, and, where possible, indicators of achievement are included to measure achievements in the implementation of the Organization's programmes and not those of individual Member States. The need to continue considering the impact of the new format of the medium-term plan on the rest of the cycle would be stressed.

Taking note of the Secretary-General's programme performance report for 1998-1999, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations of the CPC and take note of recommendations on ways in which the full implementation and the quality of mandated programmes and activities could be ensured and could be better assessed by Member States. The Assembly would also recognize the need for clear statements of objectives, expected accomplishments and corresponding indicators of achievement in future medium-term plans and programme budgets, in order to ensure a better assessment of the implementation of programmes in the context of the biennial programme performance reports.

Also before the Committee was the draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (document A/C.5/55/L.26), by the terms of which the Secretary-General would be authorized to enter into commitments for the establishment and operation of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea for the period from 31 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 in an amount not exceeding $150 million gross, inclusive of $50 million gross authorized by the Advisory Committee under the terms of General Assembly resolution 49/233 A, and the costs related to the dispatch of reconnaissance and liaison teams to the Mission area. The Secretary-General would be requested to establish a Special Account for the Mission.

According to the draft decision on the conditions of service and compensation of full-time members of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the Chairman of the ACABQ (document A/C.5/55/L.35), the Fifth Committee would recommend to the General Assembly that it take note of the reports of the Secretary-General and the Advisory Committee on the matter and further decide to undertake a detailed examination of the issue of compensation relativity in the context of the next five-year review of the conditions of service and compensation of the three officials in question. The Fifth Committee would reaffirm that the conditions of service of the three officials should be separate from those of the United Nations Secretariat.

The Committee also had before it the draft report of the Fifth Committee (document A/C.5/55/L.29), which contains a summary of the subjects considered by the Committee during the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly and the Committee's recommendations to the General Assembly for adoption.

Action on Drafts

Introducing the draft resolution on the report of the Panel of United Nations Peace Operations, THOMAS SCHLESINGER (Austria) recommended that the text be approved without a vote in the Committee.

The draft was then approved without a vote.

HIRA B. THAPA (Nepal), speaking in explanation of position, said that Nepal was highly committed to the United Nations Charter and had, for 45 years, been guided by its conviction that the United Nations was an international organization dedicated to global peace. Nepalese had served with United Nations peace operations since 1958. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations needed strengthening. Nepal would have been pleased to have endorsed even more posts, if the comprehensive report had justified the case. Even national governments embarked on restructuring only after a comprehensive review had taken place. The involvement of troop-contributing countries was also essential. Military planners from participating troop-contributing countries should be involved in planning of operations from the early stages. It was a practical concept which provided the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with first-hand experience from the troop- contributing country. That should be done for several reasons, including that it provided military planners with the opportunity to understand command and control structures. Although the draft contained language concerning consultation with troop-contributing countries, Nepal would have preferred more elaboration on participation of troop-contributing countries. However, to respect the consensus, Nepal had decided to go along with the draft resolution despite reservations.

ALEXIS LAMEK (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union was pleased with the adoption of the resolution. The Committee had been able to fulfil the mandate from the heads of State given at the Millenium Summit, by taking the first steps towards implementation of the Brahimi report. Although the Union thought matters could have gone farther this month, it was nevertheless pleased with the positive spirit displayed by the Committee. Efforts to continue with the implementation of Brahimi panel recommendations must be made. He thanked the Secretariat for being helpful during the deliberations.

DEBORAH ISSER (United States) said that the United States welcomed the approval of this resolution. The United States considered that resources were a critical first step in heeding the Millenium Summit declaration. She would have liked to see additional resources, including resources to establish a public information capacity in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The establishment of the Office of Assistant Secretary-General for military and civilian police affairs was essential. Considerable support had been expressed for that position. While the resolution was an important step, more work remained to be done. The United States awaited the results of the comprehensive review.

LOIPA SANCHEZ LORENZO (Cuba) said that Cuba regretted that in dealing with the Brahimi report, the Secretary-General had not acted in accordance with rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure. Cuba firmly believed that many of the posts requested in the Secretary-General’s report were not, in fact, emergency requests. She hoped that the comprehensive review early next year would be carried out in full respect of the procedures and rules governing the Committee’s work. She also trusted that the review would be a realistic reflection of needs.

The Committee then turned to the draft on conditions of service and compensation for officials, other than Secretariat officials, serving the General Assembly.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN then reminded the Committee that it had previously considered the matter and had, at that stage, decided to postpone its decision pending further consultations.

Introducing the draft text, EDUARDO RAMOS (Portugal) recommended that it be approved without a vote.

The text was then approved without a vote.

The Committee then turned to the report of the Secretary-General on the contingency fund: consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates, contained in document A/C.5/55/34.

CONRAD S.M. MSELLE, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), orally presented the report of that body. He said that the Secretary-General provided information on estimates related to the programme budget and revised estimates charged to the contingency fund. The items were enumerated in the annex to the report. As indicated in paragraph 3, the total amount was some $16.1 million. The General Assembly was requested to note that a balance of about $224,300 would remain in the fund. In the past, the ACABQ had drawn attention to the need to monitor the adequacy of the fund. If the experience of this year was to continue in the future, that review might need to be undertaken by the Secretary-General and the ACABQ. Two items were included in the annex. Some $517,600 related to jointly financed administrative activities, and $8 million for construction and improvement. Those amounts had been included in accordance with provisions of General Assembly resolution 42/211.

ABDOU AL-MOULA NAKKARI (Syria) said that the issue should go to informal consultations before the draft was adopted.

JOSEPH ACAKPO-SATCHIVI, Secretary of the Committee, said that in the past, that item had never been a subject of informal consultations, especially since its consideration came in the final hours of the Fifth Committee’s work. The amounts indicated had already been approved. The item did not normally go into informal consultations.

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said that the Committee did have time and ought to take up the issue in informal consultations.

Ms. SANCHEZ LORENZO (Cuba) asked if the decision taken yesterday on the revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions of the Economic and Social Council at its 2000 substantive session should have been reflected.

Mr. MSELLE said that the amounts in the annex to the report had already been approved by the Fifth Committee. The approval was preceded by extensive informal consultations on some items. The only thing that was being presented was an indication of how those amounts were going to be charged to the contingency fund and the balance that remained from the fund. The ACABQ had examined the report and had concluded that the Secretary-General had followed the proper procedure, including the proper interpretation for the use of the fund for those amounts. If there was a question with regard whether or not an amount should be charged to the Fund, that question could be asked, and he or the representative of the Secretary- General would respond.

WARREN SACH, Director of Programme Planning and Budget Division, said that in reference to the contingency fund, he considered it a matter of record keeping. The items listed against the fund were ones on which the Committee had already acted at earlier stages. It was a reflection -- in a coordinated manner -- of all matters related to the fund. Regarding yesterday’s decision on the Economic and Social Council commitment authority, contingency fund charges were only listed at the point of appropriation. In the case of the Economic and Social Council, charges would be incorporated at the time of the second performance report.

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said that in principle the Committee might not need informals. However, he wished to recall that the Committee must not adopt unwritten and untranslated documents not on the table. The Secretariat must be given time to prepare draft decisions in all languages. He hoped that he would not have to reaffirm that point over and over. It was the responsibility of the Bureau, and not the Secretariat.

Mr. ACAKPO-SATCHVI said that, in a few moments, the Committee would take up A/C.5/55/L.29, which was the report prepared by the Rapporteur. That report was given at the end so that all decisions taken in course of session on the programme budget for 2000-2001 could be reviewed. He drew the representative of Syria to section 11 of resolution 1. The Acting Chairman was asking the Committee adopt the point that a balance of $224,300 remained in the contingency fund.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN said that the Committee would return to the issue latter on in the meeting.

The Committee then turned its attention to recosting of outstanding statements of programme budget implications and revised estimates contained in document A/C.5/55/35.

Mr. MSELLE orally presented the ACABQ's report. The Secretary-General’s report presented the result of the recosting of estimates which were not covered in the performance report. Those estimates were related to a number of decisions that the Committee had taken. The ACABQ recommended adoption of the action proposed in paragraph 2 of the Secretary-General’s report.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN then proposed that the Committee recommend to the Assembly that it take note of the report of the Secretary-General on recosting of outstanding statements of programme budget implications and revised estimates, and decide that the recosting and the related adjustments should be reflected in the revised appropriation for the biennium 2000-2001.

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said that he hoped that the Committee would deal with the decision in the same way.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN said that the text was contained in L.29. It was in the six official languages.

The Committee then turned to the draft report of the Fifth Committee contained in document A/C.5/55/L.29. The ACTING CHAIRMAN explained that part IV of the draft report contained the Committee's recommendations.

Drawing the Committee's attention to draft resolution I entitled "Questions relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001", he said that all sections of draft resolution I had been adopted at previous meetings. However, some language in the narrative part of document A/C.5/55/L.29 would be adjusted to the actual proceedings of the Committee.

The SECRETARY of the Committee then made some oral adjustments to the text. On the revised estimates in connection with the actions of the Economic and Social Council, he said that section 6 of the report should be deleted, as it was now contained in resolution I in the last part of the report. Subsequent sections would be re-numbered accordingly.

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) asked for the numbers of draft resolutions to be read out.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN said that the number of the document was A/C.5/55/L.29

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) said that as far as the contingency fund was concerned, he did not object to the language, but he wanted to know if it was the same draft decision as the one the Committee had just not approved.

Mr. SACH said that both items XI (contingency fund) and XII (recosting of outstanding statements of programme budget implications and revised estimates) of draft resolution I, contained in the report of the Fifth Committee, were the items considered earlier and not adopted for the lack of the text in all six languages. Now the Committee was dealing with the text, which was contained in the report of the Fifth Committee and had been presented in all official languages.

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) agreed that the decisions in the report had been provided in all official languages. He hoped that in the future all the documents would be provided in all official languages 24 hours prior to their adoption. No decision should be adopted if it was only presented orally.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN explained that draft resolution II, entitled "Programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001”, was divided into three sections. Section A concerned the revised budget appropriations for 2000-2001. Section B was on the revised income estimates for the biennium 2000-2001, and Section C was on the financing of appropriations for 2001.

The SECRETARY then corrected some typographical errors in the document.

Mr. NAKKARI (Syria) sought clarification regarding where the draft could be found.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN repeated the number of the document.

The Committee then approved draft resolution II without a vote.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN reminded the Committee that draft decision I on the critical situation of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) had already been approved by the Committee, as well as the revised estimates in connection with the 2000 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council.

The Committee then took up the financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

GEBHARD KANDANGA (Namibia) introduced the draft resolution, recommending that it be approved without a vote.

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YEO BOCK CHENG, Director of Peacekeeping Division, presented the figures to be appropriated under the draft.

The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

The Committee turned next to the draft resolution on programme planning, which was introduced by RAMESH CHANDRA (India).

The Committee approved the text without a vote.

HELENE DANTOINE (France), speaking on behalf of European Union in explanation of position, thanked colleagues of the Third Committee. It was difficult to work on the topic in that the Committee for Programme Coordination (CPC) and the Economic and Social Council had not participated in meetings of the Third Committee. In as much as the medium-term plan was a framework, they had to come to an agreement, especially regarding human rights. One of the major difficulties was the introduction of new concepts linked to programme planning. In the spirit of flexibility, the three subprogrammes of programme 19 would have modified titles that were beneficial to the medium-term plan. The Union had conceded to that because the Organization must have a budgetary tool that was agreed to by consensus.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN said that the draft resolution on the peacekeeping scale was not ready yet. The informal on that draft resolution would begin at 3 p.m. in Conference Room 5. The meeting was suspended.

Action on Drafts

When the meeting resumed late in the morning on Saturday, GERT ROSENTHAL, Chairman of the Fifth Committee, called the Committee's attention to the draft resolution before it on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses.

[According to the terms of a draft resolution on scale of assessments (document A/C.5/55/L.36), the Assembly would decide that the scale of assessments for the United Nations regular budget for 2001-2003 would be based on estimates of gross national product (GNP) on a statistical base period of three and six years, with a low per capita income adjustment of 80 per cent, a minimum assessment of 0.001 per cent, a maximum assessment for least developed countries of 0.01 per cent, and a maximum assessment rate of 22 per cent. Market conversion rates would be used except in exceptional circumstances.]

The Assembly would note that such a methodology would lead to substantial increases in the assessments of some Member States, and decide to apply transitional measures to address these increases.

Among other action, the resolution would note that the United States has decided to pay the United Nations -- in 2001 -- an amount equal to 3 per cent of amount assessed on Member States.

Taking note that the financial burdens resulting from the reformed scale for 2001 will be borne in part by a voluntary donation from the United States, and urging all Member States to settle their arrears promptly and in full, the Assembly would establish a reduced ceiling on the percentage of the regular budget which would be assessed on any one State to 22 per cent. It would also decide to review that position at the end of 2003 and, depending on the status of arrears and contributions, to remedy the situation, and stress that the reduction in the ceiling should not automatically apply to apportionment of the expenses of United Nations specialized agencies.

The Assembly would also set the assessments rates and other financial and administrative determinants for Tuvalu and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- two States that recently joined the Organization -- and for non-Member States, the Holy See.

Among other terms, the Assembly would decide to further consider a proposal to re-establish its Ad Hoc Working Group on Capacity to Pay.

RAMESH CHANDRA (India) said that the current section B of the draft resolution was earlier section C. Therefore, references to paragraph 2, section C should be changed to read paragraph 2 in section B.

The draft resolution was then adopted by consensus.

CARLOS ALBERTO MICHAELSEN DEN HARTOG (Brazil) said that his delegation would make an explanation of vote in the General Assembly plenary.

PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada), speaking in explanation of vote, said that he was pleased the resolution was being adopted by the Committee. While the new scale was not perfect, it was a reasonable compromise that did not unduly distort the methodology. The new scale more accurately reflected current global economic realities, and the Committee had, for the most part, avoided methodological adjustments as a means of sidestepping the basic responsibility of Member States to pay their fair share of the United Nations costs. By adopting the resolution, the General Assembly decided to reduce the ceiling from 25 to 22 per cent, thereby reducing the assessment of the largest contributor by 3 per cent - a distortion of capacity to pay, but a politically necessary one. Canada was pleased to have been helpful in the difficult negotiation. Canada looked forward to the largest contributor to pay its arrears in full and without delay or conditions.

At the same time, Canada recognized the difficulty caused by large increases in some Member States' assessed contributions. He was pleased that there would be some mitigation by the United States to assist Member States in adjusting to the new scale. Canada would forego that assistance. Canada's share of the funds would provide mitigation for Member States who would experience substantial increases in their regular budget assessments next year, and had less capacity to pay. Japan, Norway, Australia and New Zealand had agreed to do the same, without seeking compensation elsewhere in the new scale. The resolution placed the Organization on a sounder financial footing.

The Committee then turned to the scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses for peacekeeping operations.

[By the terms of the draft resolution on the methodology of the peacekeeping scale, the Assembly would decide that the assessment rates for peacekeeping would be based on the scale of assessments for the United Nations regular budget, but that a different procedure is required to determine the actual level of assessment.

It would decide that, from 1 July 2001, some Member States would receive a discount or premium for peacekeeping assessments compared to the proportion of the regular budget they are required to pay. The application and level of discounts and premiums would be determined by their categorization into one of 10 groups. Least developed countries would be placed in Category J for peacekeeping, and would receive a 90 per cent discount on what the regular assessment formula would otherwise determine should be their level of assessment. States in Categories D through I would receive discounts ranging from 20 per cent to 80 per cent. Allocation to those categories would depend on a State’s level of per capita income, with the maximum levels for each category specified in the draft. Certain listed Member States would be assessed as Category C States -– with a discount of 7.5 per cent. All other States with per capita incomes above the upper limit of $9,594 would fall into Category B, whereby no discount would apply, except permanent members of the Security Council which would be assessed as Category A States and pay a premium over their regular assessment obligations sufficient to make up for the discounts. Transition periods for movement between different categories are also specified in the draft.

By other terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the general principles underlying the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations, including those of collective responsibility; of the greater ability of the more developed countries to pay; the special responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council for the maintenance of peace and security; and special consideration for Member States which are victims of events or actions leading to peacekeeping operations.]

The Secretariat then informed the Committee of some drafting corrections to the text.

WANG YANGFIN (China) said that following several months of arduous negotiations, Member States had reached a consensus. Of course, there were different views. The results achieved were due in part to the leadership to the Chairman and his pragmatic work-style. The adjustment of the two scales touched upon the interest of every Member States. However, during the negotiations, not every Member States was trying to protect its own interests.

If Member States accepted the adjustment, he said, that reflected a spirit of seeking common ground while accommodating differences. It was also a reflection of a political will to enhance the United Nations. About 70 countries -- mostly developing countries -- would have increases in their assessed rates, but they had overcome their own difficulties to reach a consensus. The United Nations should thank those developing countries. From last night until this morning, they had encountered problems, namely, the transition period of January to June 2001, because of the fact that the new peacekeeping scale would be implemented on 1 July.

The reduction in the share of the peacekeeping budget of the major contributor would be picked up by the four permanent members of the Security Council, he said. That was unreasonable. The fact that the new scale would be implemented by 1 July was a decision made by the developed countries. China had not asked for it. It had hoped to find a way out, and an understanding had finally been reached -- the addition of a new sentence in paragraph 17.

From the beginning, China supported the approach that countries with potential to experience a big rise in rates of assessment should enjoy certain amounts of mitigation during the transition period, he said. Everybody knew that China's rate would increase. In accepting the decision, China would pay a high price. He hoped that countries should not forget that China was a country with a population of some 1.3 billion, and per capita income just approaching $1,000.

The long-running financial difficulty of the United Nations was due to the arrears owed by the major contributor, he said. The major Power arbitrarily set up the scale which deviated from the principle of capacity to pay. He could not accept that practice of imposing things on other countries.

China had joined the consensus because it knew that for the United Nations to operate normally, it must have a regular budget, he said. For the sake of the Organization, China had accepted greater burdens. He demanded that the country with biggest amount of arrears demonstrate its political will with concrete action and pay all its arrears.

MERLE PAJULA (Estonia) said that, in annex A, Estonia was listed in category I. She asked if it should not be placed in level B, with Israel.

MOVSES ARBELIAN (Armenia), who coordinated consultations on the draft, said that the annex which would be in effect from 1 July placed Israel in level B based on its per capita income. Estonia was voluntarily placing itself in level B. The draft reflected current data. Israel, in moving to level B, would benefit from a transition period.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States) thanked the Chairman for the leadership he had shown in bringing the Committee to a decision. The Committee had come a long way. Like a great mountain climb, the last ridge was the hardest. There was tremendous amount of tension and acrimony, because each State was trying to protect its national interest while trying to advance the goals of the Organization. It had been one of the toughest negotiations of his career.

He felt comfortable with the current outcome in its macro form, he said. From the outset, he had made it clear that the United States understood why the nations of the world were unhappy. Nevertheless, they allowed the United States to go down to 22 per cent, and he appreciated it. In his personal judgement, following conversations he had had with Washington, including with Senator Biden moments earlier, he believed the Committee would see a growing understanding in Washington of the fact that the United Nations was working with the United States to fix the financial structure of the Organization.

Much was left to be done, he said, including continuing reform -- with particular attention to full implementation of the Brahimi Panel. His greatest single regret was that the Deputy Secretary-General's implementation programme had not yet been fully accepted. All States had made a worst case assumption that peacekeeping next year would cost between $2.5 and $3 billion. That was not necessarily true. In East Timor and in Ethiopia and Eritrea, substantial drawdowns would be possible. If the peacekeeping budget was less, everyone would pay less.

Many nations had stated that they did not want peacekeeping to be improved at expense of development assistance, he said. He fully agreed -- as did major contributors. All had increased development assistance at same time as supporting increased resources for peacekeeping. Development helped prevent conflicts.

He thanked Member States for their patience, help and effort. Over 100 members of the United States Congress, a co-equal branch of his Government, had travelled to New York in the last year to learn about the United Nations and to share their views. They had returned impressed with the Organization's efforts. He was grateful to them, especially to Senators Biden and Helms.

When he took up his job in the summer of 1999, during his test before Senator Helms, he had laid out the priorities that would govern his efforts during his tenure as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He had said that his highest priority would be implementation of reform. He could now report to Congress that the United Nations had gone a substantial way in that direction. Congress would act on its own, and the new United States Administration must take up the baton from there, but he could report that there had been a breakthrough.

Many other commitments he had made 17 months ago had also been fulfilled, he said. The Western European and Other Group of States had accepted Israel as a member. The Brahimi Panel had made significant step forward. The Security Council had examined health issues for the first time in its history. Efforts to support the “Group of 77” developing countries in their efforts for development had been strengthened. He could end the year knowing that, while nothing was perfect in politics, a major step had been taken.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

RON ADAM (Israel) said that his delegation was pleased with the new scale, under which it would move to category B. He hoped that the move, along with his country’s admission to the Western European and Other Group of States, would foster new international relations. He expressed gratitude to the coordinators of consultations on the draft and welcomed the effort made by all to reach a consensus.

KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) joined others in congratulating the Chairman on his tremendous achievement, and said that very few delegates had believed that the Committee would get to where it was today. It might be useful to reflect on the accomplishments of the past few weeks. It was clear that it was time to move towards reconciliation and healing, since there was a great amount of bruising. It was also important to understand the position of others.

The representative of China had referred to the fact that tremendous efforts had been made to move certain delegations where they did not want to go, he said. Others also felt pressure. In Singapore’s case, efforts had been made to change its position, and it had been obliged to stand firm.

He said that every State in the room had its own interests to defend. It was also important to stay with the groups that States belonged to, including those of the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. In standing firm, they were also defending the fundamental principle that all Member States enjoyed sovereign equality. Each country had legitimate interests in the debate and had to be given equal consideration. That was one reason his country had stood firm in the negotiating process.

Looking ahead, it was necessary to evaluate where the Organization was going, he continued. As a result of the international community’s efforts, he hoped that the United Nations would also get some advantages. He hoped that the commitments made would be used to the advantage of the Organization. He also hoped that the tone of remarks about the United Nations would become positive.

To achieve consensus, Singapore had been willing to give up mitigation arrangements, he said, and its share of peacekeeping expenses would grow considerably. He did not wish to sound a discordant note, but he wanted everybody to remember the sacrifices various countries had had to make.

Mr. CHANDRA (India) pointed out several editorial errors in the printed version of the draft resolution on the regular scale of assessments, which would have to be corrected.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution on peacekeeping scale without a vote.

SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said that the review referred to in paragraph 15 of the draft on the peacekeeping scale of assessments also applied to his country. He also wanted to pay the highest tribute to the Bureau, the Chairman and to all the delegations which took part in the work on the draft.

TENIOLA OLUSEGUN APATA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the journey to the decision had been stormy. All the obstacles and difficulties at different moments had made him wonder if the Committee would ever arrive at a new scale for peacekeeping operations. Surely, the commitment at the Millennium Summit to strengthen the Organization would be brought to naught if there was no agreement on the apportionment of expenses for peacekeeping operations.

The Group of 77 and China was indeed proud to have shown great flexibility on the matter, he said. It was important to also recognize the flexibility on the part of the Group’s partners. The negotiations had been characterized by great passion and courage. That was to be respected. The agreement achieved was a source of satisfaction and relief. Now, the United Nations Millennium Assembly could go to celebrate New Year, knowing that an important problem had been solved. He was grateful to the coordinators and to the Secretariat. They should be commended for their outstanding performance. All the partners should be thanked for their cooperation and understanding, for they had demonstrated to the world how dearly they held the United Nations. He also thanked all the members of the Group.

Turning to the position of the United States, he expressed appreciation for the efforts of Ambassador Holbrooke. It was also important to convey the message of the Group of 77 to the United States: “Do not put the United Nations in jeopardy. Do not forget the great leaders like President Roosevelt, who was one of the driving forces in the establishment of the United Nations. For the sake of the Organization, international peace, security and development, please pay your arrears in full and without further delay”, he said.

Also speaking in explanation of position, BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba) said that he wanted to express its profound disagreement with the motives and conditions that had led to the approval of the draft before the Committee. His delegation had decided to join the consensus, hoping that the overwhelming majority of Member States, the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly were right in their belief that it was the only way to avoid not damaging the United Nations even more.

Cuba had also done that out of respect for the Group of 77, he said. It had always put the important goals of the United Nations and the collective interests of developing countries before its own views.

Although Cuba was not among the developing countries that were most seriously damaged by the changes made to both scales, he continued, it had always shown its solidarity with those countries, which had proven their altruism. He did not see any reason to be satisfied. The situation further confirmed that the United Nations could not elude the unipolarity of today’s world, nor could it avoid the inequity, exclusionary nature and injustice of an unstable international order.

The essence of what had happened was that the United Nations had had to give in to blackmail and intimidation by the Government of the United States, he said, which blamed its poorly democratic Congress, where a senile old man managed to impose his will and arrange for the United States to pay less than what its prosperous economy meant it should.

It once again demonstrated that the United States did not have allies but inferior associates, he said, and showed that capacity to pay was a mere principle of reference. The new package put the burden of adjustment on developing countries, which was a terrible injustice and would worsen the situation of their economies.

The Committee was witnessing a regrettable selfishness where opulent countries bargained for the lowest numbers, he said, but the rich of this scale would not go to heaven.

He believed there was a clear understanding that if the United States did not pay at least the agreed amount, the whole package would be terminated, and Member States would return to the starting point.

ELMIRA S. IBRAIMOVA (Kyrgyzstan) said that she was overcome by joy and gratitude towards all her colleagues who had been working in the Fifth Committee. Many countries had expressed invaluable support to her country. She greatly appreciated their assistance and wanted to express heartfelt gratitude for their generosity. She also wanted to express gratitude to the Bureau of the Committee, the Secretariat and the coordinators of the negotiations.

DONALD S. HAYS (United States) said that he was asking for the floor on behalf of the United States for the second time. He wanted to point out that, for 27 years, the connection between the responsibility for peacekeeping and the capacity to pay was delinquent. Today, the principle of the special responsibility of the permanent Security Council members had been enshrined, and an opportunity to review financial capabilities had been recognized. Each member could choose between voluntary payments and mandatory contributions. Everybody deserved gratitude for their efforts. His was particularly grateful to the Rio Group.

MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) associated himself with previous speakers who had stated how grateful they were to all those who had worked to achieve today’s historic stage in the Committee’s work. That historic event would reinforce the United Nations in its capacity to maintain the peace and security, and also reinforce the responsibility of Member States to pay for peacekeeping activities. His country thanked all countries that had understood its position. They had addressed some of his country’s concerns.

The United Arab Emirates had always worked for consensus, he continued. The agreement reached actually ran counter to his country’s national interests, but the United Nations was very important. Therefore, the United Arab Emirates supported the proposal made. The contribution of his country to peacekeeping and regular budget had been highlighted in informal consultations. The population of the United Arab Emirates had grown in the last three years, as had its GNP. Under the new scale, it would continue to pay on the basis of per capita income as it had before, which now amounted to $14,460. He hoped that the Committee on Contributions would address that situation in accordance with its own modalities.

ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Columbia) said that the Rio Group had participated in the negotiations in an open-minded sprit. The new scale meant that some countries must shoulder new responsibilities. In the future, progress must continue towards the objectives of the scale. A technical methodology should prevail over political interests. On the peacekeeping scale, he noted that the Rio Group proposal was warmly welcomed by the membership. The new scale would mean that the Organization would have a sound financial basis for financing peacekeeping operations. He thanked the Chairman of the Committee. The Rio Group was proud of the outstanding way in which he had acted for his region. The Group also admired the great effort made by the European Union and the Group of 77.

CLAUDIA PETROSINI (Venezuela) said that she had not opposed the adoption of the scale because she believed that it was the lesser of many evils and would allow the Organization to continue its work. The modifications to the scale ran against the criteria of justice. Additional burdens would be paid by Member States. She deplored the methods used by the main contributor to force adoption of the new ceiling.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on voluntary movements in connection with the apportionment of expenses of the United Nations (resolution A/C.5/55/L.38).

[By the terms of this draft, the Assembly would welcome with appreciation the commitment of certain States to undertake voluntarily to contribute to peacekeeping at a higher rate than required by their per capita income. It would

also note such commitments made by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey, and decide that, at any time during the scale period, Member States can make such a commitment by informing the General Assembly through the Secretary-General.]

NORA BENARY, Deputy Secretary of the Committee, indicated several typographical changes that would be made to the printed version of the draft.

FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay) sought clarification on one of those changes.

Mr. ABELIAN (Armenia), coordinator of consultations on the draft, said that the countries which made voluntary contributions had wanted to specify that by the footnote. There were so many ways to interpret it. Countries moving up wanted indication that it was 70 per cent. It was done for illustrative purposes, to show which countries were moving up. It was up to the Member States that had asked for that footnote.

The CHAIRMAN said that the footnote should be corrected.

FIKRET DEMIR (Turkey) then pointed out another small change required.

The CHAIRMAN asked the delegate of Armenia to make the final correction to the text.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution by consensus.

Turning to two draft decisions of procedural issues -- A/C.5/55/ L.33 on the biennial programme of work, and A/C.5/55/L.34 on action taken on certain agenda items, the CHAIRMAN asked if there were any comments on the first. As there were none, the decision was approved.

Turning to the second draft decision, JOSEPH ACAPKO-SATCHIVI, Secretary of the Committee, made some corrections to the printed version of the draft before the Committee.

The decision was then approved.

The CHAIRMAN thanked all the members of the Committee for their tireless efforts, as well as members of the Bureau and the Secretariat.

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