Fifty-fifth General Assembly                                        GA/9850

Plenary                                                           23 December 2000

89th Meeting (PM)

 

 

ASSEMBLY APPROVES NEW SCALE OF ASSESSMENTS, AS IT CONCLUDES

 

MAIN PART OF ITS MILLENNIUM SESSION

 

 

      Acting on the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the General Assembly this afternoon adopted a new scale of assessments for the regular budget of the United Nations for 2001-2003, lowering the ceiling of the amount to be paid by any single country from 25 to 22 per cent of the budget.

 

Following extended consultations in the Fifth Committee, the Assembly met to conclude its work for the main part of the Millennium session on Saturday afternoon.  Action on all drafts was taken without a vote.

 

“We have come to this solemn chamber with a great success story”, the representative of France (on behalf of the European Union) told the Assembly as he spoke in explanation of position on the text.  He welcomed the consensus, which was finally achieved on the scale, despite significant differences between Member States.

 

The representative of Australia, also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said that the ceiling was a political, rather than a technical element of the scale.  The arrangement involved a bargain:  in exchange for the reduction, the major contributor would pay its arrears.  She called on that country to fulfil its end of the bargain in order to place the Organization on a sound footing. 

 

      [Last year, the United States Congress adopted legislation authorizing the payment of $926 million in arrears to international organizations over a three-year period, subject to the fulfillment of specific conditions.  The payment of this year's instalment was conditional, among other things, on action by the Assembly to reduce the regular budget ceiling assessment for Member states to

22 per cent, and the United States' assessed share of peacekeeping operations to 25 per cent.]

 

Acting on the peacekeeping scale of assessments, the Assembly revised the 1973 ad hoc arrangement for financing peacekeeping activities.  By the terms of the text on that matter, it established 10 levels of assessment, depending on countries' per capita income.  On one end of the scale, the least developed countries would receive significant discounts on their contributions, while on the other, the permanent members of the Security Council would 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.

 

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General Assembly Plenary             - 1a -                 Press Release GA/9850

89th Meeting (PM)                                            23 December 2000

 

 

      To allow an initial round of recommendations from the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the Brahimi report), the Assembly decided to appropriate an additional amount of over $400,000 under the current budget, and approved support account post and non-post requirements in the amount of $9.19 million gross for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

 

To finance several peacekeeping missions for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, the Assembly appropriated the following gross amounts:  $563 million for the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET);

$450 million for the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK); and an amount not exceeding $150 million gross for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

 

In an action which would allow the Secretary-General to take immediate steps to improve the safety and security of the United Nations personnel, the Assembly appropriated $2.21 million under the programme budget for 2000-2001 for that purpose.  The Secretary-General was also asked to develop, in coordination with executive heads of various United Nations bodies, an effective cost-sharing mechanism for field security.

 

The Assembly also adopted the proposed medium-term plan for the period

2002-2005, which constitutes the principal policy directive of the United Nations, serving as a framework for the formulation of the biennial programme budgets.  It consists of 25 programmes, reflecting the main activities of the Organization.

 

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.

 

Also this afternoon, the Assembly adopted a resolution on results-based budgeting, by the terms of which the Secretary-General would introduce that new budget methodology in a gradual and incremental manner.  Intended to enhance responsibility and accountability in the implementation of the programmes, the results-based budgeting process would include enhanced programme objectives as key elements of the medium-term plan and the programme budget.

 

In other action today, the Assembly approved a budget of $108.48 million for the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, and of $93.97 million for the Rwanda Tribunal, for the year 2001.  Also by the terms of the two resolutions, the Assembly would decide, on an experimental basis, to biennalize the budgets of the Tribunals for the period 2002-2003 and to keep that matter under review.

 

On the recommendations of the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly also took note of several reports of the Secretary-General regarding revised estimates in respect of activities within the framework of the current budget (2000-2001), including those of which the Security and Economic and Social Councils are seized.

 

      Among other texts approved in today's meeting were draft resolutions on the United Nations pension system and outsourcing practices; a calendar of conferences

 

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General Assembly Plenary             - 1b -                 Press Release GA/9850

89th Meeting (PM)                                            23 December 2000

 

 

and meetings for 2001; a text on the review of the rates of reimbursement to the governments of troop-contributing States; and an appropriation of $8 million for a comprehensive design plan and a detailed cost analysis for the capital master plan.

 

As the Assembly concluded its work during the main part of the session, its President, Harri Holkeri (Finland), said the Assembly had taken action on many important issues.  The Millennium Declaration was the seminal event of the session and had established the agenda.  The main challenge for the Millennium Assembly had been how to implement the Declaration.  "In my view, the Summit Declaration is one of the most important documents of recent time.  If we are able to achieve its targets, it will have an enormous impact globally", he said.

 

In the past few weeks, two major items had dominated the Assembly's deliberations, he said, namely the implementation of the Brahimi report and the new scale of assessments.  On the Brahimi report, the Assembly had reached agreement in a very short time, as a result of which much-needed additional resources would be made available to the Secretariat.  That a compromise was finally reached on the scale of assessments showed that delegations understood the seriousness of the consequences to the Organization if there had been failure on that issue.

 

The reports of the Fifth Committee were introduced by that body's Rapporteur, Eduardo Ramos (Portugal).

 

Also speaking in explanation of position at today's meeting were the representatives of Syria, Brazil, Chile and United Arab Emirates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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      Assembly Work Programme

 

      As the General Assembly met this afternoon, it was expected to act on all the texts contained in the reports of the Fifth Committee and on the report of the Third and Fifth Committees on the advancement of women.

 

The drafts contained in the report of the Third and Fifth Committees on the advancement of women (documents A/55/595 and A/55/708) concern the critical financial situation of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).  By the terms of the text presented for the Assembly's approval, it would advance the Institute up to $800,000 for the year 2001 on an exceptional and emergency basis.  This advance, less voluntary contributions received, would be considered a one-time only subvention, and the Assembly would emphasize the need for the Institute, as a voluntarily financed programme of the United Nations, to actively pursue the expansion of its donor base.

 

      According to the terms of a draft resolution on the scale of assessments contained in the Fifth Committee's report on the scale of assessment for the apportionment of expenses of the United Nations (document A/55/521/Add.1) the Assembly would decide that the scale for the period 2001-2003 for the regular budget 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 for currency 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 those 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 the 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 of 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 assessment rates and other financial and administrative determinants for Tuvalu and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- two States that were recently admitted to the Organization -- and for a non-Member State, 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.

 

      The report of the Fifth Committee on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses for peacekeeping operations (document A/55/712) before the Assembly contains two draft resolutions.  By the terms of the draft resolution on voluntary movements in connection with the apportionment of expenses for United Nations peacekeeping operations, 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 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.

 

      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 report of the Fifth Committee on the financial reports and audited financial statements and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/55/689) contains a draft resolution, by the terms of which the Assembly would accept the 1999 financial reports and audited financial statements for United Nations system bodies examined by the Board of Auditors, with the exceptions of those of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Fund of the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).  Action on the financial statements of UNDP, UNFPA and the Fund of the UNDCP would be deferred, pending satisfactory progress to address the matters that led to the qualification of the Board of Auditors' certification.

 

The Assembly would also recommend approval of all the Auditors’ recommendations and conclusions, and endorsement of the related recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).  The Secretary-General would be asked to review the terms of office of the Auditors and to change the cycle of financial reports and audited financial statements for the two International Criminal Tribunals to bring them in line with the budget cycles of those bodies.  Executive heads of United Nations funds and programmes would be called upon to improve their procurement practices, using the United Nations Secretariat's Procurement Division as a model.

 

      By the terms of the text contained in the report on the administrative and budgetary coordination of the United Nations with the specialized agencies (document A/55/706), the Assembly would take note with appreciation of the report on the activities of the ACABQ during the fifty-fourth session and request the Secretary-General to bring that report to the attention of the executive heads of the specialized agencies and the funds and programmes concerned.

 

Acting on the recommendations of the Fifth Committee on the pattern of conferences (document A/55/702), the Assembly would approve the draft revised United Nations calendar of conferences and meetings for 2001.  Pointing out that meetings of the Charter and mandated bodies must be a priority, the Assembly would further decide to provide all necessary resources for interpretation for meetings of regional and other major groups of Member States in the 2002-2003 budget.  Among other matters covered in that draft are United Nations offices and conference facilities away from Headquarters, and the production of United Nations documentation.

 

      If it acts on the proposed draft resolution on the United Nations common system, contained in the report on that subject (document A/55/709), the Assembly would endorse the use of the International Civil Service Commission's newly elaborated integrated framework for human resources management as the basis for the future work of developing human resources policies and procedures.  Also by this four-part text, the Assembly would address various aspects relating to the conditions of service of both Professional and General Service categories of staff and the ways of strengthening the international civil service, including the proposed standards of conduct, review of the pay and benefits system, recognition of language knowledge and a revised base scale of salaries for Professional and higher categories of staff.

 

      Regarding the United Nations pension system (document A/55/703), the Assembly would take note of the situation at the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund and concur with recent decisions and actions of the Pension Board, as well as several recent amendments on regulations of the Fund.

 

The Assembly had before it a report of the Fifth Committee on appointments to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments (document A/55/699).  The Fifth Committee recommends that the Assembly appoint the following persons as members or alternate members of the United Nations Staff Pension Committee for a three-year term of office beginning on 1 January 2001:  Kenshiro Akimoto (Japan), Valeria Maria Gonzalez Posse (Argentina), M. Riaz Hamidullah (Bangladesh), Gerhard Kuntzle (Germany), Lovemore Mazemo (Zimbabwe), Susan M. McLurg (United States), Philip Richard Okanda Owada (Kenya), and Victor V. Vislykh (Russian Federation).

 

      The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/55/691), by the terms of which it would decide to biennialize the Tribunal's budget, on an exceptional basis, for 2002-2003, noting that the benefits of this provisional reform could include the use of two-year employment contracts.  It would also decide to consider the resource requirements for the implementation of modifications to the Tribunal's statute, without prejudice to the nomination and election of ad litem judges. 

 

The Assembly would decide to appropriate $108.49 million gross

($96.44 million net) to the Special Account for the former Yugoslavia Tribunal for 2001.  It would also decide that the financing of the 2001 appropriation under the Special Account take into account the unencumbered balance of $5.87 million gross ($5.41 million net) for 1999 and interest and miscellaneous income of

$3.41 million for the biennium 1998-1999.  It would take into account the estimated unencumbered balance of $2.5 million gross ($2.23 million net) for 2000 and the estimated income of $77,200 for 2001, which shall be set off against the aggregate amount of the appropriation.

 

      By the terms of a draft resolution on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/55/692), the Assembly would decide to biennialize the budget of that Tribunal, also on an experimental basis, for the period 2002-2003 and would request the Secretary-General to keep it informed of the results of that experiment at its fifty-eighth session.  Welcoming actions taken to address the issue of dilatory motions and pleadings which lengthen trial proceedings, the Assembly would encourage the Tribunal to further improve monitoring and oversight of defence counsel. 

 

      Also according to the text, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Rwanda Tribunal a total amount of $93.97 million gross ($85.61 million net) for 2001.  The financing of the appropriation for 2001 shall take into account the actual unencumbered balance of $2.94 million gross

($1.98 million net) as of the end of 1999, the estimated unencumbered balance of $2 million gross ($1.82 million net), and interest and other miscellaneous income for 1998-1999 amounting to $2.67 million gross.  Also by the text, the Assembly would decide that the financing of the appropriation for 2001 under the Special Account shall take into account $4.24 million gross ($3.85 million net), being the estimated unencumbered balance as of the end of 2000.

 

The Assembly also had before it two documents on the reimbursement to troop-contributing countries.  By the terms of the draft resolution on the review of the rates of reimbursement to the governments of troop-contributing States (document A/55/534), the General Assembly would take note of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ and request the post-Phase V Working Group on Reform Procedures for Determining Reimbursement of Contingent-owned Equipment to consider the current methodology underlying the calculations of standard rates of reimbursement, including ways to produce timely and more representative data.  It would also request the Working Group to report on the results of the review, through the ACABQ, to the resumed fifty-fifth session of the Assembly.

 

By the draft decision contained in document A/55/534/Add.1, the Assembly would decide to convene a meeting of the post-Phase V Working Group during the period from 15 to 26 January 2001.

 

The report of the Fifth Committee on the review of efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/55/532 and Add.1) contains a draft resolution, according to which the Assembly would take note of the 1999 report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), stressing the importance of timely consideration of its reports by all participating organizations.  Looking forward to the report concerning progress made in the implementation of the follow-up system on the Unit’s recommendations, the Assembly would also recognize the critical role of legislative bodies, secretariats and the JIU in the success of that system. 

 

      Also by that text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to present the report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) on the budget proposals made by the Unit.  It would invite the JIU to continue to develop interaction with other United Nations oversight bodies and to intensify relations with the oversight bodies of other participating organizations to achieve better coordination and share best practices.

 

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on programme planning (document A//55/710), 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.

 

      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 the 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 (UNMEE) (document A//55/711), by the terms of which the Assembly would urge all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure payment of their assessed contributions to the Mission in full and on time and express concern at the delay experienced by the Secretary-General in deploying and providing adequate resources to some recent peacekeeping missions, in particular in Africa. 

 

      It would also request the Secretary-General to take all necessary action to ensure that the Mission is administered with maximum efficiency and economy.  To reduce the cost of employing General Service staff, the Assembly would recommend recruitment of local staff for the Mission, commensurate with its requirements.

 

      Further by the draft, the Secretary-General would be authorized to enter into commitments for the establishment and operation of UNMEE 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. 

 

      And finally, the Assembly had before it the report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget for 2000-2001 (document A/55/713) contains several draft resolutions.

 

      By the terms of draft resolution I, acting on the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the “Brahimi report”), the Assembly would agree with the views of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations regarding a comprehensive review of peacekeeping and endorsed the conclusions of the ACABQ, requesting the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation. 

 

      To start the initial phase of the implementation of the Panel's recommendations in January 2001, the Assembly would appropriate an additional amount of $363,000 under section 3, political affairs; $37,200 under section 27, management and central support services; and $19,200 under section 32, staff assessment to be offset by a corresponding amount ($19,200) under income section of the current budget.  The Assembly would also approve the support account post and non-post requirements in the amount of $9.19 million gross for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

 

      Also by the terms of this draft, 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.  However, it would also note that the resource requirements were presented by the Secretary-General as an emergency request, whereas according to the Advisory Committee, it was acknowledged that not all the proposals could be classified as an emergency.

 

The second draft resolution contained in this report deals with the safety and security of United Nations personnel.  By this text, the Assembly would endorse the related report of the ACABQ, subject to several provisions.  The Assembly would decide to consider the reclassification of the post of Deputy Security Coordinator from the D-1 to the D-2 level in the context of its review of the 2002-2003 proposed programme budget.  The Assembly would further decide to establish, effective 1 January 2001, eight additional Professional posts (two P-5 and six P-4) in the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator at Headquarters.  It would also decide to establish, effective 1 January 2001, eight additional security officer (Field service) posts (four P-4 and four P-3) and 16 additional local level posts.

 

For the Secretary-General to undertake the immediate measures for the strengthening of the security management system, the Assembly would also decide to appropriate $2.21 million under section 30, Special expenses, and $238,400 under Section 32, Staff assessment, to be offset by an equivalent amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for 2000-2001.  In his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to develop, in coordination with executive heads of the United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes, an effective mechanism for cost-sharing arrangements. 

 

Further according to the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that in future, costs be included in the regular budget, to be managed by the United Nations, contingent upon a formal arrangement with agencies, funds and programmes for participation in the funding and reimbursement to the United Nations for services provided.  He would be requested to submit proposals thereon to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session through the ACABQ.  In the meantime, the Assembly would decide that established cost-sharing arrangements between the United Nations, the specialized agencies, funds and programmes will remain in place until the General Assembly decides otherwise.   

 

Draft III contains revised estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized.  The Fifth Committee recommended that the General Assembly take note of the report of the Secretary-General on revised estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized, and concur with the observations and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the matter.  The Committee made similar recommendations regarding a review of the Information Systems Coordination Committee.

 

      By the terms of draft IV on the proposed refurbishment of the United Nations Headquarters buildings, the Assembly, without prejudice to a final decision on that matter, would authorize the Secretary-General to proceed with a comprehensive design plan and detailed cost analysis for the capital master plan, appropriating an amount of $8 million for that purpose.

 

      Also contained in the report is the text (draft V) on the International Court of Justice, by the terms of which the Assembly would approve an additional appropriation of $606,100 under section 7 of the programme budget for 2000-2001 and an additional appropriation of $131,200 under section 32, staff assessment, offset by the same amount under the income section of the budget.  The JIU would be requested to expedite its report on the review of the management and administration of the International Court of Justice and to submit it to the resumed fifty-fifty session of the Assembly.

 

By the terms of draft VI the Assembly would take note of the reports of the Secretary-General on the revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its 2000 substantive session.

 

      The report also contains a decision (draft VII) on a request for a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research resulting from the recommendations of the Board of Trustees of the Institute on the work programme of the Institute for 2001.  By the terms of that decision, the Assembly would approve the amount of $213,000 from the regular budget of the United Nations for 2001, on the understanding that no additional appropriation would be required under section 4, disarmament, on the programme budget for the current biennium.

 

Another proposed decision would have the Assembly approve the recommendations regarding the conditions of service and compensation of full-time members of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the Chairman of the ACABQ (draft VIII), taking note of the relevant report of the Secretary-General.

 

By the decision on the review of the Information Systems Coordination Committee (draft IX), the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the matter and concur with the recommendations of the Advisory Committee in that respect.

 

By the terms of another draft resolution contained in the report (draft X), the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's first performance report on the programme budget for the current biennium (2000-2001) and the related report of the ACABQ.  It would note the higher than expected vacancy rates and ask the Secretary-General to take all appropriate measures to rectify them.  It would also approve a net decrease of over $34.64 million in the appropriation for the biennium and a net increase of over $19.09 million, in the estimates of income for the same time, to be apportioned among expenditure and income sections.

 

By another decision, the General Assembly would take note with appreciation of the report of the ACABQ on its activities during the fifty-fourth Assembly session, and ask the Secretary-General to bring that report to the attention of the executive heads of the specialized agencies, and the funds and programmes concerned.

 

By the decision on the contingency fund (decision XI), the Assembly would note that a balance of $224,300 remained in that fund.

 

Finally, decision XII concerns the recosting of outstanding statements of programme budget implications and revised estimates.  By this text, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Secretary-General and decide that the recosting and the related adjustments should be reflected in the revised appropriation for the current biennium.

 

By the terms of draft resolution II on the revised budget appropriation for 2000-2001, which is contained in the same report of the Fifth Committee, the Assembly would resolve that for 2000-2001, the amount of $2,535.69 million appropriated by its resolution 54/250 A of 23 December 1999 be adjusted by

$2.56 million.  Parts B and C of the draft contain revised income estimates for the current biennium and the information on the financing of the appropriations for the year 2001.

 

      Action on Reports

 

      EDUARDO RAMOS (Portugal), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee, introduced all the reports before the Assembly.  He introduced several corrections to three documents. 

 

      The General Assembly first considered the draft resolution in connection with the reports of the Third and Fifth Committees on the advancement of women (documents A/55/595 and A/55/708) concerning the critical financial situation of INSTRAW.  The Assembly adopted the draft without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then took up the Fifth Committee's report on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/55/689).  It adopted the draft resolution contained therein, acting without a vote.

 

      Turning to the report of the Fifth Committee on administrative and budgetary coordination of the United Nations with the specialized agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency (document A/55/706), the Assembly adopted the draft decision contained therein without a vote.

 

      Next, it turned to the Fifth Committee's report on human resources management (document A/55/690), adopting the draft resolution without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then took up the report of the Fifth Committee on the pattern of conferences (document A/55/702).

 

      ABDOU AL-MOULA NAKKARI (Syria), speaking in explanation of position before the vote, said that paragraph four of part II of the draft, under the use of conference facilities, indicated the need to include all necessary resources in 2002-2003 for interpretation for regional meetings.  He hoped that the commitment would be fully understood and fulfilled.  On paragraph 15, of part III, he said that that reference should be published in all six official languages.  He hoped that the reference document mentioned would be issued in the six official languages.

 

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

 

      Next, the Assembly turned to the report on the United Nations common system (document A/55/709), adopting the draft resolution contained therein without a vote.

 

      Turning to the Committee's report on the United Nations pension system (document A/55/703), the Assembly adopted the draft resolution in the same manner.

 

      The Assembly then turned to the report of the Fifth Committee on the appointment of members and alternate members of the United Nations Staff Pension Committee (document A/55/699).

 

      The following persons were appointed as members or alternate members of the United Nations Staff Pension Committee for a three-year term of office beginning on 1 January 2001:  Kenshiro Akimoto (Japan), Valeria Maria Gonzalez Posse (Argentina), M. Riaz Hamidullah (Bangladesh), Gerhard Kuntzle (Germany), Lovemore Mazemo (Zimbabwe), Susan M. McLurg (United States), Philip Richard Okanda Owade (Kenya) and Victor V. Vislykh (Russian Federation).

 

      Next, the Assembly took up the report of the Fifth Committee on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/55/691), adopting the recommended draft resolution without a vote.

 

      Turning to the Committee's report on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/55/692), the Assembly adopted that draft resolution without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then adopted a draft resolution, without a vote, on the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/55/663).

 

      It next took up the financing of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) (document A/55/664), adopting the draft resolution on the matter in the same manner.

 

      The Assembly then adopted a draft resolution contained in the report of the Fifth Committee on the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/55/534 and Add.1).  It adopted without a vote the draft resolution on the review of the rates of reimbursement to the governments of troop-contributing States, and subsequently adopted without a vote the draft decision on the same matter.

 

      Next, the Assembly turned to the Committee's report on the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/55/532 and Add.1).  It adopted the draft resolution on the reports of the Joint Inspection Unit contained therein without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then turned to three draft resolutions in paragraph 16 of document A/55/532/Add.1., and on three decisions contained in the same document.  The Assembly adopted, without a vote, draft resolutions on results-based budgeting, outsourcing and the proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 2002-2003. 

 

      The Assembly then turned to the draft decision on the Investigation into misdirection of contributions made by Member States to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), adopting the draft without a vote.

 

      On the draft decision on the biennial programme of work of the Fifth Committee for 2001-2002, contained in document A/C.5/55/L.33, the Assembly adopted that decision without a vote.

 

      Next, the Assembly adopted the draft decision contained in document A/C.5/55/L.34 on action taken on certain items without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then turned to programme planning:  report of the Fifth Committee (A/55/710), adopting the draft resolution contained in that report without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then turned to the report of the Fifth Committee on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations (document A/55/521/Add.1). 

 

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of the position, said “We have come to this solemn chamber with a great success story”.  He paid tribute to the Chairman of the Committee as well as the coordinator and the Secretariat for doing a fantastic job.  The Union wished to convey heartfelt thanks to the Ambassador of Nigeria, who conducted the work of the Group of 77 and China.  At the beginning, there had been very different positions but common ground was found.  He also thanked the Ambassador of Colombia. 

 

The Millennium Summit had given new impetus to the Organization, he said.   Today, he hoped to continue the spirit by placing the United Nations on a solid financial basis.  Implementation of the Brahimi report would mean better managed peacekeeping operations, and the scale had undergone fundamental reform.  Now the decisions needed implementation.  Section B of the resolution L.36 on the regular budget was an essential part which established exact terms that should be exactly implemented.  The Union was resolved to provide every assistance to help achieve the common aspirations expressed in the Charter.

 

      Acting without a vote, the Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the regular scale of assessments.

 

GELSON FONSECA Jr. (Brazil), in explanation of position, said Brazil, as one of the major contributors to the United Nations, had participated in the negotiations in a spirit of flexibility.  An extraordinary challenge had been surmounted and success had been accomplished.  Brazil had suffered from distortions of its economic data.  It had called for corrections in that regard because it had resulted in an increase of Brazil’s rate.  He regretted that substantial alleviation had not been provided.  That was why he could not fully endorse the resolution.  However, bearing in mind the objective -- to reform the United Nations -- he did not object to the consensus.  He hoped that the effort would open a new phase in the efforts to strengthen the Organization. 

 

      Also speaking in explanation of position after the decision, CHRISTIAN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said that it had been a long hard day.  He did not recall ever spending 26 hours working on a draft.  The negotiating process had been very uncomfortable.  However, consensus had been reached, which meant that countries had managed to reach an agreement despite their differences.  The decision meant a major increase in his country’s assessment, and that should have sufficed as a reason not to join consensus.  However, he believed that it was necessary to look beyond specific reasons and think about the future of the United Nations, to allow it to function.  It was necessary to leave behind the time of discomfort and to begin a new era, particularly as far as the major contributor was concerned.

 

      Speaking on behalf of her own country, as well as Canada and New Zealand, PENNY A. WENSLEY (Australia) welcomed the adoption of the text by consensus.  She recognized the difficulties that arose in connection with the draft, including the pressure on developing countries.  To ease some of that pain, she gave full support to the phase-in arrangements contained in the resolution.  The delegations she spoke for had pursued a reasonable and practical approach.  They had defended and protected the United Nations, urging Member States not to take bad decisions in the push for consensus on the text. 

 

She said that she was pleased at the level of accommodation achieved without unduly compromising the scale methodology.  The three countries she represented sought to spread the pain equally.  The General Assembly had reduced the ceiling to 22 per cent, thereby reducing the assessment of the major contributor by 3 per cent.  The reduction was a further distortion of the principle of the capacity to pay.  The ceiling was a political, rather than a technical, element of the scale.  However, she had joined the consensus, for it was not the practice of the three delegations to block it. 

 

Now that the decision had been taken, she supported the spread of the reduction equitably, she said.  The reduction involved a bargain:  in exchange for the reduction, the major contributor would pay its arrears.  She called on the major contributor to fulfil its end of the bargain in order to place the Organization on a sound footing.  As a result of the decision, the three countries she represented would face a significant increase in their assessments, but they were determined to pay them in full, on time and without conditions.  She also wished to record formally their appreciation to the Chairman of the Committee, the coordinators and the Secretariat for bringing the difficult negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion.

 

      The Assembly then turned to the report on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses of United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/55/712).

 

      MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates) said that his country wanted to strengthen the United Nations.  Therefore, it had approved the draft on the peacekeeping scale.  However, the increase in payments that his country faced as a result of the decision was not just and equitable.  It was not in keeping with numerous international norms and principles -- even more so, since the country’s economy was based on a non-renewable resource –- oil.  As a developing country, the United Arab Emirates was concerned about strengthening its national economy. 

 

However, given his awareness of the need to reach agreement by consensus, his delegation had approved the resolution, which did not reflect the interests of the developing countries, he said.  Recently, a letter had been sent by his country to the Organization regarding its financial contributions.  Since 1998, the United Arab Emirates had continued to pay the same contributions, despite demographic growth and a drop in per capita income.  He hoped that the Committee on Contributions would take that into consideration in accordance with its own modalities. 

 

      The Assembly the adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

 

      The Assembly then turned to draft resolution II contained in document A/C.5/55/L.38 on voluntary movements in connection with the apportionment of expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations.  The draft was approved without a vote.

 

      Next, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution recommended by the Fifth Committee on the financing of UNMEE (document A/55/711), also without a vote.

 

      It then turned to the report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 (document A/55/713).

 

      Acting without a vote, the Assembly approved the draft resolution on questions relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, as well as the draft resolution on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.

 

      Turning to the draft decision on revised estimates of resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 2000, the Assembly adopted that decision without a vote.

 

      It then adopted a draft decision on the critical situation of the INSTRAW, again without a vote.

 

      Regarding the Assembly’s work programme, the PRESIDENT proposed that agenda items 10, 11, 14, 17, 19, 20, 26, 40 to 43, 45, 46, 48, 50, 59 to 64, 73, 84, 86, 94, 97, 102, 105, 112, 114 to 153, 164, 166 to 169, 175, 176, 178, 179, 181 and 182 remain open for consideration during the fifty-fifth session of the Assembly.

 

      The President of the fifty-fifth General Assembly, HARRI HOLKERI (Finland), in his closing remarks, said the Assembly had taken action on many important issues.  The Millennium Declaration was the seminal event of the session and had established the agenda.  The main challenge for the Millennium Assembly had been how to implement the Declaration.  “In my view, the Declaration is one of the most important documents of recent time.  If we are able to achieve its targets, it will have an enormous impact globally.”

 

      With the cooperation and support of all delegations, the Assembly had established a follow-up mechanism to the Millennium Summit, establishing the Summit Declaration as an integral part of the ongoing work of the United Nations. In order to implement the Declaration’s goals the United Nations needed to open up, he said.  International cooperation needed to be enhanced, and global governance improved.  There was also a need to reach out to other international


and multilateral actors, such as the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and various regional organizations, as well as civil society as a whole.  “As I have stressed many times, the significance and relevance of the United Nations in the future will depend on our ability to involve our partners and civil society in our work”, he said.

 

      In the past few weeks, two major items had dominated the Assembly's deliberations, Mr. Holkeri said, namely, the implementation of the report of the high-level Panel on United Nations Peace Operations -- called the Brahimi

report -- and the new scale of assessments.

 

      The Brahimi report was a welcome, timely and valuable contribution to the efforts to strengthen one of the United Nations' core functions:  the maintenance of international peace and security.  The Assembly had considered the extensive report and had reached agreement on it in a very short time, given the complexity of the issue.  As a result, much-needed additional resources would be made available to the Secretariat.  However, he said, work would have to continue in the New Year, and he trusted that the political will was there to complete the effort.

 

      During the last weeks, there had been complex negotiations on the scale of assessments.  That a compromise was finally reached showed that delegations put the interest of the Organization above everything else and understood the seriousness of the consequences to the Organization if there had been a failure to reach consensus on that critical issue, he said.  “I commend the delegations for the outcome reached today.”

 

      An important concern of his, throughout the session, had been to find ways to improve the functioning of the General Assembly itself, and to that end he had tried to work in an open and transparent way with his colleagues and to foster a collaborative spirit.  He had instituted some changes, such as amending the rules to establish the dates for the opening of the Assembly’s session each year, and he was looking at ways to streamline the Assembly's huge agenda.  In order to guide the process, he intended to convene an informal "brainstorming" session of the Assembly's General Committee in February.  "These may seem to be small steps, but with many small steps we can have a big impact", he said.

 

      During his tenure, having come to the United Nations from the outside, he had observed that the Organization was clearly underfunded and in desperate need of more adequate resources.  Years of zero-nominal growth had taken their toll.  It was a policy that had clearly come to the end of its usefulness.

 

      In closing, he thanked all ambassadors and delegates for their cooperation.  He gave special thanks to the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly and the Chairpersons of the Main Committees and working groups for their valuable cooperation and leadership.  “You have shown that the Millennium Summit has indeed created a momentum and a new spirit of political will that will help us achieve the goals set in the Declaration.  I trust that this kind of consensus-building and teamwork will help us resolve the challenges ahead”, he said.  He also extended his thanks to the Secretary-General and the Secretariat as a whole.

 

 

 

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