23 December 2009
General Assembly
GA/AB/3939

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

22nd Meeting (Night)


Fifth Committee, Concluding Session, Recommends 2010-2011 Budget of $5.16 Billion,


Current Assessment Scales for Regular Budget, Peacekeeping Contributions


Also Recommends Review of All Elements of Scale Methodology,

Aiming at Decision on Any Changes before End of Sixty-sixth Session


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) emerged from lengthy negotiations in the very early morning today to recommend a $5.16 billion budget for the Organization for 2010-2011, also suggesting that Member States retain the formula currently used to determine States’ contributions to the regular budget.  Similarly, it recommended that the formula for assessing contributions to peacekeeping operations stay the same.


The framework for that formula, reached in the final hours of negotiation, had been a major subject of discussion within the Committee near the end of the session, with the current policy due to expire at the end of 2009.  Approved without a vote, the scale of assessments for the regular budget reflects a country's capacity to pay, measured by such factors as a country's national income and size of population.  Assessments would be based on estimates of gross national income that were converted into United States dollars using market exchange rates, except where that would cause excessive fluctuations and distortions in the income of some Member States.


Further by the draft, there was to be a maximum assessment rate for the least developed countries of 0.01 per cent, and a maximum assessment rate of 22 per cent.  It also recommends a review of all the scale methodology, with a view to a decision before the end of the sixty-sixth session to take effect for the 2013-2015 scale period.


The representative of the Russian Federation proposed an amendment to the text, which would have allowed the rates of assessment to be determined using price adjusted rates of exchange.  His suggestion was defeated by a vote of 85 against to 22 in favour, with 27 abstentions (see Annex II).


Explaining why he had voted against the amendment, the representative of Japan said that, after difficult negotiations, the Committee had reached an agreement that reflected a balanced approach.  By the text, the current methodology was to be applied to the scale of assessments for next three years, with a stipulation that a review of the scale would take place “with a sense of urgency”.  It marked a successful compromise that he felt obliged to preserve.  He also believed that the Committee should not override the majority view of the Committee on Contributions, on whose work the scale was based.


The representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union, added that a more balanced way to share the United Nations budgetary responsibilities was essential, and that the current scale did not sufficiently reflect the actual capacity to pay.  The European Union’s contribution to the United Nations regular budget, which stood at 40 per cent of total contributions, exceeded its collective income, which was 30 per cent of the world total.


With regard to peacekeeping assessments -- where each Member State is assigned to one of 10 levels, with corresponding discount rates -- the Committee recommended that the Assembly take note of updates to those levels, as suggested by the Secretary-General.  It would then endorse those updates subject to certain provisions.  Those updates would be used to establish Member States’ rates of assessment for peacekeeping operations for the period 2010 to 2012


Peacekeeping budget assessments are based on the regular budget rates, but with discounts for least developed countries.  The five permanent members of the Security Council, who approve all peacekeeping operations, pay extra fees to compensate for those discounts.  Prior to the review, some developing countries had feared that a rise in assessments would have been unmanageable, given the state of their economies amid the global downturn.  The Assembly was recommended to recognize such concerns, including those raised by Bahrain and the Bahamas, and decide to review the structure of the levels of the scale of assessments with a view of making a decision, if agreed, no later than its sixty-seventh session.


Mindful of difficulties facing States because of the world financial crisis, the Committee recommended, in another draft, that the Assembly assess only half the amount that would eventually go towards recosting, pending review of the first performance report.  It would request that the Secretary-General report on options for protecting the United Nations against fluctuations in exchange rates and inflation, drawing on the experience of other United Nations organizations.


By that same draft, which passed without a vote, the Assembly would note with concern that resource allocation in the proposed budget did not precisely track the Organization’s priorities.  Stressing the need to correct those imbalances, it would request that the Secretary-General, for all future budgets, take the necessary steps to ensure the fullest possible picture of the Organization’s requirements for the biennium.  In future budget submissions, the Secretary-General was requested to include clear, specific information to distinguish between voluntary and assessed contributions.


The Committee went on to address various “special subjects” relating to the budget, approving a draft that touched, among other things, on issues relating to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.  By that text, the Secretary-General was requested to ensure that, under the current volatile market conditions, decisions concerning the investments of the Fund were implemented very cautiously, fully taking account the four main criteria for investment:  safety, profitability, liquidity and convertibility.


Other special subjects addressed by the Committee included the issue of $83.1 million from the medical and dental reserve funds, which the Secretary-General had proposed to be used to fund the Organization’s after-service health insurance liabilities.  It recommended requesting the Secretary-General to provide information on the composition of those reserve funds at its sixty-fifth session.  In addition, the Assembly was recommended to request the Secretary-General to submit a report on managing those liabilities at its sixty-seventh session.


By two other drafts approved today, the Committee recommended setting the 2010-2011 budgets for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at $244.62 million and $290.92 million, respectively.


In other action, the Committee recommended that the Assembly:


-- Decrease the final regular budget appropriation for 2008-2009 by $85.24 million for expenditure sections and $7.48 million for the income sections;


-- Establish the Working Capital Fund for the biennium 2010-2011 in the amount of $150 million;


-- Provide $29.75 million for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO;


-- Decide to appropriate an additional $5 million for the Development Account;


-- Approve the jointly financed budget of the Department of Safety and Security in the amount of $242.04 million;


-- Approve $569.53 million for 27 political missions authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council;


-- Note that a balance of $31.33 million remained in the contingency fund.


The Committee also pronounced itself on the programme budget implications of a series of drafts before the Assembly and recommended that it defer until the resumed session the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, and human resources management.


Also today, the representative of Israel requested a recorded vote regarding Part V of the text on special subjects relating to the budget, by which the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s reports on financial estimates resulting from resolution S-9/1 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its ninth special session.


She said Israel could not support any expenditure or allocation of funds that endorsed and permitted the work of any fact-finding mission that was established with predetermined conclusions.


As a result, the Committee held a vote on that part of the resolution, deciding to approve it by a vote of 136 in favour to 2 against ( Guatemala, Israel), with 3 abstentions ( Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire) (see Annex I).


Background


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met today to conclude its deliberation in the main part of its sixty-fourth session, taking up several outstanding draft texts.


Action on Drafts


The first texts before the Committee were on financing for the International Tribunals.


Prior to action, the Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, JUN YAMAZAKI, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates reflecting effects of changes in rates of exchange and inflation on the proposed budgets of both courts (document A/64/570).  He also introduced the report on the proposed budgets of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/64/576).  The Chair drew the Committee’s attention to a related report by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (document A/64/7/Add.19).


He said, since the reports were issued, the resource levels had been adjusted by the recommendations of the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee.  Those adjustments had been reflected in the text about to be adopted.


As proposed by the Chairman, the Committee recommended that the Assembly take note of the revised estimates for the Tribunals.


It then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/C.5/64/L.13), by which the Assembly would resolve that, for the biennium 2008-2009, the amount of $305.38 million approved for the budget of the Tribunal shall be adjusted by $840,600 for a total amount of $304.54 million.  For 2010-2011, the Assembly would decide to appropriate an amount of $245.29 million.


Also acting without a vote, it approved a draft resolution on the financing of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/C.5/64/L.14), by which the Assembly would adjust the budget of $376.23 million that has been approved for the Tribunal for 2008-2009 by $12.66 million, for a total amount of $388.89 million.  It would appropriate $277.50 million for the Tribunal in 2010-2011.


The Committee took up a text on after-service health insurance (ASHI) (document A/C.5/64/L.15) that would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report on liabilities and proposed funding for ASHI benefits and the conclusions and recommendations in ACABQ report A/64/7/Add.4.  The Assembly would request that the Secretary-General submit a report, for its priority consideration, on managing AHSI liabilities to the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session, bearing in mind the pay-as-you-go principle is also one of the viable options, including information and analysis on several issues.


Those issues included the scope and coverage of existing ASHI plans, administration costs related to alternative financial options, arrangements for ensuring accurate funding from the different sources of funding; options for contribution levels to AHSI plans by its participants and the United Nations; comprehensive long-term strategies of financing AHSI liabilities; further measures to reduce the United Nations’ cost related to health-care plans; ASHI plans for retired public sector employees offered by their respective Governments; and the financial and legal implications of changing, for current retirees and active staff members, the scope and coverage of the AHSI plans and the contribution levels.


Further to the text, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General continue to validate the accrued liabilities with figures audited by the Board of Auditors, on the outcome of the validation, and to include that information in his report on managing ASHI liabilities to be submitted to the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session.


The Committee approved that resolution without a vote.


Next, the Committee took up a draft resolution on the Organization’s budget for 2008-2009 (document A/C.5/64/L.16).


By Part A of the text, the Assembly would take note of the second performance report of the Secretary-General on the programme budget for the biennium and endorse the observations and recommendations contained in the ACABQ’s related report.


It would resolve that, for the biennium 2008-2009, the amount of $4.89 billion appropriated in resolutions 63/264 A to C of 24 December, 63/268 of 7 April 2009 and 63/283 of 30 June shall be decreased by $85.24 million.  The Secretary-General would be authorized to transfer credits between sections of the budgets, with the concurrence of the Advisory Committee.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would increase the provision under the Development Account by $7.5 million.


By Part B of the text, the Assembly would resolve that the previously approved estimates of income in the amount of $557.86 million for the biennium would be decreased by $7.48 million to a total of $550.38 million.


The resolution was adopted without a vote.


The Committee turned to draft resolution on the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.19), which contains the Organization’s budget appropriations for the biennium 2010-2011 in the total amount of $5.16 billion.  Section B contains income estimates for the biennium, of $554.17 million, and Section C, financing appropriations for the year 2010.  The amount of $2.35 billion would be assessed on Member States on the scale of assessment of 23 December.


The Committee approved the text without a vote.


The Committee then approved a text on programme budget implications relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.17) which contained the programme budget implications with regard to four draft texts.


In section A, relating to draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the Committee would decide to inform the Assembly that, should it adopt the draft, additional requirements of $1.16 million would be required under section 3, Political affairs, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


In section B, relating to the draft resolution on institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, the Committee would decide to inform the Assembly that, should it adopt the draft, additional requirements amounting to $1.95 million would be required under section 3, Political affairs ($1.41 million), section 28D, Office of Central Support Services ($369,100), and section 36, Staff assessment ($171,200), to be offset by the same amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


In section C, relating to the draft resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Committee would decide to inform the Assembly that, should it adopt the draft, additional resources of $1.69 million would be required under section 16, International drug control, crime and terrorism prevention and criminal justice ($1.43 million), section 28F, Administration, Vienna ($27,000), and section 35, Staff assessment ($229,300), to be offset by the same amount under Income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


In section D, relating to the draft resolution on implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Committee would decide to inform the Assembly that, should it adopt the draft, additional resources amounting to $516,100 would be required under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolutionon questions relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.18), which comprises 13 parts.


By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm that no changes to the budget methodology, established budgetary procedures and practices or financial regulations may be implemented without prior review and approval by the Assembly, in accordance with established budgetary procedures.


Noting with concern that resource allocation in the proposed budget does not precisely track the Organization’s priorities and stressing the need to correct those imbalances, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General, for all future budgets, take the necessary steps to ensure the fullest possible picture of the Organization’s requirements for the biennium.  It would urge the Secretary-General to ensure a complete, timely budget is presented to Member States in the future.  It would request that he ensure sufficient efforts are made to meet new proposal requirements using existing resources, propose measures to offset budget increases in future budget submissions, and step up efforts to ensure that direct and quantifiable objectives, expected accomplishments and achievement indicators are included.


Furthermore, the Assembly would stress that the proposed programme budget for 2012-2013 should provide a clear picture of the reform measures taken, their budgetary implications and efficiency gains from implementing them, as well as an assessment of progress in accomplishing the objectives.  It would request that the Secretary-General develop an effective methodology for measuring and conducting comparisons over time of the costs of support services in the budget and report thereon in the sixty-fifth session.


On human resources, vacancy rates and staffing, the Assembly would decide that a vacancy rate of 9.6 per cent for Professional staff, 4 per cent for General Service staff, 14 per cent for Professional field security staff, and 14.7 per cent for General Service field security staff would be used to calculate the budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.


On extrabudgetary resources, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General, in future budget submissions, include clear, specific information on such resources in order to distinguish between voluntary and assessed contributions and programme support costs.


On consultants, it would request that the Secretary-General ensure, in future programme budget proposals, that consultants and expert groups are clearly and separately identified in the programme narratives.


On non-post resources, the Assembly would decide to reduce them by 2 per cent, other than under sections 35 and 28D, as well as reduce by 7 per cent the overall requirements for consultants and experts in the 2010-2011 biennium and reduce the overall requirements for external printing by $1 million.


On recosting, the Assembly, acknowledging the current challenges caused by the global financial crisis, would decide not to assess in 2010 half of the amount for that purpose, pending review of the issue in the context of the first performance report.  It would request that the Secretary-General report on options for protecting the United Nations against fluctuations in exchange rates and inflation, drawing on the experience of other United Nations organizations.


By terms of Part I of that resolution on overall policymaking, direction and coordination, the Assembly would decide to establish a dedicated post of Executive Director of the United Nations Office in Nairobi at the Under-Secretary-General level, authorize the ACABQ to meet for an additional four weeks per biennium for a total of 78 weeks on an experimental basis, and establish a P-4 legal research officer post for the Registry of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal in New York.


The Assembly would note with concern the circumstances that led to insufficient conference services for the Human Rights Council in 2009 and request that the Secretary-General ensure that the Council, and other entities served by the Conference Services Division, are provided with the necessary support.  It would also ask the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive review of printing and publishing and translation services, and an analysis of the Department of General Affairs and Conference Services costing methodologies and to report on that at its sixty-sixth session.


Part II, on General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, would have the Assembly request that the Secretary-General continue to give the United Nations Regional Centres for peace and disarmament the necessary resources to carry out their mandate and that he make further efforts to ensure proper representation of troop-contributing countries in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support.


By Part III, on international justice and law, the Assembly would decide to increase the pool of law clerks by six P-2 posts and decide not to abolish the one General Service post for the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.


Part IV, on international cooperation for development, would have the Assembly decide to establish one P-5 post and one P-4 post to provide programme support to the Development Account.  It would request that the Secretary-General provide an effective level of support to the joint UNODC/DPKO/DPA/UNOWA/INTERPOL programme West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI) and recommend that a sufficient share of the regular budget continue to be allocated to the office for it to carry out its mandate consistently and stably.  The Assembly would also express concern over overall financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and request that the Secretary-General submit proposals in his proposed programme budget for the 2012-2013 biennium ensuring that the Office had sufficient resources to carry out its mandate.


By Part V, on regional cooperation for development, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to ensure that resource requirements of the regional commissions are allocated in a way to enable them to fully implement their mandates and implement the Organization’s development priorities and mandates.  It would express its concern over the negative impact on programme implementation due to reductions and decide to review the staffing requirements of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) from all funding sources.


Part VI, on human rights and humanitarian affairs, would have the Assembly request that the Secretary-General assess the impact of the doubling of regular budgetary resources over the last two bienniums on all activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and report thereon at its sixty-sixth session.  Taking note of the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the related Secretary-General note, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General ensure full implementation of the recommendations and report thereon at that session.


Furthermore, it would note with concern the acute cash crisis and significant reduction in total resources for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) over the past 10 years, while the Agency’s overall workload and responsibilities have continued to increase.  The Assembly would request that the Secretary-General propose a possible funding mechanism to address that, and decide to approve the establishment of the following UNRWA posts:  one D-2 for Director of Human Resources; one D-1 for Spokesperson; one P-5 for Ombudsperson; one P-5 Deputy Director, Relief and Social Services and Senior Poverty Adviser; one P-5 Senior Investigator; one P-4 Health Policy Planning Officer; one P-4 Monitoring and Evaluation Officer; one P-4 Field Programme Support Officer (Lebanon); one P-4 Special Assistant to Deputy Commissioner-General; one P-3 Human Resources Officer; and one P-3 Monitoring and Evaluation Officer.


Part VII, on public information, would have the Assembly note with concern that the review requested in paragraph 120 of its resolution 62/236 had not been carried out and request that the Secretary-General conduct the requested review as a matter of priority and include its results in the first performance report of the 2010-2011 programme budget.  It would also decide to reclassify one P-2 Chinese web writer post and one P-2 Russian web writer post both as P-3 posts, with a view to ensuring the same level of support given to the other four official languages.  The Assembly would request that the Secretary-General establish a United Nations Information Centre in Luanda to address Portuguese-speaking African countries’ special needs, and, in that context, welcome the Angolan Government’s offer to provide rent-free premises.


Part VIII, on common support services, would have the Assembly endorse the conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ report on that topic, as well as the Secretary-General’s proposal to deploy the enterprise resource planning project through the “pilot first” option and, in that context, request that the Secretary-General present options for lowering the cost.  It would approve $24.19 million for the enterprise resource planning system from the regular budget for the 2010-2011 biennium, comprising $11.78 million under section 28A, and authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of $12.42 million.


Furthermore, it would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments no more than $28.52 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 in respect of the support account share for the enterprise resource planning system, and to report on the expenditures incurred and justifications for using resources in the context of the performance report for the support account for the same period.


The Assembly would decide to appropriate $2.2 million for business continuity management and request that the Secretary-General submit a fully justified proposal for post and non-post resources relating to work under way in the context of the proposed programme budget for the 2012-2013 biennium.  The Assembly would also decide not to appropriate resources for the Enterprise Content Management and Customer Relationship Management systems and request that the Secretary-General submit a fully justified proposal for post and non-post resources in the context of that same proposed budget.  It would decide to approve $1.5 million for developing a unified disaster recovery plan and maintaining the Brindisi enterprise data centre.


Part IX, on internal oversight, would have the Assembly request that the Secretary-General ensure that the OIOS design and implement a plan to complete a risk analysis in preparation for their 2012-2013 biennium budget request, as well as ask the Secretary-General to ensure that the OIOS prepare a workplan for investigations.


Part X, on jointly financed activities, would have the Assembly decide to reclassify one P-5 post as a D-1 post, and establish one P-4 post for the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) secretariat.


Part XI, on capital expenditures, would have the Assembly recall paragraph XI.9 of the ACABQ report and decide to reduce provisions under section 33 by $10 million.  It would request that the Secretary-General include detailed information in his progress report on the Strategic Heritage Plan to the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session and submit a report at that session on the outcome of the Plan’s conceptual engineering study, including an estimate of the project’s overall costs and timeliness.  It would call upon him to ensure that that study identify all viable alternatives in the most cost-effective, efficient manner.  The Assembly would also stress that the Plan’s renovation phase shall not start before an Assembly decision on the matter has been made and the Capital Master Plan has been completed.


Part XII, on safety and security, would have the Assembly endorse the relevant conclusions and recommendations in the ACABQ report.


Part XIII, on the Development Account, would have the Assembly decide to appropriate an additional $5 million for that account.


The representative of India said that yesterday, during informal consultations, he had moved an amendment to the draft which would have had the Assembly take note of the ACABQ’s report and decide to maintain the head of New York liaison office at the D-2 level.  He made clear that India had always been one of the strongest supporters of the United Nations’ human rights pillar, having served on the Commission on Human Rights from its inception.  After the Human Rights Council was formed, India was elected to serve on that body by one of the highest margins on record.  The task of upholding and promoting human rights was enshrined in its Constitution.


He said it was difficult to accept the fact that human rights was being used as a human resources tool, and that a recommendation on the reclassification of posts should not be associated with the human rights cause.  His colleague had made that point consistently to other members of the Committee.  The process was not a human rights process; it was an administrative and budgetary one.  Without prejudice to India’s positions on aspects of human rights, as well as on issues of the Security Council with which it did not agree, he made clear that the issue of human rights was one squarely for the General Assembly, and that the Assembly took the final decisions on such issues.


He said a fine balance was maintained in crafting decisions of the Human Rights Council.  There was no need to upgrade the task of liaison to the level of Assistant Secretary-General.  One of the complaints had been that a D-2 officer would not be able to attend meetings.  Surely, the Secretary-General could issue an all-area access pass to a D-2 officer, to enable him to attend meetings, if that had been the problem.


He objected to references to bodies that were not germane to issues of human rights, and was concerned that raising the post to the level of Assistant Secretary-General might not be conducive to the purpose of the office concerned.  Because of India’s commitment to multilateralism, as founding Member of the United Nations, it had participated in negotiations on the issue over the last few days.  He was also fully cognizant that the hour was late and believed strongly that the Organization needed be efficient in its work.  That was why he had taken the floor to place on record his concerns, and to explain why he would not press for the amendment to be taken up at this time.


With that explanation from the representative of India, the draft was adopted without a vote.


The Committee’s attention was drawn to the consolidated statement on programme budget implications and revised estimates.


In that connection, Mr. YAMAZAKI then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the contingency fund, contained in document A/C.5/64/L.14.  He said potential charges amounted to $5.2 million.  He said should the Committee proceed to approve the proposed charges of $5.2 million, it should also request that the Assembly take note that a balance of $31.33 million would remain in the contingency fund.


The Assembly then took up a 14-part text on special subjects relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.20).  Part I would have the Assembly decide to approve $29.75 million proposed for the 2010-2011 biennium under section 13, International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO.


Part II, on administrative expenses of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, would have the Assembly decide to establish five of the requested 14 additional posts in the Fund secretariat as follows:  one P-4 Risk Management Officer, one P-4 Senior Benefits Officer, two General Service (Principal level) Senior Benefits Assistants, and one D-1 Chief Finance Officer.  It would approve expenses, chargeable directly to the Fund, totalling $154.75 million, and a revised estimate of $109.76 million for the Fund’s administration.  It would approve an additional $1.44 million above the resources set out in section 1 of the 2010-2011 biennium proposed programme budget, as the United Nations share of the cost of the administrative expenses of the Fund’s central secretariat.


Part III would have the Assembly approve the request for a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) of $558,200 from the United Nations’ regular budget, on the understanding that no additional provision would be required under section 4.


By Part IV, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 2009, and endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the related report of the ACABQ.


By Part V, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s reports on revised estimates resulting from resolution S-9/1 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its ninth special session, and from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its tenth and eleventh sessions in 2009.  It also would endorse the related report of the ACABQ.


Part VI -– estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council -- would have the Assembly approve $569.53 million for 27 special political missions, presented in table 1 of the Secretary-General’s report (document A/64/349).  It would approve $569.53 million net against the provision for special political missions requested in section 3 of the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.  It would also decide that the overall provision for special political missions should be $1 billion.


Part VII would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report on construction of additional office facilities at ECA in Addis Ababa and the United Nations Office at Nairobi, and endorse the conclusions of the related report of the ACABQ.


Part VIII would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report on administrative and financial implications of decisions and recommendations contained in the report of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) for 2009 and endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the related report by the ACABQ.


By Part IX, the Assembly would take note of the revised estimates arising from recosting due to the effects of changes in rates of exchange and inflation.


Part X would have the Assembly note that a $31.33 million balance remained in the contingency fund.


By Part XI, the Assembly would decide to revert to the issue of the $83.1 million from the medical and dental reserve funds included in the Secretary-General’s proposal on the funding of ASHI liabilities, and request the Secretary-General to provide information on the composition of those reserve funds at its sixty-fifth session.


By Part XII, the Assembly would approve a $13.07 million gross budget for the Joint Inspection Unit.  Part XIII would have it approve a $17.76 million gross budget for the ICSC.


By Part XIV, the Assembly would approve the gross jointly financed budget of the Department of Safety and Security in the amount of $242.04 million, broken down as follows:  field security operations ($212.38 million); security and safety services at the United Nations Office at Vienna ($29.66 million).


The representative of Israel requested a recorded vote over Part V of the draft resolution, saying her country could not support any expenditure or allocation of funds, even in a retroactive manner, that endorsed and permitted the work of any fact-finding mission that was established with predetermined conclusions.


As a result, the Committee held a vote on Part V, estimates in respect of special political missions, deciding to approve it by a vote of 136 in favour to 2 against (Guatemala, Israel), with 3 abstentions (Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire).  (See Annex I.)


The representative of Guatemala announced that he had intended to vote in favour, which the Chair said would be reflected in the report of the Fifth Committee.


The United States representative said he had voted in favour because his Government supported several activities that were funded by allocations through Part V, including the mandate of the Independent Expert in the Sudan, the extension of the work of the Special Rapporteur to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Burma, and assistance to Somalia in the area of human rights.  His country’s views on the Goldstone Report were well known, and he would not repeat them.  He wished to note that his vote had in no way indicated any change in position on the mandate behind the report, on the report itself, or on his Government’s endorsement of its substance.


Thus, with Part V approved, the Committee also approved, without a vote, the resolution as a whole.


The Committee then turned to draft resolution on unforeseen and extraordinary expenses for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.21),by which the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General, with prior concurrence of the ACABQ and subject to the financial regulations and rules of the United Nations, to enter into commitments to meet unforeseen and extraordinary expenses arising during or subsequent to the biennium.  The text also specifies the cases for which the Advisory Committee’s concurrence would not be necessary, including, for example, commitments not exceeding a total of $8 million in any one year of the biennium, as the Secretary-General certifies related to the maintenance of peace and security.


Further by the text, the Assembly would decide that, if a decision of the Security Council results in the need for the Secretary-General to enter into commitments relating to the maintenance of peace and security in an amount exceeding $10 million, that matter shall be brought to the Assembly.  Should the Assembly be suspended or not in session, a resumed or special session would be convened to consider the matter.


The draft was approved without a vote.


By the terms of draft resolution A/C.5/64/L.22, the Assembly would establish the Working Capital Fund for the biennium 2010-2011 in the amount of $150 million, with Member States to make advances to the Fund in accordance with the scale of assessments adopted by the Assembly for contributions to the budget for the year 2010.


The Secretary-General would be authorized to advance from the Working Capital Fund the sums as may be necessary to finance budgetary appropriations pending the receipt of contributions.  Sums so advanced should be reimbursed as soon as receipts from contributions were available for that purpose.  He would also be authorized to advance sums to finance commitments that relate to unforeseen and extraordinary expenses.


Other authorized commitments include the ability to continue the revolving fund to finance miscellaneous self-liquidating purchases and activities not exceeding $200,000; advances in excess of $200,000 may be made with prior concurrence of the ACABQ.  With prior concurrence of the Advisory Committee, the Secretary-General would also be able to finance payments of advance insurance premiums where the period of insurance extends beyond the end of the biennium; the Secretary-General shall make provision in the budget estimates of each biennium, during the life of the related policies, to cover the charges applicable to each biennium.  Also financed from the Fund would be the sums to enable the Tax Equalization Fund to meet current commitments pending the accumulation of credits; such advances shall be repaid as soon as credits are available in the Tax Equalization Fund.


Should the amount in the Fund prove inadequate to meet the purposes normally related to it, the Secretary-General would be authorized to utilize cash from special funds and accounts in his custody, under the conditions approved in resolution 1341 (XIII), or the proceeds of loans authorized by the Assembly.


The Committee approved the text without a vote.


The report of the Fifth Committee on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 was contained in document A/C.5/64/L.23.  The report was divided in two parts:  parts I, II and III contained the narrative of the action taken by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary); and part IV contained the Committee’s recommendations.  With those drafts already approved, the Committee approved the report without a vote.


The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations (document A/C.5/64/L.24). By that text, the Assembly would decide that the scale of assessments for the period 2010-2012 shall be based on several elements and criteria.  They would include estimates of gross national income; average statistical base periods of three and six years; conversion rates based on market exchange rates, except where that would cause excessive fluctuations and distortions in the income of some Member States, when price adjusted exchange rates or other appropriate conversion rates should be employed, taking due account of its resolution 46/221 B; the debt burden approach employed in the scale of assessments for the period 2007-2009; a low per capita income adjustment of 80 per cent with a threshold per capita income limit of the average per capita gross national income of all Member States for the statistical base periods; a minimum assessment rate of 0.001 per cent; a maximum assessment rate for the least developed countries of 0.01 per cent; and a maximum assessment rate of 22 per cent.


Further by that text, the Assembly would decide to review, at the earliest opportunity, all elements of the methodology of the scale of assessments with a view to a decision before the end of the sixty-sixth session to take effect, if agreed, for the 2013-2015 scale period.  It would request that the Committee on Contributions, in accordance with the mandate and Assembly rules of procedure, make recommendations in light of the review referred to in paragraph 9 of the present resolution, and report thereon to the Assembly during the main part of its sixty-fifth session.  It would recognize the concerns expressed by Member States with regards to conversion rates and request that the Committee on Contributions review further criteria to identify cases when market exchange rates should be replaced with price adjusted exchange rates or other appropriate conversion rates for preparing the scale of assessments and report thereon to the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session in the context of paragraph 10 of the present resolution.


Furthermore, the Assembly would resolve that, notwithstanding the terms of Financial Regulation 3.9, the Secretary-General shall be empowered to accept, at his discretion and after consultations with the Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, a portion of the contributions of Member States for the calendar years 2010, 2011 and 2012 in currencies other than United States dollars.  It would also resolve, in accordance with Financial Regulation 3.8, that the Holy See shall be called upon to contribute towards the Organization’s expenses during the same years on the basis of a notional assessment rate of 0.001 per cent, which represented the basis for the calculation of the flat annual fees to be charged to the Holy See in accordance with Assembly resolution 44/197B of 21 December 1989.


The representative of the Russian Federation said that, despite all efforts by Russia and others, the Committee had not been able to achieve consensus on the draft on the scale of assessments for the regular budget.  The proposed draft did not take into account Russia’s concerns, or those of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and others, relating to the use of the price adjusted rates of exchange to convert national data into United States dollars.  Failure to use that method led to significant distortions in the assessments of those States that experienced serious currency fluctuations.  For that reason, Russia had submitted its own amendment to paragraph 6, which describes an alternative scale of assessment for the next three years -- 2010, 2011 and 2012.  That scale was calculated using existing methods, including the use of price adjusted rates of exchange.  Therefore, by the draft amendment he was currently submitting, the Assembly would resolve that the scale of assessments for the contributions of Member States to the regular budget of the Untied Nations for 2010, 2011 and 2012 should be as reflected in the table he had prepared, using the existing methodology he had just described.


The representative of Kazakhstan said her country had expressed its own concerns at the hard-to-understand proposal of the Committee.  In addition, her Government had questioned why the members to the Committee on Contributions, who were selected to those posts, had not worked to create a fair scale of contributions.  The Committee on Contributions, itself, had reported major problems within its ranks, saying it had not been possible to achieve consensus with respect to countries that had seen an overestimate of their national income.  Further, the Committee on Contributions had not provided a transparent assessment on what had been done to adjust for the distortions.  If the Committee on Contributions had doubts that their scale was just, why should Kazakhstan pay according to that scale?  Moreover, Kazakhstan was a voluntary Member of the United Nations, and in addition to making its regular contributions on time, also made voluntary contributions to certain programmes.  She wished that particular point to be conveyed for the benefit of colleagues from developing countries that received a small measure of financial support from Kazakhstan.  She expressed support for the amendment.


The representative of Japan said that, after difficult negotiations, the Committee had reached an agreement on the text.  He noted that, by the text, the current methodology was to be applied to the scale of assessments in the next three years, with a stipulation that a review of the scale would take place with a sense of urgency.  That decision, while a compromise decision, reflected a balanced approach.  In light of that fact, he was obliged to oppose the changes being proposed by the Russian Federation.  He was of the view that the Committee should not override the majority view of the Committee on Contributions; otherwise, of what use would the Committee on Contributions have?  He, thus, requested a recorded vote on the proposed amendment.


The representative of Ukraine said that full implementation of the current methodology required that the paragraph under contention, too, should be implemented in full.  Yesterday, during the negotiations, he had heard delegations advocating a fair, equitable method that was more balanced.  Others still would have that system revised, so as to be “more adjusted to the current situation”.  Unfortunately, “striving for a balance” essentially meant striving “to pay less”, and nothing more.  He had decided to support the amendment not because his country stood to benefit from it -- for Ukraine did not stand to save much as a result of it -- but because he believed in the principle behind it, which was to make the process more fair.  As such, he supported the amendment proposed by the Russian Federation and called for others to do the same.


Sweden’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she stood against the proposed amendment, and that her arguments had been elaborated on other occasions.  She supported what the delegate of Japan had just stated, and she also supported his request for a recorded vote.


A recorded vote was then held, by which the amendment was defeated by a vote of 85 against to 22 in favour, with 27 abstentions (see Annex II).


As the Committee moved to act on the draft as a whole, the representative of the Russian Federation took the floor on a point of order, saying that he had wanted to say a few words before the vote.  He noted that the resolution was not a consensus text.  He felt deep regret that the usual practice of the Fifth Committee to adopt consensus resolutions had been broken.


Ukraine’s representative also took the floor, saying he would not oppose consensus, but would disassociate from consensus due to his Government’s “special position” on various parts of the text.


The representative of Belarus said that, for the first time in years, the draft resolution contained language that was not agreeable to many.  It had set a dangerous precedent, going against the tradition of partnership and empathy that many were trying to instil in the Organization.  The text contained provisions that were based on Committee on Contributions recommendations that were not sound, and which gave rise to suspicions of political bias.  Price adjusted rates of exchange should have been applied to those countries, where the use of market exchange rates had produced a distorted level of income for Member States when converted to United States dollars.  While individual countries might have saved a little as a result of the current method, collectively, the Organization “lost a lot” by turning a deaf ear to the proposed amendment.  It lost a lot in terms of mutual trust and a sense of solidarity.


Following those statements, the Committee adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote.


The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/64/L.25).


By the draft, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report A/64/220 and of the updated composition of levels of contribution for peacekeeping operations for the period 2010 to 2012 contained therein.  It would decide that from 1 January 2010, the rates of assessment for peacekeeping should be based on the 10 levels of contribution and parameters set forth in the table listed in that resolution.  It would also reaffirm that, for the purpose of determining Member States’ eligibility for contribution in particular levels during the 2010-2012 scale period, the average per capita gross national income of all Member States would be $6,708 and the per capita gross national income would be the average of 2002 to 2007 figures.


Further to that text, the Assembly would endorse the updated composition of levels to be applied in adjusting regular budget scale rates to establish Member States’ rates of assessment for peacekeeping operations for the period 2010 to 2012, subject to the present resolution’s provisions.  The Assembly would request that the Secretary-General continue updating the composition of levels described in the present resolution on a triennial basis, in conjunction with the regular budget scale of assessment reviews, in accordance with criteria established in the present resolution and that he report thereon to the Assembly.  The Assembly would also recognize Member States’ concerns, including those raised by Bahrain and the Bahamas, and decide to review the structure of the levels of the scale of assessments with a view of making a decision, if agreed, no later than its sixty-seventh session.


The Committee approved the text without a vote.


After that action, the representative of the Bahamas thanked delegates for reaching consensus, while simultaneously providing for just apportionment for Member States.


The representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed disappointment that the Russian Federation chose to pursue in the formal meeting an issue for which there had not been consensus in the informal meetings.  Regarding the scale of assessments for the regular budget, the current methodology did not accurately and fairly reflect the collective ownership of the United Nations and each Member State’s capacity to pay.  A fair and more balanced way to share the United Nations budgetary responsibilities was essential to the Organization’s effective functioning.  The current scale of assessments did not sufficiently reflect the actual capacity to pay.  The European Union’s aggregated contribution to the United Nations regular budget of 40 per cent, which well exceeded its collective gross national income of 30 per cent, was clearly not in line with capacity to pay.


The European Union entered into negotiations with good faith, trying to bridge differences and reach agreement to put the Organization on a more equitable financial basis, she said.  She expressed hope that the process set forth by the resolution would lead to a fairer and more equitable scale of assessments.  Concerning the scale of assessments for peacekeeping operations, the European Union had indicated its desire for objective and transparent criteria for assigning Member States their respective scales.  But since there was no common understanding in the Committee in that respect, the European Union, in an effort to compromise, had accepted the Chairman’s proposal.  She said she looked forward to the future review of the scale for peacekeeping operations.


Lastly, it took up a draft decision on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/64/L.26).


By part A of the draft, the Assembly would decide to defer until the resumed part of its sixty-fourth session consideration of the following agenda items and related document:  review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee on its activities for the period from 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009 (document A/64/288); and review of the implementation of General Assembly resolutions 48/218 B, 54/244 and 59/272.


By part B of the draft, the Assembly would decide to defer until its sixty-fifth session consideration of the following reports:


Under the agenda item on “review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations”:  the Secretary-General’s report on the comprehensive report on United Nations procurement activities (document A/64/284); procurement governance arrangement within the United Nations (document A/64/284/Add.1); and sustainable procurement; as well as the related report of the ACABQ (document A/64/501).


It would also defer consideration of the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on audit of procurement management in the Secretariat (document A/64/369); and the report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee on its activities for the period from 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009 (document A/64/288).


Under the item on human resources management, it would defer consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on the composition of the Secretariat (document A/64/352); implementation of continuing appointments (document A/64/267); practice of the Secretary-General in disciplinary matters and possible criminal behaviour, 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 (document A/64/269); and activities of the Ethics Office (document A/64/316); along with the related report of the ACABQ (document A/64/518).


The Committee approved the decision without a vote.


The Chair, PETER MAURER ( Switzerland), thanked members of the Committee for their effort, including members of the Bureau.  He was appreciative of their hard work and dedication.


Before the meeting was adjourned, the Secretary of the Committee, MOVSES ABELIAN, announced the soon-to-be departure of a member of his office after many years of dedicated service, and invited delegates to join him in offering thanks.


ANNEX I


Vote on Human Rights Council Resolution


The draft resolution on estimates resulting from Human Rights Council resolution S-9/1 (Part V of document A/C.5/64/L.20) was approved by a recorded vote of 136 in favour to 2 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Guatemala, Israel.


Abstain:  Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire.


Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.


ANNEX II


Vote on Proposed Amendment to Scale of Assessments


The oral amendment to the draft resolution on the scale of assessments (document A/C.5/64/L.24) was rejected by a recorded vote of 85 against to 22 in favour, with 27 abstentions, as follows:


Against:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Zimbabwe.


In favour:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Qatar, Russian Federation, Serbia, Syria, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, Viet Nam.


Abstain:  Algeria, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.


Absent:  Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Republic of Moldova, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.


* *** *



For information media • not an official record