10 March 2010
General Assembly
GA/AB/3943

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

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

26th Meeting (AM)


Budget Committee Takes Up Proposal for Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit,


Hears Update from Controller on Addressing High-Priority Security Threats


Also Recommends Advisory Committee Appointment; Considers Pensions for Ad Litem

Judges, Mandate Extension for Judges Helping Reduce New Dispute Tribunal’s Backlog


Taking up a range of topics, the Fifth Committee was told today that it was “imperative” to have a support system in place for United Nations personnel that had survived malicious acts, natural disasters and other emergencies, and to coordinate with families of deceased staff members.


Catherine Pollard, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, presented a report by the Secretary-General containing a proposal for an Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit within the Office of Human Resources Management, to provide “proactive, comprehensive, coordinated and on-going” support.  Among other things, the unit would maintain a 24/7 call centre for survivors and affected family members, while conducting various activities to improve preparedness for responding to mass casualty incidents.


She said the Secretary-General’s proposal was based on recommendations by the Working Group on Staff Humanitarian Affairs, which was established in 2008 to enhance the Organization’s medium- to long-term capacity to care for survivors and family members.  The unit was estimated to require $3.15 million in the 2010-2011 period.


Ms. Pollard explained that the United Nations had been responding to the needs of survivors and family members since the crisis in Baghdad in 2003 and Algiers in 2007.  Cases relating to approximately 10 staff related to the Baghdad bombing were still ongoing, and the Organization was still actively involved in working on medical expenses and other issues pertaining to the Algeria bombing.  Many cases were expected before the Advisory Board on Compensation Claims and the United Nations Claims Board in the wake of the Haiti earthquake.


But, she said, an internal review had found that affected individuals could not rely on consistent contact points, particularly in the medium and long term, and that the level of coordination in that area was weak.  Those currently engaged in administering those needs were often untrained and ill-equipped to provide such support.


Introducing the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the proposal, Susan McLurg, Chair, said the Advisory Committee had recommended against the establishment of the proposed unit, concerned that a separate structure would add a layer of bureaucracy in the Organization and would not necessarily mean better support to victims and survivors.  It did support limited strengthening of certain functions within the existing structure of the Office of Human Resources Management.


The representatives of Yemen, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressed the need for a more systematic analysis of the existing capacities of the Secretariat before moving forward with the proposal, which was echoed by the representative of Pakistan.


Addressing how the Secretariat planned to address its most highly prioritized security requirements, United Nations Controller Jun Yamazaki, who also spoke today, recalled the Secretary-General’s intention to use up to $7.9 million from the budget of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to meet the most urgent needs.  The Secretariat’s analysis would be submitted to the second resumed session, as part of the UNAMA progress report.


With regard to other high-threat locations, Mr. Yamazaki said the Secretariat intended to provide a proposal at the sixty-fifth session for security enhancements under the Department of Safety and Security.  In the meantime, the Department of Safety and Security would continue to fund urgent requirements for other high-threat locations from within its existing budget, and liaise with agencies, funds and programmes for additional funding needs.


On a separate topic ‑‑ conditions of service of ad litem judges to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ‑‑ Ms. Pollard spoke of the Secretary-General’s concerns over the disparity between the pension benefits of the two categories of judge of the Tribunals, believing it resulted in discrimination.  The Security Council also had concerns about the conditions of service of ad litem judges, but could not take action because it fell under the Assembly’s purview.  Should the Assembly decide to extend the pension scheme to them, the budgetary implications were estimated at $421,300 for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and $346,566 for International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.


Yemen’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said not providing pension benefits to ad litem judges ‑‑ who had similar qualifications and workloads to the permanent judges ‑‑ was “a clear demonstration of non-compliance with principles of equality, fairness and justice”.  The Group was also apprehensive that the continued discrimination against them might adversely impact the completion of the Tribunals’ work.


The representative of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Rwanda Tribunal relied heavily on the services of the ad litem judges.  He stressed that the issue should be resolved at the first resumed session.


Ms. McLurg, introducing the ACABQ’s related report, said the Assembly might wish to consider whether, given the changed circumstances of the Tribunals’ operations, the differences in the conditions of the two categories of judge service continued to be justified.


On a related note, she also said the ACABQ had no objection to extending the mandate of three ad litem judges appointed to help clear cases transferred to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal after the old system of administration of justice was abolished.  The extension would last for one year, beginning 1 July, as explained in a letter dated 4 March from the Secretary-General to the General Assembly President.  Requirements for clearing the backlog of cases was estimated at $2.04 million.


Also today, the Committee decided to recommend, by acclamation, the appointment of Anupam Ray, a nominee of the Indian Government, to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Nagesh Singh from the ACABQ.


The Committee will meet again on 19 March to conclude its first resumed session.


Background


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to consider one new appointment to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), and to take up:  conditions of service for ad litem judges to the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; revised estimates for the proposed Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit; and administration of justice at the United Nations.


Appointments to fill vacancies


A note on the appointment of members of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (document A/64/101/Add.1) explains that the Government of India has nominated Anupam Ray to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Nagesh Singh (India) effective 26 February, whose terms would have ended on 31 December.  The nomination has been endorsed by the Chairman of the Asian Group.


Conditions of Service for Ad Litem Judges/Administration of Justice at the United Nations


A letter dated 4 March 2010 from the President of the General Assembly to the Chair of the Fifth Committee (document A/C.5/64/16) conveys a letter from the Secretary-General to the Assembly President on the substantial backlog of cases that were transferred to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal when the structures of the old system of administration of justice were abolished.  The letter recalls that the Assembly decided to appoint three ad litem judges for a term of one year each to address the problem.  The Internal Justice Council, established by the Assembly to ensure independence, professionalism and accountability in the new system, has advised that the terms of office of ad litem judges and their staff should be extended for a further 12 months, beginning 1 July.


The Secretary-General’s report on conditions of service for the ad litem judges of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (documents A/64/635 and Corr.1), says that, should the Assembly decide to extend the pension scheme to ad litem judges with more than three years of continuous service, the related budgetary implications are estimated at $421,300 for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and $346,566 for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia annually.


In its related report (document A/64/7/Add.20), the ACABQ notes that, given the changed circumstances of the Tribunals’ operations (namely that the number of ad litem judges has been temporarily increased; several ad litem judges have been authorized by the Security Council to serve beyond the three-year maximum; and some Trial Chambers have been split into sections which may consist only of ad litem judges), the Assembly may wish to consider whether differences in the conditions of service of permanent judges and ad litem judges continue to be justified.


The report explains that, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ad litem judges were not eligible for election as, or to vote in the election of, the President of the Tribunal or the Presiding Judge of a Trial Chamber; nor did they have power to adopt rules of procedure and evidence, review an indictment or consult with the President of the Tribunal in relation to the assignment of judges or in relation to a pardon or commutation of sentence.  With respect to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the ACABQ was informed that there were many responsibilities that only the permanent judges were authorized to undertake, such as contempt cases, applications from domestic jurisdictions for access to confidential information and appeals proceedings.


In the event that ad litem judges were to resign before the completion of their case, the ACABQ explains that proceedings may recommence only when a substitute has been appointed and has certified that he/she has familiarized himself/herself with the record of the proceedings.  Only one substitution may be made during a hearing; the need for a second substitute would require the case to be reheard from the beginning.  Although the report of the Secretary-General contains no indication that ad litem judges would resign if the Assembly were to retain the current terms and conditions of service, their doing so might bring about delays that affect the ability of the Tribunals to complete their work on time.  In light of that, the ACABQ suggests considering the matter of pension benefits in the context of the wider review of the emoluments, pensions and other conditions of service for the members of the International Court of Justice and the judges of the two Tribunals, to be conducted by the General Assembly at its sixty-fifth session.


Revised Estimates:  Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit


Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 under sections 28C, 28D and 36 related to the Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit (document A/64/662), which, given the increased risk to United Nations staff resulting from malicious acts, natural disasters and other emergencies, proposes the establishment of an Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management.  It is envisioned as an initial step for coordinating the provision of essential support to surviving United Nations staff and the families of those who perish or are injured as a result of such incidents.  Findings from evaluations of other forms of support and assistance will be brought to the Assembly’s attention at the appropriate time.


According to the report, the proposed unit, which would report to the Assistant Secretary-General, would, among other things, work on improving preparedness for responding to mass casualty incidents; provide a centralized roster of stress counsellors and regional facilities available for initial response; and create support strategies for victims, survivors and family that address the special needs of women, the elderly, children of survivors and of the deceased and others with special needs.  Resource requirements for the proposals for the biennium 2010-2011 amount to $3.15 million gross ($2.94 million net).  Resource requirements include the proposed establishment of eight new posts for the proposed unit and other related general operating requirements.


In its related report (document A/64/7/Add.22), the ACABQ notes that the Secretariat had been working on the proposal regarding the establishment of an Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit for about 18 months.  It further notes that the Organization has been dealing with issues relating to victims of malicious acts and natural disasters since at least 2003, and that no indication is given as to why resource requirements were not included in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


In that connection, the ACABQ draws attention to the provisions of Assembly resolutions 41/213 and 42/211 governing the use and operation of the contingency fund, and recalls Assembly resolutions 62/236 and 64/243, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to take steps to avoid a piecemeal approach to the budget process.  The report states that, in the Committee’s view, the proposal elaborated for handling the needs described in the Secretary-General’s report should be submitted as part of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.


Also, the ACABQ points out that, when it comes to unpredictable events, planning and policy development cannot be a substitute for judgement and prioritization.  Therefore, any development of policy guidance should account for the need to retain an element of flexibility in decision-making.  Concerned that the establishment of a separate structure would add another layer of bureaucracy, the ACABQ recommends against the establishment of a new unit.  Nevertheless, the Committee states that it can support a limited strengthening of certain functions within the existing structure of the Office of Human Resources Management.


As for strengthening the Organization’s response to the needs of victims and survivors, the ACABQ says such a response should take account of existing capacities, such as disaster recovery, business continuity and critical incident stress management.  In its view, greater attention should be given to collaboration with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, including the possibility of cost-sharing arrangements, and the use of the voluntary support from Member States.


Nevertheless, the ACABQ recommends the appropriation of an additional amount of $1.57 million for the biennium 2010-2011 under section 28C, Office of Human Resources Management ($1.36 million), section 28D, Office of Central Support Services ($147,300), and section 36, Staff assessment ($65,800), to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the 2010-2011.  The amount of $1.57 million would represent a charge against the contingency fund.  The funds would pay for three out of eight posts requested by the Secretary-General, along with other expenses such as travel costs, general operating expenses, cost of supplies, and other like items.


Introduction of Reports:  Ad litem judges


CATHERINE POLLARD, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on conditions of service for the ad litem judges.  She noted that the ACABQ had considered the fact that, circumstances might lead to a trial lasting long enough that the service of an ad litem judge would exceed three years.  To cover that eventuality, their letters of appointment should contain a provision that the consequential extension of service would not give rise to any additional entitlements or benefits other than those which already exist.  That principle was reiterated when the Security Council modified the statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to make ad litem judges eligible for re-election.


She noted that, during reviews of their conditions of service, undertaken in 2001 and 2006, the Secretary-General shared the concerns expressed by the two Tribunals that the existing disparity between the pension benefits of the judges of the Tribunals and of the judges of the International Court of Justice resulted in discrimination.  At its sixty-third session, the Assembly, following the ACABQ’s recommendation, recommended that the pension scheme for the judges of the two Tribunals remained a defined benefit and non-contributory in nature.  Ad litem judges remained outside the scope of the pension scheme.


In July 2009, the Council had noted concerns about the terms and conditions of service of the ad litem judges, but could not take action because it fell under the Assembly’s purview.  Should the Assembly decide to extend the pension scheme to them, the budgetary implications were estimated at $421,300 for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and $346,566 for International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  She noted, as well, that the ACABQ had suggested that it would be most appropriate to consider that matter in the context of the wider emoluments, pensions and other conditions of service for members of the International Court of Justice, and the Rwanda and Yugoslavia Tribunals at the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session.


SUSAN MCLURG, Chair of the ACABQ, began by commending staff for putting together a moving service yesterday for those who had lost their lives in Haiti as a result of the earthquake, saying such efforts should not go recognized.


Going on to introduce the report of the ACABQ on ad litem judges’ conditions of service, she noted that costs associated with extending the pension scheme to them were estimated at $421,300 for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and $346,566 for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  In the view of the ACABQ, a number of issues should be borne in mind by the Assembly when it considered the matter:  first, eligibility for pension benefits as it related to length of service.  In that connection, the statutes of neither Tribunal explicitly disqualified ad litem judges from receiving pension benefits.  Rather the limitation of service to a cumulative period of less than three years had had the effect of preventing their eligibility.  Since they had now served for cumulative periods in excess of three years, they could be eligible.


She drew attention to the fact that letters of appointment signed by ad litem judges at both Tribunals contained a proviso stipulating that, in the unlikely event that the service of an ad litem judge were to exceed three years, no additional entitlements of benefits, other than those which already exist, would apply.  That stipulation was implemented at the recommendation of the ACABQ, she noted.  Second, the Assembly may wish to consider whether, given the changed circumstances of the Tribunals’ operations, the differences in the conditions of the two categories of judge service continued to be justified.  Third, a decision by an ad litem judge to leave service could result in delays in Tribunal proceedings, although the Secretary-General’s report did not contain any indication that ad litem judges would resign before the completion of their cases.


Statements


WALEED AL-SHAHARI (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Group believed in fairness, equality and justice in all areas of activities of the United Nations. The issue of fairness and equality became more prominent when it related to all judges administering justice in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  Recalling that the ad litem judges were appointed with the understanding that their mandate would not exceed a period of three years, he said that the continued extension of the mandate of those particular ad litem judges had thus brought their service at par with that of the permanent judges, who by their mandates were eligible for pension benefits after three years.  The Group, therefore, believed that the non-payment of pension benefits to the ad litem judges who had similar qualifications and workload, and were appointed through similar procedures under the same statutes of those Tribunals, was a clear demonstration of non-compliance with principles of equality, fairness and justice.  That should not be the case, he stressed.


Observing that, by the end of 2010, about 75 per cent of the ad litem judges would have completed three years of cumulative service at the two Tribunals, he said the Group was apprehensive that the continued discrimination against them might adversely impact on the successful implementation of the completion strategy, as projected.  The difference in terms and conditions between the ad litem and permanent judges was no longer justified and, therefore, it should be addressed in terms of equality and fairness.  In that regard, the Group stressed that the matter should be addressed during the first resumed sixty-fourth session.  He added that the position he presented applied exclusively to the situation of the ad litem judges of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.


BROUZ RALPH COFFI (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating the Group with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, expressed appreciation for the support that had thus far been provided to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  Noting that the Tribunal had provided fair and expeditious trials to accused persons while meeting the goals of the completion strategy, he said that, despite efforts made to meet the initial deadlines, the enormous challenges encountered by the Tribunal had made it impossible for the deadlines to be reached.  In that regard, the Group welcomed the extension of the mandate of the Rwanda Tribunal, as approved by the Security Council in resolution 1877 (2009), which secured the continuity of judicial work necessary for the completion strategy.


Turning to the issue of the conditions of service of the ad litem judges, he said the African Group concurred with the assessment put forward by the President of the Rwanda Tribunal, that continued differences in the terms and conditions of service of the permanent and ad litem judges were no longer justified and should be addressed in the interest of both equity and successful implementation of the completion strategy.  Emphasizing that the Rwanda Tribunal relied heavily on the services of the ad litem judges, he said the issue was urgent and should be resolved during the first resumed session of the sixty-fourth session, with the view to ensuring that the same remunerations, benefits and allowances were paid to the ad litem judges of the Tribunals.


Introduction of Reports: Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit


Ms. POLLARD, introduced the Secretary-General’s report, saying it was imperative to have in place a proactive, comprehensive, coordinated and on-going support system for United Nations personnel that had survived malicious acts, natural disasters and other emergencies, and to coordinate with families of deceased staff members.  Following an internal review, it was found that a coordinated approach was weak and no consistent contact points were made available to individuals, particularly in the medium and long term.  Those currently engaged in administering those needs were often untrained and ill-equipped to provide such support.  It was for that reason that an Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit was being proposed, to be located in the Office of Human Resources Management.


She explained that resource requirements for 2010-2011 would amount to $3.15 million gross ($2.94 million net) for the establishment of eight new posts.  Among the functions of the proposed unit was the maintenance of a 24/7 call centre for survivors and affected families.


Cases relating to the Baghdad bombing for approximately 10 staff were still ongoing, and the Organization was still actively involved in working on medical expenses and other issues pertaining to the Algeria bombing, she said.  With regard to the Haiti earthquake, there would be many cases submitted to the Advisory Board on Compensation Claims and the United Nations Claims Board to calculate the Appendix D benefits for the survivors.


In terms of timing, she said the Organization had focused on responding to the needs of survivors and family members from the crisis in Baghdad in 2003 and Algiers in 2007.  The Organization had met with them, which had led to the re-establishment of the Working Group on Staff Humanitarian Affairs at the end of 2008.  That Working Group had worked on preparing recommendations to enhance the Organization’s medium to long-term capacity to care for survivors and family members.  That was an 18-month effort that was reflected in the proposal before the Assembly, she said.


Ms. MCLURG, introducing the ACABQ’s related report, said communication and coordination on the issue of emergency preparedness, both within the Office of Human Resources Management and between that Office and other Secretariat entities, was of fundamental importance.  It was concerned that the establishment of a separate structure would only add a layer of bureaucracy in the Organization and would not necessarily mean better support to victims and survivors.  Consequently, it had recommended against the establishment of the proposed new Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit.


Nevertheless, she said the ACABQ supported a limited strengthening of certain functions within the existing structure of the Office of Human Resources Management.  It, therefore, recommended approval of a number of temporary posts, pending the submission of a more elaborated proposal, in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.  Any additional needs in 2010-2011 should, in the view of the ACABQ, be met within existing capacity of the Office.  Responding to the needs of victims and survivors should be based on a more systematic analysis of the Secretariat’s existing capacities in such areas as disaster recovery, business continuity and critical incident stress management.  Greater attention should be given to collaboration with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, including the possibility of cost-sharing.


She reiterated that the ACABQ would recommend the appropriation of $1.57 million for 2010-2011, or a reduction of $1.57 million in the Secretary-General’s proposal.  The amount would represent a charge against the contingency fund.


WALEED AL-SHAHARI (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that ensuring the well-being of all international civil servants and United Nations peacekeepers was of the utmost importance.  The Group took a particular interest in the proposal to create a new Emergency Preparedness and Support Unit, and concurred with the Secretary-General that the increased risk to United Nations staff demanded a proactive, comprehensive and coordinated ongoing support system for the survivors of such incidents, as well as for families affected by the injury or death of a loved one in the service of the United Nations.  In addition, the Group was concerned that there was currently no consistent contact point to address the needs of survivors or affected families, and that the support provided was offered on an ad hoc basis and as an additional function by staff members who were engaged in other roles and responsibilities.


The Group viewed positively the proposal of creating a new unit, and looked forward to the additional initiatives that were to be presented in a report by mid-2011 that would include long-term support for victims and their families.  The Medical Services Division needed to be strengthened as a matter of urgency, he stressed.  Nevertheless, he pointed out that the proposal could have been based on a more systematic analysis of the existing capacities of the Secretariat that were engaged in related activities, such as disaster recovery, business continuity, trauma treatment and critical incident stress management.  It could have also included examining and building on complementarities throughout the entire United Nations system.  In addition, more attention could have been given to enhancing cooperation and collaboration with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes with a presence in the field.  Acknowledging that the report before the Committee was only an initial step, he said the Group expected those issues to be addressed in the context of a comprehensive report to be presented in 2011.


ABDUL HAMEED (Pakistan), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said it was a matter of concern that the risk to the lives of United Nations staff had increased due to malicious acts, natural disasters and other emergencies.  The number of victims had increased from 26 in 2003 to 86 in 2010, demanding urgent action.  He paid tribute to those that had lost their lives, including more than 100 peacekeepers from Pakistan since the 1960s.  He had read the Secretary-General’s report carefully and was awaiting a separate report in 2011 that would evaluate requirements for assistance related to education for dependent children and travel for families of the deceased and survivors to memorial ceremonies and funerals.  Pakistan supported the plan of establishing an initial point of contact and an around-the-clock centre for incident victims and their families.


He said he agreed with the ACABQ that a distinction should be made between three aspects of emergency preparedness.  The first prerequisite was to develop a policy framework for emergency preparedness, which required detailed deliberations and consultations with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes.  Emergency preparedness in the medical sphere, including mass casualty management plans, was another prerequisite requiring attention.  Providing medical and administrative support to families and victims was another and was the most concrete and direct way of helping during an emergency.  He supported the idea of strengthening the emergency preparedness at the United Nations, but was of the view that better analysis of the existing mechanisms was needed.


Introduction of Reports:  Administration of Justice


Ms. MCLURG presented the ACABQ’s response to the request to extend the ad litem judges to the two Tribunals.  She said it had no objection to their extension for a period of one year, and had been informed that requirements for clearing the backlog of cases was estimated at $2.04 million.  The Secretary-General’s letter had stated that the requirements would be funded under the provisions of section III of resolution 60/283 [dealing with the Secretary-General’s limited budgetary discretion], which had been extended until 30 April 2010, according to the terms of a second resolution, 64/243.  She noted that the provisions of the second resolution would expire prior to the commencement on 1 July of the extension of the three ad litem judges.  Those resources stood at $2.04 million, for a period of one year effective 1 July.


WALEED AL-SHAHARI (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, expressed concern that, regarding the letter dated 4 March 2010 from the President of the General Assembly to the Chairman of the Fifth Committee, the original letter of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly President was directly submitted to the plenary for action, with the intention of bypassing consideration by the Fifth Committee and under the pretence that the expenses related to the extension of the period of appointment of the ad litem judges of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal would be covered by the “experiment” of the limited budgetary discretion, which was due to expire by the end of March 2010.  He recalled that the extension of the “experiment” was still under consideration by the Fifth Committee during the ongoing first part of the resumed sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.


Recalling, also that paragraph 49 of resolution 63/253, which decided the period of appointment of the ad litem judges, was adopted by the General Assembly on the basis of a recommendation by the Fifth Committee, he said that any decision to alter the term of appointment had to be considered by the Fifth Committee, regardless of the method used to finance that decision.  Reaffirming that the Fifth Committee was the appropriate Main Committee of the General Assembly entrusted with responsibilities for administrative and budgetary matters, he said the Group was deeply concerned with the use of the limited budgetary discretion to finance activities that were not mandated by the General Assembly.  With that said, he reiterated that the Group attached great importance to the issue of the administration of justice, which was an integral part of an effective human resources management system and an enhanced accountability within the United Nations.  In addition, he stressed the importance of ensuring that the new United Nations Dispute Tribunal had the capacity to manage both the cases from the old system and new cases.  Despite the unfortunate procedural issue, he concluded, the substance of the Secretary-General’s request to extend for a further year the period of appointment of the ad litem judges, as well as the terms of office of their supporting staff, had merit in light of the considerable workload of the Tribunal.


Update on General Security Situation in Afghanistan


JUN YAMAZAKI, Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Controller, provided an update on the Secretariat’s response to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and other high-threat locations.  He recalled that a letter of 9 December from the Secretary-General to the Assembly had indicated the Secretariat’s intention to use up to $7.9 million from the budget of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to meet the most highly prioritized security requirements, between 1 January and 30 April.  It also stated that a formal, full and more stable funding proposal would be presented at the first resumed sixty-fourth session after an in-depth analysis had been conducted.


He said the Secretariat was not in a position to provide a detailed proposal owing to the limited time it had to examine the security enhancement options that were available.  There was a need to consult with agencies, funds and programmes on the proposals and to gain their agreement on the jointly financed funding portion, where services or facilities were not appropriately funded by the regular budget.  It was now intended that an analysis of security requirements for UNAMA would be submitted to the second resumed session of the sixty-fourth session, as part of the UNAMA progress report proposed by the ACABQ in its report A/64/7/Add.13 and subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution A/64/245.  In the meantime, UNAMA was implementing the urgent and necessary security enhancements from its established budget for 2010.  The Department of Safety and Security was working with agencies, funds and programmes in Afghanistan to ensure they were addressing their identifiable needs within their budgets.


With regard to other high-threat locations, he said the Secretariat intended to provide a proposal for security enhancements at the sixty-fifth session under the Department of Safety and Security, including the relevant funding proposals with regard to cost-sharing with agencies, funds and programmes where appropriate.  In the meantime, the Department of Safety and Security would continue to fund urgent requirements for other high-threat locations from within its existing budget, and liaise with agencies, funds and programmes when funding was required from them for requirements that were for their staff and premises.


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