|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
29th Meeting (AM)
Fifth Committee Takes Up Proposed Financing for Nine Peacekeeping Missions,
Support for African Union in Somalia for Financial Year 2010/11
Also Takes Up Related Budget Advisory Committee Recommendations,
Performance Reports for Same Missions during Financial Year 2008/09
Meeting for the second day of its resumed session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today heard the proposed budgets of nine United Nations peacekeeping and integrated missions for the 2010/11 financial year, which ranged from $1.44 billion for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to $47.9 million for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), tasked with maintaining the 1974 Israel-Syria ceasefire.
Under-Secretary-General Jun Yamazaki, United Nations Controller, presented the Secretary-General’s budget for those two missions, alongside those of operations in Côte d’Ivoire ($492.5 million), Cyprus ($54.4 million), Timor-Leste ($208.8 million), Liberia ($536.1 million) and Sudan ($977.3 million). Other budget documents presented by Mr. Yamazaki were those of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK ($48.4 million), and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO ($58.2 million).
In addition, he said a sum of $205.2 million had been proposed to support the activities of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as requested by the Security Council in resolution 1863 (2009). [The United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) in Nairobi provides logistical support, and a planning team in Addis Ababa provides technical and expert advice.]
Mr. Yamazaki also presented the performance reports for those operations for the 2008/09 financial year. In all cases, the Assembly was asked to consider the treatment of unencumbered balances ranging from the largest — MONUC’s unencumbered balance of $24.33 million and a further $27.53 million in “other income” derived from interest income, miscellaneous income and cancellation of prior-period obligations — to the smallest, UNODF’s unencumbered income of $14,200, in addition to its other income worth $1.92 million.
Presenting the reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), its Chair, Susan McLurg, said the Committee had suggested reductions to the budget in all but two cases. Those reductions included $30.69 million for MONUC; $957,500 for the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI); $145,400 for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); $2.03 million for the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT); $6.29 million for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL); $38.96 million for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS); $130,500 for MINURSO; and $22.7 million for support of AMISOM. The proposed budgets for UNMIK and UNDOF were recommended for approval as presented.
Regarding the multi-million dollar reduction for MONUC, Ms. McLurg said ACABQ’s recommendations were guided by the Security Council’s request that it begin planning for the progressive handover of its tasks in the western provinces and to focus its effort in the east. But, those recommendations had been made without prejudice to any future decision of the Council on the Mission’s mandate and on the understanding that any reconfiguration with financial implications would be presented in a revised budget.
Meanwhile, over $30 million reductions envisioned for UNMIS were derived from the potential to make more use of less costly southern supply route, she said, as well as by managing the cost of civilian aircraft rentals. ACABQ believed that UNMIS should continue to explore the feasibility of joint UNMIS-UNAMID air operations, especially the use of long-term charters for troop rotation. Part of the proposed reductions came from assuming a higher rate of vacancy, she added.
Commenting on possible synergies between missions, she said ACABQ saw merit in the proposal to strengthen and formalize the regional coordination of information and communications technology services in UNFICYP, UNDOF, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), which was expected to result in a collective recurrent annual savings of $3.5 million.
Concerns were raised in one case — UNSOA — where the volatile security situation in Mogadishu meant it must be managed remotely. Ms. McLurg said ACABQ was concerned that arrangements were not in place to ensure the verification and inspection of United Nations-owned property and to monitor contractor performance.
The representative of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted ACABQ’s calls for reductions in some cases. He said the Group was “fully determined” to examine the proposals with a view to ensuring that the Committee recommended “in favour of the provisions of all justified proposed resources”.
Speaking in his national capacity, he reiterated the commitment of his Government to the implementation of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement, despite the technical difficulties in the release of the voters’ list that had delayed planned elections. That poll was now set to be held this year and the various parties were now “getting down to business” identifying outstanding issues regarding the electoral list. In order to accelerate such progress, Côte d’Ivoire hoped that the negotiations on UNOCI’s budget would focus on allocation of necessary resources for the completion of the components of the Ouagadougou Agreement.
Focusing on UNMIT, the representative of Brazil listed positive developments in Timor-Leste over the past year, including the successful holding of elections in October, closure of all camps for internally displaced persons and improvements in the employment situation. He also welcomed progress in the security situation and commended the efforts undertaken by the Timorese national police.
However, he stressed that the country’s long-term success depended on further socio-economic and security-related progress. That would call for renewed efforts by the international community to support the Timorese Government, and while Brazil fully supported the Secretary-General’s cautious approach to the gradual drawdown of UNMIT, he particularly stressed the need to strengthen the professional and technical expertise of the Police Commissioner’s Office by establishing 19 new posts to support the national police.
The representative of Australia, speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, urged caution when planning for the future of UNMIT, including any substantial changes in its management. He would also encourage the provision of adequate resources for security sector review and reform, strengthening the rule of law, promoting a culture of democratic governance and dialogue, and economic and social development. He particularly supported the enhancement of civilian capacities in those areas, and backed the Secretary-General’s proposal for additional civilian staff with expert skills to help enhance the professionalism of the national police force and wider security sector.
Turning to UNMIK, the representative of Serbia said that, following last year’s reconfiguration and unprecedented staff reductions, the Mission had managed to maintain its basic functions, while continuing to perform its role “in an unfavourable environment created by the illegal unilateral declaration of independence by the local authorities in Kosovo”. He stressed the importance of helping the Mission maintain its capacity in the next financial year.
He said Serbia welcomed the proposal to convert three general temporary assistance positions in the office of the head of the Mission to fully funded posts, convinced that they would greatly contribute in areas such as customs, the judiciary and police, by assisting policy liaison and technical cooperation with the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX).
He added that UNMIK’s competence to facilitate reconstruction activities and security arrangements concerning cultural and religious heritage, particularly Serbian Orthodox patrimonial sites, must in no way be diminished. Monitoring by UNMIK and EULEX would be of particular importance following the planned replacement of Kosovo multinational security force (KFOR) guard units with “Kosovo police” at eights sites with designated special status. An additional focus for the Mission, in partnership with EULEX, should be on combating all forms of organized crime, especially with a view to suppressing narcotics transit.
Facilitating the participation of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in the context of regional cooperation was an area where UNMIK would have to further assert its authority, he said. The external representation function was one of the Mission’s core functions and Serbia fully supported its unconditional implementation in line with Serbia’s policy of full support for regional cooperation ion issues of common interest.
The representative of Syria commented on UNDOF, established more than 30 years ago as a result of Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan and its continued defiance of international law. He reiterated his country’s position that financing for UNDOF should be borne by the aggressor, in line with relevant General Assembly resolutions.
Also presenting a report was Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, who introduced the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on UNMIL. She said that Mission’s lack of an overarching strategy for security sector reform was putting its achievements at risk, and that among OIOS recommendations was for the Mission to strengthen support to the Liberia National Police, and to adopt an exit strategy that could overcome a security vacuum as the Mission downsized.
She said the Mission had a high level of legitimacy and confidence as a security provider among the local population, which viewed it as having an essential role in supporting peace, particularly in enabling disarmament. But there was limited progress in areas that depended on resources from donors, and in sectors that were “more dependent on the development of national strategies”. She added that the Mission needed to overcome administrative challenges that hampered further integration with the United Nations country team, although she praised UNMIL for being “inventive” in working towards the “One UN” approach.
Following are the related reports before the Committee today concerning financing for United Nations operations: Côte d’Ivoire (documents A/64/584, A/64/584/Corr.1, A/64/673, A/64/673/Corr.1 and A/64/660/Add.7); Cyprus (documents A/64/533, A/64/629 and A/64/660/Add.5); Democratic Republic of the Congo (documents A/64/583, A/64/670 and A/64/660/Add.8); Timor-Leste (A/64/617, A/64/686 and A/64/660/Add.11); Kosovo (A/64/604, A/64/661 and A/64/660/Add.6); Liberia (A/64/601, A/64/647, A/64/660/Add.9 and A/64/712); UNDOF (documents A/64/536, A/64/536/Corr.1 A/64/630 and A/64/660/Add.4); Sudan (document A/64/566, A/64/632 and A/64/660/Add.3); Western Sahara (documents A/64/602, A/64/636 and A/64/660/Add.2); and UNSOA (documents A/64/644 and A/64/754).
The Committee will meet again on Friday, 7 May, on improving the financial situation of the United Nations, cross-cutting aspects of peacekeeping financing, and the financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
* *** *For information media • not an official record