7 March 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/3981

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

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

28th Meeting (AM)


Budget Committee Approves Work Plan for Three-Week Resumed Session;

 

Capital Master Plan, Joint Inspection Unit Report among Issues

 


Also Recommends Candidates to Fill Vacancies on Committee on Contributions


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today approved the work plan for a three-week resumed session that will let delegates consider a Capital Master Plan now running more than $80 million over budget, the work of the Joint Inspection Unit, special political missions and other issues with financial implications for the 2010-2011 budget cycle.


Delegates voiced their concerns as administrative officials introduced a wide range of reports on the recent work of the Joint Inspection Unit, the standards of accommodation surrounding air travel, and revised budget estimates stemming from the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.  Also this morning, the Committee recommended candidates to fill two vacancies on the Committee on Contributions that emerged with the resignations of two former members.


The Committee on Contributions advises the General Assembly on how to spread out the expenses of the Organization among its Member States, according to their capacity to pay, while abiding by Article 17 of the Charter.


After adopting its programme of work, the Committee turned to a discussion of recent reports on the JIU, an independent external oversight body that carries out evaluations, inspections and investigations across the United Nations system with the aim of helping the legislative organs of the participating organizations meet their governance responsibilities.  Unit chairman Mohamed Mounir Zahran introduced the 2010 annual report, while Kenneth Herman, senior adviser on Information Management Policy Coordination for the Secretariat of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination, introduced the Secretary-General’s note on the report.


Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, Argentina’s delegate said the Group backed the Unit’s strategic framework for 2010-2019, but was concerned that the framework had not been matched by sufficient resources.  The Group also was troubled by Member States’ limited progress towards implementing the Unit’s recommendations.


The United States’ representative was also concerned by the low overall rate of approval and acceptance of the Unit’s recommendations.  Last year, the Unit had turned out 10 reports and one management letter that culminated in 122 recommendations geared towards improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the participating organizations.  Nine of the reports were of a system-wide nature and one report and one management letter concerned a single agency.


Turning to programme budget issues for the 2010-2011 biennium, the Committee then discussed the standards of accommodation for air travel in an effort to pinpoint ways to curb travel costs, one of the Organization’s largest budget items after staff costs.  Argentina’s delegate, again speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the Group recognized that the air travel needs of the United Nations were complex, but it believed the Secretariat could provide clearer and more complete information.


Mr. Zahran introduced the Unit’s report on travel arrangements, while Mario Baez, Chief of Policy and Oversight Coordination Services, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the issue.  Collen Kelapile, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), presented his body’s report and urged that the Organization keep exploring way to curb overall travel expenditures.


Mr. Herman of the Chief Executives Board introduced the Board’s report on the feasibility of harmonizing standards of air travel, as well as the Secretary-General’s note on the Unit’s report on travel arrangements.  The Board’s report gave an overview of its review of travel policies, which focused on the Funds and Programmes of the United Nations.  The process showed that in many aspects of travel, the Funds and Programmes already implemented the standard currently in place for the United Nations Secretariat.


On another budget issue, Sharon Van Buerle, Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the revised budget estimates that resulted from the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.  Mr. Kelapile, the Advisory Committee Chairman, said the revised requirements could be met from resources already appropriated under the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


Also speaking on the Committee’s organization of work were the representatives of Hungary (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Côte d’Ivoire (speaking on behalf of the African Group), Argentina (speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Chile (speaking on behalf of the Rio Group) and the United States.


Other speakers during the discussion of the Joint Inspection Unit were delegates from Côte d’Ivoire (speaking on behalf of the African Group), and the Republic of Korea.  Argentina’s delegate also spoke on behalf of the Group of 77 on the issue of the revised budget estimates connected with the Convention.


The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 8 March, to discuss the capital master plan and conditions of service for the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the ACABQ.


Background


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today opened a three-week resumed session — the first of two — during which it is expected to take up, among other issues, the Capital Master Plan, the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, the United Nations standards of accommodation for air travel, and the budgetary implications of the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.  Its second resumed session, scheduled for May, will focus on financing for peacekeeping operations.


Today, on its organization of work, the Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General on the status of preparedness of documentation for the session (document A/C.5/65/L.26).  It also had before it a note by the Secretary-General concerning “Appointments to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments” (document A/65/102/Rev.1/Add.1), concerning appointments to the Committee on Contributions.


For its consideration of the Joint Inspection Unit, the Committee had before it the Report of the Joint Inspection Unit for 2010 and programme of work for 2011 (document A/65/34) and a related note by the Secretary-General (document A/65/718).  In its annual report, the Unit — which is the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct evaluations, inspections and investigations system-wide — reviewed its projects over the course of the past year, as well as the Organization’s follow-up to their related recommendations.


The Unit’s programme of work for 2010 complied with the required focus on system-wide issues, with eight system-wide topics out of 10 projects.  During the reporting period, the Unit also further improved its working methods, as well as those of its secretariat with a view towards enhancing the overall effectiveness and quality of outputs.  During 2010, the Unit issued 10 reports and one management letter, containing 122 recommendations.  Its projects for the year included an environmental profile of the United Nations system organizations; a review of the Organization’s travel arrangements; a review of ethics in the United Nations system; an investigation into staff mobility and work-life balance; and others.  The Unit’s annual report also dealt with the issue of a proposed web-based tracking system for the systematic monitoring and follow-up of the implementation of recommendations issued by oversight bodies.  The Unit had conducted a feasibility study on the implementation of such a tracking system, which had been requested by the General Assembly in its resolutions 62/246 (2008) and 64/262 (2010).


Also covered in the report were the Unit’s interaction with participating organizations and legislative bodies; its relationships with other oversight and coordination bodies; the role of the Unit in system-wide evaluation; resources; and other issues.


Under the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011, the Committee had before it reports related to standards and accommodation for air travel, including a report by the Secretary-General (document A/65/348); a report of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the feasibility of harmonizing standards of air travel (document A/65/386); a report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on Standards of Accommodation for air travel (document A/65/632); and a note by the Secretary-General on the Joint Inspection Unit’s Review of travel arrangements within the United Nations system (document A/65/338), as well as a related Addendum (document A/65/338/Add.1).


Also under the programme budget, the Committee had before it two documents on the issue of “Revised estimates resulting from the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance”, including a report of the Secretary-General (document A/65/628) and a report of the ACABQ (document A/65/739).


Statements


Committee Chairman GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said this first resumed session of the Fifth Committee would include various topics.  Some, such as the Capital Master Plan and the Standards of Accommodation for Air Travel, had been postponed from the main session.  Others, such as revised estimates relating to the Committee on Enforced Disappearance, additional requirements for Special Political Missions, conditions of service and compensation for full time members of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, as well as the Joint Inspection Unit, would be new items to be debated and analysed.


He expressed his hope that the session could be concluded at the time it had established, which would depend on the Committee’s will and the negotiation skills it brought to the issues.  He also thanked Movses Abelian, the Secretary of the Fifth Committee, and his staff for their hard work during the last session and their help and guidance for the session beginning today.


CSABA KỖRÖSI (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union welcomed the decision to complete the resumed session within three weeks, and thanked the Chairperson and those involved in the Committee’s work during the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly.  The Union was pleased that the Committee had succeeded in reducing, at least partially, the additional requirements to the 2010-2011 programme budget in the current time of financial constraint, while providing the United Nations with the necessary resources to carry out its mandate.  Nonetheless, it was important to ensure that all resources of the Organization were used in the most effective and efficient way and that strict discipline was applied.  In that regard, the Union called upon the Secretary-General to exert his leadership in prioritizing funding requests and identifying corresponding areas for savings.  The Union looked forward to discussing the important items ahead, such as the annual progress report of the Capital Master Plan and the Standards of Accommodation for Air Travel.


BROUZ RALPH COFFI ( Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that it was evident that the workload of the Committee during the current session was not as heavy as in the previous sessions.  However, the Group attached great importance to all the agenda items and it was its expectation that there would be ample time to discuss them all thoroughly.  Most of the documents before the Committee in the current session had been issued before the beginning of the session, but the Group nonetheless called on the Secretariat to intensify its efforts to ensure that documents were issued in a timely manner.


MARÍA LUZ MELON (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that, in reviewing the list of new and deferred agenda items, special consideration should be given to a number of items, so they can be effectively examined.  Those items included, in particular, the Capital Master Plan, standards for air travel, various conditions of service and the work of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.  Additionally, the Group noted with concern that some reports for the Committee’s consideration had been issued late, which disrupted its functioning.


Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, MANAHI PAKARATI (Chile), said the Committee’s programme of work included several topics of great importance to the Group, particularly issues connected with the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011, such as the Capital Master Plan, the revised estimates relating to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, special political missions and standards of accommodation for air travel.


Regarding the Capital Master Plan, the Group was very concerned about the delays expected in meeting the project’s deadlines and was worried that the situation, along with the high associated costs, would be the basis for requesting more resources for the mega-project.  The project was already requiring a major financial sacrifice from all Member countries.  The Group urged the Secretariat to do everything possible to adhere to the budget and deadlines approved in the initial resolutions, in order to avoid any rescheduling or extension of time and/or resources.


The Rio Group would formally ask that space be set aside for Latin America in one of the public areas of the Headquarters complex, she said.  It also stressed that persons with disabilities should be able to move easily around the new buildings and use its facilities.  Regarding standards of accommodation for air travel, the Group urged the Secretariat to ensure that resources approved for that item were used as efficiently as possible and avoid unnecessary expenditures.


Regarding the Capital Master Plan, JOSEPH H. MELROSE ( United States) said the United States was encouraged that the project still carried a completion target of the end 2013, but was concerned that the project cost now tallied $1.96 billion, $80.1 million more than the approved budget of $1.88 billion.  He looked forward to learning more about planned efficiencies to offset the budgetary shortfall and shared the ACABQ’s concerns that it might be difficult to absorb the associated costs from within the Plan-approved budget.  He looked forward to learning the Secretary-General’s plans to mitigate that risk.


During this session, the Committee would consider the Secretary-General’s reports containing the analysis of travel for the 2009-2010 biennium, including the number of exceptions approved by the Secretary-General to permit business class travel in special circumstances.  The Committee would review several reports on the issue and looked forward to the Secretariat’s thoughts on the Joint Inspection Unit’s recommendations.


The United States continued to recognize the importance of the special political mission in Burundi and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board and would work with other delegations to ensure that the missions were adequately resourced to achieve their mandates.  It noted that compensation for full-time members of the ICSC and the Chair of the ACABQ had not kept pace with increases for the United Nations most senior officials.  Noting that civil servants in many Member States, including the United States, were experiencing pay freezes or reductions during the fiscal crisis, the United States was anxious to work with other delegations to define an equitable compensation package that was appropriate for the current fiscal environment, he said.


The Committee then adopted its programme of work without a vote.


Appointments


Regarding appointments to the Committee on Contributions, the Committee recommended that the Assembly appoint Patrick Haughey ( United Kingdom) and Sun Xudong ( China) to fill vacancies left by the resignations of two previous members.  Mr. Haughey would fill the unexpired portion of the slot vacated by Richard Moon, also of the United Kingdom, while Mr. Sun would fill the unexpired portion of the slot formerly held by Wu Gang, also of China.  Both of these appointments would end on 31 December of this year and begin on the date of the Assembly’s appointment.


Joint Inspection Unit


MOHAMED MOUNIR ZAHRAN, Chairman of the Joint Inspection Unit, introduced the report (document A/65/34) and reviewed the Unit’s work achieved by the end of 2010.  By that time, it had issued 10 reports and one management letter, addressed for action to the respective legislative bodies and executive heads of participating organizations.  In 2011, the Unit’s Work Plan contained 11 projects, 10 of which were system-wide evaluations/inspections, as well as a single organization Management and Administration Review of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).  Also, the Unit was yet again embroiled in a debate over the possible establishment of an additional system-wide independent evaluation mechanism.  The Unit had been provided the opportunity to attend key meetings in the relevant deliberations, indicating that the review of the evaluation mechanism should aim at fully utilizing and strengthening existing mechanisms, including the Unit.  In that connection, he wanted to recall significant efforts to enhance the Unit’s effectiveness, including through the strategic framework for 2010-2019.  However, achieving greater effectiveness in that area depended on decisive action by Member States, in particular for the consideration of the Unit’s reports, as well as the provision of adequate resources for its work.


The Inspectors noted with concern the increasing trend of not fully tabling, considering and discussing the Unit’s reports, nor acting upon recommendations addressed to them by the relevant legislative organs of a number of organizations.  Such a lack of action undermined the value-added and impact of the Unit’s contributions to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and system-wide coherence and cooperation, as well as perpetuating and exacerbating current inefficiencies.  The Unit, therefore, hoped that the General Assembly-mandated web-based follow-up system would greatly facilitate knowledge management and action on the Unit’s recommendations by both Member States and participating organizations.  For that to happen, however, full funding of the web-based tracking project would be required.  He recalled that the Joint Inspection Unit had formulated its Annual Report for 2010 and its Programme of Work for 2011, which was to be considered by the current resumed session.  He noted that the Unit had not seen any significant increase in its resources in years and that previous requests for an increase had been ignored.  As a consequence, the Unit had to carry out its functions with minimal resources and could not provide the full coverage requested by Member States.  He hoped resources would be provided, in particular, to implement the web-based tracking system and to increase the ratio of inspectors to professional staff to 1:1.


KENNETH HERMAN of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination introduced the note of the Secretary-General on the Report of the Joint Inspection Unit annual report for 2010 and programme of work for 2011 (document A/65/718).  He noted that the Joint Inspection Unit had increased its study of issues that had a system-wide impact and, as a result, the close collaboration between the two inter-agency bodies had become the norm.  The Board also continued to work closely with the Joint Inspection Unit on the identification of relevant and useful topics that the Unit might consider adding to its programme of work for the year.  It was increasingly common for the Board to work closely with the Unit inspectors during the preparation of draft reports, a process that, while seemingly small, ensured a more comprehensive and agreed-upon outcome.  The Board continued its efforts to quickly produce its companion reports to the system-wide Joint Inspection Unit reports.  Further, the subject of close coordination between member organizations and the Unit continued to be discussed in the Board’s High Level Committees and its Secretariat continued to call upon organizations to, among other actions, ensure good information flow between each organization and the Unit, as well as coordinate action on the Unit’s recommendations.


Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, SEBASTIÁN DI LUCA ( Argentina) said the Group fully supported the Unit’s strategic framework for 2010-2019, which had been approved by the Assembly, but was concerned that the framework had not been matched with the required increase in resources and could not be implemented in 2010.  It wanted clarification from the Controller on that issue.


The Group appreciated the Unit’s focus on system-wide issues as it carried out its programme of work in 2010, which included eight system-wide topics out of 10 projects.  But, the Group was concerned that there had been limited progress during 2010 concerning Member States’ uptake of the Unit’s recommendations, as well as implementation by responsible Secretariat entities.  It believed that all legislative organs should fully table, consider and discuss Unit reports and all responsible Secretariat entities should implement the accepted recommendations in a timely manner.  The Group fully supported the speedy implementation of the web-based follow-up system, which had been mandated by the Assembly.


The Group commended the Unit for its programme of work for 2011, which included 11 projects, including 10 system-wide evaluations.  It trusted that the Unit’s analysis and review on such issues as accountability frameworks, investigation functions and individual consultancy, were very relevant and valuable to Member States and the participating organizations.


Mr. COFFI ( Cote d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the Group attached great importance to the Joint Inspection Unit.  It was the only independent external system-wide inspection unit in the United Nations system.  In 2010, the Unit had continued to comply with its focus on system-wide topics.  The Group welcomed the significant progress made by the Unit in the implementation of its 2010 programme of work, in particular the issuance of quality reports and management letters to the legislative bodies and executive heads of participating organizations for action.  However, the Group was concerned that the Unit was not fully able to implement the expected accomplishments, in the medium term of its strategic framework for 2010-2019.  It further regretted that the requisite additional resources were yet to be provided to the Unit to facilitate its work.


The African Group recognized the importance of strengthening the capacity of existing system-wide evaluation, inspection and investigation in the United Nations system.  In that regard, it stressed the need for the full involvement of the Joint Inspection Unit in the evaluation exercise in system-wide coherence.  The Group was also concerned that the Unit had encountered some difficulties in obtaining information and data from the United Nations Secretariat relevant to transparency and the selection and appointment of senior managers.  The Group had also taken note of the Unit’s concern that an increasing number of legislative organs did not fully table, consider or discuss its report, and thus failed to act upon recommendations addressed to them.


Mr. MELROSE ( United States) said that during 2010 the Unit had turned out a significant output that included 10 reports and one management letter, culminating in 122 recommendations geared towards improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the participating organizations.  Nine of the reports were of a system-wide nature and one report and one management letter concerned a single agency.  The Unit’s reports on ethics, enterprise risk management, internal audit and international public sector accounting standards were important contributions to those subjects.  They responded to the Committee’s repeated requests that the Unit should focus on issues of system-wide interests and relevance.  While the United States did not want the Unit to cease its single agency reports, it encouraged the Unit to focus those reports on more pragmatic recommendations that could be implemented.


It welcomed the Unit’s efforts to provide fuller and more detailed information on the status of recommendations and welcomed the completion of the feasibility study for a web-based system, which would monitor the status of recommendations and receive updates from participating organizations.  The follow-up to the Unit’s recommendations had a direct bearing on the Unit’s effectiveness and the United States was concerned by the low overall rate of approval and acceptance of the Unit’s recommendations.  It noted that the Chief Executives Board had expressed concerns about the analysis and recommendations contained in some Unit reports, saying that they lacked clarity or were impractical to implement.


The United States looked forward to discussing the Unit’s proposed work plan for 2011.  It wondered whether the two proposed evaluations of human resources issues, sick leave and staff management relations, were the best use of Unit resources.  The International Civil Service Commission was better situated to undertake that work and referring those matters back to the Commission would avoid duplicating efforts.


PARK CHULL-JOO ( Republic of Korea) said that adequate implementation of the recommendations made by the Joint Inspection Unit was essential to improving the effectiveness of the Organization’s mandate.  In that context, his delegation was concerned about the lack of responses the United Nations system supplied towards the recommendations of the Joint Inspection Unit.  He wanted to draw attention to the practice by some secretariats, in which they presented the Unit’s reports to the governing body together with the view of the executive head on the recommendations, as well as information on what the secretariat intended to do.  Those practices could help to correct the current state of low implementation, he said.


He concurred with statements made in report A/63/34 about the web-based tracking system, and said that a thorough follow-up of the status and implementation of recommendations was vital in maintaining the prodigious value of inspection and review.  He was appreciative of the increasing interactions among the oversight bodies, whose information-sharing and coordination should avoid further overlap and duplication and should also achieve further synergy and cooperation.


Air Travel Standards


MARIO BAEZ, Chief of Policy and Oversight Coordination Services, then introduced the report of the Secretary-General on standards of accommodation for air travel (document A/65/348), which provided detailed information of the accommodation normally applicable under the regulations and rules of the Organization.  Tables 1 and 2 of the report provided a comparison of the number of trips made in first and business classes between the periods 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2010.  Tables 3 and 4 provide comparisons for the similar period of other United Nations entities.  The report also includes annexes providing details on exceptions analysed by various circumstances that had led to exceptions being authorized.  Overall, there had been an increase in the number of exceptions granted compared to the previous biennium, with 243 exceptions granted in the previous biennium compared to 334 between July 2008 and June 2010.  That was mainly due to exceptions made for medical reasons; those donating services free of charge; and for travel of security officers.


COLLEN KELAPILE, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced his Committee’s report on standards of accommodation for air travel (document A/65/632).  The General Assembly had requested the Secretary-General to explore all possible options for reducing the cost of air travel.  The Committee was informed during the hearings that the cost of administering frequent flyer programmes would exceed its benefits and that those commercial airlines contacted by the Secretariat were instead more receptive to offering discounted air tickets.  The ACABQ noted the difficulties encountered, but believed that the issue should be kept under review, and that the United Nations should continue to explore other ways to reduce overall travel expenditures.


Mr. ZAHRAN, Chair of the Joint Inspection Unit, then introduced the Unit’s report on travel arrangements within the United Nations system.  Travel represented one of the largest parts of the United Nations system’s budgets after staff costs, he said.  While thanking the Chief Executives Board for Coordination for its valuable comments on the reports recommendations, the Unit wished to draw attention to several facts.  The importance given to travel in the United Nations system was manifested through the high number of organizations attending the Inter-Agency Travel Network (IATN) annual meetings.  The Unit believed that the Network should be a very powerful advisory body and its activities must be made known to United Nations senior management, and that it should adopt a position on travel-related issues.


When considering different models for procurement of travel services, it was evident that one model was not strictly applicable to all United Nations organizations, given the complexity of their travel arrangements, he said.  However, the report showed that an international organization could either establish its own travel agency or purchase tickets directly from airlines.  Such practices could result in considerable cost savings.  Moreover, executive heads should not only provide reports on travel expenditures by reporting to the corresponding governing bodies, but should also inform them about steps taken to rationalize travel costs.  For that purpose, the Network should establish benchmarks for reporting purposes.


Mr. HERMAN, of the Chief Executives Board, introduced the report of the Board on the feasibility of harmonizing standards of air travel (document A/65/386) and the note of the Secretary-General on the Report of the Joint Inspection Unit on “review of travel arrangements within the United Nations system” (document A/65/338/Add.1).  The former presented the results of a Chief Executive Board review of travel policies, focusing on the Funds and Programmes of the United Nations.  The process revealed that, for many aspects of travel, the Funds and Programmes already implemented the standard currently in place for the United Nations Secretariat.  Where variation existed was in the lump-sum area, but even there the system tended towards uniformity of policies.


Based on those results, the report suggested that the agencies, under the authority of the Secretary-General, had achieved a significant level of harmonization of travel policies.  But, more could be done, and the measures suggested in the report included calling on the executive heads of funds and programmes to continue to work towards further harmonization, especially through full participation in the Inter-Agency Travel Network.


Moving to the note of the Secretary-General conveying his comments and those of the Board members on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on travel arrangements, he said that it was evident in the note that agencies had welcomed that report.  Organizations of the United Nations system had suggested that portions of the report could benefit from a more rigorous and detailed financial analysis that supported a fuller understanding of the basis for any proposed improvements in operating methodologies.  Agencies noted with appreciation the call for enhanced support for the Inter-Agency Travel Network as a forum for sharing ideas, good practices and resources in travel, as indicated in recommendation 1, and strongly supported the call for easy access to information on travel policies, as suggested in recommendation 4.  Further, agencies called for more streamlined processes for travel arrangements, as seen in recommendations 5 and 7.  In addition, agencies expressed concern that financial reporting on the matter might blur the distinction between the roles of governance and management, and noted the need for clear and common benchmarks for those types of reports.


Mr. Di Luca ( Argentina), on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the Group took note of the Secretary-General’s report (document A/65/632), but nonetheless recognized that that the United Nations air travel needs were complex.  It believed that there could be greater clarity and completeness in the information provided by the Secretariat related to the matter of air travel.


Convention on Enforced Disappearances


SHARON VAN BUERLE, Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the revised estimates arising from the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (document A/65/628).  That Convention had been adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 61/177 (2006).  Further, in paragraph 23.39 of the proposed programme budget for biennium 2010-2011 (document A/64/6), the Secretary-General informed the General Assembly that, should the Convention enter into force during the biennium 2010-2011, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances would be established.  The requirements arising were estimated at $836,500.  Further, it was estimated that, should the additional requirements as proposed be approved for the biennium 2010-2011, the indicative additional requirements for the biennium 2012-2013, estimated at $7.53 million and an amount estimated at $387,700 under section 36, to be offset by an equivalent amount under Income section 1, Income from staff assessment, would be considered in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.


Mr. KELAPILE, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on the revised estimates resulting from the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, introduced the Advisory Committee’s report (document A/65/739).  The requirements arising from the Convention related to the General Assembly and Economic and Social Affairs, Conference Management; Human Rights; Geneva Administration; and Staff Assessment.  They should be met from the resources already appropriated under the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.  The Secretary-General should report, in that regard, in the context of the second performance report, he said.


In view of the functions to be performed in connection with the entry into force of the International Convention and the substantive nature of the work to be performed, the Advisory Committee was recommending acceptance of the two posts proposed to be established in 2011 under section 23, Human Rights (one P-4 and one General Service).  The related resources should be adjusted to the date of their establishment, effective 1 April 2011.  The Committee also underlined that the General Assembly’s decision on the requirements for 2011 should in no way prejudge the required full justification of the proposals to be included in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.


The representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the Group gave great importance to providing all necessary resources to properly discharge the functions and activities related to the Convention, including those related to the creation of the Committee on Enforced Disappearance.  Though it saw merit in the recommendation of the ACABQ, the Group would seek further clarification from the Secretariat with regard to the absorption level that the Committee was advocating.


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