15 November 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/4014

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

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

18th Meeting (PM)


Budget Committee Considers Comprehensive Emergency Management Framework

 

for United Nations Secretariat in New York

 


Committee Also Weighs Request for Additional $74.6 Million

For United Nations Mission Ahead of Elections in Democratic Republic of Congo


A senior official in the Department of Management unveiled before the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon the first phase of efforts to create a comprehensive emergency management framework, part of the major push to make the Organizationís New York Headquarters better able to cope with man-made threats and natural hazards.


Warren Sach, Assistant Secretary-General for Central Support Services of the† Department of Management, introduced the Secretary-Generalís report entitled ďOrganizational Resilience Management System: Emergency Management FrameworkĒ, which laid out the basic elements to implement the system at the Secretariat in New York, as well as its overall resources requirements.


ďLessons were learned from tragic events, such as the earthquake in Haiti, the various bombings of United Nations premises, and planning for the persistent threat of pandemic influenza,Ē Mr. Sach said, adding that those events highlighted the need for a holistic approach that pooled and coordinated the emergency management expertise and services of individual United Nations departments.


He said that it would cost $3.14 million overall under the regular budget to implement the proposals during the 2012-2013 biennium, which included the estimated cost of extending the lease of the Organizationís secondary data centre in Piscataway, New Jersey ó set up to manage the risk of disruption to critical information technology applications ó and the cost of procuring special software.


However, Alejandro Torres Lepori, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), who introduced that bodyís related report, said the Secretary-Generalís proposed management system was not comprehensive, because the full scope of its application had not been determined and the required resources to make it operational were not known yet.


As such, he called for greater efforts to map out proposed systemís final shape and size, including by conducting a needs assessment for the Emergency Preparedness and Support Team, and for including that information and related resource requirements in the follow-up report on the subject to be submitted to the Assemblyís sixty-seventh session.


Also during the meeting, the Committee took up the Secretary-Generalís request for an additional $74.56 million to enable the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) to provide new warehouses, aircrafts and other logistical support for elections scheduled in that country for later this month and in March 2012.


Chandramouli Ramanathan, Officer-in-Charge, Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, who introduced the Secretary-Generalís note on MONUSCOís financing arrangements for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, said the additional amount would bring the Missionís total resource requirements for the period to $1.49 billion.


He recalled that the $1.42 billion already appropriated for the Missionís maintenance for the period only covered the cost of staffing the Electoral Assistance Division, and the $3.42 million initially deemed necessary to move electoral materials for the national elections.


Mr. Torres Lepori, who weighed in the subject with findings included in ACABQís related report, said the Advisory Committee had expected that the Secretary-General would remain within the $62.57 million proposed for contracting 20 more aircraft to transport electoral materials and officials.† It believed that at present MONUSCO should be able to absorb some of the cost for logistical support, particularly given the size of the current appropriation, and recommended that the Assembly appropriate and assess the full amount requested.


Speaking on behalf of the African Group, the representative of CŰte díIvoire welcomed and supported the Secretary-Generalís proposal, but expressed concern that it had been presented just a few days before the first round of elections, now set for 28 November.†† His delegation therefore planned to request more information on how MONUSCO would be able to support the presidential and National Assembly elections in November and stressed the need to ensure that all necessary support was fully provided on time and in line with the Missionís mandate.


The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 November, to consider financing of peacekeeping operations.


Background


The Fifth Committee had before it this afternoon several reports pertaining to two issues: the financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), and organizational resilience management.


In his note on financing arrangements for MONUSCO for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/66/375), the Secretary-General asks the General Assembly to appropriate and assess $74.56 million for the1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period.† This is in addition to the $1.42 billion approved and assessed for the Missionís maintenance for the same period under Assembly resolution 65/296.


With resolution 1991 (2011), the Security Council extended MONUSCOís mandate until 30 June 2012 and decided, among other things, that the Mission should support national, provincial and local elections with technical and logistical support, as requested by the Congolese authorities.


The proposed budget for MONUSCO for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period totalled $1.42 billion and provided for the deployment of 760 military observers, 19,815 military contingent personnel, 391 United Nations police officers, 1,050 formed police personnel, 1,126 international staff, 3,073 national staff, 638 United Nations Volunteers and 101 Government-provided personnel, including temporary positions.† It included resource requirements related to the staffing of the Electoral Assistance Division and initial estimated requirements of $3.42 million for moving electoral materials for the national elections.


On 30 April 2011, the Commission ťlectorale nationale indťpendante (CENI) announced that presidential and National Assembly elections would be held jointly on 28 November 2011 and that provincial legislative elections would be held on 25 March 2012, followed by indirect elections for the second chamber of Parliament, the Senate, on 4 July 2012.† There are 11 presidential candidates and more than 17,000 candidates for National Assembly elections.


The logistical support for the two elections makes up an additional element in MONUSCOís mandate for the 2011/12 period, for which no related provision had been included in the approved 2011/12 budget.† Accounting for the $1.42 billion previously approved, the total resource requirements for MONUSCO for the period would tally $1.49 billion gross, an increase of $74.56 million gross.


The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) weighed in on the issue with a report, financing arrangements for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/66/545), issued 4 November 2011.


In the reportís conclusions, the Advisory Committee considers that the addition of mandated activities to existing peacekeeping mission mandates should be financed, to the extent possible, by realigning approved resources.† The Advisory Committee believes MONUSCO should have reprioritized its approved budget and identified savings to absorb, at least partly, the additional requirements relating to logistical support for the elections, particularly given the size of the current appropriation.† The Advisory Committee also considers that, at this stage in the implementation of the Missionís budget, it should be possible for MONUSCO to absorb some of the cost of logistical support for the elections from its current appropriation.


The Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly appropriate and assess, subject to the provisions of the paragraph below (found in paragraph 23 of the report), the requested amount of $74.56 million, to support elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period.† This would be in addition to the $1.42 billion already appropriated for the same period.


In light of its previous comments, the Advisory Committee also recommends that the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to assess an initial amount of $37.28 million for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period in respect of the requested appropriation of $74.56 million.† It would then assess the remaining amount, as required, after a review of the Missionís cash position by the Secretary-General and inform the Advisory Committee accordingly.


Under the second topic on todayís agenda ó organizational resilience management ó the Committee had before it the Secretary-Generalís report on revised estimates relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 under section 29D, Office of Central Support Services, and section 3O, Office of Information and Communications Technology, related to the organizational resilience management system: emergency management framework (document A/66/516).† It describes that framework, the outcome to date of a pilot management system in the Secretariat in New York and its practical application in the context of the Organizationís secondary data centre in Piscataway, New Jersey.† It also sets out proposed resource requirements for the system and a programme of work to maintain the centre.


Annex I to the report lists the resilience status of current systems at Headquarters deemed critical; annex II lists the Secretary-Generalís responses to matters raised by ACABQ in its report on information and communications technology, disaster recovery and business continuity (document A/63/774).


The organizational resilience management system is a Secretariat initiative, based on international best practices, that pools the Organizationís expertise and services in business continuity, security, safety, emergency medical response, information technology disaster recovery and staff and victim support in order to better manage disruptive events and prevent them from turning into crises or disasters.† In his report, the Secretary-General recommends that the Assembly approve the management system as the Organizationís emergency management approach.


The Assembly is also asked to approve the total cost estimate of extending the lease of the Piscataway centre, set to expire 31 December 2011, for 30 more months and to appropriate $3.14 million under the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, including $243,000 under section 29D, Office of Central Support Services, and $2.9 million under section 30, Office of Information and Communications Technology, representing a charge against the contingency fund.


The ACABQ report covering the same subject (document A/66/7/Add.10) concurs with the Secretary-Generalís recommendations that the Assembly approve the management system approach as the Organizationís emergency management framework, on the understanding that the follow-up report to the Assembly give a complete picture of the systemís scope and related resource requirements.† It agrees with the Secretary-Generalís request to the Assembly to approve the cost to extend the Piscataway centreís lease and to note the $741,000 for the centre.


Introduction of Reports


CHANDRAMOULI RAMANATHAN, Officer-in-Charge, Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, introduced the Secretary-Generalís note on MONUSCOís financing arrangements for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.† He recalled that the $1.42 billion appropriated for the Missionís maintenance for that period only covered resource requirements for staffing the Electoral Assistance Division and the $3.42 million initially estimated to be required to move electoral materials for the national elections.


Based on the electoral calendar, and in response to the request of the Democratic Republic of the Congoís Government, another $74.56 million would be needed for logistical support for the elections scheduled for November 2011 and March 2012, bringing the total resource requirements for MONUSCO for the period to $1.49 billion, compared with $1.42 billion appropriated for MONUSCOís maintenance under the terms of resolution 65/296, he said.


The additional resources would provide for the following: $481,600 to create warehouses; $62.6 million to deploy additional aircraft to distribute electoral materials and transport electoral officials and observers; and $11.5 million in commercial freight charges to transport and distribute electoral materials to main- and sub-electoral hubs throughout the country.


ALEJANDRO TORRES LEPORI, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced that bodyís report on the proposed financing arrangements for MONUSCO.† He said that the extra $74.56 million to provide logistic support for upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as mandated by Security Council resolution 1991 (2011), were being requested primarily for contracting 20 more aircraft at a total cost of $62.58 million in order to distribute electoral materials to hubs and sub-hubs nationwide, and to transport some 3,300 electoral officials and observers.†


He noted that the Secretary-General had recently amended those requirements, from 20 to 31 more aircraft, and had underscored the importance of efficiently managing those aircraft and integrating them into the Missionís existing aviation capacity.† The Advisory Committee expected that the Secretary-General would remain within the $62.58 million total, he said.† It believed that at the current stage of implementing the Missionís budget, it should be possible for MONUSCO to absorb some of the cost for logistical support for the elections, particularly given the size of the current appropriation.


Therefore, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly appropriate and assess the full amount requested and that it ask the Secretary-General to assess an initial amount of $37.28 million, and to assess the remaining amount, as required, after a review of the Missionís cash position, he said.


Statement


Speaking on behalf of the African Group, BROUZ RALPH COFFI (C Űte díIvoire) said resources to support the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were had not been included in the Secretary-Generalís budget proposal for 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, pending finalization of detailed planning. †The African Group noted that the MONUSCO intended to support the national elections for 2011/2012 with the air and road transport of electoral personnel and materials with existing resources, and if significant additional resources were required, the Secretary-General would submit a budget proposal to the Assembly for consideration.


The African Group welcomed and supported the Secretary-Generalís proposal for $74.6 million for logistical support for the two elections, scheduled for late November 2011 and late March 2012. †He said his delegation was nevertheless concerned that the proposal had been presented just a few days before the first poll. †The African Group therefore planned to request additional information on how MONUSCO would be able to support the presidential and National Assembly elections, to be held on 28 November.


The African Group gave great importance to the election process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as one of the necessary ways to improve political stability in the country and create lasting peace for the Congolese people and the wider Great Lakes region. †He emphasized the need to ensure that all necessary support was fully provided for those elections on time and in line with the Missionís mandate.


Secretariat Response


Mr. RAMANATHAN said the intention was to deliver on the mandate. †The challenge was the availability of funding. †Further, he said the timing of the current budget submission did not impact the preparations for the elections, and he added that more details would be provided during the informal discussions.


Introduction of Report


The Committee then turned its consideration to its second agenda item, the organizational resilience management system.


WARREN SACH, Assistant Secretary-General for Central Support Services, Department of Management, introduced the Secretariatís proposed plan on the ďOrganizational Resilience Management System: Emergency Management FrameworkĒ and noted that United Nations staff, facilities and systems were vulnerable to a host of man-made threats and natural hazards. †ďLessons were learned from tragic events such as the earthquake in Haiti and the various bombings of United Nations premises, and planning for the persistent threat of pandemic influenzaĒ, Mr. Sach said, adding that those events highlighted the interdependence of each element of emergency management and the need for a holistic approach.


Recognizing that, the Senior Emergency Policy Team had adopted a proactive approach by approving a pilot of the Organizational Resilience Management System as the emergency management framework at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. †The pilot had been implemented by an inter-department and inter-agency group led by the Business Contingency Management Unit.† During the risk and impact assessment phase of the process, it had been determined that the secondary data centre in Piscataway, New Jersey, would be needed to manage the risk of disruption to critical information technology applications. †The impact assessment had also emphasized the ability to communicate with staff and determine their status during a crisis.


To be effective, the data in the emergency notification system had to be current, and with the Secretariatís size and scope, management needed more sophisticated platforms to efficiently maintain emergency management plans. †The report on the topic proposed the procurement of specialized software for that purpose, he said. †In addition, the Organizational Resilience Management System could not be implemented and sustained without dedicated programme management and the Secretariat requested the conversion of three temporary positions in the Business Continuity Management Unit and two temporary positions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to established posts.


He said that the report laid out the basic elements to implement the Organizational Resilience Management System at the Secretariat in New York. †Overall resources requirements under the regular budget, arising from implementation of the proposals during the 2012-2013 biennium, totalled $3.14 million. †Those resource requirements covered the total estimated cost of extending the lease of the Piscataway centre, set to expire 31 December 2011, for 30 more months, and the procurement of special software.


The report represented the Secretariatís first phase of its efforts to implement a comprehensive emergency management framework. †A second stage would follow with guidance from the Assembly, he added.


Mr. LEPORI, taking the floor a second time, introduced ACABQís related report, saying that the Organizational Resilience Management System aimed to institutionalize a comprehensive framework for coordinating and integrating the separate emergency preparedness initiatives led by individual United Nations departments.† The Secretary-Generalís report did not respond fully to the Assemblyís request for a comprehensive framework and his proposed management system could not be regarded as comprehensive, because its full application scope had not been determined and the resources required to make it operational were not known yet.† Greater efforts should have been made to map out the final shape and size of the management system, even if some of its elements were not ready for full implementation.


In the report, the Advisory Committee recognized the need to conduct a needs assessment of the Emergency Preparedness and Support Team before requesting more resources, he said.† But it had expected that such an assessment would have been completed in time to submit a request to the Assemblyís current session in order to give it a complete picture of the Organizational Resilience Management System.† Therefore, it recommended that information on the outcome of the needs assessment should be included in the follow-up report on the emergency management framework to be submitted to the Assemblyís sixty-seventh session and that any related resource requirements should then be submitted for consideration in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.


He said the Advisory Committee also regretted that the Secretary-Generalís present report did not explore in more depth the system-wide application of the Organizational Resilience Management System and believed that the follow-up report should present a full picture of measures taken and envisaged.


The Advisory Committee recommended approving the Secretary-Generalís request to appropriate $3.14 million for the secondary data centre in Piscataway and for software to maintain emergency plans and the staff accounting system, he said.† It noted that that those extra requirements would be considered in accordance with the provisions governing the contingency fund.


He said that, responding to the Secretary-Generalís request to create posts for business continuity, the Advisory Committee recommended against converting three positions in the Business Continuity Management Unit to established posts, saying it was premature to establish dedicated staff capacity for the Organizational Resilience Management System before its full scope and resource requirements were known.† Furthermore, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Secretary-General resubmit his proposal for converting two positions in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support to established posts in the context of the proposed budget for the support account for peacekeeping operations for 2012-2013, since those positions were currently funded from that account.


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