2 December 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/4016

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

Fifth Committee Recommends Additional $70 Million For Democratic Republic


Of Congo Mission For Technical, Logistical Support During Elections


Also Takes Up Sudan Mission Drawdown, Establishment of Abyei Security Force


Stressing the need for the Secretary-General to make every effort to ensure that technical and logistical support is provided for elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in full and on time, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today asked the General Assembly to appropriate $69.56 million to the Special Account for the United Nations Mission in that country.


By the terms of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), adopted by consensus by the Committee, the Assembly would appropriate that amount from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 to support this week’s presidential and National Assembly elections and next year’s parliamentary and provincial legislative elections, apportioning it among Member States in line with Assembly resolution 64/249 of 24 December 2009.


That figure was in addition to the $1.51 billion previously appropriated for the Mission for the same period for maintenance, the support account for peacekeeping operations and the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


The Committee this morning also turned its attention to the financing of two other peacekeeping operations — the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and the recently created United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).


The budget for UNMIS for the 2011-2012 period had been revised downward by 85.5 per cent to $137.5 million, from the initially proposed budget, to provide for the Mission’s withdrawal and liquidation by year’s end, said María Eugenia Casar, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, who introduced the Secretary-General’s report on that budget.


In its related report, introduced by Alejandro Torres Lepori, its Vice-Chair, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), recommended that the Assembly give the green light to approve the amount proposed by the Secretary-General, while stressing that every effort should be made to adhere to the Mission’s drawdown schedule in order to avoid cost escalation and to ensure the liquidation process was effective and efficient.


Côte d’Ivoire’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, also welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposed UNMIS financing figures and concurred with the Advisory Committee that the Mission should continue to apply lessons learned from the closing of previous peacekeeping missions in its liquidation process, paying particular attention to the asset disposal to mitigate risks.


He also lauded that the fact that five months after the Security Council authorized UNISFA’s creation at the end of June, more than two thirds of the authorized troops were on the ground and the Mission was positioned to perform its mandate.


In his report on UNISFA’s budget for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period, introduced by Ms. Casar, the Secretary-General laid out a $180.69 million budget for maintaining the Mission and creating a Special Account to log the income received and expended.


But, in its related report, introduced by Mr. Torres, the Advisory Committee, recommended cutting the Secretary-General’s proposed amount for Mission maintenance by $20.64 million and assessing just $81.75 million for the 28 December 2011 to 30 June 2012 period, at a monthly rate of $13.34 million.


Ethiopia’s representative expressed extreme worries over the Advisory Committee’s proposed cuts and asked for more clarification on the reduced amount’s impact on deploying the rest of the Mission’s component, as well as on implementing its complex, delicate mandate.  Any decision on the matter should be based on the latest deployment plan and the Mission’s critical nature, he said, supporting the Secretary-General’s proposed budget figures.


Responding to that concern, Mr. Torres said the Advisory Committee had recommended what it believed to be the required resources to fulfil the Mission’s mandate, adjusted according to revised deployment schedules.  “It is not the objective of the ACABQ, in any way, to undermine the funding of this Mission,” he said.


The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m., on Friday, 9 December, to consider special political missions, the Capital Master Plan and financing of the Human Rights Council.


Background


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met today to take action on a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and to consider the financing of two other peacekeeping operations.


By the terms of the draft resolution, the financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/66/L.5), the General Assembly, emphasizing the need for the Secretary-General to make every effort to ensure technical and logistical support for the elections in that country in full and on time, would decide to appropriate $69.56 million to the Special Account for MONUSCO from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 to support the elections and to apportion it among Member States in line with Assembly resolution 64/249 of 24 December 2009.


That figure was in addition to the $1.51 billion previously appropriated for the Mission for the same period under Assembly resolution 65/296, including $1.42 million for Mission maintenance, $76.78 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $13.83 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


In terms of the financing of the other two peacekeeping operations, the Secretary-General, in his 17 October 2011 report titled revised budget for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/66/519), lays out the revised budget of $137.53 million for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), which provides for withdrawal and administrative liquidation.


With resolution 1997 (2011), the Security Council decided to withdraw the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), effective 11 July 2011.  This revised budget takes into account the deployment of personnel as of 1 July 2011 and reflects requirements necessary for the repatriation or phased transfer to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) of 467 military observers, 9,248 military contingent personnel and 637 United Nations police officers; repatriation to their home countries, transfer to UNMISS or separation of 957 international staff, 323 United Nations Volunteers and 15 Government-provided personnel; and the transfer to UNMISS or separation of 2,762 national staff, inclusive of temporary positions.


In the report, the Secretary-General asks the General Assembly to:


-   Reduce the appropriation of $482.46 million approved by the Assembly, under terms of its resolution 65/257 B, for the maintenance of UNMIS between 1 July and 31 December 2011 by $344.93 million to $137.53 million.


-   Apply, to the Special Account for UNMIS, the $137.53 million from the $482.46 million previously assessed (also under the terms of its resolution 65/257 B) for the Mission, UNISFA, and a successor mission to UNMIS.


Weighing in on the UNMIS budget with its own report (document A/66/575), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) recommends approval by the Assembly of the $137.53 million proposed by the Secretary-General.  It expects every effort to be made to adhere to the Mission’s schedule to withdraw by year’s end in order to avoid cost escalation and to ensure the liquidation process is effective and efficient.  It asks that UNMIS continue to apply lessons learned from closed peacekeeping operations in the process, particularly concerning the disposal of assets in order to mitigate risks.


It asks the Assembly to approve the proposed $914,700 for the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the 1 August to 31 December 2011 period.  In addition, the Advisory Committee expects UNMIS’ seven pending claims for death and disability compensation, as of 30 September 2011, will be settled expeditiously.


In his report titled budget for the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/66/526), the Secretary-General lays out a budget of $180.69 million for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period for UNISFA.  This Mission was established by Security Council resolution 1990 (2011).  The report was issued 24 October 2011.


The Secretary-General asks the Assembly to appropriate $180.69 million for UNISFA for maintenance during this 12-month period, and establish a Special Account to log the income received and expended.  The Secretary-General also asks the Assembly to:


-   Apply $67 million from the $482.46 million previously assessed, under the terms of its resolution 65/257 B, for UNMIS, UNISFA and UNMISS.


-   Taking into account the $67 million applied to the Special Account for UNISFA, assess $21.4 million for the Mission’s maintenance from 1 July to 27 December 2011.


-   Assess $92.29 million for the 28 December 2011 to 30 June 2012 period, at a monthly rate of $15.06 million, if the Security Council decides to continue the Mission’s mandate.


Weighing in on the UNISFA budget with its own report (document A/66/576), ACABQ recommends a $20.64 million reduction to the Secretary-General’s proposed budget for the period, bringing the appropriation for maintaining the Mission to $160.06 million.


It recommends that the Assembly establish the proposed Special Account and apply to it $67 million from the $482.46 million previously assessed under the terms of its resolution 65/257 B for UNMIS, UNISFA and UNMISS, as well as assess $11.29 million for UNISFA’s maintenance from 1 July to 27 December 2011.


The Assembly is also asked to assess $81.75 million for the 28 December 2011 to 30 June 2012 period, at a monthly rate of $13.34 million, if the Council decides to continue UNISFA’s mandate.


Further, the Advisory Committee urges UNISFA to redouble efforts to resolve all pending issues and to take all possible measures to expedite deployment of the authorized number of military and police personnel.


Action on Draft Resolution


The Committee adopted by consensus the text on the financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/66/L.5).


Introduction of Reports


MARÍA EUGENIA CASAR, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the revised budget for UNMIS for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/66/519), which contains the proposed UNMIS budget of $137.5 million for the 2011-2012 period, an 85.5 per cent reduction, or $809.5 million, from the budget initially proposed for that period.


In its resolution 65/257B of 30 June 2011, the Assembly appropriated $482.5 million for the 1 July to 31 December 2011 period to maintain UNMIS and to enter into commitments for any further missions set up by the Security Council before 31 December 2011 to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and for a successor mission, she said.


The proposed requirements would provide for UNMIS’ withdrawal and administrative liquidation by 31 December 2011, she said.  That involved conclusion of programmes, repatriation, transfer to other missions or separation of 10,352 uniformed personnel and 4,057 civilian personnel, restoration and hand-over of premises, and implementation and completion of administrative and related actions.  The estimates also included provisions for the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sudan and South Sudan for the 1 August to 31 December 2011 period.


She then introduced the report on the budget for UNISFA for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/66/526).  She noted that in its resolution 65/257 B of 30 June 2011, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to draw upon the resources approved for UNMIS in entering into commitments for the 1 July to 31 December 2011 period for UNISFA and any further missions set up by the Council before year’s end to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.


When it established UNISFA earlier this year, the Council decided that it would comprise a maximum of 4,200 military personnel, 50 police personnel and appropriate civilian support, she said.


The proposed $180.7 million budget provides for the deployment of 135 military observers, 4,065 military contingent personnel, 50 United Nations police officers, 97 international staff, 60 national staff, 20 United Nations Volunteers and related operational costs, she said.  The proposed requirements include provisions for $80.5 million for reimbursements for troop-contributing countries, rations, and freight and deployment costs for contingent-owned equipment; $31.1 million for facilities and infrastructure for construction, petrol, oil and lubricants for generators, self-sustainment of military contingents and service maintenance and supplies; and $22.9 million for air transportation, mainly for renting and operating rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft.


ALEJANDRO TORRES LEPORI, Vice Chair of ACABQ, then introduced ACABQ’s report (document A/66/575), which weighed on the Secretary-General’s report on UNMIS financing.


He also introduced ACABQ’s report (document A/66/576) on the UNISFA budget.  In that report, the Advisory Committee noted that the $180.69 million (gross) in proposed budgetary requirements pertained mostly to deploying mission personnel and constructing facilities.  Taking into account the delays encountered in setting up the Mission, the Advisory Committee recommended approval of the Secretary-General’s proposed resources, adjusted in accordance with the revised projections of deploying mission personnel.  It also recommended a $3.2 million reduction under facilities and infrastructure in view of the obstacles in beginning planned construction.


The Advisory Committee was informed that, as of 31 October 2011, the Mission had deployed 28 international staff, but had been unable to recruit any national staff, he said.  He encouraged UNISFA to give high priority to recruiting civilian personnel, especially against national posts in the Abyei area.


The Advisory Committee noted that the Regional Service Centre would provide services to UNISFA, but the Mission would not finance posts for it during the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period, he said.  The Advisory Committee trusted that in the future the Secretary-General would comprehensively incorporate the provision of back-office administrative functions provided by the Centre into the budgets of client Missions.  It also believed that the Secretary-General should include a separate section on the Centre in Mission budgets, providing the nature and scope of services provided and highlighting any efficiency gains anticipated to be derived by each client mission.


Statements


BROUZ COFFI (C ôte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group, recalled that the Assembly in paragraph 18 of resolution 65/257 B, decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIS $482.46 million for the Mission’s maintenance from 1 July to 31 December 2011.  In paragraph 14, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to draw upon the resources approved for UNMIS in entering into commitments for the same period and for any further Missions established by the council before 31 December 2011.


He further recalled that the Council, in resolutions 1990 (2011) and 1996 (2011), decided to establish UNISFA and UNMISS.  The Assembly, in resolution 65/257 B, provided commitment authorities of $277.92 million for the deployment of UNMISS and $93.45 million for UNISFA, with the appropriation balance of $111.09 million utilized for the UNMIS withdrawal.  Of the $482.46 million assessed by the Assembly on Member States in resolution 65/ B, $137.5 million was to be applied to the special account for UNMIS for its withdrawal and liquidation. In addition, $277.2 million was to be applied to the special account for UNMISS, while the balance of $67.01 million was to be applied to the special account for UNISFA.


The African Group welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal regarding UNMIS financing, he said.  It concurred with ACABQ that the Mission should continue to apply lessons learned from the closing of previous peacekeeping missions in its liquidation process, paying particular attention to the disposal of assets to mitigate risks.  All outstanding accounts and claims should also be settled expeditiously.


He said the Group was pleased to note that five months after the establishment of UNISFA, more than two thirds of the authorized troops were on the ground and the Mission was positioned to perform its mandate.  The Ethiopian Government and the United Nations, with active support from the two Sudanese parties, had done everything possible to ensure the Mission’s timely deployment.  Moreover, preparations had been finalized for the full contingent’s deployment before the beginning of 2012.  While the Mission’s initial deployment took place despite numerous obstacles, including those posed to road transportation by heavy rains, road conditions had significantly improved with the onset of the dry season, thereby enhancing UNISFA’s visibility and security presence.


The Group was also aware, he said, that UNISFA was implementing its mandate in a complex and demanding environment, in addition to dangerous circumstances that led to the death of four members of the peacekeeping force on 2 August when their vehicle struck a landmine.  It was mindful of the need to provide the Mission with adequate resources and had noted ACABQ’s recommendation to reduce the level of resources requested.  The Group expected that the Secretariat would have the opportunity to provide additional information on the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.  It was fully determined to examine the proposal and recommendations to ensure the Committee recommended the provision of adequate resources.


AMAN HASSAN (Ethiopia), aligning with the African Group, recalled that pursuant to the agreement between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, signed on 20 June 2011 in Addis Ababa, the Council passed resolution 1990 (2011), establishing UNISFA.  Five month later, more than two thirds of the authorized troops were on the ground and the Mission was positioned to perform its mandate.  That was more quickly than usual and preparation had been finalized to deploy the full contingent before 2012.  Noting that the road conditions had improved significantly, he said UNISFA was now conducting regular visits to population centres and liaising with local communities.


Continuing, he said UNISFA’s access through its area of operations had been enhanced by the completion on 28 October of the construction of a new bailey bridge to replace the Banton bridge destroyed in May 2011.  It was financed by Ethiopia, built by Ethiopian engineers, opened by the Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on 31 October and provided an important crossing point between Abyei town and Agok, allowing for the return of internally displaced persons, humanitarian access, commercial transport and UNISFA operations.


He noted that the status of forces agreement was not yet concluded.  Discussions were continuing with both Governments on the draft agreement.  A quadripartite consultative mechanism for UNISFA had been established between the United Nations and the Governments of Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.  Its first meeting was held on 26 September in New York and its second meeting was expected to be held tomorrow, 3 December, in Juba and would hopefully resolve several outstanding issues.


Pointing out that the annual Misseriya migration southwards through the Abyei area had started, he said that event must be handled with care and necessary preparation.  Also, the speedy return of the Ngok Dinka displaced population was needed to ensure they wouldn’t miss the planting season and UNISFA’s role would be crucial in helping the communities address political complications and prevent problems.  Ethiopia agreed with concerns regarding the landmines planted throughout the region and recalled the 2 August tragedy.  The identification and clearance of landmines was urgently needed to facilitate the return of internally displaced persons, ensure a safe migration and secure the safety of UNISFA personnel, who must currently pre-clear all patrol routes.


Stressing that Ethiopia was extremely worried about ACABQ’s proposed reduction of the draft budget, he requested further clarification regarding the impact of such a reduction on the deployment of the remaining component, as well as on UNISFA’s implementation of its complex and delicate mandate.  It was his delegation’s strong view that any decision on the matter should be based on the latest deployment plan and the critical nature of the Mission.


Responding to the delegates’ statements, Ms. CASAR said it was important that UNMIS be properly liquidated and that UNISFA be able to perform its mandate.  Both must receive the required funding towards that end.  She took note of Member States’ comments and said she would provide clarification on their concerns shortly.


Mr. TORRES said he understood delegates’ concerns over the recommended reduction of resources for UNISFA, but the purpose of the ACABQ report was to provide accurate funding for that Mission.  In realizing that its deployment was not following the original plan, the Advisory Committee decided to include the monthly deployment schedule in Annex II to the report, and on that basis, it suggested an adjustment in the vacancy factors applied to military and civilian personnel.  “But, without any doubt, it is not the objective of the ACABQ, in any way, to undermine the funding of this Mission,” he said.  Rather, it had recommended what it believed to be the required resources to fulfil the Mission’s mandate.  The 25 per cent cut, or $3.2 million, would not affect implementation and construction activities.  There may, however, be some minor adjustments of that amount in the future.


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