24 May 2013
General Assembly
GA/AB/4067

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

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Fifth Committee

33rd Meeting (PM)


Extra Funds Urgently Needed to Implement Security Measures for United Nations


Disengagement Observer Force, Fifth Committee Told

 


Deteriorating Situation Impacting Mandate, Senior Officials Told


Pointing to the further deterioration of Syria’s security situation, a senior Secretariat official asked the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today for an extra $8 million to maintain the United Nations peacekeeping operation stationed in the Golan Heights.


Introducing the Secretary-General’s note on the financing arrangements for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013 (document A/67/857), Maria Eugenia Casar, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, said the Assembly should appropriate and assess $7.97 million to maintain the Force from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, in addition to the $45.99 million already appropriated for that period under Assembly resolution 66/276.


An estimated $8.59 million would be needed overall, she said.  However, $619,900 of that could be accommodated by reprioritizing resources already approved for 2012-2013.  The extra funds would be used for danger pay to all United Nations staff in Syria and the implementing of special security-related measures to protect them and the Organization’s property.


According to the Secretary-General’s note, she said, during the 2012-2013 period the deteriorating situation had impacted UNDOF’s operations and ability to implement its mandate to maintain the Israel-Syria ceasefire.  In response, UNDOF had relocated its civilian personnel from Damascus to new, more secure offices and residential facilities at Camp Faouar in order to mitigate security risks.  The duty station had been reclassified, resulting in additional related entitlements, including danger pay, for international and national staff.


Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), weighed in on the matter with that body’s eponymous report (document A/67/874), which recommended the Assembly appropriate and assess a lower figure — $7.5 million — for UNDOF’s maintenance during the period in question.


Mr. Ruiz Massieu said that the Secretary-General’s note and the explanations subsequently provided by his representatives had not given sufficient clarity and rationale to justify transparently the additional proposed resources in several areas.  Nevertheless, ACABQ did not object to the creation of two temporary positions in the Office of the Force Commander from the actual date of their incumbency through the end of the 2012-2013 period, and recommended a reduction in the related requirement based on additional information given to ACABQ.


While encouraging the Secretary-General to provide UNDOF with suitable, secure facilities for military and civilian personnel, Mr. Ruiz Massieu also said that ACABQ, in its report, had questioned whether sufficient time remains in the current fiscal period to expend the entire requested amount for facilities and infrastructure.  The information provided failed to provide a complete picture of progress made or amounts expended in implementing the envisaged works.


As a result, he said a $429,000 reduction in the requested amount had been recommended and that any additional resources required in 2012-2013 under that heading should be reflected in the performance report.  The Secretary-General should give updated information on the status of construction and alteration projects to the Assembly when it considers his note on financing arrangements for the Force.


Turning to the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Paul Ballantyne ( New Zealand) said the Committee was unable, during informal consultations, to reach consensus on a draft resolution on that matter.


Ratu Sainivalati Sovui Navoti ( Fiji), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, then introduced that text (document A/C.5/67/L.37).  He stressed that Israel should compensate UNIFIL for the incident that occurred in Qana on 18 April 1996, and noted that it had yet to pay the amount due.  In his report, the Secretary-General had explained that no response had been received to a letter sent in January 2013 on that matter.


At the outset of the meeting, the Committee recommended by consensus that the General Assembly appoint Larbi Djacta of Algeria as a member of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), replacing Fatih Bouayad-Agha, also of Algeria, who had passed away.  Mr. Djacta was appointed to serve the remainder of Mr. Bouyad-Agha’s term, set to expire on 31 December 2016.


The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 28 May, to consider the financial arrangements for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) from 1 July to 31 December 2013.


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For information media • not an official record