24 October 2013
General Assembly
GA/AB/4079

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

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

10th Meeting (AM)


CONCERN AIRED OVER DISREGARD FOR RECOSTING PROCEDURES AS BUDGET COMMITTEE


DISCUSSES SPENDING BY UNITED NATIONS INSTITUTE FOR DISARMAMENT RESEARCH


At today’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) meeting, delegates from the “Group of 77” developing countries and China voiced serious concerns that the Secretariat had strayed from established procedures when adjusting spending for the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) during the 2012-2013 budget cycle.


Speaking on behalf of the Group, Fiji’s delegate, Sainivalati S. Navoti, said that the Institute’s subvention for the 2012-2013 biennium had not been recosted, a move which completely disregarded the General Assembly’s mandate on established budgetary procedures.  The Group fully shared similar concerns made by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and asked the Secretary-General to clarify its reasons.


By not updating its level of resources in accordance with the non-post related recosting methods set forth by the Assembly, the current proposal disguised a reduction in the amount proposed for UNIDIR for the next budget cycle, Fiji’s delegate said.


Mr. Navoti made his comments after Johannes Huisman, Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, of the Department of Management’s Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, introduced a note by the Secretary-General that contained the Institute’s request for a subvention of $557,800 from the regular budget that was part of the proposed programme budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 biennium.


Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of ACABQ, introduced two accompanying Advisory Committee reports.  Regarding the report related to the Disarmament Research Institute, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly approve the request for $577,800, before recosting, from the regular budget for the 2014-2015 biennium.  The provision had already been included under section 4, Disarmament, of the biennium’s proposed programme budget.


Mr. Massieu then turned to the recosting issue for the 2012-2013 budget cycle and said UNIDIR’s subvention for the 2012-2013 budge cycle had not been recosted and regretted that established procedures for recosting had not been followed.  The Advisory Committee expected that the Secretary-General would comply with these procedures in the future.  The Advisory Committee also noted the recommendations made by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) regarding UNIDIR’s financial sustainability and he looked forward to a sustainable funding strategy proposal from the Institute.


Mr. Massieu also introduced the Advisory Committee’s report on revised estimates for meetings of the Economic and Social Council.  He said additional financial requirements stemming from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Council at its substantive session in 2013 were estimated at $91,100.  This included $29,400 related to the 2012-2013 biennium, and $61,700 for the upcoming 2014-2015 budget cycle.


The report noted that no additional appropriations were requested above the current level of funding for the current biennium or the upcoming 2014-2015 spending cycle, he said.  If actual requirements exceeded the capacity of each cycle, the additional provisions would be reported during the second performance reports of each biennium.  The Advisory Committee did not object to the Secretariat’s approach and expected it to make every effort to absorb the additional requirements.


Mr. Huisman previously had introduced a Secretary-General report detailing the revised estimates for the Economic and Social Council.  He noted that added costs stemming from its decisions and recommendations during its 2013 substantive session tallied $91,100, with $29,400 accorded to the 2012-2013 biennium and $61,700 to the 2014-2015 cycle.  He stressed that every effort would be made to absorb the additional requirements under the relevant sections of the two programme budgets, so no additional requirements were sought.


At today’s meeting, Mr. Navoti also voiced his concerns about the delayed release of Fifth Committee documents.  Delegates from the Group had said their work had been hindered by the late release of these documents, which were needed for proper deliberations.  The timelines set for the release of these documents was meaningless if the deadlines were not observed.  He added that this was an important year for the Committee.


Committee Chair Kodjovi Dosseh ( Togo), said the bureau was doing its best to release the documents on time.


The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Monday, 28 October, to discuss the Proposed Programme Budget: Biennium 2014-2015, including matters concerning the development account, Independent Audit Advisory Committee’s report on OIOS, ACABQ, consolidation of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), and consolidated changes to the biennial programme plan.


Background


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) had before it several reports concerning its agenda item on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.  They included the Secretary General’s note titled Request for a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research resulting from the recommendations of the Board of Trustees of the Institute on the work programme of the Institute for 2014-2015 (document A/68/80); an eponymous report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (document A/68/7/Add.1); a Secretary-General’s report titled Revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 2013 (document A/68/380); and ACABQ’s third report by the same name (document A/68/7/Add.2 ).


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For information media • not an official record