DDA continued to oversee and coordinate the activities of its three regional centres. Since the Centres' activities are funded from voluntary contributions, in each resolution on the centres, the General Assembly continued its appeal to all States, as well as to international governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to make voluntary contributions in order to strengthen, facilitate and implement their programmes and activities.1
Pursuant to the consideration by the General Assembly of the Secretary-General's proposals for strengthening the security and safety of United Nations operations, staff and premises, funds were allotted from the regular budget to ensure that the three regional centres were in full compliance with the minimum operating security standards.
During 2004, the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa operated under enormous uncertainty owing to a lack of sufficient voluntary contributions to support its activities. Within its limited financial resources, the Centre continued to implement its programme of work in the four priority areas endorsed, in 1999, by the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of African States - support for peace processes and peace initiatives in Africa, practical disarmament and arms control, information, research and publication, and advocacy and resource mobilization (For details of the Centre's activities, see Chapter IV of this volume).
Despite intensive fund-raising efforts, financial resources for the operations of the Centre have been dwindling steadily over the years. While some limited funds were received for the execution of projects, unfortunately, contributions in support of the operational costs of the Centre were not forthcoming. These costs are related to maintenance expenses and salaries for the local staff and security.
Against the backdrop of the Centre's financial crisis which became more acute during the second half of 2004, extensive fund-raising activities were carried out by the Director of the Centre. These activities consisted principally of missions, correspondence, audiences, other bilateral meetings and consultations with African government representatives as well as with non-African countries, on the margins of regional conferences.
Mindful of the persistent precarious financial situation of the Centre, DDA held a series of consultations last autumn with Member States on the state of affairs of the UN regional centres for peace and disarmament and on ways to improve their effectiveness. Specifically, during the 59th session of the First Committee, at an informal meeting devoted to this issue, the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs informed the Committee of the difficulties - financial and logistical - faced by the Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament in Africa and in Asia and the Pacific. At the same time, the Centres also faced the additional challenge of increased security requirements. In that connection, mention was made that the persisting precarious financial situation was compelling the Department to consider temporarily relocating their operations.
In December 2004, the Government of Togo made a special financial contribution ($202,970). The donation aimed at enabling the Centre to maintain its operation in Lomé until the time when substantial financial support would be firmly committed to ensuring a multi-year sustainable operation.
During the year, the Asia and Pacific Regional Centre continued to promote disarmament and security through the organization of meetings and conferences in the region. It also continued to assist the five Central Asian States in the drafting and finalization of a treaty on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, as well as to provide assistance to Mongolia in taking the necessary measures to consolidate and strengthen its international security and nuclear-weapon-free status. In addition, the Centre continued to encourage the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations DNP Study.
Consultations on relocation continued with the host country. The final version of a draft host country agreement and a draft memorandum of understanding on the operational costs to be provided by the host country were forwarded to the Government of Nepal for consideration in December 2001 and April 2002, respectively. Reminders were sent to the Nepalese authorities in December 2002 and again in February and May 2003. The Department of Disarmament Affairs also provided the Nepalese authorities with information on the issues of immunities and privileges as well as the updated estimates of operational costs in a letter dated 21 October 2004.
The Regional Centre in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-LiREC) continued to strengthen its current role as an active player in assisting States in the region to implement peace, disarmament and development initiatives. The Centre focused on the consolidation of its growing programme of activities and organizational structure and strengthening its human resource capacity. It began the development of a new fund-raising strategy with a view to ensuring longer-term contribution agreements with donors to cover possibly five or more years of activities. The Centre developed more partnerships and common projects with an increased number of countries and with subregional and regional organizations in that part of the world. This expansion in partnerships would provide opportunities for joint fund-raising for longer-term financial assistance in support of the Centre's activities.
See resolutions A/RES/59/99 (Latin America and the Caribbean) A/RES/59/100 (Asia and the Pacific) and A/RES/59/101 (Africa). For details on the substantive activities of the three centres, see chapter IV of this volume.