United Nations

A/51/484


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

11 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                         A/51/484
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda items 97 (e) and 116


        ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:  PROTECTION OF GLOBAL
             CLIMATE FOR PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS OF MANKIND
                                       
                  PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM 1996-1997
                                       
                        Report of the Secretary-General
                                       
                                       
                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   In its resolution 50/115 of 20 December 1995, the General
Assembly, inter alia, endorsed the institutional linkage between the
secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change and the United Nations, as advised by the Secretary-General and
adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its
first session, 1/ and requested the Secretary-General to review the
functioning of the institutional linkage not later than
31 December 1999, in consultation with the Conference of the Parties,
with a view to making such modifications as might be considered
desirable by both parties and to report thereon to the Assembly.

2.   The General Assembly decided to include in the calendar of
conferences and meetings for 1996-1997 the sessions of the Conference
of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies envisaged for that biennium
entailing 12 weeks of conference-servicing facilities, and requested
the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements to include in
the calendar of conferences and meetings for the biennium 1998-1999
those sessions of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary
bodies that the Conference might need to convene in that period.

3.   In addition, the General Assembly took note of the transitional
arrangement for administrative support to the Convention secretariat,
outlined in the report of the Secretary-General to the Assembly at its
fiftieth session (A/50/716, paras. 36-38), and took note of the
financing arrangements for provision of conference-servicing
facilities outlined in paragraph 2 above and requested the Secretary-
General to review those arrangements towards the end of the biennium
1996-1997 and to report upon the results of that review to the
Assembly at its fifty-second session.

4.   The General Assembly also noted that the Secretary-General
intended to transfer the end-1995 balance in the trust fund
established under paragraph 20 of its resolution 45/212 into the trust
fund to be established for all expenditures under the core
administrative budget of the Convention envisaged in paragraph 13 of
its financial procedures, and the end-1995 balance in the special
voluntary fund established under paragraph 10 of its resolution 45/212
into the trust fund for participation in the Convention process
envisaged in paragraph 15 of those financial procedures.

5.   The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to
it at its fifty-first session on the implementation of the resolution. 
The present report is submitted pursuant to that request.

6.   This report reviews developments subsequent to the adoption of
resolution 50/115 regarding:

     (a) Provision of conference-servicing facilities for sessions of
the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies;

     (b) Arrangements for administrative support to the Convention
secretariat, including delegation of authority to the Executive
Secretary of the Convention;

     (c) Transfer of end-1995 balances in funds established under
resolution 45/212;

     (d) Institutional linkages.


                     II.  CONFERENCE-SERVICING FACILITIES

                            A.  Conference services

7.   Subsequent to the adoption of General Assembly resolution 50/115,
whereby the Assembly decided to include 12 weeks of conference-
servicing facilities for the sessions of the Conference of the Parties
to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its
subsidiary bodies in the calendar of meetings for the biennium 1996-
1997, relevant budgetary action was taken by the Advisory Committee on
Administrative and Budgetary Questions (see A/50/7/Add.15) and the
Fifth Committee (see A/C.5/50/58).  In this connection, the Advisory
Committee noted that the annual programme of meetings of the
Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies would amount to a
total of 120 meetings over three two-week periods, for a total of six
calendar weeks a year, equivalent to 12 weeks of meetings a year.

8.   Following the consideration of this matter by the Advisory
Committee and the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly adopted
resolution 50/232 on 7 June 1996, the operative part of which reads:

         "1.   Authorizes the Secretary-General to enter into
     commitments up to an amount of 5,517,000 United States dollars
     from section 26 (Administration and management) of the programme
     budget for the biennium 1996-1997 for the provision of conference
     servicing to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
     Framework Convention on Climate Change and its subsidiary bodies;

         "2.   Requests the Secretary-General, subject to the full
     implementation of all mandated programmes and activities as
     required by its resolution 50/214, to submit a report to the
     General Assembly no later than 1 September 1996 containing
     proposals on possible means of absorption in the programme budget
     for the biennium 1996-1997;

         "3.   Decides to revert to the issue of appropriations in the
     context of the first performance report."

9.   In line with General Assembly resolutions 50/115 and 50/232,
conference services are being provided to the Conference of the
Parties and its subsidiary bodies for all meetings scheduled in the
biennium 1996-1997 under the United Nations calendar.  As regards the
biennium 1998-1999 the Secretary-General intends to report to the
General Assembly on the issue of those services in the context of the
proposed programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999.

10.  By its decision 1/CP.2, the Conference of the Parties accepted the
offer of the Government of Japan to host its third session at Kyoto in
December 1997, and requested the Executive Secretary to make
satisfactory arrangements with the Government of Japan for it to host
the Conference at Kyoto and to meet the related costs involved.  It is
anticipated that an appropriate conference agreement will be concluded
between the Convention secretariat and the Government of Japan.


                               B.  Documentation

11.  In its report on conference servicing of the Conference of the
Parties and its subsidiary bodies (A/50/7/Add.15), the ACABQ raised
the question of the volume of documentation and recommended that in
line with the economy measures being taken in the United Nations
Secretariat, the Conference of the Parties should be requested to
review the number of documents envisaged and the manner in which they
were to be produced.

12.  The Conference of the Parties took up this question, at its second
session, held from 8 to 19 July 1996, and adopted decision 17/CP.2 on
volume of documentation, which reads: 2/

         "The Conference of the Parties

         "1.   Calls on all Parties to limit, to the extent possible,
     requests for additional documentation, and also the volume of
     comments submitted for consideration by the Conference of the
     Parties or its subsidiary bodies;

         "2.   Requests the Executive Secretary to limit, to the extent
     possible, the number and length of documents produced by the
     secretariat;

         "3.   Requests the Executive Secretary to submit to the
     Subsidiary Body for Implementation, at its fifth session, further
     options for reducing the cost of documentation for the meetings of
     the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies."


          III.  ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT TO THE CONVENTION SECRETARIAT

13.  By resolution 50/115, the General Assembly took note of the
transitional arrangement for administrative support to the Convention
secretariat for the biennium 1996-1997 outlined in the report of the
Secretary-General (A/50/716, paras. 36-38).  This arrangement entails
the levying of a charge of 13 per cent on the funds of the Convention
for programme support costs, and the use of the proceeds of that
charge for the provision of full administrative support services to
the Convention secretariat, including administrative staff.

14.  As a consequence of these arrangements, specifically the provision
of full administrative support to the Convention secretariat, it has
been possible initially for the United Nations to cover, from the
proceeds of the overhead charge, the cost of three positions for
administrative staff approved by the Conference of the Parties in the
convention budget for 1996.  It is understood that such services would
evolve to cover needs resulting from the establishment of the
secretariat in Bonn.

15.  Furthermore, the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and
Management, after consultation with the Executive Secretary, has
established detailed administrative arrangements for the Convention
secretariat, which are based on the foundation provided by the Staff
Regulations and Rules and the Financial Regulations and Rules of the
United Nations and the financial procedures of the Convention
(decision 15/CP.1).  The arrangements also reflect the accountability
of the Executive Secretary to the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, through the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and
Management on administrative and financial issues.  The United Nations
Office at Geneva, Division of Administration, will provide the
relevant personnel, financial and administrative services to the
Convention secretariat.

16.  As regards personnel matters, the arrangements provide for the
Executive Secretary to exercise full authority, under the Staff
Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, in matters relating to
the appointment, promotion and termination of secretariat staff. 
Appointments will be limited to service with the Convention
secretariat.  The Secretary-General is to retain authority for final
decisions on disciplinary and appeal matters, and on compensation
claims in respect of service-incurred death, injury or disability.

17.  As regards financial matters, the arrangements reflect the
Executive Secretary's full authority to incur obligations under the
budget approved by the Conference of the Parties, while the United
Nations will verify, prior to payment, that the goods have been
received, or the services rendered, in accordance with the documents
which established the related obligation.  The arrangements also
provide for the Convention secretariat to be exempt from such
restrictions as the Secretary-General may from time to time impose on
the employment of personnel and on the use of funds for operational
requirements.  The trust fund for the core budget of the Convention
will be exempt from the standard United Nations requirement to
establish an operational reserve on the understanding that the working
capital reserve of the Convention will be established and maintained
within the fund.

18.  The financial arrangements further provide for the Executive
Secretary to approve procurement of goods and services up to a maximum
of $50,000 for each transaction; transactions exceeding this limit
shall be approved by the Director-General of the United Nations Office
at Geneva in accordance with the appropriate United Nations financial
rule.

19.  The arrangements summarized above will apply during the biennium
1996-1997 and will be subject to a review by the Secretary-General
towards the end of the biennium (see para. 3 above), taking into
account evolving needs arising from the relocation to Bonn of the
Convention secretariat.


         IV.  TRANSFER OF END-1995 BALANCES IN FUNDS ESTABLISHED UNDER
              GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 45/212                      

20.  As envisaged in General Assembly resolution 50/115, the end-1995
balances remaining in the trust fund for the negotiating process
established under paragraph 20 of resolution 45/212, and in the
special voluntary fund for participation established under
paragraph 10 of the same resolution, are being transferred
respectively to the trust fund for the core budget of the Convention
envisaged in paragraph 13 of its financial procedures, and to the
trust fund for participation in the Convention process envisaged in
paragraph 15 of the financial procedures.  The transfer is subject to
15 per cent of the balances being withheld until 1997 to cover
unliquidated obligations, although it has been agreed that the
Convention secretariat can already start drawing on these amounts.


                          V.  INSTITUTIONAL LINKAGES

21.  By its decision 15/CP.2, the Conference of the Parties concluded
that it should consider whether the functions of the Convention
secretariat necessitate that it be given juridical personality on the
international plane.  It is hoped that this matter will be clarified
in the context of the review of the institutional linkage of the
Convention secretariat to the United Nations.


                                     Notes

     1/  See FCCC/CP/1995/7/Add.1, decision 14/CP.1, and A/50/716,
paras. 34-35.

     2/  For all decisions of the Conference of the Parties at its
second session, see FCCC/CP/1996/15/Add.1.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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