United Nations

A/52/155/Add.1


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

18 June 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                    E/1997/68/Add.1
                                                    


GENERAL ASSEMBLY                          ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Fifty-second session                      Substantive session of 1997
Item 58 of the preliminary list*          Geneva, 30 June-25 July 1997
RESTRUCTURING AND REVITALIZATION OF       Item 12 of the provisional
  THE UNITED NATIONS IN THE ECONOMIC,       agenda****
  SOCIAL AND RELATED FIELDS               IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL
                                            ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 50/227
     * A/52/50.                          
                                              ** E/1997/100.


            RESTRUCTURING AND REVITALIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
                  IN THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND RELATED FIELDS

                        Report of the Secretary-General

                                   Addendum


                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   In annex I, paragraph 43, of its resolution 50/227, the General
Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a study with a
comprehensive assessment of the current arrangements for the sessions
of the Economic and Social Council.  The present addendum to the
report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution
50/227 examines the difference in cost between holding meetings of the
Council in New York and Geneva.  It should be pointed out that cost
comparisons between New York and Geneva depend on the exchange rate at
the time the comparison is made.


           II.  ASSESSMENT OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR SESSIONS OF THE ECONOMIC
                AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

2.   The three main costs to be considered are (a) conference-
servicing costs, (b) general services costs and (c) the travel
costs of substantive and technical servicing staff to attend
the session.

                        A.  Conference-servicing costs

3.   Should the Economic and Social Council decide to change its venue
to New York, it is assumed that 80 meetings with services in six
languages would be added to the calendar of conferences in New York
together with requirements for summary records and in-session
documentation, and that the programme in Geneva would be reduced by
the same amount.

4.   A full-cost analysis applying 1997 rates indicates that costs
would be roughly comparable in New York ($1,728,300) and Geneva
($1,690,400) if all the requirements were met from temporary
assistance.  This estimate covers the cost of services in six
languages for 80 meetings with summary records and 120 pages (40
documents) of in-session documentation.  The full cost of pre-session
and post-session documentation, which is normally processed in New
York, is estimated at $2,235,400.

5.   The actual cost would depend on whether the change in venue would
increase or decrease the total conference-servicing costs at the two
conference centres.  This would depend on whether additional costs for
temporary assistance for meetings would be incurred in New York, and
whether permanent capacity allocated for the Council in Geneva under
the existing arrangement could be reallocated to other meetings.

6.   The total number of meetings programmed in New York and in Geneva
exceeds their established capacity, although utilization of permanent
capacity may vary at different times of the year and even from week to
week.  However, even though permanent capacity may be available in New
York in July, there is an opportunity cost involved.  The number of
meetings with interpretation has increased in New York and decreased
in Geneva, and experience in 1996 suggests that it is more difficult
to accommodate additional meetings in New York than Geneva.

7.   The question of venue therefore needs to be viewed in the overall
context of the calendar of conferences.  Actual costs are minimized if
meetings are programmed to make full use of available capacity at all
conference centres.  As the Economic and Social Council is a principal
organ of the United Nations and has significant conference-servicing
requirements, it provides a major element around which the calendar of
conferences and capacity utilization are planned.

8.   At the same time, meeting in Geneva implies some additional costs
that would not otherwise be incurred, such as the costs of packing and
shipping documents and additional reproduction and distribution costs
because documents are required at both locations.  It is anticipated
that these costs would be reduced, however, or even eliminated with
the application of new information technologies.


                          B.  General services costs

9.   The general services costs include those for the services
associated with the maintenance of the working environment during the
session, namely, mail, telephone, security, information services, and
general operating expenses (cleaning, utilities etc.).  These costs
have been estimated on the basis of standard parameters and would
amount to $103,900 for a session of the Council at Headquarters and
$202,200 for a session in Geneva.


            C.  Travel of substantive and technical servicing staff

10.   For meetings held in Geneva, it is estimated that $258,200 would
be required to cover the travel and subsistence of 16 technical
servicing staff, 30 substantive staff from Headquarters and 15
substantive staff away from Headquarters.  For meetings held at
Headquarters, it is estimated that $135,300 would be required for the
travel and subsistence of 30 substantive staff from offices away from
Headquarters.

11.  In addition, the cost of travel of representatives of the
specialized agencies is also a cost to Member States and should be
taken into account.  The cost of their travel has been estimated at
$90,000 for the Council's session in Geneva and $126,000 for its
session at Headquarters.

12.  In summary, the cost estimates of the substantive session of the
Council are as follows:


----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Headquarters     Geneva

                                                  (US dollars)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
(a)  Conference-servicing costs (full cost)

     - Without summary records               2 912 700      2 874 500

     - With summary records                  3 963 700      3 925 800

(b)  General services costs, including 
     shipment                                  103 900        202 200

(c)  Travel costs for substantive and 
     technical staff servicing the meetings    135 300        258 200

(d)  Travel costs for representatives of the
     United Nations system agencies            126 000         90 000
----------------------------------------------------------------------

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