Contingent Owned Equipment
The Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) system was adopted by the United Nations (UN) to simplify the means by which countries are reimbursed for providing equipment, personnel and self-sustainment support services to formed military or police contingents in peacekeeping missions. The information below presents a brief overview of the set-up and maintenance process of a peacekeeping mission, with focus on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the binding agreement between the UN and the Troop/Police Contributing Country (TCC/PCC) which forms the cornerstone of the COE system. The rates of reimbursement and the standards are reviewed every three years by a COE Working Group, an extension of the General Assembly. The last Working Group met in January 2011. The report is available here.
The following information is available as a downloadable PDF on the Reference Documents page.
The MOU is a negotiated, formal agreement between the UN and the troop/police contributing country that establishes the responsibility and standards for the provision of personnel, major equipment and self-sustainment support services for both the UN and the contributing country. It is signed by representatives from the UN’s Department of Field Support (DFS) and the contributing countries Permanent Mission to the UN and remains in force until the end of the mandate of the Peacekeeping Operation , when the formed military/police unit repatriates from the mission, or until both parties mutually agree that the MOU requires adjustment and renegotiation. An established mechanism culminating in formal arbitration through the International Court of Justice exists to settle any disputes between the parties concerning the implementation of the MOU, but any disagreements which might arise are normally resolved at the local level in the mission area itself.
The MOU contains details of the personnel, major equipment and self sustainment services that the contributing country will provide including the standard reimbursement rates that will apply. As these standard rates have been predetermined by Member States, contributing countries are reimbursed equally for providing the same generic types of personnel, equipment or self sustainment services. Self-sustainment services are reimbursed by the UN on a per person/per month basis, payable from UN Headquarters (UNHQ) directly to the contributing countries.
Self sustainment support services include:
To compensate for the differences between operating conditions in different mission areas, adjustments are made to the standard reimbursement rates for major equipment and self sustainment, based on the following factors:
1. Environmental – the terrain, climate, road conditions in the mission area.
2. Operational Intensity – length of logistics chains, size of area of operations and infrastructure.
3. Hostile Action/Forced Abandonment Factor – criminal activity, hostile environment, mines etc.
4. Potential for hostile engagement by unidentified factions or by individual or groups other than peace process participants.
In addition, a Transportation Factor is applied to major equipment. Lease rates are increased by 0.25% for each complete 500 mile or 800 kilometer segment (after the first 500 miles or 800 kilometers) between the port of embarkation and the arrival point in the mission area. As a result from the recent COE Working Group (2011), the same peacekeeping mission can be attributed more than one mission factor assessment.
Responsibilities of the Mission:
- Conduct Arrival Inspection of the contingent within one month of arrival and forward the
Arrival Report to UNHQ; the report forms the initial basis of reimbursement to the CC.
- Conduct Verification Inspections and forward reports to UNHQ, generally on a quarterly
basis; the reports form the basis of on-ongoing reimbursements to CC.
- Conduct Operational Readiness Inspections once per mandate or at least each six months
of service by the contingent in the mission area and forward reports to UNHQ. In addition to being used to calculate financial reimbursements, the Verification reports are used to review the levels and type of equipment and services required in the MOU.
- Conduct repatriation inspections and forward reports to HQ which establish the termination dates for reimbursement payments.
- Provide support to the contingent in accordance with the UN responsibilities under the terms of the MOU.
- Arrive with serviceable equipment that reflects the requirements of the MOU.
- Report and rectify deficiencies through national channels (at national expense).
- Assist mission staff in conducting inspections and raising Verification and other
- Provide personnel, equipment and self sustainment services in accordance with their
responsibilities under the terms of the MOU.
- Receive, track and review verification reports.
- Report / clarify contingent deficiencies back to mission.
- Report mission shortfalls to responsible UN operational and logistics parties.
- Determine levels of reimbursement - mission strength / shortfalls and recommendations.
- Disburse reimbursements to contributing countries.
After contingents deploy, COE staff in the field commence Verification Inspections to ensure each party is meeting its obligations under the terms of the MOU. After each inspection, a Verification Report is raised. The report is reviewed and signed by the Peacekeeping mission’s Force Commander/Police Commissioner, the Chief Administrative Officer and the Contingent Commander. After all required approvals are gathered, the VR is sent to UNHQ.
At UNHQ, the VR is reviewed against the MOU and the appropriate reimbursement is calculated and dispersed to the contributing country. If the MOU has not been formally signed before deployment, as sometimes occurs, the UN is only able to reimburse the contributing country for the provision of its personnel. Reimbursement for the provision of equipment and self sustainment services are calculated but payment not actually dispersed until the MOU is signed. When withheld payments for equipment and self sustainment services is eventually dispersed it is back-dated either to the date that the contributing country actually provided the equipment and services in accordance with the MOU, or to the effective date of the MOU.
Claims are calculated on quarterly basis and paid in March, June, September and December each year.