Thèmes - Commitment authority
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6. The Advisory Committee is well aware that in recent years, for a variety of reasons, the General Assembly has approved commitment authority with assessment in connection with the financing of a number of peacekeeping operations; however, the Committee has pointed out in the past that this represents a departure from good budget practice and discipline (see A/58/809, para. 6). The Committee has also pointed out that commitment authority, by its nature, is decided upon on an urgent basis for the start-up of a new mission or the expansion of an existing one (see Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, regulation 4.6) when there is no time for the considered reasoning that goes into preparing a full programme budget and setting up an organizational structure. It has also cautioned the Secretariat not to present de facto budgets in connection with requests for commitment authority because the Committee should not be forced into a position in which it would, in essence, agree to a budget and all the decisions that go along with it without the necessary time and data for proper elaboration or consideration (A/60/870, para. 53).
7. The Advisory Committee further recalls that the Secretary-General, in the reports leading to the adoption of resolution 49/233 A, which established the basis for the current commitment authority procedure, indicated that the âestimates for minimum funding required to procure equipment or services to begin the mission and to sustain it for three months could be regarded as the start-up costsâ (see, for example A/48/945, para. 15). Commitment authority should therefore constitute a short-term funding bridge mechanism pending the timely submission of fully detailed and justified budgets.
8. While the Advisory Committee has gone along with the assessed commitment authority procedure, the practice is becoming too routine. The Committee advocates a return to stricter adherence to proper budget procedure, whereby assessments are decided on the basis of a duly approved appropriation by the General Assembly after the consideration of a complete and fully justified budget submission.
10. Although a request for commitment authority is not supposed to be presented as a budget, the Advisory Committee notes that a number of budgetary details have been provided. The Committee points out that these details have been provided without the accompanying justification. The General Assembly is thus being requested to take cognizance of a structure and related resources without the necessary supporting explanation and justification. Moreover, given that almost eight months of the Missionâs mandate will have been completed before the budget can be approved by the Assembly (see para. 5 above), the basic structure and resource requirements will have been established de facto without specific approval by the Assembly.
11. In the meantime, and pending the submission of a budget in February 2007, the Advisory Committee sees no other option but to recommend that the mechanism of commitment authority with assessment be utilized in this case. This consideration takes into account the prevailing circumstances with regard to UNMIT, especially as the Secretary-General will not present a budget until February 2007 and that there is a need for additional funds. The Committee trusts that future recourse to this mechanism will be confined to the limited use for which it was envisaged. The Committee trusts further that in the future, on the basis of its considerable and growing experience with peacekeeping budgets, the Secretariat will apply the budget discipline required for the timely submission of proper budgets for the financing of peacekeeping operations.
5. The Committee once again stresses that commitment authority should constitute a short-term funding brifge mechanism pending the timely submission of fully detailed and justified budgets.7.The Committee cautions the Secretariat not to present de facto budgets in connection with requests for commitment authority because the Committee should not be expected to base its budgetary analysis on incomplete data.