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   FIFTH COMMITTEE 
Administrative and Budgetary


ROUND UP OF THE WORK OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE MAIN PART OF THE SESSION

19 SEPTEMBER TO 22 DECEMBER 2000

  Programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001
 
Programme Planning
  Financial reports and audited financial statements and reports of the Board of Auditors
 
Pattern of Conferences
  Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations
  Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations
  Financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
  Financing of the two International Criminal Tribunals (Yugoslavia and Rwanda)
  Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations
  United Nations Pension system
 
Future sessions of the Fifth Committee

 

      The General Assembly at its 55th session allocated 45 agenda items to the Fifth Committee. It held 43 formal meetings; 170 rounds of informal consultations and a number of rounds of informal/Informal and bilateral consultations. The Committee recommended to the General Assembly 26 draft resolutions, 5 draft decisions, excluding decisions on statement of programme budget implications recommended by other main Committees.

      Being a "Personnel Year", the Committee considered a number of reports by the Secretary-General on the reform of human resources management and other reports dealing with personnel issues. Unfortunately, due to the Committee's heavy agenda of work, it decided to defer consideration of the item on human resources management to the resumed session. In that connection, the Committee devoted most of its limited time and full attention to items and issues requiring decision by the General Assembly before the end of the main part of the 55th session. These are: the proposed medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005; the proposed programme budget outline for the period 2002-2003; the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations; the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations; results based budgeting; United Nations common system; United Nations Pension system; first performance report for the period 2000-2001; capital master plan, pattern of conferences, and questions relating to programme budget for the period 2000-2001.

      It may be recalled that, in accordance with GA resolution 49/233, items relating to the financing of peacekeeping operations and all peacekeeping related matters, which are on the agenda of the Fifth Committee, are considered at a resumed session in the spring of the following year. Nevertheless, the Fifth Committee considered and recommended for adoption by the General Assembly draft resolutions on the financing of the following peacekeeping operations, UNIFIL; UNTAET, UNMIK and UNMEE. It also recommended to the Assembly a draft decision on the reform of the procedure for determining reimbursement to Member States for contingent owned equipment.

Programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001

      Under this agenda item, the Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.24 on the first performance report for the biennium 2000-2001. In that draft resolution, the Assembly would approve a net decrease of $34,642,200 in the appropriation approved for the biennium 2000-2001 and a net decrease of $19,097,000 in the estimates of income for the biennium, to be apportioned among expenditures and income sections, as indicated in the report of the Secretary-General. The Assembly would note the higher realized vacancy rate compared with the budgeted rate approved by the GA in its resolution 54/249, and would request the Secretary-General to take all appropriate measures to rectify this situation in an expeditious manner.

      The Committee also considered a number of issues relating to programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, including the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations and the safety and security of UN personnel. As regards the question of the Panel on UN Peace Operations, the Committee recommended draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.32 to the General Assembly. In that resolution the General Assembly, inter alia, would approve the support account post and non-post requirements in the amount of $9,190,200 dollars gross ($8,741,600 dollars net) for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. It would agree with paragraph 36 of the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations relating to proper representation of troop-contributing countries in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and it would underscore the importance of consultation with troop-contributing countries from the early stages of mission planning.

      As regards the question of the safety and security of UN Personnel, the Committee recommended draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.30 to the General Assembly whereby, the Assembly, inter alia would decide to establish, effective 1 January 2001, eight additional Professional posts in the Office of the UN Security Coordinator at Headquarters, eight additional security officer posts and sixteen additional local level posts for use in the field. Furthermore, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to develop in coordination with executive heads of the UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes an effective mechanism for cost-sharing arrangements and, in this connection, to ensure that in future the costs of the security management system be included in the regular budget, to be managed by the United Nations, contingent upon a formal arrangement with the concerned agencies, funds and programmes for participation in the funding for security arrangements and reimbursement to the United Nations for services provided, under income section 2, General income of the programme budget, and to submit proposals thereon to the General Assembly at its 56th session through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions; also decides that, in the meantime, the established cost-sharing arrangements between the United Nations and its specialized agencies, funds and programmes will remain in place until the General Assembly decides otherwise.

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Programme Planning

      Under this agenda item, the Committee endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on the proposed medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005 and recommended the narrative of programme 19: Human rights as agreed during informal consultations held on that programme.

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Financial reports and audited financial statements and reports of the Board of Auditors

      The Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution (A/C.5/55/L.12) whereby it would approve all the recommendations and conclusions of the Board of auditors and endorse the observations and recommendations of ACABQ. In the draft resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to review the question of the term of office of the Board of Auditors and to report to the General Assembly at its resumed fifty-fifth session under agenda item 116: entitled Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations.

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Pattern of Conferences

      The Committee considered this item extensively. At the end of several rounds of consultations, the Fifth Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution (A/C.5/55/L.13). The Assembly would approve the draft revised calendar of conference and meetings of the United Nations for 2001, as submitted by the Committee on Conferences. It would note with deep concern the low rate of compliance with the six week rule for the issuance of documentation, and would encourage the Secretary-General, in view of the impact of late submissions on the timely issuance of documents to intensify recent efforts with respect to planning meetings and forecasting documentation. It would reaffirm its request on the elements to be included in the preparation of documentation and publication of related matters.

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Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations

      The Committee held 22 rounds of informal consultations on this item. The Committee encountered difficulties in arriving at an agreement on the elements for the methodology of the scale of assessments for the period 2001-2003. After a series of high-level consultations, the Committee finally agreed to establish the ceiling at 22% subject to a series of conditions and complicated arrangements. Draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.36 was adopted without a vote.

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Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations

      The Committee held 15 rounds of informal consultations on this item and a number of high-level bilateral negotiations, which sets the ceiling roughly at 27%, and the expansion of the groupings for determining the assessments of countries. The Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of two draft resolutions on the item, A/C.5/55/L.37 and A/C.5/55/L.38. The former would reaffirm the principles set out in GA resolution 1874 (S-IV) of 27 June 1963 and 3101 (XXVIII) of 11 December 1973. In the draft resolution, the Assembly would agreed on a number of elements and parameters in assessing rates of member states, as well as the special responsibility of the 5 Permanent members of the Security Council. The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to expand the current composition of four Groups to ten levels and setting their contributions on a triennial basis, in conjunction with the regular budget scale of assessment reviews. The latter contained a number of decisions for those member states that voluntarily expressed their desires to move to the upper level in connection with the apportionment of expenses of the UN peacekeeping operations. The new scale of assessments will take effect on 1 July 2001 to confirm to the provisions of GA resolution 49/233 on the cycle of peacekeeping financing budget.

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Financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

      For the past three sessions of the General Assembly, the draft resolution recommended to the General Assembly had been adopted by a vote. The same procedure was again requested for draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11 on the Financing of UNIFIL, which was adopted by a recorded vote of 109 in favour and 3 against.

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Financing of the two International Criminal Tribunals (Yugoslavia and Rwanda)

      The Committee recommended the adoption of draft resolutions A/C.5/55/L.15 on (ICTY) and A/C.5/55/L.16 on (ICTR) respectively without a vote. On both draft resolutions, the Assembly decided that the budgets of ICTY and ICTR shall be biennialized, on an experimental basis, for the period 2002-2003, and to keep the matter of the biennialization under review. The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to the GA at its 58th session on the results of the experiment and the impact on the functioning of the Tribunals. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to provide in his proposed budget, with the involvement of all organs of the Tribunal, workload data for the budget period in order to give more justification for its resource requirements, and to include in his budget presentation information on budgetary requirements, including targets for recruitment, training, judicial scheduling and performance standards for support activities.

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Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations

      The Committee considered a number of issues under this agenda item, such as, the question of procurement reform and outsourcing practices, report of the Joint Inspection Unit, results-based budgeting, capital master plan, proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 2002-2003, to name a few.

      The Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.19 on the question of results-based budgeting. In the draft resolution, the Assembly would note that the measures proposed by the Secretary-General and recommended by the Advisory Committee were intended to provide, in essence, a management tool that should enhance responsibility and accountability in the implementation of programmes and budgets, and it would decide that these measures, as approved by the General Assembly in the present resolution should be implemented in a gradual and incremental manner, in full compliance with the Regulations and Rules Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the monitoring of Implementation and the Methods of Evaluation and the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

      As regards outsourcing practices, the Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.20, whereby it would request the Secretary-General to continue to ensure that programme managers are guided by the following four basic reasons for outsourcing (a) To acquire technical skills not readily available within the Organization, including accessing state of the art technologies and expertise or acquiring needed flexibility to meet quickly changing circumstances; (b) To achieve cost savings; (c) to provide a source more effectively, efficiently or expeditiously; and (d) to provide an activity or service not needed on a long-term basis. The Assembly would affirm that at least the following three significant goals must be considered with regard to the use of outsourcing by the United Nations (a) to respect the international character of the Organization (b) To avoid a possible negative impact on staff; (c) To ensure appropriate management and/or control over the activities or services that have been outsourced.

      The Committee also recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution (A/C.5/55/L.25) on the question of the proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 2002-2003. In the draft resolution, the Assembly would endorse the recommendation of the ACABQ in paragraph 8 of its report, that provision should be made in the budget outline for expenditures for special political missions related to peace and security expected to be extended or approved in the course of the biennium. It would decide that the preliminary estimate of resources for the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 should therefore include a provision for special political missions in the amount of 93.7 million dollars at revised 2000-2001 rates, which should be reflected in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003, and that additional requirements shall continue to be treated in accordance with the provisions of GA resolution 41/213. It would note that the Secretary-General's preliminary estimates for the proposed programme budget did not include provision for the requirements for the biennium 2002-2003 of the implementation of the report of the "panel on UN peace operations" nor did it include provision for the requirements for the biennium 2002-2003 for safety and security of personnel. The Assembly would note that these requirements pertinent to the regular budget should be reflected in the programme budget for 2002-2003, subject to approval by the General Assembly. It would invite the Secretary-General to prepare his proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 on the basis of a total preliminary estimate of 2,515.3 million dollars at revised 2000-2001 rates. It would also decide that the contingency fund shall be set at 0.75% of the preliminary estimate, namely at 18.9 million dollars. And that this amount is in addition to the overall level of the preliminary estimate and is to be used in accordance with the procedures for the use and operation of the contingency fund.

      The Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.32 on the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (Brahimi report), whereby the Assembly would agree with the views of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and would endorse the conclusions of the ACABQ. It would also decide to appropriate an additional amount of $363,000 under section 3, political affairs and $37,200 under section 27, management and central support services of the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.It would also approve the support account post and non-post requirements in the amount of some $9.19 million gross for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

      The Fifth Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.28 on the capital Master plan whereby the Assembly, without prejudice to a final decision on the matter, would authorize the Secretary-General to proceed with a comprehensive design plan and detailed cost analysis for the refurbishment of the UN Headquarters buildings, appropriating an amount of $8 million for the project.

      Furthermore, the Fifth Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L. 30 on the Safety and security of UN Personnel, whereby the Assembly would appropriate $2.21 million for the Secretary-General to take immediate measures to strengthen the security management system under the regular budget for 2000-2001. It would request the Secretary-General to develop an effective cost-sharing mechanism for UN security in the field in coordination with the UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes.

      The Committee, in its draft decision A/C.5/55/L.34, recommended the items/issues for deferral to the resumed sessions.

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United Nations Pension system

      The Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.14 on the UN pension system. In the draft resolution, the Assembly would approve changes in the pension adjustment system, as set out in the Annex to the present resolution and would approve amendment to article 34 regarding entitlement to survivors' benefits for spouses and former spouses. It would also approve, with effect from 1 January 2001, an amendment to article 67 of the Regulations of the Fund, which would set the terms of office for the elected members and alternate members of the UN Staff Pension Committee at four years, instead of the current three years.

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Future sessions of the Fifth Committee

      The Committee will hold two resumed sessions during 2001, the first part, from 12 March to 6 April 2001, will be mainly devoted to human resources management, the review of the functioning of the ICSC, and reports of the OIOS." The second part of the resumed session will take place from 7 May to 1 June 2001 and will be devoted mainly to the financing of peacekeeping operations, as mandated in GA resolution 49/233, and other outstanding issues on the agenda of the Fifth Committee.

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