Overview of the programme of work of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly

During the main part of the fifty-sixth session

 

 

The General Assembly has allocated 41 items to the Fifth Committee for its consideration during the 56th session.   In accordance with General Assembly resolution  49/233,  peacekeeping related issues and the financing of individual peacekeeping operations are considered at a  resumed session in the spring of the following year.    However, the Fifth Committee will take up during the main part of the 56th session, the financing of five peacekeeping operations under the relevant items, namely,  the UN Interim Force in Lebanon;  the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET); the  UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE);  the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL); and the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

 

At its 2nd meeting on  Wednesday, 26 September,  the Committee held a brief meeting in order to elect  the other members of its Bureau, namely three Vice Chairmen and the Rapporteur.  The Bureau of the Fifth Committee during the 56th session of the General Assembly is composed as follows:

 

Chairman -           H.E. Nana Effah Apenteng (Ghana)

Vice chairmen:      Mr. Durga P. Bhattarai (Nepal)

Mr. John Orr (Canada)

Mr. Oleksii Ivashchenko (Ukraine)

      Rapporteur:             Mr. Santiago Wins (Uruguay)

 

On 3 October, the Committee held its organizational meeting  and approved its proposed programme of work for the main part of the 56th session; and the status of preparedness of documentation (A/C.5/56/L.1).   At a subsequent meeting, the Committee approved a revised programme of work in order to take into account the decision of the General Assembly to hold its general debate during the week of 12 to 16 November 2001.   The Committee will not hold any meeting during that period.   According to its programme of work, the Committee will conclude its work on 7 December 2001.

 


One of the major items to be considered during the main part of the session is the  Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003.   Not only will it consider the Secretary-General proposals (A/56/6), the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on the work of its 41st session (A/56/16) and the report of Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 (A/56/7),  the Fifth Committee is to carefully review section 22, Human rights, of the proposed programme budget for the period 2002-2003,  since the Committee for Programme and Coordination was unable to reach an agreement on the narrative of that section.  On Monday, 15 October, in the afternoon, the Secretary-General will address the Committee in order to present his report on the proposed programme budget (A/56/6).

 

The second major item on the agenda of the Committee this year is the item entitled  “Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations,” in particular the report of the Secretary-General on the question of resource requirements for implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, as well as the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.  It may be recalled that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations made a number of proposals, recommendations and conclusions in its report (A/55/1024).  The Fourth Committee, in its draft resolution (A/C.4/55/L.23), has endorsed the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Special Committee, which, however, give rise to programme budget implications.  In keeping with rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General has submitted in document A/C.5/55/46 and Add.1 his statement on the programme budget implications of those proposals and recommendations of the Special Committee.  Owing to the fact that the ACABQ was not in session at that time and therefore was unable to consider the Secretary-General’s proposals in the programme budget implication’s document (A/C.5/55/46 and Add.1), the Assembly  decided  to inscribe the item in its agenda for the 56th session with a view to taking a decision on the relevant documents  before it on the basis of the recommendations of the Fifth Committee and ACABQ. 

 

In addition,  under the item entitled Scale of assessments for the  apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations,   the Fifth Committee will consider the proposal for the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Working Group on the Implementation of the Principle of Capacity to pay during the main part of the 56th session.   The Committee will also have before it the report of the Committee on Contributions and will review its recommendations on the procedures for the application of Article 19; the measures to encourage the timely, full and unconditional payment of assessed contributions; the merits of applying indexation of and interest on arrears of Member States as well as the methodology for the preparation of future scales of assessments.

 

On Wednesday, 10 October, the Under-Secretary-General for Management, Joseph E. Connor made his seventeenth presentation  to apprise the Committee on the current financial situation of the United Nations.  That statement, including its annexes, will then be issued as the report of the Secretary-General on the item entitled Improving the financial situation of the United Nations,  which will be subject to a general discussion  on Wednesday, 17 October. 

 

A number of issues relating to the  Programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 are scheduled for consideration by the Fifth Committee.   They are, in particular: the report of the Secretary-General on proposals for enhancing the UN experience for Visitors; Development account, Functioning of the UNCTAD Unit for landlocked developing countries and Small Island Developing States; Safety and security of UN personnel; Capital master plan; information technology strategy; comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects; Second performance report for the biennium 2000-2001, including unforeseen and extraordinary expenses.  Honoraria, Integrated Management Information System; Standards of accommodation for air travel; treatment of perennial activities, are among others which will also be considered by the Fifth Committee.

 

The Fifth Committee will resume its consideration of the question of strengthening the international civil service, under the item on United Nations common system, with a view to taking a decision on it at the current session.    It will also consider the annual report of the International Civil Service Commission.

 

The Committee has a number of reports to consider under human resources management, namely, the report of  the Secretary-General on hiring of retired staff (A/55/451), the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, entitled “The Use of consultants in the United Nations (A/55/59, and Add.1); the report of the Secretary-General on the question of mandatory age of separation, the delegation of authority for management of human and financial resources in the United Nations; the use of young professionals in the UN.

 

 

Other agenda items for consideration by the Fifth Committee during the main part of the 56th session are: 1. Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors;  2.  Pattern of Conferences; 3.  Financing of the International Criminal Tribunals in the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; 4.  Joint Inspection Unit;  5.  Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services;  6.  Appointments to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments, namely:  the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions; the Committee on Contributions; the Board of Auditors; the Investments Committee and the International Civil Service Commission.