Summary of the work of the Fifth Committee during the

main part of the 56th regular session

8 October to 24 December 2001

 

The General Assembly, at its 56th session, allocated 42 agenda items to the Fifth Committee, which held 40 formal meetings, 130 rounds of informal consultations and a number of rounds of "informal/informal" and bilateral consultations during the main part of the session.  The Committee recommended to the General Assembly 24 draft resolutions, 8 draft decisions, excluding decisions on statements of programme budget implications.

 

            Being a budget year, the Committee devoted priority consideration to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003, and other related issues, including the comprehensive review of the whole question of UN peacekeeping operations and the issue of the safety and security of UN personnel.

 

Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003

 

The Committee considered from early October, until 24 December the budgetary proposals of the Secretary-General for the biennium 2002-2003 in light of the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the recommendations by the Committee for Programme Coordination on the narratives of the proposed programme budget.  Painstakingly, on the recommendation of the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly adopted a level of resources for the coming biennium in the amount of US $ 2.625 billion. (A/RES/56/254A).   In so doing, the Secretary-General is called to make savings in areas such as public information, conference services, information technology and strict adherence to the vacancy rates. 

 

The Committee also considered questions relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003, (A/RES/56/255), such as the request for subvention to UNIDIR, Revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by ECOSOC at its substantive session in 2001; Contingency Fund, Special Political missions, Safety and Security of United Nations personnel, the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, among others.

 

The Committee, during the main part of the 56th session, considered and took action on fourteen statements of programme budget implications.   


Peacekeeping financing and related issues

 

While items relating to the financing of peacekeeping operations are listed on the agenda of the Fifth Committee, all peacekeeping related matters are considered at a resumed session in the spring of the following year, in accordance with GA resolution 49/233.  Nevertheless, on the recommendations of the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly adopted five draft resolutions on the financing of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor(A/RES/56/249),  the Financing of UN Mission in Sierra Leone (A/RES/56/251), the financing of UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea(A/RES/56/250),  the financing of the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(A/RES/56/252),  and the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (A/RES/56/214).  As in the past, the draft resolution on UNIFIL has been adopted by a recorded vote.

 

Pattern of conferences

 

The Committee, after a long series of informal consultations, recommended to the General Assembly resolution (A/RES/56/242), paying attention to the following issues:  The headquarters’ rule, the utilization of conference services and facilities, the documentation and publication related matters and translation and interpretation related matters.  The Assembly adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

 

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

 

Under this agenda item, the Assembly, on the recommendation of the Fifth Committee, adopted    resolution (A/RES/56/243), whereby it recognized that a  multi-year payment plans, subject to careful formulation, could be helpful in allowing Member States to demonstrate their commitments under Article 19 of the Charter to pay off their arrears, thereby facilitating consideration of applications for exemption by the Committee on Contributions.  It requested the Secretary-General to propose guidelines for multi-year payment plans through the Committee on Contributions.

 

United Nations common system.

 

            On the recommendation of the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly adopted   resolution, (A/RES/56/461),  whereby it  approved  the recommendation of the International Civil Service Commission on the introduction of the euro, as of 1 January 2002, the official currency for those emoluments, which are currently set in the national currencies of the twelve euro-zone countries.  The Assembly also approved  with effect from 1 March 2002, as recommended by the Commission, the revised base scale of gross and net salaries for staff in the Professional and higher categories.  Furthermore, the Assembly  requested  the Secretary-General, in close consultation with the Chairman of the International Civil Service Commission, to present a timetable for the implementation of the review of the strengthening of the international civil service at the main part of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly.

 

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

 

The Committee also considered the first biennial budgets of the two International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda for the period 2002-2003, which amounted  to $US.435, 104.000.  (A/RES/56/247 and A/RES/56/248).

 

            On the recommendation of the Fifth Committee, General Assembly adopted  two draft resolutions.  In both draft resolutions, the General Assembly decided that the staffing table for the two Tribunals should remain at levels approved for 2001 until the resumed session of the General Assembly in March 2002 determines appropriate levels for the biennium 2002-2003.  It  requested  the Tribunals to submit to it, on an annual basis, a financial and programme performance report. 

 

Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of OIOS

 

            The Committee recommended to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolution (A/C.5/56/L.36), whereby it requested the Secretary-General to ensure that OIOS, when providing information on the implementation rate of critical recommendations in its future annual reports, deals separately with those recommendations which have been implemented, those which are in the process of being implemented and those for which no implementation process is under way, and the reasons for their non-implementation.   It also requested the Secretary-General to ensure that OIOS present an update on the status of the oversight activities on the Office of the Iraq Programme,  referred to respectively in paragraphs 71 to 81 and in paragraphs 52 to 60 of its two most recent annual reports (A/55/436 and A/56/381),  for further consideration by the Assembly at its resumed 56th session.  (A/RES/56/246).


 

Other items and issues

 

            In the course of the main part of the session, the Committee also considered the financial reports and audited financial statements and reports of the Board of Auditors, (A/RES/56/233), a number of questions related to the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, including the second performance report of that biennium, the Joint Inspection Unit.  The Committee made recommendations on them to the General Assembly (A/RES/56/240, A/RES/56/236, and A/RES/56/237).   As regards matters relating to human resources management, the Committee recommended three draft decisions to the General Assembly on the question of the Use of consultants (Dec.56/460); Delegation of authority (Dec. 56/461) and Young professionals (Dec. 56/462).

 

Future sessions of the Fifth Committee.                                                                             


 

The Committee is scheduled to hold two resumed sessions during the first half of 2002.  The first part from 4 to 15 March 2002, with extension to 28 March, if necessary, will be devoted to items/issues for which the Committee, owing to lack of time, was unable to consider.  The second part of the resumed session will take place from 6 – 31 May 2002 and will be devoted mainly to the financing of peacekeeping operations, as mandated in General Assembly resolution 49/233, and other outstanding issues on the agenda of the Fifth Committee.