ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY COMMITTEE BEGINS CONSIDERATION OF FINANCING OF UN MISSION IN KOSOVO (UNMIK)

20 July 1999
GA/AB/3304

ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY COMMITTEE BEGINS CONSIDERATION OF FINANCING OF UN MISSION IN KOSOVO (UNMIK)

20 July 1999

Press ReleaseGA/AB/3304

ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY COMMITTEE BEGINS CONSIDERATION OF FINANCING OF UN MISSION IN KOSOVO (UNMIK)

19990720

The nature of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) made it imperative that resources be sought for it now, pending the submission of the budget in the fall, Jean-Pierre Halbwachs, United Nations Controller, told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning as it began its considerations on the financing of that Mission.

Presenting the report of the Secretary-General on the financing of UNMIK, Mr. Halbwachs said it clear from the mandate of the Mission and the reports of the Secretary-General that UNMIK was a very complex operation that would require a significant level of resources. While it was not possible at this stage to estimate what the level of resources would be and while it was also not possible to submit a full budget to the Assembly before late September early October, "we cannot wait that long before contributions start coming in to meet UNMIK's expenses", he stressed.

Conrad S.M. Mselle (United Republic of Tanzania), Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introducing its report, said that UNMIK would be large and complex, and the $200 million expenditure requested was expected to be much higher. Under similar circumstances, the General Assembly had authorized a commitment authority for the United Nations operation in Cambodia. Having considered the present request, the ACABQ was recommending that the Secretary-General should be granted the commitment authority requested.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said the United Nations would have to take the lead in Kosovo in bringing back to life a society whose physical and social infrastructure had been destroyed. In that respect, it must be given the necessary means and resources. While the Union recognized the urgency of the issue at hand, at the same time, it underscored the presentation of a detailed budget as early as possible, formulated with full disclosure, explanation and justification.

The representative of Guyana, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said it was regrettable that the report of the Secretary-General did not provide adequate information. That would make

Fifth Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/AB/3304 67th Meeting (AM) 20 July1999

decision-making by the Fifth Committee difficult. In considering the request of the Secretary-General, more detailed information and justification for financing of the Mission was required.

The representative of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said he hoped the Secretary-General's estimates of $200 million were correct because, according to his information, the amount requested would not be enough to satisfy the needs in Kosovo.

The representative of Kenya, supported by Uganda's representative, said the establishment of UNMIK, which would enable the people of Kosovo to reclaim their battered lives, expressed the hope that there would be similar and concrete action when considering other peacekeeping missions, especially in Africa.

The representative of Japan said the complexity of the Mission's mandate in Kosovo was understandable. However, in many Member States around the world, due to economic considerations, there was strong pressure on governments to ensure that proper use was made by international organizations of the financial contributions of Member States. It was, thus, the responsibility of the United Nations to provide adequate details.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Mexico, United States, Turkey, Russian Federation, Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Cuba and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue consideration of financing of UNMIK.

Fifth Committee - 2 - Press Release GA/AB/3304 67th Meeting (AM) 20 July 1999

Committee Work Programme

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to consider the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the financing of the Mission and a related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).

The report of the Secretary-General (document A/53/238/Add.1) is submitted pursuant to the provisions of section IV, paragraph 2, of General Assembly resolution 49/233 A, on administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General is seeking authority to enter into commitments with assessment in an amount not exceeding $200 million to meet the most immediate requirements for carrying out the initial phase of the implementation of UNMIK.

The report recalls that the Security Council, in resolution 1244 (1999), decided to deploy in Kosovo, under the United Nations auspices, international civil and security presences with appropriate equipment and personnel. In light of the multidisciplinary and complex activities envisaged, UNMIK will work closely with the Organization's agencies and other international organizations.

The practical steps in that direction, continues the report, are being negotiated with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These and other organizations, under the auspices of the United Nations, will assume the leading roles in areas such as humanitarian affairs, institution-building and reconstruction.

Addressing the preliminary financial requirements of the Mission, the report says that following the adoption of Council resolution 1244, the Controller obtained the concurrence of the ACABQ to enter into commitments up to the amount of $50 million, under the provisions of section IV of Assembly resolution 49/233 A.

At the present time, notes the report, while completion of the initial assessment of the advance team is still pending, it is not possible, in the absence of precise information on operational requirements, to submit detailed cost estimates to the Assembly for UNMIK. Given that time will be required for the advance team to submit its report to the Secretary-General for him to report to the Council and for action to be taken by that body on the report, as well as preparation of a full budget for the Assembly and for subsequent action, it is essential that UNMIK be provided with funds and commitment authority to meet the costs of the operation.

The complexity of the mandate and the scope of tasks to be undertaken makes UNMIK a large-scale operation, the timely deployment and effectiveness of which will be dependent on the availability of sufficient and sizeable cash resources to enable the Mission to meet its monthly operating costs, says the report. The Secretary-General is accordingly seeking commitment authority and assessment of $200 million from the General Assembly to meet the preliminary operating costs of UNMIK from inception until such time as a full budget will be presented to the Assembly in the fall. The amount is inclusive of the $50 million already concurred in by the Advisory Committee.

The report also recalls information already provided by the Secretary- General to the Council concerning the three components of the Mission: Office of the Police Commissioner, Office for Civil Affairs, and Office for Judicial Affairs.

Recalling the Secretary-General's request -- authority to enter into commitments with assessment in an amount not exceeding $200 million, inclusive of the amount of $50 million already authorized by the Advisory Committee -- the ACABQ report points out that due to the exigencies of the situation the Secretary-General has been unable to substantiate his request with the necessary analysis and information. The Advisory Committee notes the explanation of the Secretariat that, pending the return of the advance team, it would be extremely difficult to provide details. A rationale for the figure of $200 million was not provided, the report states.

Given the size of the Mission and the urgency involved, continues the report, the request of the Secretary-General is by way of an advance, which will represent only a small portion of what will be required during the mandated 12 months. The ACABQ was assured that the actual budget, which will be submitted in October, will be formulated in the usual fashion with full disclosure, explanation and justification.

The Advisory Committee, pursuant to the provisions of Assembly resolution 49/233, recommends that the Secretary-General be granted authority to enter into commitments in an amount not exceeding $200 million, inclusive of the $50 mullion already authorized it. In considering the requested assessment, the Assembly may wish to take into account the cash flow situation, the timing of the submission of the budget, its size, nature and scope, and the factors related to financing by Members States of their contingents and subsequent reimbursement from the Organization, the report adds.

Statements

JEAN-PIERRE HALBWACHS, Controller, presented the report of the Secretary- General on financing of UNMIK. He said that it was very clear from the mandate of the Mission and the reports of the Secretary-General that UNMIK was a very complex operation that would require a significant level of resources. The Secretary-General was seeking authority from the General Assembly to enter into commitments with assessment in an amount of $200 million to meet the most immediate requirements for carrying out the initial phase of the implementation plan of UNMIK. He said he appreciated that coming with such a request was not conventional, but the ACABQ and the Secretary-General had thought long and hard before proceeding in the way they did. They had also been prompted by many considerations.

He said it was not possible at this stage to estimate what the level of resources would be, and it was also not possible to submit a full budget to the Assembly before late September early October. "We cannot wait that long before contributions start coming into meet UNMIK's expenses." Like most missions, UNMIK did not have a military component which would enable deferment of payments. That flexibility was not there. Expenditures for the Mission must be met along the way. The resources that had been approved, assessed and collected for ongoing missions could not be tapped for Kosovo without affecting the operation of those ongoing missions and rendering already precarious financial situations even more acute.

He said the Secretary-General felt that $200 million was a reasonable level that would allow UNMIK to proceed. It was regrettable that the amount was not based on a detailed set of requirements. If it were, they would be in the report presently before delegations. The type of expenditures that would be incurred were, however, known -- they were, by and large, the types of expenditure that were incurred in every peacekeeping operation. What could not be provided yet and what "we have begun working on" were the cost estimates for those expenditures based on the comprehensive framework and the structure outlined in the report of the Secretary-General. He recognized that it was not an ideal situation and had no doubt that the Committee would have preferred to have more information at its disposal. However, the nature of the Mission made it imperative that resources be sought for it now, pending the submission of the budget.

CONRAD S.M. MSELLE (United Republic of Tanzania), Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introducing its report, said that the United Nations operation in Kosovo would be large and complex, and the $200 million expenditure requested was expected to be much higher. Out of $50 million authorized by the Advisory Committee, $20 million had been approved during the first two weeks. The Controller had just revised that figure to $25 million.

He said that, under more or less similar circumstances, the General Assembly had authorized a commitment authority for the United Nations operation in Cambodia. Having considered the present request, the ACABQ was recommending that the Secretary-General should be granted the commitment authority that he had requested.

JARMO SAREVA (Finland), spoke on behalf of the European Union, as well as of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland and Norway.

The European Union had, from the outset, played a full part in the efforts to resolve the Kosovo crisis, he said. Furthermore, the Union was determined to play its full part in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Kosovo and to contribute to its long-term economic development. The European Union was already active in that regard and would bear its fair share of the overall burden of reconstruction in Kosovo.

He said the European Union fully supported the establishment of UNMIK whose mandate was unprecedented. In essence, the United Nations would have to take the lead in bringing back to life a society whose physical and social infrastructure had been destroyed. The Organization must be given the necessary means and resources. By definition, the physical reconstruction and rebuilding of Kosovo fell outside the scope of the UNMIK budget, and financing for reconstruction would be raised through international donor conferences.

The European Union concurred with the Secretary-General's request for authority to enter into commitments up to $200 million, he said. That amount should be fully assessed in accordance with Article 17 of the United Nations Charter and the Financial Rules and Regulations. The Union recognized the urgency of the issue at hand, but, at the same time, underscored the presentation of a detailed budget as early as possible. In that connection, the European Union noted that the ACABQ had been assured that the actual budget would be formulated in the usual fashion with full disclosure, explanation and justification.

GARFIELD BARNWELL (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, underlined the importance of the maintenance of international peace and security by the United Nations. The Group also underlined the collective responsibilities of Member States in that process. However, it was regrettable that the report of the Secretary-General did not provide adequate information. That would make decision-making by the Fifth Committee difficult. In considering the request of the Secretary-General, more detailed information and justification for financing of the Mission was required.

ERNESTO HERRERA (Mexico) said his delegation supported the establishment of UNMIK. It was of the view that the Organization would have to shoulder major economic responsibilities in the future in relation to activities in the Balkan region. His country, despite its own problems, would do everything to meet its major commitments to the Organization. This peacekeeping operation took on great importance not only because of economic needs entailed for Member States, but because of the way of the report was submitted. He trusted more information regarding budgetary needs would be submitted. His country, however, expressed a vote of confidence for the request made by the Secretary- General.

SUSAN M. SHEAROUSE (United States) said her delegation understood the need to have funding sufficient to enable start-up operations in Kosovo. The Secretary-General's request supported Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) of 10 June, which laid out a concrete plan for ending the humanitarian tragedy in Kosovo and for building a better future for its people.

She said the United States understood that a full budget with justification was being prepared and would be presented at a later date. The delegation of the United States looked forward to reviewing a thorough United Nations plan and budget for that important peacekeeping mission.

NASTE CALOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said he hoped the Secretary-General's estimates of $200 million were correct because, according to his information, the amount requested would not be enough to satisfy the needs in Kosovo. It was realistic to expect that the Secretary- General would require more resources. If that happened, the Committee should not be surprised.

JUICHI TAKAHARA (Japan) said in light of the importance of UNMIK and the exigencies of the situation, his delegation supported the request by the Secretary-General for commitments not exceeding $200 million to meet the operating costs of the Mission until submission of a full budget in the fall. In many Member States around the world, due to economic considerations, there was strong pressure on governments to ensure that proper use was made by international organizations of the financial contributions of Member States. It was, thus, the responsibility of the United Nations to provide adequate details. However, the complexity of the Mission's mandate in Kosovo was also understandable. His delegation looked forward to the budget that would be submitted in the fall.

SERHAT SAMLIOGLU GURAY (Turkey) said her delegation appreciated the size and complexity of the operation and supported the urgent need for the reconstruction of Kosovo.

ALEXEI DVINIANINE (Russian Federation) said that Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) had set the parameters for the establishment of UNMIK. As a permanent member of the Council, the Russian Federation supported that resolution. It also supported the Secretary-General's request that $200 million be made available to him, including assessed contributions from Member States. His recommendation was based on exceptional circumstances brought about by the immediacy of the need for a security operation in Kosovo.

PARK HAE-YUN (Republic of Korea) said his delegation strongly supported the operation, as well as the ACABQ's recommendation that the $200 million requested be granted, on the understanding that full disclosure would be made.

RADHIA ACHOURI (Tunisia) said her delegation was aware of all the constraints limiting the documentation in the Secretary-General's report. Tunisia agreed with the observations and conclusions of the ACABQ. It had applauded the intervention of the United Nations in Kosovo because it implied a reaffirmation and concretization of the Organization's mandate in terms of maintaining international peace and security. Failure to intervene would have been an abandonment of that mandate. The draft decision to be adopted by the Committee on that issue might meet the concerns voiced by various delegations.

THOMAS B. AMOLO (Kenya), associating himself with the statement of the Group of 77 and China, said his delegation supported the establishment of UNMIK which would enable the people of Kosovo to reclaim their battered lives. Kenya looked forward to the submission of a full budget and was ready to work with other delegations to seek a mutually acceptable way forward. It was hoped that there would be similar flexibility and concrete action when other peacekeeping missions were considered, particularly those in Africa.

DULCE MARIA BUERGO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said her delegation would work with other delegations in the process of securing the further information required. It was an open secret what had led to the establishment of UNMIK. The Mission was considered as unprecedented in terms of its complexity. In due course, the financial implications of UNMIK would be put on the table. The Committee should carefully scrutinize those implications before taking any action.

NESTER ODAGA-JALOMAYO (Uganda), associated his delegation with the views of the Group of 77 and China and asked that the record reflect that Uganda particularly associated itself with the statement by the representative of Kenya.

MUHAMMAD YUSUF (United Republic of Tanzania) supported the statement by the representative of Kenya, in line with the spirit of East African cooperation, and associated his delegation with the position of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. HALBWACHS, the Controller, recalling a reference to the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund, said it contained $97 million.

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For information media. Not an official record.