Fifty-sixth General Assembly
3rd Meeting (PM)
BUDGET FOR 2002–2003, PEACEKEEPING FINANCING AMONG ISSUES
HIGH ON BUDGET COMMITTEE’S AGENDA
Approving its work programme this afternoon, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) agreed to consider 41 agenda items during the main part of the fifty-sixth session, with the proposed programme budget for 2002-2003 taking centre stage in its deliberations. Also high on the agenda are the financial situation of the United Nations and financing of peacekeeping.
[As the regular budget cycle is biennial, the budget for 2000-2001 was considered by the Fifth Committee during the fifty-fourth session of the Assembly in 1999. The so-called "regular" budget of the Organization is used to finance most of its core activities other than peacekeeping missions. The budget amount eventually approved by the General Assembly is then apportioned among the Member States in accordance with the scale of assessments formula.]
The Committee will also resume consideration of several issues relating to human resources management postponed from the fifty-fifth session, which was devoted principally to personnel matters. Among them are the proposed extension to 62 of the mandatory age of separation and the use of consultants and retirees. Under the agenda item on the scale of assessments, the Committee will consider the recommendations of the Committee on Contributions regarding possible measures to encourage timely, full and unconditional payment of assessed contributions.
On the proposed work programme, the representative of Iran, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, supported balanced allocation of time with due priority to time-bound items, adding that the Secretariat must submit documents six weeks prior to their consideration. The late submission of documentation affected all delegations and was a serious impediment to the functioning of all Committees. He expected all reports requested by General Assembly resolution 55/258 on human resources management to be submitted to the current session of the Committee. Informal consultations should be conducted in a transparent manner, without parallel meetings, and all meetings should be announced well in advance. The efficient functioning of the Committee was of utmost importance. The agenda contained complex issues and the Group assured the Chairman of its full cooperation.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, the representative of Belgium stressed the importance of adopting the budget, which would enable the Committee to pursue the aims of a modern and efficient United Nations. The Union would seek consensus on all agenda items and, in particular,
the narrative description on human rights within the budget. Noting with satisfaction the payment by the largest contributor of part of its arrears, he said that settling that matter would strengthen the financial situation of the United Nations.
His delegation attached particular importance to the submission of documents on the proposals for strengthening staff security, the draft budgets of the International Criminal Tribunals and the draft resolution on the review of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects. Maximum use of time depended on Member States showing greater discipline.
Also during the meeting, the Committee took note of the recommendations of the General Assembly on the organization of the session and discussed the Bureau’s proposal to limit the length of statements in the general discussion to seven minutes by individual delegations and 15 minutes for spokesmen of groups of countries. To expedite work on the decisions and resolutions, the Bureau had also recommended that designated coordinators of items on the agenda should prepare preliminary drafts during the first informal meeting on each item.
The representatives of Syria, India, Egypt, Iran and Belgium participated in the discussion of the Bureau’s recommendations.
In response to comments from the floor, the Chairman of the Committee, Nana Effah-Epenteng (Ghana) emphasized the need to strike a balance between flexibility and completing work on time. He also recognized that it might not be possible for the Secretariat to adhere to the seven-minute time limit. The point of the proposals was to draw delegations’ attention to the need to conserve time and to encourage the delegates to focus on a particular text. The Bureau would further reflect on the matter. Taking into account the Committee’s heavy workload, it was guided by the need to expedite the work on the matters at hand.
The Committee will hold its next meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday, 8 October, to consider reports of the Joint Inspection Unit.
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