GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADDS SENEGAL TO LIST OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; DECIDES TO CONSIDER ESTABLISHING DECADE TO ROLL BACK MALARIA IN AFRICA

12 April 2001
GA/9863

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADDS SENEGAL TO LIST OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; DECIDES TO CONSIDER ESTABLISHING DECADE TO ROLL BACK MALARIA IN AFRICA

12/04/2001
Press ReleaseGA/9863

Fifty-fifth General Assembly

Plenary

98th Meeting (AM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADDS SENEGAL TO LIST OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; DECIDES

TO CONSIDER ESTABLISHING DECADE TO ROLL BACK MALARIA IN AFRICA

Also Adopts 25 Budget Committee Recommendations on Procurement Reform,

Peacekeeping Financing, Criminal Tribunals, Gratis Personnel, among Others

Acting without a vote, the General Assembly this morning added Senegal to the list of least developed countries and, acting on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), adopted 25 texts on various items on its agenda.  It also decided to consider at its current session an additional item entitled "2001-2010 Decade:  Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa".

Adopting, as orally amended, a draft resolution on the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council, by which Senegal would be considered as one of the least developed countries, the Assembly brought the total number of such countries to 49.  [The least developed countries are the poorest countries in the world, officially designated as such by the General Assembly on the basis of a number of agreed criteria.  In the development efforts of the United Nations, they receive particular attention, since their needs are even greater than those of other developing countries.]

Following the conclusion of the Fifth Committee's first resumed session last Monday, the Assembly acted on eight draft resolutions and 17 draft decisions recommended by that body. 

Adopting a draft resolution on procurement reform, it welcomed the progress achieved in reforming United Nations procurement processes and urged the Secretary-General to continue full implementation of its resolution 54/14 on the matter.  The Secretary-General was asked to ensure proper accountability and training of all involved in procurement, to expedite information dissemination on procurement in developing countries and countries in transition and to develop a comprehensive system to measure the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of procurement, taking into account best practices. 

The Assembly also reaffirmed the need to increase procurement opportunities for vendors from developing and transition countries and encouraged regional procurement by United Nations missions.  Among other matters, the Assembly also expressed concern about delays in payment to vendors and invited the Secretary-

General to submit proposals for revision of the financial rules and regulations and to assess the workload and functions of all units in the procurement process. Heads of funds and programmes were invited to improve their procurement practices by simplifying registration of vendors who are already registered with other United Nations organizations.

On the financing of peacekeeping missions, the Assembly adopted draft resolutions, recommending appropriation of some $73.27 million gross for the maintenance of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for the period ending 30 June 2001, and some $180 million gross -- for the operation of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) until 30 June 2001.

On the financing of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Assembly endorsed the review of the emoluments and other conditions of service for the ad litem judges of that Tribunal and authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments not greater than $5.29 million gross to support ad litem judges for this year.

In other action this afternoon, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) regarding its investigation into possible fee-splitting arrangements between defence counsel and indigent detainees at the two International Tribunals.  It asked the Secretary-General to ensure that the investigation into this matter continued, in consultation with the Registrars of both Tribunals.

By two draft decisions on the OIOS reports on the audit and investigation of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and on the follow-up to the 1997 audit and investigation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Assembly noted those reports.

To align the term of office of the Board of Auditors with the financial cycle of the United Nations, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution, by which, starting on 1 July 2002, the Board's members would serve six-year terms of office.  In the interim, the appointment of the Auditor-General of South Africa would be extended until 30 June 2006, and members elected under the current procedure would be eligible for re-election.

Acting on the reports of the Board of Auditors, the Assembly accepted the Board’s qualified audit opinions regarding the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme for the period ended 31 December 1999.  The organizations in question would be requested to adhere to the plans they submitted to the Board of Auditors to correct the deficiencies which led to the qualified audit opinions and to take all the necessary steps to prevent such shortcomings from occurring again.

The Assembly also endorsed the comments of the ACABQ on the report of the Secretary-General on internal and external printing practices of the Organization and asked the Secretary-General to continue to improve printing practices, bearing in mind the documentation requirements of Member States.

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By several texts, the Assembly noted numerous reports before the Fifth Committee, including, inter alia, the statistical report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC); the Secretary-General's reports on gratis personnel; the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS); the asbestos problem; facilities management and on the Overseas Property Management and Information Exchange Network; as well as several reports of the OIOS.

In other action this morning, the Assembly deferred to the second part of its resumed session the consideration of human resources management.  It also deferred consideration of the reports of the Secretary-General on strengthening the international civil service and of the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the OIOS.  Noting the ACABQ’s intention to review the report of the Secretary-General on improving the profitability of the Organization’s commercial activities, the Assembly also decided to revert to that question during the main part of its fifty-sixth session.

At the beginning of today's meeting, the Assembly took note of the fact that Chad had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.  [By the terms of that Article, a Member State in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization, which equal or exceed the amount due for the preceding two full years, loses its vote in the General Assembly.]

Also on Article 19, the Assembly took note of a related report of the Fifth Committee providing information on the consideration of the item there.

Drafts before the Assembly were introduced by Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee Eduardo Manuel Da Fonseca Fernandes Ramos (Portugal) and the representative of Iran. 

Short statements were made by the representatives of Egypt and Senegal.

The Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.

Documents before Assembly

The General Assembly this morning was expected to act on the Fifth Committee reports and consider a request for the inclusion of an additional item of its agenda.

Following its first resumed session, the Fifth Committee presented to the Assembly its recommendations on a number of issues on its agenda.

By the draft resolution on the Board of Auditors' reports (document A/55/689/Add.1), the Committee recommended that the Assembly should endorse the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the matter and accept the qualified audit opinions of the Board of Auditors regarding the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme for the period ended 31 December 1999. 

The organizations in question would be requested to adhere to the plans they submitted to the Board of Auditors to correct the deficiencies which led to the qualified audit opinions of the 1998-1999 financial statements, and to take all the necessary steps to prevent such shortcomings from occurring again.

In approving a draft resolution on procurement reform (document A/55/532/Add.2) the Committee recommended the Assembly welcome the progress achieved so far in reforming United Nations procurement processes, and urge the Secretary-General to continue full implementation of its resolution 54/14 on that matter.  The Assembly would also stress the need for procurement to be efficient, transparent and cost-effective, and fully reflective of the international character of the Organization.

If the Assembly acts on the Fifth Committee’s recommendation, the Secretary-General would be asked to ensure proper accountability and training of all involved in procurement.  The Assembly would take note of procurement experiences of several other United Nations system organizations and reaffirm the need to increase procurement opportunities for vendors from developing countries and countries in transition.  The Secretary-General would be asked to expedite information dissemination on procurement in those countries and also to sensitize the business community and United Nations offices to United Nations procurement opportunities.

By other terms, the draft would see the Assembly also encourage regional procurement by United Nations missions.  The Secretary-General would be asked to develop a comprehensive system to measure the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of procurement, taking into account best practices.  Among other matters, the Assembly would also express concern about delays in payment to vendors.  The Secretary-General would be invited to submit proposals for revision of the financial rules and regulations and to assess the workload and functions of all units in the procurement process.  The text also invites executive heads of funds and programmes to improve their procurement practices by simplifying registration of vendors who already hold registration with other United Nations organizations.

The same Fifth Committee report (document A/55/532/Add.2) also contains a draft resolution on the review of the term of office of the Board of Auditors and a draft decision on the reports of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).  By the first, it would decide that the members of the Board should serve for a non-consecutive term of office of six years, starting on 1 July 2002.  For the transitional arrangements, it would approve an option, by which the appointment of the Auditor-General would be extended until 30 June 2006 and members elected under the current procedure would be eligible for re-election.

By the second, it would note the OIOS reports on:  the follow-up to the 1997 review of the programme and administrative practices of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat); on the programme and administrative practices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); on the audit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda; and on the outcome of the consolidation of three economic and social departments into Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  It would also reiterate that the OIOS report should be considered under the relevant items of the agenda.

By the terms of the draft decision on gratis personnel provided by governments (document A/55/852), the Assembly would take note of the reports of the Secretary-General on the situation of gratis personnel and other entities and the related report of the ACABQ.  It would further decide that commencing with the period ending 31 December 2000, reports on the matter would be submitted annually instead of quarterly.

Within the framework of the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, the Fifth Committee presented to the Assembly eight draft decisions contained in document A/55/713/Add.1, by the terms of which it would note several reports before the Fifth Committee.

By the first, it would note the twelfth progress report of the Secretary-General on the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) project and endorse the related observations and recommendations of the ACABQ.

The second would have the Assembly note the Secretary-General’s report on the asbestos problem and welcome his continuing efforts to solve this problem at Headquarters and some other duty stations.

The third decision would note the Secretary-General’s reports on facilities management and on the Overseas Property Management and Information Exchange Network -- a globally collaborative approach to facilities management -- and endorse the recommendations of the ACABQ in that regard.

By decision four, the Assembly would note the ACABQ’s intention to review the report of the Secretary-General on proposed measures to improve the profitability of the Organization’s commercial activities and decide to revert to that question during the main part of its fifty-sixth session.

Yet another (fifth) decision would see the Assembly note the Secretary-General’s reports on construction of additional conference facilities at Bangkok and Addis Ababa, and decide to retain the existing balance on the construction-in-progress account pending further consideration.

The Assembly would also decide (by decision six) to note his report on the security arrangements at the United Nations Office at Geneva and request the Secretary-General to keep them under review to ensure full protection of delegates, staff and visitors.

The Assembly would -- by decision seven -- endorse the observations and recommendations of the ACABQ on common services and request the Secretary-General to report to its fifty-seventh session on the progress made and decisions taken on the future of the Task Force on Common Services.

The eighth decision would see the Assembly endorse the comments of the ACABQ on the report of the Secretary-General on internal and external printing practices of the Organization.  It would ask the Secretary-General to continue efforts to improve printing practices, bearing in mind the documentation requirements of Member States.

In approving a draft decision on the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (document A/55/876), the Fifth Committee recommended the Assembly note the reports of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships and the related comments and recommendations of the ACABQ.

Another draft decision before the Assembly concerns the statistical report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) (document A/55/859).  By the terms of that text, the Committee would recommend the General Assembly take note of the report (document A/55/525).

On the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations, the Fifth Committee (document A/55/521/Add.2) informs the General Assembly that, on 9 April, Vice-Chairman of the Committee Ramesh Chandra (India)

-- coordinator of informal consultations -- reported on the results of the informal consultations held on the item.  At the same meeting, the Committee took note of the information provided by the Vice-Chairman and coordinator of the informal consultations.

In its report on human resources management (document A/55/890), the Fifth Committee recommends that the Assembly decide to defer consideration of the item entitled “Human resources management” to the second part of its resumed fifty-fifth session.

The Assembly would also defer consideration of the reports of the Secretary-General on strengthening the international civil service with a view to taking a decision at its fifty-sixth session, by the terms of the draft decision contained in document A/55/709/Add.1.

By the terms of the draft decision contained in document A/55/888, the General Assembly would decide to defer consideration of the item entitled "Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services" to the second part of the Fifth Committee's resumed fifty-fifth session.

By two drafts on the financing of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (document A/55/691/Add.1), the Assembly would take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the financing of the Tribunal and the recommendations of the ACABQ on the matter.  It would also authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in an amount not to exceed some $5.28 million gross for the resource requirements of the Tribunal to support ad litem judges for the year 2001, and request the Secretary-General to report thereon at its fifty-sixth session.

By the second draft resolution contained in the same document, the Assembly would endorse the recommendations on the emoluments, terms of service and substinence regulations of the ad litem judges and decide to review, in conjunction with the comprehensive review of the emoluments, pensions and conditions of service for the members of the International Court of Justice and the two Tribunals, the emoluments and other conditions of service for the ad litem judges of the Yugoslavia Tribunal.

Also, by the draft decision contained in document A/55/691/Add.2,the Assembly would note the report of the OIOS on the audit and investigation of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

In other action this afternoon, the Assembly would approve a draft resolution on the report of the OIOS on its investigation into possible fee-splitting arrangements between defence counsel and indigent detainees at the two International Tribunals (document A/55/877).  If adopted, the draft would have the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to ensure that the investigation into this matter continued, in consultation with the Registrars of both Tribunals.  He would also be asked to report on the matter to the fifty-sixth session of the Assembly.

On the Rwanda Tribunal, the Assembly had before it a draft decision (document A/55/692/Add.1), by which it would note the report of the OIOS on the follow-up to the 1997 audit and investigation of that Tribunal.

Before the Assembly was also a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (document A/55/891), by the terms of which it would take note of the status of contributions to the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) as at 28 February 2001, including the contributions outstanding in the amount of $242.1 million, representing some 41 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  Noting that some 11 per cent of the Member States have paid their assessed contributions in full, and urging all others concerned, in particular those in arrears, to ensure the payment of their contributions, the Assembly would decide to appropriate the amount of some $73.27 million gross ($73.78 million net) for the maintenance of the Mission for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, in addition to the amount of some $504.4 million gross ($496.55 million net) already appropriated.  That figure would be inclusive of some $23.93 million gross for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $3.74 million gross for the United Nations Logistics Base.

As an ad hoc arrangement, at the current time, the Assembly would decide to apportion among Member States an additional amount of some $36.6 million gross.  [In its report before the Committee, the ACABQ recommended apportionment of that amount, representing half of the total $73.3 million additional appropriation.  The balance of the assessment would be subject to a report to the Assembly in the context of its review of the proposed budget for UNAMSIL for 1 July 2001

30 June 2002, to be submitted later this year.]

By the terms of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) (document A/55/711/Add.1), the Assembly would appropriate $180 million gross ($177.87 million net) for the operation of the Mission for the period from 31 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, inclusive of the $150 million gross authorized by Assembly resolution 55/237.  It would also request the Secretary-General to report at the earliest possible time on how the concept of operations affected and could justify the proposed structure of the Mission, including its senior staff component.  The Secretary-General would be also requested to ensure efficient administration of the Mission and encouraged to continue efforts to recruit local staff for the Mission against General Service posts.

Having considered programme budget implications of adoption of draft resolution A/55/L.80, the Fifth Committee decided to inform the Assembly in its related report (document A/55/848) that, should it adopt the draft, an additional appropriation in the amount of $29,600 would be required under section 1, Overall policy-making, direction and coordination, of the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.  Travel would be provided for up to five representatives of Senegal to attend the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly and travel would also be provided for one representative or alternate representative of Senegal to attend the special sessions of the General Assembly in 2001.  The requirements for 2002-2003, estimated at $27,400, for the travel of up to five representatives to attend the fifty-seventh and fifty-eighth sessions of the General Assembly should be included in the Secretary-General’s proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003.  [By the terms of draft resolution A/55/L.80, Senegal would be added to the list of least developed countries.]

Also before the Assembly was the fifth report of the General Committee on the organization of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly, adoption of the agenda and allocation of items (document A/55/250/Add.4).  It explains that on 9 April 2001 the General Committee had considered a request submitted by Togo on behalf of the Organization for African Unity, for the inclusion of an additional item in the agenda for the Assembly's fifty-fifth session entitled "Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa".  The request was transmitted in a letter dated 8 March 2001 from the representative of Togo to the Secretary-General (documents A/55/240 and Add.1).  The letter was accompanied by a draft resolution, also entitled “Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa".  According to the text of that draft, the General Assembly would proclaim the period 2001-2010 the Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa.  The General Committee recommended that the Assembly include the item in its agenda and that the new item be considered directly in the plenary.

Action on Texts before Assembly

EDUARDO MANUEL DA FONSECA FERNANDES RAMOS (Portugal), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee, introduced that Committee's reports.

Regarding human resources management, he said that despite great efforts to arrive at a consensus on the issue, the Committee still had some matters to address, including the G to P examination, contractual arrangements, recruitment and placement and the principle of equitable geographical representation.

The representative of Egypt said that he wanted to correct the Rapporteur's statement that the Committee had been unable to reach consensus on the G to P examination.  The Assembly had adopted resolution 53/221 on the matter.  That resolution was in effect until such time the Assembly adopted another resolution.

The Assembly first turned its attention to the Committee's report on financial reports and audited financial statements and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/55/689/Add.1).  It adopted the draft resolution in that report, acting without a vote.

Next, it turned to the report on the review of efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/55/532/Add.2), and adopted the two draft resolutions and one draft decision contained in the report also without a vote.

It then took up the report on human resources management (document A/55/852), adopting also without a vote, the draft decision it contained on gratis personnel.

The Assembly then turned to the report on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 (document A/55/713/Add.1), adopting without a vote the eight draft decisions contained in the report.

Next it turned to the draft decision on the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships contained in document A/55/876, adopting that decision without a vote.

The Assembly then took up the draft decision entitled the statistical report of the Administrative Committee on Coordination on the budgetary and financial situation of organizations of the United Nations system contained in document A/55/859. 

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the decision.

Next, the Assembly turned to the report on scale of assessments for the apportionment of expenses for the United Nations (document A/55/521/Add.2) and decided to take note of the report.

Turning to the report on human resources management (document A/55/890), the Assembly adopted the draft decision contained in the report without a vote.

The Assembly then turned to the report on the United Nations Common System (document A/55/709/Add.11), and adopted the draft decision it contained without a vote.

Next, the Assembly took up the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the OIOS (document A/55/888), adopting without a vote the draft decision it contained.

The Assembly then turned to reports on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (documents A/55/691/Add.1 and Add.2).  Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the two draft resolutions contained in

document A/55/691/Add.1 as well as the draft decision contained in document A/55/691/Add.2.   

Turning to the report on financing of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/55/877), the Assembly adopted the draft resolution it contained without a vote.

It then took up the draft decision on the report of the OIOS on the

follow-up to the 1997 audit and investigation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda contained in document A/55/692/Add.1, adopting the decision without a vote.

The Assembly turned next to the report on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (document A/55/891), adopting the draft resolution it contained without a vote.

Turning to the report on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) (document A/55/711/Add.1), the Assembly adopted the draft resolution it contained again without a vote.

The Assembly then turned to the report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/55/L.80 contained in document A/55/848. 

The representative of Iran introduced draft resolution A/55/L.80 and informed the Assembly of changes to the text.  The number of countries classified as least developed countries had grown, with 48 countries currently in that category.  With the adoption of the resolution, one more country would be added to the group.  If the international community had been more supportive of least developed countries, the Assembly would have been witnessing a graduation from that category rather than an inclusion. 

The Assembly then adopted the resolution as orally revised.

The representative of Senegal said that on the occasion of the adoption of the draft resolution, the decision to seek inclusion in the list of least developed countries had required courage.  Senegal, however, was confident that it would soon graduate from the list.  He thanked all who had supported the resolution, in particular the representative of Iran.

Turning to the fifth report of the General Committee (document A/55/250/Add.4) on a request by Togo to include an additional item -- "2001-2010 Decade:  Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa" in the Assembly’s agenda, the Assembly decided to include that item in its agenda.    

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For information media. Not an official record.