GENERAL ASSEMBLY ESTABLISHES DEPARTMENT OF FIELD SUPPORT AS IT ADOPTS FIFTH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS ON MAJOR PEACEKEEPING OVERHAUL

29 June 2007
GA/10602

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ESTABLISHES DEPARTMENT OF FIELD SUPPORT AS IT ADOPTS FIFTH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS ON MAJOR PEACEKEEPING OVERHAUL

29 June 2007
General Assembly
GA/10602
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

Plenary

104th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly establishes department of field Support as it adopts

Fifth Committee recommendations on major peacekeeping overhaul

It also Approves Record Budget for Field Operations

In Move to Implement Secretary-General’s Wide-ranging Reform Proposals

Agreeing on a wide-ranging reform of the world body’s peacekeeping department and providing for a major augmentation of working-level resources to carry out increasingly complex tasks, the General Assembly today formally established a new Department of Field Support and a senior-level position to run it, as it also approved a record $5.25 billion budget for the 13 active peacekeeping operations it will oversee.

Adopting a 67-paragraph resolution on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly established the post of Under-Secretary-General for Field Support until 30 June 2008.  It also approved some $230.51 million in Support Account requirements for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including 819 continuing and 284 new temporary posts.

The Assembly was acting on reform proposals put forward by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the beginning of the year to bolster the Organization’s capacity to “mount and sustain” peacekeeping operations in light of the surge in demand for them and their increasing complexity of those operations.

With the Secretariat currently managing some 100,000 field personnel -- or some 200,000 personnel in real terms, given constant rotation of personnel and new mission requirements -- the Assembly established two posts for Assistant Secretaries-General in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, one to head the newly established Office of Military Affairs and the other to lead the newly created Office of Rule of Law and Security.  It also created the post of Chief of the Procurement Service in the Office of Central Support Services.

Acting on the individual mission budgets for 2007-2008, the Assembly also adopted the following amounts:

MINURSO ( Western Sahara)

$46,471,700

MINUSTAH ( Haiti)

$561,344,900

MONUC ( Democratic Republic of the Congo)

$1,166,721,000

UNDOF (Israel-Syria Disengagement)

$41,586,600

UNFICYP ( Cyprus)

$48,847,500

UNIFIL ( Lebanon)

$748,204,600

UNMEE ( Ethiopia and Eritrea)

$118,988,700

UNMIK (Kosovo)

$220,897,200

UNMIL ( Liberia)

$721,723,000

UNMIS ( Sudan)

$887,332,000

UNMIT (Timor-Leste)

$160,589,900

UNOCI ( Côte d’Ivoire)

$493,698,400

UNOMIG (Georgia)

$36,708,200

Total

$5,253,113,700

The appropriation for each mission includes a prorated share for the Support Account and the Logistics Base.  The total requirements for the Support Account amount to some $209.04 million, and those for the Logistics Base to $34.01 million.

All but one of the peacekeeping resolutions -– on financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) -– were adopted without a vote.  That text was adopted by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with 1 abstention ( Australia).  (See annex II.)

A separate vote was held on whether to retain several paragraphs of the text that refer to earlier Assembly resolutions calling on Israel to pay for damages resulting from an assault on the UNIFIL base at Qana, in southern Lebanon, on 18 April 1996.  They were retained by a recorded vote of 89 in favour to 4 against ( Australia, Canada, Israel, United States) with 47 abstentions.  (See annex I.)

Turning to the Organization’s governance and oversight system, the Assembly also adopted a resolution on the terms of reference for the Independent Audit Advisory Committee and strengthening of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).  Emphasizing the importance of establishing real, effective and efficient mechanisms for responsibility and accountability in the United Nations, the Assembly decided to approve the terms of reference for the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, as well as criteria for its membership, and to appropriate some $327.8 million.

The Assembly also adopted a text on cross-cutting issues, intended to provide policy guidance at Headquarters and in the field.  The 23-part text addresses all aspects of peacekeeping, from budget presentation, planning and staff structure, through training, military, air operations, ground transport, fuel management, conduct and discipline, to quick-impact projects, procurement and regional coordination.

In other action, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the reports of the Board of Auditors, and another on incentives to retain staff of the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia.  It also adopted a three-part text covering special subjects relating to the programme budget for 2006-2007, including the review of logical frameworks for special political missions for the period 1 January to 31 December 2007.

At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly decided to convene a commemorative high-level plenary meeting, on 11 and 12 December 2007, to evaluate progress made in the implementation of the Declaration and Plan of Action contained in the document entitled “A world fit for children”.

Speaking this morning were the representatives of Cuba, United States, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

The representatives of Syria and Lebanon also spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

Guatemala’s representative introduced the reports of the Fifth Committee.

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

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to take action on draft resolutions contained in the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) and on one text concerning follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children.

Action on Follow-up to the Outcome of the Special Session on Children

Taking up the draft on the commemorative high-level plenary meeting devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the special session (document A/61/L.63), the Assembly decided to convene that meeting on 11 and 12 December 2007, to evaluate progress made in implementing the Declaration and Plan of Action contained in the document entitled “A world fit for children”.

It decided also that the meeting would comprise plenary meetings and two thematic interactive round tables, and that the Presidents of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, the Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) would address the opening plenary.  The Assembly decided also that a girl and boy selected through a process led by the Assembly President, and organized by UNICEF and a representative of a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, would address the closing plenary meeting.

By other terms of the text, the Assembly requested its President to circulate -- following consultations with all Member States not later than 30 September 2007 and with due regard to gender balance and equitable geographical representation -- a list of three speakers for the closing plenary and a list of 20 children and 20 representatives of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, as well as those accredited to or in collaborative relationship with UNICEF.  They would participate in the two round tables on the understanding that 10 children and 10 representatives of non-governmental organizations would participate in each round table and that those organizations in a collaborate relationship or partnership with UNICEF would be considered, on a no-objection basis, for a final decision by the Assembly.

Before taking action, the Assembly heard a statement on the draft resolution’s financial implications, should it be adopted, in which a Secretariat official said it was understood that the commemorative high-level plenary meeting would comprise a total of four General Assembly plenary meetings and two parallel roundtables.  While the Assembly meetings would not require additional conference-servicing resources, an amount of $22,500 would be required for the two roundtables.  Those requirements would be accommodated to the fullest extent possible from within existing budget provisions, and additional resources, if required, would be accommodated by UNICEF.

The representative of Cuba, speaking in explanation of position, reaffirmed her country’s commitment to the Plan of Action for Children, the implementation of which was linked to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  It was to be understood by operative paragraph 7 that non-governmental organization cooperating with UNICEF, and without consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, would need a no-objection statement in order to participate.

She then drew attention to a typo in paragraph 12 of both the English and Spanish versions.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution, as orally corrected.

The representative of United States, speaking in explanation of position, said her delegation had joined the consensus reluctantly and would have preferred operative paragraph 12 to leave greater discretion to the Assembly President.  The United States would have been satisfied with the Chairman’s Statement on the outcome.  The Plan of Action adopted by consensus in 2002 had set out the commitments of the international community, and the 2007 meeting should reaffirm them.  Every precaution should be taken to keep the outcome brief and to prevent any changes and additions to, or questioning of the 2002 commitments.

KARLA SAMAYOA-RECARI ( Guatemala) introduced the reports of the Fifth Committee, which contained a draft resolution on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/61/631/Add.1).

Taking up that text, the Assembly accepted the audited financial statements of the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, and reiterated that the issue of outstanding assessed contributions was a policy matter of the Assembly.  The Assembly urged all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure they were paid in full.

It further requested the Secretary-General to ensure full and timely implementation of the Board’s recommendations as well as those of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), and to indicate an expected time frame and priorities in that regard, including office-holders to be held accountable.  It requested the Secretary-General to provide a full explanation for the delays in implementing the Board’s recommendations for the period that ended 30 June 2006 or the prior periods.

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

It then took up a draft entitled “Special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007” (document A/61/592/Add.5) and endorsed part I, containing the conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ report on the matter.

[The ACABQ report (document A/61/917) recommends that the Assembly take note that the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/8 would give rise to additional requirements in the amount of $360,300 under the 2006-2007 budget, which would be accommodated, to the extent possible, within the existing appropriation, as recommended by ACABQ; that the Secretary-General intends to report in the context of the second performance report of the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007 on any additional requirements; and that the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/4 would give rise to additional requirements in the amount of $74,300 under sections 2, 23 and 28E of the proposed budget for 2008-2009, which would be considered when the Assembly takes up the proposed 2008-2009 programme budget and the related contingency fund.]

By part II of the text, on the financial situation of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Assembly decided to authorize the Secretary-General, on an exceptional basis, to enter into commitments in an amount up to $367,800 under the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007, subject to full reimbursement, pending receipt of voluntary contributions for the Institute’s financing.

The Assembly also called on the Secretary-General to offer solutions for placing INSTRAW’s financial situation on a more stable basis without recourse to regular budget funding.  It reaffirmed that regular budget resources would not be used to finance the Institute’s activities, and reiterated its appeal that Member States urgently contribute voluntary funds in support of INSTRAW and honour existing pledges.  It called upon the Institute to formulate a budget more closely aligned with the volume of available voluntary resources.

Turning to part III, on review of the logical framework for special political missions for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2007, the Assembly endorsed proposals contained in paragraph 7 of the Secretary-General’s report.

[In the that report, the Secretary-General requests the General Assembly to approve the proposed revisions to the logical framework for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau.]

The Assembly adopted that draft resolution was adopted without a vote.

Taking up a text concerning a comprehensive proposal on appropriate incentives to retain staff of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia (document A/61/967), the Assembly noted with concern that there may be difficulties in retaining and recruiting key staff as the Tribunals completed their mandates.  It requested the Secretary-General, without prejudging any decision on staff-retention measures, to report on cost implications and provide clarifications as well as a clear justification for possible payment of incentives.

That text was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly next adopted a text (document A/61/980) on terms of reference for the Independent Audit Advisory Committee and strengthening the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), by which it reaffirmed its oversight role and that of the Fifth Committee on administrative and budgetary matters, and emphasized the importance of establishing real, effective and efficient mechanisms for responsibility and accountability in the United Nations.

Further by that text, the Assembly emphasized that the recruitment and promotion of OIOS staff would be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Charter, relevant Assembly resolutions and decisions and the Organization’s Staff Rules and Regulations; emphasized also that the approval, change and discontinuation of legislative mandates were the exclusive prerogative of intergovernmental bodies; and stressed that OIOS would not propose to the Assembly any change in the legislative decisions and mandates approved by those bodies.

The Assembly endorsed ACABQ’s recommendation to convert to established posts, nine posts in the Audit Division of OIOS and 16 posts in its Investigations Division, and requested the Secretary-General to report on the functions, structure and work processes of the Investigations Division with a view to strengthening its function in the context of the programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009.  It also approved the transfer of management consulting posts, noting that the incumbents carrying out those functions should not be disadvantaged by virtue of the transfer.

Noting that the level of resources needed to strengthen the Office was related to the strength of the Organization’s internal control, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to establish a robust and effective internal control framework, including a mechanism of enterprise risk management, and to include in his related report proposals to strengthen the Office.

Also by that draft, the Assembly decided to approve the terms of reference for the newly established Independent Audit Advisory Committee and the criteria for its membership.  It also decided to review those terms of reference at its sixty-fifth session.

The Assembly then took up four texts contained in document A/61/968 and entitled “Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations”.

Adopting draft resolution I, on administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations; cross-cutting issues, the Assembly requested a review of the standards for the recruitment of national professional officers.  It also requested the Secretary-General to consider, when formulating budget submissions, greater use of national staff, commensurate with the requirements of the mission and its mandate.  Also on staffing, the Assembly reaffirmed that local mission personnel may be recruited as international staff in another mission only through the normal recruitment process, in which they would compete alongside other external candidates.

Reiterating its concern over high vacancy and turnover rates of civilian staff in some peacekeeping missions, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that vacant posts were filled expeditiously, and to ensure that any delegation of authority to mission officials with regard to recruitment was accompanied by appropriate steps to ensure accountability.   In view of the importance of interaction between United Nations personnel with local populations, the Assembly affirmed that a good command of the official languages spoken in the country of residence should be taken into account as an additional asset during selection and training processes.

Underlining the great importance of eliminating misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, the Assembly called for full implementation of the Organization’s zero-tolerance policy.  It stressed also the importance of a dedicated capacity in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, at Headquarters and in field missions, to address conduct and discipline issues.  In that connection, the Assembly decided to convert seven temporary Headquarters positions and 41 temporary field positions into posts and to authorize the funding of the remaining field positions from general temporary assistance.

Also by the draft, the Assembly affirmed the critical role of quick-impact projects in strengthening the link between missions and local populations, stressing that they were an integral part of mission planning, development and implementation.  It emphasized that they should be implemented with minimal or no overhead charges in order to ensure that the maximum amount was spent for the direct benefit of the local population.  The Assembly emphasize also the importance of coordination with humanitarian and development partners, and stressed that mission budgets for quick-impact projects should not finance humanitarian and development activities by agencies or other international organizations.

The Assembly recognized the ongoing nature of procurement reform, which should focus on ensuring efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness, while strengthening internal controls and greater accountability to Member States.  It requested the Secretary-General to identify obstacles preventing participation in procurement contracts by developing countries and those with economies in transition, and recognized the Procurement Division’s efforts to increase the number of business seminars held in developing countries.

Taking up draft resolution II, on financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, the Assembly decided to create the following posts in the Strategic Air Operations Centre: one Chief, Strategic Air Operations Centre (P-4); two Aviation Operations Officers (P-3); and two temporary positions established under general temporary assistance.  It also decided to approve the creation of a post of Chief, Administrative Services, at the P-5 level.  It further decided to approve the establishment of the following posts as temporary positions to be funded from general temporary assistance: one Chief, Engineering Design Unit (P-4), one Design Engineer (P-3) and two national General Service positions within the Engineering Design Unit.

By other terms, the Assembly decided to approve the creation of the post of Chief, Geographic Information System Centre, at the P-4 level, and the establishment of the following temporary positions, to be funded from general temporary assistance: one Geographic Information System Officer (P-3), one Geographic Information System Administrator (Field Service) and five national General Service positions within the Geographic Information System Centre.  It also decided to establish the general temporary assistance positions under the pilot project of an off-site recruitment and outreach unit and revert to the issue in the context of the 2008-2009 budget, pending the outcome of the human resources management reform.

That text was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then adopted, also without a vote, draft resolution III on consolidation of peacekeeping accounts, by which it decided to revert consideration of that question to the first part of its resumed sixty-second session, and requested the Secretary-General to provide an updated comprehensive report on the issue.

Acting again without a vote, it adopted draft resolution IV on strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to manage and sustain peacekeeping operations, by which it decided to establish the Department of Field Support, recognizing the need to strengthen the Organization’s Headquarters capacity to mount and sustain peacekeeping operations.  That recognition was in light of the surge in demand for peacekeeping operations, and their complex and multidimensional nature.

The Assembly also decided to establish the posts of Assistant Secretary-General to head the newly established Office of Military Affairs, Assistant Secretary-General to head the newly created Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, both in the Peacekeeping Department, and Chief of the Procurement Service (D-1) in the Procurement Division of the Office of Central Support Services.  It further decided to approve the redeployment of a P-5 post from the Military Division to the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions to perform the functions of Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General, and an existing D-2 Military Adviser post from the Military Division to the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions to head the Police Division.

By other terms, the Assembly stressed the Secretary-General’s overall responsibility for the Organization’s management, as Chief Administrative Officer and affirmed the need to ensure that the delegation of authority to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support and to field missions was in strict compliance with relevant resolutions, decisions, rules and procedures.

The Assembly reiterated the importance of strengthened accountability in the Organization and of ensuring greater accountability by the Secretary-General to Member States.  It also recalled its request to the Secretary-General specifically to define accountability and propose clear mechanisms for its application and instruments for its rigorous enforcement, without exception and at all levels, to ensure effective and efficient operations and resource management.

Also by the that text, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure a clear chain of command, accountability and coordination, and to define explicitly the Deputy Secretary-General’s role and duties, including in relation to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support, the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Management.  It also requested him to ensure the proper representation of troop-contributing countries in the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

Further by the text, the Assembly stressed that heads of departments reported, and were accountable, to the Secretary-General.  It noted the unique nature of the reporting line from the head of the Department of Field Support to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.  It decided that having one head of department (Field Support) report to and take direction from another (Peacekeeping Operations) would not set a precedent in the Secretariat.  The Assembly stressed that structural change was no substitute for managerial improvement.

Urging the Secretary-General to identify measures to increase the Support Account’s productivity and efficiency, the Assembly decided to maintain, for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, the funding mechanism for the Support Account used in the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007.  It also decided to approve 1 D-1, 13 P-5 and 12 P-4 posts for the integrated operational teams, to be located in their functional areas.  It further decided to locate the Partnerships Section in the Office of the Director for Policy, Evaluation and Training in the Peacekeeping Department, and to approve two Evaluation Officer posts (one P-5 and one P-4) and one Administrative Assistant post in that Department’s Best Practices Section.

The Assembly decided, by further terms, not to establish one P-4 post or a legal service in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, and not to establish a P-5 post for a Senior Legal Officer in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.  It did decide, however, to establish one P-4 post in the Peacekeeping Department’s Europe and Latin America Division, one P-4 post in lieu of using general temporary assistance in that Department’s Field Budget and Finance Division, and one P-5, two P-4 and one P-3 post in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions.

By further provisions, the Assembly decided to retain the 63 posts referred to in the ACABQ report under general temporary assistance, and requested the Secretary-General to review the level of resources of OIOS for backstopping peacekeeping operations, as well as its functions and interaction with peacekeeping operations and troop-contributing countries.

On budget estimates, the Assembly approved the support requirements in the amount of $230.51 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including 819 continuing and 284 new temporary posts and their related post and non-post requirements.

In terms of financing the budget estimates, it decided that Support Account requirements for the same period would be financed as follows: the unencumbered balance of $10.95 million and other income of $3.43 million in respect of the financial period ending 30 June 2006 to be applied to the resources required for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008; the amount of $7.1 million in excess of the authorized level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund in respect of the financial period that ended 30 June 2006 to be applied to the resources required for the financial period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008; and the balance of $209.03 million to be prorated among the budgets of the active peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.  The net estimated staff assessment income of $21.3 million, comprising some $23.43 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 and the decrease of $2.15 million in respect of the period ending 30 June 2006, would be offset by the balance of $209.03 million and prorated among the budgets of the individual active peacekeeping operations.

The Assembly then adopted a draft decision on closed peacekeeping missions, by which it decided to return two thirds of the credit available in the account of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission to the Government of Kuwait, amounting to $3.7 million.  It also decided to consider the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions during its sixty-second session.

The Assembly next took up a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/547/Add.2) on the financing of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB), by which it decided that Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Operation would be credited their respective share of the unspent balance and other income totalling some $69.01 million in respect of the financial period ending 30 June 2006.  Those that had not fulfilled their financial obligations would have their respective share of the unspent balance and other income set off against their outstanding obligations in the total amount of $69.01 million in respect of the financial period ending 30 June 2006.

Also by the draft, the Assembly took note of the status of contributions to ONUB as of 31 March 2007, including an outstanding $18.9 million, representing some 2 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It also noted with concern that only 33 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

The text was adopted without a vote.

Adopting a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/621/Add.1), on financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the Assembly decided to appropriate some $493.7 million to the Special Account for the Operation, including some $470.86 million for its maintenance.

Next, the Assembly adopted a draft contained in the report (document A/61/969) on the financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), deciding to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force the amount of $48.85 million for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $46.59 million for the Force’s maintenance, $1.94 million for the peacekeeping Support Account and $316,300 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Also by that text, the Assembly decided that one third of the net unspent balance and other income in the amount of $679,433 with respect to the financial period that ended 30 June 2006 would be returned to the Government of Cyprus.  It also decided that the prorated share of the net unencumbered balance and other income in the amount of $300,541 with respect to the financial period that ended 30 June 2006 would be returned to the Government of Greece.

The Assembly took note, by further terms, of the status of contributions to UNFICYP as of 31 March 2007, including those outstanding in the amount of $17.9 million, representing some 6 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It noted with concern that only 32 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

That text was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then adopted a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/970) on financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), by which it decided to appropriate to the special account for the Mission some $1.17 billion for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $1.11 billion for the Mission’s maintenance, $46.43 million for the Support Account for peacekeeping operations and $7.55 million for the Logistics Base.

By that text, the Assembly took note of the status of contributions as of 31 March, including $243.4 million outstanding (some 6 per cent of total assessments), noting with concern that only 36 Member States had paid their contributions in full.  It welcomed the expansion of the Mission’s logistics base at Entebbe, Uganda, which has resulted in savings for the United Nations.

The text was adopted without a vote.

Contained in the report (document A/61/971) on financing of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) was one draft resolution by which the Assembly decided to credit Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission with their share of the unencumbered balance and other income, amounting to $31.84 million, in respect of the financial period that ended 30 June 2006.  Those States that had not fulfilled their financial obligations would have their share of the unencumbered balance and other income offset against their outstanding obligations.  The Assembly also decided that the $4,800 increase in estimated staff assessment income in the financial period ending 30 June 2006 would be added to the credits from the $31.84 million.

The Assembly took note of the status of contributions to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor and to UNMISET as of 31 March, including outstanding contributions amounting to $25.4 million (some 1 per cent of total assessments), noting with concern that only 123 Member States had paid their contributions in full.

Acting again without a vote, the Assembly adopted that text.

By a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/617/Add.1), on financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), the Assembly decided to appropriate $118.98 million to the Mission’s Special Account for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $113.48 million for its maintenance, $4.73 million for the Support Account for peacekeeping operations and $770,400 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.  It also took note of the status of contributions to UNMEE as of 31 March, including outstanding contributions of $47.6 million, or 3.9 per cent of total assessed contributions, while noting with concern that only 22 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

The text was adopted, again without a vote.

Also adopted without a vote was a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/972) on financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), by which the Assembly took note of the status of contributions to the Mission as of 31 March 2007, including outstanding contributions of some $11.0 million, representing about 4 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It noted with concern that only 26 Member State had paid their assessed contributions in full.  The Assembly also decided to appropriate to the special account for UNOMIG the amount of $36.71 million for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $35.01 million for the Mission’s maintenance, $1.46 million for the Support Account and $237,700 for the Logistics Base.

Next, the Assembly took up a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/973) on financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), by which it decided to appropriate $561.34 million to the Mission’s special account, including $535.37 million for its maintenance, $22.34 million for the Support Account for peacekeeping operations and $3.63 million for the Logistics Base.  The Assembly took note of the status of contributions as of 31 March, including outstanding contributions of $203.1 million (some 16 per cent of total assessments), noting with concern that only 30 Member States had met their obligations in full.

The Assembly decided to establish the post of Coordinator of the Working Group on the Rule of Law, as proposed by the Secretary-General, and two posts for Security Officer (one P-4 and one P-2).  In addition, it requested the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive review of the Mission’s staffing structure and to report on it at the next budget submission.

That text was adopted without a vote.

By a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/974) on financing of United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Mission’s special account the amount of $220.89 million for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $210.68 million for the Mission’s maintenance, $8.79 million for the Support Account for peacekeeping operations and $1.43 million for the Logistics Base.  It took note of the status of contributions as of 31 March, including $92.8 million outstanding (some 4 per cent of the total assessed contributions), noting with concern that only 33 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

The Assembly then adopted that text without a vote.

It next took up a draft resolution from the report (document A/61/975) on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), deciding to appropriate some $721.72 million to the special account for the Mission for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $688.33 million for the Mission’s maintenance, $28.72 million for the Support Account and $4.67 million for the Logistics Base.  Also by that text, which was adopted without a vote, they took note of the status of contributions as of 31 March 2007, including $70.9 million outstanding, which represented some 3 per cent of the total assessed.  It also noted with concern that only 27 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

Acting again without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/976) on financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), by which it took note of the status of contributions to the Force as of 31 March 2007, including an outstanding $20.8 million, representing some 1.3 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It noted with concern that only 35 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.  The Assembly decided to maintain a dedicated capacity within UNDOF for the geographic information system mapping project.

The Assembly also decided to appropriate to the special account for the Force some $41.59 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including some $39.66 million for the Force’s maintenance, $1.65 million for the Peacekeeping Support Account and $269,300 for the Logistics Base.

Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of Syria said his delegation had joined the consensus on the basis of the principle that Israel, the aggressive party and occupying Power in the Syrian Golan, should bear responsibility for financing the Force, in line with the principles contained in Assembly resolution 1874 of 27 June 1963.

Turning to a draft resolution contained in document A/61/657/Add.2 on financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Assembly appropriated to the Force’s Special Account $748.2 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $713.59 million for the maintenance of UNIFIL, $29.77 million for the Support Account for Peacekeeping Operations and $4.84 million for the Logistics Base.

It also took note of the Secretary-General’s preliminary report on the Strategic Military Cell, and requested him to report on the results of the comprehensive review of the Cell, including its recommended life cycle, a rationale for current staffing levels, its modalities of coordination with the Peacekeeping Department’s Military Division, its impact on efforts to achieve unity of command in the Department, the cost-effectiveness of its functioning, its interaction with other parts of the Secretariat and the possibility of applying the same approach to other missions.  The Assembly took note of the status of contributions to the Force at 31 March, including an outstanding $141.6 million, noting with concern that only 31 Member States had paid their contributions in full.

Expressing deep concern at Israel’s lack of compliance with other Assembly resolutions, the first being 51/233 and the last 61/250 A and B, the Assembly stressed once again that Israel should abide strictly by them.

[Those paragraphs concern a demand that Israel pay some $1.12 million resulting from a shooting incident at Qana on 18 April 1996.]

Speaking before action on the text, the representative of Syria expressed support for it, reiterating the principle that Israel should bear responsibility for financing UNIFIL as the aggressive party and the occupying Power that had led to its establishment.  Syria’s had raised serious concerns during the first part of the resumed session of the Fifth Committee about the logical framework of the Force’s budget, regarding particularly the drafting of expected accomplishment 1.1, which stipulated a safe and stable environment in southern Lebanon.  At that time, Syria had indicated that that expression was not in line with UNIFIL’s mandate, as authorized by the Security Council, and that resolution 1701 (2006), which reinforced that mandate, could not be interpreted in that manner.

Syria had indicated that the expression, as an expected accomplishment, could mean giving Israel security easement rights inside Lebanese territory, he said.  It could also justify Israel’s continued violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty by air, sea and land under the pretext of an existing unsafe environment.  Resolution 61/250 B of April 2007 on UNIFIL’s financing recognized Syria’s concerns and requested the Assembly to measure the Force’s achievements, including expected accomplishment 1.1.

He said that, during the second part of the resumed session, the Syrian delegation had once again raised its serious concern over the drafting of the expected accomplishment, due to the fact that the Secretariat had not formulated the expected accomplishment in line with the Council’s mandate and the Assembly’s resolution.  It did not refer at all to the two basic objectives behind the Force’s establishment -- full observance of the Blue Line between the two sides and the cessation of hostilities between the two parties.

Expected accomplishment 1.1 would enable Israel to continue its justification for not abiding by resolution 1701 (2006) and to undermine UNIFIL’s credibility in southern Lebanon, he said.  It would also give Israel free reign to continue its violations in southern Lebanon, which constituted a threat to that country’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.  Those violations were confirmed in the UNIFIL report to the United Nations.  Israel’s targeting of the Force had begun with its establishment and included the two massacres in Qana, which were still fresh in the memory of the United Nations.

Describing Israel’s numerous violations as an encroachment on UNIFIL’s mandate, he said the Assembly had recognized Syria’s serious concerns regarding expected accomplishment 1.1 by including paragraph 12 in the text, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to measure the Force’s expected achievements in line with the Council’s mandate.  On that basis, Syria would expect the Secretary-General to redraft the expected accomplishment in line with resolutions 425 (1978) and 1701 (2006).

The representative of Lebanon said his country needed the support of UNIFIL and condemned Sunday’s heinous terrorist attack.  The Governments and people of Lebanon offered their condolences and wishes for speedy recovery.  The latest attack underscored the importance of a safe and stable environment in southern Lebanon.

Reiterating his understanding that the expected accomplishment 1.1 mentioned in the report was fully in line with UNIFIL’s mandate under resolution 1701 (2006), he cited operative paragraph 12, by which the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to measure the accomplishments of the Force in full accordance with the Security Council mandate.  The expected accomplishment was fully in line with that mandate.  It was to be hoped that the Lebanese delegation’s view, as the primary delegation on the issue, would be taken into account.

The representative of Israel also expressed condolences to the families of the fallen UNIFIL peacekeepers, but noted that it was with “a sense of déjà vu” that he listened to the manipulations of Syria regarding expected accomplishment 1.1.  The world knew that it was Syria that was undermining stability in the region, in violation of resolution 1701 (2006).  Syria’s interference had been addressed in the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Lebanon, published on 28 June.

Quoting extensively from that report, he highlighted those violations, saying that, in the same report, the Secretary-General urged Syria to do more to control its border with Lebanon and expressed his disappointment that no more progress had been made by the Governments of Syria and Lebanon in terms of delineation.  The report exposed Syria’s malicious disobedience, and nothing short of immediate action could change that situation.

He said Israel strongly supported the logical framework of accomplishment 1.1, which was intended to provide a safe and stable environment in southern Lebanon.  The world knew that Syria was behind the instability in Lebanon and the Lebanese Prime Minister had stated that armed groups in refugee camps located in his country were armed and supported by Syria.

The Assembly decided to hold a recorded vote on preambular paragraph 4 of the draft resolution, as well as operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 20, adopting them by a vote of 89 in favour to 4 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, United States), with 47 abstentions.  (See annex I.)

Holding a recorded vote on the draft as a whole, the Assembly then adopted it by 141 votes in favour to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with 1 abstention ( Australia).  (See annex II.)

The representative of the United States said that, while his delegation strongly supported UNIFIL, the use of a funding resolution to pursue claims against a Member State was procedurally not correct.  For that reason, the United States was unable to support the resolution, which also included objectionable paragraphs.

Speaking in the exercise of the right of reply, Syria’s representative said his Government had officially expressed its condolences regarding the victims of Sunday’s terrorist attack in southern Lebanon.  That cowardly action had happened in an area 600 metres from the border with Israel, which could carry out that act at a distance with special technology.  The manner in which the Israeli delegate had voted indicated that his country was the aggressor.  Had Israel been desirous of safeguarding UNIFIL it would not have voted against a draft adopted in unanimity.

Noting that the Israeli delegate had cited paragraphs of the Secretary-General’s report on implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), he said the Secretary-General had confirmed that Israel had violated Lebanese sovereignty 33 times in one day.  That was confirmation of reports sent to the Secretary-General by the UNIFIL command.

He noted that the Israeli delegate had referred to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Palestinian military sites as if they had nothing to do with his country’s occupation of Palestine.  He had spoken as if the Palestinians in Lebanon had come from outer space, and that those in Lebanon had nothing to do with General Assembly resolution 194 concerning the rights of Palestinians abroad to return to their homeland, from which Zionist gangs had expelled them in 1948 and 1967.

He said Israel’s delegate had suggested that Syria should not interfere in UNIFIL’s mandate.  He should have advised his own Government to stop targeting the Force politically, militarily and in terms of security.  Regarding the Israeli delegate’s claim that Syria endangered stability in the Middle East, he was free to voice his opinion, but he had forgotten that the results of a survey conducted in Europe last year confirmed that 70 per cent of Europeans considered Israel a danger to international peace and security.  He had also missed the point that there were 1,000 resolutions that condemned Israel and considered it an occupying Power, terrorizing the Palestinian people and occupying the lands of others, including the Syrian Golan.

The representative of Lebanon, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said Israel’s delegate had not respected the General Assembly’s rules of procedure as he had exercised his right before the vote.  Lebanon invited Israel to cooperate with UNIFIL, something it pretended to do.  Reports clearly indicated Israel’s lack of cooperation, including its low-altitude flights.

Calling on the Israeli delegate not to interfere in Lebanon’s issues with Syria, he stressed that the two countries were not enemies.  Lebanon knew who its enemies were and for that reason it wished to establish diplomatic relations with Syria and delineate its border with that country.

Turning to a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/977) on financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Assembly took note of the status of contributions to the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone as of 31 March 2007, including credits in the amount of $43.5 million.  It decided that Member States having fulfilled their financial obligations to UNAMSIL would be credited with their respective share of the unencumbered balance and other income in the amount of $14.52 million with respect to the financial period ending 30 June 2006.  It also decided that Member States that had not fulfilled their financial obligations would have their share of the unspent balance and other income in the amount of $141.2 million with respect to the financial period ending 30 June 2006 would be set off against their outstanding obligations.  It decided further that the decrease of $378,900 in the estimated staff assessment income with respect to the financial period ending 30 June 2006 would be set off against the credits from the amount of $141.52 million.

The draft was adopted without a vote.

Taking up a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/978) on financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), the Assembly adopted it, requesting the Secretary-General to submit a revised budget to reflect financial requirements for the heavy support package for the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS).  It also requested him to reflect the progress of the implementation of the Mission’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities in the context of its revised budget for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.

Also by the text, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIS $887.33 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $846.28 million for the Mission’s maintenance, $35.31 million for the Support Account and $5.75 million for the Logistics Base.  It took note of the status of contributions as of 31 March 2007, including $56.5 million outstanding, representing some 2.7 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It noted with concern that only 63 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly then adopted a draft resolution contained in the report (document A/61/979) on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $46.47 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $44.32 million for the Mission’s maintenance, $1.85 million for the Support Account and $300,900 for the Logistics Base.  It took note of the status of contributions as of 31 March 2007, including an outstanding $49.2 million, representing some 7.8 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It noted with concern that only 34 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.

The Assembly then took up a draft from the report on financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (document A/61/644/Add.2), also adopting it without a vote and deciding to retain the levels of Chief of Staff and Deputy Police Commissioner responsible for administration and development.  By other terms, it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIT $160.59 million for the period 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including $153.16 million for the Mission’s maintenance, $6.39 million for the Support Account for peacekeeping operations and $1.04 million for the Logistics Base.

Finally, the Assembly adopted a draft decision contained in the report on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/61/667/Add.2), by which it deferred to its sixty-second session consideration of the following items: human resources management, including the Secretary-General’s reports on investing in people and reforming the Field Service category; reports on the activities of OIOS, including the OIOS report on the inspection of the programme and administrative management of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the Secretary-General’s notes on those reports; administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, including reports of the Secretary-General and ACABQ on the financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as at 30 June 2005, and the financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as at 30 June 2006; review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations; the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007; and reports of the Secretary-General and ACABQ on investing in information and communications technology.

ANNEX I

Vote on UNIFIL Paragraphs

Preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 20 of the draft resolution on financing of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/61/657/ADD.2) were retained by a recorded vote of 89 in favour to 4 against, with 47 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, United States.

Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Absent:  Angola, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu.

ANNEX II

Vote on UNIFIL Financing

The draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (document A/61/657/ADD.2) was adopted by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 2 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstain:  Australia.

Absent:  Angola, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kenya, Kiribati, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.