|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-third General Assembly
34th Meeting (AM)
BUDGET COMMITTEE TAKES UP PROPOSAL FOR DONATION OF ASSETS
OF UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning considered a proposal relating to the donation of the assets of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) to the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the African Union.
Introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the matter (document A/63/728), the United Nations Controller, Jun Yamazaki, recalled that the Mission’s mandate had been terminated as of 31 July 2008, and its administrative liquidation had started on 1 August 2008.
He went on to detail the proposed donation of the Mission’s assets to the Government of Ethiopia, with an inventory value of about $1.4 million and a residual value of $421,800; and assets to the Government of Eritrea, with an inventory value of about $6.08 million and a residual value of $2.3 million. It also included the proposed donation to the African Union of assets with inventory value of some $6.91 million and a residual value of $1.97 million, which would enable that organization to enhance the operational capabilities of its Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
He further explained that the Government of Eritrea had signed a certificate of temporary possession to receive and secure in safe custody the Mission’s assets, pending the approval by the General Assembly of the request for their donation. Subsequently, however, the Permanent Mission of Eritrea to the United Nations had informed the Secretariat that the donation had not been accepted by respective communities in Eritrea and advised the Organization of the need to make arrangements for shipping out the assets remaining in Eritrea.
Presenting a related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (document A/63/728), its Vice-Chairman, Collen V. Kelapile, said that, under the circumstances, ACABQ did not object to the proposed donation to the Government of Ethiopia and the African Union.
In connection with the fact that the donation had not been accepted by the communities in Eritrea, he said that the Advisory Committee had been informed that since UNMEE had already finalized the field liquidation process, terminated the service contracts and repatriated its staff, the Mission would not be in a position to recover the remaining assets. The Advisory Committee recommended that clarification on any potential liability of the Organization be provided to the Assembly during its consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on the financing of UNMEE. Despite the changed circumstances, it trusted that the liquidation process would be concluded as efficiently as possible.
ACABQ had also noted that, since UNMEE had already placed the assets proposed for donation in temporary custody, the Secretary-General was seeking the ex-post facto approval for the transfer of the Mission’s assets. In that connection, he pointed out that there was no provision in the Financial Regulations and Rules on the placement of assets in temporary custody, pending approval of the Assembly. ACABQ believed that the matter needed to be addressed.
The date and time of the Committee’s next meeting will be announced.
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