CAPITAL MASTER PLAN, SECONDARY DATA CENTRE, AMENDED STAFF RULES AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED, AS BUDGET COMMITTEE CONCLUDES RESUMED SESSION

27 March 2009
GA/AB/3899

CAPITAL MASTER PLAN, SECONDARY DATA CENTRE, AMENDED STAFF RULES AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED, AS BUDGET COMMITTEE CONCLUDES RESUMED SESSION

27 March 2009
General Assembly
GA/AB/3899
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly

Fifth Committee

39th Meeting (Night)


CAPITAL MASTER PLAN, SECONDARY DATA CENTRE, AMENDED STAFF RULES AMONG ISSUES


ADDRESSED, AS BUDGET COMMITTEE CONCLUDES RESUMED SESSION

 


Concluding its first resumed session late this evening, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) made recommendations to the General Assembly on such diverse issues as the implementation of the Capital Master Plan, arrangements for a secondary data centre at Headquarters, staff rules, and financing of peacekeeping in the Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic.


By a draft resolution on the Capital Master Plan ‑‑ one of 11 texts that were approved without a vote today ‑‑ the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure “by all means” that the costs of the project are brought back within the approved budget of over $1.8 billion and make every effort to avoid budget increases through sound management.  While welcoming the success of value engineering activities in identifying over $100 million in potential savings, it would emphasize that the exercise should not undermine the quality of work and standards of safety and health.  Noting the delay in the relocation of Secretariat staff to office swing space, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to avoid any further slippages in order to avoid costly delays.


On the issue of “associated costs” that have been requested by various departments in connection with the renovation project, the Assembly would decide not to approve the overall estimate at this time, particularly since favourable market conditions might lead to significant cost reductions.  Deciding that associated costs would be financed from within the approved budget of the Capital Master Plan, unless otherwise specified, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to make every effort to absorb such costs for the current biennium, setting their total amount at about $30.27 million net.


In another draft, the Committee addressed the Secretary-General’s revised proposal for the establishment of a secondary data centre at Headquarters, which envisioned leasing a commercial data facility and obtaining the services of the International Computing Centre to mitigate the risks associated with the relocation of the primary data centre during the Capital Master Plan.


By the text, the Assembly would note with concern continued deficiencies in the planning and management of the project and request the Secretary-General to submit a unified disaster recovery and business continuity plan, including a permanent solution for Headquarters, no later than the main part of the sixty-fifth session.  On the project’s financing, the Secretary-General would be requested to absorb the amount of about $5.1 million within the approved budget of the Capital Master Plan and fund $2.03 million from the resources to be approved for the support account for peacekeeping operations for 2009-10.  He would also be requested to carry out a classification of crucial/non-critical systems of the Secretariat and ensure that the level of protection proposed has been subject to a thorough cost benefit analysis.


By a related text on business continuity management, the Assembly would reaffirm the provisions of its previous resolution, in which it expressed regret over the signing of a 10-year lease for the site of the Long Island City data centre.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to avoid a piecemeal approach to business continuity management, which so far, as the text would have the Assembly note, overlaps with and duplicates proposals in other reports, particularly on information and communications technology.


By another draft approved today, the Assembly would request a report from the Secretary-General providing, among other things, a clear definition of accountability and proposals on accountability mechanisms; clear and specific measures to ensure Member States’ access to timely information on results achieved and resources used by the Secretariat; concrete measures to ensure timely implementation of recommendations by oversight bodies, as well as measures to strengthen personal accountability within the Secretariat and institutional accountability towards Member States.


Recalling that the Security Council, in its resolution 1863 (2009), had expressed its intent to establish a United Nations peacekeeping operation as a follow-on force to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the Committee recommended that the Secretary-General be authorized to enter into commitments, in an amount not exceeding some $77.79 million, for the provision of logistical support to AMISOM, inclusive of the amount of $50 million previously authorized by the Advisory Committee. [The Council’s intention to establish a mission in Somalia is subject to its further decision by 1 June 2009.  By the same text, the Council requested the Secretary-General, in order for AMISOM forces to be incorporated into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, to provide a United Nations logistical support package to the African Union Mission to Somalia, including equipment and services.]


By other texts, the Assembly would:


-- Appropriate an additional amount of nearly $56.2 million to meet higher-than-expected personnel costs, aircraft rental and fuel at the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS);


-- Authorize the Secretary-General to enter into additional commitments not exceeding $139.67 million for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), following the transfer of authority from the European Union Force on 15 March;


-- Approve the revised budget of $26.8 million for three special political missions:  the United Nations Representative for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB); the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC); and the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN);


-- Approve the donation of the remaining assets of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), following its termination, to the Government of Ethiopia and the African Union, in support of its Mission in Somalia; and


-- Adopt a set of amendments to the United Nations Staff Regulations that are required for the implementation of a streamlined contractual framework adopted at the conclusion of the main part of the sixty-third session last December.


The Committee also provided recommendations to the Assembly on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit; the United Nations Postal Administration; and standards of accommodation for air travel.  By a separate text, it also deferred the consideration of several items on its agenda, including the scale of assessments, the report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee on vacant posts in the Office of Internal Oversight, and financing of the core diplomatic training activities of UNITAR.


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee first took up the draft text on the accountability framework, enterprise risk management and internal control framework, and results-based management framework (document A/C.5/63/L.39), which it approved as orally amended.


Stressing that accountability was the central pillar of effective and efficient management, and that it required attention at the highest level, the Assembly would ‑‑ by the terms of that draft ‑‑ reaffirm its endorsement of the benchmarking framework used for implementing results-based management at the United Nations.  It would also strongly urge the Secretary-General to respect the sole prerogative of Member States to define the roles and responsibilities of intergovernmental bodies and oversight bodies for results-based management, and request him to refrain from redefining those roles and responsibilities, including all aspects of programme planning, budgeting monitoring and evaluation.


By the text, the Assembly would request a report from the Secretary-General providing:  a clear definition of accountability and proposals on accountability mechanisms; clear and specific measures to ensure Member States’ access to timely and reliable information on results achieved and resources used by the Secretariat; and concrete measures to ensure the timely implementation of recommendations by oversight bodies.  In addition, he would provide information on measures to strengthen personal accountability within the Secretariat and institutional accountability towards Member States on the results achieved and resources used.  Further, the Secretary-General would provide concrete proposals on the reform of the performance appraisal system, including sanctions for under-performance, among other things.  There would be a clear definition of responsibilities resulting from delegation of authority and clear guidelines for programme managers to exercise authority and delegate authority.


The text would also have the Secretary-General provide information on the scope, parameters and time frame for the application of a reliable results-based management information system, and a detailed plan for implementing enterprise risk management and internal control framework.  He would provide an explanation of how the measures to strengthen accountability would address the “significant flaws” in terms of internal monitoring, inspection and accountability regarding the management of the United Nations “oil-for-food” programme.


Further by the draft, the Assembly would approve one position at the P-4 level to be financed under general temporary assistance for nine months to prepare the report.  It would also approve the redeployment of one P-4 post and one General Service (principal level) post, and $24,000 in non-post resources.


The Committee then turned to a draft on special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009 (document A/C.5/63/L.32), which contains separate sections on the United Nations Postal Administration, standards of accommodation for air travel, business continuity management, and special political missions.


In Section I, on the Postal Administration, the text would have the Assembly decide not to create a reserve for contingent liabilities for postal services, having taken note of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) report on the matter.


In Section II, on standards of accommodation for air travel, the Assembly would endorse the ACABQ’s conclusions and recommendations, and request the Secretary-General to explore all possible options for reducing the cost of air travel.  He would be asked to present his conclusions in his forthcoming comprehensive report on the subject.


In Section III, on business continuity management, the Assembly would reaffirm the provisions of its previous resolution on the issue, in which it expressed regret over the signing of a 10-year lease for the site of the Long Island City data centre.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to avoid a piecemeal approach to business continuity management, which so far, as the text would have the Assembly note, overlaps with and duplicates proposals in other reports, particularly on information and communications technology.


The Secretary-General would be requested to ensure that business continuity plans were in place for all departments and offices of the United Nations Secretariat, offices away from Headquarters, and regional commissions, and that their respective heads were held accountable for implementing them.  It would request the Secretary-General to ensure that lessons learned on influenza pandemic preparedness be taken into account.


As part of his coordinated approach, the text would have the Secretary-General engage in regular consultations with constituent parts of the United Nations and draw upon their experiences.  He would be asked to strive for economies of scale through coordination among organizations within the United Nations, including in the use of backup centres for ICT, the use of consultants and the procurement of specialized equipment and medical supplies and training.


By further terms, the Secretary-General would be requested to submit a fully justified proposal for post and non-post resources in relation to work under way, in the context of the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.


Finally, in Section IV, on special political missions, the Assembly would take note of the revised narrative and logical framework for the budget of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for implementing Security Council resolution 1559 (2004).  It would approve the revised budget of $26.8 million for the United Nations Representative for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), and the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).


By further terms, it would decide to appropriate about $8.9 million for the three missions, having taken into account an unencumbered balance of nearly $17.8 million.  A sum of about $1.7 million would be offset by a corresponding amount of income from staff assessment.


In addition, the text would have the Assembly request a revised budget proposal for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia for 2009, for consideration by the General Assembly during the second part of its resumed sixty-third session.


The draft resolution was approved without a vote, as orally amended.


Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on the arrangements for a secondary data centre at Headquarters (document A/C.5/63/L.33), by the terms of which the Assembly would reaffirm the need for a global operational framework to enable the United Nations to respond effectively to emergency situations and encourage the Secretary-General to take a unified approach to disaster recovery and business continuity, utilizing all available infrastructure.  The Secretary-General would be requested to ensure the use of enterprise data centres rather than local ones as far as possible.


[During the resumed session, the Committee considered the Secretary-General’s revised proposal for the establishment of a secondary data centre at Headquarters, which envisioned leasing a commercial data facility and obtaining the services of the International Computing Centre.  The initial proposal for a secondary data centre in Long Island City had been considered by the Committee last fall, but the Secretariat had subsequently decided not to pursue it due to a significant escalation of construction cost estimates.]


The Assembly would further note with concern continued deficiencies in the planning and management of the project and regret that the proposal of the Secretary-General did not provide the necessary assurances that its implementation would sufficiently mitigate risks during the relocation of the primary data centre to the North Lawn.  When utilizing the services of the International Computing Centre, the Secretary-General would be asked to ensure compliance with all regulations and rules regarding procurement.  In connection with the previously leased space, the Assembly would reiterate its request that the space was fully utilized if it was not possible to terminate the lease.


Noting with concern that delays caused by the lack of reliable disaster recovery and business continuity might lead to further cost escalation, the Assembly would decide that any further proposal for measures to protect data and information and communications technology systems during the Capital Master Plan would be reported in the context of the annual progress report on the Plan.


On the financing of the project, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to absorb the amount of about $5.1 million within the approved budget of the Capital Master Plan and fund $2.03 million from the resources to be approved for the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.  The Secretary-General would also be requested to carry out a classification of crucial/non-critical systems of the Secretariat, ensure that the level of protection proposed has been subject to a thorough cost benefit analysis and submit a unified disaster recovery and business continuity plan, including a permanent solution for Headquarters, no later than the main part of the sixty-fifth session.


The text was approved without a vote.


The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the Capital Master Plan (document A/C.5/63/L.34), by the terms of which the Assembly, reiterating its serious concern at the hazards, risks and deficiencies of the United Nations Headquarters building in its current condition, would take note of a series of reports on the project, endorse the conclusions and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, subject to the provisions of its resolution, and approve the recommendations of the Board of Auditors.


At the same time, the Assembly would stress the special role of the host Government with regard to support for the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  Noting the benefits accruing to host countries from the presence of the United Nations, it would recall current practices of host countries in support of United Nations bodies located in their territories and stress that any arrangement with the host country shall be in accordance with safeguarding of the integrity of relevant bodies of international law, including the Headquarters Agreement and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.


In connection with the sixth progress report on the implementation of the project, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure “by all means” that its costs are brought back within the approved budget of some $1.8 billion and make every effort to avoid budget increases through sound management.


Welcoming the success of value engineering activities in identifying over $100 million in potential savings, the Assembly would request detailed information on that exercise in the next progress report and encourage the Secretary-General to continue finding efficiency gains and cost reductions throughout the implementation of the project.  In that regard, the Assembly would emphasize that value engineering should not undermine the quality of the Capital Master Plan, including the durability and sustainability of materials used, as well as the original design and standards of safety and health, in particular with regard to asbestos.


Also, noting the delay in the relocation of Secretariat staff to office swing space, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to avoid any further slippages in order to avoid costly delays.  Among other things, the text also addresses the issues of sustainability, procurement, health and safety, donations, parking, accessibility and oversight.


On the issue of so-called “associated costs” that have been requested by various departments in connection with the renovation project, the Assembly would note with concern that a number of the requirements presented do not relate directly to the Capital Master Plan, but are investment costs and long-term commitments.  Bearing in mind opportunities for cost reductions as a result of the present economic circumstances, as well as savings accomplished by the Secretary-General, it would not approve the overall estimated costs of $186 million that had been presented to the Fifth Committee and decide that the approved associated costs would be financed from within the approved budget of the Capital Master Plan, unless otherwise specified by the Assembly.


Requesting the Secretary-General to make every effort to absorb the associated costs relating to the current biennium, it would determine the total amount of about $30.27 million net for the associated costs, including $995,300 for the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management; $3.82 million for the Department of Public Information; $11.72 million for the Office of Central Support Services; $1.64 million for the Office of Information and Communications Technology; and $4.52 million relating to construction, alteration, improvement and major maintenance activities at Headquarters. The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit proposals for associated costs required for the year 2010 from within the approved Capital Master Plan budget in the context of the progress report next year.


The Assembly would express its regret that the Secretary-General has entered into commitments for associated costs in 2008-2009 absent formal approval of the Assembly.  It would also regret that Member States had not been consulted on the need to upgrade the broadcast facility, even though it had been conceived long before the Capital Master Plan.


The draft resolution was approved without a vote.


Next, the Committee approved, without a vote, a draft resolution (document A/C.5/63/L.35), by which it recommended to the Assembly a set of amendments to the United Nations Staff Regulations that are required for the implementation of a streamlined contractual framework adopted at the conclusion of the main part of the sixty-third session last December.  The amended regulations relate to such issues as renewal of temporary appointments, consideration of external candidates and conversion to continuing appointments.


The Assembly would, among other things, reaffirm that staff recruited through national and language competitive examinations and holding probationary appointments as at 30 June this year, will be considered for conversion to permanent appointments upon successful completion of their probation on or after 1 July 2009.  It would also emphasize that nothing in the regulations contained in the text and its annex is to preclude persons with disabilities from being considered for employment under any type of contract.


Also by the text, the Secretary-General would be requested to report on full implications of converting all currently eligible staff to permanent appointments and on the status of the review of such staff.


Next, the Committee approved, without a vote, a draft resolution that would have the Assembly take note of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit for 2008 and programme of work for 2009 (document A/C.5/63/L.36).  Welcoming progress in the Unit’s reform and improved collaboration with participating bodies, it would reiterate its request to the Secretary-General and other executive heads to act in a timely fashion in providing the Unit with all the information it requests.  It would also reiterate its invitation to the legislative organs of participating organizations to take concrete action on the Unit’s recommendations.


In addition, the draft would have the Assembly note the Unit’s efforts to report on the impacts of its recommendations, and have it invite the Unit to include, in its annual report, information on implementation of the follow-up system by participating organizations and requests the Unit to work towards a web-based follow-up system.


By a further provision in the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to expedite the appointment of the Unit’s Executive Secretary, after consultation with the Unit and the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), in full accordance with article 19 of the Joint Inspection Unit statute, as well as relevant provisions of General Assembly resolutions regarding staff selection.


The Committee then turned to a draft decision on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) (document A/C.5/63/L.31), by the terms of which the Assembly would approve the donation of the Mission’s assets, following its termination, to the Government of Ethiopia and the African Union, in support of its Mission in Somalia.


The inventory value of the assets to be donated to Ethiopia amounts to some $1.4 million, with a corresponding residual value of $421,800.  The donation to the African Union amounts to some $6.91 million in inventory value and a corresponding residual value of $1.97 million.


The text was approved without a vote.


By a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) (document A/C.5/63/L.37), which the Committee also approved without a vote, the Assembly would decide to appropriate nearly $56.2 million to the UNMIS Special Account for the 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 period, in addition to $820.7 million already appropriated under a previous resolution.


To finance the appropriation, the Assembly would apportion $42.1 million among Member States for the 1 July 2008 to 30 April 2009, after taking account of $715.6 already apportioned in a previous resolution.  The sum of $973,833 would be offset from Member States’ respective shares of the Tax Equalization Fund, representing an increase in the estimated staff assessment income approved for UNMIS for that period.


For the period from 1 May to 30 June, subject to a decision of the Security Council to extend the mandate for UNMIS, the draft would have the Assembly apportion $8.4 million among Member States, at a monthly rate of $4.2 million, after having accounted for $143.1 million already apportioned for that time period under a previous resolution.  Similarly, there would be an offset of $194,767 for the total apportionment for that period, from Member States’ shares of the Tax Equalization Fund.


The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) (document A/C.5/63/L.40), by the terms of which the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for the Mission for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 in a total amount not exceeding $139.67 million, inclusive of the amount of some $49.87 million previously authorized by the Advisory Committee, as well as the amount of $301.12 million already appropriated under the terms of resolution 62/233B.


[The Security Council extended the Mission’s mandate in January to 15 March 2010, when the transfer of authority between the European Union Force and MINURCAT took place.  It also authorized the deployment of its military component to follow up the European Union Force in both Chad and the Central African Republic at the end of that Force’s mandate.]


The Committee then approved a draft resolution on the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/63/L.38).  Recalling that the Security Council, in January, expressed its intent to establish a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia, as a follow-on force to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the Assembly, by its terms, would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments, in an amount not exceeding some $77.79 million, for the provision of logistical support to AMISOM, inclusive of the amount of $50 million previously authorized by the Advisory Committee.


[By the terms of resolution 1863 (2009), the Council’s intention to establish a mission in Somalia is subject to its further decision by 1 June 2009.  By the same text, the Council requested the Secretary-General, in order for AMISOM forces to be incorporated into a United Nations peacekeeping operation, to provide a United Nations logistical support package to the African Union Mission to Somalia, including equipment and services.]


Finally, the Committee turned to a draft decision submitted by the Chairman on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/63/L.41), by which the Assembly would defer, until the second resumed part of its sixty-third session, consideration of the report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee on vacant posts in the Office of Internal Oversight Services.


It would defer until its sixty-fourth session consideration of five documents under the item “Programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009”:  note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on a common payroll for United Nations system organizations; note by the Secretary-General transmitting his comments and those of the United Nations Chief Executive Board for Coordination on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on a common payroll for United Nations system organizations; and the reports of the Secretary-General and ACABQ on the conditions of service and compensation for full-time members of the International Civil Service Commission and the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.


It would also defer, to its sixty-fourth session, consideration of reports of the Committee on Contributions and reports of the Secretary-General on multi-year payment plans.


The draft decision was approved, as orally corrected to include the reports on the financing of the core diplomatic training activities of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).


Closing Remarks


Commenting on the outcome of the session, IVANA KRAHULCOVA ( Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that after intensive negotiations, the work of the Fifth Committee had concluded successfully, with consensus reached on the majority of agenda items.  She appreciated the great spirit of cooperation and flexibility that had allowed the delegations to reach agreement on such vital issues as those related to peace and security, the Capital Master Plan, information and communications technology, or human resources management. Nevertheless, it would have been even more productive, if all the important items had been given equal attention.


Some of the items on the Committee’s agenda kept being postponed because not all documents for the session had been issued on time and in all six official languages, she continued.  That was also the case with such an important item as safety and security.  With greater exposure to risks, there was a strong need to effectively respond to them, and it was an absolute necessity and priority that the Organization initiated all necessary steps to effectively protect the United Nations staff and premises.  The Secretary-General had proposed measures to strengthen safety and security, which he considered urgent.  The European Union was ready to take up those proposals at this session, and she regretted that, due to time constraints, the item could not be introduced.


The Union also supported consideration of the report of the Independent Advisory Audit Committee on vacant posts in the OIOS, she said.  The IAAC had a substantial role to play and could report its findings to the Assembly at any time.  Unfortunately, the Committee had not had the opportunity to discuss what the IAAC considered an important matter.  She would have also preferred a thorough discussion on the scale of assessments.


She added that, one day before the end of the session, a letter by the President of the Human Rights Council had been brought to the delegates’ attention, pointing out the critical financial situation in which the Council found itself and that compromised its ability to continue with the implementation of the Universal Review.  She noted with concern the delay with which the letter, dated 5 March, had been submitted to the Committee.  The Union was committed to providing the Human Rights Council with funds to implement its mandate properly.  However, this way of addressing its precarious situation was rather non-standard.  Moreover, she believed it was within the authority of the Secretary-General to respond adequately to the need expressed in the letter.


CATHERINE VENDAT, Director of the Peacekeeping Financing Division, said that the authorization for the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in a total amount not exceeding $77.79 million would be sufficient for the Secretariat to meet requirements for the provision of support to AMISOM, as requested in Security Council resolution 1863 (2009).


The representative of the Sudan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” and China, thanked the Chair for so ably guiding the session to its conclusion.  He offered similar thanks to the Bureau and Secretariat, and expressed thanks to Member States partners for their cooperation in drafting texts on issues important to the Group, such as safety and security.


He urged the Secretary-General and Secretariat to abide by sound financial rules.  He understood that the Chair would consult widely with delegations on seeking a way forward on the situation facing the Human Rights Council, and that, ultimately, the Committee would decide on the matter at a later date.


THOMAS GURBER (Switzerland) said that his delegation was surprised and concerned that the letter, dated 5 March, concerning the critical lack of resources from which the Human Rights Council was currently suffering, had been brought to the attention of the Fifth Committee only one day before the closure of the first part of its resumed session.  He was wondering why it had taken no less than 20 days to transmit the letter concerning such an important matter.  He would be grateful if the Chair of the Committee, in his response to the President of the General Assembly, could inform him about the surprise and concern of his delegation, and communicate to him that an explanation would be appreciated.


In his view, it was the responsibility of the Secretary-General to ensure that all activities mandated by the Assembly were carried out and serviced appropriately, he continued.  The Universal Periodic Review had been established by Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 and subsequently endorsed by the Assembly.  As far as insufficient resources for conference management, translation and documentation services at the United Nations Office in Geneva were concerned, he understood that additional funds needed to be made available to the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management in Geneva expeditiously.   Switzerland would closely monitor spending patterns within the relevant budget section and would revert to that issue when the Committee took up the second performance report.


The Chairman’s response to the Assembly President might also present an opportunity to highlight the fact that the next session of the Periodic Review would take place as early as May, he added. In order to strengthen Member States’ confidence in the Secretariat’s internal financial management of the matter, he suggested that the Secretary-General should inform the Committee at the second part of its resumed session about the measures taken to remedy the situation and ensure that all sessions of the Universal Periodic Review in 2009 could take place as scheduled.  He also expected the proposed budget for 2010-2011 to contain all resources required by the Human Rights Council and its working groups to fulfil their mandates fully during the next biennium.


The representative of Nicaragua expressed surprise at insinuations made by the Swiss delegate that the reason for the delay had some connection with the General Assembly President, which he “flatly rejected”.  The President was strongly committed to all matters relating to the Human Rights Council.


Mr. CUMBERBATCH ( Cuba) supported the statement by Nicaragua regarding the attitude of the President of the General Assembly towards the Human Rights Council.  He realized the importance of the issue, but if the delegations began attacking the Office of the President, his delegation would have a serious problem with that.  His delegation was ready to analyse the topic when the time came.


Mr. MUKAI ( Japan) added his voice to the expressions of thanks to the Chairman, his colleagues and the Secretariat.


The Chair informed the Committee that the Bureau had decided that the documents on safety and security would be introduced at the beginning of the May session, followed by informal consultations.  Also, the Bureau had discussed the preparedness of documentation for the May session with the Chair of the ACABQ, who had said that, due to a heavy workload, spacing of issuance and heavy content, the Advisory Committee would not be able to provide the documents on time.  His conclusion was that the Committee would not be able to conclude its work successfully within the established time frame.  He intended to consult with the Bureau and members of the Committee and take an initiative to talk to the President of the General Assembly to find a suitable solution.


In conclusion, he thanked all those who had helped the Committee to conclude its work today.  “It was a hell of a good experience and a good experience of hell, especially towards the end of the meeting,” he said.  Without mutual trust and confidence, the Committee would not have been able to finish its business.  In the end, the sense of compromise had prevailed, and he was grateful for that.


* *** *

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