Fifth Committee Approves $7.8 Billion Peacekeeping Budget for Period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010

25 June 2009
GA/AB/3914

Fifth Committee Approves $7.8 Billion Peacekeeping Budget for Period 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010

25 June 2009
General Assembly
GA/AB/3914
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly

Fifth Committee

55th Meeting* (PM)

Fifth committee approves $7.8 billion peacekeeping budget

 

For period 1 july 2009 to 30 junE 2010

 

Following several weeks of intense consultations, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon recommended to the General Assembly a peacekeeping budget approaching $7.8 billion for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.

The representative of Japan said, in that regard, that the Committee had set a new record, even as the world faced unprecedented financial and economic challenges.  That being the case, it was all the more important for the United Nations to strengthen its oversight, management and financial control.  He also advocated enhanced regional and inter-mission cooperation, with a view to achieving greater synergies in the use of the Organization’s resources.

Stressing the need to provide all missions with adequate resources, several speakers expressed concern over the attempts during the session to introduce across-the-board cuts to peacekeeping financing.

The representative of Brazil said, in that regard, that the way the Committee had conducted its business this year had brought the functioning of missions to the verge of collapse.  Of particular concern was the trend to treat missions as a package.  In that connection, he highlighted the inconsistency of adopting ambitious mandates, on the one hand, and denying the missions the resources they required to fulfil those mandates, on the other hand.

The representative of the United States said he would have preferred a different outcome, going beyond the overall level of reductions identified by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), but the decisions reached reflected a responsible balance, one in which all Member States could take reasonable satisfaction.

The amount approved today would provide for the Organization’s 14 peacekeeping missions (including the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia, which was terminated during the consideration of peacekeeping financing), the support package for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)), the Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, and peacekeeping support account.   The breakdown of the appropriation is as follows:

Mission

Amount requested

Amount approved

MINURCAT ( Mission in Central African Republic and Chad)

$768.19 million

$690.75 million

MINURSO ( Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara)

$57.40 million

$53.53 million

MINUSTAH (Stabilization Mission in Haiti)

$618.62 million

$611.75 million

MONUC (Organization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo)

$1.428 billion

$1.35 billion

UNAMID (Hybrid Operation in Darfur)

$1.789 billion

$1.6 billion

UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force)

$45.4 million

$45.03 million

UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus)

$57.48 million

$54.41 million

UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon)

$646.58 million

$589.8 million

UNMIK ( Mission in Kosovo)

$47.08 million

$46.81 million

UNMIL ( Mission in Liberia)

$593.59 million

$561 million

UNMIS ( Mission in Sudan)

$980.56 million

$958.35 million

UNMIT (Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste)

$210.61 million

$205.94 million

UNOCI (Operation in Côte d’Ivoire)

$505.79 million

$491.77 million

UNOMIG (Observer Mission in Georgia)

$38.84 million

$15 million

Support of AMISOM

$185.67 million

$138.8 million

Brindisi

$68.28 million

$57.95 million

Support Account

$324.45 million

$294.03 million

Total

$8.18 billion

$7.75 billion

All the resolutions today were approved without a vote, except the text on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which received 125 votes in favour and 2 against ( Israel, United States), with no abstentions (see Annex II).

Prior to action on the text as a whole, a separate vote was held on the paragraphs referring to several previous resolutions that called for Israel to pay some $1.12 million for the damage resulting from a 1996 incident at the UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.  The paragraphs were retained by a vote of 74 in favour to 5 against ( Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, United States), with 45 abstentions (see Annex I).

By the terms of the draft on the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), following its termination earlier this month, the General Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to submit a liquidation budget at the main part of the sixty-fourth session, appropriating for that purpose an amount of $15 million for the period of 1 July to 31 December 2009.

The Committee also approved a text on activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009), which authorized the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to carry out its existing mandate until 31 January 2010.  In that connection, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for the support of AMISOM for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2009 in a total amount not exceeding $138.8 million, while also requesting him to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and transparency with regard to the use of United Nations resources, bearing in mind the specific nature of the support package.  The Secretary-General would be requested to submit his proposal on the full 2009/10 budget for the support of AMISOM in a timely manner, so that the decision could be made no later than 31 October this year.

By another draft, the Assembly would accept the audited financial statements of the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the 2007/08 period, while endorsing the recommendations contained in the Board of Auditors’ report.  Reiterating that the nature of outstanding assessed contributions was “a policy matter”, the Assembly would urge all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure payment of their dues in full and on time.

Approving the draft on the pattern of conferences, the Committee addressed an issue of great importance to its work -- timely submission of documents.  By the text, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on action taken to improve the situation in that regard and welcome the progress achieved so far by the task force concerning the issuance of documents for the Fifth Committee on peacekeeping financing.  It would also request an Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) review of the reasons why the Human Rights Council was not provided with conference services this year and ask the Secretary-General to maintain support to major groups participating in this year’s substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in Geneva.

In connection with closed missions, the Committee also approved texts determining the disposition of assets of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) and the ways of crediting of Member States’ respective shares of cash available in the accounts of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone.  It also acted on an oral draft decision, by the terms of which the Assembly would decide to return two thirds of the credits available in the account of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) to the Government of Kuwait in the amount of $996,800.  It would also decide to consider the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions during its sixty-fourth session.

On the rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries, the Committee recommended endorsement of the recommendations of the ACABQ, which did not object to the new methodology proposed by the Secretary-General and requested a mock-up of the proposed formula.  The ACABQ further noted that the application of the new methodology could lead to a change in the current applicable rates of reimbursement.  [The methodology proposed by the Secretary-General consists of four phases:  survey design, data collection, data analysis and reporting.]

The Assembly would further decide that any equipment bought by a troop-contributing country in a foreign currency, as well as any troops paid in foreign currency, could be reported in that currency.  It would also approve the increase of payment from four to 15 days of the recreational leave allowance for members of military contingents and formed police units.

And finally, the Assembly -- by a draft decision approved today -- would defer until its sixty-fourth session its consideration of several reports before the Committee.

Closing statements were also made this afternoon by representatives of the Sudan (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union), Mexico, Italy, Guatemala, Angola (on behalf of the African Group), Bangladesh and Nicaragua.

Action on Drafts

The first text before the Committee was a draft resolution on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/63/L.46).

By its terms, the General Assembly would accept the audited financial statements of the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the 2007/08 period, while taking note of observations contained in the Board of Auditors’ report and endorsing its recommendations.  Reiterating that the nature of outstanding assessed contributions was “a policy matter”, the Assembly would urge all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure payment of assessed contributions in full and on time.

Further to the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that the Board’s recommendations -- relating to both expendable and non-expendable property -- were implemented fully and promptly, as were related recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).  It would request the Secretary-General to indicate a timeframe for implementing those recommendations and to indicate the priorities for their implementation, including measures for holding office holders accountable.  It would further request the Secretary-General to provide, in his next report, a full explanation for the delays in implementing outstanding recommendations, the root causes of the recurring issues, and measures to be taken.

By the text’s other provisions, the Assembly would take note of the ACABQ’s observations on the issue, while endorsing the recommendations contained in its report.  It would take note, as well, of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Board of Auditors’ recommendations concerning Untied Nations peacekeeping operations for the financial period ended 30 June 2008.

The draft resolution was approved without a vote.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on the estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or Security Council (document A/C.5/63/L.48), by the terms of which the Assembly would approve a revised budget for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) in the amount of $16.18 million gross.  Taking into account the unencumbered balance of some $6.64 million, based on actual expenditures incurred in 2008, the Assembly would decide to appropriate an amount of $8.62 million for the remainder of the 2008-2009 biennium.

The draft was approved without a vote.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the pattern of conferences (document A/C.5/63/L.49), by the terms of which the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on action taken to improve the situation in regard to improving the timely issuance of documents and welcome the progress achieved so far by the task force concerning the issuance of documents for the Fifth Committee on peacekeeping financing.

The Committee would also note with concern the lack of conference services being provided to the Human Rights Council and request the Secretary-General to ensure that the Council was provided with all the necessary services to support its activities, including its universal periodic review of countries’ reports.  The Secretary-General would be further requested to entrust the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) with a review of the circumstances that led to that situation this year, and to present its recommendations at the main part of the sixty-fourth session.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to maintain support to major groups participating in this year’s substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva.

The text was approved without a vote.

Speaking after the action, the Sudan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, drew attention to paragraph 7 of the draft just approved, which requested the Secretary-General to maintain the support of the major groups participating in this year’s substantive session of the Economic and Social Council in Geneva.  He reiterated the Group’s regret in connection with the reduction of services provided to the Group and believed the paragraph gave the Secretariat the mandate to provide services, as they should, without any reduction, especially to the Group of 77 and China, during the substantive session of the Council in July.  The Secretariat should provide the services at the same level and with the same team of staff used to provide those services, so the Group could effectively participate in the ECOSOC session.

Cuba’s representative supported the position of the Group of 77 and added that the universal period review mechanism of the Human Rights Council was one of the main tools intended to achieve impartiality, universality and non-selectivity with regard to the protection and promotion of human rights.  It was unacceptable that internal squabbles in the Secretariat had created unjustifiable obstacles to the work of the Human Rights Council.  He hoped the review that had been requested from the OIOS would clarify the matter.

Acting on the rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries, the Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the matter (document A/C.5/63/L.50).

By the terms of the text, the General Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s updated report on the review of the methodology for those rates and endorse the recommendations contained in part IV of the report of the ACABQ, subject to the provisions of the draft resolution.

[The methodology proposed by the Secretary-General consists of four phases, namely, survey design, data collection, data analysis and reporting.  The Advisory Committee, in its report, does not object to the Secretary-General’s proposals, noting, among other things, his intention to provide reliable and comprehensive data, which would be more transparent and constitute an improved basis for informed decision-making.  The ACABQ further notes that the application of the new methodology could lead to a change in the current applicable rates of reimbursement.  In order to facilitate the Assembly’s consideration of the revised methodology, the ACABQ requested that a mock-up of the application of the proposed formula be provided to the Assembly.]

Further by the terms of the draft, the Assembly would decide that any equipment that a troop contributor buys for foreign currency, as well as any troops paid in foreign currency, could be reported in that currency.  It would also approve an increase in payment of recreational leave allowance from four to 15 days for members of military contingents and formed police units.

Speaking in explanation of position after action on the draft, the representative of Guatemala, while welcoming the adoption, pointed out that it was the obligation of every Member State to pay contributions in a timely fashion.  The troop-contributing countries were not reimbursed, as they should be.  Her country had problems with not having been reimbursed since 2008.  She hoped the Member States would pay their contributions in a timely fashion, so that countries like hers could continue to help peacekeeping operations.

Approving, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy (document A/C.5/63/L.51), the Committee recommended approval of the cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $57.95 million for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.

By other terms of the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that indicators of achievement reflected more fully the scope of functions and services provided by the Base to peacekeeping operations and other field missions, and to expedite receipt and inspection of strategic deployment stocks shipped from the Base.  It would also welcome the intention of the Secretary-General to submit proposals on a global support strategy for United Nations peacekeeping, requesting that those proposals include a thorough cost-benefit analysis.  The Assembly would also decide to relocate the Standing Police Capacity to Brindisi.

The Committee then turned on a draft resolution on the support account (document A/C.5/63/L.52), by the terms of which the Assembly would approve the support account requirements in the amount of some $294.03 million for 2009/10, including 1,175 continuing posts and 63 new temporary posts, and 83 continuing and 60 new general temporary assistance positions, as well as their related post and non-post requirements.

The text was approved without a vote.

Speaking in explanation of position on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, the representative of the Sudan said that it was the understanding of the Group that the reduction of the overall level of appropriation in the amount of $4 million would not in any way affect the number and level of posts and positions agreed on, as contained in the two annexes to the text.

The Committee’s attention was then drawn to an oral draft decision on closed peacekeeping missions, by the terms of which the Assembly would decide to return two thirds of the credits available in the account of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) to the Government of Kuwait in the amount of $996,800.  It would also decide to consider the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions during its sixty-fourth session.

The draft was approved without a vote.

The United Nations Controller, JUN YAMAZAKI, then introduced a note by the Secretary-General contained in document A/C.5/63/25, which indicates the amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, including a pro-rated share of the support account and the United Nations Logistics Base.

The Committee took note of the information provided.

The Committee also approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the disposition of the assets of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) (document A/C.5/63/L.43), which would have the Assembly encourage Member States that are owed credits for that closed mission to apply those amounts to any accounts where they have outstanding assessments.  The Assembly would also urge all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure the payment of their assessed contributions in full.

By the terms of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/63/L.53), the Assembly would decide to appropriate the amount of $491.77 million for the maintenance of the mission in 2009/10.

As in the texts on all individual active missions, the text includes provisions expressing concern regarding peacekeeping activities’ financial situation and delays in deploying and providing adequate resources to some recent operations, particularly in Africa.  By their terms, the Assembly would also emphasize that all peacekeeping missions should be given equal and non-discriminatory treatment and provided with adequate resources for effective and efficient discharge of their mandates.

Further by the texts, the Secretary-General would be requested to make the fullest possible use of facilities and equipment at the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, and the Entebbe Logistics hub, Uganda, where applicable.  The Secretary-General would also be asked to ensure that proposed peacekeeping budgets are based on relevant legislative mandates.

Taking note of the missions’ performance reports for 2007/08, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that each operation is administered with maximum efficiency and economy and to continue his efforts to recruit local staff against General Service posts.

The draft was approved without a vote.

Also approved without a vote was a draft resolution on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/63/L.54), which would have the Assembly appropriate some $54.41 million for the maintenance of the mission in 2009/10.

The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document A/C.5/63/L.55), by the terms of which the Assembly would decide to appropriate an amount of about $1.35 billion for the maintenance of the Mission in 2009/10.  Among other terms of the text, there is also a provision approving 16 general temporary assistance positions for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region for six months.

The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (document A/C.5/63/L.56), by the terms of which the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that the Mission provides all the necessary support for Timor-Leste’s local elections this year, approving the amount of $3.07 million towards that end.  It would also welcome the introduction of a misconduct tracking system in 2008, aimed at more accurate recording of all complaints and allegations received by the Mission.  It would note, in that connection, the increased number of allegations of serious and minor misconduct and request the Secretary-General to ensure that necessary measures are being taken to address this situation.

Further by the draft, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $205.94 million for the maintenance of the Mission in 2009/10.

The Secretary of the Committee introduced a correction to the draft.

The draft, as orally corrected, was approved without a vote.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which was terminated on 31 July last year (document A/C.5/63/L.47).

By the text, the General Assembly would take note of the status of contributions to the Mission as at 30 April 2009, including the contributions outstanding in the amount of $17.5 million (1 per cent of the total assessments), noting with concern that only 56 Member States have paid their dues in full.  Taking note of the report on the financial performance of the Mission for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, the Assembly would also take note of the unencumbered balance and other income in UNMEE’s account in the amount of about $17.61 million.

In that connection, the Assembly would decide that Member States that have fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission shall be credited with their respective share of the $2.88 million in net cash available in the Mission’s account.  Those countries would be encouraged to apply their credits to any accounts where they have outstanding assessments.  Under the scheme presented in the draft, the shares of the available cash of those Member States that have not fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission would be set off against their outstanding obligations.

Asking the Secretary-General to report on the updated financial position of the Mission during the second resumed sixty-fourth session, the Assembly would also decide to defer to that session a decision on the treatment of the balance of $14.74 million.

By the terms of a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (document A/C.5/63/L.57), the Assembly would, following the termination of the Mission by the Security Council this month, request the Secretary-General to ensure that the liquidation of UNOMIG is administered with maximum efficiency and economy.  The Assembly would further ask the Secretary-General to submit the liquidation budget of the Mission at the main part of the sixty-fourth session and decide to appropriate an amount of $15 million for the period of 1 July to 31 December 2009.

The Committee approved the draft without a vote.

On Haiti, the Committee approved, also without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/63/L.58), which would have the Assembly appropriate some $611.75 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period of 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, while also allocating up to $3 million for quick-impact projects on the ground.

On the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Committee had before it a draft resolution (document A/C.5/63/L.59), which would have the Assembly appropriate some $46.81 million for the maintenance of the Mission in 2009/10.

Prior to action on the draft, Mr. YAMAZAKI said that the understanding of the Secretariat was that additional general temporary assistance resources referred to in operative paragraph 11 were to be utilized to ensure coordination with EULEX and assist the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in implementing activities within the framework of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and Presidential Statement S/PRST/2008/44.

The draft was approved without a vote.

The Committee also approved without a vote a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/63/L.60), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate an amount of about $561 million for the maintenance of the Mission in 2009/10.

Also approved without a vote was a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/63/L.61), by the terms of which the Assembly would decide to appropriate an amount of $2.52 million for the period of 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, in addition to the amount of $41.59 million already appropriated for the maintenance of the Force for that period.  An amount of $45.03 million would be appropriated for the maintenance of UNDOF in 2009/10.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the financing of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/63/L.45), which would have the Assembly appropriate about $589.8 million for the maintenance of the mission in 2009/10.

Prior to action on the text as a whole, a separate vote was requested on the paragraphs of the draft referring to several previous resolutions that called for Israel to pay some $1.12 million for the damage resulting from a 1996 incident at the UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.

Speaking in explanation of position before the vote, the representative of Israel said that her delegation fully supported the work of UNIFIL in bringing peace and stability to the region, but was forced to call for a vote on specific paragraphs and the resolution on the whole, as it had done in previous years.  While that required her delegation to break from consensus, it was a necessary reaction to a highly dubious political procedure.  Indeed, there was no precedent for a particular Member State to bear sole financial responsibility for damage sustained by United Nations peacekeeping forces.  In every situation, her delegation acted in accordance with the General Assembly principle of collective responsibility, as detailed in Article 17 of the Charter, absorbing such costs in the budget for peacekeeping operations.  The UNIFIL should be no different.  Thence, the practice of calling on Israel to subsume financial responsibility for the damage sustained by a peacekeeping force contradicted the Charter, as well as the very text of the resolution, which read in paragraph 8:  ”all future and existing peacekeeping missions shall be given equal and non-discriminatory treatment in respect of financial and administrative arrangements”.

She added that there could be no question as to her delegation’s support for the objective of peacekeeping.   Israel was among the 22nd largest financial contributor to peacekeeping and paid its dues on time and in full each year, because it supported the collective nature and responsibility of financing peacekeeping forces, which required all Member States to pull their weight in order to best serve the whole.

The paragraphs were retained by a vote of 74 to 5 against ( Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, United States), with 45 abstentions (see Annex I).

The text on the whole was approved by a vote of 125 to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with no abstentions (see Annex II), as orally amended.

Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the Czech Republic said, on behalf of the European Union and associated States, that the Union was concerned that consensus had not been reached on the draft and that political elements had been introduced in the work of the Fifth Committee.  Members of the European Union and associated States had abstained during the voting on preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 19, because they considered the text, as drafted, inappropriate in the context of the resolution dealing with UNIFIL financing.  The broader political aspects of the events, including the incident at Qana, had been debated in the Assembly in April 1996, resulting in a resolution on the matter.  The European Unionhad made its position on the broader political aspects clear in its plenary statement at that time and in its voting on that specific text.

In conclusion, he underlined that, as in the past, the European Union would have wished that the Committee’s consultations could have been confined only to the budgetary aspects of the financing of UNIFIL.

The representative of Lebanon said his delegation agreed with the principle of collective responsibility for peacekeeping operations.  That principle, however did not contradict the general principle of international law concerning wrongful acts of a State, including compensation for damages as a consequence of such acts.  General Assembly resolution 55/235 stated that the General Assembly should give special consideration to Member States which were victims of events leading to peacekeeping operations.

He said 16 previous General Assembly resolutions had asked for compensation for damages caused by the Israeli attack on the United Nations post in Qana, which had caused the death of over 100 Lebanese, mostly children and elderly.  He requested also that all violations of the Blue Line should also be recorded and that the party responsible for the violations should be clearly indicated.

Australia’s representative said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft just adopted and not abstained, as it had in the past, in order to emphasize its strong support for UNIFIL’s work.  At the same time, Australia did not support the insertion of political language in a budget resolution and had voted against preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 19.

The representative of the United States said that his delegation strongly supported UNIFIL, but the use of a General Assembly funding resolution to pursue claims against a Member State was procedurally not correct.  His delegation had opposed the resolutions, since they called for Israel to pay the costs for the 1996 incident.  The procedure that was normally followed was for the Secretary-General to present and pursue the Organization’s claims against a State or States.  Using a funding resolution to legislate a settlement was inappropriate.  It politicized the issue.

The representative of New Zealand said that, as a long-standing supporter of UNIFIL, his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution.   New Zealand regretted, however, the inclusion of political paragraphs in a resolution, which should focus on budgetary requirements.  His delegation had, thus, voted against the paragraphs in question.

The representative of Canada regretted that consensus had not been possible because of inappropriate language in the paragraphs on which a separate vote had been requested.  Those paragraphs undermined the understanding that political considerations did not have a place in technical resolutions.  Neutrality was a core aspect of peacekeeping, he said.  It was also inappropriate to target one party for non-compliance of United Nations resolutions.  He urged that, in the future, the paragraphs on which a separate vote had been requested would be omitted.

By the draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (document A/C.5/63/L.44), the Committee, having considered the reports on the final performance of the Mission, recommended that the Assembly take note of the status of contributions to the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone as at 30 April 2009, including the credits in the amount of $44.9 million.

The Assembly would decide to credit Member States that have fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission with their respective share of the net cash available in the Mission’s Special Account in the amount of $15.63 million as at 30 April 2009, while encouraging those countries to apply their credits to any accounts where they have outstanding dues.

Urging all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure payment of their assessed contributions in full, the Assembly would also decide that the shares of those Member States that have not fulfilled their obligations to the Mission be set off against their outstanding dues.

Further by the text, the Assembly would also decide that updated information on the financial position of the Mission shall be included in the report on the updated position of closed peacekeeping missions, to be considered during the sixty-fourth session.

The draft was approved without a vote.

On the financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), the Committee had before it a draft resolution (document A/C.5/63/L.62), by the terms of which the Assembly would appropriate about $958.35 million for the maintenance of the Mission in 2009/10.  On the post requirements, it would decide to establish a post of Field Service Security Officer, internal audit, and 10 Field Service Security Officers, risk assessment, posts in the Safety and Security Section, as well as 187 disarmament, demobilization and reintegration posts.  A 50 per cent vacancy factor would be applied to the new international posts.

The Secretary-General would be encouraged, where feasible, to enhance regional and inter-mission cooperation with a view to achieving greater synergies in the use of resources and the implementation of mandates of the missions, while bearing in mind that individual missions are responsible for the preparation and implementation of their own budgets and for controlling their assets and logistical operations.

The Secretary introduced some corrections.

The text, as orally corrected, was then approved without a vote.

For the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the Committee recommended, by the terms of a draft resolution on the financing of the Mission (document A/C.5/63/L.63), the appropriation of some $53.53 million for the maintenance of the Mission in 2009/10.  The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/63/L.64), which would have the Assembly appropriate about $1.6 billion for the period from 1 July 2009 through 30 June 2010.

By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would stress the importance of strengthened accountability in the Organization and of ensuring greater accountability of the Secretary-General to Member States, among other things, for effective implementation of legislative mandates on procurement and related use of financial and human resources.  The Secretary-General would be requested to ensure that all procurement projects for the Organization are in full compliance with relevant resolutions, and that lessons learned from previous application of flexibility and administrative procedures are fully taken into account.  The Assembly would further request the Independent Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC) to provide advice on measures to ensure compliance of management with the OIOS audit and recommendations.

Among other things, the draft also contains a request for the Secretary-General to ensure that the activities of the Child Protection Unit are carried out in an integrated manner, and that its resource requirements are appropriately reflected in the next budget submission.

And finally, as in the case of several other larger peacekeeping missions, the Secretary-General would be encouraged, where feasible, to enhance regional and inter-mission cooperation with a view to achieving greater synergies in the use of resources and the implementation of mandates of the missions, while bearing in mind that individual missions are responsible for the preparation and implementation of their own budgets and for controlling their assets and logistical operations.

The draft resolution was approved without a vote.

Turning to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), the Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of that Mission (document A/C.5/63/L.65), which would have the Assembly appropriate some $690.75 million for its maintenance in 2009/10.

[The most recent extension of the mandate of MINURCAT was authorized by the Security Council in its resolution 1861 (2009), by which the Council, among others, authorized the deployment of its military component to follow up the European Union-led force (EUFOR) in both Chad and the Central African Republic at the end of its mandate.  The transfer of authority between EUFOR and the military component of MINURCAT took place on 15 March 2009.]

By other terms of the text, the Assembly would decide to reclassify the post of the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General from the D-1 to D-2 level; recognize that the improvement of national airport infrastructure is the responsibility of the host country, where possible; welcome the dispatch of a dedicated recruitment and staffing team -- “Tiger Team” -- which had expedited recruitment for the Mission; and commend the Mission for its initiative to prepare a water production and conservation policy and to increase the number of female officers in the Detachement integré de securité.

As in the case of several other larger peacekeeping missions, the Secretary-General would be encouraged, where feasible, to enhance regional and inter-mission cooperation with a view to achieving greater synergies in the use of resources and the implementation of mandates of the missions.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/63/L.66), which authorized the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to carry out its existing mandate until 31 January 2010.  In that connection, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for the support of AMISOM for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2009 in a total amount not exceeding $138.8 million, while also requesting him to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and transparency with regard to the use of United Nations resources, bearing in mind the specific nature of the support package.

The Secretary-General would be requested to submit his proposal on the full 2009/10 budget for the support of AMISOM in a timely manner, with the view to taking a decision no later than 31 October this year.

Finally, the Committee approved without a vote a draft decision on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/63/L.67), by which the Assembly would decide to defer until its sixty-fourth session consideration of 22 reports regarding:  programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009; administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations; Office of Internal Oversight Services; and closed peacekeeping missions.

In closing remarks, SUSANA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said the Committee had had a tremendous task before it because of the growing volume and complexity of the budgets.  She thanked Committee members wholeheartedly for the tireless efforts made to reach consensus on the 15 ongoing peacekeeping operations and other operations.  As the global financial downturn had impacted Member States, the Secretariat would do anything possible to ensure that resources provided would be used efficiently.  She hoped to talk with the Committee and groups of Member States to further develop the details of the support strategy.

The representative of the Sudan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said that, with regard to peacekeeping financing, it was the understanding of the Group that any reduction in the overall level of appropriations of specific missions would not reduce the amount of resources for quick-impact projects.  The Group attached great importance to peacekeeping operations and was extremely keen on providing missions with the required resources.  That did not conform with the trend towards the across-the-board cut-offs or general reductions, without taking into consideration the needs of each mission.

The negotiations had continued for a long time, and the Group intended to study that experience and draw lessons from it.  It was not beneficial for peacekeeping to be discussed in total.  Discussion of peacekeeping as a package might save some resources, but it would definitely not serve the objective of peacekeeping.  That experience should not be repeated.  Each mission should be dealt with separately, and its resources should be determined according to needs.

The representative of Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union, regretted that some important issues had been deferred to the next Assembly session, namely, cross-cutting issues which were a relevant part of peacekeeping management, safety and security and closed peacekeeping mission.  Moreover, the session would have been more productive and could have concluded earlier if all the important documents had been provided on time and in all six official languages.  Timelier issuance of relevant documents remained a must for the upcoming Assembly session.  The Fifth Committee must also reflect on better time management and organization for future resumed sessions.

The representative of the United States said he would have preferred a different outcome, going beyond the overall level of reductions identified by the ACABQ, but the decisions reached reflected a responsible balance, one in which all Member States could take reasonable satisfaction.  He applauded Committee members for actions taken to strengthen the investigation functions in the OIOS and endorsing the views of the IAAC regarding the filling of vacancies in the OIOS.

He fully supported the Secretary-General’s “Hubs and Spokes” approach, fully endorsed by the ACABQ and the IAAC, he said, and would have preferred to see that those proposals were adopted.  He welcomed, however, establishment of a “Pilot project” centre for investigations in Nairobi, Vienna and New York.  He also welcomed the Committee’s decision endorsing the IAAC recommendations on the filling of vacancies in the OIOS.  He agreed with the IAAC that recognition of the unique position of the OIOS was critical to its operational independence.

The representative of Brazil expressed concern over the negotiating process in the Fifth Committee this year, saying that the way business had been conducted brought the functioning of missions to the verge of collapse.  Of particular concern was the trend to treat missions as a package.  In that connection, he highlighted the inconsistency of adopting ambitious mandates, on the one hand, and denying the missions the resources they needed to fulfil those mandates, on the other hand.  The populations affected and the Organization itself would suffer the consequences of that irrational behaviour.  The argument that the financial crisis affected the situation was not convincing.  One could not lose sight of the fact that those most affected by the crisis were in war-torn countries.  Not providing the needed resources exposed missions to additional risks, and might be harmful to the very populations the Organization was set to protect.  He stressed the need to provide all missions with adequate resources to fulfil their mandates.  The unique mandates, complexity and specificities of each mission had to be addressed.

The representative of Guatemala said that negotiations on peacekeeping operations could not be carried out as had been done during the resumed session.  Every operation was a different one based on specific mandates and should not be linked.  The type of negotiations concluded had led to serious disputes among Member States.  She hoped that those Member States who had spoken about the need to lower the budgets because of the global crisis would also pay their contributions in full and on time.  That would resolve important issues, including the one on closed missions.

The representative of Angola, speaking on behalf of the African Group, regretted the way business had been done during the second resumed session.  Of particular concern had been the attempts to affect across-the board cuts, without taking into account the specific challenges and mandates of mission.  Linking peacekeeping budgets should have never happened.  It only served to delay the process and the conclusion of work.  The Committee had been supposed to have concluded its work by 5 June, yet had only finished its business two days ago.

KEN MUKAI ( Japan) recalled that the Committee had set a new record by approving a budget of $7.7 billion for peacekeeping operations, even as the world faced unprecedented financial and economic challenges.  That being the case, it was all the more important for the United Nations to strengthen its oversight, management and financial control.  In that regard, he would like to encourage the Secretariat to enhance regional and inter-mission cooperation, with a view to achieving greater synergies in the use of the Organization’s resources.

On the organizational issues facing the Fifth Committee, he emphasized the importance of adhering to the six-week document issuance and other relevant rules.  Delays had been seen, regardless of the efforts by the task force that had been set up by the Secretariat to expedite the issuance of documentation.  He proposed incorporating the six-week rule in the financial rules and regulations.  It was high time for the Secretariat and Member States to consider what further action should be taken to ensure compliance with that long-established and common sense operating procedure.  He also raised the issue of the schedule for the Committee’s two resumed sessions this year.  During the last week of the May session, seven new items had been introduced, four of them with ACABQ reports distributed only one day beforehand.  It was time to consider holding the second part of the resumed session during the six weeks from mid-May to the end of June and shortening the first resumed session to two weeks in March.

He added that it was unfortunate not to have a resolution on cross-cutting issues for two years in a row.  On the other hand, the Committee had spent a long time discussing the support account.  It was necessary to rectify the imbalance of time allocation for those two agenda items.  For example, it might be a good idea to consider the possibility of discussing those two items in turn, every two years.

The representative of Bangladesh said he was disappointed at the delay in the adoption of peacekeeping budgets and at the manner in which negotiations had taken place.  His delegation had consistently underlined the critical importance of providing adequate resources to peacekeeping operations.  Peacekeeping was, after all, a cost-effective tool to maintain international peace and security.  Unfortunately, however, arbitrary cuts across the board had been sought, irrespective of the needs individual missions that operated in hostile environments.  Moreover, in order to resolve the deadlock, numerous informal informal consultations had been held during nights and weekends.  He hoped to not face similar situations in the future, and called for Member States to pay their contributions in full and on time.

The representative of Nicaragua joined the Group of 77 and others and said that the growing number of mandates was in contradiction to the growing will of some Member States to indiscriminately reduce the cost of peacekeeping operations that they themselves had established in another body.  It was important to draw conclusions from the session and undertake an examination of lessons learned.  It was clear that the way the Committee had negotiated the peacekeeping budget and support account could not be repeated in the future.  That way of working was far from being able to bring about an effective conclusion to the session.  On the contrary, it led towards a crisis that the Organization could not afford to repeat.

Concluding statements were also made by the Committee’s Chair, GABOR BRODI ( Hungary), as well as the representatives of Mexico, Italy and the United Kingdom.

ANNEX I

Vote on Separate Paragraphs/Lebanon Force Financing

The operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 19 in the draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/63/L.45) were adopted by a recorded vote of 74 in favour to 5 against, with 45 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, United States.

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

Absent:  Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Lebanon Force Financing

The draft resolution on financing of UNIFIL (document A/C.5/63/L.45) was adopted by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 2 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstain:  None.

Absent:  Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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*     The 54th Meeting was covered in Press Release GA/10831 dated 10 June 2009

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