Budget Committee Approves Texts Addressing Administration of Justice, Pattern of Conferences, United Nations Common System

18 December 2009
GA/AB/3938

Budget Committee Approves Texts Addressing Administration of Justice, Pattern of Conferences, United Nations Common System

18 December 2009
General Assembly
GA/AB/3938
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

21st Meeting (AM)

Budget Committee Approves Texts Addressing Administration of Justice,

Pattern of Conferences, United Nations Common System

 

Also Takes Up Financing for UN Security, Secretary-General’s

Limited Budgetary Discretion, Budget Implications of Four Draft Texts

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today approved a draft that would have the Assembly reaffirm the Organization’s new internal justice system, which became effective on 1 July, and request the Secretary-General to provide information on how justice would be administered to non-staff personnel under the new system -- such as contractors, consultants, daily paid workers, personnel under service contracts and personnel under special service arrangements.

Approved without a vote, the draft would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to report on the status of the Judges of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal and their entitlements.  It would also have the Secretary-General provide information on the exact terms of reference of the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman concerning access by non-staff, as well as compile information on the standard contracts and rules, including dispute-settlement clauses, that governed relations between the Organization and various categories of non-staff personnel.  The Secretary-General is to provide an analysis of monetary awards provided through the system, and of indirect costs associated with an appeal, such as staff time.  He is also asked to identify aspects of staff administration that might give rise to a large number of appeals, and to compare the findings from the old system with that of the new system.

The draft would also have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to compare the advantages, disadvantages and financial implications of different legal remedies for non-staff personnel.  Aside from the possibility of granting access to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal by non-staff personnel, the draft requests the Secretary-General to consider the merits of three other alternatives:  an expedited special arbitration procedure conducted under the auspices of local, national or regional arbitration associations, for claims under $25,000 submitted by contractors; an internal standing body to settle disputes submitted by non-staff personnel; and a simplified procedure at the United Nations Dispute Tribunal for non-staff personnel.

That draft was approved alongside two others, also without a vote, including one titled “United Nations common system:  report of the International Civil Service Commission for 2009”, which would have the Assembly reaffirm aspects of the conditions of service of staff in the Professional category and higher.  Such aspects include base/floor salary scale, gender balance and geographical distribution, separation payments and mandatory age of separation.

A third draft approved today, on pattern of conferences, contains provisions on the efficient use of conference-servicing services, with numerous requests by the Assembly to the Secretary-General to maintain the quality and efficiency of service rendered while the Headquarters building undergoes refurbishment.  The Secretary-General is requested to ensure that implementation of the Capital Master Plan, including the temporary relocation of conference-servicing staff, will not compromise the quality of conference services.

Those three drafts were approved only after the Committee had cleared all remaining items off its agenda -- financing of safety and security at the United Nations, the Secretary-General’s use of limited budgetary discretion, and the programme budget implications of four resolutions tabled by several of the Assembly’s other Main Committees.

As the Committee took up the issue of safety and security, Gregory Starr, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, delivered an apology for the late submission of the budget document on safety and security, along with a plea that the delay be excused because the Department of Safety and Security was undergoing a management review.  The review was requested by an independent panel following an attack on the United Nations in Algiers in December 2007.

He said that, without a properly resourced budget, there was a real danger that the Department would find itself trapped in perpetual reaction mode.  “In many high-risk locations, our staff and our premises are vulnerable to attack at any moment”, he said.  “Whether this results in the loss of one life or in many casualties, delays in strengthening our security measures unfortunately only add to that vulnerability.”

He said that the Secretary-General, in his speech to the Fifth Committee on 7 December, also cited the unprecedented security challenges that United Nations staff and operations were facing in many regions of the world and the impact it had on the Organization’s work.  The Department had staffed a 24-hour hostage crisis cell with volunteers for over 200 days this year, because it had no other option.  Overall, the Department is responsible for the safety of hundreds of thousands of staff in 14,000 locations, working around the world to enable programmes that support the eradication of poverty, children’s health, and economic development.

According to the United Nations Controller, Jun Yamazaki, resource requirements for safety and security in 2010-2011 would amount to $247.11 million before recosting, representing an increase of $39.19 million from the previous biennium.  In a letter to the General Assembly on 9 December, the Secretary-General had also proposed an ad hoc measure to use $7.9 million of the budget of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) to augment the level of security in Afghanistan, and the inclusion of a provision in the Department of Safety and Security budget for 2010-2011 for needs in other countries.

Regarding the Secretary-General’s use of limited budgetary discretion, the Committee heard the introduction of a report by Mr. Yamazaki where the Secretary-General requested that such discretion be continued as an established procedure.

Susan McLurg, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), said the report did not contain adequate information to support the request, while the representative of Nicaragua commented that the report’s late arrival illustrated the Secretariat’s lack of consideration for the Assembly.  He added that, in light of the delay, in violation of General Assembly mandates, it was clear that there could be no discussion of limited budgetary discussion, other than to discuss the question of accountability.

The final item on the agenda, that of programme budget implications, was introduced by Mr. Yamazaki, with corresponding reports delivered by Ms. McLurg on behalf of the ACABQ.  The Committee was told that a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar would entail $1.28 million in additional requirements, while a resolution on institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Programme would entail $1.95 million.  A resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets would require an additional $1.69 million.  A fourth resolution, on implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, would entail a charge of $516,100.

Speaking today were the representatives of Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Canada (also on behalf of the Australia and New Zealand), Switzerland (also on behalf of Lichtenstein), United States, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Japan, Algeria and Cuba.

Ms. McLurg also introduced the ACABQ’s reports on safety and security.

The Committee will meet again on Tuesday, 22 December, to conclude its session.

Background

The Fifth Committee met this morning to consider the issue of safety and security, the Secretary-General’s limited budgetary discretion, and programme budget implications of resolutions passed by the Assembly at this session.

Safety and Security

As described in the budget document on safety and security (documents A/64/6 (Sect. 34) and Add.1), the requirements for 2010-2011 are estimated at $247.11 million.

A second report, on revised estimates relating to a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations (document A/64/532), contains proposals not covered under section 34 of the budget, relating specifically to the standardized access control project, nicknamed “PACT”.  PACT comprises new video surveillance systems, card readers, undercarriage vehicle inspection systems and other security enhancements, and is implemented in two phases -- PACT I and PACT II.

The report says that PACT I has been implemented at Headquarters, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  For reasons ranging from absence of qualified bidders to overly lengthy contractual negotiations, three United Nations offices are experiencing delays:  Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), and International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  In the case of ECSWA, the report says that PACT I has not progressed far enough to allow PACT II to begin.  PACT II is designed to provide access control measures for protection beyond the outer perimeter layer and within the multiple inner layers.

The report estimates the total cost of the project for 2010-2011 at $43.63 million under the regular budget, $4.17 million under the joint budget with the four Vienna-based international organizations, and $1.88 million under the budget for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), in its corresponding report on PACT (documents A/64/7/Add.15 and Corr.1), recommends that the resource requirements be adjusted to reflect a phased approach, where PACT is to be implemented during the biennium 2010-2011 at ESCWA, the United Nations Office at Nairobi and ECA.  The requirements for PACT II in the remaining duty stations should be reviewed and revised requirements submitted in the context of the 2012-2013 budget.  Regarding the idea of providing real-time video connectivity between Headquarters and major duty stations, the ACABQ is not convinced of its need at this time and suggests that its implementation be reviewed.  Accordingly, changes to post requirements relating to those suggestions should be reviewed.  The ACABQ further recommends that any posts approved should be funded through general temporary assistance.

Regarding the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the ACABQ says that additional resources in the amount of $864,000 are proposed to provide for four additional security officers to supplement the two security officers currently allocated to protect the UNTSO Chief of Staff.  The ACABQ notes that these additional requirements would be deployed only if authorization is obtained from the host country for international security officers to carry United Nations-issued weapons.  Pending the necessary authorization, the ACABQ recommends against approval of those proposals.

Regarding the International Court of Justice, the ACABQ notes that additional resources of $470,600 are proposed to provide for four additional posts to supplement the existing team of security officers, in connection with the increased threat of a terrorist-related event.  It recommends approval of one General Service post.

Regarding the overall proposed budget for safety and security, the ACABQ expresses concern, in document A/64/7/Add.16, about additional requirements still to come.  As indicated by the Secretary-General in his remarks to the Assembly on 30 October 2009, there were likely to be several forthcoming requests, relating to the establishment of a victim support fund, the establishment of an emergency fund to assist the Department of Safety and Security to meet its new demands, and the expansion beyond the current level of $1 million of the authority of the Secretary-General to undertake new financial commitments in times of crisis.

In addition, regarding the management review of the Department of Safety and Security, which was meant to identify weaknesses in the Department and puts forward a number of suggestions designed to remedy them, the ACABQ is concerned that remedial measures were not sufficiently developed.  It would have expected to see a detailed description of the existing system-wide architecture for leadership, coordination and accountability in the area of security and safety, an analysis of its effectiveness and, where appropriate, concrete proposals for measures to strengthen it.  It would also have liked to see in the management review some reference to the recommendations of the Independent Panel on the public image of the United Nations and its implications for security.

A letter to the President of the General Assembly transmitted to the Fifth Committee on 10 December (document A/C.5/64/10) conveys a request from the Secretary-General for the immediate use of $7.9 million for “highly prioritized security requirements” in Afghanistan , to be charged to the budget of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Limited Budgetary Discretion

In view of the Secretary-General’s positive experience with the use of limited budgetary discretion, he has requested, through a report on that issue (document A/64/562), the authority to make budgetary commitments of up to $30 million each biennium, and that limited discretion be allowed for budgetary applications of up to $10 million.  Amounts in excess of that level would require ACABQ approval.  Up to now, the Secretary-General is authorized to make commitments of no more than $20 million each biennium, with the ability to exercise discretion for budgetary applications of up to $6 million.  The application of limited budgetary discretion must involve no new appropriation by the General Assembly, instead requiring the redistribution of resources from potential savings.  Full reporting on the implementation of limited budgetary discretion would be submitted to the Assembly in the context of the first and second performance reports.

The report says no such requirements were filed in 2006, the year in which limited budgetary discretion was authorized.  In 2007, resources were provided in two instances:  An amount of $5.3 million was required to ensure that the United Nations was ready for an avian flu pandemic.  A sum of $4 million was required to address fire safety deficiencies, of which $3.5 million was funded through the Secretary-General’s limited budgetary discretion.  In the 2008-2009 biennium, $2.76 million was requested for enterprise resource planning, and $8.56 million for business continuity in a protracted crisis resulting from a flu pandemic.

The ACABQ comments on those proposals in its report contained in document A/64/7/Add.18, saying the Secretary-General’s report lacked adequate justification and/or explanation to support the request of the Secretary-General.  The ACABQ regrets that only one of the four criteria requested by the General Assembly, namely information on the use of limited budgetary discretion to-date, was fully addressed in the report of the Secretary-General.  While the annex to the report sets out questions to be examined when considering the possible use of the limited discretionary authority, it does not clarify how these questions would affect a decision to employ it.  While the ACABQ does not object to the continuation of the current arrangements for the exercising of the limited discretionary authority, it recommends that the Secretary-General be requested to submit a comprehensive report to the Assembly at its sixty-sixth session that fully addresses all unanswered questions.

Programme Budget Implications

The Committee also had before it the programme budget implications of several resolutions before the Assembly.

-- Additional requirements of $1.16 million would result from adopting draft resolution A/C.3/64/L.36 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, for the continuation of the efforts of the good offices of the Secretary-General in 2010 (document A/C.5/64/9).  The ACABQ, in its related report (document A/64/7/Add.14), notes that those requirements have been included in the Secretary-General's estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives.

-- Additional requirements of $1.78 million, after recosting, would result from adopting draft resolution A/64/L.27 on institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, which calls for finalizing the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (document A/C.5/64/11).  The ACABQ's related report (document A/64/7/Add.17) states that the additional requirements are to be offset by the same amount from staff assessment income for 2010-2011.  As that would represent a charge against the contingency fund, it would require appropriation.

-- Additional requirements of $1.46 million, after recosting, would result from adopting draft A/C.2/64/L.64 on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/C.5/64/12).  The additional requirements are to be offset by the same amount from staff assessment income for 2010-2011.  It would represent a charge against the contingency fund and, as such, would require appropriation.

-- Additional requirements of $516,100 would be required for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, called for in draft A/C.2/64/L.59 on implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  The final meeting of the Preparatory Committee, to be held in Brazil in 2012, will be addressed in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.  The Government of Brazil will defray the actual additional costs directly or indirectly involved in accordance with resolution 40/243 (document A/C.5/64/13).

Safety and Security:  Introduction of Reports

JUN YAMAZAKI, Assistant Secretary-General/Controller of the United Nations, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011:  Part XII, Safety and security; Section 34, Safety and security (document A/64/6 (Sect. 34)/Add.1).  He said the proposed budget detailed the requirements to adequately enhance global safety and security of the United Nations, based on the recommendations of the management review conducted by the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security.  The requirements were included within the regular budget for Headquarters and offices away from Headquarters and within the jointly financed budget that was cost shared among participating United Nations agencies, funds and programmes in Vienna and in the field.

Overall resource requirements for the biennium totalled $247.11 million before recosting, representing an increase of $39.19 million from the revised appropriation over the previous biennium, he said.  The growth was due to more resources recommended under the management review and the delayed impact of the additional seven posts approved in the 2008-2009 biennium for crisis management.  The overall resources required for the gross jointly financed budget for the 2010-2011 biennium totalled $260.96 million before recosting.  That reflected a $37.51 million increase in two areas.

They included a $1.74 million increase in the gross budget of the Safety and Security Section at Vienna, which was financed jointly by the four organizations based at the Vienna International Centre under their mutually agreed cost-sharing formula, and a $35.77 million increase in field operation and related requirements of the Department at Headquarters and in the field, to be financed under the cost-sharing formula decided upon by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).  The delayed impact of the proposed new posts for the 2012-2013 biennium for the gross jointly financed budget was estimated at $20.25 million.

A total of 395 posts were proposed for strengthening security at Headquarters, offices away from Headquarters and in the field, including 234 posts under the regular budget and 152 posts under the jointly financed budget, he said.  The proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium also made provisions for an increase in non-post requirements to support those new posts in information technology and communications, uniforms, vehicles, travel, rental of premises, and furniture and equipment.

He then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the revised estimates relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 under sections 3, 5, 7, 17, 18, 20, 21, 27, 28E, 28G, 33, 34 and 36, and the budget for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda related to a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations (document A/64/532), which updated the revised estimates of resource requirements that were previously requested in his report A/63/605, and contained proposals for strengthening security for other United Nations departments and entities that were not part of the proposed section 34 budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.

The total cost for the 2010-2011 biennium was estimated at $43.63 million under the regular budget; $4.17 million under the jointly financed budget for the four Vienna-based international organizations; and $1.88 million under the budget for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  The delayed impact of the proposals for the 2012-2013 biennium was estimated at $2.34 million.  A total of 36 posts were proposed, comprising 28 new posts under the regular budget, two posts under the jointly financed security budget for Vienna, and creation of six posts under the Rwanda Tribunal budget.

Statement by Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security

GREGORY STARR, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, said, following the events in Algiers in December 2007, the Secretary-General appointed an independent panel (the Brahimi Panel) to examine the Department of Safety and Security’s performance.  One of its key recommendations was that the Under-Secretary-General undertake a management review.  The Independent Panel added that the Department would require additional human and financial resources, but that their level and allocation should be determined following the management review.  Taking account of the Panel’s findings, along with recommendations from other review bodies and stakeholders, it was apparent that a new strategic vision was needed to reconcile new threat paradigms, while enabling the delivery of essential United Nations programmes.

He said the Department’s workload, tasking and mandates must be examined against existing resources to determine how key functions could be selectively reinforced and what additional measures and corresponding resources would be required to enhance the delivery of safety and security services to the United Nations.  The management review and the 2010-2011 budget request were aimed at allowing the Department to responsibly and effectively discharge its mandate.  Aware of the current economic climate and budget constraints, he had made every effort to prioritize needs and requirements.  A majority of the additional resources would be designated for the field, where they were most needed.  At Headquarters, he would strive for a lean, streamlined and capable Department that could provide guidance, policy, training, risk assessments and other “security products”.  Only a modest increase in staff was indicated, which were needed for enhancing information, analytical and communication tools and for ensuring that senior managers with requisite skills were in place to oversee the proposed enhancements.

He said the overall budget was relatively unchanged since the Department’s inception in 2005.  It was his view that the current proposals would begin the process of properly addressing gaps in vital areas, such as threat and risk analysis and information management.  The proposals also called for the provision of adequate numbers of security personnel in the field, additional staffing requirements for the uniformed and close protection services, and measures to fortify security training and human resource management.

He acknowledged the issue of additional requirements, which was first addressed by the Secretary-General in his remarks to the Fifth Committee on 7 December, and further addressed in his letter of 9 December to the President of the General Assembly.  In that letter, the Secretary-General stated that enhanced levels of security would be needed for staff and premises in the highest risk areas.  He noted that proposals for the use of funds that were put forth in that letter were contingent on the approval of the Department’s 2010-2011 budget.  While he understood the concerns of some States regarding the proposals outlined in the 9 December letter, he would like to stress that it was absolutely critical that the Department be able to secure the resources requested in this budget cycle to cope with the threats and risks confronting the United Nations on a daily basis.

“In many high-risk locations, our staff and our premises are vulnerable to attack at any moment”, he said.  “Whether this results in the loss of one life or in many casualties, delays in strengthening our security measures unfortunately only add to that vulnerability.”

He said there was a real danger that, without a properly resourced budget, the Department would find itself trapped in perpetual reaction mode, when “criminality as much as extremist acts threatened the continued operation of United Nations programmes”.  The Secretary-General, in his speech to the Fifth Committee on 7 December, also cited the unprecedented security challenges that United Nations staff and operations were facing in many regions of the world and the impact it had on the Organization’s work.  Members of the Chief Executive Board were acutely aware of the threats and, at its spring 2009 session, adopted a statement to Member States stressing its commitment to implementing a comprehensive plan for a strengthened security management system.  At its fall 2009 session, the Board, under the Secretary-General’s chairmanship, reiterated the need for States to acknowledge the increased funding requirements in support of programme delivery and expressed unanimous support for the vision he had outlined today.

He said the Department did not have a track record of wasteful expenditure; it was a department that staffed a 24-hour hostage crisis cell with volunteers for over 200 days this year because it had no other option.  It was responsible for over 14,000 locations and for hundreds of thousands of staff and eligible dependants.  It worked on a global scale to enable programmes that support the eradication of poverty, children’s health, and economic development.  In short, it was there to ensure that States’ mandates and programmes were enabled, and that the staff who ran those programmes were safe and secure.  He stressed the adage:  “no programme without security and no security without resources”.

SUSAN MCLURG, ACABQ Chair, introduced the Advisory Committee’s reports on the budget document on safety and security and on revised estimates related to a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations.

On the safety and security budget document, she said the ACABQ was recommending that the Assembly approve the Secretary-General’s proposals on safety and security, and that its recommendations would result in net reductions of $11.6 million under the regular budget, and $11.6 million under the gross budget for jointly financed activities.  As indicated by the Secretary-General, the budget proposal was informed by the outcome of the comprehensive management review of the Department of Safety and Security, which was conducted in the summer by the newly appointed Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, in response to key recommendations of the Independent Panel.  The ACABQ noted that the management review stressed the role of the Department as a facilitator of the Organization’s work on the ground.  The ACABQ appreciated that approach, as it did the focus on the selective reinforcement of key enabling functions, and an emphasis on a central, lean, transparent and efficient organization.

She noted that the management review had advocated an evolutionary approach to the Department’s development and, as such, did not propose any substantial changes to its established structure.  But, while the review had identified weaknesses, it had not sufficiently developed the remedial measures.  Several proposals set out in the review, and reflected in the budget document, were, in the ACABQ’s view, “works in progress”, requiring further thought and development.  In addition, a number of issues raised by the Independent Panel, including managerial responsibility for, and organizational leadership of, safety and security, the public image of the United Nations and its implications for security, and the proposed replacement of the current security phase system, were not discussed.

Keeping in mind that a number of measures outlined in the review were still at a very early stage of development and would, in all likelihood, require further attention in coming bienniums, the ACABQ was advocating an incremental approach to the staffing of the Department, while welcoming the Secretary-General’s focus on strengthening capacity in the field.  Its recommendations were based on the recognition of the importance of providing adequate security based on good information, which meant that there was a need to strengthen threat and risk assessment capacity and to develop a comprehensive information management strategy.  The ACABQ has recommended that a limited number of positions be funded through general temporary assistance, in the context of the proposed pilot project for a regional technical support team in Nairobi, pending a review of that project.

She said the ACABQ also had comments on the need to develop standardized guidelines for determining the security presence in a given location, and to streamline existing structures for crisis management.  With regard to the responsibility of host Governments for the security and safety of United Nations staff and premises, while not all host countries could provide the same level of support, the ACABQ still believed that their role in that area should not be overlooked.  As such, the Department should take steps to enhance cooperation and collaboration with national enforcement agencies.

As regards the Secretary-General’s letter of 9 December, in which he expressed an intention to use the Department’s budget to meet critical safety needs in high-threat locations, she said the ACABQ expected that information on the use of those resources would be submitted at the appropriate time.

Turning next to the ACABQ’s report on a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations, she said the ACABQ was of the view that additional security enhancements should be prioritized and introduced in a phased manner.  Along those lines, it recommends that PACT II be implemented at ESCWA, the United Nations Office in Nairobi and ECA.  The requirements for PACT II would be reviewed, along with requirements for providing real-time video connectivity between Headquarters and other major duty stations.  Any posts approved were recommended for funding through general temporary assistance.  Further development of PACT should be conceived as an integral part of the safety and security policy framework of the United Nations.  Future resource requirements should be addressed in the context of strengthening the security management system.

She said the ACABQ was recommending approval of resources proposed to augment the capacity of the close protection team at the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, as well as resources intended to provide for strengthened security at the premises of United Nations information centres.  But, pending the granting of necessary authorization, the ACABQ recommended against approval of resources requested for four additional international security officers at UNTSO.  At the International Court of Justice, the ACABQ was recommending approval of one of the four posts proposed.

Statements

HENRIC RASBRANT ( Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the United Nations had a greater presence worldwide than ever before.  With that came greater exposure to risks of all kinds.  There was a strong need to effectively respond to those risks.  It was vital that the Organization take the necessary steps to effectively protect United Nations staff and premises.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s revised proposals on strengthening safety and security and said he looked forward to discussing the ACABQ’s proposals and recommendations in that regard.  At the same time, he deeply regretted the delay in introducing the item, which had been on the Committee’s agenda since the sixty-third session.

VÉRONIQUE PÉPIN-HALLÉ (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that, since the Committee’s last session, almost a dozen United Nations staff had died in various tragic attacks on United Nations premises, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Those terrible events clearly demonstrated that, as Member States mandated the United Nations to operate in ever more volatile settings, there was a collective duty to ensure the safety and security of the Organization’s staff and associated personnel.  The Secretary-General must implement the conditions necessary for staff security, and Member States must ensure the necessary resources to implement valuable security conditions in a timely, flexible manner in order to meet an ever evolving environment.

In the last few years, ways had been identified to respond to increased threats in challenging areas, she said.  But, providing security was an enormous challenge that could only be achieved by providing the Organization with the right tools to better coordinate and understand the operating environment and standardize its capabilities across the United Nations system.  She expressed concern over the timing in which the management review and the Secretary-General’s report had been presented for the Committee’s consideration, as well as the piecemeal approach that she viewed as detrimental to the entire safety and security strengthening process.

She, however, welcomed efforts by the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security to promptly respond to a key recommendation of the Independent Panel by conducting an internal management review of the Department.  She also welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposed outline of a strategic vision on safety and security that would enable the Department to create effective leadership in different areas, particularly operational support of the Organization’s security management system.  She concurred with the ACABQ that work already begun on PACT II must be continued.  Strengthening of the United Nations threat and risk assessment capacity and its analytical capacity was warranted.  She regretted the lateness of requests, saying they should not be an excuse to further delay resources for staff safety.  She urged other delegates to appropriately consider the proposal before the Committee.

FLORIAN GUBLER (Switzerland), speaking also on behalf of Lichtenstein, said that, increasingly, the United Nations had become a target of deliberate attacks, calling for action on the part of Member States.  Governments had a duty to do their utmost to minimize the risks exposed to United Nations staff.  In the coming months, the Committee would discuss a series of proposals on safety and security, two of which were currently before them.  He regretted that there was not much time to discuss links between the different proposals, and to examine the consequences of those proposals on tasks, lines of responsibility and accountability within the Department, as well as system-wide.

But, he added, due to the lack of time, States needed to take a practical approach.  Strengthening the United Nations’ safety and security was sorely needed.  There was no viable alternative to reaching an agreement on that important issue, and yet another delay would be irresponsible and send the wrong signal to United Nations staff.  The ACABQ had provided useful comments; Switzerland and Lichtenstein were ready to endorse its recommendations.  At the same time, he welcomed steps taken by the Department of Safety and Security to increase the security of staff, while regretting that the budget proposals had come so late.  Nevertheless, the two countries stood ready to engage constructively in deliberations on that important issue.

JOSEPH MELROSE ( United States) said his country supported ensuring that the United Nations staff had the protection it needed to continue its work to provide humanitarian assistance and coordinating development initiatives.  It was incumbent on States to provide United Nations staff around the world with a strengthened and coordinated security system.  His Government recognized and appreciated Mr. Starr’s attempts to balance those needs with new management priorities and was encouraged by the new direction he had embarked on with the Department.  But, he noted the ACABQ’s concern that the budget document did not address the question of managerial responsibility.  The challenges facing the Department had not yet abated, and he expressed hope that future reports would provide a comprehensive managerial assessment.

On PACT I and II, he said the United States supported the phased approach called on by the ACABQ.  It would provide an opportunity for elements to be reviewed during implementation, and for lessons learn to be taken into account.  He welcomed the ACABQ’s recommendations and expressed agreement that greater effort was needed to prioritize those requirements.  He further agreed that the Department should take advantage of technological developments and that future requests for human resources should take such developments into account.

As recent events in Kabul and Pakistan had demonstrated, the United Nations had become a target of opportunity.  It was facing unprecedented security challenges in Afghanistan and other high-threat locations.  The Secretary-General had informed the Assembly that security arrangements in Afghanistan were inadequate and that he needed to have the ability to meet critical requirements there and in other places.  He had suggested an ad hoc measure to use $7.9 million of the budget of UNAMA to augment the level of security in Afghanistan, and the inclusion of a provision in the Department of Safety and Security budget for 2010-2011 for needs in other countries.  The United States supported that pragmatic approach, and he looked forward to receiving a more formal proposal at the Committee’s resumed session.  He also looked forward to working with other States on those initiatives.

AMJAD HUSSAIN SIAL ( Pakistan) said he was cognizant of the threat posed by terrorists to the United Nations and its personnel.  He strongly condemned such acts of terrorism.  He recognized the primary responsibility of the host country to provide security for United Nations staff and assets.  But, it was equally important that the United Nations coordinate with the host countries to achieve that goal.  The United Nations must also refurbish its safety standards and train its personnel to mitigate grave risks.  He encouraged efforts of the Department of Safety and Security to provide guidance, capacity building, and training for the United Nations security management system.  In that context, he underscored the need for making frugal use of meagre resources.

He also noted the request of the Secretariat for more resources to augment United Nations staff security in the wake of current challenges.  He assured the Secretariat of his constructive, positive approach.  The United Nations should be provided with the essential resources to ensure staff safety and security.  He concurred with the ACABQ’s observation about the principal role of the General Assembly in defining mandates and formulating policies in safety and security.  He called for the timely submission of reports, as well as for complete pictures of resource requirements, in order to have serious deliberations on all issues, including safety and security.

PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) expressed deep concern over continuous global terrorist attacks, including the 28 October attack in Afghanistan that killed eight people, including five United Nations staff.  He condemned all forms of terrorism.  Terrorist attacks on the United Nations should not be condoned under any circumstances.  He strongly supported expedited and sufficient measures to ensure safety and security through the necessary budgetary measures.  Signs that United Nations personnel and its premises were becoming more frequent soft-targets should not be ignored.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s budget proposals for a strengthened, unified security management system.

He also supported the Secretary-General’s budget proposals identified in the recommendations of the Independent Panel and the Department’s management review.  He supported using the proposed budget of UNAMA to meet the most highly prioritized security requirements for the first four months of 2010.  He looked forward to the Secretary-General’s full and more stable funding proposal on safety and security to address serious threats to United Nations personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

JUN YAMADA (Japan) said maintaining the safety and security of United Nations staff was important in order for the Organization to fulfil its mandates as entrusted by States.  It had become a challenge to enhance staff safety when the United Nations was increasingly becoming a target of heinous attacks.  The Assembly had requested the Secretary-General to conduct a review of existing safety programmes at Headquarters and duty stations, and to report on it at the sixty-second session.  It had taken nearly three years to complete the review and to submit the budget proposal.

While there was a need to enhance resources to strengthen the Department of Safety and Security, his Government believed that those budget proposals should be examined with the same level of prudence devoted to other budget proposals.  For that reason, it had strong reservations regarding the submission of a prior report on the same topic, document A/63/605, which was presented outside the context of regular budget process.

Turning to the current report, he pointed out the discrepancies between the budget document and the separate report on PACT II.  Also, the Committee must now consider the proposals within a limited time; there was an “immaturity” both in the substance of the reports and the process to consider them.  He suggested that the way forward should be based on the Committee’s discussions regarding the Secretary-General’s letter of 9 December, which suggested that critical needs in high-threat locations other than Afghanistan should be met through the budget of the Department of Safety and Security.  Japan supported the idea in principle, and hoped that the idea would gain support from others, as well.  Next, the budget level should be maintained below the ACABQ level, and any post approved should be established on a temporary basis unless authorized by the General Assembly under the 2012-2013 budget.  Based on the experience of past years, any resource enhancement should be monitored closely by States.  As such, the Assembly should request the Secretary-General to submit an annual progress report to the main session of the sixty-fifth session.  He stood ready to discuss taking those steps.

Responding, Mr. STARR admitted that the report was late and said he took personal responsibility for the time that it had taken to submit the report.  After coming on board in June, he came to believe strongly in the need to complete the management review.  The review took hard work, as well as time, which he knew should have gone towards the report.  He had made every effort to meet with States to explain what the Department was doing.  But, he felt he had had no other choice; it was important to review operations in order to develop a strategic vision and to determine how to meet those challenges in cost effective way.

FARID DAHMANE ( Algeria) expressed his full support for the proposal to provide resources as speedily as possible, so as to allow the Department of Safety and Security to carry out its task in the face of increasing challenges faced by United Nations staff throughout the world.  He looked forward to seeing the Secretariat’s further proposals regarding the Department and the entire United Nations system of safety and security when the Fifth Committee resumed its work next March.

Limited Budgetary Discretion:  Introduction of Reports

Mr. YAMAZAKI then introduced the report on limited budgetary discretion (document A/64/562), reiterating the Secretary-General’s conclusion that there was merit in continuing such discretion as an established procedure, with the suggested modifications.

Ms. MCLURG introduced the corresponding report of the ACABQ, saying the Advisory Committee regretted that the report did not contain adequate information to support the Secretary-General’s request.  Nonetheless, the ACABQ did not object to the continuation of the current arrangements for the Secretary-General’s exercise of limited budgetary discretion.  It recommended that the Secretary-General be requested to submit a comprehensive report at its sixty-sixth session that fully addresses the Assembly’s request for information.

Statements

SHIN BOO-NAM (Republic of Korea) emphasized the importance of enabling the United Nations to respond effectively to unforeseen and urgent needs requiring immediate resource allocation.  During the two previous experimental bienniums –- 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 -- the discretion authority was exercised largely to meet the organizational management requirements, such as the influenza pandemic preparedness, fire code compliance, and start-up of the enterprise resource planning system.  He saw merit in continuing the limited discretion as an established budgetary procedure.  He expressed hope that discretion would be used to cover more activities, which would have a positive impact on multiple sections on the budget.

On increasing the level of commitment, he said the Secretariat must be equipped with sufficient means to mobilize resources to address urgent and unforeseen needs.  He expressed concern that the Secretariat had not fully employed the current level of commitment during the experimental period.  The Secretariat must, at all times, stand ready to address the Organization’s evolving needs regardless of whether they actually emerged.  He supported the idea of increasing the current level of commitment, provided that a greater accountability and transparency framework was put in place.  Redeployment of amounts used to exercise limited discretion must be drawn from areas that would not adversely affect the Organization’s overall work.  To ensure that redeployment would not delay or under-fund resources necessary for implementing the mandated programmes and activities, a careful prior assessment should be jointly implemented.

LOIPA SANCHEZ LORENZO ( Cuba) said she disagreed with the late submission of the proposal to the Committee, just two days before the end of its substantive work.  That illustrated that the Secretariat had not been attentive to Member States’ constant requests for improved work methods and the timely submission of documents.  The Secretary-General’s report on limited budgetary discretion was unnecessarily repetitive.  The Secretariat should do its utmost to express its ideas in a concise way in order to avoid repetition.  The Secretary-General’s budgetary discretion was granted on the basis of the hypothesis that related activities be financed by the savings achieved at each biennium, including through sufficient allocation of resources and authorized preparations.

She expressed concern that savings had been achieved on the basis of posts, taking into account the existing vacancy rate and the Organization’s challenges in terms of the deadlines to fill those vacancies.  The sum in loans for resources amounted to more than $1 million for the application of budgetary discretion, coming from sections 17, 18, 20, 21 and 28F on economic and social development in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, West Asia and the administration in Vienna.  That meant that there should be more attention paid to vacancy levels in those sections charged with attending to issues of interest in developing countries.

She supported the proposal in paragraph 9 of the ACABQ’s nineteenth report (document A/64/7/Add.18) on the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium concerning limited budgetary discretion.  Concerning the Secretary-General’s proposal, she expressed serious reservations over the continuation of the pilot project on limited budgetary discretion for the experimental two bienniums, for three reasons.  For the two bienniums used for application of that experiment, the Secretary-General had not had to use the total amounts granted.  For that reason, she did not understand the need to request an increase of such amounts.  The ACABQ’s report stated that, during the 2006-2007 biennium, the Secretary-General only used $8.8 million of $20 million authorized, and that during the 2008-2009 biennium he only used $11.3 million of the $20 million authorized.

Continuing, she said there were other mechanisms to finance activities not foreseen in the budget based on resolutions 62/239 and 41/213, transfers between preparations in accordance with paragraph 5.6 of the financial rules and article 105.2 of the detailed financial rules, as well the agreements that the Secretary-General could adopt in terms of credit for future financial periods, in accordance with paragraph 5.7 of the financial rules and article 105.2 of the detailed financial rules.  Everything related to granting more flexibility to the Secretary-General for the execution of funds made available to the Organization should go hand in hand with an exhaustive analysis of the rendering of accounts.

DANILO ROSALES DIAZ ( Nicaragua) said that, yesterday and today, the Committee had been asked to quickly adopt about $1.7 billion in budget funds.  The Secretary-General had now submitted his report on limited budgetary discretion, on the second-to-last working day in a session that had already been extended by one week.  The late submission of that report was not understandable or acceptable.  When the experiment on limited budgetary discretion was approved, the Secretariat knew full well it would have to submit a report to the Assembly at this session.  In the course of the year, he knew of a number of discussions outside the framework of the Fifth Committee, at which the Secretary-General and his team had explained the importance they attached to the exercise of limited budgetary discretion.  That being the case, it could hardly be understood why the report should come so late to the Committee.  The delay was a good illustration of the Secretariat’s lack of consideration for the Assembly.  In light of those discussions, and in light of the repeated violations of General Assembly mandates by the Secretariat, it was clear that there could be no discussion of limited budgetary discussion, other than to discuss the question of accountability.  He would be willing to engage constructively in negotiations on those issues once the time came.

Programme Budget Implications

Mr. YAMAZAKI introduced the statement of programme budget implications of four resolutions before the Assembly:  on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; on institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force; on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption; and on sustainable development:  implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Ms. MCLURG, Chairman of the ACABQ, introduced the ACABQ’s reports on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/64/7/Add.14).  The ACABQ recommended that the Fifth Committee should inform the Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/C.3/64/L.36, that the related resource requirements of $1.28 million gross ($1.16 million net) had been included in the Secretary-General’s report on estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the Assembly and/or the Security Council, and that they would be charged under section 3, Political Affairs, of the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.

She also introduced the ACABQ’s report on the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Programme budget implications of draft resolution A/64/L.27 (document A/64/7/Add.17).  She recommended that the Fifth Committee should inform the Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/64/L.27, the related additional funding requirements would be $1.95 million gross ($1.78 million net) under section 3; $1.4 million for political affairs; $369,000 under section 28D, Office of Central Support Services; and $171,200 under section 35, Staff Assessment, to be offset by the same amount under Income section I, Income from staff assessment, of the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.  That would represent a charge against the contingency fund and would require appropriation for the biennium.

She also made an oral report on the United Nations common system:  report of the International Civil Service Commission for 2009 (document A/C.5/64/L.12) regarding programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.2/64/L.64, on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  She recommended that the Fifth Committee should inform the Assembly that, should it adopt that draft, the related requirements would be $1.69 million gross ($1.46 million net), after recosting.  That would include resources under the following sections of the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium:  $1.43 million under section 16, International drug control, crime and terrorism prevention and criminal justice; $27,000 under section 28F, Administration, Vienna; and $229,300 under section 36, Staff Assessment, to be offset by the same amount under Income section I, Income from staff assessment.  That would represent a charge against the contingency fund and would require appropriation for the biennium.

She then made an oral report on the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (document A/C.5/64/13).  She recommended that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/C.2/64/L.59, the related requirements would be $516,100 under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the proposed programme budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.  Under the procedures established by the Assembly in resolutions 41/213 and 42/211, those provisions would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

Statement

Mr. DAHMANE ( Algeria) said that his country had, for many years, attached great importance to combating terrorism, as reflected in its support for, and active role in, negotiations leading to the adoption of the 2006 Global Strategy to Combat Terrorism.  While he commended the Global Strategy as a general framework, he noted that the Strategy’s effectiveness could only be strengthened though a central mechanism, the Working Group on combating terrorism.  In his view, that body should be empowered to do its work by providing it with all the resources it needed, including financial resources.  Also, the Working Group should become part of the institution.  Combating terrorism was one of the Organization’s foremost priorities under the 2010-2011 budget, as approved by the Assembly.  He would support adoption of all financial resources for that purpose, whether related to posts or to resources for the Working Group.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee first turned to a five-part resolution on pattern of conferences (document A/C.5/64/L.10), submitted by the representative of Senegal and Vice Chairman of the Committee BABOU SENE.  The draft was adopted without a vote.

In Part I of the draft, the Assembly would approve the draft biennial calendar of conferences and meetings of the United Nations for 2010 and 2011, as submitted by the Committee on Conferences.  It would request the Secretary-General to examine the feasibility and implications of all proposals to adjust the calendar of conferences and meetings, aimed at addressing the problem of timely availability and consideration of documentation of the Fifth Committee.  It would authorize the Committee on Conferences to make any adjustments to the calendar of conferences and meetings for 2010 and 2011 that might become necessary as a result of actions and decisions taken by the Assembly at its sixty-fourth session.

Under Part II, the Assembly would note that the “utilization factor” at the four main duty stations in 2008 was at 85 per cent, as compared with 83 per cent in 2007 and 2006.  It would welcome steps taken by the duty stations to achieve optimum use of conference-servicing resources, and invite the secretariats and bureaux of bodies to avoid late starts and unplanned early endings that could affect utilization.  It would note that bodies entitled to meet “as required” were provided with interpretation services in New York about 90 per cent of the time in 2008, as compared with 88 per cent in 2007.  It would express regret that, in 2007, the percentage of meetings held by regional and other major States groupings were provided with interpretation services 77 per cent of the time at the four main duty stations, compared with 84 per cent in 2007.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to employ innovative means to address the difficulties experienced by Member States owing to lack of conference services.

Still under Part II, the Assembly would urge intergovernmental bodies to make provision for meetings of regional groups and other major groupings in their programmes of work, and to notify conference services well in advance of any cancellations so that unused conference-servicing resources might be reassigned to meetings of regional groups and other major groupings.  It would note with satisfaction that all meetings of Nairobi-based United Nations bodies were held in Nairobi in 2008.  It would note with appreciation initiatives undertaken by ECA, which led to a continued upward trend in the use of premises in 2008.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to explore means to increase the use of the ECA conference centre.

As regards the impact of the Capital Master Plan on meetings, the draft would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to ensure that temporary relocation of conference-servicing staff to a swing space would not compromise the quality of conference services provided to Member States in the six official languages.  It would note that, during the implementation of the Capital Master Plan, a part of the conference-servicing staff and information technology resources of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management had been temporarily located to a swing space, and would request the Secretary-General to continue to provide adequate support to ensure continued delivery of quality conference services.

Under Part III, the draft would have the Assembly note the progress achieved in the implementation of the global information technology project, aimed at integrating information technology into meetings management and documentation-processing systems.  It would request the Secretary-General to ensure that all language services were given equal treatment and were provided with equally favourable working conditions and resources, will full respect for the specificities of the six official languages and taking account of their respective workloads.  It would reiterate the need for the Secretary-General to ensure that technology used in all duty stations were user-friendly in all official languages.

By further provisions, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to complete the task of uploading all important older United Nations documents onto the United Nations website in all six official languages so that they were available to Member States through that medium.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to ensure that measures were taken by the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management to seek the evaluation by Member States of the quality of conference services, and welcome efforts by the Department to do so.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to explore ways to systematically capture and analyse feedback from States and committee chairpersons and secretaries on the quality of conference services.  It would note with concern that the Secretary-General did not include in his report on the pattern of conferences information about financial savings achieved through integrated global management projects.

Under Part IV, on documentation and publication-related matters, the Assembly would decide that all reports adopted by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council, and information submitted by States under review, should be issued as documents in all official languages.  It would recognize the work done by the task force chaired by the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management in addressing the problem of issuance of documents for the Fifth Committee.  It would welcome continued efforts of the task force to shepherd the submissions of documents, while expressing deep concern at the unprecedented high level of late submission of documentation.  It would decide to review the work of the task force and to consider additional measures to ensure compliance of submission deadlines by author departments, while acknowledging that a multi-pronged approach was required to solve the perennial difficulties of late issuances of Fifth Committee documents.  It would encourage the Chairpersons of the Fifth Committee and the ACABQ to promote cooperation between the two bodies in the sphere of documentation.

Under Part V, on translation and interpretation-related matters, it would reaffirm its request that the Secretary-General, when recruiting temporary assistance in the language services, ensure that all language services be given equal treatment and were provided with equally favourable working conditions.  It would acknowledge measures undertaken by the Secretary-General to address the issue of the replacement of retiring staff in the language services.  The Secretary-General would be requested to hold competitive examinations for the recruitment of language staff sufficiently in advance, in order to fill current and future vacancies in language services in a timely manner.  It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to improve the accuracy of translated documents and further request that steps be taken to enhance the translation quality, in particular for contractual translation.

The Committee then turned to a resolution on the United Nations common system:  report of the International Civil Service Commission for 2009 (document A/C.5/64/L.12), submitted by the representative of Argentina on behalf of the Chair, Peter Maurer.  The draft was adopted without a vote.

Before its adoption, the representative of the Russian Federation said he intended to support and adopt the text as submitted, but wished to make one comment:  by the text, the General Assembly would ask for a review of the termination indemnity schedule.  He would like it to be placed on record that the Assembly had already affirmed the termination indemnity schedule.  Accordingly, it would now ask for a review.  A number of delegations had concerns about the application of the system, which were shared by the Russian Federation, and more than other delegations, the United States had insisted on the inclusion of the paragraph about the review.

He explained further that the agreed text was adopted on the condition that there would be a statement by the Chair, to clarify the thrust of that paragraph.  Unfortunately, no statement was agreed.  For that reason, he himself would make the statement.  He emphasized that the Assembly would not be asking for a review of the termination indemnity schedule as a whole, but that it was simply asking that a study be done of possible cases of abuse of the system for the category of staff that had worked 10 years or more.  In his view, the proposed language did not imply that there was any abuse of the system.  Rather, it would have the Assembly examine whether there might be some abuse in that connection.

By terms of the resolution, the Assembly would take note of the Commission’s report.  In section A of the draft, on conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories, the text would have the Assembly reaffirm that the range of 110 to 120 for the margin between the remuneration of officials in the Professional and higher categories and that of the comparator civil service (the United States federal civil service) should continue to apply, on the understanding that the margin would be maintained at a level around the midpoint of 115 over time.  For the period from 1 January to 31 December, it is estimated at 113.8.

Regarding the base/floor salary scale, the text would recall the Assembly’s resolution 44/198 by which it had established a floor net salary level of officials in comparable positions serving at the base city of the comparator civil service.  It would approve, with effect from 1 January 2010, as recommended by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), the revised base/floor scale of gross and net salaries for staff in the Professional and higher categories contained in an annex to the Commission’s report.

On gender balance and geographical distribution, the text would have the Assembly note with disappointment the insufficient progress made with regard to women’s representation, particularly at the senior level.  It would welcome a decision by the Commission to implement outreach initiatives to attract, develop and retain the most talented men and women, and encourage the Commission to consider further issues relating to female staff retention.

Concerning conditions of service for both categories of staff, the text would have the Assembly take note of the Commission’s recommendation to introduce end-of-service severance pay in common system organization for fixed-term staff involuntarily separating from the organization upon the expiration of their contract after 10 or more years of continuous service.  It would decide to revert to the question of the proposed end-of-service severance pay at its sixty-fifth session.

Further to the text, the Assembly would take note of the recommendation of governing bodies of the United Nations common system organizations to harmonize their termination indemnity schedule with that of the United Nations, and also request the Commission to review the application of the termination indemnity.  It would reiterate that the death grant should not be payable to secondary dependants and reiterate its call to the governing bodies of the common system organization to align their provisions regarding death grants with those of the United Nations.

On the mandatory age of separation, the text would have the Assembly request the Commission to report, at its sixty-sixth session, on the possibility of changing the mandatory age of separation, including the implications in the areas of human resources policies and pensions.  As for the senior management network, it would note the decision of the Chief Executives Board to discontinue work on the senior management network, and request the Commission to monitor the adequacy of measures aimed at improving management capacity and performance within the United Nations common system.

The Committee then turned to a draft on administration of justice at the United Nations (document A/C.5/64/L.11), submitted by the representative of C ôte d’Ivoire on behalf of the Chair.  The draft was adopted without a vote.

By the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-fifth session on the status of the judges of the United Nations Appeals Tribunal and their entitlements, including travel and daily subsistence allowance.  The Secretary-General would be further requested to provide information on:  the exact terms of reference of the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services concerning access by non-staff personnel; the exact number of persons other than staff working for the United Nations system under different types of contracts, including individual contractors, consultants, personnel under service contracts, personnel under special service agreements and daily paid workers; and a compilation of the standard contracts and rules, including dispute settlement clauses, that govern the relations between the Organization and the various categories of non-staff personnel.

By other terms, further information would be requested on:  an analysis of monetary compensation awarded, as well as indirect costs associated with an appeal, such as staff time, including identification of those aspects of staff administration which give rise to large numbers of appeals, as well as comparative data from the old and the new system; and measures in place to provide for  accountability of officials for causing financial loss to the Organization under the new system for administration of justice.

Other provisions of the draft would have the Assembly requests the Secretary-General, with regard to remedies available to the different categories of non-staff personnel, to analyse and compare the respective advantages and disadvantages, including the financial implications, of the following options:

-- Establishment of an expedited special arbitration procedure, conducted under the auspices of local, national or regional arbitration associations, for claims under $25,000 submitted by personal service contractors;

-- Establishment of an internal standing body that would make binding decisions on disputes submitted by non-staff personnel, not subject to appeal and using streamlined procedures, as proposed by the Secretary-General in his report on administration of justice;

-- Establishment of a simplified procedure for non-staff personnel before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, which would make binding decisions not subject to appeal and using streamlined procedures;

-- Granting of access to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, under their current rules of procedure, to non-staff personnel.

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