|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
34th Meeting (AM)
Budget Committee Takes Up Commitment Authority Proposals for Next Six Months
for Missions in Haiti; Central African Republic and Chad
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today took up proposals to give the Secretary-General authority to commit $380.4 million in the next six months to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and $246.6 million in the next six months to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), whose most recent budgets reached $732.4 million and $690.8 million respectively.
Transmitting notes by the Secretary-General on financing arrangements for both Missions, Assistant Secretary-General Jun Yamazaki, United Nations Controller, said their full budgets were pending, and would be taken up by the General Assembly at the main part of its sixty-fifth session.
He said that, in the case of MINUSTAH, its financial requirements in the next few months were based on the expected increase in authorized military and police personnel and additional requirements to support Mission staff. It would also go towards assistance to the Haitian community through quick impact projects and community violence reduction programmes, as well as the Mission’s contribution to the financing of the Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti.
Speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, the representative of Canada said the last six months had proven one of the most challenging environments in which any United Nations mission had been required to operate. In such exceptional circumstances, the countries he spoke for agreed with the proposal to have the Secretary-General enter into commitments for the first six months, and to submit the full budget later.
“With substantial losses of staff and infrastructure, the Mission is also now called on to play a significant and expanding role in support of the international response to the emergency,” she said. “As the [Security] Council considers the Secretary-General’s proposals, we have to consider the financing arrangements for MINUSTAH.”
However, Collen Kelapile, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), said the Advisory Committee was proposing a $5.4 million reduction, saying that proposals to establish 324 temporary positions and upgrade 32 international posts should not be made in the context of a commitment authority, but as part of the fall budget discussions, where the Committee would be presented with a comprehensive review of the Mission’s staffing requirements.
The representative of Brazil questioned the proposed ACABQ cut, saying he did not agree that additional staffing requirements should wait until the fall. As he understood it, the purpose of the comprehensive review of staffing requirements in the fall was part of the standard budgeting process, and not appropriate for times when the Mission had sudden, additional work.
He also argued against an overly cautious budget, saying it would undermine MINUSTAH’s ability to discharge its mandate in the next six months, which included helping to relocate displaced persons. The amount requested by the Secretary-General was not felt to be enough for such activities, and would likely result in a budget proposal in the fall that was more than double the current commitment authority, echoing a similar opinion voiced by Argentina’s representative.
Also today, Mr. Yamazaki introduced a performance report for MINURCAT for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009. During that period, the Mission had an unencumbered balance of $16.7 million, which needed to be returned to Member States. A similar performance report for MINUSTAH covering the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 was also introduced, and the Assembly was asked to decide on the treatment of the unencumbered balance of $514,800 and $8.52 million in other income.
In a similar manner to MINUSTAH, the Assembly was also requested to approve a commitment authority of $246.60 million for MINURCAT for the next six months, with the full budget document to be submitted for review in the fall.
Mr. Kalipile, delivering ACABQ’s response, said the Advisory Committee would recommend that the Assembly approve an amount of $184 million, for the period of 1 July to 15 November only.
Action on a draft budget for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), introduced by the representative of Yemen, was postponed to a later date.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 27 May, to discuss the financing of the United Nations Support Office to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
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