Budget Committee Takes Up Request for Assessment, Temporary Increase in Civilian Staff for United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo

9 December 2010
GA/AB/3975

Budget Committee Takes Up Request for Assessment, Temporary Increase in Civilian Staff for United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo

9 December 2010
General Assembly
GA/AB/3975
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

21st Meeting (AM)

Budget Committee Takes Up Request for Assessment, Temporary Increase in Civilian

Staff for United Nations Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo

 

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today took up the Secretariat’s request for an assessment of $652.5 million to finance the ongoing operations of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).  This assessment would make up the second portion of the $1.36 billion, approved by the General Assembly with its 24 June resolution 64/275, for the Mission’s operation from 1 July 2010 to the end of next June.

Introducing the Secretary-General’s note on the issue, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller Jun Yamazaki said the Committee was also asked to approve the establishment of 39 temporary positions for the 2010/11 budget year for additional mandated tasks, such as supporting the voter registration process for national elections slated for November 2011 and justice-related programmes.

In May of this year, the Security Council changed the name of the Mission, formerly known as United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), as of 1 July 2010 and decided that MONUSCO would be deployed until 30 June 2011.  In addition to civilian, judiciary and correction components, Council resolution 1925 (2010) authorized a maximum of 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units.  The Council also authorized the withdrawal of up to 2,000 United Nations military personnel, which Mr. Yamazaki said today was the reason for a $38.2 million decrease in the Mission’s budget for military requirements.

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) backed the Secretary-General’s proposal for the 39 temporary positions and recommended the Assembly approve the $652.5 million assessment.  In its report, which was introduced by Chairperson Susan McLurg, the Advisory Committee noted that the Secretary-General’s document lacked sufficient information to let it thoroughly review the proposals and urged the Secretary-General to ensure its resources proposal were consistently supported with sufficient detail.

Speaking on behalf of the African Group, Côte d’Ivoire’s representative said the Group supported MONUSCO’s efforts to back the Congolese authorities, upon their request and consent, to help the country stabilize.  It was important that the Assembly provide the Mission with the resources requested in the Secretary-General’s report.

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today had before it two reports concerning the financing of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The first report was a Note by the Secretary-General, Financing arrangements for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 (document A/65/512) that asked the Assembly to:

  • Approve the establishment of 39 temporary positions, comprising 23 United Nations Volunteer positions and a net total of 16 international and national positions, to be funded under general temporary assistance, in support of the voter registration process, justice-related programmes and the civilian staffing establishment approved for MONUC for the 2010/11 period under the provisions of Assembly resolution 64/824.
  • Assess $682.5 million for the 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 period, which represents the balance between the appropriation of $1.36 million for the same period and $682.5 million already assessed for the 1 July to 31 December 2010 period under the provisions of Assembly resolution 64/284.

By its resolution 1906 (2009), the Security Council extended the deployment of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) until 31 May 2010, with the intention to extend it another 12 months.  It asked the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as the Mission’s progress in order to lay out the critical tasks that needed to be carried out before MONUC could envisage its drawdown.

With resolution 1925 (2010) of 28 May, the Council decided to extend the Mission’s mandate until 30 June 2010 and, recognizing the new phase in the country, to change the Mission’s name from MONUC to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) as of 1 July 2010.  It also decided that MONUSCO would be deployed until 30 June 2011 and authorized that MONUSCO would comprise, in addition to the appropriate civilian, judiciary and correction components, a maximum of 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units.  It also authorized the withdrawal by 30 June 2010 of up to 2,000 United Nations military personnel from areas where the security situation permitted such withdrawal.

With resolution 64/824 of 18 June 2010, the Assembly appropriated nearly $1.45 billion for MONUC for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, including $1.36 billion for the Mission’s maintenance, nearly $70.07 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, and $12.66 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.

The Assembly also decided at that time to apportion among Member States $682.5 million gross ($667.27 million net) for the Mission’s maintenance from 1 July to 31 December 2010 at a monthly rate of $113.75 million gross, subject to the Security Council’s decision to extend the Mission’s mandate.  In addition, the Assembly decided to apportion among Member States nearly $70.07 million for the support account and $12.66 million for the United Nations Logistics Base for the 12-month period.

The related Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) report (document A/65/598), issued 2 December 2010, recommends approval of the 39 temporary positions proposed by the Secretary-General.  Noting the use of existing MONUSCO assets and of aircraft borrowed from other missions to support the voter registration process, the likelihood of reduced spending in areas such as civilian personnel, and acknowledging the revised cost estimates provided by the Secretary-General, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly approve an assessment of the amount of $652.5 million for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011.  This assessment is in addition to the $682.5 million already assessed, under Assembly resolution 64/275, for the 1 July to 31 December 2010 period.

Among the concerns and comments included in its report, the Committee urges the Secretary-General to ensure that resource proposals are consistently supported with sufficient detail to allow for their full consideration.  Whiled additional information was provided upon request (see annex I), the Advisory Committee believed the note by the Secretary-General lacked sufficient information to enable a thorough review of the proposals.

Regarding the reduction in military personnel, the Advisory Committee was informed upon enquiry that the reduction did not have an impact on the Mission’s support staffing requirements, as the troops had been withdrawn from locations in the west of the country.  Support staff establishment had already been reduced to minimal levels.  The Committee believes the reduction in military personnel, which represents 8 per cent of the authorized strength, will require a reassessment of the level and deployment of support staff.  It expects this reassessment will be reflected in the budget proposal presented for the 2011/12 period.

Regarding the Mission’s support for the voter registration process, the Advisory Committee noted that revised cost estimates provided to it showed that air transportation for this support was currently estimated at $28.9 million, rather than the $32.9 million indicated in the Secretary-General’s note.  It believed the Secretary-General’s note, issued on 14 October 2010, could have more accurately reflected the situation, which was ongoing at the time of submission.

Introduction of Reports

JUN YAMAZAKI, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s note on the Financing arrangements for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 (document A/65/512). 

He said that by the terms of Assembly resolution 64/275, the Assembly appropriated $1.36 billion (gross) for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 to maintain MONUSCO and decided to apportion $682.5 million (gross) among Member States for the six-month period from 1 July 2010 to 31 December 2010.  The projected requirements for MONUSCO from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 were $1.364 billion compared with the appropriation of $1.365 billion under Assembly resolution 64/275.  The proposed staffing for 2010 and 2011 reflected a net increase of 39 temporary positions, comprising a net additional total of 16 international and national positions, as well as an extra 23 United Nations Volunteers positions, for additional mandated MONUSCO tasks, such as supporting the voter registration process and preparing for the elections.

He then discussed the main factors for the estimated resource requirements outlined in the Secretary-General’s note.  The projected $38.2 million decrease in requirements for military contingents was primarily due to the repatriation of 1,674 military contingent personnel by the end of July 2010, which resulted in reduced requirements for standard reimbursements for troop costs and major equipment, rotation travel, rations, and daily and recreational leave allowances.

The projected $0.8 million increase for the United Nations Volunteers was mainly to fund the proposed creation of 23 more United Nations Volunteer posts to support the voter registration process, as well as justice-related programmes for the six-month period beginning 1 January 2011, he said.  The $32.9 million increase for air transportation would pay for the proposed deployment of 13 more aircraft for three months to distribute materials for the voter registration process to 13 main hubs and 210 sub-hubs throughout the country.  Paragraph 30 of the Secretary-General’s note set forth the actions requested from the Assembly in relation to the above-mentioned requirements.

Introducing her Committee’s report on the issue, SUSAN MCLURG, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), said the projected resource requirements for MONUSCO reflected two factors.  One was the additional requirements resulting from new tasks mandated to the Mission and the second was a drop in resource requirements, estimated at $43.6 million, stemming from the repatriation of military personnel from the Mission.

Most of the additional requirements related to support for the voter registration process and preparation for the elections to be held in late 2011.  During its review, The Advisory Committee was, however, provided with additional information that showed the voter registration process was to finish on 30 November 2010 and that MONUSCO had provided the necessary support by reprioritizing the use of its existing air assets and borrowing aircraft from neighbouring missions.  Though the Secretary-General had sought $33 million under air operations for that support, the Advisory Committee was advised of a revised cost estimated at $29 million.

After its consideration, the Advisory Committee recommended approval of the 39 temporary positions proposed by the Secretary-General.  Taking into account the revised estimate needed to support voter registration, the fact that MONUSCO had provided the necessary support through a combination of existing air assets and aircraft borrowed from neighbouring missions and the possibility of under-expenditures in certain areas for the current period, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly approve an assessment of $652.5 million for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011.  That would be in addition to the $682.5 million already assessed under Assembly resolution 64/275 for the period.

Statements

Speaking on behalf of the African Group, BROUZ RALPH COFFI (C ôte d’Ivoire), said Security Council resolution 1925 (2010) was very important to the future path of MONUSCO.  In accordance with the resolution, the title of MONUC was changed as from 1 July 2010.  That was not merely a change of the title, but a change in the Mission’s mandate, which aimed to help Congolese authorities achieve stabilization and peacebuilding based on the principle of national ownership.

The expansion of the Mission’s mandate includes focusing on efforts to support the reform of the Congolese National Police by providing training; providing technical and logistical support for the organization of national and local elections, upon request of the Congolese authorities; and developing and implementing, in close consultation with the Congolese authorities and in accordance with the Congolese strategy for justice reform, a multi-year United Nations justice support programme.

The African Group supported MONUSCO and its efforts to support the Congolese authorities, upon their request and with their consent, in their endeavours to achieve the country’s full stabilization.  The Group believed it was important that the Assembly provided the Mission with all the necessary resources, as requested by the Secretary-General in paragraph 30 of his note A/65/512, to make it able to fully deliver its mandates and achieve its targets.

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