Budget Committee Approves Consensus Text on United Nations Pension Fund, Takes Up Revised Financing for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Tribunals

16 December 2010
GA/AB/3978

Budget Committee Approves Consensus Text on United Nations Pension Fund, Takes Up Revised Financing for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Tribunals

16 December 2010
General Assembly
GA/AB/3978
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

25th Meeting (AM)

Budget Committee Approves Consensus Text on United Nations Pension Fund,

 

Takes Up Revised Financing for Rwanda, Former Yugoslavia Tribunals

Also Takes Up Budget Implications of Texts on Myanmar Good Offices,

Durban Declaration Commemoration, Remembrance of Victims of Slavery

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today approved by consensus a draft resolution on the United Nations pension system, as it also considered the 2011 financing needs of the tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, along with the financial implications of three draft resolutions that emerged from the Third Committee and General Assembly this fall.

Two of these resolutions, which emerged from the General Assembly Committee charged with social, humanitarian and cultural issues, would provide the necessary dollars to continue operating the Secretary-General’s good offices in Myanmar during 2011, and carry out global efforts to eliminate racism that followed the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, including a high-level meeting of the General Assembly in September 2011 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Declaration.  The third resolution, which emerged from the Assembly, would provide public information resources for activities to remember the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) supported the budgetary implications of the Third Committee’s outputs, said Chairperson Susan McLurg, as she introduced its reports.

In its draft resolution on the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the Committee noted with concern that that Board of Auditors had issued a modified audit opinion on the Fund’s financial statement for the biennium ending in December 2009.  The resolution also expressed concern that the actuarial deficit of 0.38 per cent, as of 31 December 2009, was the Fund’s first deficit in seven consecutive actuarial valuations.

The Committee last month reviewed the issues surrounding the Joint Staff Pension Fund, which had a market value of $40.4 billion in late October.  Established more than 60 years ago by the General Assembly, the Fund provides retirement, death, disability and related benefits for United Nations staff participants.  The resolution will be forwarded to the Assembly for its consideration.

The Fifth Committee’s review of the budget implications of the resolutions emanating from the Third Committee sparked delegates to call for adherence to established budgetary procedures when resolutions involving spending were approved.  Japan’s delegate, for example, pointed out that rule 153 of the Assembly’s rules and procedures required any resolution involving expenditures to be accompanied by an estimate prepared by the Secretary-General.

The expenditures of these resolutions, according to the three budget statement implications prepared by the Secretary-General, totalled $1.8 million, $3.7 million less than the amount budgeted last year, Japan’s delegate added.  He commended the Secretariat’s effort to absorb the additional expenses within existing resources.

The tardy release of the budget implication statements drew criticism from Yemen’s delegate.  Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, he said the Assembly rules stated that these statements should be presented to the respective Committee as soon as possible after adoption.

Regarding the draft resolution related to the memorial for the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, the Group was concerned that the Department of Public Information and other Secretariat entities had not engaged actively on activities related to the remembrance of such an immense tragedy. Jamaica’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, also was dissatisfied with the way Department had handled such an important issue.  There was no budget line in the upcoming budget targeting any global dissemination of public information, as described in the draft resolution.

Meanwhile, the United States’ delegate said his country would not back funding for the follow-up activities related to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  He believed the Third Committee had not followed the Assembly’s rules when it took action on the resolution without being informed of the budget implications.

Even more adamant about the alleged violations of Assembly procedural rules, Israel’s delegate said the Fifth Committee was being asked to “rubber stamp in retrospect” an invalid action of the Third Committee.  He asked that the resolution be returned to the Third Committee.

Sharon Van Buerle, Director, Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s three programme budget implication statements.  Assistant Secretary-General and Controller Jun Yamazaki introduced the Secretary-General’s four reports related to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

The revised estimates to the budget of the Rwanda Tribunal for the biennium 2010-2011 were $31.29 million gross, after re-costing using the parameters of the first performance report, he said.  The additional requirements during the current biennium for the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia totalled $45.59 million gross, also after re-costing using the parameters of the first performance report.

The representatives of Yemen (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Côte d’Ivoire (on behalf of the African Group) and Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand) spoke on the issue of the financing of the tribunals.

Background

The Committee had before it several reports related to the financing of tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, as well as budget implications for the 2010-2011 biennium resulting from the Secretary-General’s good offices mission to Myanmar and a memorial to remember victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

In the first of two documents on the Rwanda tribunal, a report of the Secretary-General, Revised estimates relating to the budget of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/65/178), the Secretary-General asks the Assembly to take note of this report issued 28 July 2010 and approve an additional appropriation of $34.22 million gross ($31.06 million net) to the Tribunal’s Special Account for the 2010-2011 biennium.

In its resolution 64/239, the Assembly appropriated $245.29 million gross ($227.25 million net) to the Tribunal’s Special Account for the biennium 2010-2011.  For reasons beyond its control, the trial schedule for the biennium 2010-2011 has been significantly revised to reflect changes in the estimated completion dates of first-instance trials, compared with the schedule available when the budget was prepared.

In addition, the preparation of two new trials after the apprehension of two fugitives (Grégoire Ndahimana, arrested in August 2009, and Idelphonse Nizeyimana, arrested in October 2009) has contributed to the trial schedule’s revision.  Another arrest, of Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi in June 2010, has meant the preparation of the case for rule 11 bis application for referral to a national jurisdiction and the simultaneous preparation for a trial if the application for referral is denied.  The details related to the revision of the trial schedule and the additional resource requirements are provided in the report.

The report states that the Tribunal’s judicial workload, which had been expected to decrease significantly beginning in the second half of 2009, actually increased because of the two new arrests during that period.  In addition, trials expected to be completed during the same period were not completed.  The Tribunal now anticipates that it will be conducting trials and writing judgements in 12 cases involving 24 accused persons during the biennium 2010-2011.  The cases are detailed in the report.

The Tribunal intends to complete its trial work before the end of 2011, with appeals to be completed by the end of 2013, if no new arrests are made of indictees who are to be tried at the Tribunal.

In the first performance report of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/65/178), the Secretary-General asks the Assembly to approve a revised appropriation for the biennium 2010-2011 of $226.53 million gross ($207.35 million net), reflecting a decrease of $18.76 million ($19.89 million net).

The decline of nearly $19.9 million net is the result of changes stemming from variations in exchange rates, inflation and adjustments to standards assumed in the calculation of the initial appropriations.  Submitted pursuant to Assembly resolution 64/239, the first performance report’s primary purpose is to identify these adjustments.

The report of the Secretary-General on revised estimates relating to the budget of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for 2010-2011 (document A/65/183) asks the Assembly to take note of the document and approve an additional appropriation of $47.6 million gross ($42.55 million net) to the Tribunal’s Special Account for the 2010-2011 biennium.

With resolution 64/240, the Assembly appropriated $290.28 million gross ($267.99 million net) to the Tribunal’s Special Account for the 2010-2011 period.  The Secretary-General notes that external factors beyond the Tribunal’s control could and would have a major impact on the anticipated completion dates of trials.  If the trial schedule varied significantly from the schedule used to shape the 2010-2011 budget proposal, the requirements would have to be reassessed and estimates would have to be revised.

Since the 2010-2011 budget for the Tribunal was approved, the trial schedule has been revised for reasons beyond the Tribunal’s control to reflect changes in the completion dates of a number of first-instance trials, the report states.  It reflects additional resource requirements totalling $42.5 million, net of staff assessment, over the initial appropriation.

During the biennium, the Tribunal will be conducting trials and writing judgements in 10 cases involving 25 accused persons.  The cases fall into two categories.  The cases in which judgement will be completed total five cases involving 18 accused.  These are Perišić (1 accused); Ðorđević (1 accused); Prlić et al. (6 accused); Gotovina et al. (3 accused); and Popović et al. (7 accused).

The cases in which trials will be ongoing total five cases involving seven accused.  These are Šešelj (1 accused); M. Stanišić and Župljanin (2 accused); Karadžić (1 accused); Stanišić and Simatović (2 accused); and Tolimir (1 accused).

The Committee also had before it the Secretary-General’s first performance report of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/65/581) issued on 19 November 2010.

Submitted as requested by Assembly resolution 64/240, this first performance report of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia reflects a reduction in requirements of $18.2 million, net of staff assessment, from the initial appropriation for the biennium 2010-2011.  The decrease includes changes stemming from exchange rates, inflation and standard salary costs.

The Secretary-General asks the Assembly to approve a revised appropriation for the biennium 2010-2011 totalling $274.92 million gross ($249.83 million net), reflecting a decrease of $15.36 million gross, ($18.15 million net).

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) presented its recommendations with its report, first performance reports and revised estimates relating to the budgets of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/65/616).

The Advisory Committee recommended that the General Assembly approve additional appropriations for the biennium 2010-2011 in the amount of $29.2 million gross to the Special Account for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and $45.6 million gross to the Special Account for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  Further, the Advisory Committee recommends approval for the proposals of the Secretary-General.

Among its concerns and recommendations is the high departure rate of experienced staff from both Tribunals.  Because of the uncertainties of the timing of the completion strategy, Tribunal staff had been seeking other employment opportunities.  In addition, the recruitment of new staff had been affected by the lack of longer-term employment prospects.  While noting the measures taken by the Tribunals in that regard, the report calls for the Secretary-General to explore options that would address the problem to avoid further disruption of the trial schedule.

The Committee also notes that a number of posts due to be abolished in both Tribunals were still necessary for the preparation and conduct of new trials slated in the revised trial schedule.  Available resources within the approved biennium budget had been used to fund the continuation of 135 posts (41 in the Office of the Prosecutor and 94 in the Registry).   Acknowledging that trial activities entails some degree of unpredictability and, thus, some uncertainty regarding resource requirements, the Advisory Committee, however, reiterates that the Secretary-General should ensure compliance with established United Nations financial regulations and rules.

Concerning programme budget implications for the biennium 2010-2011 resulting from Myanmar and a memorial to remember victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, the Committee had before it four documents.

Regarding Myanmar, the Secretary-General’s statement on the Situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.5/65/10), issued 23 November 2010, states that, if the Assembly adopts draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.48/Rev.1, additional requirements totalling $1.22 million net ($1.37 million gross) would be required for 1 January to 31 December 2011 to continue the efforts of the good offices of the Secretary-General relating to the situation in Myanmar.

The Secretary-General also states that the requirements would be charged against the provision for special political missions under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.  Approval was being sought through the Secretary-General’s report, Estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council (A/65/328/Add.1 and Corr.1), now before the Assembly.

In its related report, Situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/65/613), the ACABQ recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that, if it adopts draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.48/Rev.1, resources amounting to $1.22 million net ($1.37 million gross) would be required for 1 January to 31 December 2011 for the continuation of these offices.  These requirements would be charged against the provision proposed for special political missions under section 3, Political Affairs and as outlined above.

The Committee also had before it the Secretary-General’s statement on the Permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade (document A/C.5/65/11), issued 9 December 2010.  By that statement, if the Assembly adopts draft resolution A/65/L.36, additional requirements amounting to $251,500 would be required.  This would be offset by the same amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.  This would represent a charge against the contingency fund and, as such, would require appropriation for the biennium.

In its related report (document A/65/626), the ACABQ recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that, if it adopts draft resolution A/65/L.36, additional resources would be required amounting to $251,500 under section 27; $239,400 for public information and $12,100 for staff assessment, which would be offset by the same amount under income section 1 of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.  Those provisions would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

The Committee also has before it a statement (document A/C.5/65/12) submitted by the Secretary-General on the Programme budget implication of draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.60, concerning implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  Because rule 153 of the rules and procedures of the Assembly could not be followed in regard to Third Committee draft resolution (document A/C.3/65/L.60), approved 23 November, the Third Committee was instructed to submit directly to the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee for action.

If the Assembly adopts draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.60, as orally revised, it would be requested to approve the proposals of the Secretary-General for a total of $206,400 as a charge against the contingency fund for the biennium 2010-2011.  The requirements by section would include $115,700 for General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and $90,700 for public information.

The related ACABQ report (document A/65/627), recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that, if it adopts draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.60 as revised, a total additional amount of $206,400 would be required for the biennium 2010-2011.  That would comprise $115,700 under section 2, for General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs and conference management, and $90,700 under section 27, for public information.  Said provisions would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the United Nations pension system (document A/C.5/65/L.8)By the text, the General Assembly would note with concern that the Board of Auditors issued a modified audit opinion on the financial statement of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund for the biennium ended 31 December 2009, with one emphasis of matter on investment management, and request the Secretary-General to implement the recommendations of the Board without further delay.

The Assembly would also express concern at the results of the actuarial valuation of the Pension Fund, which revealed a deficit of 0.38 per cent of pension remuneration as of 31 December 2009, the first deficit in seven consecutive actuarial valuations.  The Assembly would endorse the recommendation of the ACABQ in that regard.  Further, the Assembly would approve the recommendation of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board that the total appropriation of $176.3 million remain unchanged and that the requirements of the fund be met through redeployment with revised administrative costs, investment costs, audit costs and Board expenses.

Finally, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General continue to diversify the Fund’s investments between developed, developing and emerging markets, wherever it serves the interests of the participants and the beneficiaries of the Fund.  The report also requests that the Secretary-General ensure that decisions concerning the Fund’s investments in any country be implemented prudently and take into account the four main investment criteria:  safety, profitability, liquidity and convertibility, under the current volatile market conditions.

Introduction of Reports

Assistant-Secretary-General and Controller JUN YAMAZAKI introduced the reports of the Secretary-General related to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

In revised estimates relating to the budget of the Rwanda Tribunal for the biennium 2010-2011, (A/65/178) the Secretary-General lays out the additional requirements, which totalled $34.22 million gross ($31.06 million net), or $31.29 million gross after recosting using the parameters of the first performance report, he said.  He also introduced the first performance report for the Tribunal.

The additional requirements related to the extension of the terms of the judges, travel of representatives, increased general temporary assistance for the reinstatement of the functions that were abolished in 2009, as well as those scheduled for abolition in 2011 and other operational requirements.

Concerning the revised estimates for the budget of the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal, (document A/65/183), he said the Secretary-General had noted that external factors beyond the Tribunal’s control could and would have a major impact on the anticipated completion dates of trials.  If the trial schedule varied significantly from the schedule used to shape the 2010-2011 budget proposal, the requirements would have to be reassessed and estimates would have to be revised.  The changes in the trial schedule had a significant impact on the trial workload for the biennium.

The additional requirements for the biennium 2010-2011 total $47.6 million gross ($42.55 million net), or $45.59 million gross after recosting using the parameters of the first performance report.  He also introduced the first performance report of the Tribunal.

The additional requirements related to honorariums of judges, general temporary assistance for the reinstatement of the functions of the post that were abolished during the biennium 2008-2009 and those scheduled to be abolished during the biennium 2010-2011, and other operational requirements, he said.

SUSAN MCLURG, Chair of the ACABQ, introduced the Advisory Committee’s report relating to the budgets of the Rwanda Tribunal and the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal for the biennium 2010-2011.  Commenting on the Board of Auditor’s recommendations on the accounts of the Tribunals, she noted the Board’s modified audit opinion that focused on the management of non-expendable property on the Rwanda Tribunal’s financial statements.  She had been informed that the Tribunal had made arrangements to replace the current Field Asset Control System with Galileo and that it was currently recruiting for the position of asset manager.

Turning to the budgets of both Tribunals for the biennium 2010-2011, she pointed out that the decreases in the initial appropriations had been due mainly to changes in exchange rates.  In that regard, the General Assembly would be asked to approve reductions in the appropriations in the amount of $18.8 million gross for the Rwanda Tribunal and $15.4 million for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal.  The revised estimates reflected the unforeseen developments that had affected the trial schedules of both Tribunals, and thus delayed their respective completion strategies.  Those developments included the detention of three additional indictees at the Rwanda Tribunal, and the discovery of new evidence relevant to a number of ongoing cases at the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal.  Issues with staff retention had also affected both Tribunals’ ability to ensure the timely completion of trials.  She noted that the Tribunals were currently addressing the issue with the Office of Human Resources Management.

Continuing, she said that, although the Rwanda Tribunal had taken measures to handle its increased workload within its existing resources, the Secretary-General was proposing an additional $34.2 million gross for the current biennium.  After recosting, the amount had been decreased to $31.3 million gross.  The bulk of the additional resources, in the amount of $27.7 million, would be used for general temporary assistance to ensure that 228 posts scheduled for termination, could continue and ensure functioning of the Tribunals.  The remaining resources would be allocated to judge honorariums, consultants, travel, general operating expenses, supplies, materials, furniture and equipment.  The Advisory Committee believed that the additional requirements should be met within the current application.

Continuing, she said that the additional requirements of $47.6 million gross requested by the Secretary-General for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal would decrease to $45.6 million gross after recosting.  Those additional resources would provide funding for 186 positions slated for termination, so that continued operations of critical functions would be ensured for the Tribunal.  Additional resources were also being requested for honorariums for judges, travel and contractual services.  In conclusion, she stated that the Advisory Committee recommended that the General Assembly approve $29.2 million gross for the Rwanda Tribunal and $45.6 million gross for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal.

Statements

Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, WALEED AL-SHAHARI (Yemen) said the timely arrest and trial of fugitives was crucial to ensuring the Tribunals met the time frames outlined in the completion strategies set by the Security Council.  The Group was aware of the challenges and observed that the high vacancy rates, staff retention issues, and the arrest of wanted fugitives had the potential to adversely affect the completion strategies.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to meet those challenges.

The Group would be keen to explore the factors, outlined by the Secretary-General, that had led to increased workloads or revisions in trial schedules.  It wanted to determine ways to best address the current circumstances in order to make sure the completion strategy was carried out effectively.  The Group would examine the proposal, with a view to ensuring the Tribunals had the necessary resources to implement their mandate in line with the completion strategies.

BROUZ RALPH COFFI (Côte d’Ivoire) speaking for the African Group, noted the challenges facing the Rwanda Tribunal in meeting the completion time frames that had been established by the Security Council, including staff retention and vacancies, the arrests of fugitives and the general dynamics of trials, which often impacted completion strategies.  He also said that the transfer of trials from the Tribunal to national jurisdictions was a key element to the completion strategy and that the issue of fugitives at large remained a core component of the Tribunal’s mandate.  In that regard, he commended the Government of Rwanda for amending its laws and thus ensuring a successful transfer of cases.  That had contributed, he pointed out, to the Tribunal meeting its targets in its completion strategy.

He recalled that, during the consideration of the Rwanda Tribunal budget for 2010-2011, two additional indictees had been arrested and that the General Assembly had requested the Tribunal to proceed with prosecution.  Due to those events, the General Assembly requested that the Secretary-General report on the financial implications of such actions.  In that regard, he commended the report and expressed his full support for the revised estimate submitted by the Secretary-General, which reflected those events and their ensuing increased workload and updated trial schedule.

KAREN HUNG ( Canada), speaking also for Australia and New Zealand, strongly supported the work of both Tribunals and offered appreciation for the steps taken in achieving the goals outlined in the respective completion strategies.  She urged the Tribunals to fulfil their mandate in prosecuting perpetrators of serious international crimes, but requested that they continue to identify measures that would enable them to complete their work as efficiently and promptly as possible.  To that end, she affirmed her continued commitment and support to ensure that the work of the Tribunals was engaged in as cost-effective a manner as possible, and she called upon Member States to support the Tribunals in that endeavour.

Introduction of Reports

SHARON VAN BUERLE, Director, Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the Secretary-General’s three programme budget implication statements issued in accordance with Rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly.

She first turned to the Secretary-General’s statement of programme budget implications (document A/C.5/65/10) of the draft resolution Situation of human rights in Myanmar.  She said that if the Assembly adopts this draft resolution (document A/C.3/65/L.48/Rev.1), additional requirements totalling $1.22 million under section 3, Political affairs, and $154,200 under section 35, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.  Approval for these requirements was being sought through the Secretary-General’s report on special political missions for 2011 which also included the estimated costs.

Regarding the memorial to the transatlantic slave trade victims, Ms. Van Buerle introduced the Secretary-General’s statement on programme budget implications (document A/C.5/65/11 and Corr.1) for the draft resolution, Permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

If the Assembly adopts draft resolution A/65/L.36, additional requirements amounting to $251,500 under section 27, Public Information and Section 36, Staff Assessment ($12,100), to be offset by the same amount under income section I, Income from staff assessment of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011,  would be required.  Those provisions would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

Ms. Buerle then introduced the Secretary-General’s statement of programme budget implications (document A/C.5/65/12) on the draft resolution concerning follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

If the Assembly adopts draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.60, additional resources of $206,400 would be required for the biennium 2010-2011, as a charge against the contingency fund.  The requirements would include $115,700 under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and $90,700 under section 27, Public information.

Ms. MCLURG, Chair of the ACABQ introduced the related Advisory Committee report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/65/613), in which the Advisory Committee said that, if the General Assembly adopted draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.48/Rev.1, resources amounting to $1.22 million net ($1.37 million gross) would be required for 1 January to 31 December 2011 for the continuation of those offices.  The requirements would be charged against the provision proposed for special political missions under section 3, Political Affairs.

She said the Advisory Committee’s related report (document A/65/626) on programme budget implications of the draft resolution A/65/L.36, regarding the permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade says that if the Assembly adopts resolution A/65/L.36 additional resources would be required amounting to $251,500 under section 27, $239,400 for public information and $12,100 for staff assessment, which would be offset by the same amount under income section I of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.  Those provisions would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

Concluding, she introduced the Advisory Committee’s report on the programme budget implications of the implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/65/627), in which the Advisory Committee says that, if the Assembly adopted draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.60, as revised, a total additional amount of $206,400 would be required for the biennium 2010-2011.  That would comprise of $115,700 under section 2, for General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs and conference management, and $90,700 under section 27, for public information.  Those provisions would represent a charge against the contingency fund.

Statements

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, WALEED AL-SHAHARI, ( Yemen) first referred to the programme budget implications of the draft resolution A/C.3/65/L.60/Rev 1, which concerns global efforts to eliminate racism, that was adopted by the Third Committee on 23 November 2010.  The Group was concerned that the introduction of that important programme budget implication statement took place three weeks after the adoption of the resolution.  In the future, it would like such statements to be presented to the respective Committees as soon as possible, in line with rule 153 of the rules of procedure.  The Group fully endorsed the draft resolution and the Advisory Committee’s report on the budget implications.

Turning to the budget implications of the draft resolution related to the memorial for the victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade, the Group emphasized the importance of educating current and future generations about the issue.  The Assembly had given four successive mandates on the observance.  The Group was concerned about the lack of cooperation and willingness of the Department of Pubic Information and other related Secretariat entities to engage actively on the activities related to the remembrance of such an immense tragedy.

While endorsing the draft resolution and the Advisory Committee’s report on the budget implications, the Group pointed out that the Department of Public Information had not made a provision that was requested in paragraph 13 of the draft resolution.  That provision asked the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-fifth session on continued action to implement the programme of educational outreach.  While there had been reports on Department of Public Information activities, no reports had been made on action by Member States to implement the resolutions.  That was another example of the lack of attention the matter had received from the Department of Public Information and the lack of support the remembrance celebration event received, compared to similar remembrance events, in terms of action and resources for implementation of its mandate.  The Group expected the Secretariat to engage seriously on the issue and outreach activities should be extended to Member States on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, he said.

RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica) speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), recalled the forced uprooting of millions of people from Africa to the Americas and Europe for the procurement of massive inexpensive or free labour.  He also reminded the delegates that the General Assembly had, over the past four years of resolutions, mandated the establishment of a memorial commemorating the ending of slavery, the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  As well, the Assembly had also mandated the development of programmes that would raise international awareness and, among others, conduct outreach activities.  He called for the full implementation of the General Assembly’s resolution and for the annual International Day of Remembrance to be placed on equal footing with other resolutions on similar international observances, and be secured with stable and predictable funding.

Continuing, he pointed out that an important part of fulfilling the mandate given by the General Assembly in all resolutions on the matter was the development by Member States of educational programmes, including school curricula, so that future generations would be educated and informed of the history and consequences of slavery and the slave trade.  However, he noted that the Secretariat had not requested Member States to report on such implementation or actions, a situation that had been attributed to the lack of human resources.  Further, he expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Department of Public Information handled that important issue, noting that there was no budget line in the upcoming budget addressing any global dissemination of public information, as described in the draft resolution.

Concluding, he underscored that the issue of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade should be accorded equal treatment to other observances of human tragedies at the United Nations and he called for every effort to be made in providing the requisite financial and human resources so that full implementation of those resolutions be ensured.  Thanking the Member States who had participated in the draft resolution, he affirmed CARICOM’s continued commitment in advancing the permanent memorial initiative.

JUN YAMADA (Japan) reminded the Committee of rule 153 of the General Assembly’s rules and procedures, in which no resolution involving expenditure could be recommended by a Committee unless it was accompanied by an estimate of expenditures prepared by the Secretary-General.  He urged that all Member States be aware of, and not overlook, that established budgetary procedure in future General Assembly negotiations.

Turning to the three programme budget implication statements, he noted that they totalled $1.8 million, which was $3.7 million less than the total amount of their budgets last year.  He commended the effort to absorb the additional expenses by using existing resources.  In regard to the capacity of departments to absorb such additional expenses, he requested further clarity during informal consultations on the matter.  He also noted with concern that some draft negotiations with programme budget implication language would not be concluded by the 1 December deadline.

ISI YANOUKA ( Israel) said that, although his delegation maintained “significant objections” to the proposed follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, he recognized that the Fifth Committee was not the appropriate forum in which to discuss his concerns.  In regard to the programme budget implication of the draft resolution on the matter, he noted the violation of rule 153 of the General Assembly’s rules and procedures.  It was his stance that the Fifth committee was being asked to “rubber stamp in retrospect” an invalid action of the Third Committee and he requested the resolution be returned to that Committee.

In regard to the programme budget implications of the resolution, he pointed out that the total additional resources requested in the Secretary-General’s proposal were small amounts compared to the overall budget, in one case comprising of 0.017 per cent of the appropriated budget of section 2 and in the other 0.048 per cent of the appropriated budget of section 27. “Is it truly impossible to absorb this miniscule amount into the regular budget for these sections?”

JOSEPH MELROSE ( United States) expressed his concern that the General Assembly’s rules and procedures had not been followed in the matter of the Third Committee’s resolution on the follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  Further, he was concerned that a decision on the resolution had been taken without the Committee being informed of the budget implications associated with implementation.  In this regard, he had serious reservations about that activity that were fully articulated in the Third Committee and thus could not support funding for the initiative.

Action on Draft

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on United Nations pension system (document A/C.5/65/L.8).  The draft was approved without a vote.

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