Budget Committee Takes Up Proposed Financing for United Nations Burundi Office, Representative on International Advisory and Monitoring Board

14 March 2011
GA/AB/3983

Budget Committee Takes Up Proposed Financing for United Nations Burundi Office, Representative on International Advisory and Monitoring Board

14 March 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/3983
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

30th Meeting (AM)

Budget Committee Takes Up Proposed Financing for United Nations Burundi Office,

Representative on International Advisory and Monitoring Board

 

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today took up proposed budgets for two United Nation’s special political missions — namely its Office in Burundi (BNUB) and its representative to the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) — in the amounts of $23.1 million and $24,600 net, respectively.

Regarding the Office in Burundi, the budget would take into account a six-month transition period during which the staff of the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), the predecessor of BNUB, would be drawn down and the mandate of BNUB implemented.  Meanwhile, the proposed budget for the representative to the IAMB — an audit oversight body for the Development Fund for Iraq, whose mandate had been extended until 30 June 2011 — reflected travel expenses for the representative and his adviser to meetings of the IAMB until that date.

Sharon Van Buerle, Director of the Programme Planning and Budget Division of the United Nations Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, presented the report of the Secretary-General on “Estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council” (document A/65/328/Add.6), which contained the budget proposals for 2011 for the two special political missions.  With regard to Burundi, the resource requirement for 2011, as well as the requirements for the transition phase, amounted to $23.1 million net ($25.07 million, including staff assessment).

With regard to the Burundi Office, the report reviews its main tasks, including strengthening its independence, capacities and the legal frameworks of key national institutions, in particular the judiciary; supporting efforts to fight impunity, particularly by creating transitional justice mechanisms; promoting and protecting human rights; and supporting Burundi in its role as chair of the 2011 summit of the East African Community, as well as advice on regional integration issues.

Concerning IAMB, it also notes that, as set out in Security Council resolution 1483 (2003), its main purpose is to help ensure that the Development Fund for Iraq is used transparently to benefit the Iraqi people and that export sales of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas from Iraq are consistent with prevailing international market best practices.

Established pursuant to that resolution, the Development Fund holds the proceeds of petroleum export sales from Iraq and remaining balances from the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme and other frozen Iraqi funds.  Security Council resolution 1956 (2010) authorized the most recent extension of the Fund’s mandate, for a final time through 30 June 2011.

Ms. Van Buerle said that the requirement of $23.1 million net ($25.07 million, including staff assessment) provide for BNUB’s staffing complement starting with 450 positions in January 2011, which will gradually be reduced to 134 in December 2011, as well as for operational needs.  The resource requirements for January 2011 to date were being met through the use of the $14.46 million appropriated for the mission’s predecessor, BINUB.  Taking into account those funds, a net appropriation of $9.18 million, including staff assessment, was being requested for the Office.

Alejandro Torres Lépori, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced the related ACABQ report (document A/65/602/Add.1).

Concerning BNUB, he said the Committee had “no objection” to the decision to have a 6-month transition period during which the staff of BINUB would be drawn down and its assets disposed of, while BNUB, BINUB’s successor, would be established and begin implementing its mandate.  He recalled, however, that the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support had begun to develop standard operating procedures related to, among other things, the transition from one type of mission to another or to liquidation.  He stressed the importance of speedily completing that transition and of incorporating lessons learned from past experiences, particularly concerning disposal of assets and separation of staff.  He called for proper planning and procedures to avoid lengthy transitions and to ensure effective, efficient implementation.

The Committee regretted, however, that the Secretary-General’s proposal did not include detailed information on the staffing requirements, which would allow for a thorough analysis of its structure and staffing proposals, particularly concerning a new special political mission, he continued.  In that regard, the ACABQ had requested and received information, and asked that it also be provided to the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, as well as underscored the importance of including that type of information in future budget submissions.

The Committee recommended acceptance of the Secretary-General’s staffing proposals, except the 12 positions indicated in paragraph 21 of its report, and suggested that BNUB’s staffing needs be resubmitted and re-justified in the context of the next budget submission, he said.  The Committee also recommended cutting $957,400 in staffing and ground transportation costs from the BNUB’s proposed budget for 2011.  Taking into account resources already appropriated in Assembly resolution 65/260, BNUB’s net additional requirements would total $7.5 million.

In its report, the Advisory Committee also recommended that the Fifth Committee take into account its recommendations outlined in paragraphs 5 to 28 of the report.  Those recommendations included the importance of seeking continued cooperation from the host Government to identify potential sites where the United Nations entities now in the country could be based together in Bujumbura, as well as the importance and desirability of cost-sharing arrangements with the agencies, funds and programmes already present in Bujumbura.  It encouraged the Mission to further explore that option.

Finally, the ACABQ recommended accepting the Secretary-General’s proposals concerning the IAMB.

Following the introduction of those reports, one delegation took the floor.  The representative of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the African Group was committed to a speedy consideration of the estimates in respect to special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council.  It was essential to reach an agreement during the informal consultations on that item, he said.  The African Group would exert its “utmost efforts” during the consultations in order to reach a concrete outcome agreeable to all Member States.  With regards to a devastating earthquake and tsunami that had stuck Japan over the weekend, he also offered words of condolence to the representative of Japan and stressed his country’s solidarity with the Japanese people.

The representative of Japan spoke at the opening of the meeting, saying he was sorry that his first visit to the Committee was taking place at such a difficult moment for Japan.  However, he was encouraged by the kind words and encouragement of the Committee members, who stood for a moment of silence in support of the Japanese people.

The Committee will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.

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