In Resumed Session, Budget Committee Reviews Funding for Peacekeeping Operations, Underlining Need to Sustain Adequate, Efficient, Accountable Support
In Resumed Session, Budget Committee Reviews Funding for Peacekeeping Operations, Underlining Need to Sustain Adequate, Efficient, Accountable Support
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
32nd Meeting (AM)
In Resumed Session, Budget Committee Reviews Funding for Peacekeeping Operations,
Underlining Need to Sustain Adequate, Efficient, Accountable Support
Speakers affirmed the importance of adequately, efficiently and accountably funding United Nations peacekeeping operations as the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) opened the second part of its resumed session this morning.
Along with approving its organization of work for the four-week session, which closes on 27 May, the Committee commented on the introduction of the report of the Board of Auditors and related documents concerning United Nations Peacekeeping operations for the 12-month period ending 30 June 2010 (see Background).
Speaking on the organization of work, delegations took the floor to pledge to work constructively to appropriately fund peacekeeping missions so that they could effectively fulfil their mandates, paying tribute to peacekeepers, particularly those who had lost their lives in the line of duty. General agreement emerged that the reduced financial requirements for peacekeeping operations, from $7.9 billion to $7.6 billion in the last budget period, were consistent with the current consolidation of peacekeeping operations, and that in times of fiscal constraint, it was necessary to maintain such efforts.
Any waste or inefficiency was intolerable when lives were at stake, the representative of the United States said during the discussion. By adopting a balanced, strategic approach, the goals of ensuring that peacekeepers had adequate resources to both safely and effectively carry out their tasks while at the same time ensuring that funds were spent wisely could be complementary and mutually reinforcing, he stressed.
In the same vein, the representative of Hungary, on behalf of the European Union, pointing to the proposed budgets for 2011-2012 totalling $7.6 billion — three times the annual level of the regular budget — and noting the financial constraints facing all Member States, stressed the need for strict budgetary discipline. Along with the representative of Japan and other speakers, he stressed the importance of maximizing projected gains in efficiency of the Global Field Support Strategy while expressing concern that the available credits from closed peacekeeping missions with cash surpluses had not been returned to Member States for a long time.
On the other hand, the representative of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that regions affected by conflict or those on their way to peace would be emphasizing the allocation of an adequate budget for each peacekeeping mission.
The representative of Chile, which contributes troops to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), stressed that a steady rise in prices had placed an unprecedented financial burden on all troop-contributing countries that must be taken into account. Welcoming the consensus reached on revised reimbursement rates for certain areas at the 2011 session of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, she regretted that no substantive increase was agreed upon. The representative of Argentina, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called on the General Assembly to approve, during the current session, an ad hoc increase for troop costs.
Also speaking in the opening discussion on the organization of work were the representatives of Ukraine, Uruguay, Mexico, Norway and Brazil.
Turning to the peacekeeping reports, the Committee heard the introduction of the report of the Board of Auditors (document A/65/5) by Liu Yu of China, Chair of the Board’s Audit Operations Committee and the introduction of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the recommendations of the Board (document A/65/719) by Mario Baez, the Chief of the Policy and Oversight Coordination Service, Office of Management. The Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, Collen Kelapile, introduced that Committee’s report.
Speaking after those introductions, the representatives of Argentina, again on behalf of the Group of 77, Hungary, again on behalf of the European Union, and Japan welcomed the overall improvement noted by the Board in the financial and administrative management of peacekeeping operations, compared with the previous financial period, but expressed concern over a number of issues, also noted in the reports, including the management of expendable and non-expendable property, and the lack of action on a number of systemic issues reported year after year, with little implementation of the Board’s recommendations in many cases. They welcomed the proposal of the Board of Auditors to conduct performance audits that would enhance current auditing services for the General Assembly and Administration.
Hungary’s representative, in addition, supported stronger asset management and underscored the need for adequate safeguards to prevent waste and financial loss. She shared the Board’s concern over the high rate of cancellation of unliquidated obligations, adding that the continuous shortcomings in procurement and contract management must also be addressed. She was also concerned over recurring human resources-related recommendations and said that the long-standing vacancies at some peacekeeping missions clearly indicated that those posts were no longer needed.
Japan’s representative called for a detailed explanation from the Board as to why a large percentage of the $1.38 billion in unliquidated obligations as of 30 June 2010 had been created near the end of the budget year, and how the Secretariat was addressing that. In addition, he expressed concern over the Secretariat’s disagreement with the auditing board’s recommendation to abide by the bidding time frame established in the procurement manual, as well as the increasing number of ex post facto cases reported to the Headquarters Committee on Contracts.
He also called for the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to follow-up on such cases as the one in which a late bid for a $103 million contract had been accepted by the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) without explanation.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 3 May, to continue its work.
When the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning, it had before it the Financial report and audited financial statements for the 12-month period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 and Report of the Board of Auditors, Volume II: United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/65/5 Vol. II), which presents the results of audits of the attached statement of income and expenditure and changes in reserves and fund balances for peacekeeping operations for the year ended 30 June 2010; the statement of assets, liabilities and reserves and fund balances as at that date; the statement of cash flows for the year then ended, other related statements and schedules; and the notes to the financial statements.
In the opinion of the Board, “the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the United Nations peacekeeping operations as at 30 June 2010 and its financial performance and cash flows for the period then ended, in accordance with the United Nations system accounting standards”.
The Board notes that Peacekeeping is a complex, high-profile and high-value United Nations operation, with total expenditure of some $7.62 billion in 2009-2010 and with missions responsible for $2.12 billion in non-expendable property and an estimated $402 million in expendable property.
It states that, while there is no room for complacency, given the high inherent risks to effective financial control and management in peacekeeping operations and the level of improvement that, in the Board’s view, is still needed, the Board has noted in the appropriate sections of the present report the efforts made by the Administration of the United Nations to tackle the weaknesses and concerns raised by the Board in its previous reports, and strongly encourages the Administration to continue its efforts.
The report on Implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors concerning United Nations peacekeeping operations for the financial period ended 30 June 2010: Report of the Secretary-General (document A/65/719) notes that the Administration concurs with most of the Board’s recommendations, stating that many of the comments of the Secretary-General have been duly reflected in the Board’s report.
The report provides additional comments, including for each recommendation contained in the report of the Board, as well as information on the status of implementation, the office responsible, the estimated completion date and the priority. In addition, it contains updated information on the status of implementation of the recommendations of the Board relating to prior periods that were reported by the Board as not having been fully implemented.
Also before the Committee was the Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) concerning United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/65/782), in which the Advisory Committee commends the Board of Auditors for what it calls “the continued high quality of its report”. Presenting the recommendations of the Board, the Committee welcomes the timely submission of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Board’s recommendations.
Opening the debate on the Committee’s organization of work (document A/C.5/65/L.30), SEBASTIÁN DI LUCA ( Argentina), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the session must focus on peacekeeping-related matters. He stressed that the Assembly must approve during the current session an ad hoc increase to troop costs in order to address the difficulties caused by inflation, which severely affected troop-contributing countries. He expressed serious concern over the length of time that had elapsed since the last review of troop costs in 1992, and the subsequent ad hoc increase in 2002. That situation had created a difficult financial burden for troop-contributing countries and it seriously threatened their ability to sustain participation in peacekeeping operations. He underscored the importance of receiving all pertinent documents and reports in a timely manner and in accordance with the time frame set by the rules and regulations to allow for indispensable analysis and assessment by delegations.
CSABA KÖRÖSI (Hungary), on behalf of the European Union, expressed confidence that Member States would continue to show flexibility in negotiations to allow the Committee to conclude its work within the scheduled period. Commending the hard work and commitment of all United Nations peacekeeping personnel and paying tribute to all those who had lost their lives, he stressed that the peacekeeping activity of the United Nations was an important priority for the Union, which was committed to providing the necessary resources for fulfilment of mandates.
At the same time, he said, with the proposed budgets for 2011-2012, totalling $7.6 billion — three times the annual level of the regular budget — and given the financial constraints facing all Member States, strict budgetary discipline was required to ensure that the resources were truly needed and were used effectively, efficiently and transparently. The Union, therefore, would carefully study the Secretary-General’s budget proposals for the individual peacekeeping operations on their own merits. In that light, he reiterated strong support for the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy and welcomed the close involvement of the membership in that process. He urged the Secretariat to work to make sure that the Strategy led to economies of scale and savings, as well as to strengthened accountability and improved delivery of services on a global and regional basis for a more rapid and effective deployment of missions. As that work continued, it would be increasingly important to get a clear picture of the Strategy’s impact.
He regretted that the cash surpluses totalling some $230.7 million from 18 closed peacekeeping missions had not yet been returned in full to Member States, in line with regulations. He also stressed the importance of the timely issuance and translation of documents into all official languages before the beginning of a Committee session. He pledged to work closely with all partners in a spirit of openness and constructive cooperation to reach tangible results in the session.
BROUZ RALPH COFFI (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that it was clear that peacekeeping operations were vital for the regions affected by conflict or those on their way to peace. As part of such regions, he stressed that the countries of the African Group would be keen on the allocation of the right budget for each of the missions on the session’s agenda. He reiterated the Group’s willingness to work constructively with its partners towards that goal, in a spirit of compromise and goodwill.
MASATOSHI SUGIURA ( Japan) asked the Secretariat to submit the expected revised estimates for the special political missions and expressed hope that the ACABQ could submit its report on that issue in a timely manner in order for the Committee to conclude its session by month’s end. He concurred fully with the ACABQ’s recommendation that consolidation of peacekeeping would potentially lead to a further reduction in expenditures and that the current more stable level of peacekeeping activity should enable an intensified focus on implementing mandates in a more cost-effective and efficient manner. He looked forward to seeing the progress and outcome of the Global Field Support Strategy during its first year and the prospects for its second year. He hoped that the improved conditions, resulting from resolution 65/248 would attract more competent staff and lead to a lower vacancy rate and higher retention. That resolution stipulated that additional costs resulting from changes in the condition of service were to be absorbed by the Organization from within existing resources, without impacting the operational costs or undermining implementation of mandated programmes. The budget proposals for 2011-2012 had been made in accordance with that resolution.
He said he would like to hear about the Secretariat’s efforts to find savings and achieve efficiency gains, including a detailed explanation of the Global Field Support Strategy and the absorption of estimated costs of harmonization of the condition of services. He also wanted to scrutinize the budget proposal in order to determine a realistic and reasonable level of resources for peacekeeping operations. He remained concerned that the available credits from closed peacekeeping missions with cash surpluses had not been returned to Member States for a long time. A consensus could be reached on that issue, and he urged colleagues to negotiate constructively on it.
JOSEPH TORSELLA (United States) said that by adopting a balanced, strategic approach, the goals of ensuring that peacekeepers had adequate resources to both safely and effectively carry out their tasks while at the same time ensuring that funds were spent wisely could be complementary and mutually reinforcing. Any waste or inefficiency was intolerable when lives were at stake; missions were being stretched and new, unplanned needs arising daily. He was encouraged by the Secretary-General’s recent direction to improve budgetary discipline for the regular budget and looked forward to similar discipline in peacekeeping. He stressed the need to continue that trend and identify further efficiencies in ongoing operations. He noted with satisfaction that the additional resource requirements related to harmonization of human resource management policies had been proposed for absorption. Should the Assembly adopt the recommendations of the Contingent-Owned Equipment Working Group, means to finance those requirements must be found within the Secretary-General’s proposed budget level for peacekeeping.
He stressed the need to ensure the safest possible air movement for all United Nations personnel. There was no room for compromise where safety was concerned. He welcomed the efficiencies being achieved through the regional approach to management operations being implemented by the Transportation and Movements Integrated Control Centre at the Regional Service Centre at Entebbe, Uganda and improving fuel efficiency as a principal objective of the Global Strategic Air Operations Centre at the Global Service Centre at Brindisi, Italy. He looked forward to identification of more initiatives to control those costs. He called for full enforcement of the Organization’s policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping. He expressed extreme concern over the continued allegations of the most deplorable acts and expected that all misconduct would be investigated and those found guilty punished without delay.
SERHII YAROVYI (Ukraine), pledging to work constructively with other members during the session, stressed that efforts should focus on the implementation of qualitative rather than quantitative changes, particularly on fixing outstanding issues in peacekeeping that had become obvious during the recent period. His country was committed to the fulfilment of financial obligations to peacekeeping missions with a view to implement their mandates and, therefore, supported what had already been said regarding the importance of ensuring strict budgetary discipline. At the same time, he stressed the importance of working out a balance between the United Nations general functioning and an adequate financing of peacekeeping activities.
For that reason, he said, his delegation had put forward, within the framework of the Contingent-Owned Equipment Working Group, an initiative regarding the increase in troop-cost reimbursement rates, which would fill serious gaps in peacekeeping, especially in such areas as helicopter units. He hoped for careful and positive consideration of the issue.
MANAHI PAKARATI ( Chile), endorsing the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, reiterated strong support for the allocation of necessary resources for MINUSTAH, for which Chile was contributing troops, police and equipment in the interest of helping its Haitian brothers on the road to peace and sustainable development. She welcomed the progress made in reimbursements to Member States, but said there was still room for improvement; reimbursements should be made in a timely and efficient manner. She encouraged the Secretariat to continue to seek practical ways to deal with the matter, giving equal treatment to all missions.
She expressed concern that in the current terms offered to Member States, the availability of human and material resources of troop-contributing countries, especially developing countries, might be seriously affected. Noting that Chile had been a participant in the 2011 session of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, she welcomed the consensus reached on revised reimbursement rates for major equipment, self-sustainability and medical support, while regretting that no substantive increase had been agreed. She stressed that ongoing inflation and the steady rise in prices had placed an unprecedented financial burden on all troop-contributing countries, which should be taken into account.
She added that the financing of each mission should be analysed in the light of its own merits and needs and not on the basis of generalizations. She also affirmed the importance of the Global Field Support Strategy, pledging to closely follow related negotiations and hoping to maintain a constructive dialogue with the other delegations to ensure the highest quality and most efficient services to contingents in the field.
LILIÁN SILVEIRA ( Uruguay) said Uruguay had contributed 2,450 police and military to United Nations peacekeeping operations, or about 20 per cent of the total peacekeeping staff. The joint responsibility for maintaining international peace and security must be evident in discussions on budget and financing in order to ensure continuation of the peacekeeping system. Since 2002, there had not been an increase in the reintegration costs for troops. It was important to have a new ad hoc increase to ensure that continued viability of participation of Uruguayan troops and that of other countries, she said, noting that many countries had found it difficult to maintain troop levels in missions that were dangerous and increasingly complex. In March, Uruguay’s Foreign Minister and Defence Minister had travelled to New York to speak to the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping to express major concern about the inability to effectively contribute troops under current reimbursement conditions.
As troops and specialists had no incentive to participate in United Nations peacekeeping, she said, Uruguay had to extend their rotations from six to nine months. She cited the withdrawal of an Uruguayan naval contingent from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) because it required pilots and mechanics that were unavailable, as well as the withdrawal of a marine contingent from the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). That was very worrying for Uruguay, which had a long tradition of contributing troops to peacekeeping missions. She urged that the United Nations debt to Uruguay be paid regarding the mission to Cambodia, which had closed in 1993. While it was owed $916,000 in 1993, Uruguay had only received two partial payments of $60,000 each in 2008. It was very bad to allow debts to incur to troop-contributing countries.
NOEL GONZÁLEZ SEGURA ( Mexico) said that the reduced financial requirements for peacekeeping operations, from $7.9 billion to $7.6 billion in the last budget period, were consistent with the current consolidation of peacekeeping operations. But in times of persistent fiscal constraints, it was necessary to maintain efforts to make better, more efficient use of resources. He appealed to the Secretary-General to seek similar efficiencies in the peacekeeping budget for the current session, without compromising missions’ operational capabilities to fully meet their respective mandates.
He expressed interest in expeditiously reaching adequate agreement in order to provide the necessary resources for MINUSTAH, in continued support of the Haitian Government and people to recover from their difficult situation. It was essential to continue progress in implementing the Global Field Support Strategy. Towards that end, actions and recommendations identified by the ACABQ and the Board of Auditors appeared to be very relevant. He deeply condemned all acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel. Mexico was open to discussing during the current session the issue of reimbursement rates for reintegration costs for troops. He made a call not to compromise the very important work of the Organization in that area.
JULIE JACOBSEN TAKAHASHI (Norway), paying tribute to United Nations peacekeepers, particularly those who had died, stressed the need to ensure that all measures necessary were taken to ensure safety and security of staff. In addition, she said that the current stable level of demand was an opportunity to increase the focus on how to implement mandates in a more effective and cost-efficient manner, while looking critically at whether the resources provided were appropriate for the tasks at hand and whether the system as a whole was working at its full potential, with adequate coherence. She welcomed the focus on transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and the opportunity to address the organizational and resource-related aspects of that issue. It was important that administrative practices and systems that impeded coherence were comprehensively reviewed. In that regard, she would be following the case of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with great interest.
She said the Global Field Support Strategy was a major milestone, and she welcomed the availability of high-quality support services to the Department of Political Affairs and special political missions. She was particularly interested in the question of whether support packages still had adequate flexibility in the relevant country context. She was also interested in the elaboration of the challenges related to shortfall of support services in times of transition and exit and how those issues could be addressed. Finally, she noted with satisfaction that actions against sexual abuse seemed to have a positive effect, although it remained a top priority as one report of abuse was still too many. She pledged to work constructively with others during the session.
BRUNO BRANT (Brazil), endorsing statements made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as statements made by Uruguay and Chile, urged an urgent review of the rate of reimbursements for troop-contributing countries, as the current inadequate rates were jeopardizing the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping. She stressed that the status quo was not an option.
Introduction of Reports
LIU YU, Director of External Audit, China, and Chair, Audit Committee of the Board of Auditors, introduced the Board’s financial report and audited financial statements for the 12-month period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 and Report of the Board of Auditors, Volume II: United Nations peacekeeping operations. He noted that this year the Board had issued an unmodified audit opinion on expendable and non-expendable property, following the recent changes in the International Standards on Auditing. While noting improvements in expendable and non-expendable property, further efforts were needed to improve the custody and stewardship of assets and to ensure that records were accurate. The Umoja projects and the implementation in 2014 of International Public Sector Accounting Standards would bring about significant changes in asset stewardship, but they would not change the objective of achieving good value for money by reducing the unnecessary procurement of assets associated with weak asset management.
He said the audit had yielded some good results. The Administration had cancelled more than $26 million in unliquidated obligations in concerned missions. Some vacant posts since had been abolished. In particular, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had abolished 104 vacant posts. The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) had reduced its air operations by two aircraft after taking into account the underutilization of aircraft, and had reduced some vehicles in the 2011-2012 budget, owing to the donation of vehicles by the African Union mission in Sudan. As recommended by the Board, the Administration had asked the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to investigate a high-risk procurement case in UNAMID.
MARIO BAEZ, Chief, Policy and Oversight Coordination Service, Department of Management, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors concerning United Nations peacekeeping operations for the financial period ended 30 June 2010 (document A/65/719). He said that as the Secretary-General had concurred with most of the Board’s recommendations and many of his comments had been duly reflected in the original Board report, the present report gave additional comments only when required. The Board noted in the appropriate sections of the report A/65/5 (Vol. II) the Secretariat’s efforts to tackle the weaknesses and concerns raised in previous reports. The Board also noted in that report an improvement in the rate of implementing recommendations, to 44 per cent in the 2008-2009 period versus 40 per cent over the previous period.
While pleased with that progress, he agreed with the Board’s assessment that there was no room for complacency. The Secretary-General, recognizing the important role of the Board in promoting a culture of compliance and integrity, would continue his efforts to ensure that all accepted recommendations issued by the Board and all oversight bodies were implemented in a timely manner, he said.
COLLEN KELAPILE, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, introduced the report of his Committee (document A/65/782), saying that the Committee noted an overall improvement in the financial and administrative management of peacekeeping operations, compared with the previous financial period, but the management of expendable and non-expendable property was seen as a matter of concern. Ensuring that standards would be met required considerable effort in a number of areas. The Committee, therefore, expected appropriate attention to the matter on behalf of senior management to ensure that the necessary improvements were made. He stressed that the introduction of the new enterprise resource planning system would not by itself provide the solution.
Among other issues of concern, he highlighted the number of systemic issues and perennial problems reported year after year. He considered that the rate of implementation of the Board’s recommendations was inadequate and urged greater managerial attention to all of them. With regard to the results-oriented budgeting framework, he remained concerned that the Board’s findings appeared to have little or no impact on how results-based budgeting was being presented and implemented and, given the limited progress, its feasibility should be thoroughly assessed. He looked forward to reviewing the proposals of the relevant task force to be presented next session. He finally noted that the Board of Auditors was undertaking consultations on the conducting of performance audits that would enhance current auditing services to the Assembly and Administration.
Statements on Reports
Mr. DI LUCA ( Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, affirmed the importance of the reports and noted with encouragement the improvements seen. In building on those improvements, particular attention should be paid to the systemic shortcomings, as well as to recurring and interrelated problems, such as the low rate of implementation of the recommendations of the Board and the deficiencies in the management and administration of peacekeeping operations. It was crucial for the Secretariat to enforce accountability in those areas and to identify the root causes of recurring issues and lack of implementation.
In particular, he remained concerned that issues related to expendable and non-expendable property had not yet been addressed. He concurred with recommendations that the Administration needed to strengthen controls in that area. He requested further clarification from the Secretariat on its response that considerable administrative resources would be needed. He concurred with the ACABQ that introduction of a new information technology system, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), would not by itself resolve related accountability issues. Similarly, he called for addressing the matter of un-liquidated obligations in the manner recommended by the Board and the ACABQ.
He asked for more information from the Secretariat in regard to plans and preparation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), concurring with the Board that due consideration should be given to the distinctive needs of peacekeeping operations. He expected the Administration to take necessary steps to allow the advance consideration of the role and resources of the Board needed for the production of financial audits under IPSAS. He also looked forward to receiving the Board’s comments and recommendations on the important issue of the Global Field Support Strategy. He supported the conducting of performance audits to enhance the audit service provided to the General Assembly and the Administration.
ANNA REICH ( Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union, acknowledged the improvements in the financial and administrative management of peacekeeping operations noted by the Board. But she shared the ACABQ’s deep concern over the systemic shortcomings and recurring problems and the Board’s concern over the lack of a proper response to the continuous deficiencies in managing expendable and non-expendable property under the missions’ control. It was regrettable that those issues had not yet been fully addressed. She supported stronger asset management and underscored the need for adequate safeguards to prevent waste and financial loss. She urged the Secretariat to expeditiously address recurring problems and the persistent lack of compliance in implementing the Board’s recommendations. She shared the Board’s concern over the high rate of cancellation of unliquidated obligations. The continuous shortcomings in procurement and contract management must also be addressed.
She was also concerned about the recurring human resources-related recommendations and the high vacancy rates. The long-standing vacancies at some peacekeeping missions clearly indicated that those posts were no longer needed. That should be reflected in the budget proposals put forward by the Committee during its current session. She was concerned that 41 per cent of total assessed peacekeeping contributions had remained outstanding for more than two years, representing a 2 per cent increase from the previous year. All Member States must pay their contributions in full, on time and without conditions, in order for peacekeeping missions to effectively carry out their mandates.
JUN YAMADA ( Japan) shared the Board’s concern that recommendations on the same or similar subjects had been repeated, and he supported the views of the Board and the ACABQ in that regard. He called for a full explanation of the delays in implementing outstanding recommendations, the root causes of recurring issues and needed measures. He wanted a further explanation of the Secretariat’s interim measures to implement the outstanding recommendations and of the “deficiencies” in management of non-expendable property, as well as challenges in managing expendable property and strategic deployment stocks. He sought more detail about why the Secretariat and the Board could not agree on conducting complete physical verifications of non-expendable properties. He noted with concern the duplication of items procured by peacekeeping missions and strategic deployment stock assets.
He also called for a detailed explanation from the Board as to why a large percentage of the $1.38 billion in unliquidated obligations as of 30 June 2010 had been created near the end of the budget year, and how the Secretariat was addressing that. He was concerned about the large number of cancellations of unliquidated obligations, which appeared to serve as an unbudgeted reserve for the Secretariat, and which raised questions about the correctness and appropriateness of the initial budgeted amount. Regarding procurement issues, he was concerned that the Secretariat had disagreed with the Board’s recommendation to abide by the bidding time frame established in the procurement manual. He noted with concern the increasing number of ex-post facto cases reported to the Headquarters Committee on Contracts and the case of two $103 million contracts awarded by UNAMID to two vendors to build mission subsistence allowance accommodation without justifying why the late bid submitted by one of the vendors had been accepted. He hoped that OIOS would follow up that matter appropriately and report back to the Committee on the results.
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