Budget Committee Takes Up Third Report on Restructuring of Peacekeeping Operations; Financing Proposals for Support Account for Peacekeeping, Brindisi Logistics Base

10 May 2011
GA/AB/3988

Budget Committee Takes Up Third Report on Restructuring of Peacekeeping Operations; Financing Proposals for Support Account for Peacekeeping, Brindisi Logistics Base

10 May 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/3988
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

35th Meeting (AM)

Budget Committee Takes Up Third Report on Restructuring of Peacekeeping Operations;

Financing Proposals for Support Account for Peacekeeping, Brindisi Logistics Base

 

Heads of Departments of Peacekeeping, Field Support Deliver Joint Remarks;

Also Takes Up Reports by Internal Oversight Services, Audit Advisory Committee

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today heard the United Nations top officials responsible for peacekeeping and the mission support needed to sustain it review the successes and difficulties of the restructuring of operations begun in 2007, and lay out the approach they developed to ensure the support account for the operations strengthened the capacity to manage them in a changing world of greater financial constraints.

Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, and Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, made joint introductory remarks to the Committee — in view of their close partnership — as they detailed the benefits and challenges brought about by the massive restructuring of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations that began more than three years ago.

Introducing the Secretary-General’s third report on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the creation of the Department of Field Support, Ms. Malcorra said the report highlighted challenges and gaps thus far and proposed minor adjustments to consolidate the gains achieved.  She added that the sharing of the two Departments’ resources had, as envisioned, boosted coherence while producing economies of scale in areas from communications and information management to crisis response.

Yet, the challenge of backstopping Department of Political Affairs-led missions had grown.  The two Department were examining how to best leverage the specialist capacities and ensure that they could fulfil their responsibility to special political missions, including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ lead in backstopping the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).  Her Department was mindful of the Assembly’s repeated calls for support account funds to be used for the sole purpose of backstopping peacekeeping operations, unless the Assembly provided prior approval, she added.

Mr. Le Roy said there had been significant changes in the peacekeeping landscape over the past years.  After a seven-year period of historic deployment levels, peacekeeping operations were now consolidating.  Current deployment for 14 peacekeeping operations and one special political mission led by DPKO stood at about 123,000 field personnel with an annual support budget of about $7.6 billion.  The Department of Field Support supported another 17 special political missions and field presences and had lead support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and eight missions undergoing field or administrative liquidation.

Jun Yamazaki, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced four reports issued by the Secretary-General that detailed budget numbers for the support account for peacekeeping operations and the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.

The Secretariat proposed a budget of $315.8 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.  This did not include ERP requirements of $47.2 million.  The budget proposed 1,356 posts, including 1,350 continuing posts.  This accounted for the proposed net redeployment of 43 posts from the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, which included the abolishment of four posts and the establishment of six new posts.

Mr. Yamazaki also introduced a proposed budget of $60.5 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi for the 2011/12 period.  The primary factor behind the budget decline of $7.6 million, or 11.2 per cent, over the 2010/11 budget was decreased resource requirements, as budgetary requirements for tenant units were shifted to the support account for peacekeeping operations for the 2011/12 year.  These tenant units include Standing Policy Capacity and others.

The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), weighed in with its related reports, which were introduced by Chairman Collen Kelapile.  He said the restructuring exercise was laying a strong basis for the consolidation of budgetary gains and should lead to a more efficient management of the backstopping of peacekeeping operations.

The Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, Carman L. Lapointe, introduced two reports produced by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and noted that cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations had become increasingly important in peacekeeping operations.  Yet difficulties persisted in mobilizing efforts towards a common objective, she added.  The Office urged the Departments to use their resources more strategically, build on the knowledge of regional partners, and reduce structural overlap.

The representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressed the importance of providing sufficient backstopping to all missions and said the support account’s level should broadly correspond to the mandate, number, size, and complexity of peacekeeping missions and special peacekeeping missions.

Fifth Committee Chairman Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala drew the Committee’s attention to the report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC) on the budget of the OIOS under the support account for peacekeeping operations for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period.  David M. Walker, IAAC Chairman, was not at the Fifth Committee meeting to present the report.

Also speaking today were delegates of Switzerland (on behalf of Liechtenstein) and Norway.

The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, 20 May, to discuss the financing of peacekeeping operations at the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)/United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

Background

The Committee had before it a number of reports regarding the administrative and budgetary aspects of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

On the issue of the support account for peacekeeping operations, the Committee had before several reports.  The report contained in document A/65/610, entitled Performance report on the budget of the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, requests the General Assembly to appropriate and assess an additional amount of $24.44 million with respect to that period, and to decide on the treatment of other income amounting to $6.05 million, comprising interest income ($2.16 million), other miscellaneous income ($1.36 million) and cancellations of prior-period obligations ($2.53 million) in respect of the same period.  Also before the Committee was an addendum (document A/65/610/Add.1) containing information on planned and actual outputs relating to section II of document A/65/610.

Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General, Budget for the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, contained in document A/65/761.  The report contains the budget for the support account for the prescribed period, which amounts to $315.36 million, excluding enterprise resource planning requirements in the amount of $47.19 million, and provides for a total of 1,356 posts.  These will be made up of 1,350 continuing posts, and takes into account the proposed net redeployment of 43 posts from the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.  It also takes into account the abolishment of four posts and the establishment of six new posts, including one general temporary assistance position converted to a post.

The report requests that the General Assembly approve the support account requirements in the amount of $315.36 million for the 12-month period stipulated, and apply the total amount of other income amounting to $6.05 million, comprising interest income ($2.16 million), other miscellaneous income ($1.36 million) and cancellations of prior-period obligations ($2.53 million), in respect of the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.  The General Assembly is also requested to apply the excess of the authorized level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund in respect to the financial period ended 30 June 2010 in the amount of $3.38 million to the support account requirements for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.  The Assembly should also prorate the balance of $305.94 million among the budgets of the active peacekeeping operations for the financial period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011.

The Committee also had before it the preliminary report on the implementation of the pilot project designated by the General Assembly in resolution 63/287, contained in document A/65/765, regarding the budget allocations for centres of investigation in Nairobi, Vienna and New York, and resident investigators in seven peacekeeping missions.  The report states that, in resolution 63/287, the Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to submit a preliminary report on the status of implementation of the project at the second part of its resumed sixty-fifth session.

The report also states that preliminary results of the project indicate an inefficient distribution of resources, with some missions receiving nominal staffing of one to three investigators, sometimes with no support staff, while the centre in Vienna was allocated positions in excess of its management and operational needs, in terms of both numbers and seniority.  However, the report goes on to say that there appeared to be advantages in locating investigators in peacekeeping missions in terms of facilitating the reporting of wrongdoing and increasing investigator productivity.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was currently recording and analysing data to provide an improved basis for determining efficient and effective resource allocation and distribution to support operational requirements, the report said.  The results will be included in a comprehensive report on the project to be submitted to the General Assembly in the context of the 2012/13 support account budget.

The Committee also had before it a report entitled Budget of the Office of Internal Oversight Services under the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, contained in document A/65/734, which contains the comments, advice and recommendations of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee.

Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General entitled Strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to manage and sustain peacekeeping operations, contained in document A/65/624 and Corr.1.  That report responds to paragraph 25 of General Assembly resolution 63/287, according to which the Secretary-General was requested to submit at its resumed sixty-fifth session a report substantiating the strategic and operational benefits realized through the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the establishment of the Department of Field Support.  The report seeks to demonstrate the results and impact of the restructuring and subsequent reforms, and identifies challenges, gaps and minor structural adjustments to consolidate the gains made.

The report goes on to say that feedback from Member States, the results of a 2010 survey of field missions and performance metrics, demonstrates that since approval of the restructuring three and a half years ago, observable improvements have been achieved in the capacity of the Secretariat to mount, manage and sustain peacekeeping and other field operations.  Perhaps most significantly, the creation of the Department of Field Support has positioned mission support as a strategic enabler in the delivery of political, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates.

The report further states that the restructuring has also resulted in the evolution of two distinct business models: a strategic Headquarters model that delivers integrated strategic and operational guidance to field operations; and a service provider model that offers expertise in key areas of mandated activities.  As a result, the Departments have been able to improve guidance and support to field missions while pursuing the further professionalization of peacekeeping.  The report notes that these two business models have produced successes through unity of command, integrated management structures and shared policy development and evaluation and training resources that have preserved organizational coherence and economies of scale.

The report goes on to say that strengthened direction and oversight have resulted in greater clarity on the role and direction of missions and in the assessment of progress towards peace consolidation.  New capacities have produced a more coherent approach to delivering early peacebuilding mandates, in particular in the areas of civil affairs, rule of law and security institutions.  New and strengthened capacities have led to greater consistency and efficiency in mandate delivery, in particular in such areas as security sector reform, specialized military planning and force generation.  They have also enabled more effective partnerships, the enhanced ability of the United Nations system to leverage its collective capacities to support peace consolidation and the delivery of rapid assistance to missions during their start-up, transition and crisis response phases.

Also according to the report, after a period of historically high deployment levels, United Nations peacekeeping is now in a period of consolidation, following the closure, reconfiguration and transition of a number of operations over the past year.  Nonetheless, it remains one of the most demanding, visible and valuable tools in the maintenance of international peace and security and the largest multilateral contributor to post-conflict stabilization worldwide.

Sustaining the process of reform initiated 10 years ago with the launch of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (A/55/305-S/2000/809), the report says that United Nations peacekeeping continues to build on the consensus that immediate post-conflict interventions require not only a stable and secure environment for peace processes to take root, but also early peacebuilding measures to address the root causes of conflict and build sustainable peace.

The report further states that by virtue of its flexibility and unique capacity to deploy military, police and civilian personnel to implement multidimensional mandates in difficult operational contexts and environments, United Nations peacekeeping continues to serve as one of the international community’s key tools to address threats to international peace and security, and as a core element of its response.

The Committee also had before it document A/65/827, containing a related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).  The recommendations contained therein would entail a reduction of $1.74 million in the proposed budget for the support account for 2011-2012.  The Committee also makes a number of recommendations and observations with regard to the administration and management of the resources of the support account for peacekeeping operations and areas of improvement.

The Committee also had before it document A/65/762, containing a report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services entitled thematic evaluation of cooperation between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support and regional organizations.  According to that report, cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations has become increasingly important in the field of peacekeeping.  Cooperation with regional organizations is relevant and important at a time when the demand for peacekeeping interventions continues to be high, United Nations capacity is stretched and available resources are diminished owing to the global economic crisis.  Feedback from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support and regional partners showed an unequivocal level of commitment to working together to maintain peace and security.  For regional organizations, the legitimacy that comes from a Security Council mandate represents a central reason for such cooperation.

The report also states that, for the period from 2005 to 2010, the two Departments cooperated more actively, as compared to other periods, with the African Union and the European Union in the area of peacekeeping.  These partnerships became formalized and institutionalized, including political declarations outlining their ambition to work together, frequent interactions at the Headquarters level and a wealth of experience from operational cooperation.

Cooperation with regional organizations largely focused on the field missions, the report says.  Cooperation in the field was often implemented through ad hoc mechanisms and processes to address pressing operational needs.  While such processes were flexible and met needs as they arose, they did not result in systematic institutional learning. Differences in organizational structures, institutional procedures and requirements are key challenges faced by the Departments and the regional organizations in their cooperative endeavours.  Thus far, interaction and cooperation have not led to an adequate understanding of each other’s organizations, an understanding that could potentially mitigate such challenges.

In order for cooperation between the United Nations and the regional organizations to be effective and efficient, the report states that it is important to define respective responsibilities and improve coherence in approaches and actions which could ultimately increase predictability and minimize frictions in their relationships.  A better definition of roles and responsibilities should be guided by a strategic vision for the relationship between the United Nations and the regional organizations, although it must be kept in mind that the question of whether political will coalesces around the deployment of a mission is ultimately unpredictable.

The report goes on to say that, while the Departments should continue to advocate for stronger and clearer guidance from the intergovernmental bodies in defining a strategic vision, until such guidance is received there is room for a more strategic approach to the optimal use of existing resources at the level of the Departments.

The report recommends that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations expand activities that have an immediate impact on enhancing knowledge of the structure, procedures and constraints of the regional organizations; improve guidance for more effective planning for a joint or bridging mission; and strengthen mechanisms for sharing information between organizations, including classified or restricted information.

Regarding financing for the United Nations Logistics Base, the Committee had before it two reports.  In the Secretary-General’s performance report on the budget of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 (document A/65/642), the report states that the actions to be taken by the General Assembly in connection with the financing of the Base are to decide on the treatment of a) the unencumbered balance of $22,900 for the period and b) other income amounting to $2.54 million from interest income ($2.04 million), other/miscellaneous income ($289,700) and cancellation of prior-period obligations ($209,400), and an unutilized fund balance from the 1996/97 to 2003/04 periods in the amount of $1.15 million.  The report also outlines the status of the implementation of the strategic deployment stocks for the period in question, concluding that the action to be taken by the General Assembly in connection with these stocks is to take note of the present report.

The Secretary-General’s report concerning the budget of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/65/760) states that the budget of the Logistics Base for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 amounts to $60.53 million.  That budget provides for the deployment of 73 international staff and 278 national staff, including 13 temporary national staff positions.  The total resource requirements for the Logistics Base for that period had been linked to the objectives of the Base through results-based budgeting frameworks under the support component.

In line with the requirements of the recently approved global field support strategy, the budget submission for 2011-2012 proposed strengthening the Logistics Base structure to accommodate its re-profiling as the Global Service Centre.  In that light, the report covers such areas as the mission support initiatives of the Base; regional mission cooperation; partnerships and country team coordination; and results-based budgeting frameworks.  It also contains a detailed section on the financial resources of the Logistics Base, including information on non-budgeted contributions, efficiency initiatives in both Communications and Information Technology Services and Base Support Services, training and other areas.  The report also addresses follow-up actions taken to implement the decisions and requests of the General Assembly in its resolutions 64/269 and 64/270, as well as to various requests and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, the United Nations Board of Auditors and the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

The Committee also had before it a related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) contained in document A/65/743/Add.12, by which the Committee recommends approval of the Secretary-General’s proposed budget for the Brindisi Logistics Base amounting to $60.53 million.

Introduction

CARMAN L. LAPOINTE, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, introduced two reports of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, on the thematic evaluation of cooperation between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support and regional organizations (document A/65/762), and on the implementation of the pilot project designated by the General Assembly in resolution 63/287 (document A/65/765), respectively.

Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations had become increasingly important in peacekeeping, she said.  Such cooperation continued to be vital, in particular as the demand for peacekeeping interventions continued to be high and capacity, in that regard, was stretched.  Both sides had a strong interest and commitment to working together; the active cooperation between 2005 and 2010 of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support with the African Union and the European Union had resulted in better response capacity.

However, difficulties persisted in mobilizing efforts towards a common objective, she added. The Office of Internal Oversight Services, therefore, urged the Departments to be more strategic in their use of resources, build knowledge of regional partners, and reduce structural overlap.

The Investigation Division of the Office was now in its second year of the pilot project concerning investigation in peacekeeping missions.  It was becoming more and more apparent that investigative work was most effective when investigators were co-located with military, police, and civilian staff on the ground.  However, it might not be necessary or practical to embed investigators in every United Nations peacekeeping mission. Still, the investigations function must cast a wide net to make sure that all misconduct reports were dealt with, in particular with regard to very young victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

JUN YAMAZAKI, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced two reports of the Secretary-General on the support account for peacekeeping operations and two Secretary-General reports on the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.

On the issue of the support account for peacekeeping operations, Mr. Yamazaki introduced Performance report on the budget of the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 (documents A/65/610 and A/65/610/Add. 1).  The approved budget for the 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 period was $322.6 million, he said.  This included $28.5 million for the enterprise resources planning project (ERP) approved under a commitment authority by General Assembly resolution 64/243.  Since the amount of $28.5 million for the ERP project was not assessed on Member States, the Assembly was requested to appropriate and assess Member States the balance of $24.44 million, which was the difference between the originally assessed resources of $294.03 million and actual expenditures of $318.47 million.

The actions to be taken by the Assembly are set out in paragraph 99 of the performance report.

Mr. Yamazaki then introduced the Budget for the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/65/761).  He said the approved budget for the period of 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 totalled $306.8 million, excluding ERP requirements of $57 million.  The proposed budget for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period totalled $315.4 million, excluding ERP requirements of $47.2 million.  This was an increase of $8.6 million, or 2.8 per cent, excluding ERP requirements, compared to the approved resources for the 2010/11 period.  A total of 1,356 posts were proposed, including 1,350 continuing posts, which took into account the proposed net redeployment of 43 posts from the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.  This revision took account of the abolishment of four posts and the establishment of six new posts, including one general temporary assistance position converted to a post.

He added that the resource requirements related to ERP of $47.2 million were proposed to be funded from the support account for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period.  The actions to be taken by the Assembly were set out in paragraph 736 of the budget report.

Regarding financing for the United Nations Logistics Base, the Committee had before it two reports.  Mr. Yamazaki introduced the Performance report on the budget of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 (document A/65/642).  The approved budget for the 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 totalled $57.9 million and expenditures for the same period totalled $57.9 million, the full use of the resources.

The actions to be taken by the Assembly were set out in paragraph 29.

The Controller then introduced Budget of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 (document A/65/760).  The approved budget for the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 totalled $68.2 million, while the proposed budget for period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 totalled $60.5 million.

The primary factor behind the decline of $7.6 million, or 11.2 per cent, was decreased resource requirements due to the transfer of budgetary requirements for the tenant units, namely Standing Policy Capacity, Standing Justice and Corrections Capacity and Civilian Pre-deployment Training Team, to the support account for peacekeeping operations in the 2011/12 budget period.  Fifty-two international staff post associated with the tenant units were proposed for transfer to the support account.

The actions to be taken by the Assembly were set out in paragraph 90 of the budget report.

The Committee Chairman, GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala), then drew attention to the report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee on the budget for the Office of Internal Oversight Services under the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, contained in document A/65/734.

David M. Walker, Chairman of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, was not at the Committee meeting to introduce the report, but in prepared remarks that were circulated in the Committee he stated that, since its inception, the IAAC had made a number of recommendations relating to the various OIOS divisions’ work-planning and budgeting process.  The IAAC had noted progress in the implementation of the recommendations that had led to some improvement in the budgeting process of the Office.

With respect to the investigation function, he stated that the IAAC recalled its earlier recommendation on the disparities reported in the distribution of investigations resources and the high vacancy rates, which affected the outcome of the pilot project.  In this regard, the IAAC was pleased to note that the two division head positions had now been filled.

Also, the IAAC had received a preliminary report of the OIOS on the pilot (document A/65/765).  It had identified some issues that it believed needed to be addressed and looked forward to reviewing the final OIOS report along with any other applicable reports, before the IAAC made any formal recommendations relating to that matter.

ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and SUSANA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, made joint introductory remarks on the Secretary-General’s report (document A/65/624 and Corr.1), concerning the strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations to manage and sustain peacekeeping operations.

Ms. Malcorra said this third report on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the creation of the Department of Field Support sought to lay out the strategic and operational benefits brought about by the restructuring, as well as highlight the challenges and gaps experienced over the past three-and-half years.  The report referred repeatedly to the results of a November 2010 survey of DPKO-led missions.  To ensure consistency, this survey used the same questions as those applied by the Office of Internal Oversight Services in its 2008 survey, she added.

As the report showed, the 2010 survey and other feedback mechanisms, including consultations with Member States, and performance metrics, validate the improvements.  She outlined some of the most significant benefits.  For example, the creation of the Department of Field Support had positioned mission support as a strategic enabler for the implementation of political, peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates across United Nations field operations.  New and stronger capacities had let the Department of Peacekeeping Operations further professionalize peacekeeping by delivering and better tailoring expert guidance and support in special areas of activity to field operations.  The shared Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support resources had, as envisioned, improved coherence in the organization and produced economies of scale in areas from communications and information management to crisis response.

Yet, challenges remained and the optimal functioning of Integrated Operations Teams was a work in progress and several measures had been taken to enhance the support delivered by the Teams, she said.  The challenge of backstopping of Department of Political Affairs-led missions had grown and the Department was examining how to best leverage the specialist capacities and ensure that the Departments could fulfil their responsibility to special political missions, including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ lead in backstopping the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).  The Department was mindful of the Assembly’s repeated calls for support account funds to be used for the sole purpose of backstopping peacekeeping operations, unless the Assembly provided prior approval.  Along with the Department of Political Affairs and Department of Management, the Departments were reviewing the current funding and backstopping arrangements for the special political missions.

Mr. Le Roy said there had been significant changes in the peacekeeping landscape over the past years, particularly where United Nations peacekeepers had been deployed and elections had taken place.  After a seven-year-period of historic deployment levels, peacekeeping was in a period of consolidation and current deployment, for the 14 peacekeeping operations and one special political mission led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, stood at about 123,000 field personnel, with an annual supporting budget of about $7.6 billion.  The Department of Field Support supported an additional 17 special political missions and field presences and had lead support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and eight missions undergoing field or administrative liquidation.

The Departments’ approach in preparing the budget proposals for 2011/12 for Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support support account and the United Nations Logistics Base had sought to reflect a more strategic approach to planning and lay out the full resource requirements to backstop peacekeeping operations with greater accuracy and transparency.  The Departments had developed the budget proposals as a package, locating resources where they could most effectively perform their functions, in line with their respective mandates and in line with the creation of the Global Service Centre in Brindisi.  They had also proposed to fund units based on their functional reporting lines, rather than on the basis of their geographical location.

The budget proposals were developed with a strong awareness that, while peacekeeping seemed to be entering a period of consolidation, international peace and security remained a volatile endeavour and peacekeeping had to be flexible and sufficiently resourced to serve as a valuable tool for international communication.  The Departments also sought to balance the ongoing global financial climate and the need to find disciplined and creative ways to deliver on its mandates, with the need to ensure that these proposals sought sufficient resources to deliver these mandates.  He said he trusted that the Committee would see a more transparent presentation of the full resources for backstopping peacekeeping operations in these budget proposals.  He also thanked the ACABQ for its time and expert advice on the many issues concerning the administration and financing of peacekeeping operations before the Assembly.

COLLEN KELAPILE, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, introducing the related reports of that Committee contained in documents A/54/827 and A/65/743/Add.12, said that the restructuring exercise was laying a strong basis on which to consolidate gains and should lead to a more efficient management of the backstopping of peacekeeping operations.

Noting the results of the study carried out to develop a staffing model and formulae for determining support account requirements, he said that the Committee was of the opinion that the responsibility for developing proposals in that regard rested with the Secretariat.  The Secretariat should determine what constitutes a basic capacity necessary to effectively manage and backstop peacekeeping operations, and what constitutes scalable capacity, which responds to changes in the level of peacekeeping activity.  However, that must be accompanied with an assessment of existing management capacities, structures and processes, taking into account the totality of available resources.  He went on to say that the consolidation in the level of peacekeeping should potentially lead to further reduction in the proposals for resources for backstopping field operations, in view of the strengthening and increases that had been provided in past years.

Turning to the support account, he said the Secretary-General was proposing resources in the amount of $315.3 million, excluding $47 million for enterprise resource planning requirements, as decided by the General Assembly in its resolution 64/243, for the support account budget for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.  The $8.6 million increase, excluding ERP resources, was mostly related to the shift of the budgetary requirements of 52 posts located in Brindisi from the United Nations Logistics Base budget to the support account budget and to resources related to International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) implementation and the support account’s share in the requirements of administration of justice.  A total of 1,356 temporary support account posts were proposed, including six new posts.  Of those six, the Committee recommended approval of two, as the remaining four should be provided under temporary assistance.

The Committee had been briefed on IPSAS and recommended the Secretary-General closely monitor progress to ensure adoption in 2014.  He further said that the shortcomings associated with the roll-out of the talent-management system, Inspira, should be rectified so as to ensure that vacant positions in field missions could be filled without further delay.

He said that the Committee was recommending approval of the Secretary-General’s proposed budget for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi for the period of 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, amounting to $60.52 million.

He said that the proposed budget as the Global Service Centre sets out a three-phase approach for the reprofiling of the Base, with specific proposals, including the transfer of five backstopping functions from Headquarters to the Centre, along with nine posts and the functions of one temporary position.  In the first phase, the Secretary-General was also proposing to consolidate and streamline existing Base support capabilities to accommodate the reprofiling.

He noted that the 2011-2012 budgetary proposals for the three remaining tenant units at UNLB — Integrated Training Service, Standing Police Capacity, and Standing Justice and Correction Capacity — were submitted under the support account.  However the units, along with their 52 posts, would continue to be located at the Base.  As the reprofiling exercise progressed and further requirements were transferred from Headquarters, the presentation of resource requirement for peacekeeping backstopping functions may become increasingly fragmented and the Committee had made recommendations to avoid that.

Taking note of the review of the strategic deployment stocks currently under way as part of the global field support strategy, he said that the Committee requested the Secretary-General to provide, in the context of the next budget submission, details on the findings and conclusions of the review, along with a proposal for the efficient and effective management of strategic deployment stocks.

SEBASTIÁN DI LUCA (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that all peacekeeping missions needed to be provided with the necessary resources to fulfil their mandates.  In that regard, he stressed the importance of providing sufficient backstopping to all missions.  Further, the level of the support account should broadly correspond to the mandate, number, size, and complexity of peacekeeping missions and special peacekeeping missions.  It remained essential to bring greater coherence to those who manage, direct and command operations, and the troop-contributing countries that provide invaluable human resources on the ground.  There was considerable room for improvement in that arena, and he recalled the relevant General Assembly resolutions requesting to solidify efforts to ensure adequate representation of troop-contributing countries in all relevant departments, in line with their contributions.  The continuing low proportion of women from developing countries in the Secretariat, especially at senior levels, was of equal concern, as well.

MARCEL KAEGI ( Switzerland), also speaking on behalf of Liechtenstein, said the support account had grown considerably both in size and substance in recent years, with expenditure of $189 million in the 2006/07 period and growing to $315.4 million for 2011-2012.  However, the growth pattern in peacekeeping seemed to be over.  Some missions were in liquidation phase, some had reconfigured, while others might soon be drawing down.  Several historic reform steps had also been completed, namely the creation of the Department of Field Support, and measures in the area of human resource management.  The reforms were beginning to deliver the expected benefits.

In this period of consolidation, the General Assembly should seize the opportunity to think about the processes related to the support account and its evolution in the future.  In particular, looking back on the last year’s cumbersome negotiations, he said his delegations doubted that the General Assembly dealt with the support account budget in the most effective and efficient way, as it tended to micro-manage in long and labour-intensive negotiations, instead of taking more strategic decisions.  The roles and responsibilities of all parties involved should be analysed, and the discussion should be informed by the recently published studies on the evolution of the support account.

JULIE JACOBSEN TAKAHASHI (Norway) said that the main goal of the Committee’s deliberations was to ensure that the United Nations was able to deliver the services requested in the realm of peace and security, and that the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support had already reaped rewards in terms of efficiency in the field.  Challenges remained, however, and her delegation looked forward to the results of the broader examination of capacities to backstop and manage special political missions.

In furthering integration and collaboration within the Secretariat, she encouraged the Secretary-General and his team to also consider challenges to the delivery of multidimensional mandates within the wider United Nations system.  She welcomed the progress made with regards to the Global Service Centre in Brindisi and the regional service centre.  However, she shared concern with the ACABQ that the new modules retained the necessarily flexibility and that new procedures did not become bureaucratic.

She further welcomed the Secretary-General’s focus on partnerships and dialogue with key stakeholders, and believed that the report on collaboration with regional organizations offered many useful recommendations.  Regarding the support account, a single report covering the Logistics Base and the support account would enable a more comprehensive overview of backstopping expenditures related to peacekeeping operations.

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