Fifth Committee Considers Financing Needs of Special Political Missions, Revisions in Reimbursement for Troop-Contributing Countries

23 May 2011
GA/AB/3992

Fifth Committee Considers Financing Needs of Special Political Missions, Revisions in Reimbursement for Troop-Contributing Countries

23 May 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/3992
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

39th Meeting (AM)

Fifth Committee Considers Financing Needs of Special Political Missions,

 

Revisions in Reimbursement for Troop-Contributing Countries

 

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today considered the financing requirements of two special political missions, as well as revisions to the way in which Member States contributing troops to United Nations peacekeeping operations were reimbursed for their equipment.

While the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) recommended approval of the proposals by the 2011 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China said the Working Group’s results did not meet its expectations.  Argentina’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Group, said it was not possible to sustain today’s complex missions without seriously re-examining their resources and improving the conditions offered to troop-contributing countries.  “What is at stake here is the viability of our continued participation in the peacekeeping operations,” he said, pointing out that the Group provided more than 85 per cent of the Organization’s troops.

James Mutiso, Director of the Field Budget and Finance Division in the Department of Field Support, introduced the related report of the Secretary-General, noting that the Working Group recommended a net average increase of 1.3 per cent in reimbursement rates for major equipment, and 2.1 per cent for self-sustainment, a change that would tally $15.6 million annually, based on equipment deployment levels as of 1 March 2011.  The Working Group had also recommended linking the review of special-case reimbursement rates to the average revision in major equipment rates recommended during respective triennial meetings of the Working Group, he said.

In presenting the ACABQ report, Chairman Collen Kelapile said that, if the General Assembly approved the recommendations with effect from 1 July 2011, additional resource requirements of about $16.3 million would be reported in the performance reports for individual peacekeeping operations for the 2011/12 financial period.

Turning to the programme budget for biennium 2010-2011, the Committee then considered the financing of two special political missions:  the Panel of Experts on Libya and the United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions.

Assistant Secretary-General and Controller Jun Yamazaki presented the Secretary-General’s report, saying it proposed resource requirements of $2.13 million net for the Panel, in the period 1 April to 31 December 2011, and $1.47 million net for the United Nations Representative, in the period 1 May to 3 December 2011.

Mr. Kelapile then introduced the Advisory Committee’s report, which recommended the inclusion of those resource requirements in the overall appropriation for special political missions in the 2010/2011 biennium.

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) had before it:  a letter dated 25 February 2011 from the Chair of the 2011 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment to the Chair of the Fifth Committee (document A/C.5/65/16), transmitting the report of the Secretary-General on Reformed procedures for determining reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment (document A/65/800), issued on 28 March 2011; and the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the same subject (document A/65/830), which recommends approval of the Working Group’s recommendations.

Also before the Committee was 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.7); the ACABQ report on that subject (document A/65/602/Add.2), which recommends acceptance of one P-3 position and one General Service position, requested to support the Panel’s work, as well as approval of the revised operational cost requirements of $1.67 million net ($1.69 million gross), for the period 1 June to 31 December 2011.  It also recommends that the Assembly approve $1.47 million net ($1.59 million gross) for the United Nations Representative for the 1 May to 31 December 2011 period.  The report also recommends that resources for the activities of both entities be absorbed within the overall appropriation approved for special political missions for the 2010-2011 biennium.

Introduction of Reports

JAMES MUTISO, Director, Field Budget and Finance Division, Department of Field Support, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on reformed procedures for determining reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment (document A/65/800), saying that the Working Group recommended a net average increase in reimbursement rates of 1.3 per cent for major equipment and 2.1 per cent for self-sustainment.  The impact of those changes on the United Nations peacekeeping budget was estimated at $15.6 million annually, based on current equipment deployment levels as of 1 March 2011.  The Working Group also recommended linking the review of special case reimbursement rates to the average revision in major equipment rates recommended during respective triennial Working Group meetings, he said, adding that the estimated annual cost for revising special case reimbursement rates would be $206,129.

He went on to say that the Working Group had made several recommendations in relation to medical capabilities in support of peacekeeping operations, including the addition of a portable X-ray machine and an ultrasound machine to each of the Level 2 hospitals, he said.  The Secretariat estimated that the annual cost of deploying portable X-ray and ultrasound machines to all such hospitals would be $187,920 and $125,280, respectively.  The Working Group recommended that, when required, an orthopaedic module and a gynaecological module be added to Level 2 hospitals.  The estimated annual cost would be $120,000, he said, adding that the annual cost of deploying a gynaecological module to half of the Level 2 hospitals would be $22,656, based on the current number of them in field missions.  If approved by the Assembly, with effect from 1 July 2011, the Working Group’s recommendations would add $16.3 million in the context of individual peacekeeping operations’ financial performance reports for the 2011-2012 period.

COLLEN KELAPILE, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, said that body had recommended approving the proposals of the Working Group, which, in its report, proposed new definitions and reimbursement rates for major equipment, self-sustainment and medical support services.  Should the Assembly approve those recommendations, effective on 1 July 2011, additional resource requirements of about $16.3 million would be reported in the context of performance reports for individual peacekeeping operations for the 2011/12 financial period.  He said the Working Group had also recommended that the permanent mission Web module secure website of the Department of Field Support be made available to troop- and police-contributing countries no later than the end of 2011.  ACABQ trusted the information on the website would be kept confidential, he said.

Statements

SEBASTIÁN DI LUCA (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Working Group had an opportunity to look at one of the most critical issues relating to United Nations peacekeeping operations:  the gap between mission mandates and the available capabilities to implement then.  Although the issue had grown in importance over the past several years, the Working Group’s findings were below expectations, he said, expressing deep regret that some very important issues had been left unresolved.  However, the Group of 77 recognized that the final report was the result of hard negotiations and that consensus had eventually been reached, he said.

He went on to point out that Group of 77 troop contributors, which provided more than 85 per cent of the troops now deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations, had unequivocally expressed their conviction that it was not possible to sustain today’s complex missions without a serious re-examination of the resources needed for adequate functioning and, above all, improving the conditions offered to troop-contributing countries.  The current serious situation demanded urgent attention and should not be taken lightly, he emphasized.  “What is at stake here is the viability of our continued participation in the peacekeeping operations.”

JUN YAMAZAKI, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on estimates in respect of special political missions, (document A/65/328/Add.7), saying it contained resource requirements for the Panel of Experts on Libya and the United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions.

He said the resource requirements of the Panel, for the period 1 April to 31 December 2011, would be $2.13 million net (or $2.16 million gross) for two general temporary assistance-funded positions — one P-3 post and one General Service post — to provide substantive and administrative support, cover fees and travel for Panel members, as well as other operational costs.

The requirements for the United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions, for the period 1 May to 31 December 2011 would be $1.47 million net (or $1.59 million gross), he continued.  That would cover the creation of seven staff positions, including the United Nations Representative at the Assistant Secretary-General level, and a support team comprising three P-4, two P-3 and one General Service post, in addition to operational costs.  The combined requirements of the two missions amounted to $3.6 million net (or $3.75 million, including staff assessment), he said.

Mr. KELAPILE, introducing the ACABQ report (document A/65/602/Add.2) on special political missions, noted that, while the Secretariat sought resources for the Panel of Experts on Libya for the period 1 April to 31 December, the Advisory Committee had been informed that the Panel was expected to start operating in June 2011.  Provided with revised estimates of $1.7 million for the 1 June to 31 December 2011 period, the ACABQ recommended approval of the revised budget, including the establishment of two positions.  It also recommended approval of the proposed budget for the United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions, which totalled about $1.6 million gross, and included the establishment of seven positions, he said, adding that the Advisory Committee also recommended that resources for the activities of both entities be absorbed within the overall appropriation for special political missions for the 2010/2011 biennium.

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