Following Days of ‘Very Difficult and Sometimes Unorthodox’ Negotiations, Fifth Committee Approves Budgets for 13 United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

1 July 2011
GA/AB/3994

Following Days of ‘Very Difficult and Sometimes Unorthodox’ Negotiations, Fifth Committee Approves Budgets for 13 United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

1 July 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/3994
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

42nd Meeting* (AM)

Following Days of ‘Very Difficult and Sometimes Unorthodox’ Negotiations, Fifth

Committee Approves Budgets for 13 United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Committee Seeks Review of Troop Costs, One-Time Supplemental Payment for Troop

Contributors; Secretary-General Asked to Cut Backlog of Death, Disability Claims

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), following days of what its Chairman called “very difficult and at times unorthodox” negotiations, closed its second resumed session this morning by approving the budgets for 13 United Nations peacekeeping operations, and agreed also on a one-time supplemental payment of $85 million over the next year to troop-contributing countries.

Despite the difficulties and the very late hour, Gert Rosenthal ( Guatemala) said, he was pleased that, in the end, delegations had come together so the Committee could finish its work “for the greater good of the United Nations”.  The more than $7 billion to fund the world body’s peacekeeping operations through 30 June 2012, included in 23 resolutions, would be transmitted to the General Assembly for final approval.

He said the discussions during the last few days had taken place under great pressure.  As such, many of the approved resolutions did not include exact figures because, specifically, the text on “cross-cutting issues” was not agreed until the very last hour.  But, he said, over next few days, the dollar amounts would be incorporated into the resolutions, including on funding for the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), and the Organization’s Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy.

By a resolution on cross-cutting issues, which included a one-time $85 million supplemental payment to peacekeepers, the Committee would have the Assembly take note that the last review of troop costs took place 20 years ago, with a subsequent ad hoc increase in 2002.  As that was the case, troop-contributing countries, according to the text, had long expressed concern that that placed a difficult financial burden on them, which, they asserted, could jeopardize their continued participation in peacekeeping operations.

That text, approved without a vote, would also have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to establish, by October, a senior advisory group, consisting of five eminent persons, of relevant experience, five representatives from major troop contributors, five representatives from major financial contributors and one member from each regional group, to consider rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues.

The Secretary-General would be requested to take “urgent” measures to eliminate the existing backlog of death and disability claims pending for more than three months and to report on any progress to the Assembly at the second part of its resumed sixty-sixth session.

Also acting without vote, the Committee approved, respectively, some $1.69 billion to fund the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID); some $1.42 billion for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); and some $793 million for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The texts on missions in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo included oral amendments by which the Assembly would decide not to abolish the respective child protection posts and request the Secretary-General to make every effort to fill them.  It would further request him to identify an equivalent number of posts at the same level that had been vacant for more than a year to offset the financial impact of retaining the child protection posts.

The Committee also approved funding for peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, Chad and the Central African Republic, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Kosovo, Western Sahara, and Somalia.  Funding was also approved for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

Approval of the resolution that authorized $545.47 million for the maintenance of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) took two recorded votes, both requested by Israel.  A separate recorded vote was taken on a package of provisions — preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 14, which the Committee approved by 71 in favour to 3 against ( Canada, Israel, United States), with 51 abstentions.

[Those terms — preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 14 — respectively, reaffirm past relevant resolutions of the Assembly; “express deep concern that Israel did not comply” with previous resolutions on UNIFIL’s financing; “stress once again that Israeli should strictly abide” by those resolutions; and reiterate the request to the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure implementation of those texts, and stress once again that Israel should pay $1.1 million resulting from the incident at Qana on 18 April 1996.  The last provision — operative paragraph 14 — also asks the Secretary-General to report on the matter to the Assembly at its next session.]

The Committee approved the resolution as a whole, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 3 against ( Canada, Israel, United States), with 1 abstention ( Tuvalu).

By a resolution on strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to manage and sustain peacekeeping operations, the Committee approved the appropriation of some $351 million to the Peacekeeping Support Account, through 30 June 2012.  Among other terms, that text recognized the importance of the ability of the Organization to respond and rapidly deploy a peacekeeping operation within 30 days of its authorization by the Security Council.  It also reaffirmed the need for adequate backstopping of such operations with adequate funding and support.

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this afternoon to conclude its second resumed session.  The first part of the Committee’s resumed session for the year began on 7 March and ended on 25 March.  The second part began on 2 May.

Action on Drafts

Acting on its first text, the Committee approved by consensus the proposed text on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/65/L.31), issued 10 May 2011.  By that resolution, the General Assembly would accept the audited financial statements of the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 and endorse the recommendations contained in the report of the Board of Auditors.

By the text approved without vote 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/C.5/65/L.36), the Assembly would approve the budget of $1.67 million net ($1.69 million gross) for the Panel of Experts on Libya for the period from 1 June to 31 December 2011, and the budget of $1.47 million net ($1.59 million gross) for the United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions for the period from 1 May to 31 December 2011.

Turning next to matters regarding administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Committee approved without vote a wide-ranging resolution on cross-cutting issues (document A/C.5/65/L.53), which dealt with matters related to financial management, personnel issues, operational requirements for peacekeeping operations, air operations, special measures for protection from sexual exploitation, and the organization’s Global Field Support Strategy.

Among other things, the text would have the Assembly pay tribute to all United Nations peacekeepers who had been wounded in the line of duty and would request the Secretary-General to take urgent measures to eliminate the existing backlog of death and disability claims pending for more than three months, and to report on progress made in that regard to the Assembly during the second part of its sixty-sixth session.

The text would also have the Assembly decide to provide, on an exceptional basis, a one-time supplemental payment of $85 million to troop-contributing countries during the 2011/12 period, without prejudice to the integrity of the process set forth in Assembly resolution 63/285.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to establish a senior advisory group by October 2011, consisting of five eminent persons, of relevant experience, five representatives from major troop contributors, five representatives from major financial contributors and one member from each regional group to consider rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues.

The Committee next approved without a vote a draft on strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to manage and sustain peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/65/L.50), by which the Assembly would approve support account requirements in the amount of $351.19 million for the 2011/12 period.

It would apply the $3.38 million representing the excess of the authorized level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010 to that resource requirement.  The net estimated staff assessment income of $31.47 million would be set off against the balance of $366.21 million, to be prorated among the budgets of the individual active peacekeeping operations.

Next, approving without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy (document A/C.5/65/L.51), the Committee recommended approval of the 2011/12 cost estimates for the Logistics Base in the amount of $--- million.  Further, it would have the Assembly decide not to transfer airfield and air terminal standards function to Global Service Centre.

Following that decision, the Chairman announced that, since some of the decisions had only been reached informally today, he had been informed that the Secretariat would revert to the exact amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, including the prorated share of the Support Account for peacekeeping operations and the Brindisi Logistics Base — to be issued later as document A/C.5/65/18 — in accordance with the prorating procedures in Assembly resolution 50/22 1B of 7 June 1996.

The Committee next approved without a vote a resolution on reformed procedures for determining reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment (document A/C.5/65/L.35).  By that resolution, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on such procedures (document A/65/830) and ask the Secretary-General to ensure that they were implemented.

Moving on, the Committee approved without a vote a text on closed peacekeeping missions (document A/C.5/65/L.52), by which it would have the Assembly decide to return to the Government of Kuwait some $70,600, reflecting two thirds of the adjusted net credits available in the account of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission.  More broadly, it would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to return 78.1 per cent of the $230.74 million net cash available for credit to Member States as at 30 June 2010, in the amount of $180 million, based on the scale applicable to each mission’s last assessment.

The resolution would have the Assembly decide to consider at the second part of its resumed sixty-sixth session the position of closed peacekeeping missions, including remaining sums owed to Member States, after implementing the relevant provisions of this text, determined to have been $50.67 million as at 30 June 2010, under the agenda item entitled “Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations”.  It would request the Secretary-General to include concrete proposals and alternatives on how to address the issues of outstanding dues owed to Member States from closed peacekeeping missions that are in net cash deficit for its consideration and approval.

Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Germany said that the decision just taken by the Committee in no way changed the entitlement of Member States to the full amount of the cash balances available in closed peacekeeping missions.  That included any amount that may not have been returned at this point in time.  “This money remains owed to the Member States and has to be returned to them,” he said.

The Committee went on to approve a resolution on financing of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) (document A/C.5/65/L.32), issued 19 May 2011, by which the Assembly would defer until its sixty-sixth session action on the unencumbered balance of $149.95 million and other income and adjustments totalling $13.47 million and an increase of $1.53 million in the estimated staff assessment income.  Further, it would request the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its sixty-sixth session updated information on the cash position of the Mission.

Also approved without vote was a text on the financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/65/L.38), by which the Committee would have the Assembly decide to appropriate [figure to be issued at a later date] for the 2011/12 period for the maintenance of the Operation.

Next, delegations approved a resolution on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/65/L.39), by which the Assembly would note the progress that had been made so far by the host Government and the Force regarding the renovation of the accommodation of military contingent personnel, as well as other Force personnel.

It asked the Secretary-General to make every effort, in coordination with the host Government, to ensure that the renovations are completed as scheduled, without any further delays, and to report thereon in the next budget submission.  Further, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $55.74 million for the Force.

The Committee also approved without a vote, as orally amended, a resolution on the Financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC); Financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/65/L.40), by which the Assembly would recall Security Council resolution 1925 (2010), by which the Council decided that as of 1 July 2010, the Mission would bear the title of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and be deployed until 30 June 2011.

The Committee would have the Assembly decide to appropriate $1.42 billion for the 2011/12 period.  States that had fulfilled their obligations to the operation would have an additional offset equal to their respective share of an unencumbered balance of $35.07 million.  States that had not fulfilled their obligations would have their outstanding obligations offset also by their respective share of that amount.  The $1.84 million increase in estimated staff assessment income, in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010, would be added to the amounts to be credited to Member States as part of their offset.

In a further provision, proposed orally by the Secretariat, the Assembly would decide not to abolish the child protection posts, and request the Secretary-General to make every effort to fill them.  It would further request the Secretary-General to identify and abolish an equivalent number of posts at the same level that had been vacant for more than a year to offset the financial impact of retaining the child protection posts.

Before action was taken on that text, the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania proposed that the phrase “and requests the General Assembly to abolish” be inserted with the following “further request the Secretary-General to identify…”, as only the Assembly could abolish posts.

After a brief suspension of the meeting, the Secretariat read out the final agreed language:  “Decides not to abolish the child protection posts, and requests the Secretary-General to make every effort to fill them.  It would further request the Secretary-General to identify an equivalent number of posts at the same level that had been vacant for more than a year to offset the financial impact of retaining the child protection posts, without impacting operational requirements and mandate implementation, and to report thereon in the context of the performance report.”

Moving on, the Committee approved, also without a vote, a text on the financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (document A/C.5/65/L.41), by which it would have the Assembly appropriate $196.75 million to the Mission for the 2011/12 period.  States that had fulfilled their obligations to the operation would have an additional offset equal to their respective share of an unencumbered balance of $17.79 million.  States that had not fulfilled their obligations would have their outstanding obligations offset by that amount.

The draft further decided that the increase of $947,800 in estimated staff assessment income, in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010, would be added to the credits from the unencumbered balance of $17.8 million.

The next resolution to be approved was on financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) (document A/C.5/65/L.33), by which the Assembly, recalling in its resolution 1827 (2008) of 30 July 2008 that the Security Council had terminated the mandate of the Mission effective 31 July 2008, would take note of the status of contributions to the Mission as of 30 April 2011 of credits totalling $2.5 million, as well as include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixty-sixth session.

Further to the text, the Assembly also would take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the final disposition of the Mission’s assets and encourage Member States that are owed credits for the closed Peacekeeping Mission accounts to apply those credits to any accounts where the Member State concerned has outstanding assessed contributions.

The Committee then approved a resolution on the financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (document A/C.5/65/L.34), by which the Assembly would decide that Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Observer Mission should be credited with their respective share of the $1.81 million unencumbered balance and other income in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010.

Further, the Assembly would decide that, for Member States that have not fulfilled their financial obligations to the Observer Mission, their respective share of the unencumbered balance and other income in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010 should be offset against their outstanding obligations, and that the $157,600 increase in the estimated staff assessment income would be added to the credits from the unencumbered balance.

According to the resolution approved on financing the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/65/L.42), the Committee would have the Assembly express deep concern over the continuing high vacancy rate in the Mission, especially of the national temporary positions, and its negative impact on the Mission’s work.

It would also request the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to put into effect measures to mitigate MINUSTAH’s environmental impact, as well as to strengthen coordination among the Mission, the United Nations Country Team and other United Nations entities to address, among other things, the root causes of unexpected emergencies, such as the situation resulting from the cholera outbreak.  The Committee would have the Assembly appropriate $793.3 million for the maintenance of the mission.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/65/L.43), by which the Assembly would appropriate $44.9 million for the Mission’s maintenance for the 2011/12 period.

By a draft text approved without a vote on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/65/L.44), the Assembly would decide to appropriate $510.07 million for the maintenance of the Mission, to apportion $12.15 millions for electoral support to be provided by the Mission.

Further by that text, States that had fulfilled their obligations to the operation would have an additional offset equal to their respective share of an unencumbered balance of $32.77 million.  States that had not fulfilled their obligations would have their outstanding obligations offset also by their respective share of that amount.  The $361,900 increase in estimated staff assessment income, in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010, would be added to the amounts to be credited to Member States as part of their offset.

The Committee next approved without vote a draft on financing the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/65/L.45), deciding that the Assembly would appropriate $49.56 million for the maintenance of the Force for the 2011/2012 period.  It would also have the Assembly encourage the Secretary-General to continue to take additional measures to ensure the safety and security of all personnel participating in the Force under the auspices of the United Nations.

When the Committee moved on to a draft on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/65/L.37, the Secretariat informed delegations that figures contained in paragraphs 17 and 20 of the text would be updated, as available.

The resolution would have the Assembly appropriate $545.47 million for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.

The resolution also says that for Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Force, their apportionment would be offset by their respective share of the unencumbered balance and other income accumulated in the financial period ended 30 June 2010 ($62.95 million).  For those that had not fulfilled their financial obligations, their outstanding contribution would be offset by their respective share of the same.  An increase of $1.1 million in the estimated staff assessment income would be added to the credits from the unencumbered balance.

The Assembly would take note of $59.5 million in outstanding contributions as at 30 April 2011, and further note with concern that only 91 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.  It would express concern over the financial situation of reimbursing troop contributors that bore additional burdens due to overdue staff assessment payments by Member States, as well as over the delay experienced by the Secretary-General in deploying and providing adequate resources to some recent peacekeeping missions, especially in Africa.

Speaking ahead of action on that text, the representative of Israel called for a vote on preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 14, as well as on the text as a whole.

A separate recorded vote was then taken on that package of provisions — preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 14, which the Committee approved by 71 in favour to 3 against ( Canada, Israel, United States), with 51 abstentions).

[Those terms — preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 14 — respectively, reaffirm past relevant resolutions of the Assembly; “express deep concern that Israel did not comply” with previous resolutions on UNIFIL’s financing; “stress once again that Israeli should strictly abide” by those resolutions; and reiterate the request to the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure implementation of those texts, and stress once again that Israel should pay $1.1 million resulting from the incident at Qana on 18 April 1996.  The last provision — operative paragraph 14 — also asks the Secretary-General to report on the matter to the Assembly at its next session.]

Next, the Committee approved the draft as a whole, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 3 against ( Canada, Israel, United States), with 1 abstention ( Tuvalu) (document A/C.5/65/L.37).

Speaking on behalf of the European Union after the adoption of the resolution as a whole, the representative of Hungary expressed concern that consensus had not been reached during negotiations and that political elements had been introduced into the Committee’s work.  European Union member States had abstained in the vote on the paragraphs because they considered the text, as drafted, “inappropriate in the context of a resolution dealing with the financing of UNIFIL”.

The broader political aspects of the events, including the incident at Qana were debated in the General Assembly in April 1996, resulting in the adoption of the relevant resolution, she said.  The European Union had made its position on the political aspects of the matter clear in its statement to the plenary at that time, as well as in its vote.  As in the past, the Union wished that consultations in the Committee could have been confined to the budgetary aspects of UNIFIL’s financing.  Nevertheless, European Union members States had voted in favour of the text as a whole since it provided UNIFIL with the adequate resources it needed to fulfill its mandates.

Continuing with its work, the Committee approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) (document A/C.5/65/L.46), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate (amount to be announced at later date) for the maintenance of the Mission for the 2011/2012 period.  States that had fulfilled their obligations to the operation would have an additional offset equal to their respective share of an unencumbered balance of $52.05 million.

Further by the text, States that had not fulfilled their obligations would have their outstanding obligations offset also by their respective share of that amount.  The $2.7 million increase in estimated staff assessment income, in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2010, would be added to the amounts to be credited to Member States as part of their offset.

By a text approved on financing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/65/L.47), the Committee would have the Assembly appropriate $61.43 million for the Mission’s maintenance.  It would further decide that, for Member States that have fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission, there shall be set off against their apportionment their respective share of the unencumbered balance and other income in the total amount of $2.39 million for the period that ended on 30 June 2010.

The Committee went on to approve, as orally amended, a draft on financing for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/65/L.48), which would have the Assembly note with concern that, as at 20 April 2011, only 79 Member States had paid their assessed contributions to the Operation in full, and urge all others, particularly those in arrears, to ensure payment of their outstanding contributions.  It would decide not to abolish the child protection posts and ask the Secretary-General to make every effort to fill them.  It would further request him to identify an equivalent number of posts at the same level that had been vacant for more than a year to offset the financial impact of retaining the child protection posts, and to report thereon in the context of the performance report.

Finally, the text would have the Assembly appropriate $1.69 billion for the Operation’s maintenance for the 2011/12 period.

The final text taken up, on financing of support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) (document A/C.5/65/L.49), was also approved without a vote.  By it, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $303.91 million for the maintenance of that entity for the 2011/12 period.  It would also invite voluntary contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund established to support AMISOM.

After the Committee wrapped up its work, closing remarks were made by the representatives of Argentina (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Pakistan, Eritrea, Mexico, United Republic of Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire and New Zealand.

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union also made closing remarks.

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*     The 41st Meeting was covered in Press Release GA/11105 of 22 June 2011.

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