Budgetary Committee Urged to Back Secretary-General’s Request for Additional Funds To Support United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire for 2011-2012 Period

19 December 2011
GA/AB/4020

Budgetary Committee Urged to Back Secretary-General’s Request for Additional Funds To Support United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire for 2011-2012 Period

19 December 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/4020
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

24th Meeting (PM)

Budgetary Committee Urged to Back Secretary-General’s Request for Additional Funds

To Support United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire for 2011-2012 Period

As the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon took stock of the financing needs of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), delegates urged approval of the Secretary-General’s proposed amounts to keep that operation running until the end of next June.

To implement Security Council resolution 2000 (2011), which had extended the Operation’s mandate until 31 July 2012 to help stabilize Côte d’Ivoire following the political crisis sparked by disputed presidential elections in late-2010, and to create a security environment conducive for holding legislative polls, the Secretary-General asked for $165.73 million gross ($164.91 million net) for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period.

According to the relevant report, introduced today by María Eugenia Casar, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, that figure was supplemental to the $486.73 million initially approved for activities of UNOCI by the General Assembly in its resolution 65/294.  Collen Kelapile, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), weighed in with that body’s related report.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, speaking on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the extra resources for implementing UNOCI’s extended mandate, which was essential for restoring law and order, improving political stability and facilitating lasting peace in Côte d’Ivoire.  He stressed the need to fully implement “quick impact” projects intended for those purposes, and asked for information on similar projects targeting internally displaced persons in the country.

Côte d’Ivoire’s representative also called on the Committee to support the Secretary-General’s funding proposals for UNOCI, noting that the Operation could help address such challenges as national reconciliation, disarmament, reintegration of ex-fighters and reform of the security, defence and judicial sectors.  He expressed disappointment, however, that the Committee had only allocated two 1-and-a-half hour slots to such an important matter, and it had only taken up the matter a few days before the end of the Committee’s session, particularly given the extent to which resources allocated to UNOCI would help the country return to normalcy.

Also today, Ms. Casar introduced the Secretary-General’s report related to the revised cost estimates — due to the effect of changes in rates of exchange and inflation — for the proposed budgets of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism. She also introduced the report on the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates under the contingency fund.

Mr. Kelapile introduced the Advisory Committee’s related reports, which weighed in on the Secretary-General’s proposals.

The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m., on Thursday, 22 December to conclude its sixty-sixth session.

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met today to consider revised estimates of the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, as well as financing of the contingency fund and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

Regarding the financing for Tribunals, the Committee had before it three reports submitted in accordance with established practice, whereby the Organization’s proposed programme budget is recosted prior to its adoption by the Assembly.  The three reports give updated projections for inflation and the effect of the evolution of operational rates of exchange in 2011 on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.

The Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates: effect of changes in rates of exchange and inflation (document A/66/614) gives a detailed breakdown of the initial proposed programme budget for the entire Organization, as well as the revised estimates and programme budget implications for that biennium.  It states that after recosting, the resources under the expenditure sections would amount to $5.39 billion and estimates of income would total $542.6 million, if the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) are applied to the Secretary-General’s proposals.

According to the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals:  effect of changes in rates of exchange and inflation (document A/66/605) resource requirements would total $181.78 million gross for the Rwanda Tribunal, $287.59 million gross for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal, and $53.79 million gross for the International Residual Mechanism.

In its twenty-third report on the subject (document A/66/7/Add.22), the Advisory Committee states it has no objection to the revised estimates listed in the Secretary-General’s two reports and, accordingly, transmits them to the Assembly for its consideration.

On financing of the contingency fund, the Fifth Committee considered two reports.  The Secretary-General’s report on the contingency fund:  consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates (document A/C.5/66/13) states that the consolidated amount of $34.6 million would be within the $40.48 million approved for the contingency fund in Assembly resolution 65/262.  It states that the Fifth Committee, in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to resolution 42/211, may proceed to recommend that the Assembly appropriate that $34.6 million (net of staff assessment) under the relevant sections of the programme budget, and then note a balance of $5.88 million in the fund.

In its twenty-fourth report on the subject (document A/66/7/Add.23), the Advisory Committee points out that the extra $34.6 million required, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, related to decisions made before the Assembly adopted the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.  If approved by the Assembly, those requirements would deplete approximately 85 per cent of the contingency fund before the biennium even started.

Concerning UNOCI, the Committee had before it the Secretary-General’s report on the budget for that Operation for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012:  supplementary estimates (document A/66/529).  It states UNOCI will need an estimated $165.73 million for that period to fund the additional deployment of 2,335 military contingent personnel, 145 United Nations police officers, 20 formed police unit personnel, 34 international staff, 9 national staff, 26 international temporary positions, 19 national temporary positions, 177 United Nations Volunteers and 26 Government-provided personnel.  It asks the Assembly to appropriate and assess the $165.73 million to maintain the Operation, in addition to the $486.73 million already appropriated by the terms of resolution 65/294.

In its resolution 2000 (2011), the Security Council extended UNOCI’s mandate until 31 July 2012 in order to help address Côte d’Ivoire’s security situation.  To implement the mandate additional funding of $165.73 million gross ($164.91 million net) was requested.

Weighing in on the matter with its own report (document A/66/612), the Advisory Committee recommends approval of the $165.73 million, but believes the Secretary-General’s report lacks sufficient explanation and does not adequately justify some of the extra posts and position requirements that are proposed.  It does not recommend approving the request for an Information Analyst (Political) P-3 post in the Joint Mission Analysis Centre, in view of that Centre’s existing staff capacity.

Moreover, The Advisory Committee says the report does not support creation of a P-3 post as part of a new Transitional Justice Unit within the Human Rights Section, but it does recommend approving the other proposed posts:  one P-4, one National Professional Officer and one national General Service, as well as one United Nations Volunteers position.

Introduction of Reports

Opening the meeting, the Committee took up the respective financing matters of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and of the contingency fund.

MARÍA EUGENIA CASAR, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s report related to the revised cost estimates due to the effect of changes in rates of exchange and inflation (document A/66/614), his report related to the proposed budgets of the two Tribunals and the International Residual Mechanism (document A/66/605), as well as his report on the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates under the contingency fund (document A/C.5/66/13).

As a result of recosting, the requirements for the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 would be $5.39 billion for the Organization; $181.8 million gross, reflecting a net decrease of $1.5 million, for the Rwanda Tribunal; $287.6 million gross, reflecting a net increase of $4.7 million, for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal; and $53.8 million gross, reflecting a net decrease of $1.3 million, for the International Residual Mechanism.

Regarding the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates, she said the in the context of approving the budget outline for the biennium 2012-2013, the Assembly approved $40.5 million, for the contingency fund, or 0.75 per cent of the approved budget outline level for the biennium 2012-2013.

Concerning financing of the contingency fund, she said the potential new charges to the fund of $34.6 million corresponded to ACABQ recommendations upon its consideration of individual statements.  At present, the Fifth Committee had yet to take formal action on the approval of the specific programme budget implications and revised estimates.

COLLEN KELAPILE, Chairman of ACABQ, said that he had no objection to the revised estimates listed in the Secretary-General’s two reports and, accordingly, transmitted them to the Assembly for consideration.

Turning to the Contingency Fund, he pointed out that the extra $34.6 million required, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, related to decisions made before the Assembly adopted the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.  If approved by the Assembly, those requirements would deplete approximately 85 per cent of the contingency fund before the biennium even started, le

aving a balance of $5.9 million.  He said that at least some of the additional requirements for the biennium 2012-2013 could have been included as part of the proposed programme budget for the biennium to avoid a piecemeal approach to the budgetary process.  He recommended that the Secretary-General analyse the current utilization of the contingency fund, and in the future, to make every effort to incorporate additional requirements into the initial budgetary proposals.

Introduction of Reports

The Committee then took up the financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

Ms. CASAR, taking the floor a second time, then introduced the report on the budget for UNOCI for the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012:  supplementary estimates (document A/66/529).  She said the Operation would need an estimated $165.73 million to fund the request for, among others, an extra 265 civilian staff and 26 Government-provided personnel to coordinate legislative elections and associated certification activities, for security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, human rights and civil affairs.  The extra funding represented an increase of 34.1 per cent over the initial apportionment.

She said the supplementary requirements included provisions for military and police personnel, totalling $65.5 million, and for additional civilian personnel $23.4 million, along with $34.5 million to provide facilities, infrastructure, maintenance and support services, and $20.4 million for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration initiatives and clearing of unexploded ordnance.

Mr. KELAPILE, taking the floor again, introduced the Advisory Committee’s report on UNOCI’s financing, saying the recommendations in it would entail reductions of $381,500 to the Secretary-General’s proposed supplementary estimates.  The Advisory Committee, noting the lack of sufficient information in the Secretary-General’s report to adequately justify additional requirements in certain areas, objected to some of the proposed staffing increases to enable UNOCI to carry out its mandate.

It rejected the request for three additional P-3 posts in the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Section, since that Section’s workload should ease with the proposed creation of the Security Sector Reform Section within UNOCI, he said.  Instead, the Advisory Committee recommended approving one of the P-3 posts, plus the two proposed United Nations Volunteers positions.  It trusted that UNOCI would ensure that the facilities for the demobilization sites would be adequate to meet the requirements of the beneficiaries in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme.

Moreover, while recognizing UNOCI’s additional responsibilities under its mandate related to support the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it did not consider that all posts requested for the Transitional Justice Unit within the Human Rights Section to be fully justified, he said.  It recommended against creation of a P-3 post as part of a new Unit.  He noted that the supplementary staffing proposals under both component 3 (Electoral Assistance Office), and component 5 (support), were proposed as temporary positions only through 30 June 2012.

The Advisory Committee recommended approval of the Secretary-General’s proposals for operational costs, which included an extra $1 million to execute 40 more quick-impact projects, he said.  The Advisory Committee expected that UNOCI would make every effort to implement all such projects within the remaining timeframe of the budget for the 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 period.

Statements

JUSTIN KISOKA (United Republic of Tanzania) speaking on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the additional resources for implementation of UNOCI’s extended mandate.  He said the African Group saw UNOCI as essential to the restoration of law and order, improvement of political stability and facilitation of lasting peace in Côte d’Ivoire.  He emphasized the need to ensure that “quick impact” projects relating to restoration of public order, justice and corrections, an outreach, reconciliation and conflict management were completed in full and in a timely manner, and requested information on the implementation of other “quick impact” projects and on other issues important to the Operation, including programmes and activities for internally displaced persons in the country.

BROUZ RALPH COFFI ( C ôte d’Ivoire) expressed disappointment with the late publication of the reports related to UNOCI.  He regretted that the Committee had only allocated two one-and-a-half hour slots to that important agenda item and it had only taken up the matter a few days before the end of the Committee’s session.  That was unjust, particularly given the extent to which resources allocated to UNOCI would contribute to a return to normalcy in Cote d’Ivoire.  On 11 December 2011, the country peacefully held the first legislative elections in 10 years, which led to the creation of a National Assembly.  That move also put in place the foundation for a legislature, followed by creation of executive and the judiciary branches.  The 36.56 per cent voter turnout in the December elections was higher than the 32 per cent turnout during the 2000 legislative elections.  This year’s elections were a true test of the resolve of the Independent Electoral Commission and the Ivorian Government, particularly in light of the chaos sparked by former Ivorian President’s recent refusal to accept defeat.  That crisis has ended, thanks to the international community’s support.

Still, many challenges remained in Côte d’Ivoire, notably concerning national reconciliation; disarmament; reintegration of former combatants; reform of the security, defence and judicial sectors; the fight against impunity; and promotion and protection of human rights, he said.  UNOCI’s support was necessary to address such challenges.  Security Council resolution 2000 (2011), which had extended UNOCI’s mandate through the end of July 2012, took into account current concerns to protect civilians and monitor borders in the face of mercenary activity, the use of small arms and light weapons and growing terrorism in the West African sub-region.  The Ivorian Prime Minister addressed such issues during recent meetings with United Nations officials in New York, as well as with the Security Council and the Secretary-General.  He reiterated his Government’s good cooperation with UNOCI and desire to work with it to maintain peace.  He called on the Committee to support the Secretary-General’s proposal for UNOCI financing.  During the informal session, he would request information on specific action taken by UNOCI to implement the mandate set forth in Council resolution 2000.

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