In Budget Committee, Speakers Welcome Improved UN Financial Picture, but Express Concern over Peacekeeping Cash Shortages, Delayed Payments to Troop Contributors

24 May 2012
GA/AB/4032

In Budget Committee, Speakers Welcome Improved UN Financial Picture, but Express Concern over Peacekeeping Cash Shortages, Delayed Payments to Troop Contributors

24 May 2012
General Assembly
GA/AB/4032
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

36th Meeting (AM)

In Budget Committee, Speakers Welcome Improved UN Financial Picture, but Express

Concern over Peacekeeping Cash Shortages, Delayed Payments to Troop Contributors

 

Reports Introduced on Financing Libya Support Mission, Somalia Political Office

While lauding the improved financial situation of the United Nations at year-end 2011 and further progress since then, delegates in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon expressed concern over the continued cash shortages in peacekeeping operations and the subsequent lag in payments to countries providing troops and police to such operations.

As of 11 May 2012, a total of 38 Member States had fully paid their assessments to the Organization’s regular budget, international tribunals, peacekeeping operations and the Capital Master Plan, according to María Eugenia Casar, Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Controller.  Consequently, unpaid assessments were down from a year earlier in all categories, resulting in a more than $600 million decrease.

Ms. Casar made her comments 10 days after the Officer-in-Charge for the Department of Management presented the Committee with a semi-annual snapshot of the Organization’s financial picture.  Afterwards, Yukio Takasu, the new Under-Secretary-General for Management, provided an update of Member States that had made payments after the report’s cut-off date and said the Organization’s financial health was “very sound”.

Like most delegates, Côte d’Ivoire’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the Organization’s overall improved financial picture.  But, he expressed worries that six weeks before the end of the 2011/12 fiscal year budget for peacekeeping operations, a substantial chunk of the assessed dues for the missions was unpaid, exposing them to situations that could impede implementation of their mandates.  Moreover, missions with liquidity problems would have to further delay reimbursements to troop-contributing countries for costs they had incurred.

New Zealand’s representative, who also spoke on behalf of Canada and Australia, said that was particularly problematic for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), due to the absence of sufficient cash in the special accounts for those missions.  He was also disturbed that the Organization’s outstanding debt to Member States was projected to increase by some 28 per cent by year-end 2012, compared with the same period in 2011.

Similarly, Algeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the money owed to Member States for troops and formed police units, contingent-owned equipment and consumables, letters of assist and death and disability had grown to $774 million.  More should be done to ensure that Member States were reimbursed fully and on time, as a matter of priority, particularly since most troop-contributors were developing countries, and thus not in a position to sustain troop commitments and maintain equipment on their own for extended periods.

He joined the representatives of Cuba and Syria in criticizing the host country’s closing of bank accounts of some of the Group’s members, which had threatened their day-to-day functions and resulted in late payment of their contributions.  The affected countries should not be listed among those lagging behind in their payments, nor be subjected to Article 19 of the Charter, which could be invoked to suspend a State’s right to vote in the General Assembly due to arrears in payment of assessments.

Syria’s representative said this year his Government, for the first time ever, would not be able to fully meet its financial obligations to the United Nations owing exclusively to unjust, illegal unilateral sanctions imposed on it by some nations.  Recently, banks in New York and Washington, D.C., had closed the Syrian delegations’ bank account, and the Government’s subsequent attempts to set up accounts in other area banks had been rejected.  “This is an absurd situation.  It is surreal”, he said, calling on the Secretariat to ensure the host country ended that discriminatory practice.

Responding to that plea, Ms. Casar said the Organization was taking steps to try to rectify the banking issue and that a solution would be forthcoming within the next two weeks.

Also today, she introduced the Secretary-General’s report that presented the 2012 proposed resource requirements for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNMIL), which amounted to $36.47 million net ($38.7 million gross), and for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), which totalled $3.05 million net ($3.05 million gross).

Collen Kelapile, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced that body’s related report, which backed the Secretary-General’s proposals for the UNPOS, but recommended a $1.61 million reduction in his suggested requirements for UNMIL, owing to reduced staff and operational costs.

Mr. Kelapile also introduced a letter from the General Assembly President that transmitted another letter from the Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in which the latter asked for an extension beyond 31 July 2012 to implement the $9.07 million subvention grant to the Court.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Friday, 1 June, to conclude the second resumed part of its sixty-sixth session.

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to discuss ways to improve the United Nations financial situation and to consider the 2012/13 programme budget for special political missions and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

On the first topic, the Committee had before it an addendum to the Secretary-General’s report on improving the financial situation of the United Nations (document A/66/521/Add.1), which reviews the situation as of 31 December 2011 and 7 May 2012 and gives updates since the Secretary-General’s previous report (document A/66/521).  It focused on four main financial indicators:  assessments issued; unpaid assessed contributions; available cash resources; and debt to Member States.

It notes that as of 31 December 2011, the financial situation showed improvement in some areas despite the global financial climate.  Despite increases in unpaid assessments in several categories, the cash situation had improved in most areas, the number of Member States meeting their obligations in full had increased in all categories and there had also been some improvement in the level of debt to Member States, though it was less than anticipated in October 2011.

Thus far this year, the financial situation reflected further progress, with increases in the number of Member States meeting their obligations in full and decreases in unpaid assessments compared to 2011 across all categories.  The latest situation reflected the continued emphasis on improving Member States’ access to information on the status of contributions.  As a result of the gains in recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of Member States meting their obligations in full at the time of presenting the financial situation.

Consequently, as of 7 May 2012, unpaid assessments were down from a year earlier in all categories, resulting in a more than $600 million decrease.  Despite that improvement, several peacekeeping operations continued to be affected by cash shortages which had an impact on the timing of payments to troop-contributing countries.

While lauding the increase in the number of Member States that had settled their financial obligations in full as of 7 May 2012, he noted that a significant level of outstanding assessments remained.  The final outcome for 2012 would depend in large measure on action by Member States with outstanding assessments, the Secretary-General said, warning that the “financial health of our Organization depends on Member States meeting their financial obligations in full and on time”.

On special political missions, the Committee considered the Secretary-General’s report on the 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/66/354/Add.8), which presents the 2012 proposed resource requirements for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNMIL) which amount to $36.47 million net ($38.7 million gross), and for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) which amount to $3.05 million net ($3.05 million gross).  The Assembly is asked to approve a total of $39.51 million net for the two missions and to charge them against the 2012-2013 budget for special political missions.

In its related report (document A/66/7/Add.25), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) recommends against creation of some of the new posts proposed by the Secretary-General in various offices related to peacekeeping matters, based on the belief that many of their proposed functions can be performed within existing capacity.  In view of its recommendations on staffing levels and operational costs, the ACABQ recommends a $1.61 million reduction in the proposed requirements for 2012 for UNMIL.  But, it backs his proposals for UNPOS for 2012, while trusting that during the remainder of the budget period every effort will be made to seek savings and efficiencies in order to limit additional expenditures.

On the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Committee considered a letter dated 2 May 2012 from the President of the General Assembly to the Chair of the Fifth Committee (document A/C.5/66/16), which contains a 5 April 2012 letter from the Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone requesting that the period to implement the $9.07 million subvention grant authorized by Assembly resolution 66/247 be extended beyond 31 July 2012.

Improving United Nations Financial Situation

At the outset of the session, MARÍA EUGENIA CASAR, Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Controller, provided the Fifth Committee with some additional information on the current financial situation of the Organization regarding the Secretary-General’s report (document A/66/521/Add.1).

She added Costa Rica to the list of Member States that had paid in full all assessments for the regular budget, the international tribunals, the peacekeeping operations and the Capital Master Plan that were payable as of 11 May 2012.  The list now grew to 38 States, including previously added Lesotho.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted positive developments in the United Nations financial situation, such as the reduced level of outstanding contributions to the regular budget and the budgets of peacekeeping operations compared to last year.  But, he was alarmed that the debt owed to Member States for troops and formed police units, contingent-owned equipment and consumables, letters of assist and death and disability had grown to $774 million.  More should be done to ensure that Member States were reimbursed fully and on time, as a matter of priority.  That was of particular concern, since most troop-contributing countries were also developing countries and were not in a position to sustain troop commitments and maintain equipment on their own for extended periods.  Regarding peacekeeping operations with cash deficits, he reiterated his request to those countries that had yet to pay their assessments in full and on time to do so as soon as possible.

He stressed the need for Member States to live up to their financial commitments, so as to enhance the Organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.  Full, timely and unconditional payment was a Charter obligation.  He rejected all unilateral coercive measures contrary to international law, which obstructed and sometimes impeded payments from the Group’s members.  He was especially concerned by the ongoing and alarming phenomenon resulting in the closure of bank accounts of many of the Group’s members.  That had caused them extreme difficulties with day-to-day functions and resulted in late payments of their contributions.  If such problems continued with the banking accounts, those delegations should not be listed among those lagging behind in their payments, nor be subjected to Article 19 of the Charter regarding their right to vote.  He reminded the host country of its responsibility to provide a proper environment for Member States to carry out their United Nations-related functions.  No excuses to that were acceptable.  He urged the host country to find a speedy solution to that problem once and for all.

BROUZ RALPH COFFI (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking on behalf of the African Group, expressed the Group’s concern that, with six weeks before the end of the 2011/12 fiscal year budget for peacekeeping operations, a substantial amount of assessed contributions for peacekeeping operations remained outstanding.  The fact that assessed contributions were not paid in time continued to expose missions to situations that could impact negatively on mandate implementation.  The Group also noted that, in those cases where missions faced liquidity problems, reimbursements to troop-contributing countries were delayed for long periods.  The majority of troop-contributing countries were developing countries and it was, therefore, not acceptable that they be forced to bear a heavy financial burden for participating in United Nations peacekeeping.  He encouraged all Member States with outstanding contributions to pay their dues in full, on time and without condition.

PAUL BALLANTYNE (New Zealand), also speaking on behalf of Canada and Australia, said he was encouraged, particularly in the current financial global environment, by the increased number of Member States that had met their obligations in full across all budget categories by the end of 2011.  But, he noted with concern that the actual level of outstanding assessments had increased some $330 million, or 12 per cent, compared with the previous year.  He stressed the consequences of unpaid assessments, which penalized both Member States that had paid their assessments in full and on time, and troop-contributing countries that were left waiting to be reimbursed for costs they had incurred.  The latter was a particular problem for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), due to the absence of sufficient cash in the special accounts for those missions.  He was also disturbed that the debt of Member States was projected to increase approximately 28 per cent by the end of the year, compared with the same period in 2011.

The countries for which he spoke would continue to demonstrate their commitment to the United Nations work by paying their dues in full, on time and without condition, he said.  He urged all Member States to fulfil their Charter obligations and do the same.  He further encouraged eligible States to consider submitting multi-year payment plans as a possible mechanism for addressing their budget arrears.  Improving the United Nations financial situation was not just a matter of providing the Organization with the resources it required.  Member States also had the shared responsibility of ensuring resources were managed efficiently.  In that regard, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts in the last year to increase the United Nations financial discipline and to enhance oversight and accountability.  He also welcomed all such initiatives to increase the Organization’s efficiency and make better use of available resources to deliver on agreed mandates.

FRANCESCO PRESUTTI, a representative of the European Union, noted with satisfaction that, as of 31 December 2011, a total of 143 Member had fully paid their regular budget assessments, five more than at the end of 2010.  Although the outstanding assessments as of 7 May 2012 were lower than at the end of last year, he was concerned that they totalled more than $1.18 billion.  He noted with concern that outstanding contributions for peacekeeping operations had increased in 2011.  The unpaid assessments, in excess of $2.48 billion as of 1 January 2012 were of great concern.  He called on all Member States to pay their contributions in order to enable the Organization to perform its challenging tasks and fully implement its peacekeeping operation mandates.  He noted with appreciation that payments for troops and formed police unit costs were current up to February 2012 for all missions, except for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), due to insufficient cash in the special accounts for those missions.

He noted that the financial situation of the international tribunals was unchanged compared to last year.  As of 7 May 2012, a total of 64 Member States had paid their assessments in full, compared to 61 at the end of 2011.  But, he was concerned over the $84 million in unpaid assessments, despite it being lower than the $133 million figure in 2011.  That may hamper the completion strategies of both tribunals.  European Union members continued to support the Capital Master Plan, despite delays in implementing it.  The outstanding amount was $8 million as of 7 May 2012, versus $116 million at the end of 2011.  That positive trend showed the strong commitment of Member States to the Plan.

The Organization could only perform its increasing and challenging tasks when Member States met their financial responsibility to it, he said.  European Union members, which contributed 40 per cent of all assessed contributions, would continue to stress the importance of the most effective, efficient and transparent use of the Organization’s resources and of a more balanced way to share the Organization’s budgetary responsibilities.

SUL KYUNG-HOON ( Republic of Korea) said it was encouraging to see that the number of Member States meeting their obligations in full had increased in all categories as of December 2011 from a year earlier.  The number was 136 in 2009, 138 in 2010 and 143 in 2011.  These figures were indicative of Member States’ sense of responsibility to the Organization and its mandate.  Her Government had paid regular budget, tribunal and Capital Master Plan assessments in full, but had experienced difficulties in paying peacekeeping assessments in a timely manner due to its domestic budget process, which could not easily accommodate the unpredictable timing and amount of peacekeeping assessments.  This year, the Government had allocated a substantially higher amount for peacekeeping payables compared with 2011.  Therefore, in the second half of the year, the Government expected to have significantly lowered its outstanding peacekeeping assessments.

KEN SIAH ( Singapore) said he was encouraged by the improvement in financial indicators in 2012 in some areas.  He noted that 36 Member States had paid their regular budget assessments in full as of 7 May 2012, up from 29 in 2011.  The level of total unpaid assessments as of 7 May 2012 had dropped by more than $600 million.  He applauded Member States who had met their financial obligations.  That trend should continue.  Still, the Organization’s financial situation was far from ideal and the level of outstanding assessments remained high.  He understood that some States, particularly developing ones, had genuine difficulty in paying their assessments.  But, as they did not account for a large percentage of overall assessments, their inability to pay did not jeopardize the United Nations ability to carry out its mandate.  Rather, the major contributors, who had the capacity to pay in full and on time, but deliberately failed to do so, put the Organization in a difficult position.  Major contributors had more influence than others.  Some of their actions reflected a disturbing cynicism towards the Organization.

“The tendency of some of these Member States to attach conditions to the payments that they are duty-bound to make under the United Nations Charter amounts to fiscal blackmail,” he said.  Moreover, some major contributors sought to transfer their financial responsibilities to developing countries without surrendering any of their privileges.  As the United Nations was the world’s only multilateral body with global membership and universal legitimacy, it must be given the requisite resources to fulfil its mandates.  He called on all major contributors to pay their assessments in full, on time and without conditions.  The Organization must be accountable to Member States.  The Secretariat must manage resources effectively and transparently.  “Withholding contributions from the United Nations to induce more efficient performance is a myopic and cynical tactic,” he said, urging all Member States to fulfil their commitments.

OSCAR LEÓN GONZÁLEZ ( Cuba) said Member States must unconditionally meet their financial obligations.  That was the only way to pay the $774 million debt to troop-contributing and police-contributing countries, without resorting to the harmful practice of cross-borrowing between the accounts of closed and active missions.  It would also make it possible to return the surplus cash in the accounts of closed missions to Member States.  He rejected unilateral coercive measures that violated international law and hampered various developing countries’ payments to the United Nations budget.  He pointed to the host country’s actions over the bank accounts of some Group of 77 members.  The affected countries should not be listed as in arrears of their payments, nor should they be subjected to application of Article 19 of the Charter concerning the suspension of their voting rights.  The Assembly must carefully consider and make a clear decision on that matter.  While it continued to suffer from the unjust United States blockade, Cuba was current on its payments to the regular budget and the Capital Master Plan, and it was making huge efforts to keep fully current with its dues to peacekeeping operations and international tribunals.

It was important to take into account the difficulties Cuba faced when contributing to the United Nations, as it had to use a third party to carry out its transactions due to the blockade regulations, he said.  Cuban bank transfers to international organizations had been frozen on several occasions, even those made in euros, and the United States Government prevented Cuba’s cooperation with the United Nations.  For example, in January 2011, the United States Government seized $4.21 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria intended to carry out cooperation projects with Cuba to fight those diseases.  Since the end of 2006, Swiss Banks UBS and Credit Suisse had refused to directly process bank transfers from Cuban institutions, such as the Cuban Intellectual Property Office and other Cuban-based law firms for payments to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  The blockade against Cuba must stop.

He expressed concern that, after the conclusion of the Committee’s first resumed session, efforts were being made to validate the creation of posts in the Office of the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect through voluntary contributions, even though such proposed posts had been rejected in the framework of the regular budget.  Also, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management had made a peculiar interpretation of the Committee’s debate on services to be provided to the Executive Boards of the funds and programmes.  Further, special political missions were benefitting from mechanisms to support peacekeeping operations, without having the mandate to do so.  All of that had happened within weeks of the Committee’s most decisive discussions on accountability and transparency.  Such developments were counterproductive and broke all the promises made in recent weeks.

VLADIMIR N. PROKHOROV ( Russian Federation) said the report pointed to some encouraging signs as of the end of 2011.  Although unpaid assessments were higher in several categories than at the end of 2010, the cash situation had improved, as had the level of the Organization’s outstanding debt to Member States.  As of 7 May, the Organization’s financial position reflected further progress, with increases in the number of Member States meeting their obligations in full, despite the complex economic and financial situations facing them.

Several peacekeeping operations still suffered cash shortfalls, he said.  The bulk of unpaid assessments came from a small number of Member States and such arrears reduced the expected accomplishments of mission mandates.  He cautioned against complacency, saying the situation was far from ideal, given the number of existing peacekeeping operations suffering cash shortfall.  The Russian Federation’s position remained unchanged.  Member States must pay obligations without conditions, so that the United Nations could cope with emerging threats and meet challenges.

KAZUHIRO KUNO, Director, United Nations Planning and Administration Division, Foreign Policy Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, said Member States were responsible for paying their assessments in full and on time.  Japan had faithfully fulfilled its obligations, including for this fiscal year, despite facing great financial burdens in the wake of the last year’s Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent requirements for reconstruction.  He was encouraged by the overview report that noted that a greater number of Member States had settled their financial obligations in full.  Such an improvement was attributable to the extraordinary efforts by Member States to meet their Charter obligations.  He reiterated Japan’s request that the Secretariat utilize Member States’ resources efficiently and effectively when implementing the mandates of the Organization’s legislative bodies.  He called on the Secretariat to seek further efficiency, taking into account Member States’ domestic efforts.  The Assembly should scrutinize the Secretary-General’s budget proposals, with a view to ensuring a realistic level of resources was provided to implement a given mandate.

BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) expressed commitment to the Charter, which stipulated that all Member States must pay in full and on time.  Syria had always honoured its financial commitments to the Organization, in full and on time.  It did so last year, despite the numerous challenges it faced as a developing country and despite economic constraints imposed illegally on it by other countries.  Such unjust unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria in violation of international law had negatively impacted the work of Syria’s delegation in New York.  Because the Syrian Permanent Mission had not received an adequate transfer of funds, it would be unable to fully meet its financial obligations to the United Nations this year.  At the beginning of 2011, a United States bank in New York decided to close the accounts of several Member States, including Syria.  After many difficulties, Syria was able to open an account in a bank in Washington, D.C.  But, that new bank had closed Syria’s accounts unexpectedly, leaving the delegation without a bank account in the host country.  All other banks it had contacted had refused to allow it to open an account.

He reminded the host country of its obligations to ensure an appropriate environment for Member States to carry out their activities and he urged the host country to find a quick solution to the bank issue.  The Secretariat could, and should, ensure that the United Nations agreement with the host country was fully implemented and respected.  Syria’s inability to make bank transfers was solely the result of unjust sanctions imposed on it by countries that claimed to respect the Charter.  Thus, Syria should not be placed on the list of countries subjected to Article 19.  This year marked the first time since 1945 that Syria was having difficulty paying its contributions, due to reasons that had nothing to do with its capacity to pay.  “This is an absurd situation.  It is surreal”, he said, and added that, unless the United Nations found a solution, the illegal step taken by some countries would further increase.  The situation was “completely discriminatory” and a “flagrant violation” that affected other countries as well.  If some wished to use the United Nations for their own interests, their intentions should be made known with full transparency.

CHAO HUI ( China) expressed support for the Secretary-General’s efforts on change management, with a view to making the United Nations more responsive to the requirements of the new situation.  China hoped that the Secretary-General would, through management reform and other measures, enhance accountability, implement strict financial discipline, improve management and efficiency in resource utilization, and value and put to good use every penny paid by Member States.

She said China was a developing country with a low per-capita income, where many people still lived under the poverty line and thus needed enormous financial input for its economic and social development.  Nevertheless, for 2011, by overcoming the tremendous difficulties, the Government managed to pay in full its assessments for the regular budget, the two international tribunals, peacekeeping operations and the Capital Master Plan.  As for 2012, China had paid its assessed contributions to the regular budget and the tribunals in full and paid most of its peacekeeping obligation.  The Government was in the process of paying the rest.  China had thus contributed with concrete action in efforts to ensure a sound financial foundation for the United Nations.

CHERITH NORMAN ( United States) said that her country had taken its international obligations “very seriously” and the Obama Administration continued to make great efforts to pay its bills on time and in full.  It was well known that the amount reflected by the United Nations as owned by the United States was distorted, due to differences in fiscal years and other factors.  As the largest contributor to the United Nations, the United States contributed more than $7.7 billion in fiscal 2010 in assessed and voluntary contributions across the United Nations system.  Since May 2011 alone, the United States had paid more than $2.2 billion in regular budget, peacekeeping, international tribunal, and Capital Master Plan assessments.  That amount did not include voluntary contributions the Government made to various funds and programmes and other entities.  Therefore, the suggestion that the United States was not meeting its financial obligations to the United Nations was “wrong and patently absurd”.

YUKIO TAKASU, Under-Secretary-General for Management, stressed the importance of every dollar contributed by Member States.  The Organization entirely depended on Member States.  He paid tribute to countries that honoured their commitments, despite such obstacles as economic difficulties and some procedural issues.  The Secretariat had a responsibility to make sure that those contributions were used efficiently and effectively.

He expressed his determination, as a new Under-Secretary-General, to improve the implementation of the resources made available to the Organization.  In fact, there had been improvements.  The number of Member States that had paid assessments for the regular budget had increased to 96.  The figure reached 41 for peacekeeping operations, 68 for international tribunals and 144 for the Capital Master Plan.  That brought the number of Member States that met all those obligations to 38.  The Organization’s “financial health is very sound,” he said.

Ms. CASAR, responding to delegates’ concerns over banking arrangements and bank account closures, said the Secretariat had discussed the matter with several banks in New York.  She was hopeful that there would be a solution in the next two weeks for the nine Member States with problems, particularly the one Member State subjected to Article 19.  Still, it could take a few months for the bank accounts to be opened.

Responding to a subsequent query from Cuba’s representative concerning application of Article 19, she said that, if a Member State had not paid its dues owing to difficulties in maintaining a bank account, the Assembly would decide on whether to apply Article 19.  The country concerned could request a waiver, although that had not been done.  The Secretariat was doing everything possible to facilitate payments, including those from Cuba.

Programme Budget for Biennium 2012-2013

Ms. CASAR introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the 2012 budget proposals for United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), as well as the proposals for additional requirements for UNPOS.

The resource requirements of UNSMIL for 2012 amounted to $36.5 million net ($38.7 million gross), including $19 million in personnel costs for 272 staffing positions, and $17.5 million in operational expenses, she said.  For UNPOS, the process of relocating additional staff from Nairobi to Somalia and consultation meetings of various stakeholders entailed $3 million in extra operational requirements for 2012.  The General Assembly was asked to approve a combined $39.5 million net ($41.7 million gross) for the two missions and charge that amount against the provision for special political missions for the biennium 2012-2013.

COLLEN KELAPILE, Chair of the ACABQ, introduced that body’s related report (document A/66/7/Add.25).

On UNSMIL, the Advisory Committee’s recommendations on civilian personnel and consultants would entail a reduction of $1.16 million in the mission’s proposed requirements for 2012.  ACABQ was recommending against the establishment of 12 positions across various organizational units, including five in the Global Service Centre in Brindisi.  The Committee had reservations about its overall staffing structure and was of the view that it should be kept under review, in light of developments on the ground.

As for UNPOS, the Advisory Committee noted that the additionally requested $3 million would be used to fund activities for which provision was not made in the initial budget, such as technical meetings and public consultations relating to the drafting of a constitution, the convening of a constitutional assembly, as well as the second phase of UNPOS deployment to Mogadishu.  The Committee had no objection to the Secretary-General’s proposals for UNPOS for 2012, but trusted that, during the remainder of the budget period, every effort would be made to seek savings and efficiencies with a view to limiting, to the extent possible, additional expenditure.

Mr. Kelapile orally introduced the ACABQ’s related report on the extension of the implementation period of the subvention to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Advisory Committee was informed that, as of 30 April 2012, $4.76 million had been expended from the approved subvention of up to $9.06 million for the period from 1 January to 31 July 2012.  The Registrar requested an extension of the subvention’s implementation period, but stated that the Court was unable to confirm a deadline, due to the nature of the judicial process.  ACABQ had no objection to the proposed extension of the implementation period beyond 31 July, but recalled its stated expectation that the Management Committee, the Registrar and other senior officials of the Court would intensify their efforts to fund its activities through voluntary contributions.

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