Fifth Committee Begins Consideration of First Performance Report for Biennium 2012-2013 Budget

17 December 2012
GA/AB/4055

Fifth Committee Begins Consideration of First Performance Report for Biennium 2012-2013 Budget

17 December 2012
General Assembly
GA/AB/4055
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Fifth Committee

20th Meeting (PM)

Fifth Committee Begins Consideration of First Performance Report

 

for Biennium 2012-2013 Budget

 

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today began its consideration of the Secretariat’s review of the first year of the 2012-2013 budget cycle, an exercise that this year re-evaluated budget requirements for the current two year-biennium upwards by $263.3 million, or 5.1 per cent, to $5.41 billion.

Introducing the Secretary-General’s first performance report on the current biennium, Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Controller Maria Eugenia Cesar said that revised figure, which took into account both post-related actual expenditures in 2012 and updated projected rates for the current biennium, represented the base for the proposed programme budget for the 2014-2015 cycle.

The primary purpose of a first performance report is to pinpoint budget adjustments required because of variations in the rates of inflation, shifting exchange rates and standards used to calculate appropriation, as well as unforeseen and extraordinary expenses and decisions of policymaking organs.

In its related report, introduced by its Vice Chair, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) suggested that the Secretary-General be asked to give more details on options to protect the Organization against such financial variations.  ACABQ also noted that the Secretary-General’s move to defer consideration of post-related re-costing to the first performance report was a break from established practice.

As they examined the reports, delegates presented diverging views of the re-costing exercise.  Some worried that the Secretariat had broken the established budgetary rules and methodologies.  But, others called for re-costing to be scrapped altogether.

Algeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said the move to present the figure only for the 2012 re-costing, and delay re-costing for 2013 to the second performance report, was not in line with last year’s Assembly agreement.  He regretted that the Secretary-General’sreport did not ask the Assembly to revise the appropriation for the biennium, but rather only to decide on the revised estimates.  The Group was ready to approve an appropriation for post-related re-costing, he said, stressing that all new mandated activities, including the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, must be fully implemented through the revised estimates.

But, the European Union’s representative said the re-costing practice was the main obstacle to proper budgeting.  She implored the Secretary-General to take concrete steps to use existing resource more efficiently and transparently in order to offset expenses that occurred after initial budget calculations were made.  The United States’ representative agreed, warning that by the end of the current biennium, the Organization could possibly spend $445 million more than the approved budget of $5.15 billion, turning a heralded 5 per cent cut into a disappointing 3.3 per cent increase.

Ms. Cesar also introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its resumed substantive session of 2012, and the programme budget implications of implementation of draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.45 concerning the Committee on Torture.  Mr. Massieu introduced ACABQ’s related reports.

The Committee also considered the Secretary-General’s report on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals, as well as ACABQ’s related reports, introduced by Ms. Cesar and Mr. Massieu, respectively.

Serbia’s representative backed the Board of Auditors’ recommendation that the former Yugoslavia Tribunal have a consolidated action plan to complete its work no later than 31 December 2014.  He shared ACABQ’s concern that the Tribunal’s staffing had not significantly decreased since the 2006-2007 biennium and called on the Secretary-General to explore options to expedite the abolition of positions funded under general temporary assistance. 

The Russian Federation’s delegate was surprised by the Secretary-General’s request to approve amounts higher than the initial appropriation to serve as the basis for financing that Tribunal during the biennium 2014-2015.  Such a move contradicted Security Council resolution 1966 (2010).  He said the Tribunals’ two-year budget cycle should be replaced with a one-year cycle.

The representatives of Switzerland, Japan and Cuba also spoke on the first performance report for the biennium budget.

The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 18 December, to consider the programme budget biennium 2012-2013 as it relates to revised estimates resulting from decisions contained in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development; the Human Rights Council; a request for a subvention to the Special Court for Sierra Leone; the programme budget implications for Assembly resolution A/C.1/67/L.11 on the arms trade treaty; and financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this afternoon to consider several items related to the programme budget 2012-2013, including the first performance report of the budget; revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its resumed substantive session of 2012; the programme budget implications of implementation of draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.45 concerning the Committee on Torture; and the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals.

On the first topic, it considered the Secretary-General’s report titled first performance report on the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 (document A/67/592), issued in line with Assembly resolution 66/248, in which that body decided to defer consideration of post-related re-costing for inflation and exchange rate projections to the budget so as to ensure appropriations of post-related costs are in line with actual expenditures.  Accordingly, the report identifies budgetary adjustments due to variations in inflation, exchange rates, standard costs, vacancy rates, unforeseen items and additional mandates since the initial calculations for the current biennium were made.

In line with paragraph 27 of resolution 66/246, the revised expenditures total $5.27 billion gross, up 2.3 per cent, or $120.8 million, from the initial appropriation approved in resolution 66/248.  The revised figure takes into account only post-related actual expenditures in 2012 and the deferral of post-related re-costing for updated projected rates to the second performance report for the biennium 2012-2013.

In line with paragraphs 8 and 9 of resolution 66/246, a total of $5.41 billion gross, up 5.1 per cent, or $263.3 million, from the initial appropriation, represents the base for the proposed programme budget for 2014-2015.  That figure takes into account both post-related actual expenditures in 2012 and updated projected rates for the current biennium.

The Assembly is asked to take note of the revised figures and to decide on them, as well as on the related 2012-2013 income estimates of $507.57 million based only on post-related actual expenditures and of $529.4 million based on both post-related actual expenditures and updated projected rates.

Weighing in with a related report (document A/67/639), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) suggests that the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to give more details on different options to protect the Organization against fluctuations in exchange rates and inflation.  It commends the Secretary-General’s efforts to fill posts and reduce vacancy rates in the Professional category.  The ACABQ notes that, in accordance with established practices, the revised estimates for the biennium 2012-2013 would be set at $5.41 billion and that the revised estimates based only on the post-related actual expenditures for 2012 were $5.27 billion.  In view of the provisions of paragraph 27 of Assembly resolution 66/246, which was a departure from established practice, it is for the Assembly to determine the appropriate level of the revised estimates for the biennium.  Any decision should be subject to such adjustments as may be necessary due to the Assembly’s consideration of matters now before it, including the consolidated statement of revised estimates and programme budget implications.

In his report on revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its resumed substantive session of 2012 (document A/67/503/Add.1), the Secretary-General states that no additional budgetary requirements would arise from the Economic and Social Council’s adoption at its substantive 2012 session of resolution 2012/36 on the regional dimension of development in the Latin American and Caribbean region.  The Assembly is requested, however to approve the following modifications to the approved structure of section 21, Economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean, of the 2012-2013 programme budget:

-   Reclassify one D-1 post to the D-2 level to carry out duties as Director of the subregional office in Mexico, under subprogramme 12, Subregional activities in Mexico and Central America, which would result in a net increase of $13,400;

-   Reclassify one P-4 post to the P-5 level to carry out duties as Political Affairs Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Commission in Santiago, under executive direction and management, which would result in a net increase of $26,200;

-   Abolish one P-2 post from the Economic Development Division in Santiago, under subprogramme 3, Macroeconomic policies and growth, which would result in savings of $105,800.

In a related report, (document A/67/577/Add.1), the ACABQ trusts that in proposing the two reclassifications, the reclassification process was adhered to and all applicable standards applied.  The ACABQ has no objection to the proposed reclassification of the P-4 post to the P-5 level.  It notes that the proposed coordination functions would place subprogramme 13, Subregional activities in the Caribbean, under the supervision of suprogramme 12, Subregional activities in Mexico and Central America, resulting in structural changes to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).  Therefore, the Secretary-General should review his proposal and, if he deems necessary, resubmit it in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.

The ACABQ notes that, in addition to the current proposal to abolish one P-2 post, the Secretary-General had previously requested, in the proposed 2012-2013 programme budget, the abolition of seven P-2 posts under section 21, Economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The ACABQ commends him for seeking to offset the extra costs of the two proposed reclassifications by abolishing one post, but it believes the junior posts offer an opportunity for external applicants to seek employment in the United Nations and for the Organization to rejuvenate its staffing complement.  Different grade levels across an organization would ensure balance.  Notwithstanding these concerns, given ECLAC’s ability to carry out the proposed P-2 post’s functions within existing capacity, the ACABQ has no objection to the proposed abolition of the P-2 post.

On programme budget implications, the Committee considered a document on the Committee on Torture (document A/C.5/67/11) in which the Secretary-General describes the extra $144.4 million net for the biennium 2012-2013 required to implement draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.45, as orally revised.  That text facilitates an additional week of meetings per session as a temporary measure, from May 2013 until the end of November 2014, to address the backlog of reports of States parties and individual complaints awaiting consideration.  The additional funding requirements — comprising $294,600 under section 24, Human rights; $1.14 million under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management; and $6,100 under section 29E, Administration, Geneva — would represent a change against the contingency fund, therefore requiring the Assembly to approve them.  They would also be included in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.

Weighing in with a related report (document A/67/637), the ACABQ states that that the information in the Secretary-General’s report on the resources needed for the additional week of meeting time is insufficient.  The ACABQ recommends that the Assembly ask the Secretary-General, in the context of the second performance report, to give the figures related to conference services for the additional week and make every effort to absorb the extra requirements, failing which, the additional expenditures should be reflected in the second performance report.

Concerning the financing of the international tribunals, the Committee scrutinized four reports.  The Secretary-General’s report on the first performance report on the budget of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the biennium 2012-2013 (document A/67/594), submitted in line with resolution 66/238, notes a revised estimate of $188.28 million gross, up $15.7 million, net of staff assessment over the initial appropriation.  This revised figure takes into account post-related actual expenditure experience in 2012 and updated projected rates.  A total of $182.16 million gross, up $10 million, net of staff assessment, from the initial appropriation, represents the base for the proposed programme budget for 2014-2015.  That figure takes into account both post-related actual expenditures in 2012 and updated projected rates for the current biennium.  The Assembly is asked to take note of the revised figures and to decide on them.

The Secretary-General’s report on the first performance report on the budget of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for the biennium 2012-2013 (document A/67/595), submitted in line with Assembly resolution 66/239, notes a revised estimate of $290.13 million gross, up $7.3 million, net of staff assessment over the initial appropriation.  That revised figure takes into account post-related actual expenditure experience in 2012 and updated projected rates.  A total of $283.07 million gross, up $1.2 million, net of staff assessment, from the initial appropriation, represents the base for the proposed programme budget for 2014-2015.  That figure takes into account both post-related actual expenditures in 2012 and updated projected rates for the current biennium.  The Assembly is asked to take note of the revised figures and to decide on them.

In its related report titled first performance reports on the budgets of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the biennium 2012-2013 (document A/67/646), the ACABQ says that having studied the charts on the phasing out of positions funded under general temporary assistance over the biennium 2012-2013 at both Tribunals, it believes both could phase our large numbers of general temporary assistance-funded positions each month and thus accelerate their completion strategies.  The ACABQ recommends that the Assembly ask the Secretary-General to provide, as part of his second performance reports on the 2012-2013 budgets for the Tribunals, detailed information on all ex post facto cases approved during the biennium.  With the expectation that the Tribunals and the International Residual Mechanism will pursue further efficiencies, including by reprioritizing activities, during the remainder of the biennium, the ACABQ recommends that the Assembly maintain the level of the initial appropriation for the biennium 2012-2013 for all three entities.

Programme Budget for the Biennium 2012-2013

MARÍA EUGENIA CASAR, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introducing the Secretary-General’s first performance report for the biennium 2012-2013 (document A/67/592), said it identified adjustments to the initial appropriation at the end of the biennium’s first year, due to variations in the rates of inflation and exchange, standard costs and vacancy rates assumed in the calculation of the initial appropriations, as well as decisions of policymaking organs and unforeseen and extraordinary expenses incurred.

She said revised estimates under expenditures sections amounted to $5.41 billion, a $263.3 million increase over the initial appropriation for the biennium.  Those estimates had taken into account both post-related actual expenditure experience in 2012 and updated projected rates.  Further, they represented the base for the proposed programme budget for 2014-2015 and included adjustments due to:  variations in the rates of exchange ($53.1 million), inflation ($143.8 million), standard costs ($26.4 million) and vacancy rates ($34.8 million), as well as unforeseen and extraordinary expenses and decisions of policymaking organs after approval of the initial appropriation of $5.1 million.

She recalled that the Assembly had decided to defer consideration of post-related re-costing for inflation and exchange rate projections to the first performance report on the 2012-2013 biennium.  Taking into account only post-related actual expenditure experience in 2012 and deferral of post-related re-costing for updated projected rates, the revised level of resources for the biennium amounted to $5.27 billion, a $120.8 million increase over the initial appropriation.

Turning to the Secretary-General’s report on the revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its resumed substantive session of 2012 (document A/67/503/Add.1), she said it outlined requirements arising from the adoption of draft resolution E/2012/L.36 entitled “Regional dimension of development in the Latin American and Caribbean Region”, adopted on 26 November.  No additional resources with regard to the programme budget for the 2012-2013 biennium would be required.

As for the Secretary-General’s statement on programme budget implications of the draft resolution entitled “Committee Against Torture” (document A/C.3/67/L.45), she said $1.44 million in additional resources would arise for the 2012-2013 biennium, including:  $294,600 under section 24 (Human rights); $1.14 million under section 2 (General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management); and $6,100 under section 29E (Administration, Geneva).  That would represent a charge against the contingency fund and, as such, require an appropriation for the 2012-2013 biennium to be approved by the Assembly.  Further additional requirements of $1.44 million for the same budget sections would be considered in the context of the proposed programme budget for the 2014-2015 biennium.

CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU, Vice Chair of the ACABQ, introduced that body’s related reports (documents A/67/639, A/67/577/Add.1, and A/67/537, respectively).  On the first report, which concerned the first performance report, he said the ACABQ noted that in accordance with established practice, the revised requirements under the expenditure sections for the biennium 2012-2013 would bet set at $5.41 billion, reflecting a 5.1 per cent increase over the level approved by the Assembly.  The Assembly’s decision, in paragraph 27 of its resolution 66/246, to defer consideration of post-related re-costing for inflation and exchange rate projections to the first performance report on the budget was a break from established practice.  The Assembly did not approve any changes to the budget methodology, to established budgetary procedures and practices, or to the financial regulations.

Regarding the second report, on revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its resumed 2012 substantive session, the ACABQ had no objection to the Secretary-General’s proposal to reclassify one D-1 post to the D-2 level and one P-4 post to the P-5 level, or the abolition of the existing P-2 post.  As the proposed reclassification of the D-1 post to the D-2 level would entail structural changes to ECLAC, the Secretary-General should review his proposal, and if necessary, resubmit it in the context of the proposed programme budget for the 2014-2015 biennium.

On the third report, concerning the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/67/L.45 related to the Committee against Torture, the ACABQ recommends that the Secretary-General make every effort to absorb the additional requirements, failing which the extra expenditures should be reflected in the second performance report.

Statements

CARMEL POWER, of the delegation of the European Union, reiterated her deep concern over the budget process and called for it to be completely overhauled.  She regretted that the reports introduced today showed an incremental approach to budgeting.  The revised requirements showed a 5.1 per cent increase over the budget approved in December.  “Budget growth of this magnitude is not sustainable and a more strategic approach to resource management is urgently needed,” she said.  The practice of re-costing was the main driver of budget growth and the chief obstacle to proper budgeting.  “Including re-costing in UN budgeting has to stop in the interest of greater discipline, transparency and flexibility,” she said, adding that the Committee’s approval of the current budget was based on the understanding that those costs were to be absorbed.  It was an improvement to have an update for 2012 based on actual expenditure.  But, it was regrettable that the $120.8 million expenditure increase had not been offset by concrete steps to use resources more smartly.  She called again for that cost to be absorbed and for the Secretary-General to strive for new levels of efficiency, economy and transparency.

She called for a full, comprehensive review of all allowances and benefits in the United Nations Common System to establish a more realistic, simplified system that better responded to the Organization’s needs.  The deferral of the revised post-adjustment multiplier, due in August 2012 and deferred until January 2013, should remain in place.  When salaries were frozen and cut in national civil services, it was hardly credible they should continue to increase for United Nations staff.  Exchange rate fluctuations must be better managed.  The Secretariat should take immediate, concrete steps to better anticipate, plan for and minimize such costs.

She was very concerned about the situation of the contingency fund where potential charges already risked exceeding the fund’s approved balance by more than $6 million.  She shared the ACABQ’s lament over the lack of details in the first performance report on efforts to offset extraordinary expenses through pursuing savings in line with established procedures.  She looked forward to the Secretary-General’s proposals for how to maintain a positive balance for the fund for the rest of the current biennium, as required by resolution 42/211.  He should deliver savings, so that in a year’s time the final 2012-2013 budget was in line with the amount approved last year and not with the projection made today.

ABDELHAKIM MIHOUBI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, was gravely concerned at the inconsistencies in the first performance report for the 2012-2013 biennium.  The Secretariat had gone beyond the decision taken by the Assembly last year to defer post-related re-costing to the first performance report.  The Committee had been presented with a figure only for the 2012 re-costing and being told that re-costing for 2013 could be done in the second performance report.  That did not correspond with the agreement reached last year, or with resolution 66/246, which reaffirmed established budgetary procedures and methodologies.

He also noted with serious concern that the first performance report did not request the Assembly to revise the appropriation for the biennium, but rather only to decide on the revised estimates.  That was a serious change in how the report had been presented.  Any attempt to change the budgetary process through resolutions on the performance report and the budget outline constituted an attempt to change the rules by breaking them.  The Group would not support any action that could be detrimental to the budgetary process.

Finally, he said the Group was ready to implement last year’s agreement by approving an appropriation for post-related re-costing for the 2012-2013 biennium in line with actual expenditure experience.  Not doing so would be retroactively cutting the budget approved last year.  Programme budget implications resulting from decisions of the Main Committees and other bodies would have to be revised to reflect the costing parameters approved by the Assembly.  He emphasized the need to ensure all new mandated activities, including the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development — or “Rio+20” — were fully implemented through the revised estimates.

MATTHIAS DETTLING (Switzerland), speaking also on behalf of Lichtenstein, focused on the first performance report, saying that the Fifth Committee had had difficulty agreeing on a budget level for the 2012-2013 biennium.  There had been two consequences from the decision to defer such matters to the first performance report:  What could have been addressed last year must now be addressed in the remainder of the current session.  Also, the Assembly had deviated from procedures established 27 years ago, placing the Secretariat and States in a difficult position.  He was interested in exploring different options to protect against fluctuations in exchange rates and inflation, and in finding a lasting solution for addressing re-costing.

On the contingency fund, he shared the ACABQ’s concern that the performance report did not contain a reference to the fund’s projected overspending or proposals for maintaining a positive balance. He hoped for more clarity during informal consultations.  Also, earlier this year, the Assembly had confirmed that the Secretary-General may enter into commitments, with the ACABQ’s approval, to meet unforeseen and extraordinary expenses in relation to time-sensitive mandates emanating from Human Rights Council resolutions.

He noted that, with regard to Council mandates, the mechanism had been used once this year to meet the requirements of a fact-finding mission on Syria.  Given the nature of such mandates, he would have expected more use of that mechanism.  He asked for more information on whether it had functioned according to expectations.  The Fifth Committee’s work could be improved if the performance report contained information on performance, especially as to what the Organization had spent under the various performance sections.  Had spending yielded results?  The format did not allow for such consideration.

JUN YAMAZAKI ( Japan) recalled that at the last session an historic reduction had been achieved, when a budget of $5.152 billion had been adopted, which was about 5 per cent less than the previous budget.  The Secretary-General’s instructions to his managers, outlined on 24 December 2011, had been to “continue finding new ways to make the most of our precious resources and in one year to return with greater cost savings”.  As his country had always counted on the Secretary-General’s sincere commitment, he wondered how that commitment had materialized over the last year, especially with respect to cost savings, and requested the Secretary-General to seek further cost savings in the second half of the biennium across the Secretariat.

The Secretary-General had requested the Assembly to decide on approximately $120 million derived from post-related actual expenditure experience in 2012, he said, emphasizing the importance of the Secretary-General’s efforts to meet additional requirements, including re-costing, within the approved budget through efficiency and cost-saving measures.  He urged all managers to follow the Secretary-General’s guidance.

JOSEPH TORSELLA ( United States) lauded the Secretariat’s efforts to manage the special political missions within the allotted resources, which was made clear by the lack this year of the usual request for more funds during the second year of the biennium.  That achievement suggested a lot about the motivations of the major contributors.  “We want fiscal discipline for the whole of the UN — even those parts that are high priorities for us,” he said.  He lauded the Secretariat’s “impressive results” to responsibly manage vacancy rates, which had resulted in a $50 million decrease from the original estimates for the missions.  In moving away from prematurely assessing Member States for cost that might occur, as evidenced by the first performance report, the Secretariat was making a “promising shift towards a more responsible way of budgeting”.  He commended the Secretary-General and the ACABQ for not asking the Assembly for any additional appropriation for re-costing.  Still, there were warning signs that the final budget, which he had given an “A+” last December, might receive a failing grade next December.  The Secretariat already had overspent by $121 million and it projected to overspend in 2013 by another $157 million, including for the tribunals, under re-costing.  Member States had added $167 million in new and expanded mandates since the budget was approved.

By the end of the current biennium, the Organization could possibly spend $5.6 billion or $445 million more than the approved budget of $5.15 billion, turning a heralded 5 per cent cut into a disappointing 3.3 per cent increase, he said.  The Secretary-General had a full year to capture the benefit of new savings measures that could fully offset the increased costs over the approved level.  He urged him to do so without delay and noted that the United States support for the current budget was predicated on the Secretary-General’s pledge towards that end.  Corporations and Governments managed currency risk every day without revising their budgets midstream.  He backed the ACABQ view that the systematic practice of so-called “re-costing” must be fixed.  “The Secretary-General should simply take the necessary steps to get the United Nations out of the business of currency speculation, in order to focus on the business of management,” he said.   The United States did not support increasing the approved budget level.  The practice of sending Member States “after the fact” bills was unsustainable.

NORMA GOICOCHEA ( Cuba) said the first performance report should outline resources for the two years of the biennium, expressing concern that it had deviated from the normal budget procedure.  She also was concerned about the ACABQ recommendations.  Paragraph 16 of that body’s report outlined that the inspector had not met her requirement to follow the budgetary procedure.  Paragraph 10 of the ACABQ report noted that the Secretariat had taken funds from the working capital fund to continue operations.  It stated there were problems with the general fund and that it had informed the Committee that one of the fund’s problems related to the decision to defer re-costing, due to the post situation.

She said that situation was not logical or in line with requests for budget reductions.  Any additional cuts applied by the Secretariat would require Assembly approval.  “We cannot give a blank check for additional cuts to be made in the name of efficiencies,” she said.  All States had an interest in the budget being implemented efficiently, irrespective of the level of contributions.  “We pay according to our capacity to pay,” she emphasized, noting that Cuba had met its financial contributions on time without conditions.

Turning to the revised Economic and Social Council estimates, notably those related to the request of ECLAC for a reclassification of a P-4 to a P-5 position, and a D-1 to a D-2 position, she said Cuba had taken note of the Commission’s efforts to not go beyond the resources that had been approved.  The two reclassifications were justified.  As regards the flow chart in annex 2 of the ACABQ report, she wondered about the reclassification of a post in the Mexico subregional office.  She also requested details on the P-2 functions to be removed.

Ms. CASAR, introducing the performance reports for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Residual Mechanism (documents A/67/594, A/67/595 and A/67/596), said they identified adjustments to the initial appropriations at the end of the first year of the biennium, due to variations in the rates of inflation and exchange, standard costs and vacancy rates assumed in the calculation of the initial appropriations.

She said the revised estimates for the Rwanda Tribunal amounted to $188.3 million, a $16.7 million increase over the initial appropriation for the 2012-2013 biennium.  The revised estimates for the former Yugoslavia Tribunal amounted to $290.1 million, a $9.1 million increase, while the revised estimates for the Residual Mechanism amounted to $54.8 million, a $5.0 million increase.

She recalled that post-related re-costing had been deferred for the Tribunals, pursuant to the respective resolutions on their initial appropriations.  Taking into account only the post-related actual expenditure experience in 2012 and deferral of post-related re-costing for updated projected rates, the revised resources for the 2012-2013 biennium amounted to $182.2 million for the Rwanda Tribunal, $283.1 million for the former Yugoslavia Tribunal and $53.7 million for the Residual Mechanism.

Next, Mr. MASSIEU introduced the ACABQ report on the first performance reports on the budgets of the two Tribunals and the Residual Mechanism for the 2012-2013 biennium (document A/67/646).  On the issue of re-costing, he said that since those bodies were not funded from the regular budget, and in the absence of an explicit Assembly mandate, the ACABQ questioned the Secretariat’s assumption that the decision to defer consideration of post-related re-costing for the regular budget should apply to the budgets of those bodies.  He encouraged the Assembly to clarify its position on that matter.

He said the ACABQ’s overall recommendation was contained in paragraphs 19 and 20 of its report.  The ACABQ noted that, on the basis of established budgetary procedures, the revised estimates for the Rwanda Tribunal, former Yugoslavia Tribunal and the Residual Mechanism, in gross terms would amount to $188.3 million, $290.1 million and $54.8 million respectively.  It also noted that the revised estimates based only on the post-related actual expenditure experience for 2012 amounted to $182.2 million, $283.1 million and $53.7 million respectively.

There was scope for accelerating the completion strategies of the Tribunals, he said. In the expectation that the Tribunals and Residual Mechanism would pursue further efficiencies, including through the reprioritization of their activities in the remainder of the biennium, the ACABQ recommended that the Assembly maintain the initial appropriation for the 2012-2013 biennium for all three entities.

ABDELHAKIM MIHOUBI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, noted that the Board’s recommendations for the Rwanda Tribunal related to the budget formulation and expenditure management system, travel management procedures and archives management.  Its recommendations for the former Yugoslavia Tribunal covered planning for the Tribunal’s closure, transition to the Residual Mechanism and management of non-expendable property.

He agreed with the ACABQ and Board of Auditors’ observation on the need for the Tribunals to expedite their preparations for implementing the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.  He also noted that the former Yugoslavia Tribunal would submit an updated consolidated plan to the Assembly which included a target date of July 2013.

Finally, he recalled that Assembly resolution 66/240B (2012) had requested the Secretary-General to submit, in the first part of the resumed sixty-seventh session, a report outlining the decision points regarding the design and overall cost estimate for construction of the Residual Mechanism-Arusha Branch, as well as his efforts to reduce the duration for the construction project.  The Group looked forward to considering that report during the first resumed part of the sixty-seventh session.

MILAN MILANOVIĆ ( Serbia) recalled that the former Yugoslavia Tribunal had been requested to complete its work no later than 31 December 2014 and ensure a smooth transition to the Residual Mechanism, which would begin functioning on 1 July 2013.  Given the average four-and-a-half-year trial time for cases between 2008 and 2011, there was a risk that the two cases that had begun their pre-trial proceedings on 3 June 2011 and 25 July 2011 would not be completed by the end of 2014.  He agreed with the Board’s recommendation that the Tribunal should have a consolidated action plan to manage the completion of its work before the Tribunal’s closure.

He shared the ACABQ’s concern that the Tribunal’s staffing had not significantly decreased since the 2006-2007 biennium.  As of 31 December 2011, there were 822 posts and positions, comprising 546 temporary posts and 276 positions funded under general temporary assistance.  For 2012-2013, all 546 temporary posts had been retained and 319 positions were funded under general temporary assistance.  The Secretary-General should explore options for accelerating the abolition of positions funded under general temporary assistance.  On a final note, he said that presenting the next budget proposal for 2014-2015 would contradict the relevant Security Council resolution.  The next proposal should be only for 2014.

DMITRY CHUMAKOV ( Russian Federation) said he would pay close attention to the study of the administrative aspects of the effectiveness of the Tribunals’ work.  He noted the Board of Auditors’ recommendation for the Tribunals to expedite completion of their work.  He backed the ACABQ’s views on the continued financing of posts under general temporary assistance and the extremely low indicators for reducing temporary posts.  Bearing in mind the ACABQ call for an independent review of the administration of justice in the United Nations, the same type of independent appraisal was needed for the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.  He was very surprised by the Secretary-General’s request to approve amounts higher than the initial appropriation to serve as the basis for financing the Tribunals during the biennium 2014-2015.  Such a move contradicted Security Council resolution 1966 (2010).  In that connection, it would be appropriate to replace the current two-year budget for the Tribunals with annual budgets.

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