Concluding Second Resumed Session, Fifth Committee Approves Texts on Peacekeeping Budget, Increasing Troop Reimbursement Rates

3 July 2014
GA/AB/4116

Concluding Second Resumed Session, Fifth Committee Approves Texts on Peacekeeping Budget, Increasing Troop Reimbursement Rates

3 July 2014
General Assembly
GA/AB/4116
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

47th Meeting (Resumed*) (PM)


Concluding Second Resumed Session, Fifth Committee Approves Texts

 

on Peacekeeping Budget, Increasing Troop Reimbursement Rates

 


Concluding its second resumed substantive session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today recommended financial arrangements for 12 United Nations peacekeeping operations for the year beginning on 1 July 2014, which, once approved by the General Assembly, would total $5.6 billion, and authorized the first increase in reimbursement rates for troop-contributing countries in more than a decade.


The recommended arrangements for three other operations — the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) — were not immediately available.


While approving the peacekeeping budgets through 17 separate provisional draft resolutions to be updated and reissued with precise figures, the Committee took note of a document by the Secretary-General outlining the resources to be approved for each mission through 30 June 2015.


Mission

Total Appropriation


MINURSO (Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara)

$58.13 million

MINUSMA (Mission in Mali)

$895.53 million

MINUSTAH (Stabilization Mission in Haiti)

$539.11 million

MONUSCO (Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo)

$1.51 billion

UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force)

$69.11 million

UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus)

$62.53 million

UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon)

$549.32 million

UNISFA (Interim Security Force in Abyei)

$343.81 million

UNMIK (Mission in Kosovo)

$46.32 million

UNMIL (Mission in Liberia)

$460.61 million*

UNOCI (Operation in Côte d’Ivoire)

$532.1 million*

UNSOA (Support Office for the Africa Union Mission in Somalia)

$528.21 million

TOTAL, excluding MINUSCA (Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic), UNAMID (Hybrid Operation in Darfur) and UNMISS (Mission in South Sudan)


*For the period from 1 July to 31 December 2014 only.

$5.6 billion


The reimbursement rate for countries contributing troops to peacekeeping operations — a thorny issue in the Committee since the Secretary-General established the Senior Advisory Group to study the matter as part of an integral package addressing peacekeeping challenges — reached a milestone today, with the Committee’s endorsement of a new monthly rate of $1,322 per person, effective 1 July 2014.  That rate would increase gradually to $1,410 per person by 1 July 2017.


“By agreeing to a new troop reimbursement rate, you have tackled a big challenge that has vexed the General Assembly for many years,” said Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.  “Your agreement places the peacekeeping partnership on a sounder footing.”  She also welcomed the Committee’s endorsement of the recommendations of the 2014 Working Group on Contingency-owned Equipment, but expressed concern that peacekeeping missions had been operating without a budget since 1 July 2014 due to the Committee’s delay in approving it.  That delay should not set a precedent, she cautioned.


The key budgetary body also recommended 10 other draft resolutions for adoption by the Assembly, including on residual financial matters for closed missions in Sudan, Syria and Timor-Leste; financing of the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy; the financial reports and audited financial statements of United Nations peacekeeping operations; the support account for peacekeeping operations; the budget for five special political missions; and the budget implications of modalities for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.  Additionally, it approved a decision to defer consideration of some reports, including those on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict, cross-cutting issues and closed peacekeeping missions.


All the texts were approved by consensus, except the draft resolution setting out the provisional budgetary arrangements for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which the Committee passed by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Palau, United States), with no abstentions.


Chairman Janne Taalas (Finland) recapped the Committee’s second resumed session, expressing pride that it had agreed on the new reimbursement rate, the 2014/15 peacekeeping budget, a new staff mobility framework and key aspects of the Capital Master Plan.


Delivering statements during the meeting were representatives of Uganda (on behalf of the African Group), Côte d’Ivoire, Israel, Lebanon, Italy, United States, European Union, Bolivia (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Japan, United Republic of Tanzania, Brazil, Russian Federation, Cuba, Nigeria and Uruguay.


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee approved all but one of the draft resolutions before it without a vote.


By the terms of the draft on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/68/L.43), the General Assembly would accept the financial report and audited financial statements of United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013.  It would also endorse the recommendations in the corresponding reports of the Board and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), and ask the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation.


The Committee then approved the provisional draft on financing of United Nations Mission Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/C.5/68/L.48), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the UNISFA the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $_____ for the maintenance of the Interim Security Force, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


It then approved a text on financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/68/L.49).  By its terms, the Assembly would be asked to appropriate to the Special Account for UNOCI the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $_____ for the maintenance of the Operation, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


Following that action, the representative of Uganda, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said it had gone with the proposal on UNOCI in the spirit of consensus, but hoped that its adoption would not affect the 2015 elections in Côte d’Ivoire in any way.


The representative of Côte d’Ivoire said that, as the host country, it had the primary responsibility for implementing UNOCI’s mandate.  The funds apportioned to the Operation during the 2014/15 cycle must help the country prepare for the 2015 elections.  He called for steps to ensure that UNOCI had the necessary resources to implement its mandate and that the reduction in resources for the 2014/15 period would not create a fragile situation on the ground.


The Committee went on to approve a provisional text on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/68/L.50).  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the UNFICYP the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of the Force, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


Next, the Committee approved a provisional draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/68/L.51).  The Assembly would be asked to appropriate to the Special Account for MONUSCO the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of the Mission, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


By the terms of a text on financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (document A/C.5/68/L.38), the Assembly would be asked to take note of the $6.15 million comprising the unencumbered balance of $1,500 related to the financial period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, as well as $6.15 million in other income and adjustments during that period.  It would also take note of the $5.83 million comprising the unencumbered balance of $3.76 million related to the financial period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, as well as $2.1 million in other income and adjustments during that period.  The Assembly would defer action thereon until its consideration of UNMIT’s final performance report.


The Committee went on to approve a provisional text on financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/68/L.52), which would have the Assembly decide to appropriate to the Special Account for that Mission the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $_____ for the maintenance of MINUSTAH, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


In its next action, the Committee approved a provisional draft on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/68/L.53), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIK the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of the Mission, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


The Committee went on to approve a provisional text on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/68/L.54), as orally revised.  By its terms, the Assembly would appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIL the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $_____ for the maintenance of the Mission, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


It then approved a text on the financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/68/L.55), by which the Assembly would appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSMA the amount of $_____ for the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of the Mission, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


The Committee then approved a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/68/L.56), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $_____ for the maintenance of UNDOF, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


Next, the Committee took up a provisional text on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/68/L.39), approving it as orally amended.  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Force the amount of $_____ for the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of UNIFIL, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would express deep concern that Israel had not complied with previous resolutions on UNIFIL, and request the Secretary-General to take the measures necessary to ensure the full implementation of their relevant paragraphs.  It would “stress once again that Israel shall pay the amount of $1.12 million resulting from the incident at Qana on 18 April 1996”.


Before that action, the representative of Israel said that his country continued to maintain excellent relations with UNIFIL and was the only country in the region that had paid its United Nations peacekeeping assessments in full and on time.  The Committee was no place to further institutionalize an “anti-Israel” narrative, he said, calling for a recorded vote on preambular paragraph 4, as well as operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13 of the text.


By a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 4 against ( Canada, Israel, Palau, United States), with 51 abstentions, those paragraphs in question were approved.


Following that action, the representative of Lebanon said the paragraphs proposed by the “Group of 77” developing countries and China bore no political aspect.  It merely stated Israel’s lack of compliance with previous resolutions and called on that country to pay for the destruction at Qana in 1996.  The amount due would be used solely to compensate the United Nations for damage to its headquarters in Lebanon, not the victims of the incident and their families.  The matter was, therefore, solely a financial one and within the Committee’s purview.


Taking action on the draft resolution as a whole, the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 4 against ( Canada, Israel, Palau, United States).


After the vote, the representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed regret that political elements had been introduced into the Committee.  He said the bloc had abstained during the voting on the various paragraphs because they had been drafted in an inappropriate context.  The broader aspects of the events in question, including the incident at Qana, had been extensively debated in 1996.  At the same time, the European Union had clearly stated its position in a statement to the General Assembly plenary, he pointed out, adding that consultations in the Committee should have been confined to budgetary matters.  However, the European Union had voted in favour of the text as a whole because it provided funds for UNIFIL’s functioning.


The representative of the United States said the present draft and its predecessors were not consensus texts.  The use of funding resolutions such as the one on UNIFIL to legislate a settlement was inappropriate and politicized the Committee’s work, which should be avoided now and in the future.


Also sent to the Assembly, as orally amended, was a draft resolution on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/68/L.57).  By its terms, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments not exceeding $_____ for the Mission, for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.


The Committee then approved, as orally amended, a draft on the financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (document A/C.5/68/L.40), by which the Assembly, noting with concern the delay in the Secretary-General’s request for its approval to transfer the Mission’s assets, would approve the donation of assets with a total inventory value of $6.28 million and the corresponding residual value of $2.11 million to the Government of Sudan.  It would also approve the donation of assets with a total inventory value of $47,400 and corresponding residual value of $25,600 to the Joint Integrated Units.


In its next action, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic (UNSMIS) (document A/C.5/68/L.37), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Mission’s Special Account the $6.53 million previously authorized by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, to be apportioned among Member States.


Moving on, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/68/L.58), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission the amount of $58 million for the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $54 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $3.34 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $688,500 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


The Committee then took up a provisional draft resolution on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/68/L.59), which would have the Assembly appropriate to the Special Account for the Operation the amount of $_____ from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of the Operation, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


The Committee’s Deputy Secretary then read out an amendment to operative paragraph 13 of the text to read “authorizes the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for UNAMID in a total amount not exceeding $639,654,200 for the period from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2014”.  The subsequent paragraphs would be adjusted accordingly.


The Committee then approved the text without a vote, as orally amended.


It then took up a provisional text on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/68/L.60), by which the Assembly would appropriate to the Special Account for the United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $_____ for the maintenance of the entity, $_____ for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $_____ for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.


Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/C.5/68/L.61), by which the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to establish a special account for the Mission for the purpose of accounting for income received and expenditures incurred in respect of the MINUSCA, and to enter into commitments of up to $_____ for the period 10 April to 31 December 2014, including the $_____ previously authorized by ACABQ for the period 10 April to 30 June 2014 under the terms of section VI of Assembly resolution 64/269 of 24 June 2010.


The Committee took up a text on the administrative and budgetary aspects on the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/68/L.44).


The Deputy Secretary then read out an amendment to operative paragraph 4, by which the Assembly would welcome the results of the revised survey on the standard reimbursement rate and decide to establish a single rate for countries contributing contingent personnel to United Nations field operations at $1,322 per person per month from 1 July 2014, increasing to $1,365 per person per month from 1 July 2016; and to $1,410 per person per month from 1 July 2017.


The Committee approved the text as orally amended.


Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, said the peacekeeping budgets approved represented a significant increase that would ensure peacekeeping personnel were fully equipped to deliver on their mandates.  The fact that the Committee had also endorsed the recommendations of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment was a “very welcome development”, she added.  “By agreeing to a new troop reimbursement rate, you have tackled a big challenge that has vexed the General Assembly for many years, she continued.  “Your agreement places the peacekeeping partnership on a sounder footing.”  Nevertheless, she expressed concern that peacekeeping operations had been operating without a budget over the last few days.  That could set a precedent, she cautioned.


Moving on, the Committee approved a text on the triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment (document A/C.5/68/L.45).


It then approved a text on the support account for peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/68/L.46).  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to approve the support account requirements of $326.04 million for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, including $20.05 million for the enterprise resource planning project and $821,500 for information and systems security, including 1,292 continuing and 38 new temporary posts, as well as the redeployment, reassignment and reclassification of posts, as set out in annex 1 of the text, 105 continuing and 25 new general temporary assistance positions and 58 person-months, as set out in annex II, as well as related post and non-post requirements.


The Committee then approved a provisional draft on the financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy (document A/C.5/68/L.47), by which the Assembly would approve the cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $_____ for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.


It then took note of the eponymous note by the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/68/25), which sets forth the “appropriations to be approved by the Assembly for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015”.  The note includes appropriations for 12 operations, including the prorated share of the support account and of the Logistics Base.


The Committee then approved a draft on estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council (document A/C.5/68/L.42), as orally amended.  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to approve $47.69 million net for the budgets of the five special political missions authorized by the Assembly and/or the Security Council included in the Secretary-General’s reports, to be charged against the provision appropriated for those missions under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.


Also sent to the Assembly was a text on modalities for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development Programme:  programme budget implications of draft resolution A/68/L.49 (document A/C.5/68/L.41), informing the Assembly that should it adopt draft resolution A/68/L.49, additional resources of $1.5 million would be required under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management of the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015, representing a charge against the contingency fund.


Taking up its last agenda item, “review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations”, the Committee approved a draft decision on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/68/L.62).  The text would allow the Assembly to defer until the sixth-ninth session consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict and the related ACABQ report (documents A/67/312-S/2012/645 and A/67/583, respectively).  Further, it would defer until the second part of its resumed sixty-ninth session consideration of six reports on cross-cutting issues (documents A/68/731, A/68/637 and Corr. 1, A/68/756, A/68/782, A/68/337 (Part II), and A/68/787) as well as six reports on closed peacekeeping missions (documents A/68/666, A/68/837, A/67/739, A/67/837, A/68/665 and A/66/713 and Corr.1).


Closing Remarks


JANNE TAALAS ( Finland), Committee Chair, expressed pride that the Committee had produced results during the session.  It had agreed on the 2014/15 budget, set a key plank of the Capital Master Plan project and established a new staff mobility framework.  It has also approved a new troop reimbursement rate that had been a work in progress for 10 years.


The representative of the United States said that while today’s package was imperfect, it was a fair and balanced solution to all issues.  It included two major accomplishments:  preserving the global peacekeeping partnership and reaffirming the Organization’s commitment to peacekeeping while maintaining the long-standing practice of achieving consensus.


The Head of the European Union Delegation said that while the outcome of intense negotiations had ensured that peacekeeping operations were given the resources required to continue operating, he was extremely disappointed that agreement had been reached under the threat of a vote, which called consensus decision-making on all resource-related matters into question.


The representative of Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, welcomed the consensus but not the fact that closed meetings had been held.  He rejected the European Union representative’s assertion that consensus had been reached under the threat of a veto, saying that rather, the Committee had an agreement to respect the results of the Senior Advisory Group’s survey on reimbursement rates for contributing countries.


The representative of Uganda, speaking on behalf of the African Group, echoed concerns that what had been done with a few peacekeeping missions would not set a precedent.


The representative of Japan called for honouring the good practice of decision-making by consensus.


The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania expressed concern over the way in which the proceedings had been conducted.  The peacekeeping budgets had been submitted just a few days before the end of the fiscal year, and many elements had been removed from the draft resolutions just adopted, he noted.


The representative of Brazil, expressing full support for the statement by Group of 77, said the Committee should avoid unorthodox practices, exceptions and special solutions that would not serve it well in the long run.  It was incumbent upon it to improve the methodology of its negotiations.


The representative of the Russian Federation requested that the Secretary-General’s next report on peacekeeping include the results of cost-saving measures.


The representative of Cuba endorsed the statements by the African Group and the United Republic of Tanzania, expressing concern over the high number of closed meetings.  The Committee was supposed to be an example of efficiency and appropriate use of resources, he said, pointing out that it had wasted resources over the past two months.  Its working methods must, therefore, be reviewed, he added.


The representative of Nigeria expressed concern over the delay in approving the peacekeeping budget, as well as the fact that some delegations had gone behind the backs of others to send denunciations and false information to their capitals about the progress of negotiations.


The representative of Uruguay associated that delegation with the statement by the Group of 77 and China.


* *** *


__________


*     The 47th Meeting opened briefly and immediately suspended on 30 June 2014.

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