Adopting Consensus Text, Budget Committee Ensures Four Countries in Arrears Retain General Assembly Voting Rights

8 October 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 3rd Meeting (AM)

Adopting Consensus Text, Budget Committee Ensures Four Countries in Arrears Retain General Assembly Voting Rights

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today approved a consensus draft resolution that allowed four countries to retain their voting rights despite failing to pay their annual contribution to the Organization.

Under Article 19 of the United Nations Charter, a Member State is not allowed to vote in the General Assembly if its arrears equal or exceed the amount due from the preceding two years.

By the terms of the draft, approved without a vote, the Assembly would agree that the Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia had failed to pay the minimum contribution due to conditions beyond their control and therefore could continue voting until the end of the Assembly’s sixty-ninth session.

In other business, the Committee began its examination of the United Nations system-wide financial health.

Introducing the statistical report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) (document A/69/305), Kenneth Herman, Senior Advisor on Information Management Policy Coordination of the CEB Secretariat, said that it was “the only” system-wide source of financial statistics, with 35 organizations providing staff cost and other data.

He said that in its 2009 resolution on system-wide coherence, the Assembly had requested creation of a central repository of information on operational activities for development, including disaggregated data on all funding sources and expenditures and to ensure user-friendly online access and regular updates.  The CEB Secretariat worked closely with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to harmonize data collection and reporting processes.

By establishing one data collection mechanism, he continued, the umbrella organizations’ reporting workload had been greatly reduced.  The report now contained a focus on the budgetary implications of adjustments to all elements of staff costs, including salaries, cost-of-living adjustments, allowances, benefits, pension and insurance, for the most recent and subsequent calendar years.

To further improve transparency, he said, revenue was broken down by four major categories:  assessed contributions, non-earmarked voluntary contributions, earmarked voluntary contributions, and revenue from other activities.  Expenses were reported by five major programme categories:  development assistance, humanitarian assistance, technical cooperation, peacekeeping operations and normative, treaty-related and knowledge creation activities.  The CEB database now contained comprehensive data on six consecutive biennia, from 2002-2003 through 2012-2013.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 9 October, to consider its agenda items on:  improving the United Nations financial situation; activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services and the Independent Audit Advisory Committee; and international public sector accounting standards. 

For information media. Not an official record.