|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
19th Meeting (AM)
Budget Committee Takes Up $567 Million Proposal to Finance 33 Special
Political Missions in 2013
Also Takes Up Reports on: Department of Safety and Security;
Review of Use of Private Security Companies by United Nations
In scrutinizing the Secretary-General’s proposed budget for 33 special political missions for 2013, delegates in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today expressed concern over the unabated growth in financing those missions and the present arrangements for doing so.
Next year, the Organization would need $567 million (net of staff assessment) for the missions, according to United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Controller María Eugenia Casar, who introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on the subject. Individual mission requirements varied widely, with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), at 35.4 per cent, and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), at 25.5 per cent, accounting for the lion’s share.
In its related report, which was introduced by its Chair, Collen Kelapile, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) backed the Secretary-General’s proposed amounts and asked the General Assembly to approve them. The ACABQ also welcomed the Organization’s steps to achieve efficiencies, but criticized the Secretary-General’s reports for not clarifying the extent to which reductions had been made possible through better planning and budget management.
Brazil’s representative said a big part of the problem was that the missions were bound to the rigid structure of the regular biennial budget. That hindered support for their volatile mandates and created unnecessary difficulties in programme and budget planning. “This piecemeal approach contributes to neither transparency nor efficiency,” he said.
Mexico’s representative expressed concern that, while the Organization’s overall costs had remained “more or less constant in real terms” in the past five years, the budget for special political missions had expanded a whopping 1,256 per cent in the last decade, and now made up 24 per cent of the current biennium’s resources. In effect, that transferred to the regular budget the financial burden of maintaining international peace and security at the expense of other activities. Moreover, introducing the topic three days before the Committee ended its work left little time to conduct oversight duties.
Cuba’s representative said she, along with other Latin American and Caribbean States, had put forward a proposal that would give the missions access to the same resources as peacekeeping operations, and set up a separate account for them in the same budget cycle for peacekeeping operations. Such a move would lead to more transparency, efficiency and budget monitoring.
Also today, the Committee discussed safety and security. Gregory Starr, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and the use of private security. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Vice Chair of the ACABQ, weighed in with that body’s related report.
Algeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, regretted that the Secretary-General still had not complied with the Assembly’s request for presenting a comprehensive policy framework for safety and security. Any framework must be enacted in close consultation with States and host countries and the Organization’s new security risk management model must bear in mind the mandates of different United Nations activities and that threats varied from one place to another.
At the outset of the meeting, the Committee elected by acclamation Juliana Gaspar Ruas, of Brazil, as its Vice Chair effective 1 January 2013 to the end of the sixty-seventh session, to replace Joäo Augusto Costa Vargas, also of Brazil, who resigned the post effective 31 December 2012.
Japan’s representative also made a statement today.
The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Monday, 17 December, to consider the first performance report of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, 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 the International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals for the biennium 2012-2013.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met today to elect a bureau member and to consider the 2012-2013 programme budget for special political missions, as well as to discuss safety and security.
On special political missions, the Committee had before it the Secretary-General’s report 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/67/346), which contains the proposed resource requirements of $554.70 million net ($588.40 million gross) for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2013 for 32 special political missions. They are presented in detail in addenda 1 to 5 to the report. The 2013 requirements of $12.26 million (net of staff assessment) for the Office of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States for Syria, which weren’t finalized at the time the report was written, are issued in a separate addendum.
The 32 missions are classified as follows:
- 10 have open-ended mandates: Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Cyprus; Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara; Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004); United Nations Representative to the Geneva International Discussions; Office of the Special Envoy for the Sudan and South Sudan; Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen; United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS); United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia; and the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon.
- Two have mandates expiring in 2014 or later: support provided to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) on the non-proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction; and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa.
- 14 have mandates expiring in 2013: Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea; Group of Experts on Cote d’Ivoire; Panel of Experts on the Sudan; Panel of Experts on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Panel of Experts on the Islamic Republic of Iran; Panel of Experts on Libya; Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa; United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA); United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOBGIS); United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB); United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL); United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA); and United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
- One is under the Assembly’s consideration: Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Myanmar.
- Five have mandates expiring in 2012: Panel of Experts on Liberia; the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1526 (2004) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities; the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL); and the United Nations support for the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission.
By its resolution 66/248 A, the Assembly appropriated $1.08 billion for such missions under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for 2012-2013. The Assembly approved $631.19 million (net of staff assessment) for such missions for 2012 and authorized a commitment authority of $9.07 million for a subvention for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, yet to be appropriated by the Assembly, leaving a current balance of $442.78 million.
The Assembly is asked to approve that amount, as well as to do the following:
- Appropriate $9.07 million, authorized previously in resolution 66/247 as commitment authority, for subvention for the Special Court of Sierra Leone.
- Approve $442.78 million net, corresponding to the undistributed balance in the provision for special political missions for the biennium 2012-2013.
- Appropriate, under the procedures provided for in paragraph 11 of annex 1 to resolution 41/213, an additional amount of $113.03 million under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.
- Decide to appropriate $6.80 million under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-3013.
- Approve the proposal for the release of resources approved by the Assembly at the beginning of the year, except for those special political missions that are expected to close during the course of the year when their existing mandates end, when there are genuine indications that a mission’s mandate is not expected to continue in its current form.
In the first addendum to the report, thematic cluster I: Special and Personal Envoys, and Special Advisers of the Secretary-General (document A/67/346/Add.1), the Secretary-General outlines the proposed resource requirements of $16.73 million (net of staff assessment) for 2013 for eight special political missions groups under the thematic cluster of special and personal envoys and special advisers to the Secretary-General. The net additional amounts sought for those missions totals $15.80 million, taking into account the estimated balance of $925,000 expected to remain unencumbered at the end of 2012.
In the second addendum to the report, thematic cluster II: sanctions monitoring teams, groups and panels (document A/67/346/Add.2), the Secretary-General outlines the proposed resource requirements of $31.36 million (net of staff assessment) for 2013 for 11 special political missions created by decisions of the Security Council and grouped under the thematic cluster of sanctions monitoring teams, groups and panels. The net additional amounts sought for those missions totals $29.28 million, taking into account the estimated balance of $2.08 million expected to remain unencumbered at the end of 2012.
In the third addendum to the report, thematic cluster III: United Nations offices, peacebuilding support offices; integrated offices and commissions (document A/67/346/Add.3), the Secretary-General outlines the proposed resource requirements of $168.69 million (net of staff assessment) for 2013 for 11 special political missions created by decisions of the Council and grouped under the thematic cluster of United Nations offices, peacebuilding support offices, integrated offices and commissions sanctions monitoring teams, groups and panels. The net additional amount sought for the missions total $172.81 million, taking into account the estimated expenditures for 2012.
In the fourth addendum to the report, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) (document A/67/346/Add.4), the Secretary-General outlines the proposed resource requirements of $196.23 million net ($209.24 million gross) for 2013 for UNAMA. The Mission’s projected expenditure for 2012 is $241.03 million (net).
In the fifth addendum to the report, United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) (document A/67/346/Add.5), the Secretary-General outlines the proposed resource requirements of $141.69 million (net of staff assessment) for 2013 for UNAMI, versus $172.39 million appropriated for 2012. The report also contains an update on the status of the construction/renovation project related to the planned integrated headquarters compound in Baghdad, which should commence in early 2013, pending the Iraqi Government’s approval.
In a sixth addendum to the report, Office of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria (document A/67/346/Add.6), the Secretary-General outlines the proposed resource requirements of $12.26 million (net of staff assessment) for 2013 for that Office. The Assembly is asked to approve the $12.26 million ($12.96 million gross) and appropriate it under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, under the procedures provided for in Assembly resolution 41/213. Under the same procedures, the Assembly is asked to appropriate $702,400 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under section 1, Income from staff assessment.
The Secretary-General’s seventh addendum to the report, thematic cluster III: United Nations offices, peacebuilding support offices, integrated offices and commissions (document A/67/346/Add.7), contains a revision to the proposed 2013 resource requirements for UNIOGBIS, which are listed in document A/667/346/Add.3. The Assembly is asked to approve the reclassification of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIGBIS from Assistant Secretary-General to Under-Secretary-General and the extra $32,700 needed for that change.
Weighing in with its own report titled 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/67/604), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) recommends that the Assembly approve the resources requested for 2013 by the Secretary-General for the 33 special political missions listed in documents A/67/346/Add.1 to 6, subject to the observations and recommendations set out in the 93-page present report and in ACABQ reports A/67/604/Add.1 and Add.2. The adjusted amounted should be presented to the Assembly at the time of considering the Secretary-General’s proposals. The ACABQ also backs the Secretary-General’s request that the Assembly approve appropriation of $9.07 million, authorized previously in resolution 66/247 as commitment authority, for subvention for the Special Court of Sierra Leone, as well as approve $442.78 million net, corresponding to the undistributed balance in the provision for special political missions for the biennium 2012-2013
Further, it recommends that the Assembly appropriate, under the procedures provided for in paragraph 11 of annex 1 to resolution 41/213, an adjusted amount, taking into account the above-mentioned recommendations, under section 3, Political affairs, and section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013. An addendum to the report sets forth the staffing requirements and schedule for the planned deployment of UNSMIL for 2013.
In the first addendum to the report, Office of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria (document A/67/604/Add.1), the ACABQ backs the Secretary-General’s request that the Assembly approve the resources set forth in A/67/346/Add.6 for $12.26 million (net of staff assessment) for 2013 for that Office, under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, as well appropriate $702,400 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under section 1, Income from staff assessment. However, the Secretary-General’s request for three local level Administrative Assistant positions in Damascus is excessive given the Office’s small size, and no clear explanation justifying the request is given. Therefore, the ACABQ recommends approval of Secretary-General’s substantive staffing request, including those positions redeployed from the Office of The Joint Special Envoy in Geneva, except for one of the three Administrative Assistant positions. Future budget submissions should ensure adequate justification for all requested posts.
The ACABQ also recommends creation of two Professional-level positions required for backstopping the Office of the Joint Special Representative at Headquarters. It rejects, however, the request to create an Administrative Assistant position at Headquarters and recommends that existing resources available to the Department of Political Affairs be used to provide the required administrative support services. Further, it recommends that the use of voluntary contributions be transparently disclosed and reported in future budget submissions in order to limit possible duplication and overlap.
In the second addendum to the report, thematic cluster III: United Nations offices, peacebuilding support offices, integrated offices and commissions (document A/67/604/Add.2), the ACABQ concurs with the Secretary-General’s view that the unique challenges presented by Guinea-Bissau’s political and security situation require a high-profile candidate who is either a former Head of State or the equivalent to head the Organization’s peacebuilding office in that country. As such, the ACABQ has no objection to the Secretary-General’s proposal to upwardly reclassify the position of Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS from the level of Assistant Secretary-General to Under-Secretary-General. The ACABQ further encourages cooperation between UNIOGBIS and the United Nations Office for West Africa in order to better address issues of regional concern. It recommends that the Secretary-General be asked to give information in the next budgets for special political missions on the division of responsibilities between his Special Representative for West Africa and his Special Representatives associated with other missions in the region.
Concerning safety and security, the Committee considered three reports. The Secretary-General’s report titled the comprehensive report on the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (document A/67/526) highlights the outcome of the Organization’s efforts from June 2007 to June 2012 to develop a comprehensive overarching policy framework for security management in order to make the United Nations security management system stronger and more unified; the specific operational and policy achievements of the Department and its partners in the Organization’s security management system; and the challenges to and opportunities for further improving the system in order to meet unprecedented, increasing demand for United Nations operations across a growing number of volatile duty stations.
The report, which the Assembly is asked to take note of, underscores the strides made by the Organization to achieve its strategic vision of building a modern, effective and enabling system. It concludes that the change in culture and mindset from “when to leave” to “how to stay”, which requires the Department to enable United Nations personnel to carry out their mandated activities, places strenuous demands on the system. As such, sustainable, reliable, predictable and appropriate funding is needed to maintain the system.
The Secretary-General’s report on the use of private security (document A/67/539), submitted pursuant to paragraph 113 of Assembly resolution 66/246, reviews the appropriateness of using private security companies, particularly in situations in which they were the only option to provide safety and security for staff. It also reviews the most recent developments in efforts to set criteria, a policy and guidelines on the use of armed private security firms in order to ensure due diligence in their use, respect for the Charter and international law, and compliance with United Nations administrative policies and procedures. It lists the criteria established in May 2011 for using such companies.
In September 2012, the High-level Committee on Management endorsed the policy, guidelines, model contract and statement of works on the use of such companies for submission to the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) in November 2012. The report, which the Assembly is asked to take note of, observes that in high—risk environments private security is a tool of last resort. A common policy for using such companies, which is in the final stages of approval, will contribute to the Organization’s efforts to ensure accountability at all levels.
Weighing in with its own report titled Reports on the Department of Safety and Security and on the use of private security (document A/67/624), the ACABQ stresses the importance of cost-sharing arrangements for field-related security activities to ensure that all parties concerned share ownership and accountability for the system. The Department should review and assess its available resources against current operational needs and priorities. The ACABQ calls for greater transparency and coherence in presenting the proposals for the gross budget for jointly financed activities and asks the Secretary-General to ensure that future budgetary proposals disclose what functions the budget is expected to fund, their related requirements and the names of organizations to be contracted in the field.
Noting that the United Nations faced an unprecedented level of security threats, the ACABQ encourages the Department to strengthen cooperation with host Governments in order to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel, premises and assets. In November 2012, CEB approved the Organization’s policy on the use of armed private security companies. The Assembly’s relevant Committees should consider that policy. The ACABQ asks the Assembly to take note of the Secretary-General’s two reports, taking into account those comments.
The 2012-2013 budget for Department of Safety and Security is estimated at $240.25 million for regular activities, and $264.22 million gross for jointly financed activities, up $26.84 million and $19.69 million, respectively, from the previous biennium. Annex I to the report gives a breakdown of the 2012 approved budget and expenditures and the 2013 estimated budget expenditures to employ armed private security companies at 11 of the special political missions; the Annex gives the breakdown at 11 peacekeeping missions.
Programme Budget for the Biennium 2012-2013: Special Political Missions
MARÍA EUGENIA CASAR, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, presented the Secretary-General’s reports contained in document A/67/346 and its addenda on the budget proposals for 2013 for 33 special political missions. The budget proposals were grouped into three clusters: Thematic cluster I, which included proposals for Special and Personal Envoys, Special Advisers and Personal Representatives of the Secretary-General; Thematic cluster II, which included proposals for Sanctions Monitoring Teams, Groups and Panels; and Thematic cluster III, which included proposals for Political Offices, Peacebuilding Support Offices, Integrated Offices and Commissions, and Assistance Missions.
She said the total requirements of the 33 missions amounted to $567 million (net of staff assessment), of which $64.5 million related to the four missions created in the latter part of 2011 and 2012. Taking into account the estimated level of expenditure for 2012, the additional requirements totalled $568.1 million. Of that amount, a total of $442.78 million, corresponding to the unallocated balance in the provision for special political missions for 2012-2013, is proposed to be charged against the provision. The Assembly was requested to approve the proposed budgets and appropriate the remaining requirements amounting to $125.29 million.
Finally, she said the report included a proposal for the release of resources approved by the Assembly at the beginning of the year, except for those missions that were expected to close during the course of the year when their mandates ended, or when there were genuine indications that a mandate was not expected to continue in its current form.
Next, COLLEN KELAPILE, Chairman of the ACABQ, introduced that body’s related report A/67/604, on the Secretary-General’s 2013 proposals for the 32 special political missions, as contained in his reports A/67/346 and Add.1-5. In addition, the ACABQ had made recommendations — in its reports A/67/604/Add.1 and 2 – on the proposed budget for the Office of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, and the Secretary-General’s proposal concerning UNIOGBIS.
Section II of the Advisory Committee’s report showed that overall resource requirements for the 33 missions for 2013 were estimated at $567 million, he said, versus the approved budgets of $631.2 million for 32 missions in 2012. Should the Assembly approve the resources requested for 2013, and taking into account the projected $1.1 million over-expenditure for 2012, an additional $125.3 million over the approved $1.08 billion appropriation for the biennium would need to be appropriated by the Assembly.
While welcoming steps to achieve efficiencies, he said the Secretary-General’s reports lacked clarity on the extent to which reductions had been made possible through better planning and budget management, including abolition of long-vacant posts or sustainable efficiency gains. Such measures should be implemented in a manner that did not jeopardize fulfilment of the mandated activities or compromise the safety and security of missions.
In the report’s section III, the Advisory Committee had made general observations and recommendations on cross-cutting issues pertaining to all missions, he said, noting that the Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to improve the future budget proposals for special political missions by presenting cross-cutting issues in a format similar to that of the overview report on the financing of peacekeeping operations. Recommendations on resource requirements for the three thematic clusters, as well as UNAMA and UNAMI, were outlined in section IV.
As for cluster I, he noted that estimated resources for 2013 reflected an increase of some $4 million over 2012, owing to inclusion of the provision for the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen ($3.7 million, or 91 per cent), as the initial requirements of the Office had been funded through the unforeseen and extraordinary mechanism available to the Secretary-General. The Advisory Committee recommended approval of the Secretary-General’s staffing proposals for 16 new positions and one reclassification, except for the position of an Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Special Adviser on Yemen in New York. It also recommended that a 10 per cent cut be applied to the proposed requirement of $1 million under official travel for that Office.
As for cluster II, the Advisory Committee recommended approval of the Secretary-General’s proposed staffing changes, which included three new positions and one abolition. In cluster III, he said the 2013 provision reflected a $3.39 million increase over 2012, mainly due to additional staffing requirements for UNSMIL, which was partially offset by staffing reductions for UNIPSIL and BNUB, as well as reduced requirements for UNPOS. With a few exceptions, the Advisory Committee had no objections to the Secretary-General’s staffing proposals, but it stressed that the standard classification criteria for positions should be applied uniformly across all missions.
He went on to recommend approval of the Secretary-General’s proposals for UNAMA, but said a more transparent, better organized proposal should have been presented. As for establishing a Joint Operations Centre at UNAMA, the Secretary-General should be requested to provide details on the organizational structure, reporting lines, functions, staffing and operational costs, as well as a review of the Centre’s first year in operation. On the closure of nine provincial offices, the Advisory Committee was not convinced that a realistic assessment of the security situation had been made or that lessons learned had been applied before decisions had been taken to implement security upgrades at UNAMA. The Secretary-General should be requested to ensure that such decision-making be informed by a realistic security assessment.
As for UNAMI, he recommended approval of the Secretary-General’s proposals and welcomed developments vis-à-vis the integrated headquarters compound in Bagdad, highlighting the need for oversight of the project’s implementation. While not objecting to proposals to expand the Kuwait Joint Support Office, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Secretary-General be requested to provide details on the organizational structure, functions, reporting lines, staffing and activities of the Office. A cost-benefit analysis also should be conducted that included identifying efficiency gains and benefits realized.
Turning to the Office of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, he noted that it was in the process of moving its headquarters from Geneva to Cairo, with the establishment of a presence in Damascus. The Advisory Committee supported the request for resources, apart from the creation of two Administrative Assistant positions. If approved by the Assembly, the Office would comprise 77 civilian personnel and, given the evolving situation, overall staffing levels and deployments to various locations should be kept under close review. As for UNIOGBIS, he said the Advisory Committee had recommended the request for $31,700 for the upward reclassification of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea Bissau.
SÉRGIO RODRIGUES DOS SANTOS (Brazil) said the importance of special political missions was seen in the fact that they had been at the forefront of the United Nations’ response to the most sensitive and volatile situations in the world. The Committee’s main concern should be to ensure that each mission could count on the means required to fulfil its mandate. But, ensuring that missions could perform efficiently required a more comprehensive approach, which must translate into financial and administrative arrangements that reflected their growing role in promoting international peace and security.
Special political missions faced various challenges, he said, including the fact that the current financial arrangements were bound to the structure of the regular budget and, thus, unable to adequately support the volatile nature of their mandates. As such, their budgets rarely addressed their needs for the entire biennium. “This piecemeal approach contributes to neither transparency nor efficiency,” he said, adding that it created unnecessary difficulties for programme and budget planning.
Moreover, the current backstopping arrangements also limited their ability to carry out their mandate. Gains would be enhanced if resources and mechanisms kept pace with operational realities. The Assembly also must review the scale of assessments applicable to the missions. In sum, questions related to the backstopping and finance must be addressed to provide the United Nations with more effective means of maintaining international peace and security.
HIROSHI ONUMA ( Japan) welcomed the Secretary-General’s budget allocation of $554.69 million for 2013, which represented a decrease of $76 million, as compared to the approved budget for 2012. The Committee should bear in mind, however, that the total proposed special political mission budget for both 2012 and 2013 together exceeded the approved such budget for 2012-2013 biennium by $113.08 million. Japan wished to further review the Secretary-General’s report to seek efficiencies in resource use.
Welcoming the recommendations in the ACABQ reports, which scrutinized the proposed budget in a balanced manner, he strongly believed they would be good a starting point for discussion. He went on to reiterate the importance of the Sanction Monitoring Panels, underlining Japan’s support for their activities. As for backstopping, Japan had participated actively in the discussion and would continue to do so with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) said the situation created by the growth of special political missions required urgent action by the Assembly, recalling that their budget had increased by 1,256 per cent in the last decade. At present, they represented 24 per cent of the resources allocated for the 2012-2013 biennium budget. In the past five years, the United Nations budget, discounting special political missions, had remained “more or less constant in real terms”. No other category of activities had grown at a comparable rate. Special political missions were the main driver of the increase in the United Nations’ regular budget.
She said Mexico’s position on the matter did not undermine its commitment to supporting field activities for peace and security. However, the distortions created by the current arrangements for funding and backstopping special political missions, especially those included in cluster III, must be recognized. Their growth came at the expense of other activities, undermining efforts to find efficiencies and create savings. The current arrangements did not allow for a clear view of which budget activities were engaged in support of special political missions, which ran counter to the principles of transparency and accountability.
Moreover, she said special political mission budgets had increased consistently. In 2013, requirements for new missions had reached $113 million. While the regular budget had been reduced 1.5 per cent, that for special political missions had jumped almost 3 per cent. She urged promoting collaboration schemes, better delivery of mandates and greater resource use. Also, introducing the topic three days before the Committee ended its work was not conducive to conducting oversight duties. She proposed that budgets for special political missions be discussed during the second resumed session, along with peacekeeping operations, beginning in the sixty-eighth session.
Mexico, along with Latin American and the Caribbean States, had put forward a proposal endorsing the ACABQ recommendations, she said. It included providing special political missions with access to the same resources as peacekeeping operations, as well as the creation of a separate account in the same budget cycle as for peacekeeping operations. Those elements were inseparable. The disproportionate growth of special political missions in the regular budget represented a transfer of the financial burden of activities for maintaining of international peace and security to the regular budget. To reach agreement, Mexico would go along with the proposals by Latin American and the Caribbean States to defer consideration of the scale of assessments applicable to special political missions. However, discussion on that topic could not be avoided.
NORMA GOICOCHEA ESTENOZ ( Cuba) said that in paragraph 10 of document A/67/346, the Secretariat had requested the Fifth Committee to approve the 2013 budget. Negotiations and informal consultations on the programme budget outline had provided the opportunity to receive information on budget appropriations, starting with the 2006-2007 biennium. Examining budgetary trends, the greatest growth was related to special political missions. The budget for special political missions had increased from $651 million in 2006-2007 to over $1 billion in the 2012-2013 biennium, approved in last year’s resolution. That issue required careful analysis.
If such missions were financed under the regular budget, all States shouldered an equal responsibility, she said. However, the process for creating them placed them in a category that should be financed through the special scale for peacekeeping operations. Permanent Security Council Members had special responsibilities, including contributing to the financing of special political missions. Cuba would welcome a decision on that as soon as possible. She endorsed the proposal made by the Latin American and the Caribbean States, which called for the creation of an account to finance special political missions. That would lead to more transparency, efficiency and budget monitoring.
She expressed concern that some missions were being maintained without a mandate for their continuance. In some cases, missions had been created as the result of letters between the Security Council and the Secretary-General, in which their mandates had been laid out. Moreover, some topics did not have a General Assembly mandate, especially the “responsibility to protect” tasks given to the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, which violated the Assembly’s prerogatives. Along similar lines, she expressed concern that documents had been presented to the Fifth Committee “at the last minute”.
She said the mandate for the Special Adviser should be the result of an intergovernmental decision, expressing regret that that mandate had encompassed the responsibility to protect without a decision from the Assembly on that matter. That reflected a clear political decision by the Secretariat and a lack of respect for State decisions on such a sensitive issue. Resources allocated for the Special Adviser were not transparent. In informal consultations, Member States should be provided an outline of the financial resources for the Special Adviser’s activities related to the responsibility to protect, as well as the human resources required.
Safety and Security
GREGORY STARR, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (document A/67/526) and the use of private security (document A/67/539). The first report outlined the strategic vision, mission and objectives to support the Organization’s efforts to create a modern, effective security management system to facilitate operations and protect its premises, assets, personnel and their eligible family members. Since 2007, the Department had made significant strides in policy, operational and oversight support for the system, taking full account of the evolving global security environment. It had maintained a strategic focus on implementing effective risk mitigation through a system-wide coordinated security risk assessment mechanism; high-quality, best practice security policies; and enhanced compliance with established policies and practices. It had adapted work methods to meet the challenges posed by operating in increasingly difficult security environments. It had engaged more actively with Member States on all aspects of security management. Cognizant of the current financial climate, the Department continuously reviewed its security deployments for ways to better utilize resources.
Turning to the second report, he said the United Nations had long used private security companies — mostly unarmed, national companies — to protect property and access control. In light of well-publicized events involving global private security companies in the past decade, the Department had reviewed existing guidelines and found they needed additional reviews and safeguards. In that regard, the Secretary-General gave the necessary direction in order for the Department to lead a multi-agency effort, in tandem with the Inter-Agency Security Management Network, to look at how and when it used private security companies. A working group was set up that produced — in collaboration with agencies, funds and programmes, the staff federation, the Secretariat and human rights entities — a policy, guidelines and model contract for their use that reflected best global practices and the highest standards.
CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU, Vice Chair of the ACABQ, introduced that body’s related report (document A/67/624). In it, the ACABQ commended the Department for progress in strengthening the security management system for the coordination of security arrangements for United Nations personnel, premises and assets in a challenging environment. The ACABQ recalled its previous observations on the revised framework for accountability for the system in terms of monitoring managerial performance. Cognizant of the steps to decentralize decision-making in security matters and the increased use of security officers with regional responsibility, the ACABQ nevertheless expected the Department to ensure full accountability for compliance with security policies and guidelines system-wide, and it would monitor managerial performance through the Inter-Agency Security Management Network. Noting that the Department set a common policy on relations with the host country on security issues, the ACABQ encouraged the Department to continue to strengthen cooperation with host Governments.
The ACABQ noted that the Organization played a substantive role in regulation and monitoring armed private security companies, and the Secretary-General’s report limited its scope to the United Nations as a client of armed private security companies in Headquarters and field operations. In June 2012, the working group set up by the Inter-Agency Security Management Network, following a process of inter-agency and interdepartmental review, adopted a policy and guidelines governing the use of armed private security companies. The policy, which was approved by CEB in November 2012, should be considered by the Assembly’s relevant Committees.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said his delegation would continue to support measures to ensure a coherent and timely response to security-related threats, believing that a comprehensive approach was critical. However, the Secretary-General still had not complied with the Assembly’s request for presenting a comprehensive policy framework for safety and security. Any provisions for United Nations safety and security could not work without consultation with States. As such, the security level system should provide for close coordination with the host country.
He went on to stress the imperative for the United Nations to establish criteria for determining security needs, as well as evaluating threat perception and risk assessment on a global basis. In that regard, he noted the Secretary-General’s efforts in promulgating the security level system, saying that the new risk management model must bear in mind the mandate of different United Nations activities, and that threats varied from one place to another.
He said the Group also would seek more information on the phases, benchmarks and timelines of the programme criticality framework and the programme criticality level, along with their lines of responsibility and a chain of command for field security and at duty stations. He also underlined the need for the monitoring of private security, which the United Nations should use only as a last option.
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