|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
99th Meeting (Resumed*) (PM)
General Assembly Adopts 24 Resolutions, 2 Decisions as It Takes
Action on Reports of Fifth Committee
Delegates Welcome Key Text Raising
The General Assembly today acted on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), adopting 24 resolutions and two decisions focused largely on enhanced reimbursements for police- and troop-contributing countries and the Organization’s peacekeeping budgets.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolutions on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/C.5/68/L.43); special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives (L.42); and drafts I to IV concerning administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations, on, respectively, troop reimbursements (L.44), triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment (L.45), the support account for peacekeeping operations (L.46), and financing the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy (L.47).
Following action on those texts, India’s representative noted that his country was among the largest troop contributors and underscored the importance of the text on reimbursements. It was the first time in 20 years that the rate had been revised upwards, he noted. The arduous negotiations had been firmly rooted in the acceptance by all delegations of the Senior Advisory Group’s report, he said, adding that they had nearly foundered on the “rocks and shoals” of the Fifth Committee. The effort to dismiss the report during the talks was “reprehensible”. The adoption of that resolution committed all States unequivocally to the manner in which troop reimbursements would be handled from now on, as both the report and resolution put an automatic and sound methodology in place, he said, adding that four years from now, successors should adopt a follow-on text without the “rancour or bitterness” that had accompanied the just-concluded negotiations. The figure of $1,762 per month for individual troops was based on the facts on the ground, he emphasized. The questioning to which it had been subjected did not detract from its justification, and India expected that the figure would be used as a baseline in future.
Economic difficulties notwithstanding, it had taken 18 long years for the upwards revision, he said. In that time, many had faced similar difficulties and austerity measures, which, however, had not deterred troop contributors when called upon by the United Nations. India hoped the next four years would see an economic upturn in the fortunes of the finance-contributing countries, he said, while cautioning against the use of that argument four years from now. He expressed concern over the increasing demands for human and financial resources on Member States occasioned by the “mushrooming of the operations” owing to volatile political situations. It was up to the General Assembly to advise the Security Council on how to make mandates more cost-effective, including through greater use of the Article IV of the United Nations Charter.
Pakistan’s representative said that despite the different perspectives, all sides had worked resolutely to explore common ground and keep peacekeeping partnerships “intact and strong”. What mattered at the end was that consensus had prevailed. In view of the increasing complexity and demands of peacekeeping operations, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China had long argued for increased reimbursements, he said, recalling that the rate had last been revised in 1992. Since then, it had remained a vexing issue both for the General Assembly and the United Nations as a whole.
Describing the revision as a step in the right direction, he said partners, as well as major finance contributors, had rightly insisted that any fruitful conversation on rate increases should take place in the face of the empirical evidence justifying it. A professional survey had been conducted on the basis of a scientific methodology, clearly recognizing $1,762.55 per month as the actual “weighted average cost” of troop contributors, he noted. That figure was “authentic and credible”, and should remain the parameter for the next four years. The revision and formal increase had broken new ground, despite divergences and constraints, he said, adding that despite the limited outcome, today’s decision was a “net gain” for peacekeeping and the Organization.
The Assembly then went on to adopt, without a vote, the United Nations peace presences in Abyei (L.48); Côte d’Ivoire (L.49); Cyprus (L.50); Democratic Republic of the Congo (L.51); Timor-Leste (L.38); Haiti (L.52); Kosovo (L.53); Liberia (L.54); Mali (L.55); and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (L.56).
Syria’s representative said he had joined the consensus on the UNDOF text and would do the same in respect of the resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on the basis of the fact that Israel was “aggressing the occupied land” and, therefore, the two forces should be financed.
He said the Secretary-General’s report should be impartial and “unpoliticized”. For example, it did not mention Israel’s military activities in support of terrorist groups supporting Al-Qaida, he noted, adding that he had also been surprised to see in the report that the Damascus airport was closed. It had never been closed and was still operating “in the usual way”, he declared. He asked UNDOF to go back and use the airport, adding that the roads there were also safe. The Force had withdrawn from certain places, thereby “opening the ground” for attacks by terrorist groups supported by Israeli forces, he said, stressing that UNDOF should “immediately recover” its zone for the sake of security and stability.
The resolution on UNIFIL required a recorded vote and was adopted after a separate vote on its fourth preambular paragraph, as well as operative paragraphs 4, 5, and 13.
The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, texts on South Sudan (L.57); Sudan (L.40); Syria (L.37); Western Sahara (L.58); Darfur (L.59); the financing arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (L.60); and the Central African Republic (L.61).
It then adopted two draft decisions on review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (L.62), and another titled “Questions deferred for future consideration”.
Ken Siah ( Singapore), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee presented that body’s reports.
For further information on those reports and related texts, see Press Release GA/AB/4116.
Before taking up the Fifth Committee’s reports, the Assembly allocated to that body, in accordance with the Secretary-General’s request, an item concerning the United Nations Staff Pensions Committee (document A/68/235), owing to the resignation of Bernard Kuntzel (Germany), effective 16 June.
In other business, the Assembly adopted a resolution on follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference (L.49), as well as a draft decision on follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (L.52).
The General Assembly will reconvene at a date to be announced.
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* See Press Release GA/11527 of 30 June 2014.