Print
GA/AB/4144
29 December 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 27th Meeting, resumed (PM)

Fifth Committee, Concluding Session with Approval of 19 Texts, Recommends Increased Budget Appropriations for 2014-2015 Biennium

Human Resource Issues, Cost of Special Political Missions among Topics

After days of protracted negotiations, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today wrapped up the main part of its sixty-ninth session that aimed to address, among other things, a range of contentious human resource issues and concerns about the surging cost of the Organization’s special political missions.

As part of ongoing efforts begun in 2009 to produce a more efficient workforce, the Committee approved a draft resolution that would have the General Assembly increase the mandatory separation age to 65 for staff recruited before 1 January 2014, and ask the International Civil Service Commission to give the Assembly by its seventy-first session beginning in September 2016 a date for that to take effect, as well as ask the Commission to brief the Assembly early next year on its comprehensive review of the staff compensation package.  In addition, the Assembly would approve a revised base/floor scale for the salaries of professional-level staff and higher. 

Earlier in the session, delegates examined the Secretary-General’s overview report on human resources management, which set forth key elements of an improved management system:  increasing accountability, simplifying the appraisal process, improving the management culture and addressing underperformance more effectively.

Today, it sent the Assembly a resolution asking it to encourage the Organization’s internal and external oversight bodies to further enhance cooperation through joint work-planning sessions, and requesting the Secretary-General to ensure that all recommendations of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) — the main agent for responsible administration of resources and improved programme performance — be fully implemented and brought to the attention of relevant managers.

As always, the Committee scrutinized the Secretary-General’s performance report on the budget numbers as the first year of the 2014-2015 budget cycle came to a close and sent the Assembly a resolution asking it to approve a $34.72 million net increase in the appropriations approved, and $9.1 million in the estimates of income, for the current biennium.

The primary purpose of a first performance report is to pinpoint last-minute budget adjustments due to inflation, currency exchange fluctuations and added costs.  During the Committee’s main session, delegates had argued over the merit of maintaining the so-called recosting exercise, with some expressing concern that coupled with possible expenditure increases for some special political missions, it could push the Organization’s budget for the current biennium to a record $6 billion.

But today they agreed to ask the Assembly to maintain the established recosting methodology for the 2016-2017 budget cycle and invite the Secretary-General to prepare the budget for that period on the basis of a preliminary estimate of $5.56 billion at revised 2014-2015 rates.   

For the 2014-2015 budget, the Committee forwarded to the Assembly a text asking it to resolve to increase the initial $5.54 billion appropriated by $115.27 million to $5.65 billion, and to revise upwards the initial figure of income estimates of $523.93 million by $11.32 million to $535.25 million. 

Delegates also asked the Assembly to approve $480.26 million to maintain the Organization’s 35 special political missions as well as a charge of $435.09 million net, corresponding to the undistributed balance in the provision for those missions for the 2014-2015 biennium.  The missions — which now absorb 25 per cent of the regular budget — came under close scrutiny during the Committee’s session, with several delegates saying they were unhappy at their burgeoning size, needs and scope.

Prior to action concerning the missions as well as the Secretary-General’s good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the Assembly and the Security Council, the Committee — in separate recorded votes — rejected an amendment proposed by Cuba’s representative, also speaking on behalf of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, to delete the references to the “responsibility to protect” principle in Section IV of the text, as well as a subsequent proposal to scrap section IV altogether.  The text was subsequently approved without a vote.

With another text, the Committee asked the Assembly to define as priorities of the Secretary-General’s proposed programme budget for the 2016-2017 biennium the promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, maintenance of international peace and security, development of Africa, promotion of human rights, effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts, promotion of justice and international law, disarmament, and drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism. 

The Committee also called for $2.59 million gross ($2.46 million net), before recosting, to advance development of the Organization’s administration of justice system, to be offset be a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the 2014-2015 programme budget.

It also sent the Assembly instructions on the financing of multi-year renovations of the Organization’s historic Geneva headquarters, to begin in 2017, and of the offices of the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.

The commitments made at September’s World Conference on Indigenous Peoples also received the Committee’s attention as it backed the spending of $101,800 in the current biennium to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other outcomes of the Conference. 

As the Assembly body charged with overseeing the Organization’s spending, the Committee also considered several resolutions that carried budget implications, asking the Assembly to approve funding to continue the Secretary-General’s good offices in 2015 in Myanmar; carry out the investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in Dag Hammarskjöld’s death; set up a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes; facilitate intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda; and translate documentation on the March 2014 meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects.

The Assembly was also requested to authorize $104.58 million for the recently created Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

Additional texts concerned requests regarding financial outlays for the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

The Assembly also received recommendations on the budgetary and financial situation of the United Nations system’s organizations; International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and their Residual Mechanism; resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council; revised estimates resulting from the work of the Economic and Social Council; the contingency fund; and financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors.

Lastly, the Committee approved a consensus text asking the Assembly to defer until the first part of its resumed sixty-ninth session consideration of several reports of the Secretary-General and Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) concerning such items as the capital master plan, enterprise resource planning, or Umoja, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, United Nations Partnerships, operational arrangements and conditions of service of the ACABQ, and human resource management.  Deferred to the seventieth session would be reports on estimates in respect of the special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the Assembly and/or the Security Council, as well as on construction and property management.  To the seventy-first session, the Assembly would defer reports on the conditions of service for staff other than Secretariat officials. 

Committee Chair František Ružička (Slovakia) made closing remarks.

The representatives of Qatar, Israel, France, Bolivia (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Netherlands, Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Iran, Rwanda, Nicaragua, Togo (on behalf of the African Group), Mexico, Republic of Korea, Japan, United States, China, United Republic of Tanzania and Brazil also spoke today.

Action on Drafts

The Committee first took up a draft on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/69/L.17).  By its terms, the General Assembly would accept the financial statements and the report and audit opinions of the Board on the United Nations and a number of funds, agencies, programmes and other bodies for the year ended 31 December 2013.  It would also approve the Board’s recommendations and endorse the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).  

Also by the text, the Assembly would decide to consider further the Board of Auditors’ reports on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals under the related agenda items. 

The Committee approved that text without a vote.

Next, the Committee approved, also without a vote, a text on the pattern of conferences (document A/C.5/69/L.24), by which the Assembly would approve the draft revised calendar of United Nations conferences and meetings for 2015, as submitted by the Committee on Conferences, taking into account its observations and subject to provisions of the present text.  It would authorize the Committee on Conferences to make any adjustments to that calendar that might become necessary as a result of actions and decisions made by the Assembly at its sixty-ninth session.  It would acknowledge that Yom Kippur was a significant local holiday and acknowledge the significance of the Day of Vesak, Diwali, GurPurab and Orthodox Christmas.

Noting that the overall utilization factor at the four main duty stations in 2013 was 82 per cent, as compared with 84 per cent in 2012 and 85 per cent in 2011, the Assembly would urge those intergovernmental bodies with average utilization rates below the benchmark rate of 80 per cent to take that factor into account when planning their future sessions.   

Regarding the impact of the capital master plan, the Assembly would emphasize the need to continue to improve conference facilities in all the main duty stations.  Concerning integrated global management, the Assembly would reiterate with concern its request that the Secretary-General complete the internal reviews concerning accountability mechanisms and report thereon to the Assembly’s seventieth session. 

In the area of documentation and publications, the Assembly would emphasize the paramount importance of the equality of the six official languages and of multilingualism; ask the Secretary-General to redouble efforts to ensure full parity in line with Assembly resolution 67/292; and urge him to ensure the timely presentation of official documents in the Fifth Committee.  Noting with concern that only 84 per cent of author departments had reached the 90 per cent compliance rate for submitting on time their reports to the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to enforce the slotting system more rigorously.  On translation and interpretation, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to redouble efforts to ensure the highest quality of interpretation and translation services in all official languages. 

After that action, the representative of Qatar applauded the text’s approval, noting that some 3 million documents issued since 1945 must be digitized.  That was important to preserving such historical material of the Organization.  Qatar would give $5 million over five years, $2 million of which had already been disbursed to support all related vital United Nations projects.

The representative of Israel said the text recognized and accommodated religions cherished by millions of people worldwide.  As a result, the Organization was more inclusive, tolerant and diverse.  He thanked the 32 member States of the Yom Kippur Coalition that worked to see Yom Kippur recognized as an official holiday in the United Nations, as it represented more than 900 million from all five regional groups.  In the discussions on official holidays, some delegations had raised the issue of modalities and criteria for new official holidays — an unprecedented requirement.  One modality — that of the golden rule of do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which was at the heart of the world’s major religions — merited consideration in the future.

The representative of France, also in explanation of position after the action, stressed the importance of having all documents available in all official languages.  The text would give the Secretary-General the means to implement his mandate.  It also reflected the concerns of all delegations.  France was committed to fight all forms of discrimination and, as such, it was pleased that the text included acknowledgement of five holidays of various faiths.  However, that decision implied only an invitation for the Secretariat not to schedule meetings that day; it did not insist upon it.

Next, the Committee approved a text on the United Nations common system (document A/C.5/69/L.12), by which the Assembly would ask the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) to provide at the first part of the resumed sixty-ninth session an informal briefing on progress on the Commission’s comprehensive review of the common system compensation package.  The Assembly would also decide to increase the mandatory age of separation to 65 for staff recruited before 1 January 2014, taking into account the required rights of staff, and ask the Commission to revert to the Assembly with an implementation date at its earliest opportunity but no later than its seventy-first session after consultations with all common system organizations.

Further, the Assembly would approve, effective 1 January 2015, as recommended by the Commission in paragraph 157 of its report, document A/69/30, the revised base/floor scale of gross and net salaries for staff in the Professional and higher categories, as contained in annex III to the report.  It would reaffirm that the range of 110 to 120 for the margin between the net remuneration of officials in the Professional and higher categories at the United Nations in New York and officials in comparable positions in the comparator civil service should continue to apply and would ask the Commission to further examine issues relating to margin management in the context of its ongoing comprehensive review of compensation.

The Assembly would also take note of the Commission’s decision to review the post-adjustment classifications of all headquarters and other group I duty stations annually on the anniversary date of the classification review in New York, as well as the Commission’s decision to refer the question of the continued use of the 5 per cent rule for group I duty stations for consideration by ACABQ, in the context of its review of the operational rules governing the post-adjustment system.

The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then approved, also without a vote, a decision on the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system (document A/C.5/69/L.23), which would have the Assembly take note of the note of the Secretary-General transmitting the statistical report of the United Nations System Chief Executive Board for Coordination on the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system.  It would also have the Assembly decide to revert to the issue of the composition of the report.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft on the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on its activities (document A/C.5/69/L.18), by which the Assembly would take note of the reports of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on its activities from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013, encourage United Nations and internal and external oversight bodies to further enhance cooperation through joint work-planning sessions, and emphasize the need for the Office to continue to refine its risk-based work plan in order to ensure it fully captured high-risk areas such as those relating to procurement activities at the mission level and to fraud, including by contractors and implementing partners.  It would ask the Secretary-General to continue to ensure that OIOS’ recommendations were fully implemented and that all relevant resolutions pertaining to that Office be brought to the attention of relevant managers. 

Noting with appreciation the work of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee, the Assembly would endorse the observations, comments and recommendations contained in paragraphs 16, 22, 26, 30, 31, 34, 40, 46, 48, 54, 57, 59, 62, 66, 70, 73, 75, 76, 88, 94 and 95 of that Committee’s report.

Next, it took up a draft on the review of the implementation of General Assembly resolutions 48/218B, 54/244, 59/272 and 64/263 (document A/C.5/69/L.19), approving it without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm OIOS’ oversight role and operational independence, request that the Secretary-General entrust OIOS with publishing audit and evaluation reports on its website from 1 January 2015, and request that the Independent Audit Advisory Committee continue to keep under review the practice of the reports’ publication.  Noting that the five-year renewable term of the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services would expire in July 2015, the Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to ensure that timely arrangements were made to find a successor in full conformity with the provisions of paragraph 5 (b) of resolution 48/218B.  The Assembly would decide to evaluate and review at its seventy-fourth session OIOS’ functions and reporting procedures and any other matter it deemed appropriate.

Turning to the financing of the International Tribunals, the Committee first took up and approved without a vote a draft resolution on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994 (document A/C.5/69/L.20).  By the draft text, the Assembly would, among other things, decide on a revised appropriation to the special account for that Tribunal between 1 January and 31 December 1994 of a total amount of $94.89 million gross ($88.31 million net) for the biennium 2014-2015, as detailed in the annex.

The text would also have the Assembly for the year 2015 to apportion among Member States, in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the regular budget for the year, the amount of $24.04 million gross ($22.36 million net), including $643,950 gross ($564,200), being the increase in assessments.

The Assembly would also decide, for 2015, to apportion among Member States, in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to peacekeeping operations for the year, the amount of $24.04 million gross ($22.36 million net), including $643,950 gross ($564,200), being the increase in assessments.

In addition, the Assembly would decide that there would be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund in the amount of $3.36 million, including $159,500, being the increase of the estimated staff assessment income approved for the Tribunal for the biennium 2014-2015.

Next, the Committee took up a draft on the financing of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 (document A/C.5/69/L.21).  By its terms, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions’ (ACABQ) report and decide on a revised appropriation to the Special Account for that Tribunal in a total amount of $201.05 million gross ($179.07 million net) for the biennium 2014-2015, as detailed in the text’s annex.

It would also decide for the year 2015 to apportion among Member States, in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the regular budget for the year, the amount of $50.18 million gross ($44.60 million net), including $173,950 gross ($319,450 net), being the decrease in assessments.  It would also decide for the year 2015 to apportion among Member States, in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the peacekeeping operations for the year, the amount of $50.18 million gross ($44.60 million net), including $173,950 gross ($319,450 net), being the decrease in assessments.

Further to the text, the Assembly would decide that there would be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund in the amount of $11.13 million, including $291,000, being the increase of the estimated staff assessment income approved for the Tribunal for the biennium 2014-2015.

Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on financing of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (document A/C.5/69/L.22), by which the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the ACABQ’s report and would decide on a revised appropriation of the Special Account for the Residual Mechanism of a total amount of $115.52 million gross ($108.34 million net) for the biennium 2014-2015. 

The text would also have the Assembly decide for 2015 to apportion among Member States, in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the regular budget, the amount of $27.69 million gross ($25.96 million net), including $2.39 million gross ($2.24 million), being the decrease in assessments.  In addition, it would decide to apportion among Member States, in line with the rates of assessments applicable to peacekeeping operations, those amounts as well.

Lastly, the Assembly would decide that there would be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund in the amount of $3.44 million, including $288,300, being the decrease of the estimated staff assessment income approved for the Tribunal for the biennium 2014-2015.

By a resolution on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/C.5/69/L.13), the Assembly would, among other things, request the Secretary-General to entrust the Head of Mission with the task of formulating future budget proposals.  The Assembly would take note of the status of contributions to that Mission as at 30 November 2014, including the contributions outstanding in the amount of $47.9 million, which represented 15 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  The Assembly would voice concern that only 73 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full, and would urge all Member States, particularly those in arrears, to ensure payment of outstanding assessed contributions. 

The text would also have the Assembly, taking into account the $253.42 million previously apportioned from 1 July to 31 December 2014, to apportion among Member States an additional amount of $375.30 million for the maintenance of the Mission from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, also taking into account the scale of assessments for 2015.  It would also decide there should be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $2.35 million, representing the balance of the estimated staff assessment approved for the Mission. 

Regarding the financing of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations, the Assembly first took up a text on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/69/L.14), by which it took into account the amount of $2.46 million already apportioned for the maintenance of the Operation for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2014.  It would then apportion among Member States the amount of $246.78 million for the maintenance of the Operation from 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015.  It would also set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $4.45 million, representing the estimated staff assessment income approved for the Mission from 1 January to 30 June 2015.

Next, it approved, without a vote, a text on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/69/L.8), by which the Assembly would take into account $2.14 million already apportioned among Member States for the period 1 July to 31 December 2014 for the Mission’s maintenance and apportion among Member States that same amount for the period 1 January to 30 June 2015.  It would also set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $4.48, representing the estimated staff assessment income approved for the Mission for the period 1 January to 30 June 2015.

It then took action on a draft on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/69/L.15), by which the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the ACABQ’s report, in particular paragraph 70, which requests the Secretary-General to make flight service available to non-UNMISS entities and passengers, as appropriate and when compatible with the interests of the Mission, and to report thereon in the next performance reports.  Also included in the text, the Assembly would appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $1.1 billion for the Mission’s maintenance for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $580 million already authorized for the period 1 July to 31 December 2014.

The Assembly, also by the text, would take into account the $580 million already apportioned for the 1 July to 31 December 2014 period, and would then apportion among Member States the additional amount of $1.01 billion for the Mission’s maintenance for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 May 2015.  It would set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $7.6 million, representing the additional estimated staff assessment income approved for the Mission for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 May 2015. 

Also by the text, the Assembly would apportion among Member States $91.44 million for the period 31 May to 30 June 2015, taking into account the scale of assessments for 2015.  In addition, the Assembly would decide there would be a set off against the apportionment among Member States of their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of the amount of $1.59 million, representing the estimated staff assessment income approved for the Mission.

The text was approved without a vote.

By the terms of a text on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/69/L.16), the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the ACABQ’s report, and would, among others, request the Secretary-General to continue his effort to mitigate the environmental impact of the Operation in full compliance with existing relevant resolutions.

The text would also have the Assembly appropriate to the Special Account for the Operation $1.15 billion for its maintenance from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, inclusive of $639.65 million previously authorized for the period 1 July to 31 December 2014.  The Assembly would apportion among Member States the additional amount of $513.95 million for the Operation’s maintenance for the period 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, taking into account the scale of assessments for 2014 and 2015.

In addition, it would decide that there would be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $11 million, representing the balance of the estimated staff assessment income of $22.86 million approved for the Operation.

The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then approved without a vote a draft submitted by the Chair on programme budget implications relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/C.5/69/L.25), which contained implications for four draft resolutions. 

Regarding the text on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.3/69/L.32), the Committee decided to inform the Assembly that its approval of the text would require an additional $1.16 million net of staff assessment from 1 January to 31 December 2015 to continue the Secretary-General’s good offices relating to that situation.

Per the text on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/69/L.29), an extra $161,800 would be needed, as a charge against the contingency fund, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015.

Regarding the draft on modalities for the implementation of resolution 68/304, entitled “Towards the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes” (document A/C.2/69/L.4/Rev.1), an additional $251,900 would be required under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the 2014-2015 programme budget, as a charge against the contingency fund. 

Regarding the draft on the investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him (document A/69/L.42), an extra $50,900 would be needed, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the 2014-2015 programme budget.

Per the draft on the organization of the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (document A/69/L.43) and the draft on the dates for the meetings of the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda (document A/69/L.44), an extra $1.3 million would be needed — including $1.11 million under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management; $153,200 under section 28, Public information; and $52,900 under section 34, Safety and security, of the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 — representing a charge against the contingency fund.

The Committee then turned to a draft on questions relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/C.5/69/L.26), which, in 13 parts, took up the following:  International Public Sector Accounting Standards (I), information and communications technology in the United Nations (II), strategic heritage plan of the United Nations Office at Geneva (III), estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council (IV), construction of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa (V), revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its 2014 substantive session (VI), study on the long-term accommodation needs at United Nations Headquarters for the period from 2014 to 2034 (VII), and revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions and its twenty-first and twenty-second special session (VIII).

Also: revised estimates resulting from the requests contained in General Assembly resolution 69/2, entitled “Outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples” (IX), revised estimates relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 under sections 5, Peacekeeping operations, 8, Legal affairs, 27, Humanitarian assistance, 29B, Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, 29C, Office of Human Resources Management, 29D, Office of Central Support Services, 34, Safety and security, and 36, Staff assessment on the Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (X), first performance report on the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 (XII), and the contingency fund (XIII).

Regarding the Strategic Heritage Plan of the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Assembly would decide to appropriate an extra 26.1 million Swiss francs, or $28.2 million at initial appropriation 2014-2015 rates, under section 33, Construction, alteration, improvement and major maintenance, of the 2014-2015 programme budget, and to revert to the establishment of the multi-year special account for the plan at the main part of the Assembly’s seventieth session.

As for the 35 special political missions, the Assembly would approve $480.26 million for those missions authorized by the Assembly and/or the Security Council listed in table 6 of the Secretary-General’s report (document A/69/363/Corr.2), as well as a charge of $435.09 million net, corresponding to the undistributed balance in the provision for those missions for the 2014-2015 biennium.  The Assembly would decide to appropriate $31.5 million under section 3, Political affairs, of the 2014-2015 proposed programme budget, after taking into account the unspent balance of $1.97 million against the approved amounts for 2014.  It would also decide to appropriate $1.8 million under section 36, Staff assessment, of the 2014-2015 programme budget.

Noting with concern the deterioration of Africa Hall at the Economic Commission for Africa, the Assembly would decide to make a final decision at its seventieth session on the establishment of separate and multi-year accounts for the Hall’s renovation.  It would also decide to appropriate an extra $2.61 million net, before recosting, comprising under section 18, Economic and social development in Africa, of $125,200; section 33, Construction, alteration, improvement and major maintenance, of $2.18 million; section 34, Safety and security, of $300,800; and the amount of $46,200 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the 2014-2015 programme budget.

Regarding revised estimates resulting from Human Rights Council resolutions and decisions, the Assembly would approve an extra $11.71 million net including $3.31 million under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, $8.38 million under section 24, Human rights, $2,000 under section 28, Public Information, and $11,200 under section 29F, Administration, Geneva, of the 2014-2015 programme budget.  In addition, $174,100 would be required under section 36, Staff assessment, of that budget, to be offset by an equivalent amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment.

As for the revised estimates resulting from the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, the Assembly would approve an additional $101,800, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, of the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015, as a charge against the contingency fund.

Concerning the Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of $104.58 million, inclusive of the $49.94 million authorized in its resolution 69/3 for the biennium 2014-2015, to provide for the requirements of the Office and UNMEER from 19 September 2014 to 30 June 2015 pending the submission of a detailed budget at the second part of the Assembly’s resumed sixty-ninth session, and decide to assess the $104.58 million.

As for the administration of justice, the Assembly would decide to approve $2.59 million gross ($2.46 million net), before recosting, reflecting an increase under section 1, Overall policymaking, direction and coordination, of $2.41 million, under section 29D, Office of Central Support Services, of $47,700, and the amount of $130,300 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the 2014-2015 programme budget.

Concerning the first performance report on the 2014-2015 programme budget, the Assembly would urge the Assembly to ensure that oral statements detailing resource requirements be presented to the Assembly in a timely manner before the adoption of substantive resolutions in line with rule 153 of the Assembly’s rules of procedure and to provide information on the full scope of additional resources needed.  The Assembly would approve a net increase of $34.72 million in the appropriation approved for the biennium 2014-2015, and a net increase of $9.1 million in the estimates of income for the biennium, to be apportioned among expenditures and income sections as indicated in the Secretary-General’s report, document A/69/367.

Regarding the contingency fund, the Assembly would note the balance of $248,900 remaining in the fund. 

Before action on that text, the representative of Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, took the floor to withdraw the previous draft on the matter, document A/C.5/69/L.11.

The representative of Cuba, also speaking on behalf of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, expressed their support for the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect and for the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, but proposed an oral amendment to section IV of document A/C.5/69/L.26.  He lamented the inclusion, under the section relating to the Special Representative, of activities and products related to the responsibility to protect principle despite the lack of intergovernmental agreement on the concept, its scope and applications.  By the terms of the amendment, the Assembly would decide to delete all references to the actions, functions, expected accomplishments, indicators of achievement, outputs and other information related to implementing the responsibility to protect, and request that the Secretary-General issue a corrigendum to his report, document A/69/363/Add.1, accordingly.

The representative of the Netherlands requested a recorded vote on the proposed amendment.  As a long-standing supporter of the responsibility to protect principle, his delegation did not agree with the amendment and would vote against it.

The representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Fifth Committee should refrain from political discussions outside its purview.  As the body tasked with budgetary issues, the Committee must ensure that the Office of the Special Adviser was adequately funded to carry out its mandate effectively.  The proposed amendment would greatly reduce that Office’s capacity to do that and would particularly hamper the Office’s close coordination with other United Nations entities.  For that reason, Italy would vote against the amendment and called on others to follow suit.

The representative of Iran supported the request by the Cuban delegation.

The representative of Rwanda supported the request for a recorded vote.  As Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, Rwanda would vote against the amendment and she called on others to do the same.

The representative of Nicaragua said that as the Assembly had not decided on the concept of the responsibility to protect, his delegation would vote in favour of the amendment.

By a recorded vote of 15 in favour to 80 against, with 60 abstentions, the Committee rejected the oral amendment. 

The representative of Cuba then requested a vote on section IV of that resolution.

By a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 10 against (Bolivia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Iran, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Venezuela), with 8 abstentions (Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Libya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Thailand, Zambia), the Committee voted to retain that section.

The Committee then approved the resolution as a whole without a vote.

After that action, the representative of Sri Lanka said his delegation had joined consensus on the text, but disassociated itself from the resource requirement for his Government concerning the investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka.  Supporters of the text had violated the principles of international law, insomuch as they related to the investigation.  

The representative of Sudan said his delegation was in favour of the text, but during the voting it had mistakenly voted against it.

Next before the Committee was a draft report on Programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/C.5/69/L.27), which was divided into two parts, with the first containing the narrative of the action taken by the Committee and the second containing the Committee’s recommendations.

Approved without a vote, draft resolution II of the same title as the report was divided into three sections and included revised budget appropriations for the biennium 2014-2015; revised income estimates for the biennium 2014-15; and financing of the appropriations for the year 2015.

By part A, on the revised budget appropriations for the biennium 2014-2015, the Assembly would resolve to adjust upwards the initial figure of $5.54 billion by $115.27 million to $5.65 billion.  The Assembly would also decide, in addition to the appropriations approved under paragraph 1 of part A, to authorize a commitment authority of $104.58 million for the Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) to be apportioned among Member States in line with the scale of assessment as set out in Assembly resolution 67/238 of 24 December 2012.

By part B, on revised income estimates for the biennium 2014-2015, the Assembly would resolve to increase those estimates from the initial figure of $523.93 million by $11.32 million to $535.25 million.

The Committee then approved without a vote the draft report itself.

Next, the Committee took up a draft resolution on the proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/C.5/69/L.28), by which the Assembly, taking note of the Secretary-General’s report on the matter and endorsing the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the ACABQ, would decide that the preliminary estimate of resources for the 2014-2015 programme budget should include a provision of $1.3 billion for the special political missions, which should be reflected in the 2016-2017 proposed programme budget, and that additional requirements should continue to be treated in accordance with Assembly resolution 41/213. 

The Assembly would decide that the proposed budget for that biennium should contain provisions for recosting on the basis of the existing methodology and invite the Secretary-General to prepare his proposed budget for the 2016-2017 biennium on the basis of a preliminary estimate of $5.56 billion at revised 2014-2015 rates.

Also by the text, the Assembly would decide that the priorities for the 2016-2017 biennium would be:  promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, in accordance with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and recent United Nations conferences; maintenance of international peace and security; development of Africa; promotion of human rights; effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts; promotion of justice and international law; disarmament; and drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  The Secretary-General would be requested to reflect those priorities when presenting the proposed 2016-2017 budget.

Further, the Assembly would decide that the contingency fund shall be set at the level of 0.75 per cent of the preliminary estimate, namely, at $41.69 million, and that that amount should be in addition to the overall level of the preliminary estimate and be used in line with the procedures for the contingency fund’s use and operation.

Prior to the text’s approval, the representative of Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, took the floor to withdraw the related draft resolution, document A/C.5/69/L.10. 

The Committee then approved A/C.5/69/L.28 without a vote.

The Committee then approved without a vote the draft decision Questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/69/L.29), which would have the Assembly decide to defer consideration of a number of agenda items until the first part of its resumed sixty-ninth session.  Among those were five reports addressing the capital master plan, including the report of the Secretary-General on the twelfth annual progress report on the implementation of the capital master plan and on the funding of associated costs for the period 2008 to 2013, as well as a report of the Board of Auditors for the year ended 31 December 2013 on the same subject.

The Assembly would also defer three reports related to enterprise resource planning (Umoja), including that of the Secretary-General on the sixth progress report on the matter.  Two reports on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia would be deferred, including that of the Secretary-General on the issue.

The Assembly would also defer two reports on the United Nations Partnerships Facility and United Nations Office for Partnerships, including the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015: Section 1: Overall policymaking, direction and coordination.

Under operational arrangements and conditions of service of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, a letter concerning an 11 November 2013 letter from the Secretary-General to the General Assembly President would be deferred.  Eleven reports addressing human resources management, including 10 of the Secretary-General and one of the ACABQ, would be deferred as well.

The text would also have the Assembly defer until its seventieth session consideration of the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015, including two reports concerning estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the Assembly and/or the Security Council.  The Assembly would also decide to defer until the first part of its resumed seventieth session two reports on construction and property management.

The Assembly would then defer until its seventy-first session consideration of five documents addressing the conditions of service other than Secretariat officials:  judges, including a report of the Secretary-General on conditions of service and compensation for members of the International Court of Justice and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals; and judges and ad litem judges of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Closing Remarks

DAYANA ANGELA RIOS REQUENA (Bolivia), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that during the current session, the Fifth Committee faced several challenges that forced delegations to work over weekends and late into the evenings.  Such work also required that the session be extended.  The Group of 77 had submitted two resolutions, “L.11” and “L.10”, which had been withdrawn.  Those texts had been submitted when progress was not being made on the budgetary process and outline, two of the most important agenda items, she said, stressing that the budgetary process was the “cornerstone of work”.

KODJOVI DOSSEH (Togo), speaking for the African Group, noted that it had been “tough” for delegations to sacrifice time for family and friends and, instead, work tirelessly the past several days to conclude the session.  Thanking colleagues for their collective commitment, he expressed concern about what was becoming customary for the Fifth Committee, namely, concluding the main part of its session after 24 December.  That should not set a precedent.  Rather, the Committee should adhere to the programme of work adopted at the start of the session.  Noting that some delegations had not negotiated in good faith from the beginning, he said that among the reasons for that was the late issuance of documents.  Efforts should be redoubled, he said, in order for such materials to be issued in a timely fashion to allow the Committee time for their consideration.  As certain items had been deferred, he underscored his expectation that the Committee would close those at a later time in the spirit of compromise and cooperation. 

CARMEL POWER, of the European Union Delegation, said that she looked forward to seriously considering the independent study on recosting and hoped that budgetary implications of resolutions being negotiated would be presented to the Fifth Committee from other Committees in a timely manner.  However, she said, the Fifth Committee’s work had become “dysfunctional”.  Concluding on 29 December, which was later than the last year’s session, set another bad and “completely unnecessary” precedent.  The Committee would not be able to work properly unless all Member States engaged in good faith in the negotiations.  She also voiced concern and disappointment at being forced to conduct final negotiations on major outstanding budgetary items “under threat” of an imminent vote.  “UN budgets have not and should not be negotiated this way, yet it is the second time this year we have been subjected to such unacceptable action,” she said, also expressing concern at the longer-term implications.  Underscoring the principle of consensual decision-making on all resource-related issues, long-standing and vital to effective functioning, she said that without the consent of all Member States, from the smallest contributors to the biggest, the Committee and the Organization would not run effectively and would instead become paralysed.

FELIPE GARCÍA LANDA (Mexico) said dialogue and agreement were the only way to ensure the Organization’s sustainability.  The speaker was deeply concerned over the discussions on the budget outline for the next biennium and the first performance report on the current biennium.  He was worried about the increasing and persistent polarization in the Committee, which was a bad omen for discussions next year, when the biennial budget, scale of assessments, and the funding and backstopping arrangements for special political missions would be considered.  He was interested in holding meetings throughout the calendar year before the seventieth Assembly session.  Discussions must be fully inclusive, he added.

PAIK JI-AH (Republic of Korea) said that with many reports submitted late, discussions had proceeded at a slow pace, and intense last-minute negotiations had brought about only partial agreements, leaving many important agenda items deferred.  He urged Member States to seriously reflect on ways to improve the Committee’s working methods in order for it to fulfil its duty on time.

SHO ONO (Japan) said the session underscored the importance of observing the established principle of agreeing on resolutions with financial implications by consensus, a point he had made at the beginning of the session and which went unheeded.  In particular, submission of the “L” document on the outline resolution had been unprecedented in the Committee’s recent history.  He urged delegations to commit to the principle and “never revert to any other measure which is against it”.   He also stated that “this session was worse than last year”.  Late issuance of documents was one of the root causes, however there were also other structural issues, including, among others, the appropriateness of convening Ambassador-level meetings and how to effectively to utilize time towards reaching a consensus.

ISOBEL COLEMAN (United States) observed the session had not met all her delegation’s objectives, as was true for others. However, that was the essence of compromise.  Nonetheless, she did not want to see the presenting of “L” documents “become a common practice in this or any other Committee”, adding that it was saddening that that had become the method of choice in the past year once serious negotiations had begun.  The Fifth Committee over 15 years had agreed to handle budgetary issues by consensus because the alternative would have been destructive, not only to the Committee’s work, but to the Organization as a whole.  “It is our hope that we can revert to that approach next year,” she said.

SUN LEI (China) said the session had gone through a “roller coaster ride”.  The Committee’s working methods must be improved.  Due to its low efficiency and lack of sincerity, the Committee had been reduced to being perfunctory.  That course of action was not sustainable.  All delegations must come up with concrete action to improve efficiency at the level of experts and to do more with less.

JUSTIN KISOKA (United Republic of Tanzania) said many items could have been finished on time and sorted out if delegations engaged constructively at the expert level.  He encouraged them to do so.  

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said much could be achieved at the level of experts, who could arrive at a consensus.  There was no need to elevate the negotiations to the level of ambassadors.  But the experts much show their hand early on and not wait until the very end.  A better mechanism was needed for fine-tuning the Committee’s working methods.

Taking the floor for a second time, Ms. RIOS REQUENA (Bolivia), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, responding to comments made by some delegations, stated that the Group did not threaten the possibility of a vote.  It never had and it never would.  It would assume its responsibility to ensure that the Committee was able to deliver its decision when necessary.

FRANTIŠEK RUŽIČKA (Slovakia), Committee Chair, echoed delegations’ “common wish and will” to improve the Committee’s work.  All suggestions had been carefully noted and would be taken very seriously in consultations with Member States.  The session had been a “rocky road”, but had still resulted in consensual approval of resolutions, owing to the devotion and commitment of delegations.  Thanking Committee members, he said that negotiations were not easy, but delegates were “professionals” and had the experience to do such difficult work.

For information media. Not an official record.