Fifth Committee Recommends $5.4 Billion Budget for 2016-2017 Biennium as It Concludes Main Part of Seventieth Session

GA/AB/4185
23 December 2015
Seventieth Session, 23rd Meeting (PM)

Fifth Committee Recommends $5.4 Billion Budget for 2016-2017 Biennium as It Concludes Main Part of Seventieth Session

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) wrapped up the main part of its seventieth session tonight, recommending the General Assembly adopt a $5.4 billion budget for the United Nations for the 2016-2017 biennium.

The figure was $170 million less than the $5.57 billion proposed budget unveiled by the Secretary-General in October due to, among other things, reduced resources for public information and common support services, and roughly $400 million lower than the $5.8 billion final appropriations for 2014-2015.

As a result of the Secretary-General’s efforts to seek efficiencies and reduce the 193-member Organization’s regular budget, the proposed 2016-2017 outlay was 3.5 per cent less in real terms from the previous biennium, said Under-Secretary-General for Management Yukio Takasu at the close of the meeting.

Mr. Takasu said that the regular budget had remained fairly steady over the last four biennia, except for adjustments due to inflation, currency exchange fluctuations and the special political missions.

Today, the Committee approved and forwarded 13 draft resolutions and two draft decisions to the Assembly, including a text setting a new mandatory retirement age at 65 years for staff recruited before 2014, effective by1 January 2018 the latest.

The Committee also recommended that the Assembly approve the first reassessment of the staff compensation package in 26 years, and decide that new provisions should come into force on 1 July 2016.  The changes, proposed by the International Civil Service Commission, included a unified base/floor salary scale structure, replacing the dual scales for staff without dependents and staff with dependents.

The new package also included the establishment of a dependent spouse allowance at 6 per cent of net remuneration, with single parents to receive an allowance for the first dependent child at 6 per cent of net remuneration in lieu of the child allowance.  The revised education grant scheme should be introduced from the school year in progress as of 1 January 2018.

By other texts, the Committee would have the Assembly adopt the new scale of assessments, which determines how much Member States must contribute to the United Nations regular and peacekeeping budgets.  According to the new scales, China, with a 7.92 per cent of the total, would become the third-largest contributor to the regular budget after the United States (22 per cent) and Japan (9.68 per cent).

Under “special subjects,” the Committee recommended that the Assembly approve $567.25 million for the 36 special political missions in the biennium 2016-2017, approve $8.14 million for the Umoja project, and authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $7.55 million in 2016 to implement decisions in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Assembly would also note that a balance of $24.01 million remained in the contingency fund.

However, delegates failed to reach agreement today on the reform of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), an Assembly subsidiary body examining budget proposals and efficiency of resource utilization, deferring the matter until March.

Further, the Committee took action on programme budget implications resulting from the actions of the Assembly’s Main Committees.  It approved 11 texts, among them drafts on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; the human rights situations in Myanmar and Syria, and rights of indigenous peoples.

The Committee also approved texts on financing of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia, as well as their International Residual Mechanism, among other things.

At the end of the meeting, the Committee adopted its draft report for the session.

Committee Chair Durga Prasad Bhattarai (Nepal) said that the current main session was extraordinarily efficient and ended before Christmas Eve for the first time in many years despite the heavy workload.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Cuba, Luxembourg (on behalf of the European Union), Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand), Nicaragua, and Iran.

Delivering concluding remarks were the representatives of South Africa (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), United Republic of Tanzania (on behalf of the African Group), European Union, Japan, China, Republic of Korea, United States, Angola and Mexico.

Action on Drafts

The Committee first approved without a vote a text on the programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 (document A/C.5/70/L.10), which is known as the second performance report, by which the Assembly would resolve that the final budget appropriations for 2014-2015 totalling $5.83 billion should be decreased by $23.35 million.  The final income estimates totalling $546.833 million should be increased by $27.82 million.

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.5/70/L.11).  By its terms, the Assembly would resolve that, for the 2014-2015 biennium, $94.89 million gross ($88.32 million net) approved in its resolution 69/254 to finance the Tribunal would be adjusted upward by $11.19 million gross ($9.16 million net), for a total amount of $106.07 million gross ($97.47 million net).

The text would also have the Assembly decide to appropriate $2.09 million gross ($1.98 million net) for 2016-2017 to the Special Account for the Tribunal, as detailed in the annex, and that the total assessment for 2016 under the Special Account would amount to $13.27 million, comprising $2.09 million for the estimated appropriation approved for 2016-2017 and a $11.18 million increase in the final appropriation for 2014-2015 approved by the Assembly in paragraph 4 of section I.  The Assembly also would decide to apportion $6.64 million gross ($5.57 million net) among Member States in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the United Nations 2016 regular budget.  Further, it would decide that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective shares in the Tax Equalization Fund of the estimated staff assessment income of $2.14 million approved for the Tribunal for 2016.

Next, the Committee took up and approved, without a vote, 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.5/70/L.12).  By its terms, the Assembly would resolve that, for the 2014-2015 biennium, $201.05 million gross ($179.07 million net) approved in its resolution 69/255 for the financing of the Tribunal would be adjusted downward by $11.88 million gross ($9.95 million net), for a total of $191.11 million gross ($167.20 million net).

The text would also have the Assembly decide to appropriate $95.75 million gross ($85.02 million net) for 2016-2017 to the Special Account for the Tribunal, as detailed in the annex and that the total assessment for 2016 under the Special Account would amount to $37.55 million, consisting of $47.78 million, or half of the estimated appropriation approved for 2016-2017 and $10.23 million, representing the decrease in the final appropriation for 2014-2015 approved by the Assembly in paragraph 3 of section I.  Further, the Assembly would decide to apportion $18.78 million gross ($15.27 million net) among Member States in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the 2016 regular budget and that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective shares in the Tax Equalization Fund of the estimated staff assessment income of $7 million approved for the Tribunal for 2016.

Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on financing of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (document A/C.5/70/L.13), by which the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Advisory Committee’s report and would resolve that, for the biennium 2014-2015, the amount of $115.52 million gross ($108.35 million net) approved in its resolution 69/256 for the financing of the Mechanism would be adjusted by the amount of $43.93 million gross ($41.73 million net), for a total amount of $71.59 million gross ($66.61 million net).

By the text, the Assembly would decide to appropriate for the biennium 2016-2017 the additional amount of $2.63 million corresponding to the requirement for the pensions of retired judges and surviving spouses of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and $881,000 corresponding to the requirement for the after-service health insurance benefits to former staff of the Rwandan Tribunal.  The Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mechanism $137.40 million gross ($126.95 million net) for the biennium 2016-2017, as detailed in the annex.

The Assembly would also decide that the 2016 total assessment for the Special Account of $24.77 million, should consist of:  $68.70 million, or half of the estimated appropriation approved for 2016-2017, and $43.93 million, representing the decrease in the final appropriation for 2014-2015 approved by the Assembly in paragraph 3 of section I.  The text would also have the Assembly decide to apportion $12.38 million gross ($10.87 million net) among Member States, in accordance with the scale of assessments applicable to the 2016 regular budget.  It would also decide that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of the estimated staff assessment income of $3.03 million approved for the Tribunal for 2016.

Next, the Committee approved a text titled “United Nations common system” (document A/C.5/70/L.14), by which the Assembly would, among other things, decide that the mandatory age of separation for staff recruited before 1 January 2014 should be raised by the organizations of the United Nations common system to 65 years at the latest by 1 January 2018, taking into account the acquired rights of staff.

Also by the text, the Assembly would approve the revised base/floor scale of gross and net salaries for staff in the Professional and higher categories from 1 January 2016, as recommended by the International Civil Service Commission.

The Assembly would approve the proposals on the common system compensation package proposed by the Commission and decide that those provisions should come into force on 1 July 2016.

The Assembly would also approve the proposed unified base/floor salary scale structure, replacing the dual scales for staff without dependents and staff with dependents.  It would approve the establishment of a dependent spouse allowance at the level of 6 per cent of net remuneration, with single parents to receive an allowance for the first dependent child at 6 per cent of net remuneration in lieu of the child allowance.

The Assembly would further decide that for P-1 through P-5 staff, an increment would be granted annually from step I to VII with the same grade and biennially thereafter.  For D-1 and D-2 staff, biennial increments would be maintained.

The Assembly would decide to revise the criteria covering post-secondary education to make the grant payable up to the end of the school year in which the child completed four years of post-secondary studies or attained a first post-secondary degree, whichever came first, subject to the upper age limit of 25 years.  The revised education grant scheme, which included other changes, should be introduced from the school year in progress as of 1 January 2018.

The Assembly then took up and approved a draft resolution on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations (document A/C.5/68/L.15).  By its terms, the Assembly would resolve that the scale of Member States’ assessed contributions to the United Nations regular budget for 2016, 2017 and 2018 would follow the percentages in the draft and it would decide that those assessments were based on estimates of gross national income and the average statistical base period of three and six years, among other factors.

Further, the Assembly would decide that, in accordance with financial regulation 3.9, the State of Palestine and the Holy See, which were not members of the United Nations but which participated in certain of its activities, should be called upon to contribute towards the Organization’s expenses, on the basis of a notional assessment rate of 0.007 per cent and 0.001 per cent, respectively, for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

It turned to and approved without a vote a draft resolution on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/68/L.16).  By its terms, the Assembly would recognize the need to reform the current methodology for apportioning the expenses of peacekeeping operations.  It would also decide that, as of 1 January 2016, the rates of assessment should be based on 10 levels of contributions and parameters, including least developed countries and Member States with lower rates of per capita gross national income.

Furthermore, the Assembly would endorse the updated composition of levels to be applied in adjusting regular budget scale rates to establish Member States’ 2016-2018 rates for peacekeeping operations and decide to review the structure of the levels of the scale of assessment for such operations during its seventy-third session.

The Committee then approved without a vote a draft decision submitted by the Chair on programme budget implications relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/C.5/70/L.17), which contained implications for 11 draft resolutions.

Per section A, regarding activities under the United Nations Programme on Space Applications in 2016 (document (A/C.4/70/L.9/Rev.1), the Committee decided to inform the Assembly that its approval of the draft would require an extra $197,800 under section 6, Peaceful uses of outer space, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 as a charge against the contingency fund.

Per section B, concerning the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic (document A/C.3/70/L.47), $50,900 in extra resources would be required in the biennium, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, as a charge against the contingency fund.

Per section C, regarding developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (document A/C.1/70/L.45), an additional $1.32 million would be required in the biennium, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, and under section 4, Disarmament, as a charge against the contingency fund.

Per section D, approval of the text on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.3/70/L.39/Rev.1) would require an extra $1.13 million net of staff assessment from 1 January to 31 December 2016 to continue the Secretary-General’s good offices relating to that situation.  Those requirements would be charged against the provision for special political missions included under section 3, Political affairs, of the 2016-2017 programme budget.

Per section E, regarding draft resolution IX on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in document A/70/23, an additional $238,339 would be required in the biennium, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, as a charge against the contingency fund to cover additional costs of annual mission visits.

Per section F, containing the text on the Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-seventh session (document A/C.6/70/L.13), no additional resources would be required.

Per section G, regarding persons with albinism (document A/C.3/70/L.14/Rev.1), an additional $50,900 would be required during the biennium, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management.  Efforts would be made to absorb that amount within the 2016-2017 programme budget and the additional expenditures would be reported in the context of the relevant performance report for the same biennium.

Per section H, approval of the text on the rights of indigenous peoples (document A/C.5/70/L.26/Rev.1) would result in an extra $50,900 in resource requirements for the biennium, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, as a charge against the contingency fund.  Efforts would be made to absorb that amount within the 2016-2017 programme budget and the additional expenditures would be reported in the context of the relevant performance report for the same biennium.

Per section I, containing the text on oceans and law of the sea (document A/70/L.22), extra resource requirements of $525,400 would arise under section 8, Legal affairs ($378,400), section 29D, Office of Central Support Services ($147,000), and section 36, Staff assessment ($38,400), to be offset by the same amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the 2016-2017 proposed programme budget, as a charge against the contingency fund.

Per section J, regarding the draft on the open-ended Working Group on the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament Programme (document A/70/L.26), an extra $392,900 for the biennium would arise under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, as a charge against the contingency fund.

Lastly, per section K, approval of a draft on the organization of the 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS Programme (document A/70/L.38) would result in an extra $118,200 in resource requirements for the biennium, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, as a charge against the contingency fund.

The Committee then turned to a draft on questions relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/C.5/70/L.18), which consisted of eight parts.  By that text, the Assembly would, among other things, stress that all Member States should fulfil their financial obligations as set out in the United Nations Charter.  It would also request the Secretary-General to recruit staff to fill the posts approved in the 2016-2017 budget with a view to improving geographical representation and gender balance in the Secretariat and to fill vacancies expeditiously.  It would also decide to abolish the remaining 67 posts proposed for freezing, immediately or upon the starting date of the proposed freeze, and reduce the proposed resources for consultants by 10 per cent.

By other terms, the Assembly would decide to reduce by 5 per cent resources for supplies, materials, other staff costs, furniture, equipment and staff travel.

On overall policymaking, direction and coordination, the Assembly would further stress the importance of strengthened accountability in the Organization and of ensuring greater accountability of the Secretary-General to Member States, requesting that he submit, in the context of the proposed 2018-2019 programme budget, proposals to review the budget allocation to the Office of the Assembly President in accordance with existing procedures.

The Assembly would also approve a number of posts, and not to abolish nor reclassify several others, in the areas of political affairs, peacekeeping operations, economic and social affairs, trade and development, environment, Palestine refugees, the Office of Information and Communications Technology and administration in Geneva.  It would, in addition, abolish posts in the area of public information and at the International Court of Justice and the Economic Commission for Europe.  It would also reclassify posts in the Office of Human Resources Management.

Further by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to review the level of regular budget funding in light of the growth in the administrative budget of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  On property management projects, the Assembly would decide to allocate $550,000 for the feasibility study in Nairobi, $50,800 for renovation of the North Building at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and $400,000 for the cafeteria and library renovation at the Economic Commission for Africa.

The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then took up its report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 as contained in document A/C.5/68/L.23, parts I and II.  Comprising two segments, part I of the report contains the narrative of actions taken by the Committee and part II the Committee’s recommendations.

Turning to the draft resolution titled “Special subjects relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017” (document A/C.5/70/L.19), which covered 26 topics, among them International Public Sector Accounting Standards; Information and communications technology strategy; the Umoja enterprise resource planning project; framework for a global service delivery model; the post-2015 development and Addis Ababa Action Agendas; budget estimates for special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives; contingency fund; and property projects, including renovation of facilities at the United Nations campus in Geneva.

The Assembly would, among other things, approve $567.25 million for the 36 special political missions in the biennium 2016-2017, under section 3, Political affairs; approve $8.14 million under section 29A, Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management, for the Umoja project; and authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $7.55 million in 2016 to implement decisions in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda.  The Assembly would also note that a balance of $24.01 million remained in the contingency fund.

The representative of Cuba proposed amendments to texts concerning the concept of the “responsibility to protect.”  Despite the absence of intergovernmental agreement on that concept, the Secretary-General had appointed a Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect.  The term “responsibility to protect” should be based on the explicit recognition of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.  The budget estimates and the related narrative presented for the Special Advisor should be deleted and considered only when the Assembly decided on the concept, its implementation, scope and related matters.

The representative of Luxembourg said the members of the European Union objected to the amendments as they were outside the Committee’s scope, and therefore called for a recorded vote.

The representative of Canada, speaking also for Australia and New Zealand, seconded the call for a recorded vote, urging Member States to vote against the amendments.

The representative of Nicaragua supported the amendments, proposed by Cuba.

The representative of Iran also supported the amendments.

The proposed amendments received 15 votes in favour, 76 against, with 55 abstentions.  The amendments were thus rejected.

Then, the Committee approved L.19 as a whole.

Next the Committee approved, without a vote, a three-part resolution titled “Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017” (document A/C.5/70/L.20), which included revised budget appropriations for the biennium 2016-2017; revised income estimates for the biennium 2016-2017; and financing of the appropriations for 2016.

By part A, on the revised budget appropriations for the biennium 2016-2017, the Assembly would approve $5.4 billion for disbursement in the following categories:  $7.36 million for Overall policymaking, direction and coordination (Part I); $1.38 million for Political Affairs (Part II); $94.82 million for International justice and law (Part III); $464.6 million International cooperation for development (Part IV); $542.6 million for Regional cooperation for development (Part V); $359.78 million for Human rights and humanitarian affairs (Part VI); $1.88 million for Public information (Part VII); $598.12 million for Common support services (Part VIII); $40.21 million for Internal oversight (Part IX); $164.69 million for Jointly financed administrative activities and special expenses (Part X); $97.1 million for Capital expenditures (Part XI); $234.29 million for Safety and security (Part XII); $28.4 million for the Development Account (Part XIII); and $482.08 million for Staff assessment (Part XIV).

By part B, on revised income estimates for the biennium 2016-2017, the Assembly would resolve to approve those estimates, totalling $5.31 billion as follows:  Income from staff assessment - $486.41 million; General income - $41.23 million; and Services to the public - $3.71 million.

The Assembly would, by the text, also resolve, for part C, that for the year 2016, budget appropriations would consist of $2.92 billion, being half of the appropriation of $2.70 billion approved for the biennium 2016-2017 by the Assembly in paragraph 1 of resolution A above, plus $218.92 million, being the net increase in appropriations for the biennium 2014-2015 approved by the Assembly.  The draft also states that there should be set off against the assessment on Member States their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $252.04 million.

The Committee then approved without a vote the draft report that contained the resolution.

Turning to the draft on unforeseen and extraordinary expenses for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/C.5/70/L.21), the Committee approved the text without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General, with the prior concurrence of ACABQ and in line with the Organization’s financial regulations and rules, to enter into commitments in the coming biennium to meet unforeseen and extraordinary expenses arising either during or subsequent to the biennium, provided that the concurrence of ACABQ not be necessary for:  commitments exceeding $8 million in any one year of the biennium, as certified by the Secretary-General in relation to the maintenance of peace and security; and commitments certified by the President of the International Court of Justice as relating to expenses arising from several items detailed in the text, among them, the designation of ad hoc judges, and the calling of witnesses and experts. 

Further, it would decide that in 2016-2017, if a Security Council decision resulted in the need for more than $10 million in commitment authority, the matter should be brought to the Assembly’s attention.

Also without a vote, the Committee approved a draft on the Working Capital Fund for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/C.5/70/L.22).  By that draft, the Assembly would establish the fund for 2016-2017 in the amount of $150 million, and Member States would make advances to it in accordance with their scale of assessments for 2016.  Those should be set off against the following allocations of advances:  credits to Member States resulting from transfers made in 1959 and 1960 from the surplus account to the Working Capital Fund in an adjusted amount of $1.03 million; and cash advances paid by Member States to the Fund for the biennium 2014-2015, in accordance with Assembly resolution 68/250 of 27 December 2013.

Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved a three-part resolution, “Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017” (document A/C.5/70/L.23).  Section A of that text, concerning 2016-2017 expenditures, would have the Assembly recommend an amount of $5.4 billion for disbursement in 36 categories.  Section B of the text, on income estimates for 2016‑2017, would have the Assembly resolve that estimates of income other than assessments on Member States totalling $531.35 million would be as follows:  Income from staff assessment — $486.41 million; General income — $41.23 million; and Services to the public — $3.71 million.

The Committee then approved without a vote the draft decision on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/70/L.24), which would have the Assembly decide to defer consideration until the first part of its resumed seventieth session of the Secretary-General’s note on operational arrangements and conditions of service of ACABQ, as well as his report and that of ACABQ of the review of arrangements for funding and backstopping special political missions.  Also by the text, the Assembly would defer until its seventy-first session consideration of reports of the Secretary-General and ACABQ on the review of the recent experience of the utilization of the contingency fund.

Concluding Remarks

YUKIO TAKASU, Under-Secretary-General for Management, welcoming consensus, said the regular budget had remained fairly steady over the last four biennia, except for re-costing for inflation and currency exchange fluctuations and the special political missions.  A result of the Secretary-General’s efforts to seek efficiencies and reduce the budget, the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 was 3.5 per cent less in real terms from the previous biennium.  Despite the significant reductions, the Committee had given the go-ahead to support the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda and the financing for development agenda, for which he was grateful and awaited consideration of a comprehensive report next year on the matter.

“We uphold our obligation to you to make best use of the resources you entrust us with,” he said, but noted that the further cut of support services for public information and the common system Services – which went beyond the identified efficiencies at the last stage – would pose a challenge, especially when the Organization was in the midst of an unprecedented transformation towards a truly global Secretariat.  As demands for implementation of new mandates continued to grow, the budget decisions were essential for the ability of the Secretariat to adapt to the changing global landscape and to the Organization’s ability to deliver on the mandate entrusted to it.

DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI (Nepal), Committee Chair, said that the current main session was extraordinarily efficient and ended before Christmas Eve for the first time in many years despite the heavy workload.  He said he was privileged to see that achievement under Nepal’s chairmanship.  The accomplishment belonged to negotiators who worked tirelessly day and night to achieve consensus, as well as everyone else, including the coordinators of informal meetings, members of the Bureau and the Secretariat.

LYLE DAVIDSON (South Africa), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Committee had approved a $5.4 billion budget focused on enhancing the United Nations ability to deliver on its mandates more effectively and efficiently, and approved a common system package that was “fit for purpose” after a comprehensive review by the International Civil Service Commission.  The Group had particularly focused on protecting the development pillar of the United Nations and welcomed the policy guidance the Committee had given to the Secretariat across the draft resolutions.

JUSTIN KISOKA (United Republic of Tanzania), speaking for the African Group, praised the achievement reached in the Committee today and expressed expectations that the Secretary-General and the Organization’s managers would ensure the timely and full implementation of mandates using the scarce resources that had been just allocated after long days of negotiations.

IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union delegation, said agreements on the budget and the common system were important milestones that would define the functioning of the United Nations in the coming years.  The session showed that Member States and groups could take collective action in the Organization’s interests.  The year 2015 was not only the year of the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations, it was also the year during which several landmark multilateral agreements were agreed, he added, emphasizing that the 2016-2017 programme budget should allow the Organization to assist in reaching those goals in an effective, efficient way and enable it to discharge its often highly complex mandates.  The agreement reached on the review of the compensation package for Professional level staff should enable the Organization to continue to attract staff of the highest professional expertise and integrity.

HIROSHI MINAMI (Japan) noted that the approval of the text on the common system marked the first reform in 25 years of that system and Japan was pleased with the outcome.  He expressed a slight concern, however, with the process in determining the estimated resource requirements for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and said next year the Committee should have a more structured process for those items’ consideration.

XUEJUN GUO (China), thanking all for their hard work, said that some of the resolutions approved were not necessarily satisfactory but reflected the consensus.

OH YOUNGJU (Republic of Korea), welcoming the adoption of resolutions today, said the body had made “significant” contributions to the Organization.  It had decided the scale for assessment for 2016-2018, which would be the foundation for the Organization’s financial sustainability, and approved an “appropriate” biennium budget by making various reforms, while at the same time ensuring effective mandate implementation and providing resources for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The Committee also had modernized the compensation package for United Nations staff, which had not been modified for 25 years, in order to enhance transparency and sustainability.  Those accomplishments must be the foundation of a stronger and better United Nations.

CHERITH NORMAN CHALET (United States) said the ability to reach consensus on myriad important issues testified to the collective commitment to enable the Organization to deliver its vital mandates.  The United States would continue to build on the critical decisions made, including for a regular budget that instilled budget discipline, ensuring that staff compensation was more cost effective, mainstreaming major business transformation initiatives and guaranteeing construction projects were properly resourced and governed.

MARCIO BURITY (Angola) said the extraordinary level of commitment and engagement had demonstrated the Committee’s ability to meet deadlines.  When fully empowered, experts could produce fruitful outcomes.  Perhaps that could be used to improve working methods and efficiency.  He encouraged all delegations to carry out the spirit of engagement during the subsequent resumed sessions.

The representative of Mexico also made concluding remarks.

For information media. Not an official record.