4 April 2018
Seventy-second Session, 81st Meeting (PM)

General Assembly Adopts Five Texts, Including on Staff Air Travel, High-Level Meeting concerning Tuberculosis

The General Assembly today adopted five texts on matters with financial implications, ranging from the downgrading of standards of accommodation for staff air travel to the modalities of a special meeting on the global fight against tuberculosis, in line with the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

Introducing the Fifth Committee’s reports on those and other agenda items, Rapporteur Felipe García Landa (Mexico) told the 193-member body that they had been considered by the Committee at its 14-29 March resumed session.  The resolutions and decisions contained therein now required action by the Assembly, he said, recalling that the Committee had adopted them all without a vote.

Acting first on a plenary resolution titled “Scope, modalities, format and organization of the high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis” (document A/72/L.40), the Assembly decided, without a vote, to hold the summit on the second day of its seventy-third annual general debate.  It further decided that the meeting would consist of an opening segment, two multi-stakeholder panels and a brief closing session, focusing on the overarching theme “United to end tuberculosis:  an urgent global response to a global epidemic”.

For its consideration of that item, the Assembly had before it a related report of the Fifth Committee on the high-level meeting’s projected programme budget implications (document A/72/811).  It indicated that the event would require $59,700, including $49,800 under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council Affairs and Conference Management, and $9,900 under section 28, Public Information, of the 2018-2019 programme budget.

Turning to the resolutions and decisions forwarded to it by the Fifth Committee, the Assembly first adopted, without a vote, a resolution on “Special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019”, contained in paragraph 6 of a Fifth Committee report titled “Programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019” (document A/72/681/Add.1).  By its terms, the Assembly, recalling a related Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) report on standards of accommodation for air travel, decided to eliminate the use of first-class travel by United Nations Under‑Secretaries‑Generals and Assistant Secretaries‑Generals, including when they represent the Secretary-General, for their official travel.  The Assembly encouraged non-staff entitled to travel first class — with the exception of representatives of least developed countries — to voluntarily downgrade to the class immediately below.  It also requested the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report on standards of accommodation for air travel at its seventy-third session.

Further to its terms, the Assembly decided to reinstate travel days and maintain the 70 per cent lump-sum payment for entitlement travel while looking forward to a comprehensive analysis of implementation of that option.  It requested the Secretary-General to deliver recommendations concerning a single threshold for the use of business class by staff — and eligible family members — below the Assistant Secretary-General level.  Among other things, the Assembly also decided that changes set out in the resolution would not affect current standards of accommodation for air travel and daily subsistence allowances for members of United Nations organs, subsidiary organs, committees, councils and commissions.

Turning to a report of the Fifth Committee on the Joint Inspection Unit (document A/72/810), the Assembly adopted a resolution contained therein by the same name without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly took note of the Unit’s report for 2017 and programme of work for 2018.  It reiterated its request to the executive heads of the participating organizations to fully comply with the statutory procedures for consideration of the Unit’s reports, and in particular, submit their comments to distribute reports in time for consideration by legislative organs, and to provide information on the steps to be taken to implement recommendations accepted by those organs and the executive heads of participating organizations.

Also by the text, the Assembly stressed the importance of the oversight functions of the Unit in identifying concrete managerial, administrative and programming questions within the participating organizations and providing the Assembly with action-oriented recommendations to improve governance of the United Nations.  It also welcomed the completion of the migration of the web-based tracking system and the website of the Unit to platforms hosted by the Secretariat, and requested heads of participating organizations to make full use of the Unit’s web-based tracking system.  By further terms, heads of participating organizations were encouraged to examine options to improve coordinated action, including through the Chief Executives Board for Coordination.

Taking up a Fifth Committee report on Financing of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (document A/72/669/Add.1), the Assembly adopted, also without a vote, a text titled “Construction of a new facility for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Arusha branch”.  By its terms, the General Assembly took note of the Secretary-General’s report on that matter (document A/72/734) and endorsed the conclusions and recommendations in a related report of ACABQ (document A/72/785).

Acting again without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft decision on “questions deferred for future consideration”, contained in paragraph 5 of a Fifth Committee report titled “Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations” (document A/72/682/Add.1).  By its terms, the Assembly decided to defer until the second part of its resumed seventy‑second session consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on the results of the survey to support the review of the standard rate of reimbursement to troop- and police-contributing countries (document A/72/728) and ACABQ’s corresponding report (document A/72/771).  It also decided to defer until the main part of its seventy-third session consideration of Secretary-General’s report on the review of the experience of the utilization of the contingency fund (document A/70/395) and ACABQ’s related report (document A/70/7/Add.7).

The General Assembly will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

For information media. Not an official record.