Advisory Committee Stresses Need to Refine Report on Proposed Amendments of Staff Regulations, Rules
Speakers at the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today urged the Secretary-General to move on filling a director’s post at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Arusha while supporting a $303,500 revision in the nearly $200 million appropriation that is keeping the crucial legal mechanism running smoothly during the 2018-2019 budget cycle.
Uganda’s delegate, speaking for the African Group, noted that the revised appropriation of $195.7 million was the reduction of approximately $300,000, due to technical adjustments. She asked the Secretariat to update Member States on the recruitment process for a Director of Administration in Arusha and urged that the timely recruitment account for gender balance and geographical representation. The representative of Egypt, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, also insisted the Secretary-General make the Director post hiring a priority.
Mandated by the Security Council in 2010, the Residual Mechanism executes a variety of essential functions previously carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Chandramouli Ramanathan, Assistant Secretary-General and Acting Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the matter, noting that the $303,500 decrease in the revised biennium estimate, part of the approved $196 million budget for 2018-2019, resulted from variations in vacancy rates and exchange rates. Babou Sene, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced its eponymous report on the issue.
Martha Helena Lopez, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, presented the Secretary-General’s report on Amendments to the Staff Regulations and Rules, which aim to simplify and streamline the Organization’s regulatory framework.
Mr. Sene, introducing the Advisory Committee’s eponymous report, noted that the changes were extensive. He pointed to several issues, including changes that seem to contradict the understanding that general principles are set out in Staff Regulations while more detailed provisions are laid out in the Staff Rules and related administrative functions. In that regard, the Advisory Committee was recommending the General Assembly ask the Secretary-General to submit a refined report on the proposed amendments.
The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 12 December, to discuss special political missions.
International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
CHANDRAMOULI RAMANATHAN, Assistant Secretary-General and Acting Controller, introduced the Secretary-General’s report, “First performance report of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the biennium 2018–2019” (document A/73/491). The document pinpoints adjustments required, as at the end of the biennium’s first year, due to variations resulting from rates of inflation and exchange, standard costs, and vacancy rates assumed while calculating the initiation appropriation. The report includes a $303,500 decrease in the revised biennium estimate, which was part of the approved budget of $196 million for 2018-2019. The reduction is the result of decreases resulting from vacancy rates and exchange rates, offset partly by increases in standard costs and inflation.
BABOU SENE, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), then introduced the Committee’s report on the first performance report of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the biennium 2018-2019 (document A/73/620). He noted that the Secretary-General’s report indicates that decreases with respect to vacancy rates and exchange rates, offset in part by increases related to standard costs and inflation, will result in an overall net decrease of $303,500 in the initial appropriation of $196,024,100. The ACABQ recommends approval of the proposed revised appropriation for the International Residual Mechanism for the biennium 2018-2019 in the amount of $195,720,600, reflecting a decrease of $303,500.
KARIM ISMAIL (Egypt), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted the revised appropriation of $195.7 million represents a decrease of $303,500 from the initial amount. He stressed the need for implementation of all recommendations of the Board of Auditors in a timely manner.
He also noted that the delay in the approval of a revised budget for the Residual Mechanism, made by the General Assembly in a July 2018 resolution, may have negatively impacted the timely delivery of its mandates. The resolution called for the creation of a D-1 post to strengthen the Mechanism’s administrative functions in Arusha. He urged the Secretary-General to make the filling of this post a priority. In addition, the different functions of the Office of the President, the Prosecutor and the Registrar — the Principals — are clearly codified in the Statute of the Mechanism. This ensures the Residual Mechanism carries out its specific mandate in an efficient manner, he stressed, adding that it is important each Principal abides by the extent of its own mandate.
CAROLINE NALWANGA (Uganda), speaking for the African Group and associating herself with the “Group of 77”, noted the revised appropriation of $195.7 million, a reduction of approximately $300,000 due to technical adjustments. She commended the Residual Mechanism’s dedicated efforts on budget issues, particularly in regard to filling the vacant posts and positions that were approved in July. She also requested an update on the recruitment status for the Director of Administration (D-1), adding that all efforts should be made to ensure a timely recruitment that accounts for gender balance and geographical representation.
She went on to commend the Residual Mechanism for innovative ideas, such as setting up the annual Arusha International Organizations Open Day. This concept has brought together international and regional organizations, Government departments and the public, particularly students, to gain an insight into the Residual Mechanism’s core work. More so, she voiced her appreciation for the outstanding work of Theodore Meron, the outgoing President and welcomed his successor, Carmel Agius.
Amendments to Staff Regulations and Rules
MARTHA HELENA LOPEZ, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, presented the Secretary-General’s report, titled “Amendments to the Staff Regulations and Rules” (document A/73/378). The Amendments to the Staff Regulations and Rules will provide the foundation for a streamlined and decentralized delegation of authority framework, which will reduce bureaucracy and speed up the decision-making process. The overarching objective of the framework’s current review is to provide more concise policies, which are easier to read and understand by both managers and staff members. The simplified framework will reduce the need for policy advice and interpretation, enabling managers to effectively exercise their delegated authority. A simplified and streamlined regulatory framework will result in less bureaucracy, faster processes, enhanced transparency and more accountability of managers.
Mr. SENE introduced the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (document A/73/622), titled “Amendments to the Staff Regulations and Rules”, noting that changes covering a range of aspects in the regulatory framework on management of human resources are extensive. He pointed to a number of issues, including policy amendments that should have been proposed in the context of human resources policy reports, as well as changes that appear to contradict understanding of principles and provisions on the Regulations and Rules. He therefore recommended that the General Assembly request the Secretary-General submit a refined report on the proposed Amendments, adding that the rationale for changes should be more clearly stipulated in future reports.