General Assembly Adopts 22 Draft Resolutions from Fifth Committee Reports, Agreeing on $6.5 Billion Budget for 13 Peacekeeping Operations

GA/12161
3 July 2019
Seventy-third Session, 97th Meeting (PM)

General Assembly Adopts 22 Draft Resolutions from Fifth Committee Reports, Agreeing on $6.5 Billion Budget for 13 Peacekeeping Operations

Secretary-General Asked to Explore Options for Replenishing Special Account

The General Assembly today adopted 22 draft resolutions and 1 draft decision forwarded by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), thereby authorizing an annual United Nations peacekeeping budget of $6.51 billion for the 2019/20 fiscal year and requesting the Secretary-General explore options to improve the Organization’s cash position.

The approved peacekeeping budget, below the previous year’s level and 1.8 per cent less than the Secretary-General’s request, covers the cost of 13 peacekeeping missions from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.  It includes related funds for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy; the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda; and the peacekeeping support account.

The 193-member Assembly also adopted a draft resolution on “improving the financial situation of the United Nations”, stressing that finance serves as a foundation of and an important element of underpinning United Nations governance, supporting replenishment of the Special Account to improve the Organization’s financial situation and asking the Secretary-General to explore replenishment options. 

By the terms of that resolution, the Assembly also approved the management of the cash balances of all active peacekeeping operations as a pool while maintaining the balances in separate funds for each mission on a trial basis for three budget periods and asked the Secretary-General to ensure proper oversight and control are in place, that mandate implementation from the lending mission is not negatively impacted, and to report progress thereon annually.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking on that item, expressed regret that the resolution seeks to take from those Member States which — like the Russian Federation — pay their contributions on time and in full, when in fact the problem is caused by countries in arrears.  “This is not a real solution and could be fraught with an even worse financial situation in the long run,” he warned, disassociating himself from the consensus on that item.

While most of the texts adopted today enjoyed consensus, some drafts required recorded votes due to Member States’ diverging views.  One such text — by whose terms the Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Board of Auditors, except those that some delegations believe fall under the purview of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations — was adopted by a recorded vote of 101 in favour to 49 against with no abstentions.

Turning to two draft resolutions related to the financing of peace operations in the Middle East, the Assembly held recorded votes on oral amendments put forward, respectively, by the representatives of Syria and Israel.  The former proposed an amendment to the draft resolution on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), expressing concern that some States are seeking to alter that Mission’s strictly military mandate.  The amendment, which he said would underline the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the affairs of States, was rejected by a recorded vote of 11 in favour to 58 against with 64 abstentions.  The Assembly adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote, deciding to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force $74.04 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Also rejected was an oral amendment proposed by the representative of Israel to the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).  Underscoring his delegation’s longstanding position on that agenda item, he proposed removing specific paragraphs which serve to advance a political agenda in what should be a discussion of financial matters.  The Assembly rejected that amendment by a vote of 3 in favour (Canada, Israel, United States) to 89 against with 57 abstentions.  It then adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote, deciding to appropriate $512.12 million to the Special Account for UNIFIL for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Assembly took action on the draft resolutions contained in reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), which were introduced by Committee Rapporteur Hicham Oussihamou (Morocco).

The Assembly first adopted a draft resolution titled “Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors”, contained in a report by the same title (document A/73/671/Add.1), by a recorded vote of 101 in favour to 49 against with no abstentions.  By the text, the Assembly took note of the audit options and findings and endorsed the conclusions and recommendations in the Board of Auditors’ report concerning United Nations peacekeeping operations for the financial period ended 30 June 2018, except those contained in paragraphs 144, 149, 151, 266, 273, 280, 385 and 387 of the report, and requested the Secretary-General not implement the recommendations in those paragraphs.

Turning to the report “Programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019” (document A/73/686/Add.2), the Assembly then adopted a draft resolution contained therein titled “Estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council:  Thematic Cluster III:  regional offices, offices in support of political processes and other missions:  United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement”, without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly approved a budget in the amount of $56.16 million for the Mission and appropriate an additional amount of $56.33 million (net) of the programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019, after taking into account the estimated expenditures for 2018, amounting to $171,600.

The Assembly then turned to the report titled “Improving the financial situation of the United Nations” (document A/73/923), containing one draft resolution by the same name.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking on that item, expressed regret that the draft’s negotiation lacked an appropriate dialogue process or a proper consideration of his delegation’s constructive proposals.  Emphasizing that the Russian Federation pays its contributions to the United Nations regular budget and peacekeeping budget on time and in full, he regretted that the resolution today seeks to takes from those who pay on time and in full, despite the fact that the problem is created by those countries in arrears.  “This is not a real solution and could be fraught with creating a worse financial situation in the future,” he said, adding that the resolution does not treat the disease but only its symptoms.  While his delegation will not block the Assembly’s consensus, it cannot be responsible for violating the conditions of fiscal discipline, he said, disassociating himself from the consensus.

The resolution was then adopted without a vote.

By the terms of the text in the report, the Assembly stressed that finance serves as a foundation of and an important element of underpinning United Nations governance, supported replenishment of the Special Account to improve the Organization’s financial situation and asked the Secretary-General to explore replenishment options.  The Assembly approved the management of the cash balances of all active peacekeeping operations as a pool while maintaining the balances in separate funds for each mission on a trial basis for three budget periods and asked the Secretary-General to ensure proper oversight and control are in place, that mandate implementation from the lending mission is not negatively impacted, and to report progress thereon annually.

Further by the text, the Assembly requested the Secretary‑General to issue assessment letters for peacekeeping operations for the full budget period approved by the Assembly, subject to the availability of rates of assessments for applicable years.  The letters should include the estimated budget for the period for which the mandate had not yet been approved by the Security Council and this amount should be considered due within 30 days of the effective date of the extension of the operation’s mandate.  The Assembly requested the Secretary-General arrange quarterly briefings for Member States on the status of the reimbursements to troop- and police-contributing countries and the steps taken to ensure their timely settlement, as well as to report to on the implementation of the present resolution at its seventy-sixth session.

Next, the Assembly turned to the report titled “Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations” (document A/73/936), which contained three draft resolutions and one draft decision. 

The Assembly first adopted a draft resolution without a vote on the support account for peacekeeping operations.  By its terms, the Assembly approved the support account requirements in the amount of $348.87 million for 1 July 2019 to 30 July 2020, including $19.38 million for the enterprise resource planning project, $821,500 for the information and systems security, $868,500 for the global service delivery model project, $3.88 million for peacekeeping capability readiness and $20.8 million for Umoja maintenance and support costs, including 1,357 continuing posts and 9 new temporary costs, as well as the abolishment, redeployment, reassignment and reclassification of posts, 59 continuing and 3 new general temporary assistance positions and 52 person-months, as well as related post and non-post requirements.

It went on to adopt two draft resolutions respectively titled “Financing of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda”, by which the Assembly approved $35.39 million for the maintenance of the Centre from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, and “Financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy”, by which the Assembly approved the cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $63.38 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.  The Assembly also adopted a draft decision titled “Effective date of resolutions relating to the peacekeeping budget and special political missions” without a vote.

Turning to reports on peacekeeping missions, the Assembly first took up a report on financing of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/73/925), adopting an eponymous text contained therein by which the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNISFA $279.14 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $260.18 million for the maintenance of the Force, $14.74 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $2.63 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $1.60 million for the Regional Service Centre at Entebbe.

Next, the Assembly considered the report on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), (document A/73/933), which contained an eponymous resolution.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSCA $976.38 million from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $910.06 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $51.55 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $9.18 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $5.59 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

The Assembly then turned to the Fifth Committee’s report on the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/73/921), adopting a resolution by the same name contained therein.  By its terms, the Assembly took note of the status of contributions as of 30 April, including outstanding contributions on $9.7 million, some 0.2 per cent of the total assessed contributions, noting with concern that only 162 Member States have paid their assessments in full, and urged all Member States in arrears to ensure payment.  The Assembly, endorsing the conclusions and recommendations in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) report (document A/73/854), asked the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation.  Furthermore, the Assembly took note of the Secretary‑General’s report on the final disposition of UNOCI’s assets and would decide to include the item on the agenda for its seventy-fourth session.

The Assembly then took up the report on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/73/930), adopting the eponymous text contained therein.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNFICYP $54.17 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $50.79 million for the maintenance of the Force, $2.88 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $512,500 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Next, it considered the report on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/73/929), adopting the resolution contained therein.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for MONUSCO $1.09 billion for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $1.01 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $57.34 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $10.22 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.21 million for the Regional Service Centre.  It also decided to reduce the commitment authority of $47.92 million previously approved for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 by $532,300 to $47.39 million, bringing the total resources approved for maintaining and operating the Mission for the period to $1.19 billion, equal to the expenditures incurred by the Mission during the period.

The Assembly then took up a report on financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/73/922), adopting an eponymous text contained therein by which the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSTAH $90 million for the Mission’s maintenance from 1 July to 31 December 2017.

Next, the Assembly considered a report on financing of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) (document A/73/932), adopting a text by the same name contained therein by which the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $3.30 million for the 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 period, including $2.80 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $499,000 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Taking up a report on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/73/934), the Assembly adopted the eponymous text in the report, deciding to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIK $39.73 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $37.25 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $2.11 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $375,900 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

It then considered the report on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/73/935), adopting the text by the same name contained therein, by which terms the Assembly decided to defer action until it considers the final performance report of the Mission.  It also took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the Mission’s budget performance from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, the $6.61 million comprising the unencumbered balance of $385,100, as well as the other revenue and adjustments in the amount of $6.23 million for the same period.

The Assembly also took up the report on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/73/928), adopting the eponymous text contained therein.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSMA $1.22 billion for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $1.14 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $64.49 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $11.49 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $6.99 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

Next the Assembly took up the report on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/73/931), which contained a text by the same name.

Speaking on that item, the representative of Syria rejected the behaviour of some States which seek to alter UNDOF’s strictly military mandate.  Stressing that the concerns of the host State must be taken into account when considering any posts, he proposed an oral amendment which he said underlines the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the affairs of States.  

The Assembly then rejected the proposed amendment to the text by a vote of 11 in favour to 58 against with 64 abstentions, adopting the resolution as a whole without a vote.

The representative of Syria, speaking following the action, reiterated that the responsibility for financing the Mission should be borne by Israel, whose actions necessitated its creation.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force $74.04 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $69.41 million for the maintenance of UNDOF, $3.93 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $700,500 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Next, the Committee took up the report on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/73/920), which contained an eponymous text. 

The representative of Israel said his delegation’s longstanding position on the agenda item is unchanged.  In the current draft, it objects to preambular paragraph 4 as well as operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13, which all serve to advance a political agenda in what should be a discussion of financial matters.  He therefore proposed an oral amendment which would remove those paragraphs, which threaten to politicize the Assembly’s important work.

The Assembly then rejected that proposed amendment by a vote of 3 in favour (Canada, Israel, United States) to 89 against with 57 abstentions.  It adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate $512.12 million to the Special Account for UNIFIL for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $480.1 million for the maintenance of the Force, $27.19 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $4.85 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

The Assembly then turned to the report on financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/73/924), adopting the text contained therein by the same name.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $1.27 billion for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $1.18 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $67.03 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $11.94 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, as well as $7.26 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.  It also decided to reduce the commitment authority of $65.16 million previously approved for the same period by $28.84 million to $39.32 million, resulting in $1.11 billion in total resources approved for the Mission’s maintenance and operation for the period, equal to the expenditures incurred by the Mission during the same period.

Next, the Assembly took up the report on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/73/927), adopting an eponymous text in the report.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $60.45 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $56.35 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $3.2 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $568,700 for the United Nations Logistics Base and $345,900 for the Regional Service Centre.

It then considered the report on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/73/674/Add.1), adopting the eponymous text contained therein.  By its terms, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $257.97 million for the Operation for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2019.  The Assembly also appropriated to the Special Account for UNAMID $18.8 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $14.61 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $2.6 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $1.58 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Next, the Assembly took up the report on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/73/926), adopting a text  by the same name contained therein.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate $605.7 million to the Special Account for the United Nations Support Office in Somalia for the period from 1 July 2019 to 31 May 2020, including $564.56 million for the maintenance of the Support Office, $31.98 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $5.7 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $3.47 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Lastly, the Assembly considered the report titled “Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations” (document A/73/687/Add.2), adopting a draft decision contained therein titled “Questions deferred for future consideration”.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to defer until its seventy-fourth session consideration of several reports on closed peacekeeping missions from 2011 to 2018.

For information media. Not an official record.