16 December 2019
Seventy-fourth Session, 17th Meeting (AM)

Delegates in Fifth Committee Endorse $20 Million Budget Proposal for Special Political Mission in Haiti

Delegates in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today backed the full 2020 funding of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) at $20.4 million to help the mission created in June by the Security Council carry out its mandate to create a peaceful and stable environment.

The representative of Haiti said the Mission’s holistic approach, which envelopes peace and security, as well as economic and social matters, will support the Haitian Government as it plans and carries out free and transparent elections.  He asked the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), which recommended a budget reduction of $103,400, to restore the full amount of $20.4 million proposed by the Secretary-General.

BINUH, which began operating in October 2019, has taken the reins from the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), which, in 2017, replaced the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said he also is concerned with the $103,400 reduction as the mission’s successful operation is crucial.  The promotion and maintenance of international peace and security is a core priority for CARICOM members and they retain a vested interest in peacekeeping matters and operations.  “As a group of small island developing States, we are fully aware of the intricate relationship between peace and security, and the attainment of sustainable growth and development,” he said.

The representative of Mexico, also speaking for Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Uruguay, said the first United Nations peace mission in Haiti was established 25 years ago.  Since then, eight consecutive United Nations peace operations have contributed to peace and stability in the country.  The new mission, along with the United Nations country team, is helping Haiti strengthen its rule of law, promote and protect human rights, reform the security sector and conduct inclusive national dialogue, with a view to conflict prevention and sustainable development.  The full allocation is essential for building a viable, sustainable future in Haiti.

Chandramouli Ramanathan, United Nations Controller and Assistant Secretary‑General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on the proposed programme budget for 2020.  In addition to operational costs, the proposed $20.4 million in resources for BINUH would deploy up to 13 United Nations police personnel, 2 Government-provided personnel and 114 civilian personnel.

Cihan Terzi, Chair of ACABQ, introduced its related reports, and noted that the Secretary-General put forth a budget of $643.87 million for 37 special political missions in 2020.  Now, an additional requirement of $74 million is being proposed to finance the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) and BINUH, or $53.6 million and $20.39 million, respectively, in 2020.  As a result, overall resources for special political missions for next year would increase $6.17 million, or 0.9 per cent, from 2019.  For the mission in Haiti, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Secretary-General keep seeking opportunities for co‑location and cost-sharing with other United Nations system entities.

Mr. Ramanathan had noted that the $53.6 million proposed for the UNMHA is 4.5 per cent less compared to the approved budget for 2019.  He also introduced the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates for the 2020 budget to support the Office of the United Nations Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator, which include 51 general temporary assistance positions, with a phased downsizing during the period from 1 January to 30 June 2020.

Finally, Mr. Ramanathan introduced a Secretariat statement regarding the programme budget implications of a Third Committee draft resolution titled “Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes”.  The Secretary-General had initially requested resources of $193,300.  Yet, after the statement was issued, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management decided it could absorb the additional workload without the need for an extra $138,000.

Turning to the issue of secondment, Jonathan Ball, Chief of the Office of Human Resources Management’s Strategic Policy Development Service in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, introduced the Secretary-General’s note regarding Seconded Active-Duty Military and Police Personnel.  Circulated to Member States on 17 October, the note asked them to provide information on potential conflicts between national legislation and the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules, as well as on remuneration and benefits provided to seconded active-duty officers.

The Fifth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 17 December, to discuss proposed programme budget 2020 implications regarding the Dag Hammarskjöld Investigation; the contingency fund as regards the consolidated statement of programme budget implications and revised estimates; exchanges rates and inflation; and financing for peacekeeping missions.

For information media. Not an official record.