The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), continuing its first resumed session, put a spotlight on human resources management today, with delegates hailing progress towards gender parity among the Secretariat’s more than 37,000 staff members worldwide while also pressing for greater efforts to recruit personnel on as wide a geographical basis as possible.
Guyana’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed concern that the number of Member States with no nationals working in the Secretariat has reached 21, with another 40 countries deemed to be underrepresented. A more well-balanced distribution is paramount, and she suggested the Secretary-General use tools similar to those used to address the question of gender balance. “We should not shy away from embracing changes that come to the advance of our organization,” she said.
She praised an ongoing increase in the number of female staff — now at 36.8 per cent of global Secretariat staff — but emphasized that the number of women in senior positions remains less than 50 per cent. She likewise expressed concern that the average age of Secretariat staff stood at 45.7 years in 2018. Efforts must be made to recruit a younger workforce to serve as the basis for a smooth transfer of institutional knowledge, she said.
The European Union’s delegate similarly expressed support for rejuvenating staff, adding that linguistic diversity should be adequately reflected in human resources management. Training for staff and managers — and a smoother transition from general service to professional categories — would give staff the opportunity to fully develop their careers. He also emphasized the need to maintain a culture of ethics and transparency and welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to streamline the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules.
Singapore’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), commended efforts to advance gender parity, adding, however, that it remains unclear that similar attention has been given to equitable geographical representation, especially at senior levels. He urged the Secretary-General to improve the recruitment and retention of staff, with more being done to create equal opportunities for candidates from developing countries.
Botswana’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, emphasized the importance of taking the concerns of developing countries into consideration and drew attention to a low rate of gender parity in field operations.
The Russian Federation’s representative, meanwhile, warned against creating new artificial barriers to the selection of candidates and expressed concern about making gender parity a priority. Rejecting qualified male candidates for hiring or promotion in the interests of gender parity would be a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and Assembly resolutions on human resource management.
The representative of the United States reiterated her country’s support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to shift the Organization’s management paradigm to eliminate silos, encourage collaboration and build the networked and inclusive multilateralism required to meet twenty-first century challenges. “We are getting closer to realizing this vision, but we are not there yet,” she said.
With the Committee now focusing its main session on the Secretariat’s annual regular budget, delegates are — for the first time — taking up important human resources management questions in the first resumed session, an arrangement that should avoid relevant topics being overshadowed by other issues. The Committee failed to reach a consensus on human resources management during its two previous main sessions.
Martha Helena Lopez, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources, introduced the Secretary-General’s report titled “Composition of the Secretariat: staff demographics”, which put the total number of Secretariat staff as of 31 December 2018 at 37,505 — a slight decrease of 600 or 1.6 per cent from a year earlier. The ratio of female staff to total staff increased slightly from 34.4 per cent in 2015 to 36.8 per cent, she said, adding that 48.7 per cent of all appointments in 2018 were women. “The Organization is determined to accelerate this trend by leveraging the forecasted retirements for the period up to 2023 […] as opportunities to work towards gender parity,” she stated.
Sukai Prom-Jackson, Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit, presented its in-depth study into the way that the Organization is managing what she called “an unprecedented level of reform”. Highlighting some of the key findings, she said that aligning organizational culture and individual benefits is key to managing effective change. “If staff understands the benefits of change and what is in it for them, they are more likely to participate and adopt the change successfully,” she said.
Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced its related report, which recommended that the General Assembly request the Secretary-General to submit a refined global human resources strategy during its seventy-fifth session — opening in September 2020 — that would include corrective policy measures for achieving equitable geographical distribution, gender parity, balance in the selection of internal and external candidates, and career development opportunities.
Simona Petrova, Director of the Secretariat and Secretary of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, presented a related note from the Secretary-General conveying his comments and those of Board members.
In other business, the Fifth Committee took up reports on the construction of a new facility for the Arusha branch of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and the Secretary-General’s assessment of the functions, structure and capacity of the Police Division, which creates policy and guidance and defines the parameters of international police peacekeeping. The Chairman of the Advisory Committee presented its related reports.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Republic of Tanzania, Switzerland (speaking also for Liechtenstein), Australia (speaking also for Canada and New Zealand), Philippines, Morocco, Oman and Libya.
Financing of International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
OLUFEMI ELIAS, Assistant Secretary-General, Registrar of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, introduced the Secretary-General’s report (document A/74/662) on the construction of the premises for the Mechanism in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania. Speaking from Arusha, he said that the branch there continued to make full use of its new home on Lakilaki hill, as construction significantly progressed towards full completion and remains within the approved $8.8 million budget. As a regional showcase for the United Nations work, the courtroom building hosted a review hearing in the Ngirabatware case in September 2019 and will see new judicial activity in 2020 in the complex multi-accused Turinabo et al case.
Noting that the report also outlines lessons learned and best practices applied by the project team, he said that the Mechanism has achieved formal closure of the punch-list and made progress in settling final accounts. It engaged with the contractor and reached a formal agreement on the final valuation of outstanding punch-list items, an amount deducted from the final payment to the contractor. The Mechanism also considered its options for the recovery of direct and indirect costs arising from errors and delays, where economically feasible to do so. It informed the contractor that it would seek $230,000 to recover damages due to delays, an amount similarly withheld from the final payment owed. This assessment was deemed to adequately balance the Organization’s rights and interests, and at the same time, achieve completion of the project as quickly as possible, he assured, noting that the contractor indicated its intention to contest this decision, but there have been no related developments.
He said that the Mechanism continues to explore the viability of each possible avenue for the recovery of costs stemming from design defects or delays that may be attributable to the architect, and pending further evaluation, it has retained the $77,000 payment owed to the architect. As a result of these issues, progress on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning remediation works stalled and, unable to make progress with the existing contractor, the Mechanism contracted an independent consultancy firm to develop the solicitation documents. In October 2019, the consultant provided guidance on immediate remediation works aimed at partially addressing the insufficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning performance, most of which the Mechanism has implemented in-house, with positive effect. The consultant also produced a new design aimed at maximizing the use of existing components, with minimal redundancy and cost for the United Nations. All efforts are being made to ensure that remedial works are completed within the overall project budget, he said, adding that detailed information will be included in the performance report on the Mechanism’s budget for 2020.
ABDALLAH BACHAR BONG, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced it related report (document A/74/707), expressing regret that, more than three years after occupancy, further delays occurred in the completion of the closeout phase of this project. With remediation works to be completed, contractual claims to be settled and the final project expenditure — including any balance to be returned to Member States — unavailable, he said the Secretary-General’s categorization of his report as final is “premature”. Thus, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Secretary-General intensify efforts to complete the project without further delay and within the approved resources, and that he submit a final report to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session. Among other things, the final report should contain comprehensive information on the conclusion of all pending activities, an updated list of lessons learned and best practices, and information on the final settlement of accounts. In this respect, he emphasized that the United Nations should not bear the responsibility for any direct or indirect costs resulting from design defects and delays attributable to its contractual partners.
MEGAYLA ULANA AUSTIN, (Guyana), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that remediation of defects of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, whose functioning is critical for preserving the archives, remains a major challenge affecting the completion and closure of the project. She urged the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts in this regard and, having noted the ongoing cooperation between the Mechanism and the Economic Commission for Africa, similarly urged collaboration with other duty stations with adequate technical capabilities. Aware that the settlement of claims and liabilities form an important part of the project closure, the Group will seek to understand the final project cost during the informal session. She called on the Secretary-General to intensify efforts to ensure expeditious, judicious and amicable settlement of this matter. The construction experience in Arusha, and that of other capital projects, will contribute to the global guidelines for the management of construction projects. With a number of issues still to be addressed, she expressed support for resubmission of the final report to allow Member States to benefit from updated information on pending issues.
KATLEGO BOASE MMALANE (Botswana), speaking for the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, noting that the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system does not meet air and humidity standards necessary for the archives, encouraged continued the partnership between the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Mechanism. Welcoming the documentation of lessons learned, and having noted the recovery of $230,000 in direct and indirect costs as well as the contractor’s contestation of this decision, he urged the Secretary-General to ensure that this matter is brought to a safe conclusion. He expressed surprise that the Secretary-General’s report does not present sufficient analysis of the costs to be recovered from the architect, who is the main source for the delay, due to the design error in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The African Group will be interested to learn what arrangements are in place to hold the architect accountable. More broadly, he said the projected timeframes remain unrealistic as work to correct the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system remains unknown and negotiations are ongoing. The Group will be interested to learn of the revised timeframe and receive updates on the cost parameters for the corrective work during informal consultations. He also agreed on the need to resubmit the final report, as such matters as correction of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and settlement of accounts remain unresolved. He urged the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to address all such pending measures.
SONGELAEL W. SHILLA (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the African Group, and noting that remediation related to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is the main obstacle to the project’s closure, expressed full support for measures taken by the Mechanism to engage the consulting firm. He looked forward to learning about the cost parameters for outstanding work during informal consultations, also stressing that the projected timeframe is not realistic, based on the experience observed in Arusha and on other construction projects. He urged the Secretariat to provide a feasible timeframe to make an informed decision. As for steps to recover direct and indirect costs stemming from contractor errors, the Secretariat only focused on the part of the contractor; no information is available on errors by the architect. He called on the United Nations to take additional steps to hold everyone accountable for this delay. As a key partner in this project, the United Republic of Tanzania encourages the Secretary-General to take all measures to ensure that such issues do not escalate into litigation and expose the United Nations to reputational and financial risks.
Human Resources Management
MARTHA HELENA LOPEZ, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources, introduced the Secretary-General’s report “Composition of the Secretariat: staff demographics” (document A/74/82), which contains a demographic analysis of the composition of the Secretariat’s staff from 1 January to 31 December 2018. Among other things, it put the total number of Secretariat staff as of 31 December 2018 at 37,505, a slight decrease of 600 or 1.6 per cent from a year earlier. That reflected a decrease of staff for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and 32 other entities. Forty-six per cent of staff were in field operations at the end of 2018, compared to 51 per cent in 2015, while 54 per cent were at Headquarters or other offices, compared with 49 per cent in 2015. Overall, from 2015 to 2018, the total number of Secretariat staff declined by 8.7 per cent.
She pointed out that the report also details the sources of funding of Secretariat staff, noting that 35 per cent of staff are in posts funded from the Organization’s regular budget, 40 per cent from the peacekeeping budget and 25 per cent from extrabudgetary and other sources. The ratio of female staff to total staff increased slightly from 34.4 per cent in 2015 to 36.8 per cent, she said, adding that 48.7 per cent of all appointments in 2018 were women. “The Organization is determined to accelerate this trend by leveraging the forecasted retirements for the period up to 2023 […] as opportunities to work towards gender parity.” She went on to say that the average age of staff has largely remained constant over the past five years, with a slight increase from 44.2 years to 45.7 years, adding that Tables 30 and 31 of the report offer insights about recruitment opportunities to improve the representation of unrepresented and underrepresented Member States in the Secretariat’s staff.
Mr. BACHAR BONG presented the ACABQ’s related report (document A/74/696), saying that the Advisory Committee has long stressed the need for a more extensive analysis of the statistical data in the Secretary-General’s report, including an identification of the reasons for different staff demographic patterns. The General Assembly should request the Secretary-General to submit a refined global human resources strategy during its seventy-fifth session that would include corrective policy measures for achieving equitable geographical distribution, gender parity, balance in the selection of internal and external candidates, and career development opportunities.
He noted with concern an increase in the number of unrepresented and underrepresented Member States among Secretariat staff, adding that the Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly request the Secretary-General develop a strategy for equitable geographical representation and to submit information thereon during its seventy-fifth session. He went on to reiterate ACABQ’s concern about the reduction in the number of entry-level Professional posts and the Organization’s ability to attract and develop young talent. “On the other hand,” he added, “while the number of high-level staff has recently decreased, the Committee emphasizes that the top-heaviness of the Organization should be monitored,” with any future proposals to establish high-level positions made subject to a review of existing functions and structures to minimize possible overlaps in high-level functional responsibilities.
SUKAI PROM-JACKSON, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit, presented its report titled “Review of change management in United Nations systems organizations” (document JIU/REP/2019/4), which the Unit undertook in response to a recognition that the United Nations is undergoing “an unprecedented level of reform”. She defined change management as the means through which to prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt a change in order to drive organizational success and deliver positive outcomes. Evidence from thousands of case studies from the public and private sector have shown that organizational reforms often fail to achieve their intended goals due primarily to weaknesses in leadership, management, communications and engagement with those implementing reforms and changing the way they work. The Unit’s report highlights the significance of change management as a strategic priority worthy of consideration, provides guidance on the critical elements of successful change management and discusses ways they can be applied throughout the United Nations system. In preparing the report, the Unit studied 47 organizational reforms from across 26 United Nations system organizations during the 2010-2018 period.
Highlighting some of the key findings, she said that change management is understood and applied in different ways across the United Nations system. Twenty per cent of reforms studied showed no evidence of change management, compared with 30 per cent that incorporated most key elements of change management. The remaining 50 per cent manifested mixed results. Twenty per cent of the reforms studied earmarked budgets for change management, she said, noting that if the results and benefits of change management cannot be attributed to a budget, then the investment and return on investment may not be clearly visible. The study also found that aligning organizational culture and individual benefits is key to managing effective change. “If staff understands the benefits of change and what is in it for them, they are more likely to participate and adopt the change successfully,” she said, noting that several United Nations system organizations pay close attention to culture, behaviour and attitude as an integral part of reform. She went on to emphasize that change management capacity embedded in an organization’s structure can play a critical role to coordinate reforms and build on lessons over time. One third of organizations have established units to coordinate change management, she said, adding that in an era of constant change, all organizations should consider having such units. She added that, for system-wide coherence and collaboration, the United Nations Laboratory for Organizational Change and Knowledge, known as UNLOCK, should continue to be supported as a mechanism for learning and the sharing of experiences within the United Nations system.
SIMONA PETROVA, Director of the Secretariat and Secretary of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), introduced the related note by the Secretary-General (document A/74/669/Add.1), which conveys his comments and those of Board members. Welcoming the report, its findings and recommendations, she said that staff at all levels are an integral part of any reform journey. Change management approaches are most successful when they are dynamically tailored within a specific context over a period of time. She expressed caution, however, towards the Unit’s recommendation of adopting a single change management methodology across the United Nations system. Overall, organizations mostly supported the provisions of the proposed recommendations, she said, noting that the High-Level Committee on Management frequently engages with the Laboratory and plans to include it on the agenda of its upcoming meeting.
Ms. AUSTIN (Guyana), speaking for the Group of 77 and China, underscored the utmost importance that staff implement United Nations mandates in an environment that reflects diversity, flexibility and dynamism, and that they are motivated and adequately compensated. While noting efforts by the Secretary-General to improve the geographical representation, she expressed concern over an increase in the number of unrepresented countries, now numbering 21, as well as the 40 underrepresented countries. A more well-balanced distribution is paramount, and she suggested the Secretary-General use tools similar to those used to address the question of gender balance. The number of appointments to posts subject to geographical distribution of staff from over-represented countries, and countries within range, is considerably high: 45 and 49 appointments respectively. “We should not shy away from embracing changes that come to the advance of our organization,” she said. While welcoming the increase in the number of female staff — now at 36.8 per cent of global Secretariat staff — she nonetheless pointed out that the number of women in senior positions is less than 50 per cent. She likewise expressed concern about the ageing of Secretariat staff, with an average of 45.7 years in 2018. It is important that efforts are made to recruit a younger workforce to serve as the basis for a smooth transfer of institutional knowledge.
Turning to the Joint Inspection Unit, she said the Fifth Committee should continue to benefit from the quality input provided by the Unit. Assessing the results of the United Nations organizational reforms recently undertaken is of utmost importance. The Unit review is a useful tool to inform and guide United Nations system organizations in carrying out or planning such reforms, she said, noting that staff members and managers should be fully engaged with such changes. Efforts also must be made to ensure that the numerous administrative reforms undertaken are effective and that their results are beneficial to the United Nations before any new reforms are initiated. Further, the role of staff, at all levels, is essential in order for any reform to be successful. She urged leaders to engage with the reforms and to encourage staff under their supervision to do the same, recalling that “the United Nations has from its founding been a people-centred Organization”.
JAN DE PRETER, European Union, said that improved human resources and an empowered staff will ensure better use of resources to support programme delivery and mandate implementation. Noting that the United Nations workforce should continue to embody the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, he said the gender parity achieved at senior levels should be continued, particularly in field missions. He also expressed support for rejuvenating staff, noting that linguistic diversity should be adequately reflected in human resources management. Training for staff and managers and a smoother “G to P” transition is necessary in order to provide people the opportunity to fully develop their careers. A well-functioning mobility framework is also important, and he wished to explore options that allow for a better cross-fertilization of ideas and experiences — notably between the Headquarters and the field. Reforms and change management require regular and considerable efforts by personnel, and training can accompany staff through these complex processes. A strong accountability framework is essential. It is of utmost importance to maintain a culture of ethics and transparency and he recommended reinforcing the independence of the Ethics Office. Noting that the European Union attaches great importance to the proposed amendments to United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to make them easier to work with and more accessible, in line with the reforms agreed to two years ago.
TSU TANG TERRENCE TEO (Singapore), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), underscored the imperative that amid ongoing reforms, human resources management policies also evolve in tandem. While commending efforts to advance gender parity, it is not clear that similar attention has been given to equitable geographical representation, especially at senior levels. ASEAN will play close attention to discussions on the system of desirable ranges and how it can be enhanced. He urged the Secretary-General to improve the recruitment and retention of staff, particularly to achieve equitable geographical representation at all levels. More should be done to create equal opportunities for candidates from developing countries. For greater accountability, he requested the Secretary-General to regularly report outcomes that demonstrate improved geographical representation to the General Assembly. As training has been curtailed due to liquidity challenges, he said consistent investment in developing staff is a cornerstone of a sustainable Organization. “Putting off such expenditures to save cash in the short-term would be detrimental to the United Nations ability to deliver on its mandates,” he said.
MIKE MARTIN AMMANN (Switzerland), speaking also for Liechtenstein, underscored the importance of achieving consensus on human resources management during the current session and reducing the backlog of pressing human resources issues. While welcoming the Secretary-General’s efforts to enhance human resources management, the United Nations needs a modern system that supports a productive workforce to create a more results-oriented Organization. It is important that the Fifth Committee use its time efficiently and his delegation stands ready to fully engage to achieve a meaningful outcome. He called on all other delegations to do likewise and demonstrate their willingness to compromise in order to bring this agenda item to a successful conclusion.
JILLIAN RUTH REES (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, agreed with the importance of a modern and diverse workforce — one that features gender parity and upholds the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. Human resources management is a critical part of the Secretary-General’s reform efforts as well as a tremendously important agenda item, with many different elements to it. The Fifth Committee should strive for an outcome on each report, including those from previous sessions that remain outstanding, to give the Secretary-General a clear direction and to guide future reports. She expressed regret that the Committee failed to reach consensus on human resources management during its seventy-third main session, adding however that Australia, Canada and New Zealand remain optimistic that consensus will be achieved during the current resumed session.
SHAWN DUNCAN (United States) reiterated her delegation’s support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to shift the Organization’s management paradigm to eliminate silos, encourage collaboration and build the networked and inclusive multilateralism required to meet twenty-first century challenges. “We are getting closer to realizing this vision, but we are not there yet,” she said. Ensuring a United Nations that is fit for purpose requires a performance management system that enables managers to reward and retain high-performing staff and to retrain or remove underperformers. A strong draft resolution on human resources management will frame and reinforce the joint resolve of managers, donors and partners to bring about change, leaving behind the working methods and mindsets of the past. She underscored the United States’ appreciation for the diligent work and determination of the Organization’s staff, especially those serving in extremely challenging environments, whose efforts are essential for ensuring peace, security and human rights for all the world’s people.
KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines), welcoming the streamlining of the policy framework for strategic human resources management, expressed support for a geographically diverse and gender balanced international workforce. “Equitable geographical representation and gender parity provide a strong foundation for an efficient and effective United Nations,” she said. Citing a decrease in the number of staff between 2017 and 2018, and slight increase in the proportion of staff in the Professional and higher categories, she noted with concern an increase in the number of underrepresented Member States, without sufficient analysis of the underlying reasons and recommendations to reverse this trend. She looked forward to discussing with the Secretariat the protection of general service staff and those employed on fixed-term contracts across all regions, as well as developments in staff movements. She supported the ACABQ call for a more extensive analysis on the matter.
HIND JERBOUI (Morocco), endorsing the Group of 77 and China statement, said human resources reforms form a crucial part of the Secretary-General’s vision, and she expressed full support for amending Staff Regulations and Rules, which aim to make the United Nations more flexible, effective and transparent. Welcoming the gender parity achieved at senior levels, which will have a positive effect on the Secretariat’s functioning, progress made to ensure greater women’s representation in the Secretariat and efforts to ensure equitable geographic distribution, she reiterated full support for those principles. She also called for supporting the Secretary-General’s efforts towards better human resources management, without which the United Nations will be unable to face current challenges.
SALEH JAAID HAMED AL HADDABI (Oman), associating himself with the Group of 77, referred to the Advisory Committee’s report, stressing the importance of analysing the challenges that impede implementation of the Assembly’s recommendations on geographical distribution. He aligned himself with other delegations that spoke on the question of unrepresented and underrepresented Member States and expressed support for a transparent and feasible strategy to ensure equitable geographical distribution. He also stressed the importance of regular reporting to the Assembly on progress being made in that regard.
EVGENY V. KALUGIN (Russian Federation) said that the Secretary-General’s report is lacking in terms of analysis on staffing trends. He warned against the creation of new artificial barriers to the selection of candidates and expressed concern about making gender parity a priority. Rejected qualified male candidates for hiring or promotion in the interests of gender parity would be a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and Assembly resolution on human resource management. He noted with regret a lack of initiatives to increase the number of hired external candidates and to improve geographical distribution. To avoid turning the United Nations into a closed shop, the Fifth Committee must work closely on the basis of existing proposals from the Secretary-General, he added.
SHOKRI S. I. BENHAMIDA (Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77, welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts at human resource management reform, including those aimed at attracting and deploying distinguished youth. Further reforms should emphasize the development of human resources through modern training and educational methods that optimize technological progress. Equitable geographical distribution and gender parity are cornerstones of both the Secretary-General’s reforms and the United Nations values, he said, adding that reforms will hopefully give all Member States the opportunity to participate equitably in all the Organization’s agencies, funds and programmes.
Mr. MMALANE (Botswana), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, stressed the importance of human resource management for all Member States. He raised a few points in addition to those mentioned by the Group of 77, including the need for the Fifth Committee to better understand the challenges involved in staff selection and equitable geographical distribution. He emphasized the importance of taking the concerns of developing countries into consideration and drew attention to a low rate of gender parity in field operations.
LUIS CARRILHO, United Nations Police Adviser and Director of the Police Division, presented the Secretary-General’s assessment of the functions, structure and capacity of the Police Division (document A/74/223), recalling that recent reviews called for critical improvements to facilitate law and order in host States. Adapting to 2019 cross-pillar reforms and building on both the Action for Peacekeeping Declaration and Security Council resolution 2436 (2018), the Division has undertaken several initiatives, some of which required extra-budgetary funds. For example, the United Nations Police Training Architecture Programme develops training for police-contributing countries and links to recruitment assessments. Processes related to United Nations assistance have been streamlined to strengthen predeployment readiness. To advance operational effectiveness, the Standing Police Capacity is being deployed and the number of female police officers has increased.
He said that as a focal point for policing and law enforcement, the Division focuses on providing support on these matters to entities across the United Nations system; ensuring coordination and coherence in the delivery of policing expertise and technical assistance; providing a single regional political-operational structure; and reinforcing partnerships with Member States’ police services. That said, the Division’s priority remains peacekeeping and its backstopping support. Concerning resource implications, he said the Secretary-General’s assessment finds that the growing need for specialized expertise should be supported by a commensurate increase in the Division’s capacity. It suggests strengthening the Division’s liaison capacity with other regional offices and concludes that the reform has “strengthened and enhanced” United Nations police responsibilities. Greater capacity for evaluation and oversight, training, planning, policy, police reform and specialized expertise in organized crime, along with travel resources, is essential in order to match the growing demands for specialized police support.
Mr. BACHAR BONG presented the ACABQ’s related report (document A/74/702). The Advisory Committee requested more information on the mandate of the system-wide service provider, including with respect to the resident coordinator system. It was informed that while the report currently does not have budgetary implications, potential financial implications would arise under the peacekeeping support account submission for 2020/21 or 2021/22, and the programme budget for 2020. The Advisory Committee will examine any related financial implications when submitted by the Secretary-General to the Assembly. He recommended that the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General’s report, subject to its comments and observations.
SONDRA DAWN CHEONG (Guyana), speaking for the Group of 77 and China, said the Police Division plays a crucial role in maintaining global peace and security, and in restoring stability to the countries of deployment. Its revitalization is essential. As the Division is a focal point for all policing matters across the United Nations system, there should be a commensurate increase in capacity resources, given the Division’s importance in the peace and security pillar and growing need for expertise. Such a decision would be aligned with Security Council resolution 2382 (2017) and General Assembly resolution 72/304, endorsing the report by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Given the Division’s centrality to peace operations, adequate resources in critical gap areas are needed, as is streamlining throughout the Division.