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GA/AB/4368
29 June 2021
Seventy-fifth Session, 15th Meeting* (PM)

Fifth Committee Approves $6.37 Billion Budget for 12 Peacekeeping Missions from July 2021 to June 2022, Concluding Resumed Session

Concluding the second part of its resumed session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today sent 19 draft resolutions and 1 draft decision to the General Assembly, asking it to authorize an annual United Nations peacekeeping budget of $6.37 billion.

The approved peacekeeping budget would cover the cost of 12 peacekeeping missions from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.  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.

At the start of the second resumed session, which traditionally focuses on the peacekeeping budget, the Secretary-General proposed a $6.47 billion budget to cover the cost of a dozen United Nations peacekeeping missions in 2021/22.  (See Press Release GA/AB/4366.)

All but one of the 19 texts approved today were adopted without a vote.  The exception, dealing with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), was adopted by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with no abstentions, after the Committee rejected, also by recorded vote, an oral amendment proposed by Israel to delete four paragraphs referring to the shelling of a UNIFIL compound in Qana, Lebanon, by the Israeli armed forces on 18 April 1996.

The second resumed session marked the second time in as many years that the Committee — in which all Member States are represented — negotiated the Organization’s peacekeeping budget mostly through virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guinea’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that despite a challenging session, the Committee avoided a shutdown of peacekeeping operations that would have come on 1 July.  Consensus was the result of extreme compromise, she said, adding that better outcomes could have been achieved.

Mali’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, appealed for changes to the Committee’s working methods, noting that negotiations on the new peacekeeping budget concluded just a few hours earlier.  He also deplored a “natural trend” of cutting peacekeeping resources despite the Secretary-General’s best efforts to present the most disciplined budget possible.

The United States’ representative said that the approved peacekeeping budget is less than what the Secretariat requested, but voiced regret — as did other speakers — that the Committee had yet again failed to adopt a draft resolution on cross-cutting issues.

The European Union’s representative, in the same vein, said the Committee has a responsibility to provide guidance to the Secretariat on issues such as environmental protection, sexual exploitation and abuse, safety and security of peacekeepers and mission performance.  “Our chronic inability to respect deadlines puts the entire peacekeeping architecture in unprecedented jeopardy,” he added, emphasizing that had the Committee not finished its work on time, the Secretary-General would have been compelled to shut down peacekeeping operations.

Bangladesh’s representative, speaking as the leading troop-contributing country, said it now is imperative to ensure that the peacekeeping budget is fully implemented while also ensuring accountability.  He added that Member States have an obligation to ensure sufficient cash flow to the Organization.

Carlos Amorín (Uruguay), Committee Chair, said that there are some positive aspects to virtual meetings, but face-to-face negotiations can have a deeper impact when it comes to reaching consensus.  He joined other speakers in underscoring the importance of peacekeeping missions, saying:  “We must defend them, we must support them in any way we can.”

In other business, the Committee elected by acclamation Mohammed Abdulaziz Alateek (Saudi Arabia) as a Vice‑Chair for its seventy-sixth session.

Also speaking today were representatives of Canada (also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand), Botswana, Japan, United Kingdom and China.

Mission/Operation

Total Appropriation

MINURSO (Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)

$60.91 million

MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic)

$1.12 billion

MONUSCO (Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo)

$1.12 billion

MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali)

$1.26 billion

UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur)

$45.72 million

UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force)

$65.51 million

UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus)

$57.67 million

UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon)

$510.25 million

UNISFA (Interim Security Force for Abyei)

$280.58 million

UNMIK (Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo)

$44.19 million

UNMISS (Mission in South Sudan)

$1.20 billion

UNSOS (Support Office in Somalia)

$560.07 million

UNLB (United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi)

$65.69 million

RSCE (Regional Service Centre in Entebbe)

$40.27 million

Peacekeeping Support Account

$356.41 million

TOTAL

$6.37 billion

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) approved 19 draft resolutions, all but one of them without a vote.

It first approved the draft resolution “Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors” (document A/C.5/75/L.48), through which the General Assembly would take note of the audit opinions and findings, and endorse the recommendations, contained in the report of the Board of Auditors (document A/75/5 (Vol.II)).

Next, it approved the draft resolution “Special subjects relating to the programme budget for 2021” (document A/C.5/75/L.49), through which the Assembly would appropriate an additional $212,000 (non-recurrent) under section 29A, Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, of the programme budget for 2021.  It would also appropriate an additional $25,200 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by an equivalent amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for 2021.

By that same text, the Assembly would note with appreciation the realization of efficiencies from the implementation of the flexible workplace project at Headquarters and, in that regard, approve an additional appropriation of $237,200 — comprising $192,600 under section 29B, Department of Operational Support, and $44,600 under section 36, staff assessment, of the programme budget for 2021 — to fund project management resources in the amount of $352,900 for one P-5 position until December 2021 and one General Service (Other level) position until August 2021 to carry out remaining project activities, as well as $30,000 for post-occupancy surveys for all floors completed in 2019 and 2020.

It then approved the draft resolution “Seconded active-duty military and police personnel” (document A/C.5/75/L.33).  By its terms, the Assembly would recognize the importance of the roles carried out, and expertise provided by, seconded active-duty military and police personnel in fulfilling United Nations mandates and request the Secretary-General to continue to actively engage in efforts to improve their timely onboarding.  It would also request the Secretary-General to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the practical impact, including on Member States, of different options outlined in his report, for the Assembly’s consideration at its seventy-eighth session.

Next, it approved the draft resolution “Support account for peacekeeping operations” (document A/C.5/75/L.34).  Through that text, the Assembly would approve the support account requirements of $356.41 million for the financial period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, inclusive of $15.80 million for the enterprise resource planning project, $868,500 for the global service delivery model project, $3.88 million for peacekeeping capability readiness and $18.22 million for Umoja maintenance and support costs.

The Committee then approved a text on financing the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda (document A/C.5/75/L.35).  By its terms, the Assembly would approve $40.27 million for the maintenance of the Centre from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

Next, it approved a text on financing the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy (document A/C.5/75/L.36), through which the Assembly would approve the cost estimates for the Base totalling $65.69 million for 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

It then approved the draft resolution “Closed peacekeeping missions” (document A/C.5/75/L.32).  That text would have the Assembly regret that claims payable to troop- and police-contributing countries and outstanding dues to Member States from closed peacekeeping operation budgets have not been settled and emphasizes its commitment to resolve this issue.  It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to take every measure necessary to reimburse troop-and police-contributing countries before the closure of any peacekeeping mission.

Turning to texts on individual peacekeeping missions, the Committee approved a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/C.5/75/L.38), through which the Assembly would appropriate to UNISFA’s Special Account $280.58 million for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, including $260.45 million for the maintenance of the Force, $15.40 million for the support account for peacekeeping missions, $2.84 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, and $1.89 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/C.5/75/L.39), by which the Assembly would appropriate to MINUSCA’s Special Account $1.12 billion for the 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 period, including $1.04 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $61.31 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $11.32 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $7.51 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

It then approved a text on financing the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/75/L.40), through which the Assembly would appropriate to the Mission’s Special Account $57.67 million for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, including $53.80 million for UNFICYP’s maintenance, $3.18 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $587,300 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Next, it approved a text on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/75/L.41).  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to MONUSCO’s Special Account $1.12 billion for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, including $1.04 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $61.67 million for the support account for peacekeeping missions, $11.38 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $7.56 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

It then approved a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/75/L.42), by which the Assembly would appropriate to the Mission’s Special Account $44.19 million for the 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 period, including $41.30 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $2.44 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $450,900 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

The Committee also approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/75/L.43), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSMA $1.26 billion for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, including $1.17 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $69.30 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $12.79 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $8.49 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

Under its agenda item on financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, the Committee considered two texts.

First, it took up a draft on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/75/L.44), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force $65.51 million for the 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 period, including $61.22 million for the maintenance of the Force, $3.62 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $668,300 for the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi.

The Committee then took up a text on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/75/L.31/Rev.1).  By its terms, the Assembly would appropriate to UNIFIL’s Special Account $510.25 million for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, including $476.84 million for the maintenance of the Force, $28.20 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $5.21 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

The representative of Guinea, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the text, noting that the Secretary-General has not received any response to letters addressed to Israel, concerning the amount due from the incident in Qana in 1986.  Highlighting preambular paragraph 4, as well as operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 39 in the text of the resolution, she stressed that this amount should be paid by Israel, and expressed appreciation to the UNIFIL forces for restoring peace and security in the region.

The representative of Israel proposed an oral amendment to delete preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 39.  Stressing that the resolution politicizes the Fifth Committee’s work, she called for professionalism in the process of approving peacekeeping budgets.  This “deplorable and biased approach” takes away the Committee’s credibility, she said, adding that her country has already vaccinated United Nations personnel, as well as diplomats posted in Israel.  Stressing that preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 39 are inserting a political agenda into the discussion, she called on all Members to vote in favour of deleting these paragraphs.

The representative of Guinea urged Member States to vote against the proposed oral amendment.

The representative of the United States voiced support for UNIFIL but added that using a funding resolution to legislate a settlement politicizes the work of the Fifth Committee.

The Committee then rejected the proposed oral amendment by a vote of 75 against to 3 in favour (Canada, Israel, United States), with 48 abstentions.

It then approved “L.31” as a whole by a vote of 121 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with no abstentions.

The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc is concerned by the trend of resorting to a vote on this item.  Its members abstained on the proposal oral amendment, he said, explaining that they explained their positions when the General Assembly debated the broader political aspects of the Qana incident in April 1996.  Consultations in the Fifth Committee should be limited to the budgetary aspects of financing UNIFIL, he added.

The representative of the United Kingdom said the Committee’s discussions should focus on administrative and budgetary matters, not political ones which fall under the purview of other forums.  His delegation abstained on the proposed oral amendments, then voted in favour of the draft resolution as a whole to ensure that UNIFIL has the resources it needs to fulfil its mandate.

The Committee then approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/75/L.45), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $1.20 billion for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, including $1.12 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $65.99 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $12.18 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, as well as $8.09 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

Next, the Committee approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/75/L.46), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $60.91 million for the 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 period, including $56.54 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $3.34 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $617,200 for the United Nations Logistics Base and $409,900 for the Regional Service Centre.

It then approved a resolution on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/75/L.30), by which the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments not exceeding $45.72 million for the Operation from 1 January to 30 June 2021, taking into account $240.18 million for the 1 July to 31 December 2020 period and $198.78 million for the 1 January to 30 June 2021 period previously authorized by the Assembly under the terms of resolutions 74/261C and 75/251 respectively.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/75/L.47), which would have the Assembly decide to appropriate $560.07 million to the Special Account for the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 May 2022, including $519.87 million for the maintenance of the Support Office, $30.75 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $5.68 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $3.77 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Committee went on to take note of a note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/75/24) indicating the amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, as well as another note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/75/25) on approved resources for peacekeeping operations for the period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

It also approved a draft decision (document A/C.5/75/L.50) which would have the Assembly decide to defer until its seventy-sixth session consideration of reports from the Secretary-General on the final performance of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), as well as his report on the budget performance of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) for the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Election of Other Officers

The Committee then elected, by acclamation, Mohammed Abdulaziz Alateek (Saudi Arabia) as Vice-Chair from the Asia-Pacific Group at its seventy-sixth session.

Closing Statements

MASSENI KABA SALEH (Guinea), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, noted that despite a challenging session, the Fifth Committee was successful in avoiding a shutdown of peacekeeping operations.  Voicing regret that despite delegations showing utmost flexibility, the Committee was unable to adopt the cross-cutting resolutions, she pointed to the practice of integrating cross-cutting policies into all individual peacekeeping resolutions.  Peacekeeping is the most visible representation of the Organization’s work, she reminded delegates, stressing that missions must be adequately resourced to enable mandate delivery.  Underscoring the importance of avoiding arbitrary cross-cutting exercises that do not take into account the situation on the ground, she highlighted the invaluable contribution of troop- and police-contributing countries and called for enhanced coordination between the Secretariat and those countries.

While consensus was reached on all items, this was the result of extreme compromise, she pointed out, adding that more satisfactory outcomes could have been achieved.  Troop- and police-contributing countries should not be expected to bear additional financial burdens while placing the lives of their citizens on the line, she stressed, looking forward to more substantive and productive discussion on this.  While acknowledging the invaluable contributions of the Board of Auditors, she noted that certain items in their report concern the sole purview of Member States.

MOHAMED TRAORE (Mali), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, acknowledged the challenging working conditions due to COVID-19 and regretted the lack of interpretation services.  The African Group is confident, however, that a gradual return to normal working arrangements will benefit the Committee at large.  He reiterated the Group’s appeal for a structural change in working methods that would allow more time for consultations, noting that the second resumed session’s negotiations ended only a few hours earlier.  Hard compromises and sometimes sacrifices were made by all sides, but it is deplorable to see a “natural trend” of cutting peacekeeping resources despite the Secretary-General’s best efforts to present the most disciplined budget possible.  He went on to express regret that the Committee did not take up concerns regarding the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

THIBAULT CAMELLI, representative of the European Union in its capacity as observer, noted that the bloc’s members comprise the second largest collective contributors to the peacekeeping budgets.  Voicing regret that no substantive outcome could be achieved in the context of the cross-cutting policy resolution, he stressed the Committee’s responsibility to provide guidance to the Secretariat on issues such as environmental protection, sexual exploitation and abuse, safety and security of peacekeepers and mission performance.  He also voiced concern that the Committee’s working methods challenged its ability to adopt this year’s budgets on time, with the result that the Secretary-General would have been compelled to shut down the peacekeeping operations.

“Our chronic inability to respect deadlines puts the entire peacekeeping architecture in unprecedented jeopardy,” he said, pointing out that the Committee has extended its proceedings a full month beyond its supposed end date.  Acknowledging the Secretariat staff’s outstanding efforts avoid a shutdown of peacekeeping operations, he said, “We owe it to ourselves, to the members of the Secretariat whose work is instrumental for the implementation of our decisions, but also to the women and men in the field who carry out the peacekeeping mandates to finish our work in a timely fashion.”  Also noting that the Committee did not honour the tentative agreement shaped for the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi and the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, he said that in a body where consensus is the norm, the “all-or-nothing” approach is neither fair nor balanced.

VAHAN GALOUMIAN (Canada), speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said that for a second year in a row, despite the difficulties of remote working conditions, the Committee achieved consensus on many important peacekeeping agenda items.  However, he expressed regret at delays in achieving consensus on the vast majority of items and disappointment at the Committee’s inability to reach consensus on a cross-cutting policy resolution for the fifth year running.  Peacekeeping policy issues are complex, and views and interests differ among Member States, but it is incumbent upon the Committee to start early, think creatively, engage constructive and seek consensus through compromise, he said.

KATLEGO BOASE MMALANE (Botswana) praised the resilience of the Fifth Committee in executing its mandate of overseeing the Organization’s administrative and budgetary matters.  Highlighting some accomplishments of the current session, he noted the approval of the $6.4 billion peacekeeping budget.  Stressing the important role of regional and subregional organizations in ensuring peace processes, he echoed the call for deeper partnerships, cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and these organizations.

MD SHOWEB ABDULLAH (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that as the leading troop-contributing country, Bangladesh is pleased to see consensus on the key budget figures laid out by the Secretary-General.  It now is imperative to ensure that the peacekeeping budget is fully implemented while also ensuring accountability.  He added that Member States have an obligation to ensure sufficient cash flow to the Organization.  Hopefully, the major contributors will fulfil their obligations to the peacekeeping budget.

KIMURA TETSUYA (Japan) said that while the Committee was unable to agree a text on cross-cutting issues, it was able to provide the Secretariat with guidance on a wide range of policy issues.  It is unfortunate that the Committee was unable to complete this session within the allocated time.  He encouraged all delegations to take advantage of remote working methods where appropriate.  Working late into the night and into the early hours of the morning should be the exception, not the norm, he added.

PATRICK KENNEDY (United States), recognizing the strong support of the Secretariat, as well as the contributions of peacekeeping personnel, underscored the Fifth Committee’s important role.  Noting that the budget approved by the Committee represented a reduction from the levels requested by the Secretariat, he also voiced regret at the inability to adopt the cross-cutting policy resolution during the session and expressed the hope that the Committee would work towards this next year.  Highlighting the comprehensive performance assessment system, he said that each and every delegation must negotiate in good faith.  When a budgetary figure or policy agreement is reached, all delegations should honour that commitment, he stressed.

RICHARD CROKER (United Kingdom), reiterating support for the work of the Committee, voiced regret that the late conclusion of negotiations jeopardized the continuous operation of peacekeeping missions.  Noting that delegates often voice support for peacekeeping, he added, “We should ensure that our words match our actions.”  Acknowledging the value of the policy package that the Committee agreed upon, including on important topics such as performance, safety and security; accountability; protection of civilians; women, peace and security; and transitions; he especially welcomed the inclusion of language on environmental impacts and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

CHENG LIE (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the long-standing problem of outstanding assessments should not be ignored.  The fundamental solution is to urge major countries to fulfil their financial obligations in full and on time.   He added that the Committee should perform its functions without double standards and that the Secretariat should ensure that every penny of taxpayers’ money is properly managed.  He went on to say that as the current situation improves, the Committee should improve its working methods, taking advantage of remote meetings when appropriate.

CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay), Committee Chair, said that there are some positive aspects to virtual meetings, but face-to-face negotiations can have a deeper impact when it comes to reaching consensus.  Going forward, the Committee will see how it can improve its working methods, perhaps by finding a middle-of-the-road solution.  He added that he will share delegations’ comments and concerns with his successor.  It is unfortunate that the Committee once again failed to agree on cross-cutting issues relating to peacekeeping, he said, noting that it has the same problem with regard to human resources management.  He joined other speakers in underscoring the importance of peacekeeping missions.  “We must defend them, we must support them in any way we can,” he said, adding that peacekeeping forces must be champions of human rights.

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* The 14th Meeting was covered in Press Release GA/12332 of 7 June.

For information media. Not an official record.