For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No:  UNIS/GA/AB/47
Release Date:   11 May 2000
Fifth Committee Decision Projects Millennium Summit
Cost at $1.4 Million

NEW YORK, 10 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning decided to inform the General Assembly that the draft resolution on the Millennium Summit it is considering (document A/54/L.83/Rev.1) could result in costs of some $1.4 million, while speakers expressed serious reservations about the statement of projected costs.  

The Committee also decided to reconsider the proposed costs of the Summit before the end of its resumed session, due to finish on 2 June.  Before the reconsideration, it expects to receive another statement of programme budget implications.

The Chairman of the Committee, Penny Wensley (Australia), told its members that the late submission of the Secretary-General's statement of programme budget implications had resulted in pressure on the Committee to rush its consideration of the costs, in order to avoid holding up the Assembly's preparatory work.  She added that she planned to raise that with the Deputy Secretary-General, she said. 

Speakers this morning, while supportive of the Millennium Summit itself, expressed concern about the size of the proposed costs, and the lack of detail provided in support of them.  They called for complete justifications of resource requirements and for the exploration of cheaper options, particularly regarding proposed expenses for media coverage of the Summit, and for refurbishing the chamber of the Economic and Social Council for planned round table debates. 

One representative said the statement of programme budget implications reflected little credit on the Secretariat, and that she could not understand why it had been provided only at the "eleventh hour". 

Another representative sought assurances that conference services for the preparatory process would be in all six languages, and expressed a desire that security staff for the Summit come from the United Nations system, rather than outside.  Still another representative made it clear that resources requested for the Summit should not be used to pay for activities that Member States had decided not to approve during their budget debates last year. 

The representatives of the United States, New Zealand (on behalf also of Australia and Canada), Cuba, Egypt (who also introduced the draft decision), and Portugal (on behalf of the European Union) made statements. 

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 11 May, to discuss the financing of the United Nations Mission In Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and its predecessor, the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL), as well as statements of programme budget implications on a series of draft resolutions before the General Assembly.

* * * * *