Press Releases

    11 December 2002


    NEW YORK, 10 December (UN Headquarters) -- A new, thoroughly revised programme budget for 2004-2005 should better reflect the priorities of the Organization as identified by the Secretary-General in his report "Strengthening the United Nations: an agenda for further change", the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was told this afternoon.

    As the Committee continued its consideration of the budget outline for the next biennium, the representative of Japan expressed hope that in preparing the budget, the Secretary-General would keep in mind the need to reallocate resources from low-impact and obsolete activities to new priorities. Equally important was taking into consideration the relationship between the level of the budget and affordability on the part of Member States.

    Commenting on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the matter, he concurred with the recommendation that the provision for special political missions should not exceed $170 million (compared to the $223.2 million shown in the Secretary- Geneal’s report), considering that some of the special missions would be reduced in scope or terminated. He also agreed with the Advisory Committee’s conclusion that the overall level of estimated requirements would depend, in part, on the decision of the General Assembly on the recommendations of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), currently under consideration in the Fifth Committee. The decision by the Assembly should be reflected in the budget for 2004-2005.

    He added that the budget outline included an amount of $40.5 million for new or expanded activities, including events mandated in 2004-2005. The report explained that that was to enhance the Organization’s capacity for meeting the Millennium Declaration Goals. Although his delegation supported those goals, the document did not provide a convincing case for provision of the stated amount. While agreeing with the need "to ensure that information technology and common services facilities infrastructure are brought to the levels which will not prejudice programme delivery", he also supported the conclusion by the ACABQ that insufficient information had been provided in support of the estimated amount of $29.8 million for those purposes. He looked forward to discussing the issue in the context of the information technology strategy, which was to be resubmitted by the Secretary-General in accordance with resolution 56/239.

    Responding to yesterday’s question by the United States regarding the amount of $2.92 billion proposed by the ACABQ as a preliminary estimate for the biennium 2004-2005, the Chairman of the ACABQ, Conrad S.M. Mselle, said that the outline was not a budget proposal. Therefore, the Advisory Committee had not subjected the outline to the detailed examination it normally used for proposed budgets. It was the ACABQ’s intention to examine very carefully the proposals of the Secretary-General and to make recommendations thereon.

    Also this afternoon, as the Committee considered its programme of work for the remainder of the session, several delegations expressed concern over late submission of documents in connection with the programme budget implications of several drafts before the Assembly. Speakers stressed the need to finish work as soon as possible and to use the few remaining meetings of the session wisely, allocating priority to the most important issues.

    The Committee will resume its work at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 11 December.

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