2 June 2005

Board of Auditors Reports, Financing for Bosnia and Herzegovina Mission Among Issues Addressed by Budget Committee Texts

NEW YORK, 1 June (UN Headquarters) -- Initially scheduled to conclude its second resumed session on 27 May, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) continued its work this morning, making recommendations to the Assembly on the reports of the Board of Auditors, financing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), appointment of a member of the Committee on Contributions, and documents on the disposition of assets of the Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission.

Approving, without a vote, a draft resolution on the reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/59/L.50), the Committee recommended that the Assembly accept the audited financial statements on the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004; endorse related recommendations of the Board of Auditors and the Advisory Committee; and commend the Board for the quality and streamlined format of its report.

Also by the text, the Secretary-General would be requested to indicate an expected time frame for the implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors, as well as the priorities for their implementation, including the office holders to be held accountable, and report to the Assembly at its next session on measures undertaken in that regard. The Assembly would also ask the Secretary-General to ensure full, prompt and timely implementation of the Board and Advisory Committee’s recommendations on such issues as management of air operations and rations in peacekeeping missions.

In implementing the recommendations referred to in paragraph 81 of the report of the Board of Auditors (document A/59/5/Vol.II), the Secretary-General would be requested to take into account that this relates solely to the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, as adopted by the General Assembly, which have not been fully implemented to date.

[In paragraph 81 of its report, the Board recommends that “the Administration consider developing a proper project plan to systematically document steps to implement the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, which have not been fully implemented. This should include clearly defined milestones and indicators to measure the desired impact, within an appropriate time frame, clearly allocating responsibilities and identifying estimated costs, with appropriate references to the results-based budgeting tools and performance reports, with a view to using this as a framework to report periodically on the progress and impact of implementing the Panel’s recommendations”.]

The Committee also approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), whose mandate expired on 31 December 2002 (document A/C.5/59/L.51). The administrative closing of UNMIBH was undertaken in the period from 1 January to 30 June 2003.

By this text, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s proposal that the cash balance of some $7.18 million available in the UNMIBH account as at 30 June 2004 be retained. Noting his intention to report on the matter at its sixtieth session, the Assembly would decide to postpone the return of that cash balance.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would take note of the status of outstanding contributions to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mission as at 15 April 2005 in the amount of $27.9 million, representing some 3 per cent of the total assessed contributions, with only 115 Member States having paid their dues in full. In that connection, it would urge all other Member States, in particular those in arrears, to ensure payment of their outstanding assessments.

Also acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft decision (document A/C.5/59/L.62), by the terms of which the Assembly would take note of several reports on the disposition of the assets of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Mission.

In other action, the Committee recommended, by acclamation, that the Assembly appoint Henrique da Silveira Sardinha Pinto (Brazil) as a member of the Committee on Contributions, to fill the remainder of the term of office of Alvaro Gurgel de Alencar, which expires on 31 December 2005.

At the conclusion of the meeting -- the last one officiated by the Committee Chairman, Don MacKay of New Zealand -- Mr. MacKay thanked his colleagues, saying that the fall session and the two resumed sessions had been noteworthy for the huge amount of work done in a constructive and collegiate atmosphere. Everybody knew the issues before the Committee were fundamental to the Organization’s well-being. The Committee did an unheralded job not only in keeping the Organization’s wheels moving, but also in terms of the political input that it brought to its work. The Committee dealt not only with quantitative, but also qualitative issues. Despite the differences of view, issues were resolved in a positive, sensitive and pragmatic way.

Statements of appreciation in connection with the Chairman’s departure were made by representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Syria, Argentina (on behalf of the Rio Group), Sierra Leone (on behalf of the African Group), Brunei Darussalam (on behalf of the Asian Group), United States, Australia (also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Egypt, India, Russian Federation, Cuba, Japan, Norway and Turkey. Speakers wished him success in his new endeavours and commended his diplomatic skills, tact and fairness.

Several speakers also expressed great appreciation to the Committee’s Deputy Secretary, Nora Benary, wishing her well in her forthcoming retirement.

The Committee will continue its work at a date to be announced.

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