22 November 2005
Budget Committee Approves Financing for Sudan Mission, Begins Consideration of UN Security System
Also Discusses Financial Requests for Timor-Leste Office, Approves Text on Board of Auditors Reports on UN Refugee Agency
NEW YORK, 21 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning recommended that the Assembly appropriate for the maintenance of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) an amount of $222.03 million the period of 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 and $969.47 million for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, inclusive of the $315.98 million previously authorized for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2005.
The amount for 2004-2005 -- as explained by United Nations Controller Warren Sach, who presented the budget proposals on 1 November -- is $57.47 million less than the total of $279.5 million previously assessed on Member States for 2004-2005, due to delays in troop deployment. Further, taking into account the revised deployment schedule for military and police personnel and the air transportation fleet, the appropriation for 2005-2006 had been reduced to $969.47 million from some $1.02 billion.
By the terms of the draft resolution on the financing of UNMIS, which was approved without a vote today, the resulting balance would be applied to the Member States' assessments for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006.
Initially, an advance team in the Sudan was established as a special political mission, and later -- by the terms of Security Council resolution 1590 of 24 March 2005 -- was mandated as a peacekeeping mission for six months. The Secretary-General was requested to transfer all activities of the political mission to UNMIS. The latest extension took place on 23 September, when the mandate of the Mission was extended through 24 March 2006, with the intention to renew it further (Security Council resolution 1627 (2005)).
The second draft approved without a vote today related to the report of the Board of Auditors on voluntary funds administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the year ended 31 December 2004. On the recommendations of the Committee, the Assembly would accept the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) financial statements and recognize the efforts of that body to implement the Board's recommendations. The High Commissioner would be requested to intensify his efforts in that regard. Emphasizing that the implementation of the Board's recommendations is essential to efficient operations and effective internal control, the Assembly would decide to monitor closely those efforts. For that purpose, future reports should include time frames and identify office holders and priorities for the implementation of the Auditors' recommendations.
The Assembly would also note the concerns of the Board about the general financial situation of the UNHCR, including further depletion of the reserves of the Office, and encourage Member States to respond in a timely manner to the Office's appeal for resources. Also recalled in the text is paragraph 7 of resolution 58/249, by which the Secretary-General had been requested to report on the full extent of unfunded staff termination and post-service liabilities in the United Nations and its funds and programmes and to propose measures that would ensure progress towards funding such liabilities fully.
Also today, the Committee began its evaluation of the efforts to strengthen and unify the Organization's safety and security system, which included the establishment at the end of last year of the Department of Safety and Security and introduction of 383 new security posts, 134 of them on a temporary basis. Introducing the Secretary-General's report on the matter, the United Nations' new security chief, Under-Secretary-General David Veness, stressed the need to create a world-class, flexible security service that was capable of helping the United Nations carry out its mandates and activities in the most challenging parts of the world.
He said the Department of Safety and Security was reviewing how it conducted threat and risk assessments and had begun addressing some gaps in its technical security procedures, training and compliance tools. The immediate focus was on upgrading all aspects of physical security -- from fencing, barriers and access control, through to emergency preparedness and response at secretariat facilities. Needs in New York were being addressed as quickly as possible through the "strengthening security project" under resolution 56/286.
On the recruitment of full-time safety and security staff, he added that it involved screening more than 6,000 applicants and conducting hundreds of hour-long interviews. The Department had been "pulling out every stop and straining every resource" to fulfil its responsibilities with the United Nations staffing system.
Also discussed this morning were the financial requirements for the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) for the period 21 May to 31 December 2005, and treatment of the balance in the accounts of closed peacekeeping missions. On the latter, the representative of the United Kingdom, who spoke on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the practice of cross-borrowing from closed missions in order to maintain the viability of the United Nations itself, the International Tribunals and active peacekeeping operations simply masked the real issue of arrears and the inability of the Fifth Committee to substantively address that problem. Until it did, troop-contributing countries, many of whom paid in full and without conditions, would not receive speedy or full reimbursement.
Statements were also made by representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Cuba, Kenya, India, Qatar, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea and Timor-Leste.
Numerous documents before the Committee were introduced by Qazi Shaukat Fareed, Director of the Secretariat, United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination; Patricia Azarias, Director of the Internal Audit Division I, Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS); Vladimir Belov, Chief of the Common Services Unit, Programme Planning and Budget Division; Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, Rajat Saha; Member of the Advisory Committee Besley Maycock; and Dennis Thatchaichawalit, Chief of the Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service of Programme Planning and Budget Division. Mr. Vaness, Mr. Sach and Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan, Louis Reuter, also responded to questions and comments from the floor.
The Committee will continue its consideration of safety and security issues at its next formal meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday, 22 November.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning was expected to take up a series of reports on the efforts to strengthen and unify the Organization's Security Management System; the functioning of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL); and the use of the assets of closed peacekeeping missions.
Safety and Security
The first Secretary-General's report before the Committee (document A/60/424) outlines the progress achieved in establishing a strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations, which was approved by the Assembly in its resolution 59/276 last December. The Secretary-General reports that "considerable visible progress has already been achieved in developing an integrated system-wide security management system that ensures consistency, efficiency and effectiveness in safeguarding our staff".
According to the document, job descriptions, classification and vacancy announcements for the newly established Department of Safety and Security were completed by 1 May 2005. It is expected that appointments for all new posts at Headquarters and in the field will have been made by 1 December this year. Meanwhile, sufficient space for additional offices and support facilities for the Department at Headquarters has been arranged by the Department of Management.
The establishment of the Department of Safety and Security entails elaboration of new security and safety policies, procedures and techniques, the report states. Among the key themes to govern the way ahead, the report mentions maximum reliance in safety and security on host Governments; a sharpened primary focus on operational effectiveness at the field level; system-wide integration of existing security capacities; and a fundamental review of technical security policies, procedures and practices to ensure their effectiveness in view of today's threats and risks.
The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), in a related report (document A/60/7/Add.9) states that although the Secretary-General's report provides some information on the current status of the security management system, it falls short of meeting all the requirements for the implementation report. Recognizing that the security management system is still evolving, the ACABQ expects that a comprehensive report on the implementation of resolution 59/276 will be submitted in the coming months, once the Department of Safety and Security has become fully operational.
Informed that there was a delay in recruitment for the Department of Safety and Security and that the new target for the completion of appointments was likely to be not on 1 December, but in April-June 2006, the Advisory Committee points out that expeditious recruitment for all authorized posts should be the highest priority. Due consideration should also be given to equitable geographical distribution and other concerns expressed by the Assembly.
Regarding the staffing of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, the ACABQ notes that the present level of the post of the Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General will be reviewed at the end of the current biennium. The report stresses the importance of addressing this issue in the context of the comprehensive report and careful examination of the organizational structure of the Department of Safety and Security and its operational requirements. Also to be included in the comprehensive implementation report is information on the revised security management accountability framework.
The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on coverage of staff by the malicious acts insurance policy and on security spending by organizations of the United Nations system (document A/60/317). According to this document, the coverage of staff is very comparable system-wide. However, it now excludes 10 countries in which United Nations offices are located, and the Organization is investigating the possibility of expanding the coverage to the excluded countries. Financial implications of coverage expansion will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the High-Level Committee on Management.
The Secretary-General also reports that according to a system-wide survey launched by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) in March 2005, the pattern of expenditure on security-related spending by the organizations of the United Nations showed an upward trend in 2003-2005. However, a large part of the overall spending reported so far is derived from estimates, rather than from specific data, because of the absence of a standard budgeting and accounting system. For that reason, the report notes that the presentation of security-related spending should be considered as a work in progress. In order to create a clear presentation of the expenditures, the CEB plans to deploy, as early as possible, a standard budgeting and accounting system for security-related expenditures.
In a related report (document A/60/7/Add.9), the Advisory Committee recognizes the need to develop precise budgeting and accounting techniques that could be used to collect and report information on security-related spending across the United Nations. The data reflected in Annex III of the Secretary-General's report raised several questions that are not addressed in the report, including the question of why some co-located organizations with seemingly similar security concerns have significantly different security expenditure patterns. (Annex III contains various breakdowns of security-related spending throughout the system.)
The Advisory Committee asked that information on this issue be provided to the Fifth Committee and that future reports on security-related spending contain information on salient factors which underlie significant differences in security expenditures across the United Nations system.
The Advisory Committee also asked for more clarification on the standardized budgeting and accounting framework for security-related expenditures. The Advisory Committee noted that, because of the absence of a standardized budgeting and accounting system, the information on security-related spending in the Secretary-General's report does not reflect the necessary degree of transparency.
Another document before the Committee was a report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the utilization and management of funds approved by the Assembly in its resolutions 58/295 and 59/276 for strengthening the security and safety of United Nations premises (document A/60/291), which was submitted in response to the Assembly's request, in resolution 59/276, that the OIOS be entrusted with reporting on the use and management of funds approved in resolutions 58/295 and 59/276. The main purpose of the audit was to determine whether the resources provided for strengthening security and safety were used as intended and managed efficiently and effectively in compliance with established procedures.
The OIOS recommends that the Department of Safety and Security immediately undertake a review of the performance of the contractor responsible for the security strengthening contract at United Nations Headquarters and look at the level of compliance with contractual clauses and work schedule. If the results of the review are unsatisfactory, the contract should be terminated. The report found that as of June 2005, the construction work of the security strengthening project was at least six months behind schedule, with additional costs of nearly $2.6 million already incurred.
There were 18 security strengthening projects at Headquarters at the time of the OIOS review. The report examined the financial and completion status of those projects, currently valued at $35.4 million. Of the 18 projects, seven have been fully implemented, three were deferred to be incorporated into the Capital Master Plan project, and eight were being implemented with a target completion date of 31 December 2005. Of the eight projects still under way, one is proceeding satisfactorily, one has been delayed and is now interrupted, as the contract has expired. The six remaining projects were combined into one contract, entitled "Security Strengthening Project at United Nations Headquarters", which is currently being executed by a private contractor.
According to the report, the Assembly has approved one-time security upgrades at the Geneva offices with an estimated cost of $35.1 million. Of this amount, $16.2 million had been spent or pre-encumbered as of 30 April 2005. The United Nations Office at Geneva has submitted to the Department of Safety and Security a draft security plan, which details the requirements needed to make the Palais des Nations compliant with Headquarters minimum operating security standards. The plan should be approved as soon as possible.
An addendum to the OIOS report (document A/60/291/Add.1) provides the Secretary-General's comments on some of the audit findings and recommendations. According to the document, the OIOS report "in most cases adequately reflects the views of the Secretariat". However, there are certain areas where additional information is required.
For instance, in its report, the OIOS reiterated its earlier recommendation concerning surrendering of the unspent 2002-2003 appropriation totalling $4.8 million, relating to projects deferred to the Capital Master Plan. In this connection, the Secretary-General points out that the recommendation is inconsistent with the arrangements established by the Assembly for administering multi-year accounts. The report also notes that the Assembly appropriates funds at a budget-section level, not at an individual-projects level, and the authority for allocation of funds within a budget section rests with the Secretary-General. It often happens in the course of programme implementation that priorities may dictate reallocation of resources within the section, including reallocation of unspent balances of funds under the individual projects within a budget section.
The issue of performance bond, and labour and material bond, was also addressed in the report, and was the subject of protracted negotiations between the Secretariat and the contractor company, who claimed that it was unable to secure a performance bond in the form required by the United Nations. Given the record of the contractor's satisfactory performance and in order to move this safety-related project forward, a commercial decision was made by the Secretariat to allow the contractor to provide a letter of credit in lieu of the bond. Since the Secretariat has also been notified by other construction contractors of difficulties with respect to securing performance bonds, it has been looking into ways to address this issue in consultation with the OIOS.
United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL)
The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council (document A/60/425), which contains the proposed budget for the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) for the period 21 May to 31 December 2005. Requirements beyond December 2005 will be presented in a consolidated report containing the budget proposals for all special political missions at the end of the current session. By the terms of resolution 1599 of 28 April 2005, the Security Council authorized the Office to remain in Timor-Leste until 20 May 2006 as a follow-up mission to the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).
The requirements for UNOTIL through the end of this year are estimated at $23.89 million gross. This total would provide for 15 military and 60 civilian police advisers ($2.103 million); staffing costs for 101 international positions, 233 national/local positions and 37 United Nations Volunteers ($8.82 million); operational costs of $3.05 million; services of consultants ($190,400); official travel ($211,600); facilities and infrastructure requirements ($2.39 million); air and ground transportation ($3.13 million); communications ($989,800); and other logistical support, supplies and services ($1.14 million). After taking into account the use of $6.3 million in savings from the United Nations Advance Mission in the Sudan (UNAMIS), the net appropriation requested for UNOTIL for the period 21 May to 31 December 2005 totals $15.75 million net ($17.59 million with staff assessment).
The General Assembly is requested to appropriate $15.75 million under section 3, Political Affairs, and $1.86 million under section 34, staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from Staff Assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005.
Commenting on this request, the Advisory Committee, in a related report (document A/60/7/Add.10), recommended a reduction of $108,100 gross to the proposed budget of UNOTIL for the period from 21 May to 31 December 2005, which would cut the budget proposed by the Secretary-General from some $22.03 million to $21.94 million.
The Advisory Committee notes that the results-based budgeting framework developed for UNOTIL, as presented in the budget document, is lacking in many respects, such as clearly defining the role of UNOTIL and its partners in implementing the Council's mandate. The budget proposal appears to be presented in the manner consistent with a new mission, rather than tailored to the particular context and circumstance of UNOTIL as a follow-on mission, whose main purpose is to ensure a smooth transition. Also stressed in the report is the importance of using precise terms that accurately reflect the true nature of activities to be undertaken. In that connection, the ACABQ asked the Mission to provide additional information, including quantified targets for outputs.
The Advisory Committee is also concerned with the incompleteness of the published budget proposals of UNOTIL and stresses the need for adequate guidance and support from the relevant Headquarters offices in the departments of Management and Peacekeeping Operations. The ACABQ asks the Office of Programming Planning, Budgets and Accounts to define a framework for the results-based proposals in section 3, Political Affairs, from 2006, and to report comprehensively on the measures adopted in the next budget proposals.
Regarding resource requirements, the Advisory Committee notes that the proposal under consideration is the first budget submission of UNOTIL and recalls that it did not specifically approve any posts or positions when it authorized the Secretary-General to enter into the commitment authority. The ACABQ considers all references to "existing positions" to be proposals for those positions. Similarly, it did not consider proposals for reclassifications, since there were never positions at approved levels. Instead, these requests are viewed as proposals to create a position at the requested level.
The Advisory Committee recommends approval of all positions requested by the Secretary-General, with the exception of those stated in paragraphs 17 to 21 of its report. Among the issues addressed in those paragraphs is reclassification of the P-5 position of Chief of Staff to the D-1 level. The Advisory Committee also points out that a proposed P-4 position as Gender Adviser is not properly justified. The lead role in this area should remain with specialized agencies, such as the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). And before making recommendations on the $190,400 for consultants, the Advisory Committee requests that proper account be taken of what has been done by the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) and its partners in the mission area.
Another report of the Secretary-General (document A/60/437) contains information regarding the updated financial position of 19 closed peacekeeping missions as at 30 June 2005. In this document, the Secretary-General recommends retention of the cash balance available from 13 closed peacekeeping missions (six of the 19 peacekeeping missions reflected cash deficits totalling $90.6 million owing to outstanding payments of assessed contributions).
As indicated in the report, the cash available as at 30 June 2005 amounted to some $126.3 million, exclusive of the amount of $43.75 million that has not yet been credited to Member States. The amount of $126.3 million is net of loans totalling $41.8 million owed by four peacekeeping missions ($20 million by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), $9 million by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, $9.4 million by the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti and $3.4 million by the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic), which remained unpaid as at 30 June 2005.
Continuing need to borrow from closed missions is explained by the high level of outstanding assessments in the accounts of some ongoing missions, as well as temporary cash shortfalls in the regular budget and the Tribunals. In line with relevant Assembly decisions, the Secretariat is precluded from borrowing from the accounts of active missions, and the resources of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund can only be used for new operations and expansions of existing missions.
In a related report (document A/60/551), the Advisory Committee notes that during fiscal year 2005, loans to active peacekeeping operations and for the regular budget peaked at $109.5 million. The ACABQ was also informed that during the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, loans from closed missions were made to active peacekeeping operations ($125.5 million), the General Fund ($90 million) and the Tribunals ($13.5 million).
The Advisory Committee further notes that, at the time the Secretary-General's report was prepared, it was anticipated that the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) would account for most of the borrowing from closed missions, in view of the timing of decisions by the Assembly on the financing of those two missions and subsequent receipt of assessments. However, it is also now foreseen that the projected borrowing through the end of February 2006 would total $100 million.
Moreover, the situation with regard to the regular budget and the Tribunals is much more uncertain than in October 2005, when the Secretary-General's report was prepared. If there is a serious delay in the anticipated payments in 2005, it may be necessary to borrow as much as $75 million for the regular budget by 31 December 2005. Regarding the status of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund, the ACABQ was informed that the cash available in the Fund amounted to $140 million as at 31 October 2005.
The Advisory Committee points out that it has previously stated its concern about the issue of unpaid assessments, which have an adverse impact on the Organization's ability to meet its financial obligations. The issue of non-payment and/or late payment of assessments by Member States is a long-standing one; the only real solution is that assessed contributions be paid in full and on time.
Regarding the postponement of the return of "available cash" to Member States, the Advisory Committee states that is a policy decision to be determined by the Assembly. In this connection, the ACABQ draws attention to paragraph 12 of its report on the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund (document A/58/732), in which it pointed out that cash from closed missions appeared to be the only source that could be used for temporary cross-borrowing when the International Tribunals or active peacekeeping operations ran out of cash. Cash from closed missions is also a source of funding for new or expanded missions, in addition to the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund. The General Assembly may wish to take the Committee's observations into account in reaching its decision.
DAVID VENESS, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, introduced the report of the Secretary-General relating to the strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations contained in document A/60/424.
Mr. Veness said the threat to the United Nations and its staff varied from country to country and time to time, and it was up to the host Governments to protect the United Nations. In some countries, however, the United Nations needed to take up a variable portion of the load to mitigate the risks to its staff. He said there was a segment of international terrorist groups that openly and unabashedly identified the United Nations as an enemy and sought to inflict casualties in large numbers, if the United Nations lowered its defences. He said the need for an enhanced United Nations security management system was obvious for some years and had become a critical requirement since September 2001.
He said the Department of Safety and Security needed to create a world-class, flexible and effective security service that was capable of helping the United Nations carry out its mandates and activities in the most challenging parts of the world. The Department had ambitious objectives and welcomed the wise guidance set out by the General Assembly -- particularly in its resolution of 59/276 of 23 December 2004 -- that legitimized and financed its work.
There was a clear need to upgrade the quality of security management and the Department was reviewing how it conducted threat and risk assessments, keeping fully in mind the guidance in resolution 59/276. The Department had also begun identifying and addressing other more "downstream" gaps in its technical security procedures, training and compliance tools.
He said the Department was working closely with directors-general and executive secretaries with respect to safety and security services at offices away from Headquarters. The immediate focus was on upgrading all aspects of physical security -- from fencing, barriers and access control, through to emergency preparedness and response at secretariat facilities. Needs in New York were being addressed as quickly as possible through the "strengthening security project" under resolution 56/286.
He said expansion, which primarily translated into recruitment, was another area of Department activity. In regard to possible questions about the Department's reliance on temporary staff, he said recruiting full-time staff for the Department had involved screening more than 6,000 applicants and conducting hundreds of hour-long interviews. He said the Department had been "pulling out every stop and straining every resource" to fulfil its responsibilities with the United Nations staffing system.
The Department's next step would be to focus on the delivery of security at the key point of service, which was in the field. The Department intended to move away from a New York focus on monitoring and investigation, to a field focus on host Governments, designated officials, committed programme managers, and a world-class cadre of Department of Safety and Security professionals that work together and fulfil the mandates of the Organization.
QAZI SHAUKAT FAREED, Director of the Secretariat, United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the coverage of staff by the malicious acts insurance policy and on security spending by organizations of the United Nations system contained in document A/60/317 and corrigendum 1.
He said collecting the information from various agencies that characterized expenditures in different ways in the limited time allowed -- as the resolution was adopted last year -- was not an easy task. But, the fundamental news was good, as most of the staff was covered. They would work to develop more comprehensive data and trade information between different organizations and to determine how the staff would receive the maximum protection. He said the studies were a work in progress.
PATRICIA AZARIAS, Director of the Internal Audit Division I, Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), introduced the report on the utilization and management of funds approved in resolution 58/295 and 59/276 for strengthening the safety and security of United Nations premises (document A/60/291). She said that the audit had focused on United Nations Headquarters projects, for which the Assembly had approved $41.3 million, of which $35.4 million had already been obligated as of 31 May 2005, as well as the United Nations Office at Geneva projects for which $35.1 million had been approved, of which $16.2 million had been spent or pre-encumbered as of 30 April 2005.
Regarding the six projects that had been combined into one contract for the "Security Strengthening Project at UNHQ", she said that the contract was now at least six months behind schedule, with an additional cost of almost $2.6 million already incurred. The contractor had submitted a claim and requested an 8-month contract extension to complete work by February 2006.
In Geneva, project implementation was progressing well, she continued, but the initial objectives and time lines had been too ambitious, given the staffing resources allocated to the project, she said. The Geneva Office's decision to prioritize projects and focus on a number of activities commensurate with its capacity had had a positive result, although delaying other activities. Project management at the United Nations Office at Geneva needed to be strengthened.
Among other things, the OIOS had also found that the United Nations Office at Geneva had complied with United Nations procurement procedures, except in one case of a potential breach of confidentiality by the consortium of firms responsible for architectural/engineering work and supervision of the security projects, which involved an exchange of information with the company that was awarded the contract. There were no penalty clauses in the Geneva Office's contracts with suppliers and there was no commitment by the consortium to complete projects within certain costs and time lines.
The management had generally accepted the Office's eight recommendations, which called for improvements in a number of areas, such as ensuring contractor compliance with contractual clauses and work schedules, and obtaining Department of Safety and Security approval of the Office's security plan. However, the OIOS was concerned that there were differences in the positions taken by the management between the comments received during the finalization of the report and their input into the Secretary-General's response. Report A/60/291/Add.1 was a case in point, and the OIOS would take that matter up with the management urgently.
VLADIMIR BELOV, Chief of the Common Services Unit, Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the note by the Secretary-General (document A/60/291/Add.1), saying that the document contained additional comments on the matter. However, he agreed that the procedure of finalizing the OIOS report needed to be further refined and the Secretariat would work with the OIOS to ensure its transparency and consistency.
Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, RAJAT SAHA, introduced that body's report, which is contained in document A/60/7/Add. 9. The Advisory Committee trusted that recruitment for the Department of Safety and Security would be completed expeditiously, he said. It had also stressed the importance of reviewing the level of the post of the Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General, as well as the post of the head of the Division of Safety and Security Services. As for the malicious acts insurance policy and security spending by organizations of the United Nations system, the Advisory Committee had raised a number of additional questions in paragraph 17 of its report. It had also requested that a response be provided to the Fifth Committee on the question of why some co-located organizations with seemingly similar security concerns had significantly different security expenditure patterns.
ELIZABETH GALVEZ (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the creation of a new structure to ensure that the safety and security of the United Nations was managed in a coherent, consistent and effective manner was a priority for the European Union last year. She noted that many of the locations where United Nations staff were most needed were unsafe.
She said the Union understood that the recruitment process was complex and looked forward to a full report at the sixty-first session. She also expected at the time to take up the issue of the malicious acts insurance and security spending by organizations of the United Nations system, since it was clear from report A/60/317 that more work was required prior to their consideration.
She welcomed the level of cooperation that had been established between the Department of Safety and Security and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and would welcome reassurance that a spirit of active cooperation existed between all agencies, funds and programmes with which the Department of Safety and Security worked in the field. In this context, the Union would welcome more information on the status of the accountability framework that was requested last December. She also would welcome an update on the implementation of the OIOS recommendations contained in document A/59/702.
In regard to the report by the OIOS on security construction projects, the Union remained concerned at the slow rate of implementation and disbursement. She also saw the need for the Secretariat, while focusing on security construction projects, to take the Capital Master Plan into consideration.
NORMA TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), who spoke on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said General Assembly resolution 59/276 set out many elements that must be considered for the implementation of a unified security management system and the current report fell well short of meeting these reporting requirements. She was concerned about the delays in recruitment to field-level posts and that the Advisory Committee noted there could be even further delays.
The Assembly requested that the Secretary-General submit at its sixtieth session an accountability framework for the United Nations security management system as a whole. She noted that, while the Inter-Agency Security Management Network had reviewed the accountability framework in April 2005, it still awaited finalization pending consideration by the High-Level Committee for Management and the CEB. The Group urged that this be completed in a timely manner and presented to the General Assembly. The Group was concerned that the provision of resolution 59/276 regarding recruitment to Department professional posts on a wide geographic basis had been largely ignored.
Although the report touched on issues relating to threat and risk analysis, the Group would like to discuss those issues in informal consultations in order to determine to what extent those stipulations were being followed.
The Group was also concerned that certain security measures had an adverse impact on the use of conference facilities in the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The Department should work with the relevant offices to ensure that any adverse effects of security guidelines on the effective functions of such offices were minimized.
PABLO BERTI OLIVA (Cuba) associated himself with the position of the Group of 77 and China and said that his country attached the highest importance to the safety and security of staff and premises of the United Nations. Last year, the Committee had had a difficult task of considering the proposal, by which all safety measures would be unified. Those were prolonged negotiations, which had led to the adoption of the resolution on the matter. He was sorry that, at the moment, the Secretary-General's report before the Committee did not fulfil all the requirements for the implementation report, as mentioned by the ACABQ. From the beginning, mistakes had been made in filling the new posts, and he was sure that influenced the work of the Department.
He wanted to know how paragraph 18 of section 11 of resolution 59/276 had been implemented, where it was said that the international character of the Organization should be preserved in hiring safety and security personnel. He also asked about the difficulties in hiring and the differences in the number of vacancies at various duty stations. Updated information had been provided on the work of the Department of Safety and Security by the Under-Secretary-General today, but the documents before the Committee contained various references to measures that would be applied at the very end of the year. With some 40 days left in the year, he would be grateful for receiving updated information on each action that should be implemented before the end of the year, to assess what the Department had done in the year since its creation.
Implementation of resolution 59/276 depended to a large extent on the deadlines for hiring and recruitment, he continued. In that connection, he wanted to know about the implications of the fact that additional time would be required to complete filling the vacancies in New York. Another important aspect of resolution 59/276, which had not been dealt with, was the responsibility of host countries for ensuring safety and protection of United Nations staff and premises.
He also mentioned the fact that new professional profiles for safety posts had been delayed. Hiring of staff for the Department without such a profile could have implications on the quality of staff hired now, who might not meet such profiles. What was being done to address that situation? Another matter that had not been sufficiently addressed related to the staff in the field who were not covered by insurance. He wanted to know what was being done to resolve the insurance problem.
Of particular interest to his delegation was the issue of assessment of risks and threats, he continued. Although the Secretary-General's reports did not mention that aspect, the Under-Secretary-General had referred to it in his statement today. He wanted to know in greater detail how paragraphs 35 to 39 of resolution 276 had been implemented.
Turning to access control, he said that in resolution 59/276, the Assembly had decided that the matter would be postponed. The Assembly had never approved the project, and detailed information should be presented on the matter, as requested by relevant resolutions. As said by the representative of Jamaica last week, work had begun at the entrances to the United Nations complex, about which Member States had been informed in a note from the Department of Safety and Security and the Office of the Capital Master Plan. How did the new measures fit into the overall access control system?
THOMAS AMOLO (Kenya) associated himself with the comments of the Group of 77 and China and thanked the Under-Secretary-General for "putting the new Department on its feet". Noting that the Department was growing, he confirmed his delegation's support for its evolution.
In document A/60/424, the Secretary-General had indicated that the primary responsibility for security of all United Nations personnel rested with host countries. Kenya took that responsibility very seriously and welcomed the Under-Secretary-General's continuing interface with Kenya. That approach was producing results. The importance of coordination and cooperation in that respect had been taken up at the highest level in Kenya, including by the President of the country himself. The idea of a consultant to help the host country find new ways of addressing issues of security was welcomed. He looked forward to cooperation not only with the Under-Secretary-General and his team, but also with other Governments.
He also endorsed the field focus approach that Mr. Veness looked forward to implementing. It was obvious that expeditious recruitment, based on equitable geographical distribution, was important. That would help the cause of security. In that connection, it would be useful to explore tapping into local and regional human resources. Continued cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was needed. Inclusion of regular briefings of troop-contributing countries was an excellent way to proceed.
JAIDEEP MAZUMDAR (India) said he agreed with the statement made by the Representative of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77. The Secretariat had made commendable efforts in getting the Department up and running. But, the report and comments made during the debate had raised several issues and he asked that the item be kept open for additional debate.
Mr. Al-AHMAD (Qatar) added his voice to the statement made by the representative of Jamaica and the Group of 77. He said Qatar was as concerned as any other Member State for the safety of United Nations staff everywhere and it was necessary to set up a comprehensive, integrated safety framework to deal with all aspects of security and safety. He noted that any increase in funds for security must not be at the expense of other areas of the Organization.
He said everybody recognized that the Under-Secretary-General and his staff had made many efforts to strengthen security, but he hoped security efforts would not ignore staff working in the field and focus only on Headquarters. He noted the responsibility of host countries for the safety of United Nations staff, but added that countries had different capabilities to provide that security.
Responding to questions raised by the representative of Jamaica, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, last week, Mr. VENESS highlighted the distinction between the Capital Master Plan and the projects led by the Department of Management and Department of Safety and Security. The project, which was "finding manifestation in the deployment of modernized turnstiles" reflected earlier decisions, in response to the ghastly events of 11 September 2001. In that context, his Department was providing technical support. He supported the decisions of the Department of Management to advance those projects. The access control project -- a rather ambitious and grandiose one -- dealt with the aspects predominantly away from Headquarters. So far, an initial survey of all duty stations away from Headquarters had been completed, and the process of formulating the project had begun. That was consistent with the report last May that the global access control project needed revisiting to make sure that it was consistent with modern safety and security principles. That was his broad understanding of the issue. However, it may be helpful to address the question in more detail in informal consultations.
Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan, LOUIS REUTER, supported Mr. Veness' comments and reminded the Committee that measures to strengthen security at Headquarters would be potentially integrated in the global access project, should that decision go forward. The measures under way had been authorized by resolution 56/286. As pointed out by the OIOS representative today, out of the 18 authorized projects, seven had been fully implemented, three had been deferred to be incorporated into the Capital Master Plan, and eight were being implemented. Of those eight, one was proceeding satisfactorily, one had been delayed as the contract had expired.
The six remaining projects had been combined into one contract, entitled "Security Strengthening Project at United Nations Headquarters", he continued.
The six components now being completed were within the budget and included a new security control centre, installation of additional security barriers for automobiles, overhaul of the barrier around the site, and installation of additional lights around the perimeter. The turnstile project was included in that project. The projects under way, including the turnstile construction, did not conflict with the decisions on the consideration of a global access system. Should a decision be made on the global access system, the technology could easily be adapted to the turnstiles now being put in place. He hoped they would be completed by February 2006.
Ms. TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, thanked the Secretariat officials for the explanation provided. The Group had not expressed an objection to the mechanism, but sought clarification regarding the procedure, she said. It was important to avoid miscommunication. Relevant resolutions contained provisions that delegations should be advised on any mechanism being put in place regarding access and its implications for the Capital Master Plan. Such actions should be in accordance with previously approved resolutions. Member States should have been properly advised on the measures dealing with access and identification cards.
MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK (South Africa) said he supported the work of the Secretariat and increased security for United Nations personnel, but he wanted clarification on the current turnstile project as it related to physical security. He was puzzled as to what physical security meant. He believed items such as gates, monitoring, securing the perimeters of a site, and lighting were elements of physical security. From his perspective, turnstile mechanisms related to exits.
He said it was not clear why a project team was established at Headquarters and not in the field. He found that a worrying practice that perpetuated the idea that Headquarters was more important than offices in the field. He said the United Nations was a global organization and should take a global approach. He added that systems should not be put in place that might have to be replaced. He also questioned whether the use of access cards constituted physical security. He said there was a lack of information about the difference between a physical security improvement and access control.
Mr. MAZUMDAR (India) said he agreed with the comments of the representatives of Jamaica and South Africa. He questioned whether the elements of access control were to be implemented only at Headquarters, or across the board. He would like a report. He wanted to know the logic of what was to be achieved.
Mr. OLIVA (CUBA) said he would like to know the relationship between resolution 58/286 and the various projects that are going to be implemented, such as turnstiles and global access control systems.
Mr. REUTER repeated that the Assembly had authorized urgent security measures to protect the site. Control of physical access to the premises was part of those measures stemming from resolution 56/286. While resolution 59/276 had, indeed, deferred consideration of the global access control system and its integration with previously approved projects, six projects under way had been authorized under resolution 56/286.
As the Committee turned to UNOTIL, the Chief of the Political, Legal and Humanitarian Service of Programme Planning and Budget Division, DENNIS THATCHAICHAWALIT, introduced the budget proposal for that special political mission.
A member of the ACABQ, BESLEY MAYCOCK, said that the Advisory Committee had faced a number of problems with the budget proposal, including incomplete information. The Mission was currently operating under commitment authority granted by the Advisory Committee.
FREDERICO S. DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER (Brazil) welcomed the establishment of UNOTIL last April as a follow-on mission to UNMISET. He stressed the importance of the United Nations presence in Timor-Leste, as well as its historical role in creating "a brand-new independent State". International commitment was still required in a vast array of critical areas, and Brazil stood ready to do its share. His country continued to enhance its bilateral cooperation with the Government of Timor-Leste. At the same time, he praised the assistance provided by neighbouring countries, such as Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and members of the small islands of the Pacific group. Providing long-term assistance to Timor-Leste's development was the best way to ensure consideration of peace.
The UNOTIL must have all the necessary financial, budgetary and administrative resources to fulfil its mandate, he stressed. Now was the time to protect the large investment already made. He welcomed the Secretary-General's report, which contained the resources requirements for UNOTIL from 21 May to 31 December 2005, estimated at some $22.03 million. He took note that the resource requirements beyond 31 December would be presented in a consolidated report containing the budget proposals for all special political missions at the first part of the current session.
His delegation also took note of the ACABQ report on the matter, he said. While recognizing that it was the first budget of UNOTIL, he agreed with the ACABQ that all the additional information provided in annexes II to V of that document, a modified results-based budgeting framework with quantified outputs and the data on the activities of the other partners present in Timor-Leste demonstrated more clearly how the activities envisaged would contribute to the achievement of the Office's objectives. Still, he wanted to receive clarification on the impact of the reduction of $108,100, which had been proposed by the ACABQ. He also asked for clarifications regarding the recommendations of the Advisory Committee that the Assembly not approve the establishment of a Gender Adviser, as well as the post of Chief of Staff at the D-1 level.
JEHEZKIEL S. GEORGE LANTU (Indonesia) said he shared the concerns raised by the Advisory Committee and supported most of their recommendations concerning the budget presentation, which was not well structured. Indonesia agreed that the right links should have been made in the results-based budget presentation to connect UNOTIL, as a follow-up mission, to UNMISET and to clarify the relationship between UNOTIL and its other implementing partners, as they worked toward a sustainable development framework.
He said the logical framework to justify proposed expenditures for targeted outputs appeared inadequate and the budget framework should have contained more quantitative data. Without the data, the relevance and value of the targets were meaningless and made it difficult to measure any progress. Regarding proposed changes to the Mission's staff, Indonesia was particularly concerned that the changes would not impact the size of the local or national staff attached to the Mission. Indonesia believed that more nationals should be used to satisfy the Mission's needs, given the commitment to capacity-building in Timor-Leste.
He said the Advisory Committee had made some useful observations about the proposed staff changes. He said that rather than add new senior-level staff, perhaps it would indeed be useful for UNOTIL to rearrange its organizational structure to meet its human resource needs. Finally, he stressed that Indonesia was a firm supporter of UNOTIL and was fully prepared to help Timor-Leste by ensuring its sustained development through increased capacity-building activities.
HITOSHI KOZAKI (Japan) said he supported that work of UNOTIL and the other United Nations entities in Timor-Leste and expected that the Mission would successfully complete its work by May 2006 in accordance with the mandate of the Security Council. Japan believed that most of the Advisory Committee's recommendations were valid and he expected it would make detailed examinations of other special political missions as well.
YOO DAE-JONG (Republic of Korea) said the information in the results-based budget presentation was not specific. He questioned the role and responsibility of the budget office to guide and coordinate the budget process.
His delegation agreed with the Advisory Committee that the report was meaningless without specific targets. He noticed that a smooth transition was needed between UNMISET, as a preceding mission, and UNOTIL, as a follow-up Mission, to avoid a waste of resources. He supported the Advisory Committee's view that the reclassification of posts be dealt with as new posts.
Ms. GALVEZ (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, thanked the representatives of the Secretariat and the ACABQ for their presentation of the reports on the proposed budget of the Office in Timor-Leste and reiterated the Union's support for the important work of UNOTIL as mandated by Security Council resolution 1599. This was the first budget submission for the Office and the requirements for 2006 would also come as part of the overall submission for special political missions in the next biennium. She noted with interest the comments of the ACABQ and would follow up on them in informal consultations.
JOSÉ LUIS GUTERRES (Timor-Leste) said that he understood that the ACABQ had some doubts regarding some of the data contained in the Secretary-General's report, but he assured the Member States that an acceptable solution would be found. The UNOTIL was an essential special political mission. The Organization's six-year work in Timor-Leste was excellent and had made a great contribution to the stability in the country. Some real concerns had been expressed regarding the need to increase capacity-building of the Timorese. He felt that, in cooperation with UNOTIL, the country would be able to find positive solutions for all the problems. He thanked the delegations for their support for the Mission.
Responding to a question regarding the impact of the reduction of $108,100 recommended by the ACABQ, Mr. THATCHAICHAWALIT said that it related to the position of the Gender Adviser and the cost of upgrading the Chief of Staff to the level of D-1. On results-based budgeting, he said that the new methodology had been introduced for special political missions for the first time during the current biennium. Work would continue to improve presentation, and training was being conducted for relevant personnel. Results-based budgeting was work in progress. More information would be provided in the consolidated budget for 2006.
On the transition from UNMISET to UNOTIL, he added that, in fact, the personnel had been largely retained. The provisions for liquidation of UNMISET had been in place through October, and a smooth transition was being ensured.
Action on Drafts
As the Committee took action on a draft resolution on the Financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan, Warren Sach, United Nations controller, provided clarification and confirmed that the funding of $12.7 million for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the Mission's 2005-2006 budget would be adequate through 30 June 2006. He did not expect any additional funding would be required.
By the terms of the draft (document A/C.5/60/L.7), the General Assembly would appropriate to the special account for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan $222.03 million for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 for the establishment of the Mission. The Committee also recommended that the Assembly approve the increase in the estimated staff assessment income for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 from $1.635 million to $2.31 million.
The Committee also recommended that the Assembly appropriate to the Special Account of the Mission $969.47 million for the maintenance of the Mission from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, inclusive of the $315.98 million previously authorized by the Assembly under the terms of its resolution 59/292 for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2005. The Committee also recommended the Assembly approve the increase in the estimated staff assessment income from the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 from $2.95 million to $12.66 million.
The Committee approved the text without a vote.
Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on the report of the Board of Auditors on the voluntary funds administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the year ended 31 December 2004 (document A/C.5/60/L.6), by the terms of which the Assembly would accept the financial statements of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the related Board of Auditors report and take note of the report on the implementation of the Board's recommendations relating to 2002-2003. It would also endorse the recommendations of the Board and the ACABQ on the matter, the latter subject to the provisions of the present draft. In particular, the Assembly would take note of paragraph 18 of the Advisory Committee's report regarding the need for systematic analysis of the impact of the Board's recommendations, as implemented, on the audited entities concerned and invited the ACABQ to provide further advice in that regard.
Also by the terms of the text, the Board of Auditors would be commended for the quality of its report and its streamlined format. The Assembly would recognize the efforts of the UNHCR to implement the Board's recommendations and request the High Commissioner to intensify his efforts in that regard. It would further note the concerns of the Board about the general financial situation of the UNHCR, including further depletion of the reserves of the Office, and encourage Member States to respond in a timely manner to the Office's appeal for resources.
The Assembly would also recall paragraph 7 of its resolution 58/249, by which it had requested the Secretary-General to report on the full extent of unfunded staff termination and post-service liabilities in the United Nations and its funds and programmes and to propose measures that would ensure progress towards funding such liabilities fully.
Also by the text, the Secretary-General would be requested to take the necessary measures to ensure that the editing and translation of the reports of the Board of Auditors are completed in accordance with the six-week rule. That would enable Member States to have adequate time to consider the large volume of reports prior to the next session of the Assembly. Emphasizing that the implementation of the recommendations of the Board is essential to ensuring efficient operations and effective internal control, the Assembly would decide to monitor closely those efforts. It would request the Secretary-General and executive heads of the funds and programmes to include, in future implementation reports, information on the setting of time frames, identification of office holders and priorities for the implementation of the Auditors' recommendations.
The Committee approved the text without a vote.
WARREN SACH, United Nations Controller, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2005 (document A/60/437).
Mr. SAHA, Acting Chairman of the ACABQ, introduced a related report (document A/60/551).
Ms. RUSSELL (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the Union's position on the Organization's financial situation had been articulated in its statement on 20 October. In respect of returning to Member States the funds sitting in closed peacekeeping missions, the Union's long-standing position had also been made perfectly clear: the money, including accrued interest and other income, should be returned, in full and without conditions, to Member States. She lamented again the fact that, due to consistently late payments, essentially by the largest and a handful of other contributors, and even non-payment of assessed contributions by some Member States, the Organization was being forced to retain funds that should be returned to Member States.
The practice of cross-borrowing from the pool of funds retained in closed mission accounts in order to maintain the viability of the United Nations itself, the international tribunals, as well as active peacekeeping operations, simply masked the real issue of arrears and the inability of the Fifth Committee to substantively address that problem. Until it did, troop-contributing countries, many of whom paid in full and without conditions, would not receive speedy or full reimbursement.
She noted the statement by the Controller in respect of the cash-flow situation and sympathized with the position he found himself in, as well as the difficulties he faced in managing "his myriad of budgets". But, the decisions made in previous years by the Assembly to allow those funds to be retained by the Secretary-General had been made on an exceptional basis. It should not be taken as a given by the Secretary-General that such exceptions had become the norm. The Union would question, given the dire financial straits in which the United Nations again found itself, whether the Committee would be able to advance the issue satisfactorily during the main part of the session. Should the item be deferred until the second resumed session, the Union would request that the Secretary-General more accurately reflect, in an updated report, all the funds available to him and recommend additional courses of action other than simply retaining the funds.
Mr. SACH expressed appreciation for the sympathy for the difficulties he faced managing "the myriad of budgets". The issue before the Committee was an institutional one, which should be solved by the membership at large.
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