20 December 2005
Budget Implications of Proposed Peacebuilding Commission, Financing for Women's Institute among Issues Discussed in Fifth Committee
NEW YORK, 19 December (UN Headquarters) -- At the outset of the final week of the main part of its session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) took up programme budget implications of several drafts before the Assembly, as well as the estimates in respect of special political missions, the budget for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, and construction of additional facilities for the Economic Commission for Africa.
With a draft resolution on the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission due to come before the plenary and the Security Council tomorrow, Director ad interim of the Programme Planning and Budget Division Sharon Van Buerle, who introduced the statement on the budget implications of that text, explained to the Committee that by its terms, the Assembly would decide to establish the Peacebuilding Commission as an intergovernmental advisory body. It would also reiterate the Summit's request for the Secretary-General to establish, from within existing resources, a support office to assist it. The creation of the Commission would give rise to the requirements of some $2.2 million for the new body's conference-servicing, and the costs of establishing the peacebuilding support unit were estimated at $4.2 million. Thus, additional resource requirements arising from the adoption of the text would amount to $7 million.
However, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), whose report was introduced by Acting Chairman, Rajat Saha, recommended that, in view of the requirement that "a small peacebuilding support office" be established "within existing resources", there be no additional appropriation under the proposed regular budget at the present stage.
"While the Secretary-General is within his right to inform the Assembly that he believes that additional resources are necessary, it is incumbent upon him to fully justify that position, with a full analysis of the possibility for absorption and redeployment", the Advisory Committee stated. The Secretary-General should, therefore, be requested to revisit the matter and submit a proposal that would be consistent with the intent of the Assembly.
The representative of South Africa supported the establishment of the new body, but had certain "sequencing difficulties" in connection with the budget implications of the draft, as some decisions on the issue still remained to be made. It was important to find a practical solution to deal with a request of the Secretary-General for additional funds and establish a small peacebuilding support office. Not fully convinced by the ACABQ's reasoning, she believed the issue required further discussion, because it was important to give the office and commission the ability to function from the very beginning.
Also today, several delegations supported the proposal, under which over a million dollars would be provided to sustain the operations of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) in 2006. Speakers emphasized in the debate that Institute was the only entity of the United Nations system devoted exclusively to the research, training and the dissemination of information on gender equality, both in developed and developing countries. The representative of the Dominican Republic -- the country hosting the Institute -- said that INSTRAW had more than proven its importance and the United Nations had the responsibility of providing it with a permanent and firm financial base, which would allow it to continue its work.
Several speakers insisted on the need to ensure that the construction of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa could proceed without further delay. Also addressed today were the resources needed to eliminate the backlog in the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and extend the mandate of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
On the latter, the representative of Uganda said that he saw no merit in reviewing the mandate and proposed funding of the Special Representative's Office. The former Special Representative had politicized the Office and its reporting was far from accurate. At the current stage, the lead agency, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), was better suited to continue with its mandate.
Also noted in the debate were the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) that the decision on the requirements for special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly or the Security Council be deferred, pending detailed review by the ACABQ in February and subsequent action of the Assembly. In the meanwhile, for the 26 missions dealt with in the Secretary-General's report, it recommended approval of a charge of $100 million through the end of April 2006.
Statements were also made by representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Argentina (on behalf of the Rio Group), Nigeria, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Mexico, Japan, Algeria and Cuba.
The Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 20 December, to continue its consideration of the statements of programme budget implications before it.
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to consider a series of documents, including three reports and seven statements of programme budget implications.
The documents before the Committee included reports of the Secretary-General on the International Trade Centre, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)/World Trade Organization (WTO) (document A/60/6 (Sect.13)/Add.1; 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/60/585); and construction of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa (document A/60/532).
Other reports before the Committee statements of programme budget implications on draft resolution A/60/L.40: the Peacebuilding Commission (document A/C.5/60/22); draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.17 (as orally revised) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (documents A/C.5/60/12); draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.22/Rev.1: Rights of the Child (document A/C.5/60/15); draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.15/Rev.1: Future operations of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) (document A/C.5/60/16); draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.53: Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar (document A/C.5/60/17); and the Administrative and financial implications arising from the report of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (document A/C.5/60/18).
Introduction of Documents
SHARON VAN BUERLE, Director ad interim of the Programme Planning and Budget Division, introduced the reports of the Secretary-General, noting that she would introduce them in one overall statement.
The report entitled estimates in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council contained budget proposals for 2006 for 26 special political missions. The overall resources requested amounted to some $280.8 million net. A summary of aggregate requirements by major components provided details on the proposed staffing resources. A total of 3,085 posts were requested for 2006, reflecting a net reduction of 266 positions, resulting from the net effect of the discontinuation of six missions and the requirements for new missions and the expansion of continuing missions. The total requirements of $280.8 million would be charged against the provision for special political missions of $355.95 million under section 3 of the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget.
The report on the proposed programme budget for ICT/UNCTAD/WTO for 2006-2007 had been presented in accordance with agreed arrangements contained in Assembly resolution 59/276 of December 2004, whereby a simplified budget proposal was presented in the early part of the year and a detailed budget in the fall of the same year. The budget before the Committee had been approved by the General Council of the WTO and reflected resource requirements of 68.4 million Swiss francs at 2006-2007 rates, representing a decrease of 13,500 Swiss francs as a result of increases arising from the delayed impact of posts approved in 2004-2005 and three new posts proposed for 2006-2007.
She said the annual report of the Secretary-General on the construction at additional facilities at the ECA provided information on the status of the project and details on the revision to office space requirements and corresponding cost estimates for the proposal to construct two additional floors of office space.
The Committee had before it seven programme budget implication statements, she said. The requirements contained in the statements would represent a charge against the contingency fund. On the Peacebuilding Commission, under the terms of operative paragraph 1 of draft resolution A/60/L.40, the Assembly would decide to establish the Peacebuilding Commission as an intergovernmental advisory body. By operative paragraph 23, the Assembly would reaffirm the request to the Secretary-General to establish a peacebuilding support office to assist and support the Peacebuilding Commission. The decision contained in operative paragraph 1 would give rise to requirements for conference-servicing amounting to some $2.2 million under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management of the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget. Additionally, the costs of establishing the peacebuilding support unit were estimated at $4.2 million under section 3, Political affairs, and $645,600 under section 35, Staff assessment. Should the General Assembly adopt draft resolution A/60/L.40, it would give rise to additional resource requirements of $7 million.
On the programme budget implications arising from the Third Committee draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.17 as orally amended, on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the requests contained in the draft gave rise to the statement before the Committee. She drew the Committee's attention to part 5 of the document, which detailed additional requirements amounting to $9.5 million. The resources were needed to reduce the backlog of cases addressed by the Committee.
Concerning the programme budget implication statement on transparency in armaments and actions required under the terms of draft resolution A/C.1/60/L.50/Rev.1, adopted by the First Committee, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General, with the assistance of governmental experts to be convened in 2006, to prepare a report on the continuing operation of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms and its further development, with a view to taking a decision at its sixty-first session. Implementation of the decision would require conference servicing for three sessions of the Group of Governmental Experts amounting to a total of $679,500, and substantive servicing by the Department of Disarmament Affairs amounting to some $399,100. The total for the programme budget implication amounted to $1.1 million.
On the rights of the child, under draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.22/Rev.1, adopted by the Third Committee in November 2005, the General Assembly would recommend that the Secretary-General extend the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict for a further period of three years, and request the Special Representative to submit reports to the Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights. It was estimated that the overall requirements of the Office of the Special Representative for 2006-2007 would amount to some $3.5 million gross, providing for the continuation of the office's existing staffing complement and non-post resources for official travel, consultancy services and other operating expenses. It was estimated that, as of 31 December 2005, the balance of unearmarked contributions for the Office would amount to some $152,100. Taking that amount into account, the net additional requirements for maintaining the Office of the Special Representative in 2006-2007 would amount to some $3.35 million gross, which would need to be funded from the regular budget.
On the future operations of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), she said the statement was presented in response to draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.15/Rev.1, in which the Assembly would decide to provide its full support to the current efforts to revitalize the Institute and to provide it with the requisite funds to enable it to carry out its core functions for 2006-2007. The requirements to sustain INSTRAW operations in 2006 were estimated at $1.3 million. It was anticipated that the balance available for allocation in the INSTRAW Trust Fund as of 1 January 2006 would amount to some $272,200. It was not currently possible to determine whether the Institute would have adequate resources to operate up to 31 December 2006 without complementary funds. Contingent upon the availability of additional voluntary contributions, an additional $1.04 million might be required from the regular budget and was subject to the express decision of the Assembly in that regard, as well as to the amendment to article VIII of the Institute's status.
She said the statement entitled "Situation of human rights in Myanmar" related to the requirements of draft resolution A/C.3/60?l.53 adopted by the Third Committee. In that resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices on the human rights situation with the Government and people of Myanmar and to offer technical assistance in that regard, as well as to provide the Secretary-General's Special Envoy and the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the human rights situation in Myanmar to discharge their mandate fully. To implement the mandates, it was estimated that requirements for continuing the Secretary-General's good offices through his Special Envoy for a one-year period in 2006 would amount to some $210,400 for staff resources and operational requirements. That amount would be required for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2006 and would be charged against the provision of $355.95 million proposed for special political missions of the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget.
On the administrative and financial implications arising from the report of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board, she noted that, based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the United Nations share in the administrative and audit costs related to the Pension Fund was estimated at $16.54 million. In accordance with established procedures, the overall amount would be shared among the United Nations regular budget and the funds and programmes. An estimated 65 per cent of that amount would be attributable to the regular budget. Based on the latest data on the number of participants in the Fund, however, that percentage would need to be revised to 62.2 per cent. In applying the revised distribution rate of 62.2 per cent to the revised overall requirements of $16.54 million, an amount of $10.3 million would represent the revised regular budget share as compared to $9.21 million already included under section 1 of the proposed programme budget. An additional requirement of $1.1 million would, therefore, need to be included under section 1 of the 2006-2007 proposed programme budget.
Presenting related ACABQ reports, Acting Chairman of that body, RAJAT SAHA, said that in its report on special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly or the Security Council (document A/60/7/Add.24), the Advisory Committee had recommended that the matter be deferred pending detailed review by the ACABQ in February and subsequent action of the Assembly. In the meanwhile, for the 26 missions dealt with in the Secretary-General's report, it recommended approval of a charge of $100 million against the related provision of the proposed budget for 2006-2007. That should be sufficient to allow continued functioning of the missions until the end of April 2006.
Furthermore, the ACABQ recommended that no action be taken to fill additional posts or implement reclassifications, with the exception of staff required to meet the most urgent needs of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone, which had been established by the Security Council in resolution 1620 (2005) to assist the Government after the withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone at the end of 2005. However, that exception in no way implied consideration or approval of the total number of posts or positions or their grades proposed for the new mission.
On the UNCTAD/WTO Trade Centre (document A/60/7/Add.16), the Advisory Committee in several paragraphs of the report recommended approval of the posts. In paragraph 13 of the report, it recommended that the General Assembly approve an amount of 68.37 million Swiss francs at 2006-2007 rates under section 13, International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, of the proposed budget.
According to the report on the Peacebuilding Commission (document A/60/7/Add.25), the Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly decide that, in view of the requirement that "a small peacebuilding support office" be established "within existing resources", there should not be any additional appropriation under the proposed regular budget at the present stage.
While the Secretary-General is within his right to inform the Assembly that he believes that additional resources are necessary, it is incumbent upon him to fully justify that position, with a full analysis of the possibility for absorption and redeployment. The ACABQ had been informed that, in view of the novel functions of the proposed support office, it is not possible to utilize existing Secretariat capacities to staff it. The ACABQ is not convinced by such an explanation and points out that there is no evidence of a sufficient attempt to redeploy resources or otherwise accommodate that activity from existing resources. The Secretary-General should, therefore, be requested to revisit the matter and submit a proposal that would be consistent with the intent of the Assembly.
The total expenditures of the budget proposal under the section General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management was, in the opinion of the ACABQ, still fluid and subject to change, since the requirements for the Human Rights Council are still undetermined. Under the circumstances, the Assembly may wish to consider that such additional resources as may be necessary for the Peacebuilding Commission be reported in the performance report.
Turning to budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.22/Rev.1, Mr. Saha said that the Advisory Committee's comments were contained in document A/60/7/Add.18. In that report, the ACABQ notes that the requirements for the activities of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict for 2006-2007 are estimated at $3.49 million gross. While the Advisory Committee is not in a position to recommend a reduction in those estimates, it is of the opinion that the projection of non-post requirements is on the high side, especially as concerns overtime (in view of the General Service posts requested) and travel of staff. More precise requirements would no doubt be formulated, once a new Special Representative assumed office. In that regard, a delay in appointment could also impact the requirements for travel. Under the circumstances, savings should be reflected in the performance report. The Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly be informed that, should it adopt the draft in question, requirements of up to $3.35 million would arise.
On the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.53 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the ACABQ, in document A/60/7/Add.17, trusts that efforts to achieve savings will be made wherever possible and the results reflected in the performance report. It recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that the adoption of the draft in question would entail a requirement of up to $254,000 gross for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2006 for the continuation of the Secretary-General's good offices relating to the situation in Myanmar. Those requirements would be charged against the provision of $355.95 million proposed for special political missions in the 2006-2007 budget proposal.
Regarding INSTRAW, the Advisory Committee, in document A/60/7/Add.20, first addresses future operation of the Institute, stating that it fully recognizes its difficulties in past years. It commends the Director of INSTRAW for the actions undertaken to revitalize the Institute and the results obtained. However, it notes that INSTRAW continues to rely on United Nations regular budget funding for most of its core requirements. Furthermore, the Advisory Committee was informed that contributions to the INSTRAW trust fund in 2005 amounted to $768,573 as at 30 November. Stressed in the report is the importance of further intensifying fund-raising with a view to achieving the widest possible donor base to ensure financial sustainability. The Advisory Committee urges INSTRAW to continue to carefully examine its role within the United Nations family, especially as concerns the work of other entities specializing in the promotion of gender equality. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs and others should also consider how they may best benefit from the involvement of INSTRAW. In this connection, the ACABQ draws attention to the role of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, who chairs the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality. The INSTRAW should continue to develop and refine its strategic objectives and programme of work in close cooperation with those entities in order to avoid any duplication.
In connection with draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.15/Rev.1, on the future operation of INSTRAW, by which the Assembly would decide to provide its full support to the current efforts to revitalize INSTRAW and to provide it with the requisite funds to enable it to carry out its core functions for the 2006-2007 biennium, the Advisory Committee recommends informing the Assembly that the adoption of the text would entail additional requirements of up to $1.04 million for the biennium 2006-2007, under the procedures for the use and operations of the contingency fund.
The Advisory Committee also notes the indication in paragraph 18 of the Secretary-General's statement that "the provision of additional funds to finance operations of the Institute in 2007 would imply an annual subvention to the Institute, which is subject to the express decision of the General Assembly in this regard and to the amendment of article VIII of the statute of the Institute".
In connection with the recommendations of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (document A/60/183), the Advisory Committee, in document A/60/7/Add.22, recommends an additional appropriation of some $1.08 million under section 1 of the proposed 2006-2007 budget. That would represent a charge against the contingency fund.
Document A/60/7/Add.15 deals with statement submitted by the Secretary-General (A/C.5/60/12) on the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.17, as orally revised, on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Advisory Committee welcomes the efforts to adapt the working procedures of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to accelerate the consideration of the reports of States parties, such as the meeting of that Committee in two parallel working groups, which effectively doubles the number of reports that can be considered during each session, from 8 to 16. However, it also points out that, even with a third annual session, which is requested as an exceptional measure for the 2006-2007 biennium, the accumulated backlog would only temporarily be reduced from 65 reports at the end of 2005 to 46 at the end of 2007, and would in all likelihood increase again after 2007, when the Committee resumes its normal cycle of meetings twice a year.
The ACABQ, therefore, recommends that the Committee intensify its efforts to explore methods of reforming its working and reporting procedures to complete its work under the terms of its current mandate. Any savings achieved from possible streamlining of documentation requirements, particularly under conference services, should be reflected in the performance report. It should be noted in this regard that requirements for conference services are estimated at "full cost" and will be revisited.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/C.3/60/L.17, as orally revised, additional resources in the total amount of $9.52 million would be required under the proposed budget for 2006-2007, to be considered in accordance with the procedures for the use and operations of the contingency fund.
NORMA ELAINE TAYLOR ROBERTS (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing nations and China, noted that the financial situation of INSTRAW had improved considerably during 2005 due to the increase in voluntary contributions, the largest since 1997. The Group was also pleased to note that the Institute had raised substantial extrabudgetary funds, which had greatly facilitated the implementation of mandated projects. It appreciated the work performed by the Institute's Director, who had considerably advanced the Institute's level of efficiency. She also welcomed the strengthening of cooperative arrangements with other United Nations entities, such as the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on various project proposals, including fund-raising activities and the Institute's strategic framework for 2004-2007.
She also took note with appreciation of the four selected strategic areas undertaken by INSTRAW's Director aimed at applied research, sharing and dissemination of information, capacity-building and its own institutional development. The Institute had also undertaken research activities related to migration, information and communication technology, peace and security issues and most importantly, women's empowerment and political participation. The INSTRAW was mandated by Member States as the only entity of the United Nations system devoted exclusively to the research, training and the dissemination of information on gender equality. The Group called, therefore, on members to continue its commitment in support of the revitalization of the Institute and, in that regard, to ensure that it could carry out its mandate effectively.
ALEJANDRO TORRES LEPORI ( Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said all of the statements of programme budget implications should be looked at together. Regarding disarmament, the preparation of a report on the keeping of the Registrar of Conventional Arms was of fundamental importance. In that regard, the Assembly should make the necessary resources available, so that the working group would be able to succeed in its work. On the issue of human rights, he hoped the necessary resources could be found to extend the mandate of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict from the regular budget. He was happy to see that measures had been taken to revitalize INSTRAW. He was also pleased to see that its Director had done everything necessary to revitalize it and raise funds. Despite that, however, it was still necessary for the Assembly to find additional funding for the Institute.
Concerning the Women's Convention, he supported the organizational measures for the work of its related Committee, as well as its proposed budget needs. On special political missions, he took note of the ACABQ's recommendation that programme and financial aspects be studied next February.
LUIS LITHGOW ( Dominican Republic) fully associated himself with the position of the Group of 77 and China and the Rio Group. He said that he wanted to commend the excellent work of INSTRAW and its Director for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, both in developed and developing countries. He also stressed the importance of the continuity of the Institute's work. His country had maintained its unconditional support for the Institute, which it hosted. The Dominican Republic had always recognized the relevance of the Institute and the need to ensure its ability to fulfil its mandate. The INSTRAW had more than proven its importance. The United Nations had the responsibility of giving INSTRAW a permanent and firm financial base, which would allow it to continue its work.
Mr. YAÑEZ ( Venezuela) supported the position of the Group of 77 and China and the Rio Group, as well as the statement by the Dominican Republic. With regard to the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, he reiterated his delegation's reservations in connection with related paragraphs of the Summit Outcome, given the contradiction in the negotiations process, which had not been inclusive and transparent. The setting up of the permanent committee of the organization as presented in the draft would take away from the intergovernmental and consultative power of the existing bodies and affect the balance between the Security Council and the General Assembly. Also, the General Assembly could not yet look at the programme budget implications of the draft, because the deliberations on the matter had not yet concluded.
His delegation also did not support the draft resolution on human rights, because it believed in the sovereignty and self-determination, as well as impartiality and non-interference in internal affairs of States. He did not accept the politicization of issues related to human rights. Pretending to protect human rights, some developed countries were condemning some developing countries selectively. However, over the last 50 years, there had been no resolution on the violations of human rights imposed by industrialized countries.
NONYE UDO (Nigeria) asked whether the Advisory Committee's report on the construction of additional facilities at Addis Ababa was available. Her delegation had spoken several tines on the issue on behalf of the African Group and had inquired into the numerous delays the project had encountered over the years. She was taken aback to note that construction had not even started. That was a matter of concern to her delegation. In that regard, she asked the Secretariat to provide an updated briefing on what was happening in Addis Ababa, including the status of construction and when it would be completed.
FRANCIS MUMBEY-WAFULA ( Uganda) addressed the issue of the Office of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the Great Lakes region. During the last deliberations on the matter, his delegation had expressed concern about the absence of staff with local knowledge. He asked for an appraisal of efforts to address that problem. On the ad hoc committee's composition and ability to accurately report and foster peace in the region, given progress made bilaterally by States in the region, he questioned the relevancy of that committee. In that connection, he asked for an update on when the committee was expected to conclude, as he did not see much justification for its continued existence.
Continuing, he welcomed the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission. Turning to the rights of the child and the Office of the Secretary-General's Special Representative on Children and Armed conflict, he had expressed concern about the way in which the Office was run. The former Special Representative had politicized the Office and its reporting was far from accurate. At the current stage, the lead agency, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), was better suited to continue with its mandate. He saw no merit in reviewing the Office's mandate and proposed funding.
HAILE SELASSIE GETACHEW ( Ethiopia) said that he was going to speak on the construction of additional facilities in Addis Ababa and the absence of the ACABQ report in that respect. Although he had just found out that the report had been distributed in the room, he could not comment on that document yet.
[In the report (document A/60/7/Add.21), the Advisory Committee expresses trust that priority-oriented planning would be used to determine the actual allocation of space. It recommends approval of the total additional costs in the amount of some $3.67 million, should the Assembly authorize the expansion of the new office building by two additional floors to a total capacity of 9,550 square metres. In that circumstance, the Advisory Committee also recommended a phased approach in financing further requirements related to the access control systems or the information and technology network and telephone equipment costs.]
His Government and the city of Addis Ababa had always worked closely with the concerned bodies for the facilitation and final completion of additional office space. As indicated in the report, his Government had allocated additional land under a free leasehold and related information had been submitted to the Office of Legal Affairs. He asked about the latest information from the Office of Legal Affairs in that regard and assured the Committee that his Government would continue to do its utmost to assist in the implementation of the project.
KAREN LOCK ( South Africa) said that her delegation realized that both the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee had been working under tremendous pressure. With little time left, her delegation would work in a constructive manner to reach early agreement on the issues before the Committee. She associated with the Group of 77 and China and the Rio Group with regard to the subvention to INSTRAW. She also supported Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda with regard to the construction of ECA facilities.
She had noticed the use of the term "within existing resources" by other Committees and the plenary, she said. In that connection, she recalled the rules of procedure of the General Assembly and emphasized that the Assembly had reaffirmed that the Fifth Committee was the body entrusted with administrative and budgetary matters. Previous Chairmen of the Committee had brought the prerogatives and mandates of the Fifth to the attention of other committees. It was not quite clear why the ACABQ had not pointed that out in its reports. In some instances, the ACABQ itself had stated that the Assembly should make a decision on how resources would be used. That was the prerogative of the Fifth.
Turning to the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, she supported the new body. However, she had certain "sequencing difficulties", as some decisions on the issue still remained to be made. It was important to find a practical solution to deal with a request of the Secretary-General and establish a small peacebuilding support office. Taking note of the ACABQ comments, she said she was not fully convinced of the Advisory Committee's reasoning. The issue required further discussion, because it was important to give the office and commission the ability to function from the very beginning.
On the construction of ECA facilities, she expressed appreciation to the Government of Ethiopia for the useful assistance it was providing and fulfilling its duties as the host country. She was concerned over the delays in the implementation of the project, but understood the reasons for those delays. While conscious of the fact that many of the delays were not in the hands of the Secretariat and that the project had to be revisited in view of recent safety and security decisions, she believed it was time to proceed with the project. She looked at the request for additional resources in a favourable way. It was the responsibility of the ECA and the Secretariat to ensure that the project now proceeded without further delays.
CAROLINA FERNANDEZ ( Mexico) said INSTRAW's Director had shown what could be produced by good management and she needed the Assembly's support to continue the revitalization process. The Director had shown she was able to be an efficient administrator.
KEIKO KURODA ( Japan) said her delegation's position was clear. She would not make a statement this morning, but would participate actively in the informal consultations.
ABDELATIF DEBABECHE ( Algeria) expressed his delegation's concern on the late issuance of documentation, which, given the importance of the agenda items before the Committee, was especially serious. Regarding INSTRAW, he agreed that the institution was managed by an individual of high quality. He joined others in expressing concerns regarding the lateness of the building and expansion of the ECA facilities in Addis Ababa and agreed also with the observation by the representative of South Africa on the Peacebuilding Commission.
DULCE BUERGO RODRIGUEZ ( Cuba) supported the position of the Group of 77 with regard to explicit support to INSTRAW. The useful work of the Institute reinforced the need for the Assembly to approve additional resources requested to finance the activities of the Institute in the new biennium.
She also agreed with the representative of South Africa on the need to avoid the use of the term "within existing resources" by other Committees. That had happened repeatedly and further complicated negotiations in the Fifth Committee. It was essential to reaffirm the rules of procedure and resolutions on that issue. She also supported the concerns by Algeria with regard to the late presentation of documents. She encouraged the Secretariat to make the work of the Committee easier. If delegations had more time to study the issues, it would be easier to make decisions.
Ms. UDO ( Nigeria) said that she had finally gotten a copy of the ACABQ report on the construction of additional ECA facilities in Addis Ababa and she was still trying to study it. She now saw some of the explanations given for the delays in construction, but she would await clarifications she had sought earlier. Her delegation attached great attention to the matter. The Advisory Committee was recommending the approval of the total amount requested, so that work could finally be completed. Her delegation would be approaching the discussion in that vein. Now, it was important to provide the amount required. She hoped to get an assurance from the Secretariat that this time around, there would be no further delays. She also wanted to know about the expected time line on the completion of the project.
She added that she would not be commenting on individual statements of programme budget implications today, for she had had no time to look at them. She supported a speedy resolution of the item. She also supported the comments of South Africa on the pertinence and prerogatives of the Fifth Committee.
On the Peacebuilding Commission, she said that her delegation attached great importance to that body and would be approaching the negotiations in a very positive manner.
Responding to comments on construction at the ECA, Ms. VAN BUERLE said the Office of Legal Affairs had reviewed the matter. A few issues needed to be ironed out, including the issue of minerals below the land. The matter was still within the Legal Office's purview. An explanation on the status of the projects and delays was contained in the report. A geotechnical report had uncovered atypical soil conditions in sections of the foundation area of the new building, requiring the reinforcement of the building foundation. Accordingly, 60 per cent of the construction documentation that had been submitted in December 2004 had had to be revised, thus delaying the availability of project documentation.
On the issue of other committees using the phrase "within existing resources", she explained that each time a programme budget implication was produced for the main committees, the Secretariat had been religious in ensuring that the terms of resolution 45/248 was brought to the attention of that committee. The Secretariat had been certainly trying to ensure that the Fifth Committee's rights in that regard were upheld.
Ms. UDO ( Nigeria) asked about the status of other statements of programme budget implications which she had expected to see this morning.
The Committee's Secretary, MOVSES ABELIAN, informed the Committee that four more such statements were currently under discussion in the ACABQ, including on the Rwanda genocide, least developed countries and migration, which he expected to be out soon.
* *** *