Budget requirements for United Nations peacekeeping operations, which would top $8.3 billion for the 2016/17 fiscal period, would figure prominently in upcoming negotiations, as the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today opened the second part of its resumed seventieth session.
Speakers stressed the need to take into account mandates and on-the-ground complexities when considering funding requirements for peacekeeping operations in the coming year, while also highlighting the need to examine the individual budget for each mission, including those that had already closed.
Thailand's representative, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said the Group looked forward to engaging on several key priorities, including ensuring that peacekeeping budgets were considered and approved on the basis of mandates and the real situations on the ground; exploring options regarding unpaid assessments, accounts payable and other liabilities of closed peacekeeping missions; assessing achievements and shortfalls in implementing the Global Field Support Strategy; and systematically addressing the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations, particularly measures to prevent such occurrences.
Further to that point, she expressed concern over the cash deficit situation in several closed peacekeeping missions and concurred with the Secretary-General on the importance of properly addressing the cash requirements of peacekeeping operations. Viable solutions must be found for outstanding payments due to troop- and police-contributing countries in closed peacekeeping operations.
The Dominican Republic's representative, speaking for the Community for Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), called on the Secretary-General to fulfil the General Assembly's request for concrete proposals to address outstanding payments as a way to ensure Members States in arrears to the closed missions met their financial obligations.
Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, introducing the Secretary-General's reports on the financial position of 26 closed missions, said that as of 30 June 2015, five had net cash deficits totalling $86.5 million and $63 million was owed to troop-contributing countries. Cash surpluses were being used to alleviate occasional shortfalls in active peacekeeping operations in the Western Sahara, Kosovo, Cyprus and Abyei, yet "circumstances have improved in recent years", with peak borrowings declining from $57 million in August 2013 to $30 million in July 2015. Given the liquidity problems faced by some active missions, the Secretary-General maintained his proposal for the General Assembly to authorize temporary borrowings between active missions or set up a peacekeeping working capital fund.
Carlos Ruiz Massieu, presenting the corresponding report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Question (ACABQ), said the proposal did not address the long-standing issue of late payment of assessed contributions and urged the Secretary-General to explore options in that regard. Any surplus above what was required for temporary cash requirements of active missions should be returned to Member States in full and on time, he stressed.
The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, meantime, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that each individual peacekeeping operation, and specifically those located in Africa, must receive adequate resources, taking into account the complexity of their respective mandates, the unique circumstances justifying those mandates and the magnitude of the challenges of operations on the ground.
In that regard, the Group noted that, although the role of regional arrangements and agencies should be implemented in accordance with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (AMISOM) was not receiving the same treatment as those under the United Nations.
Ms. Tucci Bartsiotas introduced the Secretary-General's reports on the 2014/15 budget performance and 2016/17 budget proposals for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Mr. Ruiz Massieu presented the Advisory Committee's corresponding reports.
The Dominican Republic's representative, again speaking for CELAC, said Haiti still faced considerable challenges and needed MINUSTAH's support. He was concerned by proposed cuts to the Mission, stressing the need for resources to fully carry out its mandate of providing support during the country's upcoming elections.
Syria's representative said financing of UNDOF must continue. The withdrawal of UNDOF troops gave terrorists free reign in the region and the ability to occupy positions that allowed them to attack Syrian troops. He asked the Secretariat for an amended report on UNDOF as the current one ignored some realities on the ground.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Committee approved its work programme for the session and discussed the organization of its work.
Every effort should be made to ensure that the Secretary-General's report and the related report of the Advisory Committee on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda should be presented in a timely manner, several speakers stressed. To further delay consideration of that item would hamper the Organization's credibility and its ability to deliver on the mandates given by the leaders of Members States.
The delegate of the United Republic of Tanzania, again speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted that the Advisory Committee's calendar lagged behind, which could negatively impact the work of the Fifth Committee, as well as other intergovernmental bodies, if not immediately addressed. In that context, there was a need to revise the Advisory Committee's calendar and extend its working session to allow the Fifth Committee to effectively deliver on its increased workload.
Also on scheduling matters, the representative of the European Union further highlighted that the back-to-back organization of the Fifth Committee's second resumed session with the Committee for Programme and Coordination was no longer sustainable and hampered the Fifth Committee's functioning.
Also speaking today were representatives of China, Ghana, Japan, Uganda, Angola, United States, Russian Federation, Cuba, Colombia and Israel.
The Fifth Committee will meet again on Wednesday, 4 May at 10 a.m. to discuss improving the financial situation of the United Nations.
DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI (Nepal), Chair of the Fifth Committee, opening the meeting, said that peacekeeping operations would occupy a central position in the Committee's second resumed session. The Committee's work must be completed on time, before the next peacekeeping budget cycle began on 2 July. During the current session, the Committee would also take up items related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the importance of which could not be over-emphasized. The Committee was perhaps the most powerful in the United Nations system because its decisions shaped the system as a whole. If it worked well, the entire system would work well. In both the main part of the Committee's session and the first resumed session, delegations succeeded in finishing their work on time. He hoped that precedent would continue in the current resumed session, which he equated to "running a marathon" in which the last mile was perhaps the most difficult, but the most crucial. In that regard, he called on all delegates to continue working with a spirt of compromise and consensus.
Organization of Work
SIRITHON WAIRATPANIJ (Thailand) spoke on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China. Referring to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, she said that every effort should be made to ensure that the Secretary-General's report and the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) be presented in a timely manner. To further delay consideration of that item would hamper the Organization's credibility and its ability to deliver on the mandates given by the leaders of Members States. That would be unacceptable, she said, adding that the provisional nature of the programme of work could help Member States to give adequate time to each agenda item.
On peacekeeping matters, she said that the Group of 77 looked forward to engaging on several key priorities. Those included ensuring that peacekeeping budgets be considered and approved on the basis of mandates and the real situations on the ground; exploring options regarding unpaid assessments, accounts payable and other liabilities of closed peacekeeping missions; assessing achievements and shortfalls of the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy of the Secretary-General after the end of its five-year implementation period; and to consider systematically addressing the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations, particularly measures to prevent such occurrences.
JUSTIN KISOKA (United Republic of Tanzania) spoke on behalf of the Africa Group and associated himself with the Group of 77, noting that during the second resumed session, the Committee was expected to consider about 90 voluminous documents, the majority of which were not ready on time, nor translated into all official languages. The Group also noted that the calendar of the Advisory Committee lagged behind, which could negatively impact the work of the Fifth Committee, as well as other intergovernmental bodies, if not immediately addressed. There was a need to revise the Advisory Committee's calendar and extend its working session to allow the Fifth Committee to effectively deliver on its increased workload.
The African Group appreciated the efforts of the Department of Field Service, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other field-based offices to facilitate the Fifth Committee field trip conducted in February. The visit enabled the Group to better understand the progress and challenges that peacekeeping operations in the region were facing. The African Group would take a keen interest in the careful review of the performance and proposals of all closed and active peacekeeping operations. Further, the Group would also dedicate part of its efforts to address the pending and long-awaited proposals on Agenda 2030 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as the revised estimates of the Department of Political Affairs on enhancing its capacity to mediate conflicts.
OLIVIO FERMIN (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), regretted that the Committee had been unable to consider and decide upon reforms to the funding and backstopping for special political missions, notwithstanding the recommendations of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. The current administration and budgetary arrangements for those missions was inadequate and had an adverse effect on the regular budget, accountability, governance and transparency of the Organization. He insisted on correcting the deficiencies of the current arrangement, thus responding to the constant and urgent calls of the Secretariat, the Advisory Committee, the Board of Auditors and others.
Recalling the General Assembly's request for the Secretary-General to submit concrete proposals regarding the issue of outstanding amounts due to Member States from closed peacekeeping missions that were in net cash deficit, he said that CELAC considered that an outcome to that issue be sought, ensuring that Members States in arrears to the closed missions meet their financial obligations. Each peacekeeping operation had a stand-alone budget; such budgets should be considered individually. CELAC was keen to discuss reports regarding the financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
JAN DE PRETER of the European Union Delegation said that as the largest collective financial contributor to peacekeeping, the European Union attached great importance to the peacekeeping partnership and effective collaboration. In that regard, the European Union would closely examine the budgets of all peacekeeping missions, as well as the support functions, with a view to providing them with adequate financing to carry out their mandates. Bearing in mind that the Secretary-General's proposed 2016/17 budgets for peacekeeping missions amounted to $8.3 billion, it was critical to promote strict budgetary discipline and ensure that resources were truly needed and used effectively, efficiently and transparently.
He noted with concern the late submission of documents and said that the issue needed a structural and holistic response based on a broader assessment of the calendar of meetings and the timing of documentation coming before the Fifth Committee and the Advisory Committee. The European Union supported the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, although in its view, established practice would imply dealing with the item during the General Assembly's main session. The European Union was concerned about the very limited time allocated to the Fifth Committee given its overloaded work programme. The back-to-back organization of the Fifth Committee's second resumed session with the Committee for Programme and Coordination was no longer sustainable and hampered the Fifth Committee's functioning.
GUO XUEJUN (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the Committee should take a practical and scientific approach to peacekeeping budgeting. While not one cent should be cut, good use should be made of Member States' taxpayers' money. The concerns of host countries, troop-contributing countries and police-contributing countries should be fully accommodated, with full reimbursement for troop- and police-contributing countries. Expressing serious concern that consideration of the 2030 Agenda had been postponed, he hoped that the Committee would approve the budget for that item as soon as possible. He also regretted that necessary documents had not been distributed on time and hoped that the Committee would complete its work on time.
ABA AYEBI-ARTHUR (Ghana) associated himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noting with concern the limited time allocated to the Committee's second resumed session, as well as the late issuance of related documents, which posed a critical challenge. As one of the top 10 contributing countries to peacekeeping operations, Ghana believed efforts must be made to improve efficiencies, effectiveness and greater accountability, while ensuring that missions were able to fulfil their respective mandates through adequate resourcing. Ghana stressed the importance of the pending proposals on Agenda 2030 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as the revised estimates of the Department of Political Affairs and the outcome of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and encouraged all negotiating parties to work with zeal and passion for a successful outcome on those agenda items.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said that the peacekeeping budget was the session's first priority. It was regrettable that sexual exploitation and abuse was on the Committee's agenda, he said, recalling Security Council resolution 2272 (2016) and looking forward to further explanations and updates from the Secretariat on that issue. Regarding revised estimates for the 2016-2017 regular programme budget of the United Nations, he said that detailed information should be provided beforehand. For correct decisions to be made, all proposals should be fully documented, with sufficient time given for consideration.
RICHARD NDUHUURA (Uganda) associated himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, saying it defeated logic that the African Union mission mandates by the Security Council were not as well-facilitated as those directly under the United Nations. Uganda recommended that the United Nations consider contributing to the Trust Fund in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to close the gap created by the shortfall in donor support. Uganda commended the Secretariat for presenting the first budget for the Regional Service Centre at Entebbe and believed that managerial and operational independence would immensely help streamline and improve management, accountability and ownership, as well as coordination of client missions and host-country support.
OLIVIO FERMA�N (Angola) associated himself with the Group of 77, saying that the credibility of the United Nations depended in part on its ability to deliver on its mandates. With resources becoming increasingly scarce, more efficient ways of funding needed to be explored, while ensuring that peacekeeping and special political missions remained adequately resourced. Noting how the nature of conflict had changed significantly in recent years, he said the Committee should consider how to give peacekeepers the best tools for dealing with challenges on the ground. All negotiations and deliberations should be conducted in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.
ISOBEL COLEMAN (United States) said it was imperative that peacekeeping budgets reflected actual requirements and incorporated prudent managerial initiatives. Her delegation encouraged the Secretariat to fully implement the Umoja enterprise resource planning system and other shared services initiatives and stressed that operations and staffing costs must be accurately presented and justified. Her delegation would also seek to understand the nature and reasons behind any underspending in the 2014-2015 regular budget report. Along with budgetary issues, the Committee would also take up larger peacekeeping reform efforts, which presented a road map for Member States to advance and strengthen international peace and security. It was critical that any reform efforts ensure that peacekeeping operations' personnel adhered to the highest possible standards of performance and conduct. Other issues may be introduced during the session, but their presentation should not prevent the consideration of those related to peacekeeping.
SERGEY V. KHALIZOV (Russian Federation), noting the large number of reports before the Committee on peacekeeping, appreciated the interest of many delegations in considering the budgetary implications of the 2030 Agenda as well. His delegation was willing to deal with that issue in a constructive way. Noting that restraining the growth of peacekeeping expenditures remained complex, he said that Member States needed to determine those areas where further savings could be found. Cost optimization should not have a negative impact on approved mandates.
JAVIER ENRIQUE SANCHEZ AZCUY (Cuba), associating with Group of 77 and CELAC, said his delegation was requesting additional information about the possibility of extending the Committee's current session through June. He requested that the information be compiled and circulated as an official conference document. His delegation would like to know the cost of conference services, per session, per day, if the session was extended, as well as whether interpreters and translators would be available to cover those additional meetings. If they were not available, his delegation would like to know the cost of hiring additional interpreters and translators for an extended session. Further, his delegation would like to understand how the work of the Committee for Programme and Coordination would be affected if the Fifth Committee session was extended and if it would be necessary to hire additional conference services staff, since the individuals who provided such support to the Fifth Committee provided similar services to the Committee for Programme and Coordination.
United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy
BETTINA TUCCI BARTSIOTAS, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, introduced the Secretary-General's reports on the budget performance of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, for the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 (document A/70/609) and the budget for the Logistics Base for the period from 1 July 2016 to 30 July 2017 (document A/70/779), recalling that it had been re-profiled as a Global Service Centre with a mandate to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of field stations. Following an actual expenditure for 2014/15 of $66.5 million, the proposed budget for 2016/17 would be $85.5 million, an increase of 27.4 per cent mainly attributable to items that were previously budgeted under various peacekeeping missions, but were now recurrent, post-Umoja deployment costs. The proposal included the abolishment of nine posts, the conversion of 11 temporary positions and the relocation to Valencia of the Chief of Service for Geospatial, Information and Telecommunication Technologies.
CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU, Chair, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), said the study on the Global Service Centre was incomplete and highlighted some of the key recommendations of the Advisory Committee's report (document A/70/742/Add.9). They included asking the Secretary-General for a revised comprehensive study on the deployment of the Global Service Centre in two locations, as well as an audit to clarify a proposed write-off of obsolete items and a request for $5 million over two years for the replenishment of strategic deployment stocks. The Advisory Committee also recommended against most of the Secretary-General's proposals for redeploying or reassigning posts between Brindisi and Valencia.
The ACABQ also stressed the need for a comprehensive performance management framework for the delivery of Secretariat-wide information and communications technology, recommended against the relocation of the Integrated Training Service to Entebbe and the abolishment of five related posts, and encouraged the Secretary-General keep focusing on scalability model that would all the Logistics Base to adapt to changes in United Nations peacekeeping activity. Finally, he said that the Advisory Committee's recommendations on the Secretary-General's proposals regarding posts and positions, official travel, acquisition of vehicles and other items would reduce by $2.7 million of the Logistics Base's proposed budget for 2016-17.
Ms. WAIRATPANIJ (Thailand) spoke again for the Group of 77, saying it shared the Advisory Committee's concern regarding the Service for Geospatial, Information and Telecommunication Technologies due to its organizational, managerial and operational challenges and the financial and human resources implications. She stressed the need to develop a comprehensive performance management framework for the delivery of Secretariat-wide information and communications technology (ICT) services. Regarding the official designation of the facility at Valencia, the Group agreed that the title proposed did not fulfil the requirement that the designation be consistent with its sole use for ICT purposes.
The Group noted that the detailed resource requirements and projected expenditures were not provided in the supplementary information document and would seek further details on the location of the posts, which should be presented in organization charts that clearly differentiated between Brindisi and Valencia. The Group would also be interested in receiving the Secretary-General's proposals on the scalability of the United Nations Logistics Base and looked forward to the report of the effectiveness of the Strategic Air Operations Centre via-A�-vis the investments made. The Group was highly concerned with the loss of $5 million in obsolete equipment and stocks and would seek clarification on their management, including the current staff capacities in stock processing. In that regard, the Group would also look forward to obtaining a comprehensive report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the same matter.
Updated Financial Position of Closed Peacekeeping Missions
Ms. TUCCI BARTSIOTAS then introduced the Secretary-General's reports on the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as at 30 June 2015 (document A/70/552). Out of 26 such missions, 21 had net cash surpluses of $70 million as of 30 June 2015, with the remaining five having net cast deficits of $86.5 million. Pending the receipt of outstanding assessed contributions, $63 million was owed to troop-contributing countries. Cash surpluses were being used to alleviate occasional shortfalls in active peacekeeping operations, in the Western Sahara, Kosovo, Cyprus and Abyei, she said, adding that "circumstances have improved in recent years", with peak borrowings declining from $57 million in August 2013 to $30 million in July 2015. The balance of cross-borrowings at the end of 2015 was $28.5 million.
She went on to say that, given the liquidity problems faced by some active peacekeeping missions, such as the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and - more recently - the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and UNSOS, the Secretary-General maintained his proposal for the General Assembly to authorize temporary borrowings between active missions. Should it not authorize such temporary borrowings, then a peacekeeping working capital fund should be established similar to the fund for the Organization's programme budget. Without a new mechanism, the Assembly was asked to allow the retention of the net cash balance of $70 million available in 21 closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2015.
Mr. RUIZ MASSIEU, presenting recommendations from the report of the Advisory Committee (document A/70/829), noted the improving cash position of closed peacekeeping operations and the decreased reliance on short-term borrowing from closed missions. Any surplus above what was required for temporary cash requirements of active missions be returned to Member States in full and on time. The ACABQ also maintained that the Secretary-General's proposals for temporary borrowings and a peacekeeping working capital fund did not address two fundamental issues - the late payment of assessed contributions, on the one hand, and the use of the resources of Member States which had paid their dues to meet the obligations of those which had not done so on time. In addition, he said, the Advisory Committee urged the Secretary-General to keep exploring options to address the longstanding issue of late payment of assessed contributions.
DHISADEE CHAMLONGRADSR (Thailand) spoke on behalf of the Group of 77, saying the Group was concerned by the cash deficit situation in several closed peacekeeping missions and concurred with the Secretary-General on the importance of properly addressing the cash requirements of peacekeeping operations. Viable solutions must be found for outstanding payments due to troop- and police-contributing countries in closed peacekeeping operations.
He recalled that the Secretary-General was requested to submit for consideration and approval concrete proposals and alternatives to address the issue of outstanding payments due to Member States from closed peacekeeping missions that were in net cash deficit. Given the fact that the outstanding amount was long overdue and many proposals had been presented, the Group viewed that the full payment of the outstanding amount to Member States, especially to troop- and police-contributing countries, was the most feasible solution.
Financing of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
Ms. TUCCI BARTSIOTAS then introduced the Secretary-General's reports on the financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (documents A/70/604 and A/70/712), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)(documents A/70/602 and A/70/740), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (documents A/70/595 and A/70/719), the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (documents A/70/572 and A/70/695) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (documents A/70/571 and A/70/699).
Beginning her presentation with MINUSCA, the Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, said that the proposed 2016/17 budget of $931.1 million - an increase of 14.4 per cent over the 2015/16 approved budget - reflected the Mission's efforts to reach full deployment and infrastructure as it embarked on the third and final year of its establishment phase. The increase, therefore, reflected a higher level of planned deployment of military and police personnel, in line with the increase in authorized strength, as well as a higher level of civilian personnel and operating costs.
With regard to MINUSTAH, she said that the proposed budget of $346.9 million reflected a decrease of 8.8 per cent owing to a continued downsizing of the mission, with 177 posts and position to be abolished as well as the closure of two regional offices. The Mission's operating environment in 2015/16 would be shaped by the manner and timing of the country's electoral process.
Turning to UNMIL, she said the proposed budget of $205.1 million, a decrease of 40.5 per cent compared to 2015/16, reflected a drawdown of military and police personnel in accordance with Security Council resolution 2239 (2015) as well as a reduction in civilian personnel and related operational costs. At this point, she said, the Mission's most essential challenge was completing the transition of security responsibilities to the Government of Liberia and its security institutions.
Respecting the two Middle East peacekeeping forces, she said that the proposed budget of $47.7 million for UNDOF, the observer force in the Golan, represented a decrease of 7.7 per cent, due primarily to the application of a higher vacancy factor in the computation of military contingent personnel costs in light of the security situation in that area. In Lebanon, the proposed budget of $499.4 million for UNIFIL reflected a decrease of 1.4 per cent that was primarily attributable to a reduced need for military contingent personnel, the absence of outsourcing for building and generator services, and the proposed conversion of 11 international staff posts to national posts.
Mr. RUIZ MASSIEU introduced the Advisory Committee's reports on those missions, contained in documents A/70/742/Add.12, A/70/742/Add.4, A/70/742/Add.11, A/70/742/Add.1* and A/70/742/Add.8, respectively.
He spoke first about MINUSCA, saying that the ACABQ's report included recommendations that would reduce the Secretary-General's proposals by around $1.79 million. The Advisory Committee's report also discussed a lack of clarity regarding the proposed deployment of unmanned aerial systems and the financial impact of hiring 68 corrections officers. With regard to the other missions, he reported that the Advisory Committee recommended the approval of most or all of the Secretary-General's proposals for MINUSTAH, UNMIL, UNDOF and UNIFIL.
Mr. KOSOKA (United Republic of Tanzania) spoke again for the African Group, noting the 2014/15 budget performance for active missions and projected expenditures for 2015/16. It would study, in detail, a number of key elements of implementing the peacekeeping budget, particularly concerning facilities and infrastructure, including accommodations, recruitments and human resources management issues, as well as other mission support elements, including medical, training and expenditures related to ICT and troop and equipment reimbursement. The Group took note of the proposed 2016/17 budget for each peacekeeping mission and support for AMISOM, which at $8.25 billion, was 0.3 per cent less than the approved resources for the current fiscal year. Each individual peacekeeping operation, and specifically those located in Africa, must receive adequate resources, taking into account the complexity of their respective mandates, the unique circumstances justifying those mandates and the magnitude of the challenges of operations on the ground.
The Group sought details of the assumptions used as a basis for each element of the proposed mission budgets and to what extent those assumptions and numbers were compatible with specific mandate delivery, he said. The role of regional arrangements and agencies should be implemented in accordance with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter. In that regard, the Group noted that AMISOM was not receiving the same treatment as those under the United Nations. He recalled the Djibouti Declaration of 28 February and said the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOM) should fully support AMISOM and reimburse its contributors of troop and equipment as it would contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Consideration of peacekeeping budgets should not be taken as a simple cost-reduction exercise, but rather a responsible mandate implementation-resource allocation and policy guidance-driven exercise.
Mr. FERMIN (Dominican Republic) spoke again on behalf of CELAC, saying that the countries in the region were committed to helping Haiti reach a path of stabilization, sustainable peace and development. He highlighted the importance of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for the Haitian people's efforts to consolidate stability and the rule of law and move forward on a path to social and economic development, in particular with regard to reconstruction in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Haiti still faced considerable challenges which required the firm commitment of the United Nations, even as MINUSTAH was gradually reconfigured and winded down, with its functions transferred to the national Government. The fragility and vulnerability of Haiti to humanitarian crisis, social violence and health issues, such as malnutrition and cholera, highlighted the vital role that MINUSTAH still played on the ground.
CELAC would thoroughly consider the new proposals to reduce the budget of MINUSTAH, with a view to ensuring that the Mission would have the necessary resources to deliver its mandate, he said. MINUSTAH must receive all necessary resources to provide adequate technical, logistical and security support during the electoral process. CELAC noted with concern the 25 per cent reduction in Community Violence Reduction programmes and quick impact projects, as well as the sequence of cuts for the period in air transportation, which could eventually affect medical evacuation.
AMMAR AWAD (Syria) noted the budget presentation for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and recalled that the force had been established due to the unlawful occupation of the Golan by Israeli troops since 1967. The financing of UNDOF must continue due to the aggressive actions of Israel. The Secretariat's report should not be politicized or take one side or the other, but rather adequately reflect the situation on the ground. Terrorist activity committed by armed groups had caused the region to destabilize. The report made no mention of the direct aggression of Israeli forces, which had escalated their activities in the disengagement zone, as well as their support for terrorist groups. Israel had participated in actions that targeted the UNDOF mission, which had allowed terrorists to move about freely. The withdrawal of UNDOF troops gave terrorists free reign in the region and the ability to occupy positions that allowed them to attack Syrian troops. He said the Secretariat had ignored some realities on the ground and requested an amended report that reflected the truth.
RUIZ BLANCO (Colombia), associating himself with CELAC, said that, while MINUSTAH's mandate had been extended, the domestic political situation in Haiti remained complex. Hopefully, it would have sufficient capacity to support the upcoming electoral process. It was also important for that Mission to be able to meet pending challenges, including political stability and enhancing the rule of law. The allocation of resources needed to be in line with Haiti's current situation and guarantee full implementation of MINUSTAH's mandate so as not to jeopardize the achievements made so far.
YOTAM GOREN (Israel), describing peacekeeping as the United Nations flagship endeavour, emphasized the need to ensure technological support for peacekeepers as well as high environmental standards. He also referred to the "ridiculous" remarks from his Syrian colleague and said that the Committee should not be subject to political hijacking.
Mr. AWAD (Syria) rejected the allegations made by Israel's speaker, adding that General Assembly and Security Council resolutions had called for the return of the occupied Syrian Golan.
SOURCE: United Nations