Fifth committee approves financing for 14 peacekeeping operations as it concludes resumed substantive session

Report
from UN General Assembly
Published on 27 Jun 2013 View Original

GA/AB/4069

Sixty-seventh General Assembly Fifth Committee
35th Meeting (PM)

Creation of New Mission for Mali Pushes Budget beyond Total for Current Year

Concluding its second resumed substantive session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today recommended financial arrangements for 14 United Nations peacekeeping operations for the year beginning 1 July 2013 and ending 30 June 2014, which, once approved by the General Assembly, would exceed the previous year’s figure due to the addition of a new mission for Mali.

The peacekeeping budget would total $7.15 billion for the new financial year, excluding the funding for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the budget for which had been committed an amount not exceeding $366.77 million for the six months ending on 31 December. Together, the budget would exceed the previous year’s $7.23 billion.

While approving the peacekeeping budgets through 14 separate provisional draft resolutions that would be updated and reissued with precise figures, the Committee took note of a document of the Secretary-General outlining the resources to be approved for each mission through 30 June 2014.

Mission - Total Appropriation

MINURSO ( Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara) - $61.69 million
MINUSTAH (Stabilization Mission in Haiti) - $609.18 million
MONUSCO (Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo) - $1.53 billion
UNAMID (Hybrid Operation in Darfur) - $1.41 billion
UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force) - $50.73 million
UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) - $58.51 million
UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon) - $520.44 million
UNISFA (Interim Security Force in Abyei) - $307.05 million
UNMIK ( Mission in Kosovo) - $47.47 million
UNMIL ( Mission in Liberia) - $503.18 million
UNMISS ( Mission in South Sudan) - $976.62 million
UNOCI (Operation in Côte d’Ivoire) - $617.51 million
UNSOA (Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia) - $460.4 million
TOTAL, excluding MINUSMA ( Mission in Mali) - $7.15 billion

The key budgetary body also forwarded nine other resolutions to the Assembly, including those on residual financial matters for closed missions in Georgia, Syria, Sudan and Timor-Leste. It also sent a decision to defer consideration of some reports, including those on civilian capacity.

All the texts were approved by consensus, except the draft setting out the provisional budgetary arrangements for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which was approved by a recorded vote of 83 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with 41 abstentions.

As he summed up the work of the second resumed session, Chairman Miguel Berger ( Germany) said the Committee always worked hard in the spirit of solving problems and accommodating different views, adding that he expected delegates to find time in the next session to discuss the Committee’s working methods, which had resulted in prolonged negotiations. The second resumed session, which began on 6 May, had been scheduled to end on 31 May.

Delivering statements during the meeting were representatives of Israel, Lebanon, Canada (also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand), United States, Ireland (on behalf of the European Union), Mexico, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Pakistan, Fiji (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Bahrain, Nigeria, Japan, Morocco and Switzerland.

Action on Draft Resolutions

Acting without a vote, the Committee first approved the draft resolution financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/67/L.39), by which the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure the full implementation of the Board’s recommendations concerning United Nations peacekeeping operations for the financial period ended 30 June 2012.

The Committee then approved, again without a vote, the text financing of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/C.5/67/L.49).

Before it took action on the draft resolution financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/67/L.52), the representative of the Russian Federation made oral corrections. The Committee then approved the text by consensus, as orally corrected.

The Committee then approved, by consensus, the drafts financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/67/L.44), financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (document A/C.5/67/L.46), and financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (document A/C.5/67/L.35).

Taking up the draft financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/67/L.48), the Committee approved it without a vote after the representative of the Dominican Republic had made an oral correction.

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution financing of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/67/L.47), approving it without a vote. It went on to approve, also without a vote, the texts financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/67/L.42), financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/67/L.51), and financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/67/L.50).

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/67/L.37).

The Committee Secretary made an oral amendment to the text.

The representative of Israel said he was compelled to express his delegation’s disappointment, once again, with the text, which contained politicized language that was genuinely unhelpful in supporting peacekeeping operations. Clearly, such language had no place in the draft. Preambular paragraph 4 and operational paragraphs 4, 5 and 13 were a sad attempt to institutionalize an anti-Israel narrative within the United Nations, he said, expressing regret that certain countries had chosen to drag the entire Committee into an entirely unrelated political conflict by proposing language that had nothing to do with the mission’s budget.

Calling for a recorded vote, he said he would vote against the text and urged other delegations to do the same.

The Committee then approved preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13 by a recorded vote of 83 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with 41 abstentions.

The representative of Lebanon thanked those who had voted in favour, especially the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He paid tribute to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for preserving peace and security, especially given the recent instability in the region.

Emphasizing that the paragraphs in question had no political character, he said that, to date, Israel had failed to comply with 20 previous resolutions calling on it to pay reparations for its shelling of UNIFIL headquarters in 1996. The reparations were for the material damage to United Nations property and not for the Lebanese State or the families of Lebanese civilians killed in the shelling, he pointed out, stressing that the matter, therefore, fell within the competence of the Fifth Committee.

By a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 3 against ( Canada, Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the Committee then approved the draft, as orally corrected.

The representative of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc had abstained because the text was inappropriate. The broader political aspects of the events to which it referred, including the incident in Qana, had been debated extensively in the General Assembly in April 1996, resulting in the adoption of resolution 50/22C of 25 April of that year, he recalled, noting that the European Union had made its position clear at that time. The European Union wished that consultations in the Fifth Committee could have been confined only to the budgetary aspects of the financing of UNIFIL. However, it had voted in favour of the overall draft because it provided the Force with adequate resources to fulfil its important mandate.

The representative of the United States said her delegation opposed the text because of language calling for Israel to pay for the damage in the Qana incident. It was inappropriate to use a funding resolution to pursue a financial settlement, she said, adding that using the Fifth Committee for such purposes should have been avoided, and should be avoided in future.

The Committee then sent to the General Assembly without action, the following draft resolutions: financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/67/L.43); financing of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) (document A/C.5/67/L.36); financing of the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic (document A/C.5/67/L.34); financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/67/L.40); financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/67/L.41); financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/67/L.45); and financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/67/L.38).

Turning next to the draft resolution estimates in regard of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council (document A/C.5/67/L.55), the Committee approved it without a vote.

The representative of Mexico acknowledged that flexibility on the part of delegations had resulted in a balanced text. Mexico had joined the consensus because it wished to advance relevant mandates, he said, adding in respect of the budget for the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel, that financial resources should be drawn from peacekeeping budgets rather than from programme budgets.

Moving on, the Committee then approved by consensus the text financing the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy (document A/C.5/67/L.54), recommending that the Assembly approve the 2013/14 cost estimates for the Base amounting to $68.52 million.

Following an overnight suspension, the Committee took up the draft resolution the support account for peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/67/L.53), which would have the General Assembly approve requirements for that account in the amount of $321 million ($321,307,500)for the period 1 July 2013 to 31 June 2014, inclusive of $18,668,800 for the enterprise resource planning project. It would also apply $1.25 million ($1,245,800), representing the excess of the authorized level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund in respect of the period ended 30 June 2012 to that resource requirement.

The representatives of Bangladesh and the United States proposed oral corrections.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the official record of the meeting should show that “supplementary information” posted in the Committee’s “e-room” as background to the draft A/C.5/67/L.53 on 27 June would be part of the Committee’s official decision on the Secretary-General’s proposals.

A Secretariat official said the amendment confirmed that the document would be adjoined to the resolution.

The Committee then approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected.

The representative of India pointed out that delegates had agreed that the Secretariat would deliver a statement following approval the text.

AMEERAH HAQ, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said that in implementing operative paragraph 17, the Secretariat would ensure that selections for the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support were made through a competitive process, seeking the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. They would also seek to ensure equal participation of women and men, while giving due regard to the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. She said that she would also seek to ensure that troop-contributing countries were properly represented among staff, taking into account their contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.

The Committee then took note of a note by the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/67/18) indicating the amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, including the prorated share of the support account and of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi. According to the note, once the Assembly acted on the Committee’s recommendations, another note would be issued on the approved level of resources for all peacekeeping operations.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft decision on questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/67/L.56), by which the General Assembly would defer, until its sixty-eighth session, consideration of the reports of the Secretary-General and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict (documents A/67/312 and A/67/583); on the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2012 (documents A/67/739 and A/67/837); and on the updated financial position of closed peacekeeping missions as of 30 June 2011 (documents A/67/665 and A/67/713 and A/67/713/Corr.1).

Closing Remarks

Several speakers expressed concern about the Committee’s working methods, saying they had resulted in a protracted session. Regarding transparency, the representative of Côte d’Ivoire stressed, on behalf of the African Group, the importance of involving the Bureau in all processes. Some troop-contributing countries reiterated their request that the Secretary-General intensify efforts to ensure that they were properly represented in the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

Several delegations expressed disappointment over the lack of agreement on the issue of civilian capacity, with the representative of Pakistan noting that consideration of that issue had been deferred for the third time.

The representative of the United States said the important thing was to have outcome rather than output. The Committee had achieved that in many ways, but there was still room for improvement. Because peacekeeping was the iconic activity of the United Nations, “we must get it right”, he said, noting that the Committee had succeeded in providing the Secretariat with adequate resources, guidance and tools to move in the right direction.

Ms. HAQ said it was worthwhile to reflect on the Committee’s important contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. The peacekeeping budget had initially been expected to level off, given the global security environment when the projections were made, but it had since changed dramatically, requiring, among other things, the establishment of a new mission in Mali and the deployment of an intervention brigade to MONUSCO.

Also delivering concluding remarks were representatives of Fiji (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Canada (also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand), and Ireland (on behalf of the European Union), Bahrain, Nigeria, Russian Federation, India, Japan, Morocco, Switzerland and Bangladesh.