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Budget Committee takes up Secretary-General's proposals aimed at strengthening peacekeeping, in face of growing demand, complexity

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GA/AB/3805

Sixty-first General Assembly
Fifth Committee
56th Meeting (AM)

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning took up the Secretary-General’s wide-ranging proposals aimed at strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to mount and sustain peacekeeping operations in the face of their growing volume and complexity.

By the terms of its framework resolution on strengthening the capacity of the Organization in peacekeeping operations -- adopted on 15 March -- the General Assembly affirmed its support for the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the establishment of a Department of Field Support. Today, the Fifth Committee was considering the Secretary-General’s further proposals, which envision a combination of structural change, redistribution of functions and resources across departmental lines, as well as significant strengthening of capacities. An increase of 495 posts is proposed for seven departments/offices, including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support, Department of Management, Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Public Information and the Department of Safety and Security.

Presenting the Secretary-General’s reports, Alicia Bárcena, Under-Secretary-General for Management, stressed the imperative need to ensure that the Secretariat was equipped to absorb the growth in peacekeeping. While the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other areas of the Secretariat had been strengthened considerably since 2002-2003, increased staff resources were not commensurate with the growth in the number of field personnel or with the complexity of tasks mandated since that time. The pace of expansion of peacekeeping had far exceeded what anyone had envisaged five years ago. Overall, the number of field personnel in missions managed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was now over 100,000, and could further increase by 20 to 40 per cent this year. New demands could arise quite suddenly and unexpectedly, as well.

The Organization required a major injection of additional resources to keep pace with the level of activity in the field, especially at the mid to senior managerial levels, she continued. The Secretary-General’s primary motivation in initiating a realignment of Secretariat structures must be seen in that context. Consequently, restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations into two departments and the creation of a new Department of Field Support, headed by an Under-Secretary-General, was of the highest priority.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, pointed out that the vast majority of the proposals, in fact, built on the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, OIOS, the Board of Auditors, external management consultants and the Brahimi report. While numerous and imaginative, the proposals were not radical or revolutionary. There was no attempt or intent behind them to break the Department of Peacekeeping Operations or United Nations peacekeeping away from the Secretariat, or to forge one set of policies for peacekeeping and another for the rest of the system. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the proposed Department of Field Support would very much work within the overall policy framework set on the basis of legislative mandates.

While no one proposal required a massive injection of additional resources, taken together, the overall number was quite high, he said. The resource request was a big one, but he did not think it was unreasonable, relative to the surge in peacekeeping. However, it would be ineffective to keep adding work-level resources in a situation where current management structures were simply unable to absorb them. There came a point when just adding more posts at lower levels without strengthening the senior management level was ineffective, and the Secretary-General’s proposals reflected that position.

“We must respond to the surge,” said Australia’s representative, who also spoke on behalf of Canada and New Zealand. The Committee did not have much time to consider the reports, but it did have enough time to provide the Secretariat with much needed resources. She wanted to make strategic and meaningful decisions that would broadly address the three elements of the Secretary-General’s proposal. While not supporting unnecessary costs, she would support extra resources that withstood the test of critical analysis. “In return, we expect results, we expect accountability,” she said.

Noting that the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) would involve a reduction of some $23.99 million to the proposed support account budget of $254.5 million, Germany’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, wondered if those reductions took into account the challenges posed by the surge in peacekeeping. At the same time, it was necessary to keep the budget under control and ensure that increases were justified.

Several speakers, including the representative of Pakistan, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasized that reform efforts should lead to unity of command at all levels, and stressed the need to ensure coherence in policy and strategy, as well as clear lines of accountability and responsibility at all levels.

While favouring the establishment of a new Department of Field Support, to be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, Japan’s representative noted that the new organizational structure might present major management challenges, as pointed out by ACABQ. Integrated operational teams within the regional divisions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations might not be the solution. In addition, redundancy must be avoided in the creation of new posts.

Nicaragua’s representative expressed doubts about the relevance of the proposed new structure and called the adoption of resolution 61/256 “hasty”. Instead of leading towards the future, the decision had taken the Organization to the beginning of the 1990s, when the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been created. For Nicaragua, despite all the reasons and explanations given, it was clear that creation of a position of an Under-Secretary-General for Field Support represented a dichotomy. Far from creating a single line of command, it would lead to a duality and possibly disintegration where integration was proposed. He did not consider the creation of that post appropriate at this time.

Pakistan’s representative said the Group of 77 had a special interest in procurement reform, especially relating to the development of an internal control regime, given the scale of procurement in peacekeeping missions -- estimated at $2 billion for 2006/07. In that connection, he emphasized the need to demonstrate how reform measures would complement the ongoing procurement reform process.

Procurement and oversight issues were also brought up by the representative of the Russian Federation, who disagreed with the proposals to transfer peacekeeping procurement to the Department of Field Support and establish its own procurement service, saying that such changes would be a giant leap backwards with regard to the ongoing procurement reform. He also stressed the need to retain the machinery for internal oversight, as well as the division of responsibilities in such areas as budget preparation and human resources management. Of fundamental importance was the retention and strengthening of the existing machinery for administrative and financial oversight, especially when significant delegation of authority was involved.

Statements were also made by representatives of Republic of Korea, United States, India, Venezuela and Bangladesh.

Other reports before the Committee were introduced by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, and the Chairman of ACABQ, Rajat Saha.

The Committee will hold its next formal meeting at a date to be announced.

Background

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to take up the proposals on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and financing of the Organization’s peacekeeping support account.

The Committee had before it the Secretary-General’s comprehensive report on strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to manage and sustain peace operations (document A/61/858), which presents the changes in resources for the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007 and the proposed programme budget for 2008-2009 following the adoption of resolution 61/256 on strengthening the capacity of the Organization in peacekeeping operations. By that text, the General Assembly affirmed its support for the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the establishment of a Department of Field Support.

The Secretary-General proposes that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations be divided into five components: the Office of the Under-Secretary-General; the Office of Operations; the Office of Military Affairs; the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions; and the Policy, Evaluation and Training Division. Because peacekeeping operations in Africa represent over 75 per cent of total United Nations peacekeeping deployments, two divisions focusing on Africa would be created -- one for East and Central Africa, which would include a Sudan and Darfur team; and another for West Africa and the Great Lakes region.

To help meet “immense” logistical challenges faced by United Nations field operations, the Department of Field Support would deliver personnel, finance, procurement, logistical, communications, information technology and other management services to both the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs, says the report. It is proposed that the Peacekeeping Department and the Department of Field Support be located close together within the Secretariat building, and further details relating to their “co-location” are expected from the Secretary-General at the Assembly’s sixty-second session.

The report says the Department of Field Support’s Field Budget and Finance Division would address the lack of timeliness in mission budgets by providing assistance to missions as they formulate their budget and backstopping support on day-to-day operational issues. The responsibilities and resources of other departments in support of peacekeeping would also be strengthened, such as those of the Office of Legal Affairs, the Department of Safety and Security and the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). In the meantime, the Department of Management would continue to represent the Secretary-General on management matters and to monitor emerging management issues.

The first addendum to the report (document A/61/858/Add.1) contains the budget for the support account for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, which amounts to some $254.5 million. The budget provides for 819 continuing posts and a net increase of 495 new posts, representing the re-establishment of 88 posts approved for OIOS in 2005/06 and converted to general temporary assistance in the current period; the net transfer of seven posts from the regular budget to the support account as part of the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; and the proposed addition of 400 new support account posts.

The increase of 495 posts is proposed for seven Departments/Offices, including the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support, Department of Management, Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Public Information and Department of Safety and Security.

With regard to non-post resources, a total of about $81.61 million -- reflecting an increase of some $2.77 million over the resources approved for the fiscal period 2006/07 -- is requested for general temporary assistance, consultants, travel, communications, information technology, facilities and infrastructure, medical and other supplies and equipment.

The second addendum to the comprehensive report (document A/61/858/Add.2) outlines the programmatic and financial consequences arising from the implementation of the proposals on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with respect to the biennial programme plans and budgets for the periods 2006-2007 and 2008-2009.

Overall resource requirements arising under the regular budget as a result of the implementation of the proposals contained in the comprehensive report are estimated at $979,900 and $3.84 million for the bienniums 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 respectively. The changes under the current regular budget pertain to the requirements for six new posts, which would be met through the realignment of resources and the abolition of seven existing posts. Accordingly, no additional resources are sought under the programme budget for 2006-2007. Relevant resource changes for the biennium 2008-2009 would be incorporated in the budget appropriation at the time of adoption of the programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009 in December 2007.

The Committee also had before it the support account’s performance report for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 (document A/61/733 and Add.1), according to which the number of active peacekeeping missions during the reporting period was 17, including two missions -- the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) -- funded from the regular budget. The Secretariat also completed full operational deployment for United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), which was authorized in March 2005, and adjustments were made to the mandates of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB). In the same period, the final withdrawal of United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was completed and the follow-up mission, the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), was established. In addition to peacekeeping operations, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations continues to provide a full range of administrative and logistical support services to 16 special political missions, 11 of which were managed by the Department of Political Affairs. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations also has a substantive lead in three missions -- the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) and UNIOSIL.

With UNMIS at its full capacity, the overall peacekeeping budget increased considerably, from $2.7 billion in 2003/04 to $4.4 billion in 2004/05 and $5 billion in 2005/06. The overall level of peacekeeping activity has had an impact on the level of support and backstopping provided by all departments at United Nations Headquarters. The number of troops and other personnel deployed in the missions during the period increased to 63,099, the peak number of United Nations police officers reached 7,552 and the number of military observers increased moderately. At the aggregate level, these trends resulted in a maximum of 73,382 police and military personnel being deployed during 2005/06, an 8 per cent increase from the 2004/05 level of 67,786. The level of civilian staff in the peacekeeping missions also increased by 8 per cent, to a peak level of 13,255 in the reporting period.

During the period under review, the Secretariat has continued to improve its performance in the management of peacekeeping operations. Resources approved for the support account in 2005-2006 totalled some $146.94 million, against which expenditures amounted to about $136 million, resulting in an unencumbered balance of some $10.95 million. That represented a budget implementation rate of 92.5 per cent, which was lower than the rate of 97.1 per cent in the previous reporting period.

The Secretary-General recommends that Member States waive their respective shares in other income for the period ended 30 June 2006 amounting to some $3.43 million and their respective shares in the amount of $10.95 million from the unencumbered balance for the period ended 30 June 2006, to meet the additional assessment of $13.79 million required for the appropriation of the support account for the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007. It is also recommended that the remaining portion of the unencumbered balance of $587,300 in respect of the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 be applied to the resources required for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.

An addendum to the report (document A/61/733/Add.1) lists peacekeeping-related outputs for the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; the Executive Office of the Secretary-General; the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman; the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS); the Office of Legal Affairs; the Department of Public Information; the Department of Management; and the Department of Safety and Security.

The Committee also had before it a report presenting the results of an OIOS audit of the management structures of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (document A/61/743), which was carried out to determine (a) whether the Department’s existing organizational structures, strategies and key management functions adhere to sound management practices and (b) whether the Department’s cooperation with other departments, agencies, funds and programmes in peace operations are efficient and effective. The audit focused on reviewing the issues of governance, accountability, doctrine, organizational structure, delegated authority in key administrative functions, training, mission support and partnering in peace operations.

Since the issuance of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, the Department has made changes to improve its management structures and has successfully launched and supported a number of field missions, pursuant to decisions of the Security Council, the report states. The Department’s logistical and administrative support for the missions and its coordination and cooperation with the partners in peace operations are generally satisfactory, but could be further improved.

The auditors point out that the Department’s management structures must ensure that operational and management processes are fully integrated with a strong internal control framework and effective governance and accountability mechanisms. It is a matter of serious concern that the Organization, including the Department, has not adopted an internal control framework, including enterprise-wide risk management, in accordance with good practices in the public sector. Interaction with the departments, agencies, funds and programmes partnering with the Department in peace operations also needs to be effectively managed. In the opinion of OIOS, the Department needs to develop a comprehensive doctrine -- with established business processes and procedures -- which should be part of the Department’s internal control framework designed to contain risks and promote integrity and ethical values.

Other recommendations contained in the report relates to the need to identify rules and regulations in need of revision; better implement the results-based budgeting framework; strengthen controls within the framework of managerial accountability; develop a systematic enterprise-wide risk management mechanism; strengthen the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; and establish a single point of communication in the Department, as well as clear terms of reference, for interacting with the missions and partners in peacekeeping.

OIOS commends the Department for its efforts to improve current management structures. The Department’s reform programme “Peace operations 2010”, launched in 2005, included many initiatives in key areas for change. In particular, the Department has initiated a plan to reorganize itself by adopting a matrix structure, in which integrated project teams, comprising staff from different subprogrammes, provide support to field missions. In the view of OIOS, the Department could realize many advantages by implementing that plan.

According to the report, the Department has accepted all of the recommendations of OIOS. Further, while the audit did not fully reflect the Secretary-General’s new initiative to realign the Department, it confirmed the value and the need for consolidation and rationalization of Headquarters resources in support of the field, as an important aspect of the Secretary-General’s initiative.

The recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), in a related report (document A/61/937), would reduce the proposed support account budget by $23.99 million for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008. ACABQ makes a number of observations with regard to the administration and management of resources of the support account, and points out several areas where savings are possible. For example, based on the pattern of expenditure and recommended post reductions, it is recommending that the level of resources for official travel -- proposed at some $12.57 million -- be maintained at the approved 2006/07 level of $11.2 million. A similar recommendation is made in connection with the proposal for consultants ($5.66 million); some of those functions could be carried out using in-house expertise. ACABQ recommends maintaining the 2006/07 approved level of $4.7 million.

In its general comments, ACABQ states that the proposed new organizational structure may present some major management challenges. Among these are potential complications regarding chain of command, accountability, coordination and maintenance of an adequate system of checks and balances that may arise from the unusual arrangement of having one Head of Department (Field Support) report to and take direction from the other (Peacekeeping Operations).

Further, ACABQ comments on the Secretary-General’s proposals to address possible problems of coordination between the two departments through, among other things, the creation of a post of Chief of Staff, integrated operational teams and arrangements for joint senior-level decision-making and information-management forums. To ensure integration of effort and policy coherence, as well as efficiency in the use of resources, the Secretary-General also proposes a number of capacities that would provide support to both the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, such as in policy development, common doctrine, best practices, evaluation and training, public information and crisis management. An Executive Office would provide administrative support to both departments.

In this connection, ACABQ states that, while such arrangements appear reasonable within the context of the proposal, they should be assessed in the light of experience, and that care be taken to avoid creating an additional bureaucratic layer to deal solely with coordination. The Advisory Committee recommends approval of most redeployments, with some exceptions. As for the creation of posts, it has deemed it more prudent, in some instances, to recommend provision for general temporary assistance positions, pending further analysis, to avoid institutionalization of functions that may not be required in the long term.

While recognizing that periodic changes may be needed to reflect operational needs, the Advisory Committee stresses that structural change is no substitute for managerial improvement. The challenges in responding to peacekeeping demands are exacerbated by outdated systems, inefficient and duplicative processes and insufficient management attention to addressing these problems. Specific time-bound strategies for addressing these issues should be presented to the Assembly at its resumed sixty-second session. ACABQ cautions that additional posts and structural changes are only one part of the reform equation. For reform to be successful, greater attention must be paid to systemic issues.

In some cases, functions have been transferred without a commensurate reduction in resources in the originating department or section. To avoid duplication, ACABQ recommends a comprehensive review, in the context of the support account’s proposed budget for 2009/10, of the work processes in relevant departments and their relationship to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the proposed Department of Field Support. The Advisory Committee also stresses the importance of speedy submission of the study, which has been initiated to provide a basis for a model to determine the level of resources in the support account.

Among other things, the Advisory Committee sees merit in the use of teams to provide an integrated capacity for the day-to-day planning, direction and management of missions, a tool for coordinating action and response, and a single entry point at Headquarters for Member States contributing military or police personnel, as well as United Nations and external partners. It also recognizes the Secretary-General’s prerogative in constituting the teams as he deems appropriate. On procurement, ACABQ recommends that the Secretary-General be requested to submit, as expeditiously as possible, a report requested in resolution 61/246, providing supporting background information for restructuring proposals and taking into account ACABQ’s concerns regarding the internal control regime and segregation of functions, the delegation of authority, the need for improvements in procurement processes, as well as issues surrounding any structural changes that might be approved. The study should also provide information on best practices in other organizations. Pending its review of the report on procurement, ACABQ recommends against the transfer of posts from the Procurement Division of the Department of Management to the Field Procurement Service.

The Advisory Committee also recommends that the amount of some $7.1 million in excess of the authorized level of the peacekeeping reserve fund, related to the period ending 30 June 2006, be applied to the resources required for the support account for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.

Introduction of Documents

Introducing the Secretary-General’s proposals to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to manage and sustain peace operations, ALICIA BÁRCENA IBARRA, Under-Secretary-General for Management, said that those proposals presented fundamental structural changes to support senior management in peacekeeping. It also represented “a continuum of reform” that had been undertaken to meet the growing volume and complexity of peacekeeping demands over the years. The objective of the 2000 reform agenda had been to equip the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with sufficient capability to launch one new multidisciplinary mission per year, yet the past three years alone had seen the start-up or expansion of nine field missions, with three additional ones currently in an active start-up phase. A significant departure from the status quo was required to equip the Secretariat to rise to the challenge of the substantial increase in the volume and breadth of operations.

The pace of expansion of peacekeeping had far exceeded what anyone had envisaged or predicted five years ago, she said. Overall, the number of field personnel in missions managed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was now over 100,000. In 2007, the number of peace operations personnel could further increase by 20 to 40 per cent, with the completion of deployments to Lebanon and Timor-Leste, and possible deployment of such new operations -- currently under discussion -- as a hybrid African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur and operations in Chad and the Central African Republic. Other demands could arise quite suddenly and unexpectedly, as well. It was, therefore, imperative to ensure that the Secretariat was equipped to absorb such growth.

Headquarters capacity continued to lag behind expansion in the field, she pointed out, resulting in managerial overstretch and weakness. Today, the ratio of Headquarters staff to field personnel in peacekeeping was 1:149, which meant that the growing number of field personnel had not been adequately accompanied by a commensurate increase of backstopping support at Headquarters. The ratios were even worse in the Department of Management and other departments that supported peacekeeping, except in OIOS. The growth in peacekeeping was not just a matter of quantity, but of complexity. Security Council mandates had assigned an increasingly wider range of substantive responsibilities to missions over the past several years in such areas as protection of civilians, promotion of the rule of law, support for national efforts in reforming security institutions, child protection and gender issues.

The Organization required a major injection of additional resources to keep pace with the level of activity in the field, especially at the mid to senior managerial levels, she continued. The Secretary-General’s primary motivation in initiating a realignment of Secretariat structures must be seen in that context. The ultimate aim was to strengthen the capacity of the Organization to mount and sustain peacekeeping operations in the face of their growing volume and complexity. Consequently, restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations into two departments and the creation of a new Department of Field Support, headed by an Under-Secretary-General, was of the highest priority.

The Department of Management would continue to play its leadership role in central policy-setting and monitoring in all areas of management; namely, human resources, budgetary discipline, finance and accounting, procurement and information and communications technology. With regard to the proposal to establish a Field Procurement Service in the Department of Field Support, the Secretary-General believed that, in order to cope with the increasing value of goods and services procured for missions -- estimated at $2 billion for 2006/07 -- the best way to mobilize resources was to vest the Department of Field Support with adequate authority to appoint Procurement Officers at Headquarters and in the field. The Department of Management would continue to retain control, ownership and leadership of the Secretariat procurement function regarding, among other things, the vendor database, the vendor review committee, the procurement manual, the training programme and the website, in order to prevent any duplication in operation and resources. The Procurement Division would continue to undertake a review that took fully into account the needs of field procurement and the development of common information technology systems for both field and Headquarters procurement.

In addition, the newly established Vendor Management Team in that Division would ensure diversity in requirement sourcing within Member States and would strive to create business opportunities for developing countries. The Procurement Reform Implementation Team and the new Compliance and Monitoring Section would continue to develop and implement various procurement reform initiatives. The Procurement Division would continue to develop high-level procurement policies and procedures for peacekeeping missions, offices away from Headquarters and for Headquarters in New York. It would also continue to develop training for all procurement staff. The Headquarters Committee on Contracts, with representation from the Department of Field Support, would serve both the Department of Management and the Department of Field Support.

Lastly, additional resources were also proposed for other areas of the Secretariat, particularly the Department of Management, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the Department of Public Information and the Office of Legal Affairs, she said.

The Secretary-General proposed to finance the new Under-Secretary-General post for the Department of Field Support, two new Assistant Secretary-General posts in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and one new Assistant Secretary-General post in Department of Field Support from the regular budget, as part of the core resources in both departments, she added. Requirements for new posts would be met through realignment of resources and abolition of seven existing posts. Accordingly, no net additional resources were sought under the budget for the current biennium.

JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that, although the proposals before the Committee were numerous, they did not represent a break with the past. Rather, they built on the work everybody had been doing together. The vast majority of the proposals, in fact, built on the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, OIOS, the Board of Auditors, external management consultants and the Brahimi report. The proposals were numerous and imaginative, but they were not radical or revolutionary. There was no attempt, or intent behind them, to break the Department of Peacekeeping Operations or United Nations peacekeeping away from the Secretariat, or to forge one set of policies for peacekeeping and another for the rest of the United Nations system. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the proposed Department of Field Support would very much work within the overall policy framework set, on the basis of legislative mandates, by the Department of Management and the Office of Legal Affairs, for example. They would also be reliant on independent capacities resident in OIOS.

As such, the resources requested by those departments and other parts of the Secretariat were critical to enhancing the capacity of the Organization to mount and sustain peace operations, he continued. Likewise, the relationship between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other critical parts of the system, such as the Department of Political Affairs, Department of Safety and Security, Department of Public Information, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the agencies, funds and programmes must continue to be strengthened. “This means that we all must continue to build up our respective expertise and comparative advantages, while always finding ways of working more effectively and efficiently together,” he said. Bearing that in mind, the Secretary-General had not proposed to create certain critical capabilities in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations that were essential to post-conflict settings, such as public administration, employment generation, governance and humanitarian relief, to name just a few. The main thrust of the proposals with regard to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support were, in fact, about creating in those departments the operational capacity to effectively backstop at Headquarters those functions that were found regularly in modern-day peacekeeping operations.

To reiterate, he added that the functions proposed to be strengthened in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations were primarily those that already existed, but needed to be performed better and with greater coherence. Many parts of the system, hence, must continue to be involved in supporting United Nations peacekeeping, but, at the same time, “we cannot afford to force heads of missions in the field to have to report to and receive direction on a daily basis from 2, 3 or 4 different USGs”. The principles of unity of command and integration dictated that the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and the Department he or she headed must have the capacity to play an effective integrating role at Headquarters. Considerable progress had been made in that regard, but the Organization must continue to do better.

While no one proposal required a massive injection of additional resources, taken together, the overall number was quite high, he said. It was a big resource request, but he did not think it was unreasonable, relative to the surge in peacekeeping. However, it would be ineffective to keep adding work-level resources in a situation where current management structures were simply unable to absorb them. There came a point when just adding more posts at lower levels without strengthening senior management was ineffective, and the Secretary-General’s proposals reflected that position.

The demands on the current Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping had become overwhelming, he said. A second Under-Secretary-General -- focused on support issues -- would free up time and space for more attention to policy and operational matters. Aware that creating two departments, headed by two Under-Secretaries-General, also created a set of challenges, he said that the proposals with respect to unity of command and integration of efforts sought to address them. Arrangements put in place must also recognize that a large number of personnel were now engaged, on a regular basis, in risky military operations. That was a unique undertaking in the United Nations system. Accordingly, it stood to reason that structural arrangements applied to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support would have unique aspects to them, as well, relative to other parts of the Secretariat.

Presenting the OIOS report, INGA-BRITT AHLENIUS, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, said that the Office had identified several weaknesses in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ management structures. For example, the Department was lacking a comprehensive doctrine that included formal processes and procedures specifying the accountability structure, delegation of authority and allocation of responsibilities. There was insufficient use of results-based budgeting as a performance measurement system or as a strategic framework to govern the Department’s operations. Also, there was inadequate integration of operational processes. The audit had also identified areas for further improvement in communication and coordination with the Department’s partners in peace operations. Those included a need for establishing a single point of communication in the Department and terms of reference for integrated mission task forces, which were a key mechanism for ensuring coherent, consistent and coordinated engagement for United Nations system partners in the integrated mission planning process.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations must address those weaknesses to fulfil its ever increasing responsibilities and to make the most efficient use of budget resources provided by Member States, she said. The audit had also underscored a topic that she had reiterated on previous occasions: the need for a formal and robust internal control framework, which was a building block of any accountability framework. OIOS was also strongly encouraging the establishment of a much improved results-based management framework and a risk management framework, which should be integrated under one robust internal control framework.

She added that the audit had been conducted before the Secretary-General had presented his proposals for restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to the General Assembly. Therefore, the report did not take into consideration the impact of those proposals. All the same, the Office’s 15 recommendations were intended to ensure sound management principles under any organizational structure. In that regard, she was pleased that the Assembly, in resolution 61/256, had requested the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report elaborating on the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, taking into consideration, inter alia, the recommendations of OIOS.

Chairman of ACABQ, RAJAT SAHA, introduced that body’s report. Regarding the support account, he said that the Advisory Committee had noted that the unencumbered balance for 2005/06 had been almost $11 million, mostly relating to posts and general temporary assistance. For 2006/07, the unencumbered balance was estimated at over $21 million. As for 2007/08, ACABQ’s recommendations would involve a reduction of some $23.99 million to the proposed budget of $254.5 million. Of the 400 net new posts proposed, the Advisory Committee had recommended approval of 247. That was in addition to the net increase of 95 posts due to various transfers from general temporary assistance and from the regular budget.

Noting that the Secretary-General’s proposals formed part of a continuum of reform undertaken by the Organization to deal with the growing volume and complexity of peacekeeping demands over the years, he said that the current proposals were, therefore, not the end of the story. With a number of related reviews and analyses still outstanding and others suggested by ACABQ, the reform proposals and the Advisory Committee’s recommendations should be seen in that context.

Statements

VICTORIA ZIMMERMANN VON SIEFART (Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed support for the thrust of the Secretary-General’s proposals, saying the European Union attached great importance to peacekeeping as a core function of the Organization, and would do what was necessary to ensure the effectiveness of peacekeeping. The structure and organization of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations needed to reflect both the surge in peacekeeping and the growth in size and complexity of those operations. ACABQ’s suggestions on substantial reductions to the Secretary-General’s proposals were noted, but they raised questions as to whether those reductions took into account the increased challenges posed by the surge in, and complexity of, peacekeeping.

She added that States should ensure that the budget be kept under control, and that increases were justified. The European Union thanked the Secretary-General for his views on that issue and ACABQ’s reflections on those views. However, some questions still remained. Also, it was important to preserve a clear chain of command and control in the conduct of peacekeeping operations, and to ensure a “joined up approach” between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support. As ACABQ had outlined, there was a need to reflect on aspects beyond the restructuring of the Secretariat, in keeping with United Nations reform efforts. Since the issue was highly important, it was necessary to “bring an end to uncertainty” and to allow the Secretariat to focus on delivering peace operations. Though undue haste should be avoided, it was crucial that momentum be sustained.

IMTIAZ HUSSAIN (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, began by expressing deep admiration to the United Nations peacekeepers for their “courage and commitment”. The Group shared the Secretary-General’s view that an extraordinary surge in demand for peacekeeping and the increasing complexity of multidimensional operations had stretched the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ managerial and operational capacity. The Group supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to restructure the Department and to strengthen the Organization’s peacekeeping capacity.

In its interactions with the Secretary-General and the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, he said, the Group had strongly emphasized that efforts should lead to unity of command in missions at all levels. The Group had also emphasized the importance of coherence in policy and strategy, and that there be clear lines of accountability and responsibility at all levels, augmenting the existing capacity of the Military and Police Divisions. There must also be close interaction and coordination with troop-contributing countries to ensure personnel safety; streamlined and accountable procurement processes; oversight and the absence of conflict of interest; and adequate administrative and managerial capacities that could ensure solid logistic support to missions. Indeed, the Group would closely examine the proposed changes in structure, functions and reporting lines of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and how they would ensure the unity of command, coherence, integration and accountability.

He said that, given the scale of procurement in peacekeeping missions, the Group had a special interest in procurement reform, especially that relating to the development of an internal control regime. Such reform should illustrate how they would complement the ongoing reform process, as set out in the General Assembly resolution on procurement reform (resolution 61/246). Last year’s report on procurement reform would have enabled Member States to assess how the proposals to move procurement functions to the proposed Department of Field Support could contribute to the reform of the procurement system, increase the share of developing countries in the goods being procured and strengthen the Organization’s procurement functions. It would be useful to receive clarification during informals on the Secretariat’s progress in implementing the resolution on procurement reform.

He said the Group would engage in discussion with a view to providing the Secretary-General with resources “to enable him to make the best decisions”. He stressed the importance of an inclusive, transparent and open process of negotiations. The Group would engage constructively in negotiations for an outcome that met the objectives he had outlined.

EDWINA STEVENS (Australia), also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said that it was Member States’ responsibility to conduct a thorough and detailed analysis of the Secretary-General’s proposals. The work of ACABQ was helpful, but clearly did not abrogate the decision-making role of the General Assembly. On 15 March, the Assembly had adopted a resolution supporting the Secretary-General’s objective to strengthen the United Nations capacity to manage, sustain and increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping activities by, among other things, establishing a Department of Field Support, and had requested a comprehensive report on the matter. The Secretary-General’s response was before the Committee today, along with the ACABQ report on the matter.

Member States had a responsibility to follow through on the Assembly’s resolution and constructively respond to the Secretary-General’s restructuring proposals, she continued. She recognized that the proposals were substantial and costly. At the same time, there was an imperative to support the Secretary-General’s initiatives and enable implementation of reforms designed to strengthen the Organization’s operations. The reports called for resources to provide systemic improvements that would reform, reinforce and improve peacekeeping management, many of which were not new. It had been seven years since the Assembly had considered the Brahimi report. Outstanding recommendations from that document had since been incorporated into the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda, which, in turn, had provided the basis for the proposals before the Committee today. The integrated operational teams were just one example of reform that was desirable and overdue.

The Organization’s work in peacekeeping had grown at an unprecedented pace and showed no sign of abatement, she said, but the Secretariat at Headquarters had not seen a commensurate growth in resources. Member States had a responsibility to equip the Secretariat with the resources it needed to fulfil its mandates. “In other words, we must respond to the surge,” she said. The Committee did not have much time to consider the reports, but it did have enough time to provide the Secretariat with much needed resources. She wanted to make strategic and meaningful decisions that would broadly address the three elements of the Secretary-General’s proposal.

If the Assembly were to resource the Department of Field Support, it must resource it in a manner that would allow it to truly operate in step with its design, she continued. Management needed reinforcement. The military and police capacity of the Secretariat must be strengthened. Integrated teams should provide coherent, integrated and timely support for missions, and she would support that concept. The case for an Office of the Rule of Law was strong and had her support. She also believed the relationship with the Department of Political Affairs could be improved.

The proposal was not just about resources, she added. It was also about improving the system and making it work better. She expected best practice. Additional resources could not strengthen systemic weakness. Existing resources must be used effectively, as must existing capacities. She would also welcome further clarification on the benefits expected the creation from a parallel procurement function. She remained committed to equipping the Secretariat with the resources it needed to operate effectively and efficiently. “We will not support unnecessary costs,” she said. “This means we will support extra resources that stand the test of critical analysis. In return, we expect results, we expect accountability.”

TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan), who paid tribute to United Nations peacekeepers in the discharge of their work, said he supported the thrust of the Secretary-General’s proposals and stood ready to consider the report just introduced, as well as that of the ACABQ. But, whatever creation or abolition of departments or posts that might be considered, peacekeeping resource requests must be managed within the Secretariat in such a way that budgetary control was ensured. The Secretary-General, as the chief administrative officer, “should be in a position to grasp and manage all the resources available to him in a coherent manner”, and Japan attached great importance as to how that could be ensured through “organizational structure and authority”.

While favouring the establishment of a new Department of Field Support to be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, he noted that the new organizational structure might present major management challenges, as pointed out by ACABQ. Integrated operational teams within the regional divisions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations might not be the solution. In addition, redundancy must be avoided in the creation of new posts.

He agreed with the Secretary-General in stressing the need for reinforcement of the rule of law and the establishment of sustainable security institutions as a fundamental aspect of peacekeeping. But, countries could not expect peacekeeping operations to “stay forever”. Host countries would need to manage their own peace, moving towards prosperity with ownership. Collaboration between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with other United Nations agencies and special political missions on the ground was needed, and the expertise of other departments, such as the Department of Political Affairs, should be properly engaged in the process. But, Member States must carefully consider the matter before deciding to reinforce such a function within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Indeed, the Committee was still awaiting the outcome of the analysis requested by the Secretariat on management arrangements for procurement, including clear lines of accountability and delegation of authority. A serious deliberation on that issue was deemed of some importance to Japan.

Y. J. CHOI ( Republic of Korea) said the Secretary-General should be given the flexibility to initiate reforms believed to be in the best interest of the United Nations. Reforming the Secretariat, which was a key element in the overall reform of the United Nations, needed bold initiatives from the Secretary-General. “Flexibility should precede accountability,” he said. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations had become too overstretched to deal effectively with the surge in demand and the complexity of the operations, a point which Member States shared consensus on, as expressed through General Assembly resolution 61/256.

He said that, in accordance with that resolution, the Secretary-General had submitted comprehensive reports setting out proposed changes to the current structural arrangements and staffing levels, and their financial implications. Those reports were to be commended. He appreciated the fact that the Secretary-General had included in his reports various measures to address Member States’ concerns over unity of command, possible effects on the safety and security of peacekeepers and financial implications.

He noted that the proposals for restructuring were not new, but were a continuation of a broader reform process already under way. That process had begun with the 2000 Brahimi report, and had been fleshed out in the Peace Operations 2010 report. He had welcomed the recommendations contained in those reports, and had urged the Secretary-General to expedite their full implementation. Indeed, the Secretary-General’s newest recommendations were largely predicated on the recommendation of those earlier reports. He hoped the Fifth Committee could expedite its consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on the basis of ACABQ’s recommendations, which were “reasonable and prudent”. He hoped the Committee would come to an early decision on the proposals to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and strengthening peacekeeping operations. He urged that the Committee’s examination of the issue not be “overly protracted”, since its efforts had a direct effect on the lives and safety of the peacekeepers and those they protected.

DAVID A. TRAYSTMAN ( United States) expressed support for the Secretary-General and his authority to manage the United Nations, adding that there was an “urgent need” to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to meet the challenges of peacekeeping in a reasonable and cost-effective manner. The Fifth Committee was in a position to consider the Secretary-General’s proposals, now that ACABQ had made its own detailed comments and recommendations on those proposals. He expressed regret that the Committee had not been in a position to consider the matter earlier in the session, but said he recognized the scope and complexity of the task faced by ACABQ of reviewing the Secretary-General’s proposals.

He said he was aware that the recommendations of the ACABQ raised a number of difficult issues for the consideration of the Committee. It was critical that the Committee make progress on the issue before it, so that the Organization could mount and sustain effective and cost-efficient peacekeeping operations. The United States looked forward to working closely with other Member States, in a cooperative manner, to make such progress.

DANILO ROSALES DÍAZ ( Nicaragua) endorsed the position of the Group of 77 and said that, for his country, the capacity of the United Nations to respond to crises, together with its development activities, was at the very heart of the Organization. There was no doubt that there was a need to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to conduct peacekeeping operations. An increase in human and financial resources was unavoidable, and he supported unreservedly the proposals in that regard. At the same time, however, it was important to rationalize the use of those resources.

He went on to say that his delegation had doubts about the relevance of the proposed new structure. In his opinion, the General Assembly had “made haste” -- due to circumstances well known to the Committee -- when it had adopted resolution 61/256, supporting the division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations into two departments, as well as the creation of the Department of Field Support. Instead of leading towards the future, that decision had taken the Organization to the beginning of the 1990s, when the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been created. Today, the Committee seemed to be involved in a “damage limitation exercise”, although it was improbable that resolution 61/256 would be reconsidered. For Nicaragua, despite all the reasons and explanations given, it was clear that creation of a position of an Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support represented a dichotomy. Far from creating a single line of command, it would lead to duality and possibly disintegration, where integration was proposed. He did not consider the creation of that post appropriate at this time.

It was fundamentally important to strengthen the main elements presented in the Secretary-General’s reports, which had their origins in the reform process, including the Peace Operations 2010 initiative. In effect, those elements constituted the only safeguards that would minimize the potential for dual command and disintegration. Supporting the creation of integrated operational teams, he expressed surprise at the ACABQ recommendation to effectively dismantle those teams and reduce the number of posts requested by the Secretary-General. The same applied to the need to strengthen and not undermine the support cell for integration planning. Transfer of the Situation Centre from the Operating Office to the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping and its strengthening through the creation of the post of Chef de Cabinet were important elements that could help contain centrifugal forces. It was not clear, however, if those measures would be sufficient safeguards against possible confusion and disintegration. The mere division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and establishment of dual command was a far cry from providing the United Nations with the leadership it needed.

Finally, he stressed that the lives of populations requiring protection, as well as safety of peacekeeping staff, were too important for the Assembly to adopt “a wrong-headed structure” for purely political reasons that seemed to ignore lessons learned in the 15 years since the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been created.

NAGESH SINGH ( India) said that his country had contributed more than 80,000 troops in 41 out of 62 United Nations peacekeeping operations, and 112 Indian personnel had made the supreme sacrifice in those missions. Today, India was among the largest troop-contributing countries, with almost 9,400 troops serving under the United Nations banner. India’s support for the declared objectives of peacekeeping reform had been conveyed through resolution 61/256. However, in the words of Stephen Jay Gould, the most erroneous stories “are those we think we know best -- and therefore never scrutinize or question”. In that context, the ACABQ report could form a good basis for the Committee’s deliberations.

While approving the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the establishment of the Department of Field Support, his delegation, like other Member States, had called for measures to guarantee unity of command, promote integration of efforts and strengthen operational capacities, both at Headquarters and in field missions. All proposals needed to be measured in terms of those imperatives. However, he could not but agree with ACABQ that the proposed new organizational structure might present some major management challenges. Potential complications related to the chain of command, accountability, coordination and maintenance of an adequate system of checks and balances arising from the unusual arrangement of having one head of department report to and take direction from the other. He found it puzzling that, despite acknowledgement of those foreseeable problems, the Advisory Committee had seen “merit” in the post of Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support.

Given the expectations for the proposed Department of Peacekeeping Operations Chief of Staff, the individual would have to be “an extraterrestrial superbeing” to fulfil the impossible mandate of coordinating between the two departments, while being answerable to one master, he continued. Although the Chief of Staff, integrated operational teams and other proposed capacities might be well-intended attempts to ensure unity of command and integration at Headquarters, intentions did not always translate into good outcomes. Therefore, those arrangements should be assessed in the light of experience. All efforts should be made to avoid creating additional bureaucratic layers in the Organization.

He also pointed out that, despite the best efforts to rationalize the administrative structures and processes, there could be duplication of effort and wastage of resources due to similarity of objectives, functions and capacities between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the proposed Department of Field Support, on one hand, and the existing resources of the Department of Management, Department of Political Affairs, Department of Public Information, Office of Legal Affairs and so on. Therefore, he strongly endorsed ACABQ’s recommendation for a comprehensive review of the work processes in relevant departments and their relationship to the work of the proposed departments. Consequently, it would make sense to provide for general temporary assistance positions, rather than the establishment of posts, pending further analysis.

Structural change was no substitute for managerial improvement, he continued. It was necessary to address related systemic issues of inefficient and duplicative work processes and cumbersome and outdated procedures. Above all, it was of the utmost importance that any restructuring or realignment that would manifestly be accompanied by a substantial delegation of authority, particularly in procurement and human resources management, must clearly spell out the concerned authorities. Also of great importance was the explicit accountability of the concept of an integrated approach to dealing with multidimensional problems encountered in complex missions. In that respect, it was important to clarify the modalities of the proposed integrated approach to ensure more flexibility in responding to evolving needs, as well as efficient use of resources. He eagerly awaited the Secretary-General’s report on procurement. It would be prudent to take into account the outcome of that analysis before putting the new proposed structure into final form. He also looked forward to the comprehensive study of the evolution of the support account, which should provide a sound basis for formulating a model for determining the level of resources for the future.

He added that the troops in the field were the most critical constituent of the missions, without whom there would be no peacekeeping. He regretted that, despite the critical role of the Military Division, no additional resources had been allocated for the proposed Office of Military Affairs, especially when ad hoc structures had been created in the Military Division on the pretext that it was underresourced.

AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ (Venezuela), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, said her country had already expressed its position during earlier negotiations on resolution 61/256, as well as during meetings of the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations. While the Secretary-General’s report, submitted in response to resolution 256, had addressed many of Venezuela’s concerns, certain aspects of the proposal seemed to make it more difficult for the two departments to function properly. She agreed with ACABQ that the Organization would face certain managerial challenges as a result of the new structure. She believed that clear coordination between the departments would be needed, especially in light of the fact that they would be led by officials of the same rank.

She said the new structure would require additional “bureaucratic tasks” to promote greater integration. The transfer of functions from the Department of Management to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support -- such as those relating to human resources, procurement and preparing the individual peacekeeping budgets -- must be approached with efficiency gains in mind. Resources must be rationalized to avoid duplication and overlap of functions. Mechanisms must be established to ensure accountability and to guarantee administrative responsibility.

Also regarding the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, she voiced support for proposals to strengthen the Organization’s capacity at Headquarters to respond effectively to current peacekeeping needs. She supported the creation of two regional divisions for Africa, together with the proposed posts. She also supported the reclassification of the post of military adviser to the rank of Assistant Secretary-General. The General Assembly would need more information on proposals relating to the establishment of the Department of Field Support before it could take a decision. Indeed, some reports on the subject were still outstanding. Member States needed to formulate their opinion regarding human resource functions within the new structure, and how the restructuring process affected the drawing up of peacekeeping budgets.

MUHAMMAD A. MUHITH ( Bangladesh) aligned himself with the position of the Group of 77 and said that his delegation was disappointed over the late issuance of documents, the last one of which had come out only yesterday. As a result, the Committee was left with only a couple of days to conclude its consideration of the important agenda item under discussion. By the terms of resolution 61/256, the General Assembly had supported the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including the establishment of Department of Field Support. Now, the Committee had been presented with hundreds of pages of reports, the contents of which were closely interlinked with numerous other important issues. Therefore, decisions on those critical proposals needed serious thought and discussion. His delegation looked forward to working positively with others on the matter.

He said the Committee was confronted with “painfully insufficient time” to make its decisions. At the same time, the proposals before it lacked important supporting information on such things as the effectiveness and efficiency achieved in the context of past reform exercises, further improvement of work processes, synergies between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other players, administrative and other savings following the transfer of functions from one department to another, the evolution of the support account, delegation of authority to Department of Field Support for human resources management and procurement, accountability measures and the role of the Deputy Secretary-General with regard to broader management issues. As rightly mentioned by ACABQ, a number of reviews and studies were still forthcoming and needed to be taken into account. Finally, to his delegation, the issue of the hierarchy between the Under-Secretaries-General did not appear as simple and straightforward as thought to be by the Secretariat.

ASIM AHMAD ( Pakistan) voiced support for the Secretary-General’s peacekeeping reform efforts. As a major troop contributor, Pakistan had a direct stake in the success of peacekeeping and was willing to consider questions of realignment with an open mind. He was happy that, in considering the issue, proper intergovernmental procedures were being followed, in accordance with resolution 61/256. The Secretary-General and ACABQ were both thanked for their reports.

He said the key objective in restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was based on the following points: rationalization, integration and overall strengthening of the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations; maintaining the safety and security of personnel; establishing unity of command in the field and at Headquarters; strengthening the operational capacity relating to peacekeeping, particularly of the police and military divisions; and ensuring effective oversight.

He said a number of new posts and resources been requested in the context of the overall strengthening of peacekeeping, and it was anticipated that, to a great extent, that objective was likely to be met. But, he continued to have doubts on other aspects of the restructuring effort -- such as on rationalization, integration, improved effectiveness, achieving unity of command and so on. For instance, he noted, as had others, ACABQ’s observation regarding managerial challenges and other potential complications relating to unity of command, accountability and coordination, brought about by the prospect of having two officials at the Under-Secretary-General level within the peacekeeping ambit. The safety and security of personnel would be enhanced by an increase in backup support and planning at Headquarters, which, in turn, was interlinked with the issue of unity in the chain of command. Carefully considered mechanisms were needed to overcome potential complications arising from the proposed arrangements of having two top officials.

He noted that proposals to strengthen the military and police divisions had not been very significant, with only a few new posts proposed by the Secretary-General. ACABQ had proposed to cut even those posts. Members might need to consider in more detail how to strengthen the operational capacities of the military and police divisions, which he viewed as the mainstays of peacekeeping operations. He supported the establishment of a military adviser post at the Assistant Secretary-General level, and would push for the strengthening of the Office of Military Planning Service, which had not been adequately addressed in the Secretary-General’s report.

As for the proposed Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, he said he would continue to engage in discussions with others regarding its ideal structure and resource level. Turning to the issue of integrated operational teams, which needed to maintain a semblance of order once the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was “bifurcated” upon the establishment of the Department of Field Support, he stressed the need for better linkages between individual operations and the new integrated mission task force. Clarity was also needed on how the task force would interface with troop-contributing countries. He said ACABQ’s recommendations regarding the Department of Field Support were ambiguous, and he would like to discuss the question of its leadership in further detail. Uncertainty would be a dangerous outcome and should be avoided at all costs, since it impacted upon the safety of peacekeeping personnel.

ANDREY V. KOVALENKO ( Russian Federation) said that his delegation attached exceptional importance to the effective functioning of peacekeeping operations. In that connection, in considering the proposals on Department of Peacekeeping Operations restructuring, it was important to come up with a formula for organizing structures that would ensure Headquarters support for operations and ensure their smooth functioning. It also needed to be clear and understandable to missions themselves and promote enhancement of management, strengthen operational activities of the parts of the Secretariat involved in peacekeeping and eliminate duplication among different departments.

Continuing, he agreed with ACABQ that the division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was fraught with serious challenges and potential complications in the areas of accountability, coordination, chain of command and maintenance of an adequate system of checks and balances in distribution of responsibilities, in particular as far as procurement and human resources management were concerned. His delegation was still convinced that the transfer of peacekeeping procurement -- 90 per cent of all procurement of the United Nations -- to Department of Field Support and the establishment of its own procurement service were unfounded. It would also lead to the violation of existing and justifiable division of labour between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Management and would be a giant leap backwards with regard to procurement reform, to which Member States had allocated significant resources.

It was important to retain the machinery for internal oversight, as well as the division of responsibilities in such areas as budget preparation and human resources management, he said. Of fundamental importance was the retention and strengthening of the existing machinery for administrative and financial oversight, especially when a significant delegation of authority was involved. One should not forget that, in considering the Secretary-General’s proposals, it was necessary to take into account the overall context of continuing reform in the area of management, as well as previous instructions by Member States, including those relating to reports on procurement and information technology.

Turning to resources, he noted the good work done by ACABQ in reducing the budgetary request of the Secretary-General. All requests for additional resources should be clear cut and genuinely founded. He also believed that the improvement of the field support structures should not be limited to the Secretary-General’s proposals. It was important to further eliminate duplication and improve the quality of work of the Secretariat. However, that should not be achieved just through increases in the number of posts, but through strengthening effectiveness, and the quality of management.

MR. SAHA thanked the members of the Fifth Committee for their kind words addressed to him, and said he would convey the Committee’s remarks to all members of ACABQ and its Secretariat.

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