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United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo is crucial work in progress, Fifth Committee told

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Press Release GA/AB/3349 - 19991207
Committee Continues to Discuss Mission's Financing

The United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) was a crucial work in progress, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was told this morning, as it continued its general discussion of the financing of that Mission.

It was unique among missions in its mandate, size and scope, and the extent to which it interacted with other entities, the representative of the United States explained. There were inherent difficulties in preparing the initial budget for such a Mission, so resource levels allocated to it now should be reconsidered later based on experience and progress.

The large budget proposed by the Secretary-General for UNMIK should have been detailed and crafted with caution, the representative of Cuba told the Committee. Caution, however, had not been employed. In particular, requests for high-level posts were not justified, and there should be a less inflated staffing table. The Secretariat should be more realistic in its estimates of resource requirements.

The representatives of the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Israel and Germany also addressed the Committee.

The Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), C.S.M Mselle, responded to Member States' questions, as did the Director of the Peacekeeping Financing Division, Bock Yeo.

The next meeting of the Fifth Committee will be announced in the United Nations Journal, following decisions expected today about its programme of work.

Committee Work Programme

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this morning to continue its general discussion on the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK).

[For background on the financing of UNMIK see Press Release GA/AB/3348 of 6 December.]

Statements

DONALD S. HAYS (United States) said his country strongly and firmly supported the timely and successful completion of the establishment of UNMIK. However, he felt it was important to carefully review the constructive and helpful comments of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) regarding the Secretary-General's proposed budget.

The UNMIK was unique among missions in its mandate, size and scope, and the extent to which it interacted with other entities, he said, stressing that it would remain a work in evolution for some time. In addition, there were difficulties inherent in preparing the initial budget for such a mission and it would be prudent to revisit resources in the future based on experience and progress.

The United States called on the Secretariat and Member States to accelerate the deployment of civilian police in Kosovo, he said. The United States saw UNMIK as a crucial work in progress and looked forward to working with other Member States to fund it and to revisit resource requirements as the Mission evolved.

MARY JO ARAGON (Philippines) asked why the Advisory Committee had recommended downgrading the head of the office of gender affairs from D-2 to P-5.

HAE-YUN PARK (Republic of Korea) said the post structure of UNMIK seemed to be significantly inflated, and there was insufficient justification for the proposed post structure. The Office of Human Resource Management should be more closely involved in reviewing the post structure. But this should not impair the ability of UNMIK to implement its mandate fully. He wanted to reconsider the post structure and budget for UNMIK in the future in the light of operational experience.

RON ADAM (Israel) supported the establishment of the Mission and commended those working in Kosovo. He also supported the budget proposal submitted by the Secretary-General. He expressed Israel's condolences to the families of those who had died serving peace in Kosovo.

JORG WERNER MARQUARDT (Germany) said UNMIK was critical to peace in the region and all efforts should be made to ensure it was a success. Referring to the ACABQ report, he noted that in the paragraph 4, on the Civil Administration component, the ACABQ had said it could not see the rationale for employment of six national officers. The head of this area attached great importance to this element, so he asked the Secretariat to explain to Member States the rationale for their deployment.

DULCE BUERGO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said this budget was not the usual budget as it had been prepared to meet the operational needs of this specific Mission. Cuba's attitude to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)'s activities in the region was well-known.

This large budget proposal should have been crafted with great caution, and further detail should have been provided for such a large resource request, she said. Such caution had not been used, nor had the detail been provided. In particular, the requests for high-level posts were not justified, and there should be a less inflated staffing table.

The Secretariat should explain in detail the role of the agencies in the implementation of UNMIK's mandate, she said. It should also explain how they could be included in technical cooperation programmes and structures in the field.

Despite Cuba's economic difficulties, because of its commitment to humanitarian matters, it had provided medical staff to help the people of Kosovo, she said. She awaited the study proposed by the ACABQ, on the possibilities of using United Nations Volunteers in a peacekeeping mission, with great interest. She also sought information on why the proposed regent structure of UNMIK was not consistent with the historical division of Kosovo into districts.

The Secretariat should be more realistic in its estimates of resource requirements, she said. Cuba was therefore not in favour of the Secretary- General's estimate of resources.

C.S.M. MSELLE, ACABQ Chairman, said on paragraph 10 of its report that the Advisory Committee had been highlighting some of the elements that would provide coordination and planning, and it had referred to the executive committee and the joint planning group. These represented an effective means of eliminating waste and effecting coordination, but this was only on paper, he stressed. How effective that coordination would be depended on the behaviour of the individuals who were being coordinated. Their decisions had to be respected by the parties concerned - particularly the four pillars of the Mission. This was why paragraph 10 was in the form it was.

As far as the post structure was concerned, he was leaving the detailed answer on national officers to the Secretariat. On the question of the gender office, the committee had recommended that gender activities be handled at the P-5 level rather than the D-2 level. But in paragraph 21, the Advisory Committee had stated that the Secretary-General should not be inhibited from setting out further needs of the Mission, based on experience.

The Director of the Peacekeeping Financing Division, BOCK YEO, said this was not a revised budget but an initial proposed budget for UNMIK. The Advisory Committee had noted the inherent difficulties of preparing a budget for what was a very different mission.

On national officers, he had indicated that the six officers provided functions which were not of a language support nature. On the agencies, he said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would respond in due course.