Fifth Committee Approves $6.45 Billion Budget for 11 Peacekeeping Missions, Breaks Five-Year Deadlock around Cross-Cutting Issues
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today bolstered the daily operations of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations by approving a $6.45 billion budget for 11 peacekeeping missions and breaking a five-year deadlock around the so-called cross-cutting issues. The resolution enveloping these crucial elements of global peacekeeping operations ‑ including sexual exploitation and abuse, the safety of peacekeepers and environmental safeguards ‑ was one of 25 draft resolutions the Committee sent the General Assembly as it wrapped the second part of its resumed seventy-sixth session. The Committee also sent the Assembly one draft decision deferring some issues for future consideration.
The approved peacekeeping budget covers 11 peacekeeping missions from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 and includes nearly $66 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy; $43.2 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda; and $371 million for the peacekeeping support account.
All but one of the 25 texts approved today were adopted without a vote. The exception dealt with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)and was adopted by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with no abstentions. That was after the Committee rejected, also by recorded vote, an oral amendment proposed by Israel to delete four paragraphs referring to the shelling of a UNIFIL compound in Qana, Lebanon, by the Israeli armed forces on 18 April 1996.
The Fifth Committee also moved ahead on another crucial financial issue when it sent the Assembly a text to use $100 million in unspent funds from the 2021 regular budget to increase, on an exceptional basis and without setting a precedent, the Working Capital Fund.
Chandramouli Ramanathan, Controller and Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, thanked the delegates for approving the peacekeeping mission budgets before the fiscal year’s end on 30 June. He also was grateful that Member States heeded the Secretary-General’s repeated calls to structurally address the systemic problems facing the Organization’s financial situation and avert a liquidity crisis. “We trust that these decisions will allow the Organization to channel its energies to mandate delivery, instead of liquidity management,” he said.
Japan’s delegate said the Committee’s agreement on the financial situation and the closed peacekeeping missions were also historical achievements. He hoped the Secretariat would wisely and efficiently use the additional financial investment from Member States to stabilize mandate delivery with sufficient cash reserves.
The delegate for the European Union said it was a long endeavour for the Committee to agree on measures to improve the Organization’s financial situation. The action would tackle the regular budget’s cash shortages and ensure the Organization’s financial health, a shared responsibility that is fundamental to full and effective mandate delivery.
Many delegates agreed the cross-cutting resolution showed the Committee can work together. The United Kingdom’s representative said the Committee is providing cross-cutting policy guidance on peacekeeping operations for the first time in five years. The resolution handles many issues, including creating better living conditions in the field, strengthening peace transitions, enhancing women’s participation in peacekeeping, redoubling efforts to prevent sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and supporting effective performance. “We strongly appreciate the constructive, tireless and flexible efforts of delegations from all regions on this item,” she said.
The representative of Israel said the resolution will give the United Nations guidance on many issues, from gender equality to medical standards to mental health. Mexico’s delegate said the resolution is a positive trend that gives the Organization guidance as it helps missions carry out their daily activities.
The approval of a resolution to address racism in the Secretariat also drew feedback from delegates. The resolution, noting the Secretariat and Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) reports on the issue, would establish eight new general temporary assistance positions for 18 months to carry out work in this area. It includes a total appropriation of nearly $1.2 million for the 18 months, including $332,800 for 2022.
The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and aligning himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said his bloc was pleased to support the Secretariat’s mandate to confront racism, which unfortunately still exists. He sees merit in the establishment of a dedicated office and urges the United Nations to adhere to a zero-tolerance policy on racism.
The delegate of the United States said that racial discrimination must be addressed as it is still an issue in the Secretariat. The Secretary-General’s proposal included the creation of an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. While some additional staff are being approved for a very limited amount of time to work in this area, there was no consensus to create an actual office. “That is embarrassing, that is shameful,” he said, as United Nations employees risk their lives for the Organization. The United Nations owes it to its staff to do better.
In closing remarks, Fifth Committee Chairman Mher Margaryan of Armenia said the Committee maintained its mutual respect and worked together constructively despite the many challenges faced during the seventy-sixth session. Though it could not achieve consensus on all issues, such as the human resources agenda, the Committee showed that the spirit of cooperation can overcome any challenges and difficulties that lie ahead.
Also speaking today were delegates from Pakistan (on behalf of the Group of 77); Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group); Mexico, the Russian Federation, China, Egypt, Djibouti and Somalia.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Fifth Committee today approved 25 draft resolutions, all but one of them without a vote.
It first approved the draft resolution “Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors” (document A/C.5/76/L.55).
It then approved the draft resolution “Addressing racism and promoting dignity for all in the United Nations Secretariat” (document A/C.5/76/L.52). By the text, the Committee notes the Secretary-General’s report on the topic and the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). If approved by the Assembly, the resolution would establish eight new general temporary-assistance positions for 18 months. It includes a total appropriation of nearly $1.2 million for the 18 months, including $332,800 for 2022.
Next, the Committee approved the draft resolution “Improving the financial situation of the United Nations” (document A/C.5/76/L.32). The text urges all Member States to fulfil their financial obligations, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations, on time, in full and without conditions. Noting the exceptional amount of unspent funds from the 2021 regular budget to be credited to Member States, the Assembly would decide to use $100 million of these unspent funds to increase, on an exceptional basis and without setting a precedent, the Working Capital Fund.
The text also welcomed the continued management of the cash resources of the active peacekeeping missions as a pool, and its positive impact on the timely settlement of payments to troop- and police-contributing countries. The text requests the Secretary-General to continue this practice for a trial period of another five years.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution “Accessibility for persons with disabilities to conferences and meetings” (document A/C.5/76/L.34). The text requests the Secretary-General to apply the Joint Inspection Unit’s recommendations to all United Nations renovation and construction projects, as appropriate, and ensure accessibility in line with best practices, international standards and lessons learned from previous experiences. The text also asks the Secretary-General to ensure that a wheelchair lift, for access to the Assembly rostrum, is constructed within existing resources, as part of the implementation plan of the accessibility of Headquarters premises and facilities, no later than 2023.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution “Cross-cutting issues” (document A/C.5/76/L.54). Among many parts of the 15-page, five-section document, the text asks the Secretary-General to improve the comprehensive oversight of the peacekeeping missions’ activities and implement the recommendations of relevant oversight bodies in order to ensure full compliance with financial obligations and rules.
The text asks the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to ensure proper representation of troop-contributing countries in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Operational Support. It also calls upon the Secretary-General to continue efforts to advance the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse through the United Nations system.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution “Post-traumatic stress disorder framework for uniformed personnel” (document A/C.5/76/L.36).
It then approved the draft resolution “Rates of reimbursement to troop- and police-contributing countries” (document A/C.5/76/L.56).
Then it approved “Financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy” (document A/C.5/76/L.38), by which the Assembly would approve cost estimates for the base totalling $65.96 million for 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then approved the draft resolution “Financing of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda” (document A/C.5/76/L.37), by which the Assembly would approve cost estimates for the service centre totalling $43.12 million for 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution “Support Account for peacekeeping operations” (document A/C.5/76/L.39), by which the Assembly would approve cost estimates for the support account of $371.79 million for 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then approved the draft resolution “Closed peacekeeping missions” (document A/C.5/76/L.33). The text would have the Assembly decide to return cash assets in closed peacekeeping missions to Member States, subject to sufficient and concomitant action on the Organization’s financial situation. The return of this cash would adhere to these points: Return by 31 March 2023 all the cash assets, as of 31 December 2022, in missions with cash surpluses (excluding only the cash necessary to cover the claims of troop- and police-contributing countries in those missions) to Member States that have paid their assessed contributions in full to the closed peacekeeping missions as of 31 December 2022, based on the scale applicable to each mission’s last assessment. By the text, the Organization could cross-borrow the remaining cash available in all closed missions to pay, by 31 March 2023, all outstanding claims of troop- and police-contributing countries in closed peacekeeping missions. It would make claims by countries without arrears in the closed peacekeeping missions the priority.
Turning to individual peacekeeping missions, the Committee then first approved a text on financing the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/C.5/76/L.40), through which the Assembly would appropriate to UNISFA’s Special Account $259.66 million for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then approved a text on financing the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/C.5/76/L.41), through which the Assembly would appropriate to MINUSCA’s Special Account $1.07 billion for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then approved a text on financing the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/76/L.42), through which the Assembly would appropriate to UNFICYP’s Special Account $54.01 million for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
Next, it approved a text on financing the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/76/L.43), through which the Assembly would appropriate to MONUSCO’s Special Account $1.03 billion for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then approved financing for two missions in Haiti: The United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) (document A/C.5/76/L.51) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/76/L.50).
The Committee then turned to financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/76/L.44), through which the Assembly would appropriate to UNMIK’s Special Account $41.95 million for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
The Committee then approved financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/76/L.45), through which the Assembly would appropriate to MINUSMA’s Special Account nearly $1.25 billion for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
Under its agenda item financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, the Committee considered two texts. It first approved financing for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/76/L.46), through which the Assembly would appropriate to UNDOF’s Special Account nearly $65.54 million for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then turned to the draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (document A/C.5/76/L.31). Before the vote, the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, took the floor to introduce the document and provide several oral technical updates. He noted that the Secretary-General has not received any response to letters addressed to Israel concerning the amount due from the shelling of a UNFIL compound in Qana, Lebanon, in 1996. He said the amount should be paid by Israel.
The representative of Israel then proposed an oral amendment which would delete preambular paragraph 4 and operating paragraphs 4, 5 and 13. She said the resolution politicizes the Fifth Committee’s work.
The representative of Pakistan then requested a recorded vote on the oral amendment proposed by Israel’s representative and urged all delegates to vote against the deletion of the paragraphs.
In a recorded vote on the oral amendment proposed by Israel, the Committee rejected the oral amendment by a vote of 3 in favour (Canada, Israel and United States) to 75 against, with 46 abstentions.
The representative of the United States said his country strongly supports UNIFIL and its mandate. Yet it was inappropriate to use a funding mechanism to politicize the work of the Fifth Committee.
The draft resolution L.31, as technically updated, was approved in a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with no abstentions.
The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it had abstained on the oral amendment presented by Israel as it is inappropriate to bring political elements into the financing issues of the Fifth Committee. The issue had been discussed in the Assembly.
The Committee then approved financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/76/L.47), through which the Assembly would appropriate to the Mission’s Special Account $1.15 billion for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
The Committee than approved financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/76/L.48), through which the Assembly would appropriate to MINURSO’s Special Account nearly $70 billion for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
It then approved a resolution on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/76/L.53).
It then approved the resolution “Financing of the activities arising from Security council resolution 1863 (2009)” (document A/C.5/76/L.49).
The Committee then took note of a note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/76/L.26) which indicated the amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, as well as another note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/76/L.27) pertaining to approved resources for peacekeeping operations for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
CHANDRAMOULI RAMANATHAN, Controller and Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance then took the floor and thanked all the delegates for approving the peacekeeping mission budgets before the budget year ended.
The Committee then turned its attention to the draft resolution “Investing in prevention and peacebuilding” (document A/C.5/76/L.35). The representative of Egypt took the floor to withdraw the resolution as consensus could not be reached on the document. It would be referred to the upcoming main session. He said his delegation remained fully committed to providing predictable funding for peacekeeping and efforts to enhance the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture.
The Committee then approved the draft decision “Questions deferred for future consideration” contained in document A/C.5/76/L.57).
THIBAULT CAMELLI, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc believes peace and security are very important and noted that it is the second-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budgets. The bloc also decided to increase the reimbursement rate for troop- and police-contributing countries. The adoption of the first cross-cutting resolution in six years is nothing short of historic. He said the resolution on measures to improve the Organization’s financial situation was a long endeavour. This measure would tackle the cash shortages of the regular budget and ensure the Organization’s financial health is a shared responsibility. This financial health is fundamental so the Organization can carry out its mandates fully and effectively.
JIBRAN KHAN DURRANI (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it had been a challenging session and he was satisfied that the Committee was able to agree on most issues. He was pleased with the proposal to end racism in the United Nations system. He said the cross-cutting resolution will help the troop-contributing countries. The missions are the most visible sign of the United Nations in the world, and they must be adequately financed.
FELIX-FILS EBOA EBONGUE (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African Group, commended the peacekeeping troops that put themselves in the face of danger. He praised the Fifth Committee Secretariat and the Chairman’s leadership in carrying out a challenging session with many complex issues. The upcoming seventy-seventh session will give the Committee an opportunity to develop new approaches to its work. He was concerned with the double-digit vacancy rates in some missions in Africa. He supported the resolution addressing racism in the Secretariat. The Organization needs predictable funding, and he called on all delegates to bring their support to the seventy-seventh session and work towards providing predictable funding for the peacekeeping missions.
Speaking on a point of order two times during the presentation of Cameroon’s delegate, the representative of Somalia said there is no agreed statement to be delivered on behalf of the African Group during the second resumed session.
CHRISTOPHER P. LU (United States) said he was satisfied that the $6.45 billion budget will let the United Nations carry out its peacekeeping work efficiently and effectively as the missions deal with rising costs and other pressures. The approval of the first cross-cutting policy resolution since 2016 will let the Committee provide oversight and policy guidance to the Secretariat. These important reforms will improve the living conditions of the troops, give women equal participation and promote greater transparency and accountability for misconduct. There was also important progress on improving the financial situation. By allowing the use of credits and increasing the working capital fund for the regular budget by $100 million, Member States have shown how they can negotiate and reach consensus. Yet the Committee did not deal with some important issues, such as racism and discrimination, which remain issues that need to be addressed in the Secretariat. The Secretary-General put forward a proposal to create an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the United Nations. While some additional staff are being approved for a very limited amount of time to work in this area, there was no consensus to create an actual office. “That is embarrassing, that is shameful,” he said, as United Nations employees risk their lives. The United Nations owes it to its staff to do better.
JESÚS VELÁZQUEZ CASTILLO (Mexico) said he supported the resources for the 11 active peacekeeping missions and the services in Brindisi. The provision of more than $6.4 billion aims to strengthen these missions. The cross-cutting resolution is a trend that gives direction to the Secretariat and will improve the missions’ daily performance. He hopes a decision can be made on improving the formula for financing the peacekeeping missions’ budget.
KAVOY ANTHONY ASHLEY (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and aligning himself with the “Group of 77”, said he lent his voice to fighting racism. CARICOM was pleased to support the Secretariat’s mandate to confront racism, which unfortunately still exists in the Organization. He supported the establishment of a dedicated office and urges the United Nations to adhere to a zero-tolerance policy on racism.
TOMOYA YAMAGUCHI (Japan) said the Committee’s agreement on the financial situation and the closed peacekeeping missions are historical achievements for this session. He hopes the Secretariat will wisely and efficiently use the additional financial investment from Member States to stabilize mandate delivery with sufficient cash reserves. Japan will continue to fulfil its financial responsibilities. He regretted that the Committee could not reach consensus on the investing in prevention and peacebuilding agenda this session and wanted to explore options to ensure adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding. He also emphasized the value of consensus in the Fifth Committee.
SHERRY ZILBERGELD (Israel) said she places great importance on the cross-cutting resolution. It gives the Secretariat guidance on many issues, from gender equality to medical standards to mental health, that impact conditions in the missions and the lives of the staff and troops. Increased knowledge of mental health issues is crucial to the prevention of mental health issues among troops, including women.
DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) said he was pleased with the Committee’s historic decisions on closed peacekeeping missions and cross-cutting peacekeeping issues. Yet, regarding peacekeeping, there are two agendas, one held by donors and another by intergovernmental organizations. He believes the success of the United Nations rests with the unity of these two agendas.
CHENG LIE (China), aligning himself with the “Group of 77”, said the Committee’s results indicate the Member States’ support for the work of the United Nations and its peacekeeping missions. After six years, the adoption of a cross-cutting resolution helps to provide guidance to the United Nations Secretariat. He noted that last week, China paid in full all its assessments for the peacekeeping missions. He urged all Member States to meet their financial obligations.
AHMED MOHAMED ISMAIL ELMAHS (Egypt), aligning himself with the “Group of 77” and the African Group, and speaking in his national capacity, welcomed the outcome of the second resumed session. He was pleased with the agreement for a lasting solution to the liquidity crisis and the closed peacekeeping accounts. Greater attention should be paid to the vacancy rates in the missions. He supported the peacekeeping fund.
CLELIA LUCY UHART (United Kingdom) said the cross-cutting resolution provides the Organization with guidance for the first time in five years. This will improve living conditions in the field, enhance the participation of women, redouble efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and support full mandate delivery. She was pleased that the Committee used the unexpected underspending of the budget, due to the pandemic, to address the structural challenges of the Organization’s financial situation. “This puts the Organization on a better financial footing, while also finding an agreeable situation to the long-standing issue of closed peacekeeping missions,” she said. She also welcomed new resolutions to improve inclusivity for United Nations staff and delegates, people with disabilities, and resources to carry out the Secretary-General’s efforts to combat racism and discrimination.
YOUSSOUF ADEN MOUSSA (Djibouti), aligning himself with the “Group of 77”, welcomed the adoption of the $6.4 billion budget. He paid tribute to the work of all the Blue Helmets. Yet he questioned some of the budget elements of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). He stressed that some budget questions should be addressed with full transparency. There was a serious tendency of some branches of the Secretariat to not answer all the delegations’ questions. He said there had been unjustified cuts to the budget proposals made by the Secretariat. UNSOS is underequipped and underfinanced and needs resources to achieve its mandate. Somalia is a brotherly country and Djibouti will spare no effort to help it achieve peace.
Mr. YUSUF (Somalia), aligning himself with the “Group of 77”, said he was concerned with the Committee’s trend to cut resources from peacekeeping missions in Africa, particularly UNSOS. He paid tribute to the people working in peacekeeping missions, particularly the mission in Somalia. He noted there have been national posts in the mission that have been vacant for many years.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) Committee Chair said it has been a long journey since the start of the Committee’s work last fall. Despite many challenges, the Committee members maintained their mutual respect and worked constructively. The Committee achieved progress on many issues, such as programme planning, the programme budget, a successful outcome of the financial situation, the closed peacekeeping missions and the cross-cutting resolution. These resolutions will improve the Organization’s administrative functioning. Even though conclusions were not reached on all issues, such as human resources, the Committee showed its high degree of willingness to work together. He was confident that as the Committee makes necessary adjustments to its working methods, it will achieve additional progress. He thanked his dedicated bureau colleagues. He was confident the spirit of constructive engagement will overcome any challenges and difficulties that lie ahead.