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Seventy-sixth Session,
13th Meeting (AM)
GA/AB/4382

Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary)

Note :  Following is a partial summary of today's meeting of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). A complete summary will be available on Wednesday, 4 May.

Organization of Work

RABIA IJAZ (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said many procedures and methods of work used during this past year and the first resumed session were put in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The Group is ready to engage actively during in-person meetings.  Welcoming the timely updating and availability of reports for delegates, she said the Group is committed to thoroughly consider all agenda items, including items deferred from the first resumed session on improving the financial situation, which merit serious attention to ensure the Secretariat’s smooth functioning and effective mandate delivery.  She stressed the importance of considering the financing of peacekeeping operations, particularly cross-cutting issues, closed peacekeeping missions, the Support Account for peacekeeping operations, the plan and the budgets of the Regional Service Centre and the United Nations Logistics Base.

Paying tribute to peacekeepers who lost their lives, she said the recent loss of 20 peacekeepers in Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo reminds the international community of the risk that “blue helmets” face across peacekeeping operations and the importance of ensuring their safety and security with adequate resources.  In that regard, Security Council resolutions 2518 (2020) and 2589 (2021) and relevant General Assembly resolutions must be fully implemented.  She also looked forward to exploring options to build upon the 2021 resolutions on closed peacekeeping missions and to achieve a fair solution for unpaid assessments, accounts payable and other liabilities of these missions.  The Group will actively engage in the Committee’s discussions on the Antiracism Taskforce’s strategic action plan, accessibility for persons with disabilities and sexual exploitation and abuse.

THIBAULT CAMELLI of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, condemned the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified act of aggression against Ukraine, stressing the importance of the Fifth Committee in carrying out its duties for all peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates and the bloc’s dedication to such efforts.  In an increasingly complex environment, he stressed the importance of the efficacy and financing of peacekeeping operations.  Noting the European Union is the second-largest collective contributor to peacekeeping budgets, he welcomed progress in managing the liquidity situation of the peacekeeping operations but expressed concern about the inability to liquidate closed operations.  It is incumbent upon the Member States to plan and make full contributions on time and without conditions, as provided for in the Charter of the United Nations.

Peacekeeping resources cannot be considered in isolation from the administrative and budgetary policies that help the Secretariat carry out those operations.  “It is our Committee’s responsibility to provide the necessary guidance to the Secretariat,” he said.  The bloc will spare no effort to adopt a cross-cutting resolution by consensus, he said, stressing “the way our Committee has covered these important issues in the last two years in particular, linking them with budget numbers discussion, is not desirable nor sustainable, and we call for a more inclusive and meaningful process of work”.  He said the bloc will not introduce cross-cutting policy paragraphs in the budget resolutions of individual peacekeeping operations, inviting other Committee members to do the same.  Committed to strengthen peacekeeping in line with the priorities of the Action for Peacekeeping Declaration, he said the bloc would pay particular attention to gender issues and the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse.  He further advocated for more predictable financing for peacekeeping missions, noting that two years of working remotely has brought some improvements to the process, but called for strict observance of guidelines and timelines.

ARIEL RODELAS PENARANDA (Philippines), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed the importance of the administrative and budgetary financing issues of the Organization’s peacekeeping operations.  The issue of post-traumatic stress disorder among troops deserves attention, he said, stressing that the Committee must provide adequate resources to strengthen security and ensure the safety of the peacekeepers and their effective operations.  ASEAN calls for the timely reimbursement of payments to troop-contributing countries.  He also stressed the need to continue focusing attention on the impact of the pandemic on troops and the missions.  It is also important to reach agreement on cross-cutting issues.

FELIX-FILS EBOA EBONGUE (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African Group, associating himself with the Group of 77, praised the programme of work despite its provisional status.  He noted that despite efforts, some working documents were unavailable or made available late.  The issue of multilingualism remains an issue of concern, he stressed, as some documents are only available in one language — a flagrant violation of the rules.  He expressed hope that work methods will return to normal, noting the Committee had committed in 2021 to address issues on a case-by-case basis.  He also attached great importance to the agenda on peacebuilding, supporting interregional support of 108 countries.  He called for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for peacekeeping, expressing gratitude to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan for the warm welcome offered to the missions in their respective countries.

RICHARD ARBEITER (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said the countries were committed to achieving consensus on all United Nations peacekeeping policy and budgetary issues.  He expressed concern that the Fifth Committee has not yet reached consensus on cross-cutting issues and urged all delegations to adopt a cross-cutting resolution this year.  He placed priority on implementing on the women, peace and security agenda; ensuring accountability for peacekeepers; and adhering to the Organization’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.  He called for adequate resources for mandates to protect civilians and children and ensure the safety of peacekeepers.  Noting that the three countries are major voluntary contributors to the Peacebuilding Fund, he said a critical funding gap exists and that an assessed contribution would provide more sustainable and predictable resources.  “We are confident that the Fifth Committee can find a way to deliver greater investments in peace this session,” he said. Regarding the Organization’s financial situation, he said the Fifth Committee must make crucial decisions this session to reach consensus, warning that the Organization will again face liquidity shortfalls in 2024 if action is not taken this session.  He urged all Member States to seize this rare opportunity to increase liquidity, without additional assessments to Member States.

MONA JUUL (Norway) noted that the contribution of United Nations peacekeeping operations is invaluable, with 90,000 staff putting their lives on the line every day, and called for robust peacekeeping budgets for complex mandates.  Sexual exploitation of and by peacekeepers must be addressed, she said, noting there has been no cross-cutting resolution on the issue since the 2016 session.  Despite signs of improvement, the financial situation remains concerning, she said, commending countries that have paid their assessed contributions in full and on time and noting the United States has worked to reduce its arrears.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) reaffirmed her delegation’s strong commitment to support peacekeeping operations, which must be adequately financed and staffed.  The United Nations needs to build on the lessons learned from the pandemic, she said, paying tribute to the people who have lost their lives.  She welcomed the Secretary-General’s support for troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and looked forward to adequate funding for the task force on addressing racism and promoting dignity among United Nations staff.  Other important issues to be discussed during this session included the financing of the Organization, she noted.

CHRISTOPHER P. LU (United States) expressed deep concern that the Committee has been unable to adopt a cross-cutting policy resolution since the seventieth session, especially as the peacekeeping landscape has changed, with many critical issues requiring attention.  He strongly encouraged all cross-cutting policy issues to be discussed within the context of a cross-cutting resolution, noting that his delegation is examining the Secretary-General’s $6.5 billion budget request and will closely review the assumptions that fed into this proposal to see if they are still valid.  He noted that the Committee should discuss peacekeeping missions holistically and avail itself of Secretariat expertise on mission distribution. In addition, the United States will review the survey on troop reimbursement rates to determine whether an increase is justified.  To prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, he reaffirmed the United States commitment to a zero-tolerance policy, a survivor-centred response, and accountability and prevention measures that attack the root causes, while more broadly urging Member States to affirm zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

KIMURA TETSUYA (Japan), underscoring strong support for United Nations peacekeeping operations, said his country will engage in budget negotiations to ensure that the missions remain adequately funded — efforts, which must go hand in hand with ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources.  Japan will therefore focus on accountability and the impact of operations, as well as the performance of each mission.  Pointing out that no resolution has been adopted on cross-cutting policies for the last five sessions, he recalled that it is a responsibility of Member States to provide guidance to United Nations peacekeepers on a range of administrative and budgetary policies.  “We aim to make progress on this agenda,” he stressed.  Japan will engage in all discussions — notably those related to investing in prevention and peacebuilding, troop-contributing country reimbursement and improving the financial situation — in a constructive manner, with a view to achieving consensus by the scheduled deadline.

Mr. TONA (Rwanda), associating himself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said his country is among the top four contributors to United Nations peacekeeping, serving in missions including in Haiti and South Sudan, under challenging circumstances.  Peacekeeping remains a critical tool, he stated, and the peacekeeping budget is the guarantee for executing mandates.  In line with many troop-contributing countries, he expressed concern over budget cuts, including regarding South Sudan, and expressed hope that the United Nations can ensure that missions have the right tools going forward.

DAI BING (China), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said financing is the primary pillar of the Fifth Committee, which should approve the peacekeeping budget on time, which will enable the missions to carry out their mandates.  Every penny should be well spent, he said, stressing the need to reimburse troop-contributing countries in a timely manner.  China pays high tribute to all peacekeepers.  The relevant reforms to strengthen financial discipline within the United Nations must be carried out and diverse financing channels must be developed to avoid unnecessary financial pressure on Member States.  He called on all Member States to pay their arrears and meet their financial obligations.

RABAB FATIMA (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his delegation attaches the highest importance to peacekeeping initiatives as the leading troop- and police-contributing country, with 6,500 peacekeepers deployed in nine missions worldwide — having also lost 160 personnel in the line of duty.  As the Chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, which discusses budget issues, his delegation believes that timely financing is critical to any mandate, urging all Member States to pay their assessed financing in full and on time.  He called for the Secretariat to enforce budgetary management — which should not be a mechanical cross-cutting exercise, but rather based on the real situation on the ground.  He noted that peacekeepers have worked throughout the pandemic with integrity, and the United Nations must invest in collective efforts for the full and meaningful participation of women, including in senior posts.

MATHU JOYINI (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and noting that most United Nations peacekeeping operations are in Africa, encouraged the Committee to ensure the timely approval of a peacekeeping budget.  As a troop- and police-contributing country, and member of the Peacebuilding Commission, South Africa believes the provision of sustainable funding to the Peacebuilding Fund will enhance accountability, and thereby ensure national ownership in the delivery of mandates across the system.  He looked forward to engaging on the Secretary-General’s request to appropriate $100 million to the Fund for the 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 period.  Among other issues, he cited the protection of civilians, safety of personnel, partnerships between the United Nations and regional and subregional entities, and the exploration of additional innovative ways to promote procurement from developing countries as priorities, along with the important role of quick-impact projects in supporting mission mandates.  Given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on developing countries, it is critical to deliver an adequately responsive peacekeeping budget, he said, as well as the additional $100 million to the Fund, which is “more necessary than ever”.

JUN JI SUN (Republic of Korea) reaffirmed her Government’s strong support for the Organization’s peacekeeping operations, which have endured difficulty for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The conflict in Ukraine is creating new challenges for peacekeeping, as fuel and food prices have increased.  This could endanger the missions’ ability to maintain and restore international peace and security, she warned.  The missions should be adequately financed and cross-cutting peacekeeping issues should be addressed.

JESÚS VELÁZQUEZ CASTILLO (Mexico) recognized the commitment of peacekeepers in increasingly complex and risky circumstances due to protracted conflicts, natural disasters and health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  He stressed the importance of efficiently managing and using peacekeeping resources and of considering the related recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Joint Inspection Unit, Board of Auditors and Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to ensure the 12 peacekeeping operations, Logistics Base at Brindisi and Regional Service Centre in Entebbe perform optimally.  Noting the cross-cutting issues of sexual exploitation and abuse, the post-traumatic stress framework, and the rate of reimbursement of those countries that provide troop and police personnel, he expressed hope that the Committee will agree on a resolution to advance action on these issues.

DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) stressed the importance of adequately financing and efficiently managing peacekeeping operations.  Yet the Committee has not been able to agree on a resolution regarding cross-cutting issues for five years.  He stressed the need to avoid budget cuts that could impair mission mandates.  Responding to delegations that made comments regarding Ukraine, he said these countries have poured fuel on the fire of the conflict with weapons and sanctions.  This is only making the situation worse, including for the populations of these countries.  Aggressive diplomacy in the Fifth Committee will not help, but hinder, the technical efforts of its work.  He called on Member States to stay within the bounds of its agenda.  The Russian Foundation welcomed the return of in-person meetings.  The absence of a resolution regarding cross-cutting issues remains concerning, he stressed.

NJAMBI KINYUNGU (Kenya), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said that as the context of peacekeeping and nature of conflict have changed significantly, the Committee must provide peacekeepers with the appropriate tools to match new and complex realities, including emerging threats to global peace and security.  She welcomed efforts by the Secretariat and peacekeeping missions to ensure that budgeted resources are clearly linked to mandated activities, stressing that operations must be infused with peacebuilding elements to reinforce resilience.  Recalling Kenya’s statement during the High-Level Meeting on Financing for Peacebuilding, she said Member States identified prevention and peacebuilding as “processes we value” and, therefore, must make urgent and critical choices.  She noted that since 1960, Africa has hosted the most peacekeeping missions of any region.  Yet, there is much resistance to adequately financing United Nations mandated, African Union-led peace support operations.  She called for greater investments in peacebuilding and development, stressing that political support and adequate resources are critical to the success of peacekeeping operations.

RICARDO STEVANO RURU (Indonesia) said his country is a long-standing contributor to peacekeeping, with 2,500 personnel, including 156 women, in eight missions.  Noting the pandemic has made the work more challenging, he urged all Member States to factor that risk into all discussions.  Budget and resources must be properly allocated, as it is unrealistic for peacekeepers to function without adequate resources, also risking the safety of personnel.  Timely reimbursement is critical for troop- and police-contributing countries, he stressed and called for greater representation of those countries including in leadership positions, which should be based on merit and track records, ending any monopoly therein.

Cross-Cutting Issues

ATUL KHARE, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, introduced the reports of the Secretary-General titled “Results of the survey to support the review of the standard rate of reimbursement to troop- and police-contributing countries” (document A/76/676) and “Post-traumatic stress disorder framework for uniformed personnel” (document A/76/662).  The first report includes the results of the third, and most recent, survey of the costs incurred by a specific sample of 10 troop- and police-contributing countries which contribute personnel in formed units:  Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda and South Africa.  The report provides the cost data, weighted by the contribution of each participating sample country, as a percentage of the sample population.  The weighted average approach was used in the 2014 and 2018 surveys.  The monthly per-person weighted average across all five cost categories, equals $1,453.31.

Turning to the report on post-traumatic stress disorder, he said the United Nations faces long-standing challenges as it manages the disorder among uniformed personnel who were deployed to United Nations peace operations.  The Department initiated a project, “Comprehensive Study to Develop a PTSD Framework for Uniformed Personnel”, in early 2020.  Based on the study, the proposal aims to promote a more sustainable and appropriate approach to compensation.  There are 400 outstanding post-traumatic stress disorder claims and most are related to closed peace operations, which means the resources are not readily available to satisfy the claims.  The proposal addresses securing the resources for post-traumatic stress disorder compensation and prevention, as well as mitigation measures to reduce the disorder’s incidence going forward.

BEN SWANSON, Assistant Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, introduced OIOS’ annual report on peace operations (document A/76/281 (Part II)) for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2021, and its report on the thematic evaluation of political affairs in peacekeeping missions (document A/76/697).  Regarding the annual report, he said during the reporting period, OIOS issued 313 oversight reports relating to peace operations, including 294 audit and evaluation recommendations, all of which were accepted by programme managers.  There were no recommendations classified as critical, he affirmed, while 252 recommendations were closed as implemented during 2021 — a 30 per cent increase from 2020.

In 2021, four areas were prioritized in the Office’s workplan:  implementation of the Secretariat reforms; organizational culture; procurement and supply chain; and missions in transition, he said.  OIOS also focused on strengthening the second line of defence, which includes the centralized, business-enabling functions that support the performance for mandate implementation of peace operations.  The strengthening of the enterprise risk management, delegation of authority and information management systems of the Secretariat and its entities in recent years allowed the Internal Audit Division to focus in 2021 more effectively on areas of higher residual risk and help to improve compliance with policies and performance towards mandated results.   In 2021, for the first time the Inspection and Evaluation Division covered 15 peace operations in the biennial report on strengthening the role of evaluation (document A/76/69), including a detailed assessment of the five of them.

Turning to the report on the thematic evaluation of political affairs in peacekeeping missions, he said it assessed the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of political affairs components in peacekeeping missions, with a particular focus on two intermediate outcomes:  the establishment of peace agreements and the achievement of political dialogues.  The evaluation covered the activities of the five peacekeeping missions with a “peace, reconciliation, and political process” mandate, including United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) over the period 2017–2020, concluding that the role of the political affairs component was significant in the achievement of peace outcomes.

Political affairs officers had a deep knowledge of the political landscape of the country, he said, and maintained extensive networks with relevant stakeholders.  The variety of political analyses produced by the political affairs components were generally timely and of good quality and were often used by senior mission leadership.  Resulting peace agreements and political dialogue have helped reduce conflict and tensions in the countries and in some instances appeared to have reduced the level of fatalities. The evaluation made three recommendations to the peacekeeping missions to develop clearly communicated mission-specific political strategies and to strengthen the utility of political analyses and the performance assessment and reporting of the political affairs components.  He noted that one recommendation was made to the Department of Peace Operations to conduct a review of current mission structures related to political affairs.  All the recommendations were accepted.

MARTHA HELENA LOPEZ, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (document A/76/702), covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2021.  As requested in Assembly resolutions A/RES/71/278 and A/RES/71/297, the report provides information on measures taken to strengthen the system-wide response to sexual exploitation and abuse, including progress in implementation of the zero-tolerance policy and the Secretary-General’s enhanced strategy outlined six years ago in A/71/818 and further addressed in A/72/751, A/73/744, A/74/705 and in A/75/754.

She noted the report provides updates on the implementation of the four-pronged strategy, prioritizing the rights and dignity of victims; ending impunity through strengthened reporting and investigations; engaging with Member States, civil society and external partners; and improving strategic communication.  It further contextualizes efforts to eradicate sexual exploitation and abuse, identifying and mitigating risks while still facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.  She further cited initiatives set up by the High-Level Steering Group and other United Nations entities, to continue engagement and cohesion across the United Nations system, as well as with Member States.  Supplementary information has been provided (in a separate document), she added, with statistics and general information on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse relating to personnel in peacekeeping and special political missions, personnel and implementing partners in other United Nations entities, and non-United Nations international forces authorized by a Security Council mandate.

DONNA MARIE CHIURAZZI-MAXFIELD, ACABQ Vice-Chair, introduced its related reports.  She noted that ACABQ’s report on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse” (document A/76/774) does not entail additional budgetary implications.  Acknowledging ongoing efforts to strengthen the United Nations system-wide response to sexual exploitation and abuse, she said introducing progress reports during the main part of the Assembly’s session could further underscore the holistic, cross-pillar and cross-cutting nature of matters related to sexual abuse and exploitation.  Future progress reports should provide a more comprehensive overview of inter-agency coordination to prevent such abuse.  To this end, the Secretary-General, in his capacity as Chair of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), should encourage the universal adoption by United Nations system entities of a single background verification system of candidates; take a leading role in the development of initiatives for the assessment of implementing partners by the Secretariat; and intensify his efforts to provide a full accounting of staff and financial resources.

She expressed concern regarding the overall increased number of allegations, particularly involving implementing partners, and recommended the Assembly request the Secretary-General to strengthen efforts to monitor, address and report on allegations involving implementing partners.  Noting the increased time taken to complete investigations, the Advisory Committee also encouraged the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to ensure the timely completion of investigations into cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.  She reaffirmed that “one substantiated case of sexual exploitation and abuse is one case too many”, renewing a shared commitment to the zero-tolerance policy.

Turning to the report titled “Results of the survey to support the review of the standard rate of reimbursement to troop- and police-contributing countries” (document A/76/757), she said that upon enquiry, the Advisory Committee was informed that, based on the deployment levels as of 31 December 2021 and assuming that the approved rate was paid in full to all uniformed personnel deployed, the potential financial implications of an increase of $1 to the current rate of reimbursement would amount to $839,880 annually, equal to an estimated total of $21.26 million annually for a difference of $25.31.  Consideration of the result of the survey constitute policy matters to be decided by the General Assembly.

Introducing the report titled “Post-traumatic stress disorder framework for uniformed personnel” (document A/76/782), she noted that the Advisory Committee considers that the annual estimated liability for such stress disorder compensation projected at $51 million is not substantiated, and greatly exceeds the experience with both existing and expected claims.  She therefore recommended against the establishment of the proposed reserve.  Other compensation modalities could have been presented to enable a fuller consideration by the Assembly.  Reiterating ACABQ’s concern over the considerable number of outstanding claims, she said the consolidated net cash balances of closed peacekeeping missions with a net cash surplus may provide an opportunity to settle all long overdue payments to troop- and police-contributing countries, including existing post-traumatic stress disorder claims.  The granting of spending authority against funds remaining in closed missions is a policy matter for the Assembly’s consideration.

On new claims related to closed peacekeeping missions, authorization could be given to pay compensation either from the interest of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund or through the Support Account.  On payment of claims related to closed special political missions, she said separate arrangements would be required and could include a pay-as-you-go approach, or the use of the appendix D reserve under the regular budget.  She emphasized the importance of the principle of equal treatment of Member States, including with respect to access to post-traumatic stress disorder compensation, and encouraged the Secretary-General to make every effort to facilitate the claim submission process within existing resources.

Ms. IJAZ (Pakistan), speaking for the Group of 77 and China, underscored the importance of adopting a cross-cutting resolution and said the bloc would do its utmost to attain consensus on the matter.  Reaffirming zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, she called for greater efforts to ensure that the United Nations will not remain silent or passive in the face of reported incidents and looked forward to adopting a more unified, robust system-wide approach to such abuse.  She recalled the Group’s long-standing position that peacekeeping performance is a collective effort involving all Member States and the Secretariat, along with the civilian and uniformed components of missions.  Any attempt to use performance assessment as a basis for advancing arbitrary cuts on peacekeeping budgets is likely to undermine mandate implementation and could erode the positive effects of earlier progress made.

She expressed hope of understanding how the application of specific programmes, initiatives and aspects of senior managers’ compacts addresses the historical deficit related to troop- and police-contributing country representation in relevant new departments, particularly developing countries that have made “unquantifiable” sacrifices to United Nations peacekeeping efforts.  “The only logical way to cure the perennially difficult financial situation that impacts peacekeeping operations is to ensure that all Member States pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without any conditions,” she said.

The representative of Switzerland, also speaking on behalf of Liechtenstein, said it goes without saying that the best scenario for conflict is one in which it can be avoided — which is also the least expensive scenario, as each conflict carries an unaffordable bill.  To achieve this ultimate goal and prevent the recurrence of conflict, he noted the peacekeeping mission must work hand in hand with other parts of the United Nations system, actors of the international community, and with national authorities and various actors, including civil society, to develop transition strategies leading to sustainable peace.  He welcomed the Secretary-General’s report highlighting the various measures and tools put in place over the past five years to combat sexual exploitation and abuse.  “We must ensure that all necessary measures continue to be taken to combat these heinous acts,” he stressed, encouraging improvements to the United Nations system’s response.  Similarly, he called for delegation of authority to peacekeeping operations through decentralization from the administrative authorities to the field.

Mr. EBOA EBONGUE (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African Group and aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the overall budget of peacekeeping missions must be in alignment with their mandates so essential programmes outlined in the mandates can be implemented and there is confidence in the missions’ ability to carry out their duties.  The African Group will carefully consider the cross-cutting issues on the Committee’s agenda.  Noting that peacekeeping missions also are facing new challenges, such as the impact of climate change, he said adequate resources are required to address them.  The African Group supports the Organization’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse and is committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination.  The Group will closely examine the Secretary-General’s report on post-traumatic stress disorder and the proposed reimbursements of claims for these disorders.  He said the Group is ready to engage on all important issues before the Committee and hopes to reach a conclusion on these issues in a timely manner.

Mr. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) said he shared many concerns expressed by other delegations and the representatives of the Secretariat regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, and drew attention to a contradiction in the position of the Secretary-General on the sex industry.  He expressed full agreement that sex exploitation is unacceptable, and in a number of countries where peacekeepers are deployed, these problems sometimes arise — in practically every country.  However, he expressed surprise that the Secretary-General is urging decriminalization of the sex industry, particularly, in document A/75/A36, paragraph 58, with its reference to the removal of punitive laws and policies including those that criminalize sex work.  He demanded to know what the position of the Secretary-General is on the issue, requesting a written response in the Fifth Committee.

Mr. VELÁZQUEZ CASTILLO (Mexico), recognizing the work of the Secretariat as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report on sexual abuse, expressed alarm about the recent data indicating an increase in the number of cases.  The Organization must make maximum efforts to eradicate and prevent such abuses.  Calling for zero tolerance and stressing that “one single case is one too many”, he said the rise in cases is unacceptable as is the fact that most are concentrated in certain missions.  He supported application of a strategy that rigorously defends the rights of victims and combats impunity, with the participation of civil society.  The Organization must double its efforts to eradicate these abuses, employing effective mechanisms that sanction perpetrators and greater coordination among United Nations agencies and offices in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to efficiently manage resources.  He also called for information-sharing and ending situations that increase the risk for abuse, particularly in the field.

Financing of Peacekeeping Operations

CHANDRU RAMANATHAN, Controller and Assistant Secretary-General for the Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget, introduced the reports of the Secretary-General on budget performance for the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, as well as budget proposed for the period from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, of the following peacekeeping missions:  United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (documents A/76/549 and A/76/696); UNMIK (documents A/76/525 and A/76/674); United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (documents A/76/547 and A/76/679); and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (documents A/76/562 and A/76/562).  He also introduced the reports of the Secretary-General on final disposition of assets of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) (document A/76/747) and on budget performance of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/76/688) for the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.

He said the proposed budget of $54.5 million for UNFICYP during the 2022/23 financial period increased 1.3 per cent, or $0.7 million, compared with the 2021/22 approved budget.  The proposed budget reflects increased requirements for military and police personnel costs attributable primarily to the higher rates for mission subsistence allowance based on the revised rates effective 1 January 2022.  UNFICYP will continue to support liaison and engagement with the sides across all components, including intercommunal contacts and confidence-building measures to maintain stability and calm, thereby contributing effectively to conditions conducive to progress towards reaching a potential settlement agreement.

The proposed budget of $41.9 million for UNMIK for 2022/23 increased 1.6 per cent, or $0.6 million, from the approved resources of $41.3 million for 2021/22.  The proposed budget reflects more requirements under civilian personnel, which were due primarily to higher cost parameters for civilian staff such as:  revised base salary scale and the updated post adjustment multipliers for all categories of international personnel; the application of a higher step level for national General Service staff and National Professional Officers; and the proposed reduction of the vacancy rate for the United Nations Volunteers from 11 per cent approved for 2021/22 to 8 per cent.  UNMIK will continue to strengthen and consolidate peace, security, the rule of law and stability in Kosovo and the region.  In 2022/23, the Mission will continue to implement projects and activities playing a pivotal role in enhancing its ability to deliver on its mandate, particularly in promoting inter-community trust-building, human rights, and rule of law initiatives.

The proposed budget of $64.9 million for UNDOF for 2022/23 increased 6.0 per cent, or $3.7 million, from the 2021/22 approved budget.  The increase is attributable primarily to the planned deployment of an additional 46 military contingent personnel, within the authorized troop ceiling, following the finalization of the memorandums of understanding with troop-contributing countries signed in 2021.  For 2022/23, UNDOF will focus on the maintenance of its operations and its mandated observation and patrolling activities, conditions permitting.

For UNIFIL, the proposed budget of $507.2 million for 2022/23 increased $30.4 million from the 2021/22 approved budget, reflecting increased requirements for military and police personnel totalling $8.4 million, which are attributable primarily to higher costs for major contingent-owned equipment in connection with the restructuring of four key mechanized battalions and alignment with the revised statements of unit requirements for these troop-contributing countries associated with the Secretary-General’s Assessment of the Force.  It also reflects increased requirements for civilian personnel totalling $17.4 million, which are attributable to the higher salary costs owing to the application of revised salary scales.  The increased requirements also include operational costs to rehabilitate and implement major repairs to UNIFIL facilities and continue to replace assets that have passed their useful economic life.

For MINUJUSTH, the present report provides details on the final disposition of the assets of the Mission, with a total capitalized value/acquisition value of $123.9 million disposed of, as of 30 June 2020.

Regarding UNAMID, the operation incurred $477.3 million in expenditure for the reporting period, representing a resource utilization rate of 98.5 per cent, compared with $509.3 million in expenditure and a resource utilization rate of 99.0 per cent in the 2019/20 period.  The resource performance for 2020/21 reflects reduced requirements for operational costs owing primarily to lower-than-budgeted requirements under other services, supplies and equipment resulting from smaller number of assets transferred from UNAMID, cancellation of programmatic activities and lower demand for individual contractors, as well as lower demand for services under communications and information technology and under facilities and infrastructure due to the closure of UNAMID team sites.  Lower-than-budgeted payments due to international staff members at the time of their separation from service earlier than estimated in the approved budget also contributed to the reduced overall requirements during the performance period.

Ms. CHIURAZZI-MAXFIELD next presented the ACABQ reports on UNIFIL (A/76/760/Add.1); UNFICYP (A/76/760/Add.11 ); UNMIK (A/76/760/Add.3); and UNDOF (A/76/760/Add.2) on the budget performance for the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, and on the proposed budget for the period from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

On UNIFIL, for 2020-2021, she noted the Advisory Committee recommended against the establishment of one Senior Coordination Officer (P-5) post in the Office of the Principal Coordinator and one temporary Programme Management Officer position at the P-4 level.  However, it also recommended the establishment of one temporary Programme Management Officer position at the P-3 level, and further, that the proposed resources for 2022-2023 be reduced including adjustments under operational costs by $2.8 million, from $507.22 million to $504.42 million.

Turning to UNFICYP, for 2020-2021, she noted that the Secretary-General is submitting largely the same proposals again for the 2022/23 period, without a reference to the Assembly resolution in the budget report and without a significant change on the ground to merit the resubmission.  She therefore recommended against the establishment of the three posts in the upcoming 2022-2023 period, and that the proposed resources for 2022/23 be reduced, including adjustments under operational costs, by $489,100, from $54.51 million to $54.02 million.

On UNMIK, for 2020-2021, she said the Advisory Committee is increasingly concerned about the continuing deterioration of the cash position of the Mission, as the outstanding contributions of $45.1 million in February 2022 were higher than the appropriation of $41.3 million approved for the 2021/22 period.  She also noted that the Secretary-General is resubmitting the same proposal for 2022/23 without a reference to the Assembly resolution in the budget report.  She said the Advisory Committee was not fully convinced by the information provided for the resubmission of the proposal for the reassignment and conversion of the P-2 post and requested more clarification and justifications from the Assembly — recommending that the proposed resources for 2022/23 be reduced, including adjustments under operational costs, by $98,700, from $41.95 million to $41.85 million.

Taking up UNDOF, for 2020/21, she recommended against the conversion of one general temporary assistance Engineering Officer position to an international post (P-3) in view of the near-completion of works on the Bravo side, as well as the reinforcement of the Engineering Section, whereby the Section would comprise 22 staff in 2022/23.  She therefore recommended that the proposed resources for 2022/23 be reduced including adjustments under operational costs, by $199,300, or from $64.87 million to $64.67 million.

Turning to the final disposition of the assets of MINUJUSTH, she reiterated the importance of documenting, updating and sharing lessons learned and best practices arising from recent dispositions of assets.

Turing to the report on UNAMID, she said following the recommendation of the Advisory Committee (A/75/839, paragraph 20), the Assembly in its resolution 75/251 B authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for the Operation of no more than $45.72 million for the period from 1 January to 30 June 2021, taking into account the $240.18 million for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2020 and the $198,779,900 for the period from 1 January to 30 June 2021 previously authorized by the General Assembly for the Operation under the terms of its resolutions 74/261 C and 75/251 A, respectively.

She noted the Committee was also informed that at 30 June 2019, the outstanding contributions to UNAMID were $134.2 million and reached $209.2 million and $179.6 million at end of June 2020 and June 2021, respectively.  She recalled the Assembly’s call for all Member States to pay their assessed contributions on time, in full and without condition, further noting the lessons learned from the UNAMID liquidation.

Turning to coordination with United Nations country team and the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (UNITAMS), she voiced hope that key lessons learned will be taken into consideration in the planning of the transition and closure of a mission.

Taking into account the history of UNAMID’s financial position, the level of the cash shortfall ($52.18 million), and the uncertainty of the timely payment of outstanding contributions ($147.99 million), she recommended that the Assembly, on an exceptional basis:  take note of the total amount of $18.95 million and defer a decision on the treatment of that amount until the Assembly considers the final performance report of the Mission.

Mr. EBOA EBONGUE (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African Group, acknowledged the invaluable work being carried out by the civilian and military staff in peacekeeping missions to maintain international peace and security.  The Group also commends the host countries.  The overall budget of peacekeeping missions must be commensurate with their mandates.  He issued an emergency call to Member States to meet their financial obligations on time and in full.  The cash pool being used since 2019 has been useful, for example to allow payments due to troop-contributing and police-contributing countries.  Yet these temporary arrangements cannot be used as an alternative to Member States fulfilling their obligations.

Right now, there are 11 active peacekeeping missions with a budget of $6.51 billion for the 2021/22 budget year, he said.  This is an increase of $134.5 million over the 2021/20 budget cycle.  Yet this budget increase is an exception.  The missions must be adequately financed as they meet additional challenges, such as climate change.  The environmental footprint of the missions is concerning and needs attention.  For example, he noted their high use of generators.  He also urged that the Organization expand its use of local vendors and local products, for example, when carrying out construction projects, adding that local vendors need a strategy to allow them to work with the peacekeeping missions.

ESSAM ALSHAHIN (Syria) noted the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established over 47 years ago to separate Syrian forces from occupying Israeli forces, which have been present in the Golan since June 1967 — in blatant violation of United Nations resolutions requiring full withdrawal to 1967 lines.  Financing UNDOF should be the responsibility of the occupying Power, he stressed, noting Syria has fully respected the Disengagement of Forces Agreement, but Israel has violated it and the ceasefire line.  His delegation welcomed progress in 2021, but noted that the Secretary-General’s report created equivalency between the occupying Power and the victim of the violations, and that lack of identification of Israel as the aggressor raises questions.  He reiterated that UNDOF is exclusively a military mission and has no relation to the domestic affairs of Syria.  He cited the agreement as a temporary measure, affirming the Golan is an integral part of Syria.

JELENA PLAKALOVIĆ (Serbia) insisted on respect for Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) as an agreed legal framework for ensuring peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija.  It defines the UNMIK mandate, guarantees Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo and Metohija as part of its territory and safeguards the neutrality of the international presence in the province.  As such, she expressed strong support for UNMIK’s undiminished scope and composition, notably as the Secretary-General’s reports reference unstable security conditions caused by Pristina’s irresponsible actions and “policy of impunity” for crimes against non-Albanians.  She cited ethnically motivated incidents, hate speech, intimidation, violations of the right to a fair trial and desecration of churches and cemeteries as evidence of the tensions obstructing the return of 200,000 internally displaced persons.  “UNMIK must remain engaged in an undiminished scope and with an unchanged mandate,” she said.  “Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija see UNMIK, together with [the Kosovo Force], as a protector.”  Such a situation obliges the Fifth Committee to consider budget increases for rule of law, human rights and reconciliation activities.  She rejected the Secretary-General’s proposal to reassign and convert the post of the Associate Legal Officer in the Justice and Correction Section of the Office of Rule of Law to an Associate Programme Management Officer.

For information media. Not an official record.