Secretary-General Presents $3.22 Billion Budget Proposal for 2023 to Fifth Committee, Calling Annual Cycle ‘Major Step’ towards More Realistic Planning, Focus on Results
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today began its line-by-line consideration of a proposed $3.22 billion regular budget for 2023, which includes funding for 10,122 posts and would likely swing upward to $3.4 billion after re-costing.
Secretary-General António Guterres introduced the reports detailing the proposed 2023 figures, which make up the fourth annual budget since delegates in 2019 approved a shift to an annual cycle. During this session, delegates will assess the effectiveness of the annual cycle as it ends its three-year trial period. Mr. Guterres said the annual cycle gives Member States an opportunity to provide more frequent direction on resource allocations and align decisions with recent or sudden events, such as the global pandemic. “It is a major step towards more realistic planning and budgeting and reflects a greater focus on results,” he said. The allotment of 10,122 posts, a net increase of 95 posts, is predominantly for the conversion of posts from extra-budgetary funding to the programme budget.
He highlighted several elements of the budget. Regarding development, it includes an increase of $3.6 million across the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Regular Programme for Technical Cooperation and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The proposal strengthens human rights and humanitarian affairs by building on actions proposed by the Assembly last year. It also frontloads a more comprehensive programme budget for human rights, which will facilitate more predictable resource planning for the Office of the0 High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and proposes continuing strategic action to address racism in the United Nations Secretariat.
In addition, the budget proposal achieves more equitable geographical representation in the Secretariat, despite the slower pace of recruitment over the last few years due to hiring restrictions forced by the precarious liquidity situation, he said. Between 2016 and 2021, the number of underrepresented countries dropped by approximately 20 per cent, from 44 to 36 countries. While working to make even greater progress in this area, he hoped the improved liquidity situation would allow the Organization to avoid new hiring restrictions.
Mr. Guterres thanked Member States for addressing some of the structural problems affecting the regular budget’s liquidity situation during the second resumed session. Increasing the Working Capital Fund by an additional $100 million, by using a part of the credits returnable to Member States in 2023, will permanently increase the liquidity reserves. It will also avert another liquidity crisis triggered by returning a large amount of unspent funds to Member States in 2023. “However, I must remind you that many of my proposals for improving the financial situation were not considered favourably. Therefore, we have to keep a watchful eye on the liquidity situation,” he said.
Several delegates voiced their concerns that the Secretary-General’s proposed programme planning report did not include recommendations from the Committee for Programme and Coordination for 5 of the 28 programmes, including disarmament, legal affairs, peacekeeping, human rights and refugee assistance. The delegate of Mexico said he trusted this situation would be corrected in a timely manner by the relevant Main Committees as these programmes involve important mandates. He welcomed the 2023-2025 budget plan outline, which reaffirms the Organization’s eight priority areas and said it is important that resources are delivered on mandates on time and fully.
Echoing those concerns, Pakistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasized that agreements on any of the corresponding budget sections of the open programmes are not possible without the necessary agreement on the programmes themselves. The programme budget is one of the most important agenda items under consideration during the current session, he said, stressing: “The budget document is not just a financial and accounting tool. It is an authoritative statement that should reflect the strategic vision of the Secretary-General in delivering the mandates and priorities agreed upon by Member States.” The Group, he said, looks forward to continuing Committee discussions on the appropriate sequence to be followed in the formulation, review and adoption process of the programme plan and budget.
The representative of the United Kingdom called for programmes to use their resources efficiently and effectively to deliver results that make a real difference for those in greatest need, adding that his delegation will hold the Organization to account in that regard. While welcoming the shift to an annual budget cycle and its contributions to a more results-oriented and responsive United Nations, he underscored the need to go further. Turning to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), he expressed serious concerns over its recommendations that seek to expand its remit to extrabudgetary funded activities, reopen long-standing Assembly resolutions and could result in the defunding of Human Rights Council mandates. Member States expect ACABQ to provide clear, technical and evidence-based advice to inform the Committee’s decision-making, he emphasized.
Likewise, the speaker for the United States said his delegation is deeply concerned about several ACABQ recommendations that subvert the Assembly’s will, including ACABQ rejecting the inclusion of predictable Human Rights Council mandates in the programme budget. Regarding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he said ACABQ has contradicted a long-standing Assembly resolution stating that only international staff salaries should be financed by the regular budget. Because of these and other concerns, ACABQ’s structures and functions should be reviewed to improve its ability to advise the Fifth Committee. He also said any attempt to undermine the consensus-based process of programme planning would be unacceptable.
The European Union’s representative noted the bloc will seek to adopt the 2023 programme plan and the 2023 programme budget in a timely manner. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to make the Organization’s budget more effective, efficient, result-oriented, transparent and focused on the people who need the funding, and asked for even more transparency so the budget can provide an accurate picture of the resources needed to deliver mandates. The annual budget cycle has already improved the Organization’s agility during the pandemic, he pointed out.
Nigeria’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the African Group and aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the Secretary-General should be given adequate resources to implement Assembly mandates, even more so in this current period as developing countries turn to the United Nations for hope. He appreciated the Organization’s continued prioritization of Africa’s development, supported the Secretary-General’s proposal for the Peacebuilding Fund and called for more predictable, sustainable and flexible financing. On special political missions, he reiterated the African Group’s stance that they are the most effective tool for sustaining international peace and expressed regret over the Fifth Committee’s failure to provide them with adequate financial and human resources during the current session.
The representative of Thailand, aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the Fifth Committee must deliver a well-planned, cost-effective budget that optimizes resource use. A proposed programme budget should provide adequate resources for the implementation of programmes under the development pillar, especially those that put the 2030 Agenda for Sustainabl Development back on track, he noted. He also called for the strengthening of the Committee for Programme and Coordination to enable it to effectively accommodate management reforms and preserve the sequencing of the United Nations budgetary considerations.
Mr. Guterres thanked delegates for their comments and addressed their concerns about adequate financing for development. He said this is not the budget he would have liked to place before the Fifth Committee. Rather, he would have liked a budget that enables effective debt relief, provides concessional funding for middle-income countries in vulnerable situations and allows for climate finance to fully respond to the needs of developing countries in their just transitions and in building capacity and resilience.
Abdallah Bachar Bong, ACABQ Chair, introduced its report on the proposed 2023 programme budget, saying that it recommends a $50.7 million overall reduction, including a technical adjustment of $35 million concerning the OHCHR front-loading proposal.
Fatoumata Ndiaye, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), introduced the OIOS report titled “Evaluation of women and peace and security in field-based missions: elections and political transitions.” The evaluation covered six missions.
Also speaking today were representatives of Singapore (on behalf of ASEAN), Switzerland, Morocco, Egypt, Japan, Russian Federation, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Peru, Bangladesh, Lesotho, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria, United Republic of Tanzania, Iraq, Kenya and Botswana.
The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 13 October, to discuss improving the Organization’s financial situation and the 2022 programme budget as it relates to the United Nations Office for Partnerships.
Proposed Programme Planning and Programme Budget for 2022
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, introduced the Organization’s proposed programme plan for 2023 (documents A/77/6 (Plan Outline) and Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and Corr. 1, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and Corr.1, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 29A, 29B, 29C, 29E, 29F, 29G, 30, 31 and 34). He also presented its proposed programme budget for 2023 (documents A/77/6 (Introduction) and Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and Corr.1, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and Corr.1, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 29A, 29B, 29C, 29E, 29F, 29G, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 and Income Sections 1, 2 and 3).
He said it is the fourth programme budget since Member States approved, on a trial basis, the biggest change in the planning and budgeting processes since the 1970s: a move from a biennial programme and budgetary cycle to an annual exercise. “It is a major step towards more realistic planning and budgeting and reflects a greater focus on results,” he said, adding that the shift improves the accuracy of resource estimates, enables quicker adaption to mandate changes and enhances mandate delivery and accountability for results. The annual cycle gives Member States an opportunity to provide more frequent direction on resource allocations and align decisions with recent or sudden events, such as the global pandemic.
The proposed programme document for 2023 includes reporting on the performance of programmes in 2021 and adjustments were made where needed for better results in 2023, he said. The document now includes a multi-year account of measurable results. This year’s document includes measurable planned results for 2022 and 2023, and measurable actual results in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for each of the 350 result frameworks. “This offers a comprehensive picture of our programme delivery over the past three years,” he said.
Turning to resource requirements, he said the Organization needs $3.22 billion to fully implement its mandates in 2023. This includes 10,122 posts, a net increase of 95 posts, predominantly for the conversion of posts from extra-budgetary funding to the programme budget. This provides sustainability. The final programme budget proposal is likely to be $3.4 billion, which includes about $69 million for re-costing and an increase of $34 million for major construction projects compared to 2022. This is predominantly due to higher financing for the Strategic Heritage Plan. Excluding construction projects, and despite several new mandates, the proposed programme budget extends the practice of seeking no real growth, he said.
He then highlighted four specific elements. Regarding development, the budget includes an increase of $3.6 million across the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Regular Programme for Technical Co-operation and UN-Habitat. This is the fourth consecutive increase proposed for development since the start of his term, he said. Secondly, he proposed strengthening work in counter-terrorism, which includes an request for an additional $4.4 million, including 25 posts, for the Office of Counter-Terrorism, as a conversion from extrabudgetary resources. This is in line with Assembly guidance. The proposal also strengthens human rights and humanitarian affairs by building on actions proposed by the Assembly last year. It includes an additional $2 million, including 16 posts, to strengthen the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), secure sustainable funding for continuing functions, and address critical funding gaps. The proposal also has frontloaded a more comprehensive programme budget for human rights, which will facilitate more predictable resource planning for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The proposed budget also proposes continuing strategic action to address racism in the United Nations Secretariat.
He said the proposal also achieves more equitable geographical representation in the Secretariat, despite the slower pace of recruitment over the last few years due to hiring restrictions forced by the precarious liquidity situation. Between 2016 and 2021, the number of underrepresented countries dropped by approximately 20 per cent, from 44 to 36 countries. While working to make even greater progress in this area, he hoped the improved liquidity situation would allow the Organization to avoid new hiring restrictions.
He said he was thankful that during the second resumed session, Member States responded to his appeals and addressed some of the structural problems affecting the regular budget’s liquidity situation. Increasing the Working Capital Fund by an additional $100 million, by using a part of the credits returnable to Member States in 2023, will permanently increase the liquidity reserves. It will also avert another liquidity crisis triggered by returning a large amount of unspent funds to Member States in 2023. “However, I must remind you that many of my proposals for improving the financial situation were not considered favourably. Therefore, we have to keep a watchful eye on the liquidity situation,” he said. Despite more Member States paying earlier than before, collections had been trailing estimates by over $260 million. He thanked Member States for their invaluable feedback in improving the budget document.
ABDALLAH BACHAR BONG, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced the Advisory Committee’s report, titled “First report on the proposed programme budget for 2023” (document A/77/7). The Secretary-General proposes a 2023 budget of $3.22 billion before recosting, including $767.1 million for special political missions, which is an increase of $102.4 million, or 3.3 per cent, compared with the 2022 approximation. The Advisory Committee notes that the total estimates for extrabudgetary resources amount to $13.18 billion, a net decrease of $127.2 million, or 1.0 per cent, compared with the 2022 estimates. Other elements that will affect the overall level of resources, such as ongoing construction projects, will be presented later in the seventy-seventh session. ACABQ recommends a $50.7 million overall reduction of the 2023 proposed programme budget, including a technical adjustment of $35 million concerning the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) front-loading proposal.
On implementing the oversight bodies’ recommendations, he noted some entities have not had a stand-alone audit for several years. It is critical to continue coordination between the Joint Inspection Unit, Board of Auditors and Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to allow for the sharing of experiences, knowledge, best practices and lessons learned among them as well as with the Independent Audit Advisory Committee to enhance synergy and effectiveness. On after-service health insurance, ACABQ considers the proposed amounts, which are based on a potential increase in demand for medical care in 2023 due to pandemic-related deferred care and a marginal increase in participants, insufficiently substantiated. On cybersecurity, ACABQ - stressing the need to prevent incidents and ensure appropriate resilience and disaster recovery in the future - calls for information on extra measures in the context of the next budget submission.
For the planned improved service delivery concept, the Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to present comprehensive information on its purpose and principles, service providers and services, implementation plans and timeline, expected efficiency gains, budgetary impacts and lessons learned, he said. On recosting, ACABQ hopes for a harmonized approach across relevant budget sections based on realistic cost rates, performance, workload indicators and best practices. The Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to systematically include a more detailed breakdown of extrabudgetary resources and clear data on voluntary contributions, programme support costs, cost recovery and cost sharing in future budget proposals.
Turning to the resident coordinator system, he noted the continued increase in staffing, inclusion of locally mobilized resources as an emerging source of funding and exercise of delegated authority by the Development Coordination Office and resident coordinators. The Assembly should request an analysis of the system’s full budget for possible consideration through the established budgetary procedures under a unified mechanism for intergovernmental oversight that includes the cost-sharing arrangement. Secretariat entities should consolidate system-wide efforts and improve coordination in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals especially for the most vulnerable countries. The resident coordinator system should be asked to consolidate and share with Member States information on system-wide resources for implementing the 2030 Agenda at the country level and give an update in the next programme budget submission.
Proposals for posts should be supported by systematic workload analyses based on workload indicators and the appropriate identification of workstreams, he said. All structural changes and proposed reclassification and reassignments must reflect the consistent application of policies and relevant International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) standards. As the budget document lacks sufficient information and justifications for all proposed positions, including replacement and continuing positions to be funded under general temporary assistance, the Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to include all general temporary assistance positions as a subcategory under post resources and provide, with full justification, detailed information by grade, level, function, date of incumbency and duration. ACABQ also expects detailed information on geographical and regional representation, the distribution of staff by nationality and gender under each section over the past five years and retirement plans, especially for posts in the Professional and higher category. Moreover, the Assembly should request the Secretary-General ensure the consistent application of a vacancy rate of 50 per cent for new posts and positions, including for redeployment between two duty stations; conversions, including from extrabudgetary resources; and reclassification and reassignment with a change in job description and network.
As several strategy reviews are either under way or intended to be taken, ACABQ recommends the Secretary-General conduct further reviews and assessments within existing resources under the regular programme of technical cooperation, the Department of Global Communications, United Nations Office to the African Union and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), he said. The Secretary-General should be asked to develop criteria and modalities for future reviews with the involvement of independent entities to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure impartiality and credibility.
Concerning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), ACABQ concurs with the proposed conversions. More emphasis could have been placed on proposing new posts related to UNRWA’s operations including on health, education, relief and social services, microfinance and infrastructure and camp improvement, he noted. On the Office of Counter-Terrorism, ACABQ suggested a gradual and cautious approach in converting extrabudgetary positions into regular budget posts. The Office of the Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse should have its resources cost-shared with other funding sources, including other assessed and extrabudgetary resources, as well as United Nations system entities. To that end, the Secretary-General should explore the Office’s consolidation with the Office of the Victims’ Rights Advocate to ensure a comprehensive response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
Noting the inclusion of advance requirements in anticipation of mandates which are expected to be established by the Assembly and Human Rights Council in 2023, he said ACABQ will consider these resources in the context of its report on the revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Council in 2022. The employment and retention of a long-term Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) workforce would provide operational means and administrative stability. There is also a need to address, under some sections, the situation of general temporary assistance staff and locally contracted personnel who have been in service for almost a decade without stable contracts, he underscored.
As no savings from efficiencies have been identified or transferred to the Development Account, the Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to present options for funding modalities for future budget submissions that aim to reach a resource level not less than 0.5 per cent of the overall budget proposal, account for the Account’s evolving resources and ensure delivery on Member States’ goals and needs.
FATOUMATA NDIAYE, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, introduced the OIOS report titled “Evaluation of women and peace and security in field-based missions: elections and political transitions” (document A/77/83). The evaluation covered six missions: three peace operations in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali and three special political missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. In focusing on the outcomes achieved in the context of electoral processes and political transitions across the three pillars of participation, protection and prevention, the evaluation found that structural and systemic factors hindered the equal participation of women in public and political life in all six countries and deterred them from turning out to vote or running successful campaigns.
While peacekeeping operations with protection mandates made efforts to mainstream gender into their activities, they fell short of addressing politically motivated physical and non-physical violence targeting women in the context of elections, she noted. The lack of gender-responsive electoral security was exacerbated by the limited support to election management bodies, which in turn limited the mission’s effectiveness in alleviating women’s growing sense of insecurity and distrust in the electoral process. “The [six] missions were most influential in advocating and supporting consistent and enforceable implementation of gender quotas as the most effective temporary special measure to increase or maintain the percentage of women candidates and elected officials,” he said. “However, once elected, women faced significant challenges in garnering support for laws to advance gender equality, thus underlining the need for wider changes in the social, cultural and security spheres.”
To that end, OIOS made three important recommendations to all six missions to develop: long- and short-term prevention measures to address political violence targeting women; mission-specific strategies, grounded in evidence-based analyses of specific country contexts, to promote women’s political participation and representation; and harmonized data strategy, advocacy and support efforts with relevant United Nations country teams to further the women and peace and security agenda. OIOS also recommended the Department of Peace Operations and Department of Peacebuilding and Political Affairs support and coordinate the efforts made by the missions to enhance learning and enable knowledge exchange, she added.
PHILIPPE KRIDELKA (Belgium), Committee Chair, then drew the Committee’s attention to the report of the Committee for Programme and Coordination on its sixty-second session, held from 31 May to 1 July 2022 (document A/77/16), and the report of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee titled “Internal oversight: proposed programme budget for 2023” (document A/77/85). Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s note (document A/77/256) drawing the General Assembly’s attention to the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, titled “Business continuity management in United Nations system organizations” (JIU/REP/2021/6), as well as the Secretary-General’s comments and those of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) on the Unit’s report (document A/77/256/Add.1).
MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan) speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said he was gravely troubled by the timeline under which the related programme budget has been prepared by the Secretariat, analyzed by the ACABQ and then presented to the Fifth Committee without the basis of an intergovernmentally agreed programme plan stipulated in the planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation cycle. As the annual budget’s trial period runs out and its format and timeframes are evaluated for the future, he underscored the “enormous importance of preserving programme planning as the cornerstone of the whole programme budget process of the Organization”. The Group looks forward to continuing Committee discussions on the appropriate sequence to be followed in the formulation, review and adoption process of the programme plan and budget. Noting that several programmes have been left without recommendations from the Committee for Programme and Coordination due to a lack of consensus, he recalled the mandates reflected in paragraph 16 of Assembly resolution 76/236 and paragraph 9 of resolution 75/243 that if that Committee is not able to provide conclusions and recommendations on a given programme or subprogramme, then the Assembly Plenary or its relevant Main Committee will consider the said subprogramme or programme at the earliest opportunity and provide recommendations to the Fifth Committee no later than four weeks after the start of the session. He emphasized that agreements on any of the corresponding budget sections of the open programmes are not possible without the necessary agreement on those programmes.
The programme budget is one of the most important agenda items under consideration during the current session. “The budget document is not just a financial and accounting tool. It is an authoritative statement that should reflect the strategic vision of the Secretary-General in delivering the mandates and priorities agreed upon by Member States,” he said. He reiterated the Group’s request that the Secretariat and all Member States strictly abide by the Assembly’s consistent decisions that no changes to the established budget methodology, procedures and practices, or to the Financial Regulations of the United Nations, be implemented without the Assembly’s prior review and approval. While recognizing the Secretary-General's efforts to improve the presentation of the programme budget, he agreed with the ACABQ’s comments that further improvements can be made, such as on the presentation of deliverables for all programmes and in ensuring a results-based budget that reflects existing mandates.
On the proposed programme budget itself, he noted the difference in actual vacancy rates in individual sections and that timely recruitment had been constrained by the liquidity situation. With the improvement in the financial situation and relaxation of the hiring freeze, the Group reiterates that vacant posts should be filled as expeditiously as possible, taking into consideration equitable geographical representation, he said. Noting that less than a decade remains before the 2030 target date to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, he said that international peace and security and development are two sides of the same coin. “The ground conditions for peace and stability will not be laid if the development agenda is not realized,” he said, reiterating the Group’s call for the strengthening of the development pillar and stressing that it will work towards ensuring adequate resources for bodies that are integral to that pillar.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, called for budgeting to be realistic and results-oriented. “It is not right to make demands of the Organization while pursuing arbitrary cuts to the proposed budget or withholding or threatening to withhold contributions to the Organization,” he said. There must be adequate resources to ensure a stronger and more effective United Nations. He then stressed the importance of efficiently and responsibly utilizing resources in a fully transparent and accountable manner. In noting the ACABQ’s observation that some proposals appear similar to those for 2022 and might not reflect the real needs for 2023, he encouraged the Secretariat to ensure that resources are clearly linked to a results-based budget framework and reflect existing mandates.
As the estimates for special political missions amount to over $767 million, which is more than 23 per cent of the proposed budget for 2023, he called for serious discussions on its funding arrangements vis-à-vis other development priorities. In light of the ongoing reform of the United Nations peace and security architecture, there must be robust discussions on the funding and backstopping of special political missions at this session, he urged.
SILVIO GONZATO, representative of the European Union in its capacity as observer, noting that the Fifth Committee’s main duty is to enable the Organization to fully implement all mandates given by Member States, said the bloc will seek to adopt the 2023 programme plan and the 2023 programme budget in a timely manner. As a supporter of effective multilateralism, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s 2023 annual budget and his efforts to make the Organization’s budget more effective, efficient, result-oriented, transparent and focused on the people who need the funding. He also welcomed improvements to make the budget presentation less fragmented and asked for even more transparency so the budget can provide an accurate picture of the resources needed to deliver mandates. The annual budget cycle has already improved the Organization’s agility during the pandemic, he pointed out.
On the programmatic side, the Fifth Committee will be able to rely on the outstanding work of the Committee for Programme and Coordination during its sixty‑second session, he said, noting that the modalities of the latter Committee session and the willingness of its full membership to actively engage and find consensus were instrumental to adopting recommendations on a greater number of programmes. The availability of budgetary documents in all official languages also helped and allowed for effective multilingualism, he said. He regretted, however, that the Programme and Coordination Committee could not reach consensus on five important programmes. Instead, it relied on the Assembly’s Main Committees, with heavy programmes of work, to provide their conclusions and recommendations to the Fifth Committee in instances where the Programme and Coordination Committee could not. That should be the exception and not the norm, he stressed, adding that the role of the Programme and Coordination Committee should be upheld, not diluted, and called again for that Committee to reach consensus on all 28 programme plans in the future.
RICCARDA CHRISTIANA CHANDA (Switzerland), speaking also on behalf of Liechtenstein, expressed continued support for proposals to deliver on a more effective and efficient United Nations that includes initiatives to modernize and reform the budget structure. The annual budget has shortened budgetary procedures, is more responsive to global challenges and leads to a more results‑oriented culture where programme managers are more engaged, and continuous learning and improvement lead to more effective mandate implementation. The fruits of reform must be allowed to mature fully and provide a period of stability for the Organization’s personnel, who are the driving force behind reforms, she emphasized. Turning to human rights, she called on Member States to provide the necessary resources from the regular budget to implement mandates. A strong human rights pillar will also strengthen the links with other United Nations pillars, she stressed. She then called for adequate attention and funding for conflict prevention and mediation and accountability. As such, Switzerland and Liechtenstein support the full integration into the regular budget of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria. On the Strategic Heritage Plan, she noted its contribution to ensuring a modern, effective and efficient organization that respects its personnel, environment and financial resources.
GEORGE EDOKPA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group and aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted the increase of $102.4 million due to adjustments including the conversion of posts and methodological changes for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The prevailing precarious global economic environment makes it unlikely that the proposed budget could respond to the increasing needs of Member States, especially those of developing countries, he stressed. To that end, the Secretary-General should be given adequate resources to implement Assembly mandates, even more so in this current period as developing countries turn to the United Nations for hope, he said while appreciating the Organization’s continued prioritization of Africa’s development. The African Group will work to appropriate the required funding for the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, support to Africa through the African Union’s Agenda 2063, Africa’s social and economic development, and construction and property management, among other items. Resources should be commensurate to the mandate, he emphasized.
Turning to the Peacebuilding Fund, he expressed support for the Secretary-General’s proposal and called for more predictable, sustainable and flexible financing. On special political missions, he reiterated the African Group’s stance that they are the most effective tool for sustaining international peace and expressed regret over the Fifth Committee’s failure to provide adequate financial and human resources during the seventy‑sixth session. In expressing concern that the Committee for Programme and Coordination had not reached an agreement on all proposed programmes, he called for the full implementation of paragraph 9 of resolution 75/243. Open programmes should be reviewed by the relevant Main Committees as soon as possible to enable the Fifth Committee to approve the related budget in a timely manner, he stressed.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) expressed full support for the annual budget system while noting its success towards more realistic and results-oriented budgeting. Member States, however, need greater visibility concerning their financial obligations, which will reduce the need to access extrabudgetary resources and help make up for serious deficiencies, he noted. In supporting the Secretary-General’s proposed programme budget, he called on Member States to provide the necessary resources for the Secretary-General to implement the United Nations goals and achieve the mandates set by the Organization. He then commended the significant increase in resources for international and regional development. For the African continent and its socioeconomic emancipation, greater economic and social development is fundamental to addressing the multiple challenges and crises of the COVID‑19 pandemic, food insecurity, energy and climate change. On productivity in the areas of services, documentation and translation, he welcomed the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.
OSAMA ABDELKHALEK (Egypt), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said it is his delegation’s long-standing position that, as long as there is a political mandate, it should be respected and granted the required resources. His delegation will work fully in the Fifth Committee to provide the required resources across the three pillars of the United Nations. At the same time, Member States’ supervision of programmes is equally important to the supervision of the budget, and the role of the Committee for Programme and Coordination is central to the Fifth Committee’s work, he said, adding that more can be done to further enhance the latter Committee’s work. The trial period of the annual budget has positive aspects and areas needing adjustments, especially those that negatively affected the Fifth Committee’s work. Egypt will keep pushing for the legitimate cause of financing for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, especially in Africa, he said.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) said the Fifth Committee is at a critical juncture, and it has been five years since the Secretary-General put forward a progressive proposal to change from a biennial to an annual budget period. It has been one of the most significant changes in the United Nations planning and budgeting process for decades, and the past five years have provided an invaluable opportunity to study and review the advantages and shortcomings, he said. He noted the large number of so‑called “add‑ons” to the budget this year. While it is necessary to remain vigilant and responsive in an ever-changing environment, the annual budget cycle should be used to minimize the use of “add‑ons”. He applauded the Secretariat’s efforts to front-load resource requirements for 2023 to maximize efficiency and transparency. He also noted the programme budget’s size has moved upward. With the current global economic situation and lingering pandemic, it is critical to ensure the accountability of the budget to fiscal authorities and taxpayers of the Member States.
VADIM N. LAPUTIN (Russian Federation) said the move to an annual budget was temporary, and the Fifth Committee agreed that a final decision would be taken during the seventy‑seventh session, based on the Secretary-General’s cost-benefit analysis. After an interruption from the middle of the 1970s, in 2019, Member States received the annual draft budget for 2020. Procedural problems were encountered, and he noted that consultations with the Secretary-General and Member States were successful and his delegation’s concerns were addressed. He noted with satisfaction the improvements in the annual budgetary format and the high quality of the display of comprehensive information, including information presented in tables. This has contributed to the discussion. He also noted the excellent involvement of the Main Committees when the Committee for Programme and Coordination did not provide certain information. He did not support budgeting of certain mechanisms in the regular budget, such as the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, he said, adding that the Assembly has trespassed on the boundaries of the Security Council.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) called for programmes to use their resources efficiently and effectively to deliver results that make a real difference for those in greatest need. To that end, the United Kingdom will hold the Organization to account for how it has used and will use its resources to deliver results, he said. In welcoming the move to an annual budget cycle and its contributions to a more results-oriented and responsive United Nations, he underscored the need to go further. The United Kingdom will examine all programmes to ensure effective coordination and collaboration across the system, focus activities where they have comparative advantage to avoid duplication and enhance performance and mandatory delivery through innovation, evaluation and continuous improvement. While the United Kingdom supports predictable and sustainable funding for the United Nations work, shifting activities into the regular budget is not the solution at a time when national budgets are under pressure, he cautioned. Turning to the ACABQ, he expressed serious concerns over its recommendations that seek to expand the Advisory Committee’s remit to extrabudgetary funded activities, reopen long-standing Assembly resolutions and could result in the defunding of Human Rights Council mandates. Member States expect the ACABQ to provide clear, technical and evidence-based advice to inform the Committee’s decision-making, he emphasized.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, underscored the need for adequate resources to ensure the full and effective implementation of mandates. The Fifth Committee must deliver a well-planned, cost-effective budget that optimizes resource use. A proposed programme budget should provide adequate resources for the implementation of programmes under the development pillar, especially those that put the 2030 Agenda back on track, he noted. On management reform, he expressed support for an annual budgetary cycle as it leads to more accurate mandate resources and enables the United Nations to respond swiftly to new challenges. He then called for the strengthening of the Committee for Programme and Coordination to enable it to effectively accommodate management reforms and preserve the sequencing of the United Nations budgetary considerations. As the host country of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Thailand supports the full appropriation of funds for its activities and mandates in 2023. The Fifth Committee should continue its support for the seismic mitigation and life-cycle replacements project at the ESCAP Secretariat in Bangkok, which is expected to finish on schedule in December 2023 and will transform the premises into a safe, accessible, sustainable and modern workplace, he urged.
CHENG LIE (China), in upholding the leadership of Member States in reviewing programme plans, stressed that programme implementation should be efficient and effective and have greater retrospective accountability and transparency. He then encouraged the Secretariat to continue improving the accuracy of programme narratives and using terminology which has been agreed at the intergovernmental level. Turning to the programme budget, he called for its reasonable maintenance; consistently enhanced, comprehensive budgetary performance to save costs and improve efficiency; scrutiny; fiscal discipline; and increased supervision, auditing and accountability. The Secretariat must improve the management of extrabudgetary resources and ensure their transparent, regulated and appropriate use. He also called on the Secretariat to prioritize the development sector. Equipping it with adequate and sustainable financial resources will better respond to the practical concerns of developing countries and promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he emphasized. On human rights, he said that prejudging mandates and front-loading potential resources goes against the basic principle of mandate first, programme next and verdict last. Echoing the ACABQ’s recommendations, he called for clarity on the criteria, scope and rationale for including anticipated resource requirements. Any changes in budgeting modalities should not weaken or sever links, he stressed.
DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago), in urging a timely and substantive budget that provides a robust resource base for the United Nations to deliver on its mandates, spotlighted the follow-up and review of the SAMOA Pathway as well as the Fourth International Conference for Small Island Developing States in 2024. As the Assembly will determine the modalities for the conference’s preparatory process in 2023, he called for the Committee to provide full support. The allocation of resources to the units for small island developing States in both the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs must be predictable and reliable, he emphasized. Any overdependence on voluntary contributions would prevent the effective execution of their core mandates, he added. He then echoed the call to strengthen the development pillar and to provide adequate resources through the regular budget for the Regional Commissions and their subregional offices to ensure a tailored response to the specific needs and priorities of their constituents.
PEDRO CUESTA (Cuba) first spoke on a point of order. Regarding the three-minute time limit placed on a very important topic, he said three minutes is really trampling on the right of delegations. It was important for the delegates to make statements, and he asked for an indulgence. Aligning himself with the Group of 77, he said the programme budget does not have a programme base approved by Member States. There is a need for the Committee for Programme and Coordination to discuss its deliberations on draft programmes before the Secretary-General elaborates a proposed budget for the Advisory Committee’s consideration. Calling for the strengthening of the Programme and Coordination Committee, he said the Fifth Committee cannot examine budget proposals relating to programmes without recommendations of the Programme and Coordination Committee until the programmes are reviewed by the Main Committees that devised their mandates. When considering the Organization’s budget, the delegates must adjust to the changing conditions of the pandemic and return to the traditional methods of work, he said stressing the importance of resuming in‑person meetings and consultations. The programme budget should ensure a balance among the three pillars of the United Nations, he said, with priority given to the development pillar.
PETRONELLAR NYUAGURA (Zimbabwe), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, emphasized the necessity of adequate resources to address the development priorities of developing countries, which includes the quest for peace, for which special political missions are an important pillar in conflict areas. As unilateral coercive measures have severely constrained her country’s scope to implement the 2030 Agenda and recover from climate-induced disasters and the pandemic, she called for their unconditional removal. She then reiterated the call for more ambitious targets and commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Adequate resources must match the scale of the crisis, she stressed. Turning to the alarming spread of international terrorism to new frontiers, including the Southern African region, she called on Member States to find mutually agreeable funding sources for prevention and peacebuilding initiatives to address peace and security concerns in Africa and other continents.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said she was pleased to learn that the development of Africa remains a priority for the United Nations in the coming years, as reflected in the proposed programme budget 2023 plan outline. This includes the Organization’s continued support for the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. To adequately implement its efforts, the United Nations requires a programme budget with resources commensurate to the mandate at hand. She noted the 2023 proposed programme budget represents an increase of $102.4 million, or 3.3 per cent, compared with the 2022 appropriation. This includes proposed increases for special political missions; construction projects; the UNRWA; and the additional resources for the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance and the Department of Operational Support, mainly to address racism and promote dignity for all in the Secretariat of the United Nations. She affirmed that the most effective way to ensure the Organization’s financial well-being involves Member States meeting their financial obligations in full, on time and without condition.
ANDRÉS NAPURÍ PITA (Peru), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the importance of approving resources to enable the Organization to fulfil its mandates, especially in response to the multiple global crises. In welcoming the Secretary-General’s efforts on the programme budget, he agreed with the Advisory Committee and called for additional improvements which included deliverables for all programmes and a results-based budget that reflects existing mandates. Peru will focus primarily on resources related to United Nations bodies with mandates on the 2030 Agenda, promotion and protection of human rights, international cooperation for development, climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, amongst others, he noted.
JESÚS VELÁZQUEZ CASTILLO (Mexico), noting the conclusion of the trial phase of the annual budget, said the management reform under way is very useful, and the annual budget is a comprehensive part of this reform. He welcomed the 2023-2025 budget plan outline, which reaffirms the Organization’s eight priority areas. It is important that resources are delivered on mandates on time and fully. He regretted that the Secretary-General’s proposed programme planning report did not include recommendations from the Committee for Programme and Coordination for five of the 28 programmes, including on disarmament, legal affairs, peacekeeping, human rights and refugee assistance, and trusted that this would be corrected in a timely manner by the relevant Main Committees as these programmes involve important mandates. Noting the Secretary-General’s efforts to deliver an ambitious, results-based programme budget proposal for 2023, he said the Organization should have a regular and consistent budget to fully fulfil its mandates, and it should stick to its principles with effective and responsible spending. He noted the slight increase for the budget for 2023, compared with last year, due largely to the increase for construction and special political missions. Noting the tendency to revise the budget upwards, he stressed the need not to overload Member States, particularly in light of current fiscal constraints.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, expressed his appreciation for the increased allocation for peacekeeping operations, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States, Africa’s development, the Human Rights Council, the Office of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar. There is merit in the Secretary-General’s proposal to slightly increase the resources to implement new or expanded mandates, he said. Member States must sustain this momentum by meeting their financial obligations in full and on time, he stressed. At the same time, the Secretariat should continue to strengthen the comprehensive budgetary performance and rigorously enforce financial discipline. Turning to the improvement in gender parity in the Secretariat and the achievement of gender balance across the budget sections, he called for rigorous measures to ensure gender parity and equitable geographic representation at all levels of the United Nations staff. While the use of virtual and hybrid meetings enabled business continuity, it should not be considered as an example of best practice, he cautioned. In-person meetings allow for equal and fair representation of Member States and enable them to interact effectively. He then underscored the need to review and assess the budget proposal with objectivity to ensure that it reflects Member States’ priorities and conforms to the Organization’s mandates.
NKOPANE RASEENG MONYANE (Lesotho), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, said the United Nations must become more transparent and accountable in the use of resources, better measure its performance and ensure that no one is left behind. As such, there must be adequate resources for the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States to deliver on its mandates and support vulnerable countries in recovering from the pandemic. She then called for ECA’s appropriate funding to enable it to foster regional integration and promote international cooperation on Africa’s development. The office should be furnished with both post and non-post resource allocations in the budget, she added. Turning to the importance of geographical representation, she urged the Secretary-General to accelerate the process for every unrepresented and underrepresented Member State to be within-range status by 2030.
ABDULAZIZ M. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, called for a solid, regular budget which meets mandates, global challenges and practical needs such as information and communications technology (ICT) systems and the modernization of old buildings. He also expressed support for the development pillar and the strengthening of the mandates of the Organization’s special envoys and UNRWA. A strong regular budget remedies the fundamental issues of great importance to developing countries, he explained, adding that fair representation of countries of the Global South will enable the Organization to better address the challenges of the future. He then spotlighted the unprecedented reforms of his country.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar), aligning herself with the Group of 77, said her delegation has always had a strong partnership with the United Nations and its specialized agencies and believes it has a common responsibility as a partner of the international community. The Qatar Government has always paid its contribution to the United Nations annual budget on time and will continue to provide predictable funding to the Organization. The participation of young people in the Organization is a priority for her delegation, she said. Regarding the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to investigate human rights violations in Syria, she supported its funding from the regular budget in 2023. Stressing the importance of addressing challenges facing the least developed countries, she said her Government looked forward to hosting the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha from 5 to 9 March 2023. This conference will help support these countries and increase their resiliency. Her delegation will work in the spirit of consensus.
BASSAM SABBAGH (Syria), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, called for the wise management of resources. They must be dedicated to the attainment of peace, security and development instead of being wasted on politicized and illegitimate mechanisms, he said. Syria does not recognize the mandate nor role of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in the country, he continued. He then expressed his country’s reservations on financing the United Nations Monitoring Mechanism and spotlighted its failure to verify the delivery of cross-border humanitarian assistance. Most of it has ended up in the hands of terrorist organizations and does not assist a sizeable portion of the population in need, he noted. On the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), he objected to the downsizing of its staff and called upon the Secretariat to increase its budget.
SULEIMAN HAJI SULEIMAN (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, called for adequate funding for the United Nations, saying: “We cannot expect it to do more, while giving it less.” Despite domestic challenges and priorities, the United Republic of Tanzania will continue to fulfil its commitments to the regular budget in full and on time. He commended the Secretary-General’s proposed budget and noted that the increase for special political missions will enable the scaling up of peacekeeping operations around the world. As international peace and development are two sides of the same coin, special political missions are one of the most effective tools for sustaining peace and provide early warning mechanisms in conflict situations, he emphasized. These missions, he continued, have unfortunately not been well supported with financial and human resources.
Mr. ALMERRI (Iraq), aligning himself with the Group of 77, thanked the Secretariat staff for the very good preparation of the reports. He said there is a need to adopt the proposed regular budget by consensus, whether it is an annual or biennial budget. He urged all Member States to support funding for the regional commissions in the regular budget, particularly the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA). Any reduction in the budget of this Commission would negatively affect the implementation of programmes entrusted to it, he said, stressing that ESCWA has contributed greatly to the sustainable development of Iraq.
CHRISTOPHER P. LU (United States) said more than two years after the pandemic began, the United Nations has recognized, like other organizations, that the nature of work has changed. He commended the Secretariat’s decision not to renew the lease for the DC-1 building. Shared service centres, such as those in Kuwait and Entebbe, are also an important component of working conditions and other cost-efficient ways to support field offices around the world. The United Nations should continue to expand its technological capabilities in all construction projects and renovations. The fact the Committee for Programme and Coordination provided conclusions and recommendations for more plans than in any previous year of the annual budget shows continued improvements in working methods. Any attempt to undermine the consensus-based process of programme planning would be unacceptable to the United States, he said. While largely supporting the budget proposal, he was concerned by several provisions that would move voluntarily funded activities onto the regular budget. Such proposals should be kept to a minimum and approved only when well justified. His delegation is deeply concerned about several ACABQ recommendations that subvert the Assembly’s will. The Advisory Committee has rejected the inclusion of predictable Human Rights Council mandates in the programme budget. Regarding UNRWA, he said ACABQ has contradicted a long-standing Assembly resolution stating that only international staff salaries should be financed by the regular budget. Because of these and other concerns, he believed the structures and functions of ACABQ need to be reviewed to improve its ability to advise the Fifth Committee.
JEAN KIMANI (Kenya), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, recognized the positive outcome of increasing the Committee for Programme and Coordination’s session to five weeks. Continuous engagement and consultations with Member States not only guarantees ownership and accountability but ensures that mandated priorities reflect Member States’ aspirations and the Organization’s legitimacy, she underscored. She then expressed her support for the Secretary-General’s reform efforts, which include a robust, accountable and sustainable development system and a reinvigorated resident coordinator system which is supported by adequate resources and partnerships. As the host nation to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Kenya called for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding to enable them to effectively deliver on their respective mandates. Turning to the Peacebuilding Fund, she urged the Committee to operationalize and translate the political commitments of Assembly resolution 76/305 into tangible actions that account for the changing peace and security landscape.
COLLEN VIXEN KELAPILE (Botswana), aligning himself with the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, reiterated his country’s belief that the Organization’s resources must be commensurate with its mandates. As countries rely on the United Nations for leadership, technical support, research and analysis in formulating evidence-based national policies, the budget must reflect the actual and expanding needs on the ground, he urged. The proposed reductions to the development pillar, especially the Regional Commissions and related Secretariat departments, are concerning, he said. He then noted the Secretary-General’s efforts and plans for Africa’s development at both the regional and subregional levels and expressed interest in understanding how the reforms are contributing to the better delivery of the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. He then called for support to the most vulnerable countries, especially least developed countries, landlocked developed countries and small islanding developing States; funding under the Development Account, the effective utilization of the Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation, increased coordination and collaboration with regional and subregional organizations, improved focus on Member States’ priorities, accountability for delivering results, better synchronisation between organizational frameworks and increased involvement by Member States and all relevant intergovernmental bodies in the budget process in a clear, sequential manner.
Mr. GUTERRES, thanking Member States for their contributions, responded to their concerns over the development budget. While he would like to have a budget that enables effective debt relief, provides concessional funding for middle-income countries in vulnerable situations and allows for climate finance to fully respond to the needs of developing countries in their just transitions and in building capacity and resilience, this is not the budget before the Committee, he said. The proposed budget for the development pillar, he clarified, concerns a small amount of money which he has attempted to progressively and consistently increase. Over the past five years, the Regional Commissions received an increase of $20 million and the global budget for development increased from $535 million to $590 million. Despite this, he said he remains frustrated over the limited capacity to support Member States. As development is a main priority, he will be discussing issues of relevance for developing countries and their financial survival with the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 14 October.
Turning to the concern over the annual budget, he said: “It would be a big mistake to say that either we have an annual budget that disrespects the intergovernmental process, or we have a biennial budget that respects the intergovernmental process.” The essence of intergovernmental processes, he stressed, are mandates. The Committee for Programme and Coordination examines the compatibility between programme plans and mandates and ACABQ conducts analyses on efficiency among other aspects. While both make recommendations, they cannot change mandates, he noted. The Fifth Committee then makes its recommendations which the Assembly approves. Under a biennial budget, there is a six-year cycle, he noted: for 2023-2024, the Programme and Coordination Committee would be providing advice based on mandates that existed in the middle of 2021 to judge the correlation between mandates and programme plans related to 2024. At the same time, the 2023-2024 budget would be based on performance information from 2019-2020. Under an annual budget, this becomes a three-year cycle where the Programme and Coordination Committee and ACABQ provide their recommendations in 2022 based on information from 2021. An annual budget guarantees more adequate alignment with mandates than a sequential system which had a considerably diminished link to reality, he emphasized.
In urging practicality, he called on Member States to find the best possible way to translate mandates and retain their validity. It must also conjugate the processes of the Committee for Programme and Coordination and ACABQ while preserving their intergovernmental nature and establishing any necessary links to function properly. The annual budget cycle, he noted, strengthens the role of the Programme and Coordination Committee by allowing it to review the Secretariat’s work plans every year. As such, programme plans for 2023 show enhanced quality, clarity and usability. The Secretariat will continue to improve its relationship with that Committee, he pledged. Member States must optimize their work and ensure strong political will to reach consensus within the Programme and Coordination Committee and the Assembly’s Main Committees so as to provide the Fifth Committee with the time and ability to effectively translate the intergovernmental process on planning into the intergovernmental process on budget. He then acknowledged the recommendations on improvements and committed to doing better next time.