Speakers in Fifth Committee Endorse Proposed Funding to Establish Youth Office, Also Review Umoja, Spending for Information and Communications Technology
Delegates in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today expressed strong support for the Secretary-General’s request for $2.31 million for the creation of a Youth Office as they also voiced various concerns over the enterprise resource planning project — known as Umoja — and capital investment planning on information and communications technology (ICT).
By its resolution 76/306, the General Assembly decided to establish the United Nations Youth Office as a dedicated office for youth affairs in the Secretariat. The Office will lead engagement and advocacy for the advancement of youth issues across the United Nations in the areas of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.
The creation of such an Office, the speaker for Guyana noted, reflects Member States’ shared and growing commitment to advancing and elevating the Organization’s work on youth. A sustainably funded and effectively structured Office will serve as a reservoir for good practices that will strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system to learn from, support and engage with youth across the world more effectively.
Echoing her colleague, the representative of Portugal, also speaking for the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Slovakia, called for a stand-alone and full-fledged Office that is represented by an agile team, led by a young professional and designed with strong interlinkages with local, regional and international actors. Member States, she recalled, pledged to “listen to and work with youth” in their Declaration on the commemoration of the Organization’s seventy-fifth anniversary. “The realization of this commitment is now in the hands of this Committee,” she pointed out. “Now is the time to show that Member States are ready to live up to this commitment and turn it into reality.”
Chandramouli Ramanathan, United Nations Controller and Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates relating to Office. The Assembly is requested to approve $2.31 million and the establishment of 16 posts (1 Assistant Secretary-General, 1 D-1, 2 P-5, 1 P-4, 4 P-3, 6 P-2 and 1 General Service (Other level) under the Office), as well as $188,900 under section 36 (Staff assessment).
Patrick Chuasoto, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced that body’s related report, which recommended the establishment of the proposed Coordination Officer at the P-3 level and a 10 per cent reduction to the proposed resources for consultants and staff travel.
On Umoja, delegates directed their attention to the project’s improvements and costs. Noting that the total ownership cost has been $1.52 billion so far, the representative of Pakistan, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Group would seek further information on the revised funding model effective for 2024. Umoja must remain cost-effective and transparent as it reaches its steady state, he stressed.
Further improvements, his colleague from the Russian Federation added, must be carried out within existing resources and must not incur financial implications. Expressing his concern that the Secretariat has yet to carry out an overview of results for such a large-scale and costly project, he called on the entity to respond to the repeated requests of Member States, identify benefits and assess results including on timeline, scale, overall cost of ownership and lessons learned.
Sunitha Korithiwada, Director of the Enterprise Resource Planning Solution Division of the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, introduced the Secretary-General’s annual progress report on Umoja and said the Division has established a strategy based on three core pillars: advancement of Umoja analytics, continuous improvement of Umoja applications and upgrading and maintaining of the systems, security and infrastructure. A large-scale and much-needed upgrade to the Umoja system — which will require significant effort and resources next year and beyond — will ensure continued support from the vendor, increase resilience to security threats and enable the system to keep pace with technological advances.
Presenting the Board of Auditors’ eleventh and final annual progress report, Hu Xuewen, Director of External Audit (China) urged the Administration to focus on the enhancement opportunities identified during the deployment phase, promote the system’s use through further user adoption and ensure that solutions are fit for purpose. Among other things, the Board stressed that a new SAP enhancement package — which has been endorsed by the Umoja Steering Committee — will need to be further assessed.
Mr. Chuasoto introduced ACABQ’s eponymous report, which agreed with the Board’s assessment that the Secretary-General should provide a clear record of the project’s achievements and outstanding activities. Unconvinced by the Secretary-General’s proposed revised financing model for the Enterprise Resource Planning Solution Division from 2024 onwards, the Advisory Committee recommended the Secretary-General present a refined proposal.
Turning to capital investment planning, Pakistan’s representative requested more comprehensive data on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. The figures — on annual ICT spending of $773 million on average and $129.4 million for non-assessed sources financed by the ICT strategy — do not completely capture expenditures across the Organization. The exact technology architecture and portfolio for the cybersecurity programme from 2024 to 2028, he continued, will be determined in 2023, holistically address the issue and provide the Assembly with an implementation road map at its seventy-eighth session.
Mr. Ramanathan introduced the Secretary-General’s report, which responds to several Assembly requests on four specific topics. Mr. Chuasoto then introduced the Advisory Committee’s related report, which recommended authorizing $5.5 million for related resources concerning the continued implementation of the Microsoft E5 security licenses, and $2.74 million on the implementation of minimum operating security standards compliance at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), among other things.
The Fifth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 7 December, to discuss the proposed programme budget for 2023 relating to the ICT strategy, Panel of Experts on Haiti, request for a subvention to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and revised estimates on United Nations activities to mitigate global food insecurity and its humanitarian impact.
Umoja/Enterprise Resource Planning Project
SUNITHA KORITHIWADA, Director of the Enterprise Resource Planning Solution Division, Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, introduced the Secretary-General’s annual progress report on the enterprise resources planning project (document A/77/495). She said that the Division, now in its second year of operations, has established a strategy for the Umoja system based on a multi-year plan, which considers the Organization’s evolving needs and the dynamic nature of the underpinning technology and infrastructure. This strategic direction is set upon three core pillars: advancement of Umoja Analytics, continuous improvement of Umoja applications and upgrading and maintaining of the systems, security and infrastructure.
On Umoja analytics, which operates in four workstreams including the Member States portal, self-service analytics and enterprise dashboards, she said that United Nations staff and Member States will gain enhanced information insights through more sophisticated tools that provide access to larger volumes of data in a user-friendly manner according to user need and purpose. The Division, she continued, is operating a programme of continuous improvements driven by business needs to contribute to the implementation of reforms, process improvements and the effective use of the Organization’s resources. This ensures that the system remains fit-for-purpose and that the investment made in Umoja is maximized. The Organization ensures that such a vital system to day-to-day business operations functions smoothly and securely through upgrades, enhancements to security, risk mitigation, disaster recovery planning and continuous monitoring and vigilance. A large-scale and much-needed upgrade to the Umoja system (SAP ERP 6.0 Enhancement Package 8), she noted, will ensure continued support from the vendor, increase resilience to security threats and enable the system to keep pace with technological advances. This complex upgrade will require significant effort and resources next year and beyond to ensure success, she emphasized, before referencing updates on benefits realization, total cost of ownership and lessons learned.
HU XUEWEN, Director of External Audit (China), Board of Auditors, presented that body’s eleventh and final annual progress report on the implementation of the enterprise resources planning project (document A/77/135). Pointing out that the Board conducted an independent assessment of the Umoja project’s implementation status, he said the report also covers an outlook on areas that the Board considers may come under the Umoja solution in the future. As a key enabler for modernization and reforms in the Organization’s administration, lessons learned from the project’s deployment should be a baseline for its future and continuous improvement. To that end, the Administration must focus on the enhancement opportunities identified during the deployment phase and promote the system’s use through further user adoption while ensuring that solutions are fit-for-purpose. It must also integrate the fragmented learning management systems and closely monitor both benefits and costs in a timely manner, he added.
On project governance and management, he said the Board noticed that a post- implementation review was not conducted after the project was closed. The Administration must evaluate the overall achievements of the Umoja project, including the deployment dates, scope, functionality and usage at the entity level, total cost of ownership and lessons learned. The Board, he continued, also noticed that the user adoption of some solutions was insufficient and that four of six solutions under Umoja Extension 2 had not been assessed through a user satisfaction survey. Having analyzed change requests in the SAP Solution Manager tool, the Board found that there was a lack of timely maintenance of the change management schedule.
Regarding support and enhancement, he said that the Board analyzed the one-year usage frequency of the existing 770 business intelligence models. Only 3 of the top 10 most frequently used business intelligence data models were certified. The certification of most frequently used data models was not considered as a high priority, he emphasized. Umoja training courses and other training offerings, he continued, are dispersed among various Secretariat learning management systems and websites. While a single learner access point for training materials was proposed in the Umoja learning strategy, a detailed implementation plan has not been included. Turning to benefits and costs, he noted that the Board observed that the benefits review of four Umoja Extension 2 solutions had not been conducted as of April 2022 and that three of the 17 change requests approved by the Umoja Change Board were not tracked as required. A transition to SAP S/4 HANA and related products would likely be required to keep pace with technological development. An upgrade to a new SAP enhancement package — which has been endorsed by the Umoja Steering Committee — may bring additional costs to the Organization which were not included in the current total cost of ownership estimation and will need to be further assessed, he stressed.
PATRICK CHUASOTO, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), introduced that body’s related report titled “Progress on the functioning and development of the Umoja system” (document A/77/7/Add.21). He noted that one of the Board’s key findings in its independent assessment is that a post-implementation review of the Umoja project is yet to be conducted. The Advisory Committee agrees with the Board’s assessment that a review is crucial, and reiterated that the Secretary-General should provide a clear record of the project’s achievements and outstanding activities. Further, the Advisory Committee notes that longer-term strategic planning for the Umoja system, including within the wider scope of the revised ICT strategy, is key to a more comprehensive and transparent assessment of the costs of the system’s continuous improvements, as well as of other important elements such as cybersecurity, cloud services and future reporting on the Umoja system.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the Secretary-General include the related updates and proposals in the next report for the Assembly, he said. Regarding the total cost of ownership of Umoja, the Board notes in its report that costs of technology upgrades, such as the Enhancement Package 8 scheduled for 2023, had not been factored into the total cost of ownership of the system, or put forward for the Assembly’s consideration and review, before their implementation. The Advisory Committee considers that the Umoja system’s total costs should be as accurate as possible and recommends that financial implications of major technology upgrades be provided to the Assembly in a timely manner. He noted that the Secretary-General’s report contains a proposed revised financing model for the Enterprise Resource Planning Solution Division from 2024 onwards that is largely unchanged from the previous related proposal and is not supported by additional information or justifications. He said the Advisory Committee remains unconvinced of the approach and recommends the Secretary-General present a refined proposal for the Assembly’s consideration in the next progress report.
JIBRAN KHAN DURRANI (Pakistan), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted the present report contains information on progress in three key strategic pillars of the Umoja system: Umoja analytics; continuous improvements; and systems, security and infrastructure. Regarding Umoja analytics, he noted that the uniformed capabilities support portal and the United Nations Secretariat workforce portal for Member States were delivered in 2022. Both portals provide detailed data through infographic visuals, reliability and comprehensiveness to meet the needs of Member States. Concerning continuous improvements delivered during the period, the Group observed business transformations in human capital management, such as the new payroll process model, improved comparative budget analysis in the budget formulation solution, and streamlined customs clearance and shipment handling. He also appreciated the integration of Umoja with Inspira and its ongoing integration with the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund enterprise system. Working with the Office of Information and Communications Technology, the Enterprise Resource Planning Solution Division has enhanced Umoja security, enabling multifactor authentication for Umoja applications and single sign-on for Umoja analytics, proactively implementing cybersecurity measures and deploying a state-of-the-art high-availability solution.
With the circulation of personal and organizational data, it is only right that Umoja contains a strong capability to counter threats to its infrastructure, especially after the system's security was comprised earlier this year, he said. The Group trusts the Secretary-General and his designated officials will exercise vigilance and due care to pursue this objective with the full implementation of the Secretariat's 2019 cybersecurity action plan, as well as ensure that intellectual property rights to the platform and the solutions it provides remain with the Organization. He noted the total ownership cost of Umoja to be $1.52 billion, adding that the Group will seek further information during the informal consultations on the revised funding model effective for 2024. The Group wants to ensure that the project remains cost-effective and transparent, especially as it reaches its steady state, he stressed. He also noted the Board’s outstanding recommendations have been reduced from 60 to 23, and the Umoja system is now used by 43,302 users across 460 locations. In its eleventh and final annual progress report on Umoja system implementation, the Board noted that the system remained a key enabler for modernization and reforms in the Organization’s administration.
VADIM N. LAPUTIN (Russian Federation) commended the portal for Member States for enhancing the Secretariat’s accountability and improving the transparency of its activities. Further improvements to Umoja must be carried out within existing resources and must not incur financial implications, he said. Highlighting paragraph 180 of the report of the Board of Auditors, which notes the significant investments of more than $1.5 billion into the project, he stressed that overall benefits must be measured, renewed and brought to the attention of Member States. They must not be set out in budget documents as proposed reductions in the volume of proposed resources. He then expressed his concern that the Secretariat has yet to carry out an overview of results for such a large-scale and costly project, and called on it to identify benefits in line with the repeated requests of Member States. An assessment of results should include the timeline, scale, overall cost of ownership and lessons drawn.
Capital Investment Planning
CHANDRAMOULI RAMANATHAN, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and Controller of the United Nations, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on capital investment planning (document A/77/519), which addresses four specific topics in response to several Assembly requests. Section II responds to long-standing requests for comprehensive information on global spending on information and communications technology (ICT) across all funding sources, including capital expenditures. Yet it does not present a capital investment plan for ICT operations and instead seeks to establish a baseline for a more detailed analysis that could lead to a capital investment proposal, he said. Section III contains an outline of the approach to strengthening cyber protection globally across the Secretariat.
Section IV contains the outcome of a detailed assessment of the physical safety and security requirements at Headquarters, offices away from Headquarters and the regional commissions, he continued. A preliminary estimate of requirements from 2024 to 2034, broken down by each location, is about $94 million, without factoring in inflation or contingencies. The largest requirement relates to the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), closely followed by Headquarters. Section V outlines work in progress since the beginning of 2022 to assess the capital investment requirements for buildings and facilities, including underlying ICT and local infrastructure to support conferencing and other mandated requirements such as accessibility, sustainability, business continuity, well-being and health care, with the aim of developing a holistic estimate by the seventy-eighth session. During a security assessment by the Department of Safety and Security in August it became apparent that ECA urgently needed to initiate some upgrades in its Addis Ababa campus for better compliance with minimum operating security standards, he said, adding that the report contains a proposal for resources to initiate the first phase of this urgent work starting in 2023.
The report also highlights systemic challenges to the Organization’s ability to formulate and present capital investment proposals for ICT operations, he said, adding that some lessons learned from the current exercise might point the way forward. It became apparent very early that it was very difficult to establish a funding gap, such as a real budgetary deficit relative to needs for replacing ICT assets and equipment. Section II of the report contains the outcome of the Secretariat’s comprehensive analysis of global ICT spending and an assessment of ICT assets, equipment and inventory that was carried out to form a baseline.
Turning to key takeaways from the data on ICT, he said the average annual global ICT spending between 2017 and 2021 was about $773 million, with the final analysis reflecting a slightly higher amount. Of the total, personnel costs comprised at least 63 per cent on average, while 35 per cent went towards ICT assets and equipment, including their maintenance. Both gross and net values of ICT assets and equipment have been declining steadily but the ratio of net value to gross value has been largely stable for the last four years. Communication equipment comprises the largest category of equipment at $96.1 million, followed by servers, network and storage equipment at $65.1 million and end-user equipment at $63 million. Despite the obvious aging of ICT equipment globally, the analysis is inconclusive about the urgency of and need for more funding to replace equipment, beyond that already budgeted on a recurring or periodic basis. Yet the high depreciation and use beyond useful life point to the need for a more disaggregated review to establish such urgency and, if possible, the funding gap.
Mr. CHUASOTO, ACABQ Vice-Chair, introduced that body’s eponymous report (document A/77/7/Add.23). He said the Advisory Committee is of the view that the report on the ICT strategy should provide a holistic vision and policy on all ICT-related matters while the capital investment planning report should present information on the Organization’s phased plans on capital investment needs. Resource proposals should be made in the context of the relevant sections of the proposed programme budget or peacekeeping and special political mission budgets. The Advisory Committee, he continued, noted that the information in the Secretary-General’s report does not cover all personnel, nor does it show the link between ICT-related expenditure and the activities undertaken by entities. Further noting the possibility of duplication, the Advisory Committee emphasized the importance of effectively tracking ICT expenditure across the Organization. As such, the Assembly should request the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to provide comprehensive data on ICT-related matters.
Turning to the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish four P-4 posts and six general temporary assistance positions in 2023 for cybersecurity, the Advisory Committee reiterated its recommendation that the Assembly request the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive action plan within the next revised ICT strategy report. At this stage, the Advisory Committee recommends the establishment of the four P-4 posts as general temporary assistance positions and two of the six proposed general temporary assistance positions with one P-2 in New York and one GS-PL in Brindisi. It also recommends the absorption of the proposed resources for contractual services in the amount of $400,000 within existing resources. As the Advisory Committee is not currently in a position to recommend the proposed appropriation of resources for Microsoft E5 security licences, the Assembly should authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of $5.5 million for related resources. Regarding the Secretary-General’s proposed additional resources to initiate the implementation of minimum operating security standards compliance at the ECA, he pointed out that this was based on an interim assessment in 2022. Pending the findings of a comprehensive assessment in 2023, the Advisory Committee recommends the approval of $2.74 million under section 33 of the proposed programme budget for 2023, which represents 50 per cent of the proposed resources.
Mr. KHAN DURRANI (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, noted annual ICT spending between 2017 and 2021 has averaged $773 million, with 28 per cent related to posts and 24 per cent related to contractual services. He also noted that non-assessed sources financed by the ICT strategy totalled $129.4 million. Yet the Group believes these figures do not completely capture ICT expenditures across the Organization and looks forward to more comprehensive data in upcoming reports, he said. Regarding valuation of ICT equipment, he noted the gross value of $886.7 million and the net value of $246.2 million in equipment across the Organization. The Group sees merit in reviewing the life cycle of the assets in order to establish benchmarks for different asset classes in different locations, depending on the operating environments or conditions, and to align the useful and operational lives of assets. He trusted that an update will be provided in the next revised ICT strategy report.
The Group noted that most contractual personnel were provided by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), whereas the main departments that used these service providers were the Office of Information and Communications Technology, at 47 per cent, and the Department of Peace Operations, at 30 per cent, he said. Turning to cybersecurity, the Group notes that after a comprehensive assessment, the exact technology architecture and portfolio for the cybersecurity programme from 2024 to 2028 will be determined in 2023. This assessment will address the issue holistically and give the Assembly an implementation road map at its seventy-eighth session. The Group appreciates the application of lessons learned through other construction projects in designing the ICT infrastructure of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), ECA and the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Nairobi to ensure stronger connectivity and back-up operations, he said, encouraging the Secretary-General to continue these efforts.
Mr. KRIDELKA (Belgium), Fifth Committee Chair, said the consideration of the reports just introduced will be deferred to the first part of the resumed seventy-seventh session. This, he noted, will be reflected in the Fifth Committee’s decision on “questions deferred for future consideration”, which will be adopted formally at the closing meeting of the main session.
United Nations Youth Office
Mr. RAMANATHAN, Controller, Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning, Finance and Budget in the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on revised estimates relating to the establishment of the United Nations Youth Office (documents A/77/541 and Corr.1). As today’s generation of young people is the largest, most interconnected and most educated in history, “youth” is a key demographic for a advancing the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, as indicated in numerous recent intergovernmental agreements, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Security Council resolutions on youth, peace, and security; and Human Rights Council resolutions, he emphasized. Through the establishment of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in 2013 and the launch of the first-ever system-wide youth strategy, “Youth 2030”, in 2018, the profile of the youth agenda has been raised, and progress was made to institutionalize efforts on youth into the system. Young people, he stressed, have called on the Organization to deepen solidarity with the world’s youth and strengthen its capacity to meet their needs and protect their rights.
In line with Assembly resolution 76/306, which established the United Nations Youth Office as a dedicated office for youth affairs in the Secretariat, he said section VIII of the report presents the resources and capacities requirement for the establishment of the Office and the fulfilment of its mandate. The Assembly is requested to approve additional appropriations representing charges against the contingency fund for 2023 in the amounts of $2.31 million, comprising $2.25 million under section 1 (Overall policymaking, direction and coordination), $33,100 under section 2 (General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management) and $27,000 under section 29B (Department of Operational Support). The Assembly is also requested to approve the establishment of 16 posts (1 Assistant Secretary-General, 1 D-1, 2 P-5, 1 P-4, 4 P-3, 6 P-2 and 1 General Service (Other level) under the Office) as well as an additional appropriation in the amount of $188,900 under section 36 (Staff assessment), to be offset by an equivalent increase under income section 1 (Income from staff assessment).
Mr. CHUASOTO, ACABQ Vice-Chair, took the floor again to introduce the Advisory Committee’s related report (document A/77/506). The ACABQ acknowledges the contribution that the Office of the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth has made to promote youth-related matters and help implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He trusted that the integration process will take place expeditiously to avoid duplicating efforts and resources. In terms of the Youth Office’s activities, the Advisory Committee trusts that the Head of the Office will engage with United Nations entities to enhance coordination and youth representation at the United Nations, including through internships and employment opportunities, as part of an effort to rejuvenate the Organization. He encouraged the Youth Office to gain greater efficiency by using available resources at the Department of Global Communications and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Regarding the proposed post resources, the Advisory Committee trusts that further information on the qualifications and envisaged age criteria for the Head of Office, to be established at the Assistant Secretary-General level, will be provided to the Assembly. He said the ACABQ is not convinced that the proposed posts of the United Nations System Coordination and Accountability Section should be established at different levels than those of the Partnerships, Advocacy and Communications Section. The ACABQ recommends that the proposed Coordination Officer (P-4) post be established at the P-3 level at this stage. Regarding recruitment, the Advisory Committee trusts that equal opportunity for internal and external candidates, as well as gender balance and geographical representation, will be considered, in line with Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations. Regarding non-post resources, the Advisory Committee recommends a 10 per cent reduction to the proposed resources for consultants and staff travel.
Mr. KHAN DURRANI (Pakistan), speaking again for the Group of 77 and China, welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to further raise the profile of the youth agenda in the United Nations system and advance the institutionalization of efforts on youth. The establishment of the Youth Office is a step forward to deep solidarity with the world of youth and to “listen to and work with youth” as stated in the Political Declaration of the high-level meeting to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations. With 1.6 billion people mainly living in the global South, today’s generation of young people have an important role to play in tackling the multifaceted crises of the day, which disproportionately affect their lives, livelihoods and futures, he stressed.
Turning to the Secretary-General’s proposals on the operational functions, structure, resources and staffing of the new Office, he said the proposal is realistic in terms of resources and capacities. Expressing his full support that the staffing and mandate give due regard to regional representation and gender balance, he encouraged Member States to work productively with the new Office to further empower and improve the lives of youth as a key segment for advancing the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter. Member States must enable them to be the torch-bearers of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal), speaking also on behalf of the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Slovakia, reiterated her full commitment to reinvigorate Member States’ efforts for youth. There must be a more sustainable footing which ensures complementarity with existing functions on youth across the system and with a clear mandate in coordinating the United Nations system’s efforts in that regard. The Youth Office should be a standalone and full-fledged office with strong interlinkages with local-, regional- and international-level actors as well as with existing multi-stakeholder initiatives on youth, she emphasized. To that end, the Office must be set on a sustainable pathway with regular budget resources allocated for operational functioning, programmes and initiatives.
The Office, she continued, should be represented by an agile team which leverages the rich capacity and technical expertise of the system as a whole and is led by a young professional. Recalling Member States’ pledge to “listen to and work with youth” in their Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, she said: “The realization of this commitment is now in the hands of this Committee. Now is the time to show that Member States are ready to live up to this commitment and turn it into reality.”
CAROLYN RODRIGUES-BIRKETT (Guyana), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the establishment of the Youth Office reflects Member States’ shared and growing commitment to advancing and elevating the United Nations work on youth. The new Office, she stressed, will serve as a reservoir for good practices in different contexts which can be shared with the wider United Nations membership and replicated as relevant. Having served as a co-facilitator for the intergovernmental process that led to Assembly resolution 76/306, she emphasized that a sustainably funded and effectively structured Youth Office will strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system to learn from, support and engage with youth across the world more effectively. The Secretary-General’s proposals, she continued, represent a realistic indication of the estimated resource requirements to not only establish the Office but to also better mobilize its existing capacities regarding youth across the system.
United Nations Common System
Mr. KRIDELKA (Belgium), Fifth Committee Chair, then drew the Committee’s attention to the Secretary-General’s note (document A/C.5/77/20) titled “Exchange of letters between the Chair of the Fifth Committee and the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel” which transmits a draft decision by the Committee at its fifteenth meeting, on 15 November, under agenda item 145, United Nations common system.