G-77 deplores quality of Secretariat report on Development Account

UNITED NATIONS, May — The Group of 77 has “deeply deplored” the quality of a Secretariat report on the proposed Development Account.

Speaking on behalf of the G-77 and China, the delegate of Indonesia to the Fifth Committee described the report as being “superficial and lacking both in clarity and clear direction.” Besides, it also contained factual errors on the level of available resources for the Development Account.

He said it was difficult to understand the sustainability of the Development Account on the basis of the rationale given in the report.

“It is not clear how the Account will become sustainable through the existing budget appropriation process once it reaches the level of $200 million. We would also like to know how the account will be replenished after the year 2003,” he added.

The Development Account was proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as part of the reform and restructuring of the U.N. system. The underlying assumption of the “development dividend” is that any gains achieved as a result of productivity improvements, such as streamlining and simplification of processes and procedures, would become a permanent component of the Account.

Accordingly, once a productivity gain has been identified and achieved, approval by the General Assembly will be sought for the transfer of the associated resources into the Development Account. It would thus reflect a redeployment of productivity gains in the administrative areas to the Development Account.

Annan said that reductions in administrative costs will be sought without reducing the ability of the Organisation to deliver its mandated programmes.

But the delegate of Indonesia told the Fifth Committee that the Secretariat should appraise the Committee of the means to achieve overhead administrative reductions as well as of the areas where proposed savings are to be achieved for its consideration and appropriate action.

“The Secretary-General should provide a sound and technical justification for his conclusion that the regular budget of the Organisation comprises 38 percent of non-programme costs and should inform this Committee how he intends to reduce it to 25 percent. What will the effect of such proposed reduction on programme delivery,?” he asked.

“We fully support the concept of the dividend for development, but it should also be implemented without affecting the legislative mandates and taking into consideration the sustainability of the Account beyond 2003,” he concluded.

The G-77 has asked the Secretary-General to submit another report detailing the modalities of how to utilize the Account and also how to define “non-programme costs.”