|Excerpts from the G-77 position on the recommendations of the Secretary-General on UN reform
Reform proposals and measures must be fully consistent with the Medium-Term Plan which constitutes the principal policy directive of the Organisation. The main objective of the reform measures and proposals should be to enable the United Nations to implement fully all mandated programmes and activities.
Any reform measures which do not require General Assembly approval should be implemented within the framework of the existing legislative mandates. Action on any measures and proposals in document A/51/950, unless decided otherwise, shall be implemented without prejudice to existing resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly or of other intergovernmental bodies.
Financial implications of any reform measure or proposal on which the General Assembly shall take action should be considered in accordance with rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.
Proposals for any change in financial and staff rules and regulations required as a result of the implementation of the reform measures and proposals should be submitted to the General Assembly by the Secretary-General for its consideration and approval.
In view of the role of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat as stipulated in the Charter, the group cautions against attempting to create an artificial division of labour between the General Assembly and the SG/Secretariat. Differences between the SG/Secretariat and the General Assembly, e.g., on personnel, administrative and budgetary matters, planning, priorities, etc., must be solved through dialogue on a regular basis.
Items on new leadership and management structure, increasing administrative effectiveness and efficiency, streamlined structure for greater effectiveness are of general nature. Therefore, it is difficult to focus on them in terms of financial and administrative implications. More concrete and therefore relevant items are as follows:
The Group of 77 and China is of the view that the creation of the post of the Deputy-Secretary-General is important and welcome measure for the UN Secretariat and increasing the effectiveness of the Office of the UN Secretary-General. However, it is important to know what Deputy-Secretary-Generals functions will be. The Group suggests that development issues should be the main responsibility of the Deputy-Secretary-General. Furthermore, the overall functional powers of the Deputy-Secretary-General should be clarified especially his political role of deputizing when the Secretary-General is away.
In case of a political decision on the establishment of the post and pending a decision on the functions to be performed, the grade level, conditions of service, etc., the size of the office, and related resources should be considered in the Fifth Committee. This proposal should however be considered in the overall context of streamlining of the Secretariat and of the financial situation of the Organisation.
Reform of the subsidiary bodies
Regional Commissions and the reform process
The Group of 77 and China notes that the review of regional commissions is already taking place in accordance with the GA Resolution 50/227. Furthermore, further clarification is needed particularly on the aspects of the evaluation of the most appropriate division of labour with regard to both standard-setting and technical cooperation activities and prospects for further rationalization and consolidation. The Group needs assurances that the proposed measures would not interfere with the mandates of existing regional organizations. Moreover, the role of the UN regional commissions in the technical assistance field should be strengthened.
Reform of the Secretariat
(a) The Group of 77 and China generally supports the proposal to establish a substantive ECOSOC Secretariat subject to approval of budget estimates by the 5th Committee and further clarification by the Secretary-General, particularly on how the new Secretariat would specifically improve services and coordination with ECOSOC and its subsidiary machinery.
(b) The Group of 77 and China recognizes the need for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and UNCTAD to undertake a review of their activities in the macro-economic policy analysis area in order to strengthen their cooperation and enhance United Nations work in this area. The Group, however, cannot support the aspect of rationalization of the work of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and UNCTAD because this might weaken intellectual pluralism which is beneficial to Member States. Furthermore, the review should be aimed at reinforcing and better focus the activities of United Nations to ensure that the issues of development in both economic and social spheres are placed at the centre of the UN activities (the phrase ...its leadership in meeting priority information needs of the world community, should be dropped in view of its ambiguity). The recommendations to be presented to the Secretary-General on this matter should be made available to Member States as soon as possible.
(a) The Group of 77 and China supports the proposal to create a United Nations Development Group (UNDG), involving UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA, with provision for participation of other intergovernmental funding organizations such as WFP.
(b) The G-77 and China is of the view that the proposal that the Executive Committee of UNDG should develop counterpart arrangements at country level is unclear. In particular this would have implications for interference in the internal affairs of Member States which have full responsibility to designate counterpart institutions at the country level. The Secretary-General may wish to clarify further this proposal.
The financing of development and technical cooperation
(a) The G-77 and China supports the proposal to increase core resources for financing development and technical cooperation in developing countries. However, the notion of burden-sharing should be clarified to underline that it applies to traditional donors and not from so called eligible/emerging donors including some developing countries.
Environment, habitat and sustainable development
The G-77 and China notes with concern that UNEP and Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya, have been undergoing a major crisis including financial pressures and organizational problems. In this regard, the Group welcomes the Secretary-Generals proposal to strengthen UNEP and HABITAT. Apart from GA Resolution 2997 (XXVII) and 32/162, and taking into account the decisions and recommendations of the Governing Council of UNEP and the Commission on Human Settlements, the development of new measures for strengthening these two organizations should also be based on the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996 and UNGASS, 1997. Furthermore, G-77 and China cannot accept the proposal to replace UNEP funding role with UNDP.
Reallocation of "dividend" to economic and social activities is a laudable suggestion. The Secretary-General's aim to deliver "dividend for development" merits favourable consideration. In this context, the following points should be taken into account:
a) Reduction in administrative costs should not affect the full implementation of mandated programmes and activities.
b) The General Assembly should be apprised of the means to achieve overhead administrative reductions as well as the areas where savings are being achieved for its consideration and appropriate action. To this end, the Secretary-General is invited to present a detailed report for consideration and appropriate action by the General Assembly, by which, among other things, he should provide a sound and technical justification of his conclusion that the regular budget of the organisation comprise 38 per cent non-programme costs and how he intends to reduce it to 25 per cent. Therefore, Actions 21 and 22 should not be implemented by the Secretary-General until the General Assembly has considered and acted on the above report.
For the full text of the G-77 proposal on UN reform, click here.