STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. KARIM ISMAIL, FIRST SECRETARY AT THE PERMANENT MISSION OF EGYPT TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 149: ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY ASPECTS OF THE FINANCING OF THE UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, SUPPORT ACCOUNT FOR PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, AT THE SECOND RESUMED PART OF THE SEVENTY-SECOND SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 15 May 2018)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 149: administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, specifically, on the support account for peacekeeping operations.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank Ms Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller; as well as Mr Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing their reports.
3. The Group of 77 and China remains a staunch supporter of peacekeeping operations. The members of the Group contribute financially to the budgets of peacekeeping missions; are the largest troop and police contributors; and host most of the current active operations. As such, the Group believes that United Nations peacekeeping operations must be provided with adequate resources for backstopping, so as to enable them to effectively and efficiently discharge their increasingly complex mandates.
4. Over the last few years, the changing nature of peacekeeping operations has posed additional challenges for their support component. The Group recognizes that new requirements have been placed on personnel both in the field and back at the Headquarters and support structures. Even so, the Group of 77 and China reiterates that the level of the support account should broadly correspond to the number, size and complexity of peacekeeping operations on the ground.
5. In this regard, the Group notes the comprehensive review of the support account for peacekeeping activities, but notes the absence of detailed proposals in the report. The Group will seek further information on how this comprehensive review has influenced the proposed budget for the support account for 2018-2019 during the informal consultations.
6. The Group of 77 and China notes that the Secretary-General's proposal for 2018-2019 with respect to post and non-post resources is $354.6 million. This is an increase of $28.8 million from the resources approved for the 2017-2018 period. The Group further notes that the proposal already reflects the reform initiatives to be tabled in the Fifth Committee, including peace and security reform, management reform and the global service delivery model. These initiatives have not been fully considered or approved at this time. The Group notes that the Advisory Committee has, therefore, presented its report on the basis of an annualisation of the current organisational structure. The Group will seek further clarification on the relationship between the reform initiatives and the support account, as well as the timing of the consideration of this agenda item, during the informal consultations. The Group will also carefully analyze the Secretary-General's requests for new posts and financial resources, as well as the asabolishment, reclassification, reassignment, and redeployment of posts, to ensure that they are indeed relevant to the support needs of UN staff, as well as troop and police contingents on the ground, towards the envisaged realignment of the capacity of the support account in areas such as force generation, environmental responsibility, medical support, safety of staff, human rights, democracy, governance and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, which are among the Group's priorities.
7. The Group of 77 and China remains concerned about the high cost of reform initiatives undertaken in recent years by the Secretariat, such as the Global Field Support Strategy, the Umoja Enterprise Resource Planning System, and other supply chain management improvements which have not had a discernible impact on the level of resources being requested under the support account. The Group will seek further information on the efficiencies and economies of scale that were expected as a result of these initiatives. Of note the Group observes that the requirements for the Umoja enterprise resource planning project have again increased by 15% to $28.8 million with related deployment and post-deployment support of Umoja totalling an additional $13.1 million.
8. Turning to the issue of representation, the Group continues to note with concern the lack of improvement in the board representation of troop and police contributing countries within the peacekeeping support structure, both in the field and at Headquarters, and in particular, at senior levels. The Group recalls that the General Assembly has consistently requested the Secretary-General to make concrete efforts to improve this situation. In this regard, the Group will be seeking updates from the Secretariat on measures taken to improve TCC and PCC representation during our informal consultations.
9. In conclusion, the Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate our support for United Nations peacekeeping operations and adequate backstopping capabilities at Headquarters. The Group reassures you of its determination to engage constructively on this agenda item, with a view to providing peacekeeping operations with necessary and sufficient resources to effectively deliver their mandates.
Thank you, Mister Chair.