STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MOHAMED FOUAD, COUNSELOR AT THE PERMANENT MISSION OF EGYPT TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 148, IN PARTICULAR ON THE PROPOSED REVISED BUDGET FOR THE INTERNATIONAL RESIDUAL MECHANISM FOR CRIMINAL TRIBUNALS (IRM) FOR THE BIENNIUM 2018-2019, AT THE FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE SECOND RESUME PART OF THE SEVENTY-SECOND SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 25 May 2018)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 148, in particular on the Proposed Revised budget for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for the biennium 2018-2019.
At the outset, the Group would like to thank Mr. Pedro Guazo, Director and Officer in Charge Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, Department of Management as well as Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing respective reports on this agenda item.
The Group of the 77 and China continues to attach great importance to the work of the International Residual Mechanism. We continue to believe that allocation of adequate resources is an essential element to enable the Mechanism to deliver its given mandate. In this regard, we would like to point out that consideration of the proposed revised budget for the Mechanism is one of our priorities in this part of the session.
The Group notes that by its resolution 72/258 the General Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitment authority for the maintenance of the Mechanism for a period of 1 January to 31 December, 2018 due to a number of gaps identified in the original budget proposal.
The Group notes and appreciates that great efforts have been made to prepare and present the revised proposal which to the large extent has addressed the issues raised by the Advisory Committee and the Assembly.
The Group of 77 and China notes that, the Secretary-General has presented revised budget proposal which represents a reduction of 14.8 % as compared to the original submission.
We have also noted with concern that the Mechanism was not able to plan implementation of key mandated operational and judicial activities due to uncertainty of the budget among other reasons. The Group believes that in the future, efforts will be made to ensure timely preparation and submission of proposals for our consideration, including by the Advisory Committee.
The Group would also like to stress that commitment authority is not the most suitable way of funding, as it leads to uncertainty of limited scope on mandate implementation. We look forward for due attention be accorded to our views on this matter.
The Group notes that the revised proposal before us has a number of gabs in the resources proposal, including in the areas related to internal oversight as well as appropriate level of human resources in Arusha branch.
The Group notes and welcomes the establishment of dedicated post of Registrar to be based in Arusha together with co-location with that of the Prosecutor to ensure effective and efficient mandate implementation. However, we are concerned that appropriate supportive capacity for the two Offices is not incorporated in the proposal. The Group notes that in the absence of Registrar and Prosecutor in Arusha branch, the level of leadership in the Mechanism remains at P-5 which is not sufficient to address the key managerial and operational issues on the ground, including interaction with host country and other key stakeholders. The Group will present specific proposal to address the identified gaps during our informal consultations.
With regard to facilities and infrastructure, the Group has learned of a number of pending challenges in the construction project, which need to be rectified so as to ensure that the new facility satisfies the intended objectives. In this regard, we commend the Mechanism for its ongoing innovative efforts to address the identified challenges and we look forward for updates on this matter in the context of final progress report on the construction.
The Group of 77 and China takes note with interest of the comments, observations and recommendations of the Advisory Committee. While we appreciate some constructive elements in the report, we are concerned regarding some of them, in particular those related to unjustified arbitrary reduction of resources including in the areas of travel, consultancy, training for staff, provision for general temporary assistant as well as facilities and infrastructure. The Group will also seek clarification on a number of issues of interest including oversight, recruitments and staffing, procurements, consultancy and air travel.
In conclusion, the Group of 77 and China would like acknowledge the continued generosity of the governments of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Netherlands for their support to the work of the Mechanism. At last, we would like to re-assure you of our readiness to engage constructively on this agenda item with a view to reaching a positive outcome in a timely fashion.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.