STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR MAJED BAMYA, FIRST COUNSELLOR, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 136: PROGRAMME PLANNING - PROPOSED PROGRAMME PLAN 2020, AT THE FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 8 October 2019)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 136: "Programme planning- Proposed programme plan 2020".
2. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for the presentation of the proposed programme plan budget for 2020.
3. The Group of 77 and China wishes to commend the chairperson of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), Mr. Collen Kelapile, Permanent Representative of Botswana, and the Vice Chairs of the committee, for their leadership and guidance during the committee's deliberations this year. We thank Ambassador Kelapile for the presentation of the Committee's report.
4. This is a year with new and complex tasks for our Committee to undertake, and none is as arduous as the first annual programme plan and budget in almost 45 years. However, it holds true that since the adoption in 1974 of programmed budgeting, the Group has repeatedly stated the importance of Programme Planning, and later on of the role of the CPC in enabling the General Assembly to translate mandates agreed upon by Member States into implementable programmes. The Group firmly expresses that the Plenary and all Main Committees of the General Assembly must retain their role in the initial reviewing and taking action on the recommendations of the CPC relevant to their work.
5. As staunch defenders of the prerogatives of the CPC, the Group wishes to underline the importance of its work as the main subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council for planning, programming and coordination. The CPC not only gives guidance to the Secretariat by interpreting legislative mandates but also considers and develops evaluation procedures for the improvement of programme design and the avoidance of overlap and duplication. The CPC and its hard work are at the core of the General Assembly's capacity to provide guidance and oversight in the areas just mentioned.
6. Reflecting on the CPC report, and the description of the deliberations among its members, the Group is concerned that the decisions the General Assembly took in resolution 72/266 A have not been followed by the Secretariat as expected. A trial period, as the one we are in, does not come without shortfalls, yet this cannot account for the apparent disregard of certain established rules and procedures. In particular, there is cause for concern regarding the format of the programmes and subprogrammes.
7. The Group believes that many of its members in the CPC voiced similar ideas during their meetings, and having consulted with them we have learned that even between delegations with opposite or differing ideas, a great deal of tentative agreements was reached. However, no agreement was achieved ultimately on the Programme Plan and the evaluations of entities submitted by OIOS.
8. This led the CPC to put the Programme Plan in the hands of the General Assembly for consideration. We note this is the first time the entirety of the Programme Plan has been submitted to the Assembly without any recommendations, and the Group expects it will also be the last. We cannot help but over emphasize the need for the appropriate sequence of the Programme plan and the programme budget. The Group is therefore gravely troubled by the timeline under which the related programme budget has been prepared by the Secretariat, analyzed by the ACABQ and then presented to us without an intergovernmentally agreed Programme Plan. This is tantamount to any national government not having a national plan and priorities on which to create a budget. The intergovernmental supervision of the budgetary process and of the programmatic guidelines that the CPC provides cannot be underestimated, much less ignored. That would compromise the very legitimacy of the mandates.
9. We acknowledge the need for efficiency and therefore are willing to show flexibility regarding the closely scheduled informal sessions on the programme plan and the budget. However, the Group stresses that these items, though closely related, are not and cannot ever be viewed as the same. It is paramount that negotiations are kept on different tracks, especially since agreements on any of the budget sections are not possible without their corresponding programmes and subprogrammes according to our current Regulations and Rules Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the Monitoring of Implementation and the Methods of Evaluation.
10. We believe we have touched upon the most pressing and complex issues surrounding this agenda item. Notwithstanding, the Group during informal consultations will address other very important elements surrounding CPC's work such as the programme evaluation of the Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and of the regional economic commissions, as well as the United Nations system support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development. We will also continue to push for more coordination with the Joint Inspection Unit, especially since no reports from that independent, external oversight body were presented to the CPC this year.
11. In conclusion, Mr. Chair, the Group of 77 and China reaffirms its commitment in supporting and strengthening the wonrk of the CPC. The Group also reiterates its appreciation for the work done by members of the CPC and for the support received from the tireless Secretariat during the past session. The Group is committed to working constructively with you and all delegations on this item to achieve a result that will allow our Organization to receive the guidance and structure it much needs for the next year.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.