STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. MEGAYLA AUSTIN, MINISTER COUNSELLOR OF THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS ON AGENDA ITEM 142: PROGRAMME PLANNING, AT THE FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-FIFTH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 12 October 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 142: Programme Planning.
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 for 2021.
3. The Group of 77 and China wishes to recognize the Chairperson of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), Mr. Georgi Velikov Panayotov, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria, and the Vice Chairs of the committee, for their efforts during the committee's deliberations this year. We thank Ambassador Panayotov for the presentation of the Committee's report.
4. Last year we experienced the daunting task of considering the programme plan in an annual format for the first time since 1974. As we are in the second year of this trial period, the Group wishes to underscore the importance of the strategic framework as the means through which inter- governmentally agreed mandates are translated into implementable programmes.
5. The Group reaffirms its steadfast support to the prerogatives of the CPC in its work as the main subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council for planning, programming, evaluation and coordination. We hope that next year's session of the CPC will have a more traditional setting in which delegations will not be deprived of the participation of their experts from capital nor from the benefits of interpretation services. In this setting, the Committee will be able to provide better guidance in the interpretation of legislative mandates and in the consideration and development of evaluation procedures for the improvement of programme design and the avoidance of overlap and duplication.
6. The Group has examined the programme plan and CPC's report. In this regard, we appreciate the improvements made by the Secretariat in light of resolution 74/251, regarding the format of programmes and sub- programmes. While we welcome the cross- cutting recommendations made by the CPC, we strongly believe that further guidance is needed during the trial period of the annual programme plan and budget in order to reach consensus-building conclusions by the end of the trial period.
7. The Group is heartened that despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of the CPC this year, the Committee managed to consider and give recommendations on the majority of the programme plan and the coordination report on the United Nations system support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Notwithstanding, we wish to highlight that much of that work was possible because of the extreme flexibility shown by the CPC members, in shedding many important elements from their agenda, such as the OIOS Evaluation reports in order to prioritize the consideration of the programme plan.
8. Our Committee is once more tasked with deciding on programmes that have been left without recommendations from the CPC. The Group insists that the consideration of the programme plan is not an exclusive prerogative of the Fifth Committee, and that the Plenary and all Main Committees of the General Assembly must retain their role in the review and action on the recommendations of the CPC and the programmes that are relevant to their work.
9. Furthermore, this Committee is yet again faced with the undeniable violation of the Rules and Regulations Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the Monitoring of Implementation and the Methods of Evaluation. We continue to be 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 a basis of an inter- governmentally agreed programme plan, as stipulated in the aforementioned Rules and Regulations.
10. We look forward to the discussions in this Committee on the appropriate sequence to be followed in the formulation, review and adoption process of the programme plan and budget. The Group has waited patiently for this analysis and it is our hope that the rest of the Committee will come to see the benefits of ensuring that our programme budget is projected on the basis of a solid and consensus based programme plan.
11. As we look forward to our deliberations, we cannot help but note that the informal sessions on the programme plan and the budget have again been scheduled together. 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 eight programmes are without recommendations this time around, and agreements on any of their corresponding budget sections are not possible without the necessary agreement on those programmes.
12. In conclusion, Mr. Chair, the Group of 77 and China reaffirm its commitment in supporting and strengthening the work of the CPC. The Group also reiterates its appreciation for the work done by members of the CPC and for the Secretariat's invaluable support during the past session. The Group is committed to working constructively with you and all delegations to achieve a timely result on this vital agenda item.
I thank you.