STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 151: ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY ASPECTS OF FINANCING OF THE UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: UN LOGISTICS BASE AT BRINDISI AND REGIONAL SERVICE CENTRE IN ENTEBBE, DURING THE SECOND PART OF THE SEVENTY-SEVENTH RESUMED SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 4 May 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on Agenda Item 151: Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of financing of the UN Peacekeeping Operations. Budget performance of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy and the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda for the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 and the proposed budget for 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 period.
2. On behalf of the Group, I would like to thank the members of the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee for introducing their respective reports.
3. Regarding the UN Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, the Group looks forward to discussing the total resource requirements for the period 2023/2024 during the informal consultations, including the proposed resources for operational costs which represent an increase under facilities and infrastructure, communications and information technology, ground transportation, other supplies, services and equipment, official travel, consultants and air operations. We believe that detailed justifications should be provided in view of the observations and the reductions recommended by the ACABQ in this regard.
4. The Group believes that it is necessary to obtain more comprehensive and transparent information on the services provided for the UN Logistics Base to different entities, the resources required to provide those services and the different financing and cost recovery arrangements, as well as the recording of related income and expenditures.
5. We take note of the assessment of the services offered by the Standing Police Capacity and the Justice and Corrections Standing Capacity. We will follow the discussions on the findings raised in the assessment, with a view to ensure that both Capacities deliver better support to Member States and the United Nations system and continue to prioritize the assistance provided to peacekeeping operations.
6. We also believe that further information is necessary on progress achieved in reinforcing the role of the Office of Supply Chain Management for a centralized analyzing and enforcing functions on inventory management.
7. We note the intention of the Logistics Base to assess the opportunity and feasibility of establishing National Professional Officers posts at the Logistics Base and look forward to receiving further information in the next budget report.
8. We emphasize as well the need for the UNLB to continue to align its operations with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into the envisaged outputs, through increased renewable energy deployment, skills transfer, capacity building in peacekeeping missions, among others.
9. I now turn to the second part of my statement regarding the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda.
10. Our Group wishes to recall that the General Assembly resolution 64/269 established the Regional Service Center in Entebbe in July 2010 as the first Shared Service Center for Missions in the region under the Global Field Support Strategy, and further in its resolution 69/307 gave the Center operational and managerial independence and requested the Secretary-General to submit a budget proposal to be charged against the Missions that the Center supports.
11. The Group wishes to acknowledge the important work of the Center in providing services to 17 clients including seven (7) Peacekeeping Missions and support offices and (nine) 9 Special Political Missions, as well as other Missions in the region, including residual liquidation functions to the closing and closed peacekeeping Missions. The Group notes that the Center will provide support to over 77 percent of the United Nations field operations globally and serve over 16,408 personnel, including international and national staff as well as uniformed personnel.
12. As the Group has observed previously, the workload, complexity and volume of transactions carried out by the Centre have increased greatly and it is therefore of utmost importance that adequate financial and human resources, are provided to the Centre to enable it to fulfil its mandate.
13. The Group also believes on the need to assess in what extent the current organizational structure might impact on the managerial and oversight efficiency of the Centre, as well as accountability.
14. We also welcome the introduction of automation to additional business processes and trust that more information regarding the efficiency gains and management of the related service lines, will be provided in future reports.
15. Concerning the scalability model, the Group appreciates the benefits of the scalability model of the RSCE and notes the efforts made by the Centre in developing and refining its scalability model that informs the administrative and budgetary requirements. It is important that a period of stabilization of the Centre's scalability is allowed during refinement.
16. The Group notes that due to this scalability of the services of the Centre, the Secretary-General is proposing to abolish some posts in response to changes in the scalable services and is proposing a change in the organizational structure of the Centre in order to be able to respond effectively to seasonal peaks or instances in which additional unplanned transactions are required and that would necessitate that staff are moved temporarily to meet the workload requirements. The Group welcomes the flexibility the proposed organizational structure would provide to be able to respond to surges and peak seasons.
17. With regard to the staff of the Centre, the Group recalls that the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that national staff of the Centre are granted continuing contracts in line with the relevant provisions of General Assembly resolutions, and therefore urges the Secretary-General to facilitate the issuance of continuing contracts for national staff that meet the eligibility requirements in compliance with the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.
18. We further note with concern that a total of forty-nine (49) posts were vacant as at 9 March 2023. We reiterate that the Centre should be adequately staffed and provided with adequate resources to ensure effective implementation of its mandate and emphasize on the need for filling the vacant posts as expeditiously as possible.
19. In conclusion, on behalf of the Group, I assure you of our commitment to engage constructively on these important matters during the course of our discussions this session.
I thank you.