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 SUPPORT ACCOUNT FOR PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, DURING THE SECOND PART OF THE RESUMED SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 12 May 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on Support Account for Peacekeeping Operations. The Group appreciates the Secretariat, the Advisory Committee and the Independent Audit Advisory Committee for their efforts towards the submission and presentations of their respective reports.
2. Our Group stresses the relevance of this particular agenda item, concerning the backstopping of peacekeeping operations. Not only does the membership of the Group contribute financially to the budgets of the peacekeeping missions, it also provides the largest share of troop and police contribution. We must also bear in mind the fact that most of the peacekeeping operations, both active and closed are or were hosted in the territories of members of the Group.
3. As the Committee will appreciate, peacekeeping operations are carried out in remote and high-risk areas. The political instability of environments in which these operations are carried out together with the complexity of their mandates, demand the provision of adequate and timely resources for the support component. This is essential, not only to enable effective execution of changing and complex mandates, but also to ensure the safety and security of our peacekeepers who risk their lives every single day for the UN's efforts towards global peace and security.
4. We reiterate that the level of support account should be commensurate with the different variables involved, including the given mandate, number, size, and complexity of peacekeeping operations in the field in order to continue to provide seamless backstopping support.
5. Our Group notes that the overall proposed financial resources required by the Secretary-General for the support account during the period 2023/24 are estimated at $391.2 million, which represents a 5.2% increase, compared to the approved budget for the period 2022/23. In this respect, we believe detailed justifications should be provided in view of the observations and the reductions recommended by the ACABQ, mainly under post and position requirements as well as consultants and consulting services, official travel, communications and information technologies.
6. We further note that for the 2023/24 period, the number of authorized uniformed personnel supported is expected to decrease, mainly to changes in the number of African Union personnel, while the number of civilian personnel in missions is expected to increase slightly. We look forward to receiving further information in this regard.
7. Our Group stresses that closure and downsizing of missions must consider the continued need for backstopping support in order to provide for completion and transition planning activities. Resources requirements must therefore reflect the specific needs of such missions accordingly.
8. The Group also reiterates the importance of proper representation of troop- and police-contributing countries, particularly at the senior level, including in the departments funded by the support account. We also stress the need to ensure that vacant posts are filled expeditiously, and to review the posts that have been vacant for 24 months or longer.
9. We wish to highlight that only those activities and initiatives that are fully considered and approved by the General Assembly should be budgeted for, and their resource requirements reflected in support account after approval by the UNGA.
10. On behalf of our Group, I would like to reiterate our strong support and commitment for UN peacekeeping operations and our call for adequate backstopping capabilities of peacekeeping operations.
11. In conclusion. we assure you, Mr. Chair, of our commitment to engage constructively with all member States on this important agenda item.
I thank you.