STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 151: ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUDGETARY ASPECTS OF THE FINANCING OF THE UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: OVERVIEW, FOR THE SECOND PART OF THE RESUMED SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 24 May 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on the Overview of the financing of the UN peacekeeping operations. The Group appreciates the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee for their efforts towards the submission and presentation of the respective reports. We would like to encourage the releasing of relevant reports in the six official languages in a timely manner.
2. The Group notes that the overall requirements for UN peacekeeping operations for the 2023/2024 represents an increase of 5.6 per cent, compared to the level approved for the 2022/2023 financial period. We further note that while the uniformed personnel decreased, mainly due to the closure of missions, the number of proposed civilian personnel for 2023/2024 is increasing. The Group will carefully consider the cross-cutting budget performance and proposed budget of peacekeeping operations in order to ensure that resources are commensurate with the mandated tasks and operational environment.
3. The Group is pleased that progress has been made with regards to consolidating the delegation of authority framework. We further note that all missions have now implemented the Comprehensive Planning and Performance Assessment System and look forward to receiving more detailed information in this regard.
4. The Group also notes with concern that the percentage of unpaid assessments has unfortunately increased over the past five periods. We urge once again all Member States to fulfil their financial obligations on time, in full and without conditions, and looks forward to receiving an updated status of contributions for all missions.
5. The Group further expresses its concern about the high level of vacancies in civilian staffing and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that vacant posts are filled expeditiously and review the posts that have been vacant for 24 months or longer.
6. Quick Impact Projects and Programmatic Activities play a crucial role for successful mandate implementation. QIPs should continue to be designed on a case by case basis relying on previous experiences and lessons learned, in order to help build confidence in missions, their mandates and political and peace processes.
7. Although constituting a small share of the peacekeeping missions' budget, programmatic activities are used as a tool to more effectively pursue political processes and wider mandate delivery. We expect that comprehensive information relating on the scope of programmatic activities, including a breakdown of the category of "other" programmatic activities, will be included in future overview reports.
8. We recall the Group's longstanding position that performance in peacekeeping operations is a collective effort that involves the participation of all Member States and the Secretariat, besides all civilians as well as uniformed components of missions. Any attempt to utilize performance assessment as a basis for furthering arbitrary cuts on peacekeeping budgets is likely to undermine mandate implementation and may even erode the positive effects of progress made earlier.
9. On the issue of representation, the Group recalls resolutions 72/262C and 76/274 where the Secretary-General was requested to intensify his efforts to ensure proper representation of troop and police contributing countries, particularly at the senior and policymaking levels, in the field missions and the relevant new departments. In this respect, the Group would like to understand the application of specific programmes, initiatives and relevant aspects of senior managers' compacts in addressing this historical and profound deficit, particularly for TCCs/PCCs of developing countries who have made unquantifiable contributions to UN peacekeeping efforts.
10. We notice that despite WEOG countries do not provide significant numbers of uniformed personnel for these missions, their nationals encumber almost 40% of the posts financed by the support account in the Department of Peace Operations and almost 50% of those related to the Department of Operational Support. If we consider only the D-1, D-2 level posts, they occupy much higher share and it has become necessary to make arrangements for ensuring proper representation of the TPCCs.
11. The Group acknowledges the considerable increase in the number of posts proposed for nationalization in 2023/2024, mostly concentrated in MONUSCO. We expect that the Secretary-General will include more proposals for nationalization in future mission budgets, as appropriate.
12. The Group welcomes initiatives that have the scope of improving the safety and security of peacekeepers which is one of the prime considerations of this committee. The Secretariat's action plan on safety and security of peacekeepers has proved during its years of operations that it has the potential to decrease fatalities resulting from acts of violence against them. We stress that the relevant resolutions and decisions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, particularly resolution 2518 (2020), must be fully and well implemented. We underscore the importance of avoiding casualties and we will continue to analyze and support proposals with this aim.
13. We reiterate the importance of responsible implementation by the Secretariat through financial discipline and adherence to delivery of mandates laid down in relevant resolutions. It is not for the Secretariat to decide which mandates carry a high priority and which do not. Mandates, as we all know, are the prerogative of Member States.
14. The Group stands ready to engage constructively with all member states with a view to concluding this agenda item successfully in a timely manner.
I thank you.