STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. MASSENI KABA SALEH, SECOND SECRETARY AT THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 154: ADMINISTRATIVE AND BUGETARY ASPECTS OF THE FINANCING OF THE UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS - OVERVIEW AND CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES, DURING THE SECOND PART OF THE RESUMED SEVENTY-FIFTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 3 May 2021)
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 154: Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of the Financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Overview and Cross-cutting issues.
2. The Group wishes to thank the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions for the submission of their respective reports.
3. The Group also wishes to express its appreciation for the reports of the Board of Auditors (BoA), the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), and the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU). As it is the practice of the Group of 77 and China, findings and recommendations coming forth would be taken into account during the analysis of this and other relevant agenda items.
4. We would, most importantly, like to pay tribute to all United Nations peacekeepers and to honour the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of global peace and security.
5. The overall requirements for United Nations peacekeeping operations, in the proposed amount of $6,466.3 million for the 2021/22 period, is $310 million lower than the level approved for the 2020/21 financial period, which was already lower than that approved for the 2019/20 period. The Group welcomes the efficiency gains, but we must not lose sight of the real important issue: delivering mandates appropriately. To achieve this, approved resources must be commensurate with the mandated tasks and/or operational environment.
6. Peacekeeping operations have been and continue to be one of the most effective multilateral tools available to help prevent the outbreak or relapse into conflict and pave the way to sustainable peace. The challenges faced by these operations are manifold: wide-ranging mandates, increasingly complex political and security environments, and threats that are often targeted at United Nations personnel, while transnational threats across regions continue to affect stability in some host countries. Added to those are the especial circumstances in which peacekeeping operations have been taking place in consequence of the COVID 19 pandemic, that has now lasted for more than a year. Member states are well aware of such challenges, hence the increasing importance of renewing our collective commitment to the Organization's peace efforts.
7. The Group is pleased that progress has been made with regards to consolidating the new system of delegation of authority. We believe however, that accountability and transparency are of the utmost importance for all activities of the Organization and therefore evaluation and improvements on those should be an ongoing process.
8. The Group of 77 and China continues to emphasize the important roles of Quick Impact Projects and Programmatic Activities 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 mandate and political and peace processes. We must not lose sight of their ability to generate support for the military and police components, a growing concern for all troop and police contributing countries.
9. Although constituting a small share of the peacekeeping missions' budget, programmatic activities are used by peacekeeping missions as a tool for the effective pursuit of political processes and wider mandate delivery. The Security Council has in recent years expanded the number of programmatic activities it tasks peacekeeping missions with, with a view to preventiing and resolving conflicts and building lasting peace.
10. On the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse the Group reaffirms ts strong commitment to the United Nations' zero tolerance approach. The Group welcomes the strong resolve of the United Nations towards ensuring that it will not remain silent or passive in the face of reported incidents, as well as towards protecting and supporting victims of SEA through adopting a victim-centered approach addressing this problem and putting in place effective preventive policies and measures.
11. The Group looks forward to examining progress towards adopting a more unified, system-wide approach to SEA. The Group will also be interested to examine the efforts undertaken to strengthen accountability in regards to SEA. We also noted ACABQ suggestions on the need for a thorough review of the impact and efficiency of these efforts.
12. The Group looks forward to receiving more information on the results obtained by the launching of the electronic incident form as well as its financial arrangement and encourages the continuation of the implementation of a victim-centered approach and effective preventive policies and measures, particularly in relation to implementing partners.
13. The Group notes that there is a plan to extend the implementation of the Comprehensive Planning and Performance Assessment System to the remaining peacekeeping missions. We look forward to receiving more information in this regard.
14. The Group welcomes initiatives that use technology to enhance results and gain efficiencies. We also believe that information is central to providing better responses to the daily challenges faced by these operations. We therefore welcome the improvement of peacekeeping data standards and look forward to better understanding this process and how it can enhance analysis and reporting capabilities.
15. We recall our longstanding position that performance in peacekeeping operations is rather a collective effort that involves Member States, the Secretariat, and all components of missions. The Group believes that any attempt to utilize performance assessment as a basis for furthering arbitrary cuts on the peacekeeping budget is likely to undermine mandate implementation and may even erode hard-earned progress.
16. Also on the issue of representation, the Group wishes to recall resolution 72/262C where the Secretary-General was asked to intensify his efforts to ensure proper representation of troop and police contributing countries in the relevant new departments. In this respect, the Group will seek to understand the application of specific programmes, initiatives and relevant aspects of senior managers' compacts in addressing this historical deficit, particularly for TCCS/PCCS of developing countries who have contributed and sacrificed unquantifiably to UN peacekeeping.
17. The Group takes note that demand for services in the area of environmental technical support to the peace keeping missions have continued to grow over the years as demonstrated by the many initiatives and projects being implemented in the peace keeping operations. Similarly, progress has been made in the implementation of the multiyear environmental strategy across its five pillars. Given the central role of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the leading global environmental authority within the United Nations system, the Group will be interested to understand how the Secretariat intends to leverage its comparative advantage in the implementation of the environment strategy for peace operations.
18. We reiterate our Group's view that the Second Resumed Session should prioritize the consideration of the financing of peacekeeping operations. These complex items demand our close attention, and we should focus on concluding our deliberations on time to ensure that peacekeeping operations are given the necessary resources to fulfill their mandates. We therefore remind the Secretariat that items allotted to this session should be related to these missions unless their scrutiny by this Committee is deemed urgent. However important the JIU report on the investigation function may be, it is not solely directed at activities regarding the crosscutting issues of peacekeeping missions.
19. Of utmost importance to the Group is the provision of adequate healthcare to those who risk their safety in the implementation of organizational mandates. We welcome the implementation of the policy on United Nations standards for health care quality and patient safety and the clinical pathways and clinic audit methodology.
20. The Group continues to welcome initiatives that have the scope of improving the safety and security of peacekeepers. The Secretariat's action plan on the safety and security of peacekeepers has proved during its two years of operation that it has the potential to decrease fatalities due to acts of violence. We recall that casualties should be kept to their barest minimum and we will continue to analyze and support proposals with this aim.
21. In conclusion Mr. Chair, the Group of 77 and China will carefully consider the cross-cutting budget performance and proposed budget of peacekeeping operations, bearing in mind that mandates must be adequately funded. The Group continues to call for responsible implementation by the Secretariat through financial discipline and adherence to the mandates laid down in the 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. It is also known and universally accepted that the only way to cure the perennially difficult financial situation that hamstrings peacekeeping operations is if all Member States pay their assessments in full, on time, and without conditions.
22. As always, the Group of 77 and China stands ready to engage constructively and transparently with a view to concluding the agenda item in a timely manner.