UN - United Nations

07/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/03/2019 16:22

Fifth Committee Approves $6.51 Billion for 13 Peacekeeping Operations in 2019/20, Joint Management of Active Missions’ Cash Balances, as Resumed Session Ends

Delegates Disagree about Whether to Implement Board of Auditors' Recommendations

Concluding the second part of its resumed session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today sent 22 draft resolutions and 1 draft decision to the General Assembly, asking it to authorize an annual United Nations peacekeeping budget of $6.51 billion and have the Secretary-General explore options to improve the Organization's cash position.

The approved peacekeeping budget, below the previous year's level and 1.8 per cent less than the Secretary-General's request, would cover the cost of 13 peacekeeping missions from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. It includes related funds for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy; the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda; and the peacekeeping support account.

The representative of the United States emphasized that peacekeeping remains one of the most important tools available to assist conflict-affected countries in reaching political solutions, adding that her delegation sought to ensure that missions remain effective and operate efficiently.

'Once again, we call attention to the adverse effects of doing more with less,' stressed Uganda's delegate, who spoke for the African Group, strongly urging Member States and groups to avoid any further attempts to make arbitrary cuts in the name of seeking efficiency.

Pakistan's delegate said that, as one of the largest and most consistent troop contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, his country supports the role of peacekeeping as one of the Organization's most critical functions. All measures adopted by the Committee in this area must go hand in hand with timely reimbursements to troop and police contributors, he stressed.

The Committee also approved a draft resolution on 'improving the financial situation of the United Nations', which would have the Assembly stress that finance serves as a foundation of and an important element of underpinning United Nations governance, support replenishment of the Special Account to improve the Organization's financial situation and ask the Secretary-General to explore replenishment options.

By the text, the Assembly would also approve the management of the cash balances of all active peacekeeping operations as a pool while maintaining the balances in separate funds for each mission on a trial basis for three budget periods and request that the Secretary-General ensure proper oversight and control are in place, that mandate implementation from the lending mission is not negatively impacted and to report progress thereon annually.

The representative of the Russian Federation pointed out, however, that some of the Secretary-General's proposals are to address the symptoms of the problem, but not the root cause, which is the failure of Member States to pay mandatory contributions on time and in full.

While most texts enjoyed consensus, some drafts were contentious, including one by which the Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations by the Board of Auditors, except those that some delegations believe are under the purview of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

The representative of the United States proposed an amendment to this draft expressing regret that the 'Group of 77' developing countries and China tabled a resolution that lacks consensus. Voicing concern about the reasons put forward by certain delegations for rejecting the Board's recommendations, she said that implementing them would contribute to improved performance in peacekeeping.

The proposed amendment was rejected by a vote of 47 in favour to 88 against with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Liberia), and the resolution was adopted by a vote of 93 in favour to 46 against with no abstentions.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, voiced regret that the Committee failed to reach agreement on the report of the Board of Auditors. 'We believe that this sets a very bad precedent,' he said, warning that, with today's vote on that matter, the Committee lost the delicate balance between the Board's mandate and that of the United Nations main organs.

In closing remarks, delegates commended their hard work, but expressed regret that the Committee was not able to complete its work within allotted time for two years in a row.

Gillian Bird (Australia), Committee Chair, expressed hope that the Committee in its future sessions will continue to be guided by the principles of comradery, cooperation, compromise and consensus.

In other business, the Committee elected Mohamed Fouad Ahmed (Egypt), Giorgi Mikeladze (Georgia) and Luiz Feldman (Brazil) as Vice‑Chairs, as well as Yaron Wax (Israel) as Rapporteur for its seventy-fourth session.

Also speaking today were representatives of Israel, Switzerland, El Salvador, Syria, Lebanon, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, China, Botswana and Uruguay, as well as observers for the State of Palestine and the European Union.

Mission/Operation

Total Appropriation

MINUJUSTH (United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti)

$49.45 million

MINURSO (Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)

$56.35 million

MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic)

$910.06 million

MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali)

$1.14 billion

MONUSCO (Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo)

$1.01 billion

UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur)

$257.97 million

UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force)

$69.41 million

UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus)

$50.79 million

UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon)

$480.1 million

UNISFA (Interim Security Force in Abyei)

$260.18 million

UNMIK (Mission in Kosovo)

$37.25 million

UNMISS (Mission in South Sudan)

$1.18 billion

UNSOS (Support Office in Somalia)

$564.56 million

UNLB (United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi)

$61.26 million

RSCE (Regional Service Centre in Entebbe)

$33.04 million

Peacekeeping Support Account

$343.84 million

TOTAL

$6.51 billion

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee first approved a draft resolution titled 'Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors' (document A/C.5/73/L.33), by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to 46 against with no abstentions.

It also rejected a series of amendments proposed orally by the representative of the United States, by a vote of 47 in favour to 88 against with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Liberia).

By the text, the General Assembly would take note of the audit options and findings and endorse the conclusions and recommendations in the Board of Auditors' report concerning United Nations peacekeeping operations for the financial period ended 30 June 2018, except those contained in paragraphs 144, 149, 151, 266, 273, 280, 385 and 387 of the report and request the Secretary-General not implement the recommendations in those paragraphs.

MAJED BAMYA of the State of Palestine, introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the 'Group of 77' developing countries and China, recalled that the bloc clearly stated its concern over several points raised by the Board of Auditors and sought clarifications during informal consultations. Despite explanations provided, the Group could still not agree on some of the Board's comments and recommendations, he said, adding that it put forward language that would still take on board most of the Board's report save for a few recommendations. While the Board plays an indispensable role in the functioning and oversight of the United Nations, Member States - and in this case the Fifth Committee - are mandated to oversee all administrative and budgetary matters. 'Any attempt to circumvent the intergovernmental processes of the General Assembly is harmful to our Organization,' he stressed.

DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation), agreeing that the Board's work is critical, nevertheless said the Board sometimes makes recommendations on subjects still being discussed by Member States. Echoing the concerns raised by the representative of the State of Palestine on behalf of the Group of 77, he noted his delegation's intention to become a co-sponsor of the draft resolution.

JUKKA VÄLIMAA (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed regret that no consensus could be reached on the current agenda item. Stressing that Member States should not micromanage the Board of Auditors, he said there is value in the body's recommendations related to procurement, the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe and force generation/peacekeeping performance, all of which fall within its mandate. While some recommendations should be discussed in other fora, he warned against flatly rejecting them, which would set a 'very bad precedent'. He regretted that some of the recommendations aimed at improving the effectiveness of the Organization, which were flatly rejected, were formulated in line with the spirit of reform adopted in 2018. Against that backdrop, he underlined the European Union's support for the oral amendments put forward by the United States delegate which seek to preserve the balance between the Board's independence and the General Assembly's role in formulating policy.

Mr. BAMYA of the State of Palestine said the draft resolution includes important roles for the General Assembly and the Fifth Committee and pointed out that in the past other texts have been adopted by the Committee without a full endorsement of all their provisions. Noting that the draft is explicit in its language, he said his delegation cannot accept amendments proposed by the United States and urged other delegations to also vote against them.

CHERITH NORMAN CHALET (United States), speaking after the vote on the proposed amendments, expressed regret over the Group of 77's decision to table a resolution that lacks consensus on the current agenda item. 'Putting forward a hostile text regarding the observations and recommendations of the Board of Auditors is troubling for a number of reasons,' she said, stressing that as an independent oversight body the Board plays a unique role in providing oversight for the United Nations system. Emphasizing that the language proposed in today's text will have a chilling effect on what should be a free-flowing dialogue between the Board and the United Nations Secretariat, she said it also compromises the former's independence by attempting to make certain topics 'off limits'.

After careful consideration, the Secretary-General clearly sees merit in the Board's recommendations with due recognition of the roles of the General Assembly and the Security Council, she said, stressing: 'My delegation will not support attempts to curtail the Secretary-General's authority and his efforts to effectively manage the Organization.' Voicing concern about the reasons put forward by certain delegations for rejecting the Board's recommendations, she said that implementing them would contribute to improved performance in peacekeeping. 'Other delegations are cynically using this resolution as a backdoor to undo reforms that have been endorsed by the General Assembly,' she stressed, describing those actions as 'underhanded and unacceptable'.

HASEEB GOHAR (Pakistan), explaining his votes and associating himself with the Group of 77, said adequate financing is a prerequisite for adequate results in peacekeeping. Also crucial is a strong mechanism for triangular cooperation between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council. Noting that some of the recommendations put forward by the Board of Auditors fall under the purview of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, known as the 'C34', he warned against any attempt to circumvent the General Assembly's purview. For those reasons, he said, Pakistan voted against the proposed amendments and in favour of the resolution as a whole.

YARON WAX (Israel), regretting that no consensus could be reached, said improving peacekeeping performance is critical. His delegation voted against the resolution because it will not help to implement the Secretary-General's 'Action for Peacekeeping' initiative to those ends.

MIKE MARTIN AMMANN (Switzerland) expressed concern that some of the proposed language in the resolution may negatively impact the relationship between the Board of Auditors and the Secretariat. Emphasizing that it is the Secretary‑General's purview to react to the recommendations put forward in the Board's reports, he warned that votes should be avoided in the Fifth Committee. In this case, Switzerland voted against the text.

CARLOS ALEJANDRO FUNES HENRÍQUEZ (El Salvador), noting that his delegation voted in favor of the text, agreed with other speakers that the Board of Auditors went beyond the scope of its mandate and put forward recommendations that instead fall under the purview of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping.

It then approved a draft resolution titled 'Estimates in respect of special political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council: Thematic Cluster III: regional offices, offices in support of political processes and other missions: United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement' (document A/C.5/73/L.50), by which terms it the General Assembly would approve a budget in the amount of $56.16 million for the Mission, and appropriate an additional amount of $56.33 million (net) of the programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019, after taking into account the estimated expenditures for 2018, amount to $171,600.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution titled 'Improving the financial situation of the United Nations' (document A/C.5/73/L.36), by which the Assembly would stress that finance serves as a foundation of and an important element of underpinning United Nations governance, support replenishment of the Special Account to improve the Organization's financial situation and ask the Secretary-General to explore replenishment options. The Assembly would approve the management of the cash balances of all active peacekeeping operations as a pool while maintaining the balances in separate funds for each mission on a trial basis for three budget periods, and ask the Secretary-General to ensure proper oversight and control are in place, that mandate implementation from the lending mission is not negatively impacted, and to report progress thereon annually.

Further by the text, the General Assembly would request the Secretary‑General to issue assessment letters for peacekeeping operations for the full budget period approved by the Assembly, subject to the availability of rates of assessments for applicable years. The letters would include the estimated budget for the period for which the mandate had not yet been approved by the Security Council and this amount would be considered due within 30 days of the effective date of the extension of the operation's mandate. The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General arrange quarterly briefings for Member States on the status of the reimbursements to troop- and police-contributing countries and the steps taken to ensure their timely settlement, as well as to report to on the implementation of the present resolution at its seventy-sixth session.

The representative of the Russian Federation expressed his delegation's regret over a lack of adequate dialogue on the draft and proper consideration of the Russian Federation's constructive proposals. Real support for the Secretary‑General is measured by how Member States pay their assessed contributions, he said, stressing that the Russian Federation pays its regular and peacekeeping assessments in full and on time. It is very unfortunate that some of the proposals on the table are to address the symptoms of the problem - which is caused by debtors - but not the root causes, he said. His delegation does not wish to block consensus on the text, yet it is not in a position to be a part of the consensus. The Russian Federation cannot bear the responsibility for violating the basics of budget discipline and subsidizing debtors. The root cause of the problem is the failure of Member States to pay mandatory contributions on time and in full. The Russian Federation will take into account the above-mentioned issues when making future payments.

The Committee then approved 'L.36' without a vote.

The Committee then approved a draft text without a vote on the support account for peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/73/L.35), by which terms the Assembly would approve the support account requirements in the amount of $348.87 million for the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 July 2020, including $19.38 million for the enterprise resource planning project, $821,500 for the information and systems security, $868,500 for the global service delivery model project, $3.88 million for the peacekeeping capability readiness and $20.8 million for Umoja maintenance and support costs, including 1,357 continuing posts and 9 new temporary costs, as well as the abolishment, redeployment, reassignment and reclassification of posts, 59 continuing and 3 new general temporary assistance positions and 52 person-months, as well as related post and non-post requirements.

Next, the Committee approved the draft resolution titled 'Financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy' (document A/C.5/73/L.52), by which the Assembly would approve the cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $63.38 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

It went on to approve the draft resolution titled 'Financing of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda' (document A/C.5/73/L.51), by which the Assembly would approve $35.39 million for the maintenance of the Centre from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Turning to drafts on peacekeeping missions, the Committee first approved a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/C.5/73/L.39), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNISFA $279.14 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $260.18 million for the maintenance of the Force, $14.74 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $2.63 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $1.60 million for the Regional Service Centre at Entebbe.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/C.5/73/L.47), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSCA $976.38 million from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $910.06 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $51.55 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $9.18 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $5.59 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

The Committee then approved a text on the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/73/L.32). By its terms, the Assembly would take note of the status of contributions as of 30 April, including outstanding contributions on $9.7 million, some 0.2 per cent of the total assessed contributions, noting with concern that only 162 Member States have paid their assessments in full and urge all Member States in arrears to ensure payment. The Assembly, endorsing the conclusions and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) in its report (document A/73/854), would ask the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation. Furthermore, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary‑General's report on the final disposition of UNOCI's assets and would decide to include the item on the agenda for its seventy-fourth session.

The Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/73/L.44). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNFICYP $54.17 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $50.79 million for the maintenance of the Force, $2.88 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $512,500 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Next, it approved a text on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/73/L.43). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for MONUSCO $1.09 billion for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $1.01 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $57.34 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $10.22 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.21 million for the Regional Service Centre. It would also decide to reduce the commitment authority of $47.92 million previously approved for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, by $532,300 to $47.39 million, bringing the total resources approved for maintaining and operating the Mission for the period to $1.19 billion, equal to the expenditures incurred by the Mission during the period.

The Committee then approved a text on financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/73/L.34) by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSTAH $90 million for the Mission's maintenance from 1 July to 31 December 2017.

The Committee then approved a text on financing of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) (document A/C.5/73/L.46), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $3.30 million for the 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 period, including $2.80 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $499,000 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/73/L.48), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIK $39.73 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $37.25 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $2.11 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $375,900 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

It then approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/73/L.49). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to defer action until it considers the final performance report of the Mission. It would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the Mission's budget performance from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, the $6.61 million comprising the unencumbered balance of $385,100, as well as the other revenue and adjustments in the amount of $6.23 million for the same period.

The Committee also approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/73/L.42), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSMA $1.22 billion for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $1.14 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $64.49 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $11.49 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $6.99 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe.

Under its agenda item on financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, the Committee considered two texts.

First, it took up a draft on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/73/L.45), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force $74.04 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $69.41 million for the maintenance of UNDOF, $3.93 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $700,500 for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

Prior to the action, the representative of Syria, recalling that UNDOF was created in 1974 to separate the Syrian forces and the Israeli occupying forces in the occupied Syrian Golan, said the reasons for its establishment still exist. Indeed, Israel's continued occupation remains a flagrant violation of international law and Security Council resolutions. Rejecting the methodical behaviour of several countries which seek to undermine the mission's military mandate, he stressed that UNDOF is not political in nature. 'It is not possible to ignore our position and behave as if we don't exist,' he stressed, calling for the interests of the host country - namely, Syria - to be considered. Warning against efforts to task civilian officers with important military tasks, he also decried the unjustified attempts to politicize the mission. In that context, he proposed an oral amendment which he said would introduce language calling for full respect for the principle of national sovereignty and non-interference in the domestic affairs of States.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed concern that, once again, no consensus could be reached and voiced regret over the politicization of the Committee's discussions. Noting that the bloc intends to vote against the amendment proposed by the representative of Syria, he said the post proposed for abolishment should continue to fulfil the key functions assigned by the Committee. 'It is regrettable that, since 2015, this post has been vacant due to the refusal of the necessary visas,' he said, urging the Syrian Government to allow such posts to be filled as decided in the past by the Committee and thereby enable the Mission's proper functioning.

The Committee then rejected the proposed amendment by a recorded vote of 10 in favour to 57 against with 63 abstentions. It adopted the resolution as a whole without a vote.

Speaking after the adoption, the representative of Syria thanked those delegations that voted in favour of his proposed amendments and voiced his delegation's intention to vote in favour of the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which the Committee will take up next.

Next, the Committee took up a draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/73/L.31). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $512.12 million to the Special Account for UNIFIL for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $480.1 million for the maintenance of the Force, $27.19 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $4.85 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi.

The observer for the State of Palestine, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, proposed oral amendments to 'L.31'. The Secretariat made technical amendments.

The representative of Israel said that, once again, the Group of 77 has chosen, in its annual ritual, to politicize and thus undermine the Committee's work. Israel supported United Nations peacekeeping as a whole. The 'Group of 77' continued to single out Israel, she said, requesting a vote to remove preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13.

The representative of the United States said that it is not right to use a funding resolution to make a claim against a Member State regarding the shelling of the UNIFIL headquarters at Qana.

The observer for the State of Palestine, on behalf of the 'Group of 77', urged all delegations to vote 'no' to Israel's request.

By a recorded vote of 84 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with 52 abstentions, the Committee voted to retain these paragraphs.

The Fifth Committee then approved the draft as a whole without a vote.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc's member States abstained as they consider the text inappropriate. The broader political aspects of the events, including the Qana incident, were debated in the General Assembly in April 1996. The Fifth Committee consultations could have been confined only to the budgetary aspects of the financing of UNIFIL.

The representative of Lebanon said that her delegation supported the retainment of those paragraphs.

The Committee then approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/73/L.38), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $1.27 billion for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $1.18 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $67.03 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $11.94 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, as well as $7.26 million for the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe. It would also decide to reduce the commitment authority of $65.16 million previously approved for the same period by $28.84 million to $39.32 million, resulting in $1.11 billion in total resources approved for the Mission's maintenance and operation for the period, equal to the expenditures incurred by the Mission during the same period.

Next, the Committee approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/73/L.41), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $60.45 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $56.35 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $3.2 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $568,700 for the United Nations Logistics Base and $345,900 for the Regional Service Centre.

It then approved a resolution on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/73/L.37), by which the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $257.97 million for the Operation for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2019. The Assembly would also appropriate to the Special Account for UNAMID $18.8 million for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, including $14.61 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $2.6 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $1.58 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/73/L.40), which would have the Assembly decide to appropriate $605.7 million to the Special Account for the United Nations Support Office in Somalia for the period from 1 July 2019 to 31 May 2020, including $564.56 million for the maintenance of the Support Office, $31.98 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $5.7 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $3.47 million for the Regional Service Centre.

It went on to take note of a note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/73/21) indicating the amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, as well as another note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/73/25) on approved budgetary levels for peacekeeping operations for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Next, the Committee approved a draft decision (document A/C.5/73/L.53), which would have the Assembly decide to defer until its seventy-fourth session consideration of several reports on closed peacekeeping missions from 2011 to 2018.

Closing Statements

Mr. BAMYA of the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the present session has been a challenging one. Voicing concern that the Committee went beyond the peacekeeping fiscal deadline for the second year in a row, he said the Group does not believe in arbitrary, across-the-board cost-cutting exercises that do not take into consideration the situation on the ground. Underlining the importance of close cooperation with troop- and police‑contributing countries, he regretted that the Committee was once again unable to reach consensus on closed peacekeeping missions to address the long‑standing issue of claims payable to Member States - particularly troop- and police-contributors from closed peacekeeping operation budgets.

Expressing hope that the Committee will be able to 'go a step further' on that matter at its next session, he reiterated the Group's support for the Board of Auditors' oversight role. However, it is unfortunate that the report contains recommendations that fall under the purview of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Welcoming the adoption of the resolution on improving the United Nations financial situation, he nevertheless stressed that the Organization's liquidity challenges are mainly due to the increase in arrears and late payments of Member States. He reiterated his call on States to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions - in particular those countries which, for political reasons, consistently and deliberately withhold payments.

CAROLINE NALWANGA MAGAMBO (Uganda), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating herself with the Group of 77, welcomed the consensus reached, but also registered her concern about the way the Committee's current session was conducted. 'The unnecessary delays in the consideration of many items, in particular the budget for peacekeeping operations, impacted negatively on the Committee's work and mitigating efforts had to be quadrupled to ensure that financing of the peacekeeping operations was achieved,' she said. Emphasizing that agreement was achieved due in part to the Group's sacrifice and painful concessions, she said the peacekeeping budget had to be painstakingly negotiated in a manner that led the Group to express its concern about the limited resources allocated to peacekeeping operations - whose primary objective is to support Member States' efforts to ensure peace and security and protect vulnerable civilians. 'Once again, we call attention to the adverse effects of doing more with less,' she stressed, strongly urging Member States and groups to avoid any further attempts to make arbitrary cuts in the name of seeking efficiency. The risk of non-consensus is high and 'the price to be paid by all of us could constitute dire consequences', she warned, echoing calls on all States to pay their contributions in full, promptly and without conditions.

JAN DE PRETER of the European Union, also welcoming the consensus reached, voiced regret that the Committee was unable to reach agreement on the report of the Board of Auditors. 'We believe that this sets a very bad precedent,' he said, warning that, with today's vote on that matter, the Committee lost the delicate balance between the Board's mandate and that of the United Nations main organs. Also expressing regret over the lack of agreement on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse - as well as other specific topics including the use of modern technologies in peacekeeping missions and environmental standards - he said the approval of the resolution on the United Nations financial situation will help the Secretary-General alleviate the current cash crisis facing peacekeeping. However, more should be done to improve the budget methodology and allow for more flexibility for the Secretary-General to manage his budgets for results. In addition, he joined other speakers in expressing regret that the Committee was unable to conclude its session in the time officially allocated.

Ms. CHALET (United States), emphasizing that peacekeeping remains one of the most important tools available to assist conflict-affected countries in reaching political solutions, said her delegation has pursued as its utmost goal efforts to ensure that missions remain effective and operate efficiently. In adopting a peacekeeping budget of $6.5 billion for 2019/20, a 1.8 per cent reduction of the Secretary-General's request, the Committee has provided adequate funding for full mandate implementation while strengthening key capabilities such as the strategic planning capacity in MINUSMA and mediation capacity in MINUSCA. Calling on the Secretary-General to maintain fiscal discipline throughout the year and continue to improve the functioning and performance of peacekeeping operations, she welcomed the Committee's provision of additional peacekeeping financial management mechanisms to the Secretary-General to address some of the liquidity issues facing the Organization. However, her delegation continues to support overall improvements to the budget methodology and looks forward to considering those elements at a later session.

Expressing regret that the Committee was unable at the present session to provide policy guidance to peacekeeping on such matters as supply‑chain management, combating sexual exploitation and abuse, environmental measures, field service delivery and medical support - as it has in previous sessions - she stated: 'It is deeply disappointing that certain Member States put their parochial national interests above the broader good of improving peacekeeping and ensuring the United Nations is a relevant entity in advancing peace and security.' The present session also highlighted significant shortcomings in how the Committee works, including by 'blowing past a real deadline of a fiscal year'. While the impact of those actions may not be felt in New York, she said, they have real effects on operations in the field and inject unnecessary uncertainty and disruption into peacekeeping operations.

WATARU OTSUKA (Japan) described it as deeply regrettable that the Committee was not able to conclude its session within the allotted time. It is up to all Member States to make adjustments to their approaches so as to conclude the next session in a timelier manner. Voicing regret over the action taken on the agenda item related to the report of the Board of Auditors, he warned that it could compromise the Board's critical and independent role and hamper the implementation of its recommendations. Noting that the Organization's peacekeeping functions demand a particularly high level of accountability, he said the General Assembly took an incremental but right step towards enhanced accountability, including of peacekeeping activities conducted by non-mission entities. He hoped that all requests by the Assembly will be fully and faithfully implemented and that resources will be used in an efficient and effective manner to fulfil the mandates of each mission. On the United Nations financial situation, he welcomed the text approved today and called upon the Secretariat to make the best of use of those measures and to report on their impacts in a timely manner.

LUIZ FELDMAN (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the Committee has once again reached a good - if late - decision on the budgets for peacekeeping missions and their support functions. While the global figure highlights the focus on fiscal discipline, he said, the apportionment between missions reflects an effort to avoid the unfair targeting of operations with relatively similar budgets, including MINUJUSTH. The resolutions adopted on that Mission, as well as on MINUSCA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, UNAMID and UNMISS, reaffirm the critical condition that programmatic activities make to the implementation of mission mandates, he said, adding that today's decision on that matter puts in place a solid oversight system to carry out programmatic activities in fast‑changing operational environments. Noting that the proposal contained in document A/73/809 sought to transfer an even more aggressive degree of budgetary authority to the Secretariat than the report submitted during the Assembly's seventy-second session, he went on to say that the clear and renewed message sent today by Member States on the issue of encroachment on the General Assembly's prerogatives will provide lasting and unambiguous guidance to the Secretariat going forward.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico), also welcoming the Committee's final consensus, drew attention to some of the important provisions agreed to, notably funding for MINUJUSTH. While, traditionally, the Committee's resumed session is devoted exclusively to matters of peacekeeping, this session also tackled issues related to fiscal matters, he said, welcoming the adoption of such provisions as a joint account of peacekeeping operations under way, which will help reverse some of the causes of the cash deficit and the lack of liquidity facing the Secretariat. He said he wished the Committee could have ended the current session with results on cross-cutting issues such as sexual exploitation and abuse, expressing hope for a fruitful dialogue and firm agreement on the matter during the next session.

DAOPENG FU (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the Committee finished its work against the backdrop of wider United Nations reforms and insufficient fiscal liquidity. Stressing that adequate financing, including in peacekeeping, is crucial for the Organization to deliver on its mandate, he called for the proper resourcing of all missions and the strengthening of an internal budgetary control system to ensure that 'every penny is well managed'. The Fifth Committee faces a heavy workload and shoulders important responsibilities, he said, calling on its members to continue to operate in the spirit of the 'five Cs' - cooperation, consultation, constructiveness, compromise and consensus. Over the last year, the Committee considered such critical issues as the reform of the United Nations system, the apportionment of peacekeeping expenses and improvements in the Organization's financial situation. However, he said, it failed to reach agreement on other important measures, including human resource management.

Mr. GOHAR (Pakistan), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that, as one of the largest and most consistent troop contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, his country supports the role of peacekeeping as one of the Organization's most critical functions. All measures adopted by the Committee in this area must go hand in hand with timely reimbursements to troop and police contributors, he stressed, voicing regret that no consensus was reached on the recommendations of the Board of Auditors - some of whose recommendations this year fell under the purview of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Stressing that peacekeeping is a collective undertaking, he urged the Secretary‑General to share his views on ways to make more effective use of triangular cooperation.

COLLEN V. KELAPILEN (Botswana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the resources allocated to peacekeeping operations and their backstopping at Headquarters - as well as logistical support at other hubs - must be adequate to support the missions' mandates. Voicing his delegation's expectation that the longer-term impact and sustainability of budget reductions be carefully assessed, he underlined the importance of ensuring that peacekeeping operations are also adequately supported in their drawdown, transition phases and through their various programmatic and quick-impact projects. Emphasizing the importance of peacebuilding and sustaining peace, he said the evolving nature of conflicts also requires that Member States and other entities work together to reduce the duplication of efforts.

Mr. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation), responding to the statement delivered by the representative of the European Union to the effect that the rejection of the Board of Auditors' recommendation creates a dangerous precedent, stressed that many Member States will continue to reject any such recommendations that infringe on the prerogatives of the General Assembly.

ALISON SOLANGE GRAÑA CORONEL (Uruguay), associating herself with the Group of 77, said peacekeeping missions are the crystallization of one of the United Nations most important principles - namely, solidarity. Beyond their differing positions on certain issues, she said, Member States remain united in their view of the value of peacekeeping.

GILLIAN BIRD (Australia), Committee Chair, also delivered brief closing remarks. Thanking the Secretariat and all those who supported the Bureau's work, she expressed her hope that the Committee in its future sessions will continue to be guided by the principles of comradery, cooperation, compromise and consensus.