(As delivered)

Statement by Mr. Hitoshi Kozaki,
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Item 121: Financial reports and audited financial statements,
and report of the Board of Auditors and
item 136: Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing
of the United Nations peacekeeping operations

May 22, 2006

Mr. Chairman,

The proposed 2006/2007 budgets for UN peacekeeping operations amount to nearly $5 billion, not including expenses related to the future expansion of UN activities in Darfur. Under the circumstances, the Government of Japan continues to scrutinize the budgets of UN peacekeeping operations to see if they are fully justified and if the operations themselves are being managed in an efficient, effective and accountable manner. We are particularly concerned about reported cases of fraud and presumptive fraud, and my delegation would find it difficult to support the peacekeeping budgets before us, unless convincing explanations are given as to all necessary measures being implemented, taking fully into account those points raised by the OIOS in its reports, to redress and prevent the recurrence of similar cases in the future.

Mr. Chairman,

The strong interest of Member States in better management of peacekeeping operations was reflected in General-Assembly resolution 59/296. While my delegation welcomes the issuance by the Secretary-General of the overview report, we are keen to hear the views of the Advisory Committee. We believe that careful consideration must be given to thematic management issues before we approve individual mission budgets, and we would like to carefully analyze the manner in which the guidance and recommendations contained in the GA resolution and the reports of ACABQ and BOA have been implemented, with a view to providing further guidance where it is necessary to do so.

The Government of Japan attaches great importance to the principle of budgetary discipline. It is the obligation of the Government to make sure that its contributions are utilized in strict compliance with financial rules and regulations, so that the Government in turn can shoulder its responsibility to be accountable to its own taxpayers. With regard to such problem areas as procurement practices and sexual exploitation and abuse, we need to see clear evidence of improvement of management practices in the Secretariat, with strong emphasis on the strengthened accountability mechanism. Without this, we would not be fully accountable to our taxpayers for the approval of budgets of peacekeeping operations.

The report of SG describes the areas of proposed undertakings of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Those new proposals with policy and financial implications, including "Peace operations 2010," need to be carefully examined by Member States. We reiterate our support for the opinion of the ACABQ that the efficiency and effectiveness of the management process should be reviewed before additional resources are requested. We attach importance to more realistic budgeting based on realistic assessment of requirements and to analysis as to the opportunity for gains in efficiency and savings, which the GA called for in its resolution 59/296.

It is regrettable that the SG is not yet in a position to present his view on the management structure of peacekeeping operations at this session. We recall the weaknesses of that were pointed out by the ACABQ in its report last year. And we are not convinced that proposed new initiatives will lead to improvements unless management structure is analyzed clearly and comprehensively. We note that the recommendation of the ACABQ to create a "management committee" for good governance, accountability and implementation of oversight recommendations in each mission was not followed by the Department. While we are cognizant that OIOS is working on a report to address the issue of management structure, the problem of duplicative and top-heavy structures of complex, integrated missions remain and there appears to be little Headquarters involvement in the monitoring of the evolution of structures in individual peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chairman,

We pay close attention to how the reform of procurement practices is, or not, progressing. In its report, the OIOS points out the lack of care and involvement of senior management, the absence of internal control mechanism and the lack of basic knowledge of procurement procedures on the part of field procurement officers, and the over-estimates of procurement requirements. We take note with grave concern of the comment that inaccurate forecasting of requirements exposes the Organization to risks of collusion with vendors, theft or other irregular activities. We are also concerned about the instances of unexplained non-compliance with manuals, guidelines and regulations as well as the increase in fraud and presumptive fraud cases, most notably the loss of fuel, reported by the Administration. Immediate action needs to be taken to prevent future cases of non-compliance, and we fully support the recommendation of the BOA that the DPKO should carefully analyze the elements leading to the reported fraud and take the necessary punitive measures, learn from its experience and share the lesson it learns systematically with other peacekeeping missions. If there is little attention and oversight by senior management, as reported by OIOS, providing these new resources as requested by the DPKO will not necessarily resolve problems. The establishment of a strong accountability mechanism, including clear delegation of authority, is essential in this regard.

The issue of sexual exploitation in peacekeeping operations, along with that of improper procurement practices, unfortunately tarnish the reputation and credibility of UN peacekeeping operations. In the spirit of zero tolerance, no efforts should be spared to address systematic weakness. A clear explanation must be given as to policy framework and the manner in which existing resources are to be utilized, whenever additional resources are requested.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite the fact that all recently established missions are complex and integrated missions, there has been neither much explanation of the administrative and budgetary aspects of such missions, nor enough discussions in the General Assembly. My delegation asked for clarification on the division of labour between UN missions and relevant UN entities in the area of DDR in the course of our discussion of GA resolution 59/296. We also asked about the concept and implementation of integrated missions in the context of the 05/06 budget for UNMIS. The comment of the BOA as to the absence of a formal definition of the integrated mission concept reinforces our concern. We also note that, as pointed out by the OIOS, there has been insufficient strategic guidance and support from Headquarters in the integrated mission planning process of UNMIS. We endorse the recommendation of the BOA and ACABQ that the Administration should formalize the concept of integrated mission partnership, determine their function, structure and role and finalize the principles, policies and guidelines that are to govern them.

As a part of its analysis of "other tasks" performed by liaison aircrafts, the BOA in paragraph 182 describes situations where missions were compelled to provide air transport support to local interlocutors and international counterparts engaged in activities relating to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, humanitarian assistance, elections and other civic activities. For my delegation, this raises questions as to how the resources of the UN missions are utilized vis-à-vis other relevant UN entities in the field and how such usage is recorded and reported to the General Assembly. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations says that it maintains a rigorous policy on the authorization of flights designated for "other tasks." We would like to learn more about this policy and its application. We concur with the BOA recommendation that the Department be more specific in its categorization of such flights in order to facilitate proper monitoring and decision-making. In this connection, we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our position that integrated missions should not be utilized as a mechanism for financing activities of UN entities from UN assessed contributions.

The OIOS found that results-based budget and mission planning process were not integrated in UNMIS, for example, and pointed out that as a result there was a risk of inefficient and ineffective use of resources for critical activities. We would like to cite in this regard the clear instruction of the GA in section III paragraph 7 of resolution 59/296.

Mr. Chairman,

We support further promotion of inter-mission cooperation, as it contributes to the effective use of mission resources, and we support the BOA recommendation that the regional coordination plans be developed and implemented among missions in the same region. We recall that the importance of synergy among missions in the region was emphasized in our recent discussion on special political missions. The Administration says that it is cautious about producing "plans," due to limitations on resource-sharing and operational priorities. We would like to receive further clarification on the view of the Secretariat.

We endorse the recommendation of the ACABQ that the BOA is requested to analyze the management of post and non-post resources related to the support account. Also, we attach importance to the follow-up of the implementation of BOA recommendations in areas including air transportation, ground transportation, inventory management and rations. We find the view of the OIOS on ICT appropriate and useful.

Thank you.

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