STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TOSHIRO OZAWA
PERMAMENT MISSION OF JAPAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS
INFORMAL CONSULTATION OF THE PLENARY
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON MANDATE REVIEW
19 JUNE 2006
We thank you for convening today's meeting.
MANDATES OLDER THAN FIVE YEARS AND NON-RENEWED
Before going to specific proposals and the road ahead, my delegation would like to mention our preliminary observations on these 382 mandates.
First, it appears that these 382 mandates do not cover all active mandates older than 5 years and non-renewed. For example, GA resolution 58 (I) of 14 December 1946 is the original mandate for funding of technical assistance activities under the regular budget. This mandate has not been renewed in the recent 5 years, but it is not included in the Registry. As the Secretariat acknowledges, the Registry does require further improvement.
Second, among these 382 mandates, there seems to be only a limited number of "effectively active" mandates. Only 116 mandates are classified as "non-recurrent." Among the "recurrent mandates," some appear to be time-bound, and thus not "effectively active" as of today.
Third, my delegation is puzzled by what "renewed" exactly means. For example, you cannot argue that a new mandate which address only a small part of its original mandate "renews" the old mandate in its entirety. Similarly, a mandate that authorizes the Secretariat to review an older mandate but does not authorize it to change the content of the old mandate cannot be interpreted as a renewal of the old mandate. We should have more clarity on these points if indeed we are to discuss mandates "older than 5 years and non-renewed."
But, more importantly, we wish to make a plea to the Member States that the approach of looking at "mandates older than 5 years and non-renewed" is not only illogical, but also very unproductive. Japan has consistently argued that, for the short-term, we should pursue a results-oriented approach, which will enable us to agree on reasonable but tangible results in the short-term. With this in mind, my delegation will circulate a list of proposals by Japan during the past informal GA plenary meetings as attachment to the text of today's statement. We do not expect that all of these proposals are going to be agreed, but we do think they are good candidates for action.
REGULAR PROGRAMME OF TECHNICAL COOPERATION
Today, my delegation would like to elaborate on one of our proposals in this list, a proposal on the regular programme of technical cooperation.
While the regular programme of technical cooperation falls, incidentally, under the category of the "5 year old non-renewed," our reference to this programme should not be misconstrued as our acceptance of this approach.
In the 06/07 biennium regular budget, $44,860,000 is allocated for this programme. About 80 per cent of these resources are used for the employment of advisers. We understand that 76 advisers are employed under this programme. That is to say, most of the money does not benefit developing countries directly through field projects or trainings.
The budget fascicle, i.e. section-wise budget draft, provides the objective of the regular programme of technical cooperation as follows: "The objective is to support, through the transfer of knowledge and expertise, developing countries, least developed countries, countries with economies in transition and countries emerging from conflict in their capacity-building efforts towards the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and the outcomes of United Nations conferences and summits." This statement of objective is so general that it fails to provide any real sense of the unique role that the programme is intended to fill.
Allow me to cite some more specific complaints about this programme:
- Criteria used for the selection of projects have not been reviewed since 1980
- Decisions for projects funded from this scheme do not require GA authorization.
- There is no designated programme manager for the regular programme of technical cooperation. Therefore, there is no one who could be responsible to the General Assembly for defending the allocations of resources or for proposing changes in the light of changing priorities for the system as a whole. There is no one to be held accountable to the General Assembly as to how the $44 million plus money has been spent and how effective the work done under this programme has been.
- There is no reporting requirement towards the General Assembly. Therefore, the General Assembly is basically provided with information on how the money might be used when the budget is approved, but the Member States are subsequently provided little information on how it was actually used.
To sum up, the General Assembly is asked to approve a significant level of resources for each biennium, but the use of the resources is determined later on the basis of the requests, but no reporting is provided to the GA on how the funds approved were used.
Faced with outcry from some Member States regarding the total lack of accountability, the Secretariat acknowledged in the budget fascicle for the current biennium budget that "In the absence of formal programmatic reporting, the achievements attained within the framework of the regular programme have not always been tangible." This is a typical case of mincing words.
It is quite natural for my delegation to come to the conclusion that under the regular programme of technical cooperation there is serious lack of procedures for proper oversight, accountability and follow-up on the use of funds authorized by the General Assembly. In fact, these problems have been observed by ACABQ over a number of years.
In the budget fascicle for the current biennium budget, the Secretariat belatedly indicated their intention to initiate "performance reporting" for this budget section. Also, the SG proposed in ty8765his report A/60/733 to operate this programme under one programme manager. Furthermore, it is now argued that the decentralized system of the regular programme of technical cooperation is useful and necessary to respond flexibly to requests from developing countries.
Judging from the institutional and systemic flaws of this programme, however, my delegation believes that such makeshift measure would only obfuscate problems rather than provide value for money for the developing countries. We do not accept the assumption that the decentralized system of the regular programme of technical cooperation serves the demand of the developing countries. Since most of the advisors do not have additional income, their advisory services are likely to be supply-driven rather than demand-driven.
Therefore, my delegation proposes to totally discontinue the regular programme of technical cooperation. At the same time, in order to keep the "development envelope" intact, my delegation proposes to redirect the resources fully to the Development Account.
The Development Account is known to have appropriate procedures for oversight, performance review, accountability and follow-up reporting.
If you look at the Development Account's website (http://www.un.org/esa/devaccount/ ), you could understand why Member States can expect much better utilization of resources from the Development Account.
The Development Account uses a three-phase project cycle, starting with the initial project design, followed by project implementation and completed by evaluation and closing. Following the approval by the General Assembly of the concept papers contained in the budget section for the Account, implementing entities will prepare detailed project documents based on further consultations with stakeholders (implementing partners and target groups) and submit more thorough analyses of issues and needs for review and approval by the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who is the programme manager of the Account in his capacity as convenor of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs.
The implementing entities are required to submit annual progress reports to the programme manager. These reports serve as a basis for monitoring the progress made and for preparing reports to the General Assembly. Lessons learned are then distilled and shared with the implementing entities. The programme manager of the Account may decide to further examine the status of implementation by undertaking selected reviews as and when required.
Japan's proposal to discontinue the Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation and move the funds to the Development Account does entail significant programmatic shift. This is the sort of programmatic shift that can strengthen the United Nations and serve the interest of us all.
THE ROAD AHEAD: CLUSTER APPROACH
Finally, my delegation would like to express its support to the idea that, from July onwards, we might agree to approach all the mandates by clusters. We might agree that we try to tackle one cluster at a time, perhaps for one working month. The sequence of the clusters can be worked out so that there will be a consensus.
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