Statement by Mr. Ken Mukai
Counsellor of Permanent Mission of Japan
On agenda item 144: Financing UNPK forces in the Middle East
(b) UN interim force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

Before the Fifth Committee
Sixty-first Session of the United Nations General Assembly
21 March 2007

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like to thank Mr. Warren Sach, UN Controller and Mr. Rajat Saha, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for introducing their reports (A/61/766 and A/61/803) relating to the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

As we continue to address the surge in peacekeeping operations, we must be vigilant to ensure effective implementation of all peacekeeping operations as mandated by the Security Council, while enhancing budgetary discipline, accountability and transparency.

In this regard, my delegation welcomes the adoption on 15 March 2007 of the framework resolution on strengthening of the capacity of the Organization in peacekeeping operations. We support the broad thrust of the Secretary-General's proposal to meet the challenges of expanding peacekeeping operations. We are looking forward to receiving a comprehensive report, by mid-April, on functions, budgetary disciplines and full financial implications, for consideration and decision by the General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,

Turing to the proposed budget of UNIFIL, my delegation fully share the concern expressed by the Advisory Committee that there is a clear tendency in this proposed budget and other submissions to assert resource requirements and not fully explain or justify them.

Clear recognition of the mandate of the Mission and its careful implementation, while avoiding duplication and overlaps through careful planning, is important.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation fully concurs with the approach taken by the ACABQ to make adjustment to the level of assessment. We also share with the ACABQ on a number of observations and recommendations.

First of all, my delegation would like to draw your attention to the fact that, as of 5 March 2007 since August 2006, less than 30% ($61.1 million) had been utilized out of the total provision of $215.9 million for operation costs. We share the recognition of the ACABQ that it is unlikely that the proposed staffing for the Force for 2006/07 could be put in place and associated operational costs could be fully utilized within the budget period that ends on 30 June 2007. We should decide on the level of the budget, depending on further clarifications and justifications that would be provided by the Secretariat. With limited justifications, we may need to consider making deeper cuts than what is recommended by the ACABQ. Without any justifications provided by the Secretariat, my delegation would be obliged to point out the possibility of deferring the decision on appropriation and providing another commitment authority for the continuation of the operations.

Secondly, my delegation would like to raise questions on the administrative aspects of the proposed Strategic Military Cell. As for 4 civilians and 29 military officers, necessity and justification for their stationing in NY is weak. Its relations with the existing Military Advisor (D-2) should also be further clarified. We would like to point out that there is a discrepancy between what is stated in the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2006/670) and the budget document (A/61/766). In this connection, we would like to ask the Secretariat to explain the rationale for appropriating approximately $2.5 million for the support account in the context of UNIFIL budget for 2006/07.

Thirdly, we fully agree with what the Advisory Committee points in its report: with regard to the Regional Oversight Office, factors such as risk and complexity of operations need to be fully considered in deploying the resources, and with regard to the Conduct and Discipline Team, its actual workload needs to be considered. Review on these issues should be done immediately.

Finally, my delegation has its doubt about the proposals for Quick Impact Projects in UNIFIL. We need to make sure that these resources are utilized in accordance with the policy agreed by the General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,

We look forward to productive informal consultations to obtain further information on the above-mentioned points.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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