Statement by Mr. Ken Mukai
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan
On agenda item 161: Financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008
Sixty-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly
19 November 2007
My delegation would like to thank Mr. Bock Yeo, Officer-In-Charge, Peacekeeping Financing Division, UN Office of programme Planning, Budget and Accounts (OPPBA) and Mr. Rajat Saha, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), for introducing their reports (A/62/380 and A/62/540) relating to the financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
As we continue to address the subject of new peacekeeping operations, we must not flag in our efforts to ensure effective implementation of all operations mandated by the Security Council, striving at the same time to enhance budgetary discipline, accountability and transparency.
My delegation avails itself of this opportunity to express its appreciation for the Secretary-General's initiative to realize peace and stability in Darfur. The establishment of UNAMID is most welcome, and it is to be hoped that personnel will be deployed to the region efficiently. My government believes that the consolidation of peace in the country, including Darfur, is important for the entire world.
I would like now to turn to the proposed budget for UNAMID.
UNAMID is a unique mission in three respects. First, it is a joint mission of the AU and UN. Close coordination with the AU is therefore indispensable. And liaison with the AU will require closer collaboration within the UN itself. The relevant departments and the UN country team must work together to speak in one voice, especially among the DPKO, DFS and DPA.
Second, it is the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken. Again, close coordination with humanitarian workers on the ground is key. UNAMID should go forward, and be managed, in such a way that it is entirely devoted to reinforcing the UN and other humanitarian organizations in Darfur. In this context, my delegation requests the Secretary-General to provide information on the substantive work being done by OCHA, as well as UN funds and programmes and specialized agencies, to confirm they work together.
Third, bearing in mind the slow progress of the peace process and the uncertain political climate, a "phased-in approach" would be the most practical way to ensure the successful deployment of UNAMID staff and equipments.
We agree with a number of the observations and recommendations of the ACABQ, but we would like to elaborate our views on the above-mentioned three points.
First of all, my delegation supports the peace process component, to be headed by the Deputy Joint Special Representative at the Assistant Secretary-General level, as a means of enhancing the political climate in Sudan. However, many political affairs posts need to be rationalized. In particular, it is naturally expected that the Political Affairs Division coordinates its work with the Joint Mediation Support Team. And the prospects for success might well be maximized by mobilizing as much cooperation and support as possible from within the mission as well as relevant departments such as DPKO, DFS, and DPA.
It is essential for UNMIS and UNAMID, stationed in the same country, to pursue the maximum synergy and collaboration, particularly in the field of liaison, support services and logistics.
With regard to the Integrated Operation Team (IOT), my delegation is very concerned that the resources provided under General Assembly resolution 61/279 still have not been utilized five months after its adoption. The 26 posts approved for the IOT should be used for activities of the first priority such as UNAMID.
Secondly, my delegation fully shares the concern expressed by the Advisory Committee about the collaboration to take place between UNAMID and the UN Country Team. In this regard, my delegation would like to draw your attention to the fact that the humanitarian presence in Darfur is currently estimated to be 10,944 personnel, and that a total of 1,219 personnel from United Nations agencies, funds and programmes are also deployed. Again, it would be most conducive to the successful implementation of the liaison, advocacy and coordination functions UNAMID has been given a mandate to carry out in connection with its humanitarian activities if the maximum use were made of the substantial assets and specialized skills available in UN funds, programmes and the specialized agencies.
Thirdly, structures and posts. The deployment of staff should take place in phases in order to conform to the operational needs of the mission as it evolves, on the basis of a realistic assessment of what is achievable or required at different times. Not all functions are required at the start-up of the mission. Therefore the structure of the mission, the allocation of posts and their grade levels should be finalized as personnel are deployed and on the basis of actual workloads and the experience to be gained. As for the tasks and programmes that are contingent upon the progress of the peace process as well as actual needs on the ground, such as DDR, the rule of law, governance and human rights, phased deployment of staff should be required.
The Secretary-General has proposed a budget of 1.48 billion dollars for 2007/08. The recommendation of the ACABQ is that that figure be reduced by 151 million dollars. My delegation fully concurs with the approach taken by the ACABQ, which was to adjust the level of assessments based on updated information on the deployment of military and police personnel. This could in turn impact the deployment of civilian personnel and operational costs, which could then result in lower expenditures than initially proposed. My delegation is of the view that a reduction of 20 percent of the proposed budget would be realistic for a "phased-in" deployment approach in light of the present situation. In this regard, my delegation would like to request the Secretary-General to provide the General Assembly with the most up-to-date information on the status of force generation and preparations for deployment, based on the progress made so far in implementing Security Council resolution 1769.
I would like to turn now to the operational costs, which, in the proposal for UNAMID, are about 1 billion dollars, or 72 percent of the total budget. This is less than the entire budget of MONUC but more than that of UNMIS. The requirements for facilities and infrastructure would be 730 million dollars, which is more than the whole budget of UNIFIL. In view of these huge costs, Member States should take more seriously its responsibility for scrutinizing the reasons advanced for the use of resources, and judging whether they are likely to be used effectively. In short, we must serve as a watch-dog, to ensure proper management of the operational costs, in particular, at the time of procurement. In this regard, my delegation would like to request the Secretary-General to provide the General Assembly with more detailed breakdown and justification of resources and equipment requirements including their unit-prices of each component of the operational costs as well as the single-source contract. My delegation is of the view that the proposed resources to meet those costs shall need to be adjusted in light of the latest schedule of deployment for all aspects of the mission. We understand that air operations will be the principal means of reaching Darfur. Therefore my delegation recommends that maximum use be made of the resources of UNMIS and UNLB. It also encourages the Secretary-General to continue to ask for military helicopters to be contributed.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, my delegation supports the Secretary-General in the efforts he is making to confront and surmount the greater management challenges and risks that this largest PKO mission ever presents.
We look forward to having productive informal consultations that will provide us with further information on the subjects we have raised.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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