Statement by Mr. Ken MUKAI
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Agenda item 128
Strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs

Fifth Committee
Sixty-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly
17 March 2008

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My delegation appreciates the introduction by Ms. Alicia Barcena, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Management, and Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Political Affairs, of the Secretary-General's report on the Strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs (A/62/521). We are also grateful for the introduction of the report of the ACABQ (A/62/7/Add.32) by the chair of the Committee, Ms. Suzan McLarg.

I would like to comment briefly on the subject of consistency and efficiency in the field and at the Headquarters, and the budgetary discipline.

First of all, we understand the importance of conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy, and mediation. We also understand that a certain field presence is needed for that. However, consistency and efficiency should be pursued in the field of peace and security as a whole. Currently, PKOs and SPMs are conducted neither under any clear criteria nor with consistent definition. A well-thought-out and clearly defined division of labor between DPA and DPKO in leading those missions are essential and any reform should be conducted along that line. Moreover, field offices should be created taking fully into account other field presences including those not only of peacekeeping operations but also of funds and programmes.

Secondly, and similarly at the Headquarters, my delegation would like to see addressed the problem of consistency and efficiency. A lack of communication and coordination between the functions of the regional divisions of the DPA and the Office of Operations of the DPKO is observed. OIOS report on the audit of the management of special political missions by the Department of Political Affairs (A/61/357) pointed out that the resources of both departments could be dedicated to performing the same tasks. In our view, the DPA and DPKO should redeploy political affairs officers flexibly, in order to respond to emerging regional conflicts, rather than requesting excessive officers. On the other hand, we appreciate that the bulk of the posts are requested at the P-2 to P-4 levels, which contributes to rejuvenation of the Organization.

Last but not least, Mr. Chairman, we cannot but express our concern that the restructurings of the Secretariat have been proposed one by one, from DPKO to DPA in the past year, and then the Development pillar. This is a piecemeal approach, which seriously undermines the Secretary General's accountability to the member states. The Secretary-General's plan of reform should have been presented as a whole in the form of the biennial-budget, following the established practice. Requirements should have been carefully selected under the budgetary discipline with a sharp focus on high priorities, through redeploying resources from activities no longer in use. In this context, my delegation wishes to scrutinize the rationale for each resource requirement, one by one.

I conclude by expressing that my delegation would take an active part in the discussion at the informal sessions on the basis of the views I have just described.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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