Statement by Mr. Ken Mukai,
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
The Fifth Committee
The Second resumed 62nd Session of United Nations General Assembly
May 8, 2008
Item 140: Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations: Cross-cutting issues
- The organizational transformation that was carried out last year strengthened the backstopping capacity of peacekeeping operations by splitting the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and creating the Department of Field Support. My delegation would like to ask how this restructuring has improved management of peacekeeping operations and special political missions. Particularly in light of the fact that the proposed 2008/2009 budget, which we have before us, is exceeding $7.3 billion (excluding proposals for the Office of Military Affairs), the budget is all the more in want of a scrutiny; How budgetary discipline will be ensured with this record budget, whether the Secretariat's management structure is effective, efficient and accountable, and what improvement has been made in the mechanism for coordinating the work of the Department of Management and the Department of Field Services in preparing the PKO budget.
- At the time of the restructuring last year, Member States approved 284 new support account posts. Why then are additional 156 posts being requested? And why were the resource requirements of the OMA, including the 92 new posts it wishes to establish, not incorporated into the support account? The relationship between the OMA and the DFS including the functions of the Integrated Operation Teams is not clearly explained. This peacemeal submission of the budget hinders Member States from seeing the whole picture of the support account budget proposal. Moreover, it raises questions whether the civilian control that should prevail in the DPKO is a reality. We would like the Secretariat to provide us with clarification, and in that connection, allow me to raise some specific points.
- First, if we look at the figures of 06/07, 07/08 and 08/09 for the PKO missions, their number increased from 16 in 2006/07 to 17 in 2007/08 but remained the same 17 in 2008/09, the number of military personnel, increased from 72,628 to 93,175 and then dropped to 88,706, and unified police personnel, grew from 5,467 to 9,919 and then dropped slightly to 9,667. We can observe that the upward trend is no longer there. The term "continued surge," as long as these figures are concerned, is simply not factual. It is in the nature of PKOs that there will be ups and downs as there have been in the past. One needs to question the disproportionate rise in the resource requirements for civilian officers from 18,921 to 27,801 and then to 28,656.
- Second, my delegation would like to have clarification as to whether the relevant General Assembly resolutions on PKO management reform are being duly implemented. A/RES/61/246 requests the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report on the management arrangements for procurement, which should include creating a clear line of accountability and delegation of authority. Member States have been waiting for this comprehensive report for the past year and a half.
A/RES/60/268 requests the Secretary-General to report on a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the support account. Member States have been waiting more than two years for the results of this study. This would have provided some justifications for the new resource requirements of the support account as I mentioned earlier. My delegation requests the Secretariat to submit this analysis as soon as possible. If we were to calculate the average ratio of the budget of the support account to overall PKO budget levels from 2001/02 to 2007/08, it comes to 3.47 percent. However, the ratio of the support account budget to the total projected 2008/09 budget levels would rise to 4.1 percent. If OMA requirements are considered, the ratio would be even higher.
- Third, as was stated in the session of this Committee on the programme of work, late issuance of PKO documents is a serious problem in that it makes it difficult for the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee to consider them in depth. My delegation would like to know why it is that the six-week rule in the relevant General Assembly resolutions (A/RES/59/265, A/RES/58/265) is violated every year.
- Fourth, my delegation has learned that missions have discretion to redeploy resources from under-spent to over-spent items in the course of the budgetary year and with authorization by the Controller in order to respond to changing situations in the field. My delegation is interested in obtaining the basis for this practice and the results of such redeployment for all PKO missions in 2006/07 and 2007/08.
My delegation also endorses paragraph 18 of the ACABQ report (A/62/781) which recommends establishing realistic vacancy rates when costing contingents, posts and positions, so as to avoid over-assessment of Member States.
- And fifth, as paragraph 17 of the ACABQ report points out, the cancellation of 202 million dollars of obligations from prior periods may be an indication that expenditures in previous years have been overstated. Every effort should be made to improve this situation.
My delegation continues to attach great importance to promoting efficiency in the area of air operations, ground transportation, fuel management, information communication technology, travel, training, and quick-impact projects. In particular, it is of the view that measures should be pursued to improve the cost-effective acquisition, contracting, and management of air services as well as the management of assets and spare parts. We would further request that, as the ACABQ recommends in paragraph 83 of its report, the Secretary-General completes the report on training as soon as possible and submit it to the Assembly no later than the main part of the 63rd session.
- Last but not least, as for the administrative and budgetary aspects of the integrated missions, the importance of effective collaboration among PKO missions and the UN and other entities in the field cannot be overstressed. As was pointed out by the Board of Auditors in paragraph 323 of its report (A/62/5, Vol. II), the Integrated Missions Planning Process (IMPP) guidelines should be finalized and be fully operational as early as possible. Member States' views should be sought as needed, through such bodies as the Peace Building Commission. Information on the activities and the budget of other UN entities in the integrated missions should appear in the budget documents, as they are relevant in understanding the reality of the functioning of the mission, particularly important in a drawdown phase.
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