Fifth Committee Approves 21 Draft Resolutions, Including $6.8 Billion Allocation for 14 Peacekeeping Missions, as Resumed Session Concludes

Concluding its second resumed session, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today sent 21 draft resolutions to the General Assembly, asking the body to authorize the allocation of $6.80 billion to finance 14 peacekeeping missions for the year beginning 1 July 2017.

The Committee also reached agreement on financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Its approval of a draft resolution on the subject would have the Assembly address a range of items, including expressing serious concern over sexual exploitation and abuse allegations involving peacekeeping missions. The Committee also approved related drafts on the support of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda, and the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy.

It also approved a text on the United Nations financial reports and audited financial statements on peacekeeping missions, as well as the Board of Auditors' reports on them. As of 30 June 2016, 15 active United Nations peacekeeping missions were in operation, with 115 countries contributing 89,002 military personnel and 86 countries contributing 13,059 police personnel. In addition, there were 17,350 civilian staff of over 176 nationalities and 1,772 United Nations Volunteers.

The Committee approved several texts on missions poised to close in 2017, including the United Nations Operation in CAte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), slated for closure on 30 June, and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), scheduled to end 15 October.

The Committee approved all the texts without a vote, except a draft resolution setting out the provisional budgetary arrangements for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which the Committee passed by a recorded vote of 138 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Central African Republic, United Republic of Tanzania).

Delivering closing statements today were representatives of Ecuador (for the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Chad (for the African Group), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Japan, Mexico, China, United States, Paraguay, Cuba and Angola, as well as the European Union.

Mission Total Appropriation

MINURSO (Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) $55.59 million

MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) $943.77 million

MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) $1.12 billion

MINUSTAH (Stabilization Mission in Haiti) $5.69 million

MONUSCO (Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo) $1.22 billion

UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur) $33.56 million

UNDOF (Disengagement Observer Force) $57.65 million

UNFICYP (Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) $57.41 million

UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon) $513.53 million

UNISFA (Interim Security Force in Abyei) $285.12 million

UNMIK (Mission in Kosovo) $40.29 million

UNMIL (Mission in Liberia) $116.95 million

UNMISS (Mission in South Sudan) $1.14 billion

UNSOS (Support Office in Somalia) $622.19 million

TOTAL $6.80 billion

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee approved all but one of the draft resolutions before it without a vote.

It first approved a draft resolution titled Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/C.5/71/L.30). By the text, the General Assembly would take note of the audit opinions and findings, and endorse the recommendations, contained in the report of the Board of Auditors on United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/71/845 (Vol. II)), containing details of the Board's audit examination that included the peacekeeping headquarters; the 15 active and 31 closed missions; and the five special-purpose accounts, namely the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund, the support account for peacekeeping operations, the United Nations Logistics Base (UNLB), including the Global Service Centre, the peacekeeping cost recovery fund and the employee benefits funds. The Assembly would also, by the text, endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (document A/71/845).

The Committee then approved a draft on financing of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda (document A/C.5.71/L.47), by which the Assembly would approve the amount of $33 million for the maintenance of the Centre for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

It then approved a draft on the financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy (document A/C.5/71/L.48), by which the Assembly would approve the cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $81 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Next, it approved a text on the support account for peacekeeping operations (document A/C.5/71/L.49). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to approve the support account requirements of $325.80 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $25.04 million for the enterprise resource planning project, $821,500 for information and systems security and $868,500 for the global service delivery model. It would also approve the requirement of 1,357 continuing and 3 new temporary posts, as well as the abolishment, redeployment, reassignment and reclassification of posts, as set out in annex I of the text; and 77 continuing and 3 new general temporary assistance positions and 59 person-months, as set out in annex II, as well as related post and non-post requirements.

The Committee went on to approve a text on the triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment (document A/C.5/71/L.50), by which the Assembly would take note of the report of the 2017 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment (document A/C.5/71/20) and the report of the Secretary-General (document A/71/802). It would also endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the ACABQ (document A/71/872).

It then approved a draft resolution titled Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (document A/C.5/71/L.51). By its terms, the Assembly would welcome the Secretary-General's determination to fully implement the United Nations policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as his determination to fully enforce the newly promulgated policy of whistle-blower protection. It would request that he immediately inform Member States concerned of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, and call upon Member States � including those deploying non-United Nations forces authorized by a Security Council mandate � to investigate such cases, hold perpetrators accountable and repatriate units where there was credible evidence of widespread or systemic sexual exploitation and abuse.

Turning to drafts on peacekeeping missions, the Committee first approved a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/C.5/71/L.33), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNISFA the amount of $285.12 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $266.70 million for the maintenance of the Force, $13.49 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $3.38 million for the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and $1.56 million for the Regional Service Centre at Entebbe.

Turning to a text on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/C.5/71/L.38), the Committee approved the text, by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission the amount of $943.77 million from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $882.80 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $44.65 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $11.16 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $5.16 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Committee then approved a text on the United Nations Operation in CAte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/C.5/71/L.41). By its terms, the Assembly would, recalling Security Council resolution 2284 (2016) extending the mission mandate for a final period until 30 June 2017, decide that, for Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Operation, shall be credited with their respective share of $65.22 million, comprising the unencumbered balance of $48.68 million and $16.54 million of other revenue in respect of the financial period ending 30 June 2016.

The Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/C.5/71/L.39). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNFICYP the amount of $57.41 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, inclusive of $54.00 million for the maintenance of the Force, $2.73 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $682,900 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Next, it approved a text on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/C.5/71/L.42). The Assembly would be asked to appropriate to the Special Account for MONUSCO the amount of $1.22 billion for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, inclusive of $1.14 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $57.74 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $14.44 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.67 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Committee then approved a text on financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/C.5/71/L.40) by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for that Mission $5.69 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017, including $4.55 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $1.14 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Next, the Committee approved a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/C.5/71/L.34), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIK the amount of $40.29 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $37.90 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $1.92 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $479,200 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

It then approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/C.5/71/L.43). By its terms, the Assembly would appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIL the amount of $116.95 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $110.00 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $5.56 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $1.91 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.

The Committee also approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/C.5/71/L.44), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the force $1.12 billion for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $1.05 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $53.00 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $13.25 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.12 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Under its agenda item on financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, the Committee approved two texts.

It first approved a draft on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/71/L.46), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force the amount of $61.30 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $57.65 million for the maintenance of UNDOF, $2.92 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $729,100 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Next, it took up a draft on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/71/L.31). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNIFIL the amount of $513.53 million, for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, inclusive of $483.00 million for the maintenance of the Force, $24.43 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $6.11 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would express deep concern that Israel had not complied with previous resolutions on UNIFIL, and request that the Secretary-General take the measures necessary to ensure the full implementation of their relevant paragraphs.

Before taking action, the representative of Ecuador, on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, and the Secretary of the Committee made oral amendments.

The representative of Israel said that once again, the Group of 77 had chosen to politicize and thus undermine the Committee's work. Israel supported United Nations peacekeeping as a whole, but it deplored an unjustified bias that singled out her country every year, she said, requesting a vote on preambular paragraphs 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13.

The representative of the United States said her country strongly supported UNIFIL, but the use of General Assembly funding resolutions to pursue claims against a Member State was not procedurally correct.

By a recorded vote of 87 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States) with 53 abstentions, those paragraphs in question were approved.

By another recorded vote of 138 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Central African Republic, United Republic of Tanzania), the Committee approved the text as a whole, as orally amended.

After the vote, the representative of Malta, on behalf of the European Union, expressed concern that no consensus could be reached on the text and regretted that political elements had been introduced into the Committee's work. Member States of the Union abstained from the first vote because they considered the text to be inappropriate, she said, adding that broader political aspects of the events at Qana had been debated in the Assembly and that consultations should have been confined to budgetary aspects. On the text as a whole, she added, the member States of the European Union voted in favour.

The representative of Lebanon said his country's vote in favour reflected its unwavering support for UNIFIL and its contribution to regional peace and security. Once again, the Committee had been compelled to approve paragraphs due to Israel's non-compliance with previous resolutions, 44 in total, regarding the shelling of the UNIFIL headquarters at Qana on 18 April 1996. He went on to note with concern a reduction again this year of funding for UNIFIL, which could curtail its activities and its ability to fulfil its mandate.

The Committee then approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/C.5/71/L.35), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission the amount of $1.14 billion for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $1.07 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $54.16 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $13.54 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.26 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Committee also approved a draft on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/C.5/71/L.45), by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission the amount of $55.59 million for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $52.00 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $2.63 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $657,600 for the United Nations Logistics Base and $303,800 for the Regional Service Centre.

It then approved a draft on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/C.5/71/L.36), which would have the Assembly appropriate to the Special Account for the Operation the amount of $33.56 million from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $24.58 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $6.15 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $2.84 million for the Regional Service Centre.

It then took up a text on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/C.5/71/L.37), by which the Assembly would appropriate to the Special Account for the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) the amount of $622.19 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $582.00 million for the maintenance of the Office, $29.43 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $7.36 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $3.40 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Finally, the Committee approved a text that would have the Assembly decide to defer until the second part of its resumed seventy-second session consideration of reports from the Secretary-General, and related reports from the Advisory Committee, regarding closed peacekeeping missions (document A/C.5/71/L.52).

It also took note of a note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/71/23) indicating the amounts to be apportioned in respect of each peacekeeping mission, as well as another note from the Secretary-General (document A/C.5/71/24) on approved budgetary levels for peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Closing Remarks

The representative of Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said peacekeeping budgets must allow missions to fulfil their mandates. The Committee had addressed important issues, including the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse, she said, underscoring that the zero-tolerance policy must apply to all. While she regretted that consensus could not be found on closed peacekeeping missions, she trusted that when the issue would be reconsidered, there would be new options for a sustainable solution to address claims payable to Member States from closed peacekeeping operation budgets.

The representative of Chad, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said consensus had been achieved through painful compromises. Expressing concern over some peacekeeping budget cuts, he said that if the principle of doing more with less continued, soon nothing would be left. The budgetary reduction had been due to the closure of some missions; however, the Committee's decision to allocate a commitment authority of six months to UNAMID should not set a precedent. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding must be provided with adequate financial support so mandates could be fulfilled. Otherwise, he said, the credibility of the United Nations would be jeopardized. We strongly urge individual Member States and groups of countries to avoid any further approach in the future for significant cuts in the budget, he said. The risk of non-consensual outcomes will be very high and the price to be paid for all of us very serious.

The representative of El Salvador, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), expressed gratitude to participants and support for the work of the United Nations in fulfilling its mandate.

The representative of European Union delegation said the Fifth Committee had an important role to play in fulfilling mandates in the field and was a key actor in peacebuilding activities. However, that role did not extend to drafting mandates and such boundaries must be respected. Operations must be able to make use of modern technologies and innovation and should be as nimble and agile as possible. She expressed regret that no agreement could be found on the cross-cutting resolution.

The representative of Japan said the Secretariat's prudent use of allocated assessed resources was key for increasing the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and accountability of peacekeeping operations. That principle applied to the regular budget as well, he said, emphasizing that the assessed budget was always borne by the taxpayers of Member States.

The representative of Mexico said cross-cutting and arbitrary cuts to United Nations activities would be counterproductive. Resources saved could be devoted to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Mexico was pleased that MINUSTAH would be adequately resourced, but the cholera epidemic � and compensation for those affected by it � should be a top priority. He emphasized the importance of the Secretary-General's stated will to reform the management of the entire United Nations system, and in that regard requested a timetable for reforms, as well as close consultations with Member States.

The representative of China said the peacekeeping budget should make it possible to implement mandates while ensuring an efficient use of resources. China called on Member States to pay their assessed contributions in full and on time. He added that during consultations, the concerns of countries involved, particularly those in Africa, had been skilfully taken into account. That merited praise, he said, emphasizing that respect for national sovereignty must be reflected when elaborating mandates and drawing up budgets.

The representative of the United States, commending consensus in the Committee, said the 2017/18 peacekeeping budget would enable effective mandate delivery and backstopping support while also realizing efficiencies. The 7.5 per cent reduction from the 2016/17 period responsibly reflected the decreasing deployment of uniformed personnel, and reflected the closures of UNOCI and MINUSTAH and the further downsizing of UNMIL. The United States was heartened that the Committee reached consensus to support the Secretary-General's efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse. The United States would continue to support the Secretary-General's efforts to ensure that peacekeeping remained fit for purpose, and looked forward to his reform agenda proposals.

The representative of Paraguay said that, as a troop-contributing country, her nation had a standing interest in promoting effective mandate implementation. It, therefore, believed it was extremely important to ensure necessary resources, with budgets adopted on the basis of real information from the ground.

The representative of Cuba said attempts to make dangerous and unjustified cuts to the peacekeeping budget had been avoided. However, he said, his delegation was worried by the renewal of such initiatives as approving budgets every six months, which was impractical. Requests to reduce the United Nations budget were meanwhile becoming a general trend. Cuba agreed that the Organization needed to do more with less, but doing something with nothing would not be credible, and the United Nations was moving dangerously in that direction.

The representative of Angola said he had a message for the women of the Committee, highlighting that they had great endurance and expressing hope that they would continue to lead the Fifth Committee in the future. He thanked his colleagues in the Bureau and welcomed incoming members.

The representative of Chad expressed gratitude for the hard work that had been done during the session.

The representative of Ecuador thanked the Chair for her efforts in guiding the Committee. She hoped that the next session would see behind the numbers and consider the real notion of mandates, as they had a direct impact on people in affected countries.

Fifth Committee Chair Inga Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) thanked delegates for their work, which had demonstrated the importance of multilateralism. The Committee did not have the luxury of inaction and its decisions had immediate consequences. The resumed session was constructive and tested and strengthened delegates' resolve, she said, expressing gratitude for every effort that had been made.

Source: United Nations