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Statement on behalf of the EU: Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of Financing UN Peace Keeping Operations

Date of Speech : 03-05-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Karel van den Bossche, First Secretary

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Country Turkey and the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, align themselves with this declaration.

We would like to thank the Controller, Mr. Sach for the introduction of his reports. The EU would like to congratulate him with his appointment as UN Controller and we wish him all the best in his new responsibilities. Also, we thank Mr. Kuznetsov, chair of the ACABQ as well as all the members of the Secretariat, who have been introducing the numerous reports during the last 2 days. Finally, we thank Mr. Cabatuan, Director of External Audit for his introduction of the report of the Board of Auditors.

Mr. Chairman,

UN peacekeeping is facing many challenges: from an expansion in the number, size and complexity of missions requiring thousands of military and civilian personnel, to the resources necessary to maintain the effective operation of those PKOs, to damaging allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against peacekeepers and field personnel. All of these complex elements must be considered in the context of a budget which has risen to $5bn a year and is placing enormous pressures on all member states.

The EU will refrain from commenting formally on all the budgets of individual peacekeeping operations in an attempt to speed up the work of the Committee and in the spirit of revitalisation. But we will have questions and comments on many of the reports before us which we will explore in our informal negotiations.


Firstly, the EU should like to commend the Secretariat for their budget presentations in the results-based format. Indicators of achievement have become more focused and specific, and the link between resources, expected accomplishments and outputs is clearer. In order to complete this RBB presentation, it might be appropriate to study the opportunity of the realignment of budgetary lines according to the objectives of a mission. Such a presentation would facilitate the management of PKOs according to the results aimed at in their respective mandates, as well as its budgetary control. We would urge the Secretariat to continue to refine these aspects of its budgets presentations.

Review of the management structures

The EU must express its deep disappointment that the report requested in decision A/59/507 on the management structures of PKOs will not be presented to us this session but only - if everything goes well - during the 2nd resumed session of the 60th session. You will recall that the EU, in its formal statement of 26 October, acknowledged that the request might put pressure on the Secretariat but that we expected the review to be part of an ongoing process of reviewing and justifying budgets presented to the GA. We would welcome a clear explanation of why, when this Committee this year is being asked to approve $5 billion for UN peacekeeping activities, it was not possible to carry-out this review. We would welcome at least basic information in order to assist our discussions on this issue.

Board of Auditors

The EU wishes to thank the representative of the Board of Auditors, who has given us an update of their review work. It seems even more oversight is needed and urge the Secretariat to finally take action on several of painful pending issues. Like the ACABQ we trust that the expeditious establishment of a high-level follow-up mechanism, as intended by the SG, will help in this regard. The EU notes with discomfort a number of persistent management problems identified by the BoA and the ACABQ, which we will discuss during the informal consultations. I quote only a few from document A/59/736:

ü serious non-compliance with administrative instructions

ü laxity in budget preparation and implementation

ü a weakness in the management culture - also echoed by the ACABQ

ü less than transparent means for changing policy through the budgets of PKOs

ü consistent misuse of the provision for special service

ü departure from the system of salaries and allowances developped by the ICSC and approved by the GA

ü duplicative and top-heavy structures

ü use of PKO-budgets to cover headquarter expediture

The growing delay in payments of assessment contributions has a growing impact on the Organization’s ability to meet its financial obligations. Like for the ACABQ, this issue continues to be a matter of concern for us.

Policy (cross-cutting) issues

While it is true that all PKOs have specific qualities and face different tasks depending on the climate in which they operate and the mandate given to them, there are nevertheless many administrative, logistical and other activities which are common to all PKOs. In this respect, the EU is keen to explore early in the work of this Committee these commonalities. We expect this to ultimately result in a resolution this session which addresses these policy issues, the importance of which was already fully acknowledged in several resolutions, the most recent being RES 57/290B. In our opinion, the assessment of individual budgets on their own merits complement the examination of thematic and horizontal issues in more depth.

Support Account

The EU has said previously that, while there is no rigid mathematical formula, the level of the Support Account must be commensurate to the number and size of active peacekeeping missions. The Board of Auditors and ACABQ both comment in this respect about the large growth in the size of the Support Account. We accept that the surge in peacekeeping obviously warrants additional resources but, for some of the Support Account posts, there seems little in-depth justification. And we would question whether there is a duplication of functions in areas, such as IT, training, recruitment, etc with structures that already exist within DPKO and more widely within the Secretariat. There seems little evidence that the downsizing and closing of Missions, and investments in IT and training, has been reflected in this Support Account budget. We would appreciate clarification of what steps were taken, prior to the production of the Support Account budget, to examine what existing resources might be drawn upon within the Secretariat to assist with the back-stopping of PKOs rather than simply proposing the addition of new posts.

Integrated Missions

The concept of integrated missions is one to which the EU fully subscribes. In our opinion this should ensure a more joined-up UN system-wide approach to all aspects of peacekeeping and result in clear efficiencies. But it is unclear what the delineation is between the functions on the ground of the various components of the Social & Humanitarian Pillar of PKOs and Funds and Programmes, and how they interact both in terms of personnel, funding and programmatic activities. We appreciate that this touches upon much broader policy questions which directly relate to ongoing discussions in other fora such as the proposed Peace Building Commission. But it would be useful to receive clearer guidance from the ACABQ and the Secretariat, at least in terms of budget presentations, on the humanitarian and peacebuilding activities of PKOs.

Sexual exploitation

Turning to the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse the EU notes the resource requests contained in the PBI (A/C.5/59/28), together with those resources already proposed in the Support Account and individual PKO budgets. We stand ready this session to approve the appropriate resources to address this problem. The EU played an active role in the C34 discussions to help ensure that the outcome had tangible recommendations. We are, therefore, concerned that one of the main elements of the C34 discussions, an independent investigative capacity, has failed to be adequately addressed in the PBI. We understand that discussions are ongoing between various departments within the Secretariat and we would urge a swift conclusion to those discussions. We would also welcome a clear exposition to this Committee, during this session, of the resources needed to address this issue as part of a comprehensive strategy, including for an independent investigative capacity. Bearing in mind the resolutions passed by this Committee, we stress the need for a truly independent investigative entity. We expect the secretariat to propose to us a clear division of responsabilities between OIOS and DPKO.


We take note of the ongoing negotiations with the Government of Italy (also involving WFP) for the expansion of the UNLB to the San Vito base whose conclusion will allow the financing of the first stage of the expansion plan. We underline the advantages of the site and the various purposes for which the base at San Vito could be used (namely training, short term staff accommodation, storage area for SDS transport assets etc.) and we invite the Secretariat to rapidly conclude the negotiations to make full use of the favourable opportunity offered by the Government of Italy.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU remains a steadfast supporter of UN peacekeeping both in financial terms, and more broadly in other areas such as providing troops and vital niche capabilities for UN PKOs, training and equipping of African Union peacekeepers and other UN peacekeepers, and providing a rapid deployment capacity.

But as the largest financial group contributor we expect all PKOs to be tightly and efficiently run, for budgets to be focused on real needs, and for elements such as training and IT expenditure to result in demonstrable returns in terms of improved efficiencies and performance in all peacekeeping related areas, while respecting the mandates of the UN Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

This page was last modified on : 14-06-2005

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