Note:Your browser doesn't correctly display this page because of a bad stylesheets interpretation. This is probably due to an old browser version.

[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]

You are here : Home > News > Speeches > March 2005 > Statement on behalf of the European Union to the 5th UN Committee on Programme Budget for the Biennium 2004-2005
Print this page Send this page

Statement on behalf of the European Union to the 5th UN Committee on Programme Budget for the Biennium 2004-2005

Date of Speech : 07-03-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Karl Van Den Bossche

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. President,

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

We thank the secretariat, as well as Mr. Dileep Nair and Mr. Kuznetsov, for their valuable comments and reports. We will briefly touch upon certain aspects:

1. Report OIOS on review of operations and management of UN libraries

While the Dag Hammarskjold Library and the Library of the UN Office at Geneva adopted advanced technologies, other libraries lag behind in this respect. This impedes an accurate assessment of staffing requirements of libraries of the UN system as a whole. Having this in mind the EU supports the elaboration of a new UN library policy. More generally, the other OIOS recommendations should be a basis of our work at this session.

2. Review of liaison offices in New York

We take note of the report and the statement of the secretariat that those offices provide substantive contributions to the work programme of their parent offices. We hope as well that the presence of these offices do add value to the work of the delegations in the various bodies of this organization. Finally, we take note of the comments made by the ACABQ that this issue should be taken up in the broader perspective of the budget negotiations.

3. ICT

The EU welcomes the efforts to obtain a modern ICT-strategy throughout the UN-Secretariat, in particular those projects that are aimed at a better HRM and at a better interaction between the Secretariat and the Funds & Programmes. We agree with the ACABQ that the ICT-strategy must ensure future further integration, standardization and unification of infrastructures and ICT-processes throughout the UN-system. Therefore, we cannot but deplore the huge differences that will remain between the ICT-strategies of the UN-Secretariat and the Specialized Agencies, and the relative moderate efforts to bridge this “digital divide between institutions�?.

Looking at economies of scale within the secretariat, we are interested to know the relationship between the costs under the 2nd building-block “security policies + business continuity�?(par 15 of the report) and the future costs of data-protection, mirror-servers and other back-up devices, in the context of the enhanced safety and security? Is there a clear distinction?

The good news however are the identified savings for approx. 33 million USD, especially in the administrative & conference services for the current biennium.

4. Construction of additional office facilities at ECA

The lack of progress in this issue is honestly disappointing, and raises questions about the use of considering this item in March or even in May. Despite all problems encountered, the EU supports the ACABQ recommendations to make maximum use of the building for the purpose for which it was initially intended, that is providing office space for the staff. We would seek clarification how the requests coming from other UN entities to obtain office space in the new building could be accommodated.

5. Standards of accomodation for air travel

The EU notes with concern that despite efforts to curtail the number of exceptions, they continue to increase. It represented a serious rise of 27,5% in 2004 or an additional cost of 442.482 USD. At a time where CEOs are travelling "only" in business class, we are interested to learn more from the Chaiman of the ACABQ about their proposal on the future limited use of first-class travel. We agree that definitions need to be tightened and that they should be consistently applied.


We understand that this Fund is the interface and partnership facilitator between the UN and the UN Foundation, that is voluntarily funded. We wish to thank again Mr. Ted Turner for his personal engagement.

We are pleased to learn that its mandate is to promote high impact projects for children's health, population & women, environment and peace, security & human rights. It is a working example of public-private partnerships, in a win-win situation. It underlines the value of corporate social responsibility and provides "seed-money" for several valuable goals in the sphere of the MDGs. We appreciate this report and encourage UNFIP in its future work.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

This page was last modified on : 07-03-2005

Top Top