Statement by Mr. Akira Sugiyama
Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Agenda Item 146: Administrative and budgetary aspects of financing United Nations Peacekeeping Operations - “Cross-cutting”
Second part of the resumed session of the Sixty-fourth Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
10 May 2010
I wish to express my appreciation to Mr. Jun Yamazaki, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, Ms. Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Ms. Catherine Pollard, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, Mr. Colleen Kelapile, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and Mrs. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services for introducing their respective reports.
Japan attaches great importance to the United Nations peacekeeping operations and the successful implementation of their mandates to maintain international peace and security. The Secretary-General indicated in his overview report that the overall budget was expected to reach an unprecedented level of more than $8 billion for the period of 2010-11, while the regular budget of this organization for 2010 is around $2.5 billion. We share the view expressed by the ACABQ that the surge in peacekeeping which characterized the last decade has leveled off. My delegation would like to consider the cross-cutting issues in light of this changing reality.
My delegation is of the view that Member Sates should be ready to provide adequate resources and capacity to peacekeeping operations. At the same time, taking into account the severe financial situation of Member States including my own, the need for an efficient, effective and accountable management of the operations cannot be overemphasized at this juncture. Moreover, experiences reveal that redundant resources without adequate management often hinder effective operations.
In this context, my delegation would like to stress the importance of reaching agreement on a resolution on cross-cutting issues in this session. We regret the absence of such resolutions for the past two years. As I stated early last week, it is of utmost importance to send a clear message to the Secretary-General on various cross-cutting issues in order to provide useful guidance with perspective for enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in managing peacekeeping operations.
Let me briefly touch upon the elements on which we would like to focus during this session.
First, my delegation entirely concurs with ACABQ in requesting the Secretary-General to report the impacts of recent initiatives and reforms related to peacekeeping operations. For example, the implementation of ICT/ERP by the resolution 64/243 has greater budgetary implications for the budgets of peacekeeping operations than for the programme budget of the organization. We need to see a comprehensive and clear picture of the important managerial changes when we consider the administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping operations.
Second, my delegation would like to discuss the issues related to civilian personnel. While we fully understand that the implementation of the resolution 63/250 will be discussed in the sixty-fifth session, we wish to know its impacts on the budget proposals before us. It is also important for us to find out the root causes of high vacancy and turnover rates and to explore possible measures to address these issues. With regard to turnover, we see merit in placing a minimum period of assignment and are interested in hearing the views of the Secretary-General. In our view, the posts and positions kept vacant for over one year are either inessential or unnecessary. Therefore, such posts and positions should be carefully reviewed and abolished as required so that we can avoid over-posting.
Last but not least, my delegation would like to carefully consider operational requirements such as air transportation, ICT, fuel management and rations. We appreciate the efforts made by the Secretary-General to enhance cost-effectiveness through regional approach, shared assets, turnkey arrangements and systems contracts, but we wish to assess comparative advantages of these measures. If we are convinced of the merits, we would like to explore the possibility for applying these good practices to the other missions, where possible.
In this session, the Global Field Support Strategy is presented before this Assembly for its consideration. We appreciate the efforts of the Secretary-General for submitting a broad concept to improve the timeliness and quality of service delivery to field missions, as well as to achieve greater efficiency and economies of scale. We, in principle, support the objectives of this initiative on the understanding that a) the resources devoted to the support function is presented in totality and in a transparent manner regardless of their locations, and b) the current problems found in the support function of peacekeeping operations, such as management of Strategic Deployment Stocks (SDS), are addressed and solved through this strategy. The initiative should be considered carefully in this committee, since, as the ACABQ points out in its report, it will have “a significant impact on organizational structures, lines of accountability, working methods, processes and procedures.” In other words, my delegation would like to seek clarification on what concrete gains we can obtain from this initiative with respect to its core objectives – more efficient and effective service delivery to field missions. Particularly through the informal consultation, my delegation hopes to increase our confidence in savings and effectiveness to be achieved by this strategy.
My delegation looks forward to discussing this important agenda item and I assure you that my delegation will actively and constructively participate in the negotiations with a view to achieve feasible and practical improvements in the management of peacekeeping operations.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.