Central African Republic / Chad / Fifth committee takes up $308 million budget proposal for United Nations mission in Central African Republic and Chad
BANGUI, Central African Republic, June 5, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon took up the financing of the Organization’s recently established multidimensional mission in the Central African Republic and Chad and discussed the status of documentation before the Committee.
Presenting the Secretary-General’s $307.8 million budget request for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009 (document A/62/804), United Nations Controller, Warren Sach, said that it would provide for the deployment of 50 military liaison officers, 300 United Nations police officers, 512 international staff, inclusive of one international staff position funded from general temporary assistance and one post (Chief Security Adviser, funded through cost-sharing arrangements with the United Nations country team). The budget would also provide for 573 national staff, inclusive of one national staff position funded from general temporary assistance, 117 United Nations Volunteers and 25 Government-provided personnel.
Introducing the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (to be issued shortly as document A/62/781/Add.15), the Chair of that body, Susan McLurg, said that the recommendations of the Advisory Committee would entail a reduction of some $6.71 million in the proposed budget of MINURCAT. That reduction related to revised needs assessment for one fixed-wing aircraft and currently anticipated deployment of three helicopters in September. ACABQ recommended approval of the proposed staffing of the Mission.
The Mission faced many challenges, including poor physical infrastructure, difficult supply routes and long lead times for the procurement of goods and services, she said. The conditions of insecurity in eastern Chad did not permit the Mission to deploy civilian personnel without protection. To meet those challenges, MINURCAT relied on the capacities of EUFOR, which provided support to the Mission on a reimbursable basis. An assessment regarding arrangements for a follow-up to EUFOR, including a possible United Nations operation, would be undertaken in September 2008. Its outcome would be considered in determining whether any adjustments to the Mission’s mandate would be needed.
In connection with considerable challenges with regard to resupply, MINURCAT had indicated that it would monitor the viability of cross-border arrangements with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), she continued. Considerable savings could be achieved by using the same logistic assets to support facilities on each side of the border, and the Advisory Committee encouraged the missions to avail themselves, security permitting, of cross-border arrangements, reporting on them in the next budget submission.
The $125.4 million increase in the proposed budget, compared to the 2007-2008 period, was attributable mainly to the fact that provisions for military, police and civilian personnel were being made in full for a 12-month period, compared to an average of 8 months with a phased deployment during the current financial period, she said. Also contributing to the increase were the requirements for the construction of office facilities for some 2,370 personnel and accommodations for some 960 personnel in 7 locations, 6 police stations and 12 police posts.
At the opening of the meeting, the representative of France raised the matter of the absence of the French version of the ACABQ report on MINURCAT and called for an immediate explanation of the absence of documentation in six official languages. He added that the Secretary-General should also present a note at the beginning of the next session on specific steps taken to remedy that unacceptable situation and the matter should also be brought before the new Coordinator on Multilingualism.
Also, last Friday the Secretariat had received four ACABQ reports (some 87 pages) that had to be translated into all official languages, he said. He wanted to know who had decided to give precedence to MINURCAT and contingent-owned equipment, rather than translating the ACABQ reports, thereby introducing an element of discrimination in handling the reports. Why had the contingent-owned equipment report of the Secretary-General not been translated earlier?
That position was supported by the representatives of Benin, Gabon, Haiti, Djibouti, Senegal, Congo, Chad and Morocco. Speakers pointed out that, with little time left, the report on MINURCAT was available only in English, which made it extremely difficult to negotiate on the matter. That situation was unacceptable.
While stressing the importance of respect for multilingualism and rules on the six official languages, the representatives of Cuba, Egypt, Argentina, Venezuela, South Africa and the Sudan advocated the need for flexibility, pointing out that the Fifth Committee was supposed to have concluded its work last Friday. Faced with that situation, one should be realistic and practical and “opt for the lesser evil”, allowing for the introduction of documents in the language in which they had been submitted.
The Secretary of the Committee said that the delegates’ concerns would be transmitted to the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 5 June.
* The 47th Meeting was covered in Press Release GA/10714.
SOURCE : Mission de l’ONU en République Centrafricaine et au Tchad (MINURCAT)