I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, and the Associated Countries – Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, as well as the EFTA Countries of the European Economic Area – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, align themselves with this statement.
Let me begin by thanking through you the representative of the Secretariat for introducing the report of the Secretary-General on estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized contained in document A/C.5/57/23. We also thank Ambassador Mselle for presenting the conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ.
The European Union attaches great importance to the special political missions of the United Nations. They constitute an integral part of the Organisations contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security and as such represent a core activity of the United Nations.
It is a cause of concern that the total expenditures for special political missions for the biennium 2002-2003 now are expected to exceed $ 200 million compared to the budget adopted. However, the European Union stands ready to support the appropriation for the additional resource requirements being sought with the present report and with the adjustments recommended by the ACABQ.
We concur with the Secretary-General that there are inherent difficulties in predicting the number, nature and duration of special political missions. For example, it was not possible at the time of preparation of the programme budget for 2002-2003 to foresee the need for a political mission in Afghanistan on the scale of UNAMA, for which a further expansion is being proposed that would bring it close to 1000 staff, including local staff, in 2003.
The European Union has taken note of the proposal of the Secretary-General to consider alternatives to the current method of financing special political missions. While we fully agree that improvements in Member States review of overall resource requirements and greater predictability in the expenditures for political missions are needed, the European Union is of the view that their financing should be maintained as part of the regular budget. In our view, a separation of the budgets for political missions would not in itself lead to better cost-control, oversight and monitoring of expenditures, nor better predictability of financing needs.
The European Union agrees that there is need for improvements in the manner by which the budgetary requirements for special political missions are presented to the Fifth Committee. Member States also bear a responsibility for ensuring that resources for this activity are utilized effectively. At the time of adoption in the Security Council or in the General Assembly, mandates should be closely scrutinized to ensure that they are not overlapping and, where possible, include a clear exit-strategy.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.