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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

23 December 2016, New York – European Union Statement at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Fifth Committee: Close of Session

Madame Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the member states of the European Union. At the outset, let me congratulate you for guiding us through these important negotiations. Let me also thank the members of the Bureau for their diligent work and skillful handling of our agenda. I would also like to thank all members of the UN Secretariat, in particular the 5C secretariat for their hard work. We put a heavy burden on them and we are thankful for that. Finally, allow me to thank all delegations and groups for their willingness to collaborate in the spirit of compromise.

Madame Chair,

Allow me to make a few short remarks about our work, before we get some well deserved rest. We achieved some important results, however not in all fields of our work.

  1. On special political missions we are content that the committee managed to adequately finance all new and expanding missions. We believe it is important to recall the complex and comprehensive nature of the mandates of many of these missions and their important contribution to peace and security, human rights and the rule of law.
  2. On development, we have consistently voiced our strong support for the two Agendas. But we firmly believe that more work must be done to ensure that the UN secretariat is able to support Member States in implementing Agenda 2030. In this regard, we look forward to the implementation of GA Resolution 70/299, in particular with regard to its request to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of DESA. We are sure that these changes will be reflected in the proposed programme budget for the next biennium. We also regret that no solution could be found for the financing of the resident coordinator system and we believe that a decision by the 5th committee is long overdue.
  3. On human rights we are concerned about the incapacity of the committee to engage in consultations on the proposal put forward by the Secretary General to change and improve the regional structure of OHCHR. The exercise we undertook during the last weeks showed that there is strong support in the General Assembly for the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. However, we are disappointed that we had to defer the item to the main part of the 72nd session. We are also concerned about the growing trend to question the financing of resources stemming from mandates approved by the Human Rights Council.The Fifth Committee, as the Administrative and Budgetary body of the General Assembly, as restated frequently, is not the forum to discuss substantive issues related to decisions adopted by other Committees or bodies of the United Nations.
  4. With regard to the Budget Outline for the 2018-2019 UN Programme Budget, we believe the 5th committee has adopted a resolution that will enable the incoming Secretary General to deliver on the mandates while it should also help him to maintain budget discipline, enhance flexibility and the capacity to reprioritize for new and emerging needs while ensuring financial predictability throughout the biennium. We also believe that our resolution on human resources management gives the incoming Secretary General the tools to continue to streamline, harmonise and modernize his human resources policies including by implementing a more effective performance management system, pressing ahead with mandatory mobility, and ensuring that the needs of the Organisation in terms of the deployment of field-based staff can be met.
  5. On the major transformational agenda items, we welcome the adoption of a resolution on the global service delivery model that should help us to build a truly global secretariat that can effectively deliver on its mandates.

Madame Chair,

Let me conclude by saying that in the resolution on pattern of conferences the member states of the EU did submit concrete proposals to enhance our working methods. We regret that no consensus could be found, in particular in light of the May session and the challenges it poses to our calendar and programme of work.We must also highlight the chronic problem of late documentation. This is no longer an acceptable state of affairs. All the relevant parts of the Secretariat, including author departments, and ACABQ, must urgently address this in an effective manner so that our Committee is given the necessary time to consider all important agenda items.

Finally, allow me to thank all delegations and groups for their willingness to collaborate in the spirit of compromise.

  • Ref: EUUN16-221EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Fifth Committee - Administrative and Budgetary Committee
  • Date: 23/12/2016

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