Summary: EU Presidency Statement - 5th Committee: Programme of Work (10 October 2005: New York)
EU Presidency Statement on The Programme of Work of the Fifth Committee, Main session UNGA 60, by The Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, on behalf of the European Union, New York
Thank you Mr Chairman.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. 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, EFTA countries Iceland, Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
Mr Chairman, the EU congratulates you on your election to the Chair of the Fifth Committee. We offer you our wholehearted support, and look forward to working with you and all our Fifth Committee colleagues in a spirit of constructive co-operation during this 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which marks an important anniversary in the history of the UN.
We should also like to congratulate the members of the Bureau upon their election. With such a busy session ahead of us, we rely on them to reflect adequately the priorities of this Committee in determining our programme of work and to assign the appropriate time for each issue proportionate to its importance for the Organisation. We look forward as well to working with the Secretariat of the Committee and the representatives of the Secretary-General for a successful conclusion to our busy programme of work. We are grateful for the series of briefings last week which helped to clarify some of the key issues ahead of us this session.
Mr. Chairman, we face a series of complicated and important negotiations in this main session. Last month our Heads of State and Government agreed on an ambitious agenda for change, including in many areas relevant to the work of this Committee. It is now time for follow-up. The effective and speedy implementation of the management and Secretariat reform decisions is a key priority for the EU during this session.
In this Budget Year, the EU believes that we should give priority attention to those agenda items with resource implications where decisions are time-bound. This applies of course to the approval of the next biennial budget, but also to the four peacekeeping budgets that are on our agenda. Regrettably, the lack of timely and complete documentation in all official languages is a serious handicap. The EU trusts that this Committee will take the time it needs to consider these budgets. Furthermore, the EU hopes that the Committee will adopt a meaningful decision on the Capital Master Plan.
Mr Chairman, we are confident that under your leadership, and with the collaborative support of the bureau, we should be able to conduct our work efficiently. We regret the trend in recent years whereby it has become acceptable to work evenings, nights and weekends as the end of the session approaches. This invariably leads to protracted discussions between tired delegates achieving questionable results. We see no value in this form of decision-making, particularly in this, the very Committee that is charged with promoting efficient management practices and use of resources. We favour making maximum use of our time, starting meetings punctually, delivering concise interventions and producing draft language and proposals for our co-ordinators in a timely manner. In this context, we recognise the value in setting aside Wednesday afternoons for delegations and regional groups to prepare positions. The EU intends to make full use of this. But more importantly, the EU believes that by focussing on its principal function of policy-setting and avoiding unnecessary discussion of detail, the Committee would be able to complete its agenda without the need for meetings outside working hours.
Nevertheless, we note that the programme of work lists the 9th of December as the last day of this session. Given the unlikelihood that all statements of Programme Budget Implications will be submitted before the 1st of December, we believe this is unrealistic. We therefore suggest that the Committee should work to a more realistic end date of 16th December.
Thank you Mr Chairman
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.