Sommaire: May 23, 2002: Statement by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union at the Fifth Committee: Item 123 (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and Liechtenstein, EFTA country member of the European Economic Area align themselves with this statement.
Let me begin by stating that the fight against global terrorism remains a top priority for the European Union. The deplorable events of last September were a shocking reminder of the need for the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms and of the need to take sensible precautionary measures for the security and protection of our citizens. In this second resumed session, we shall consider proposals stemming from the events of September 2001, to enhance the physical security of UN buildings and to provide for the effective functioning of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
The EU welcomes the reports of the Secretary-General and the advice of the ACABQ on both these issues and commends the Secretariat for the speed with which these comprehensive and detailed reports have been produced. We fully endorse the recommendations contained within them.
Mr Chairman, we shall also take up the question of the revised estimates of the programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 for the provision of conference and support services extended to the Counter-Terrorism Committee. There is no doubt that the effective functioning of the CTC is a vital activity and a demonstrably high priority for the United Nations. We urge the full and timely provision of all necessary conference and support services to the Committee as required. We note that the Secretariat and the ACABQ have produced varying levels of budgetary estimates of requirements for these services and we recognise the complexities involved in forecasting and budgeting for a major biennial calendar of meetings. This demonstrates, we believe, that the revised estimates with which we have been presented have been calculated based on a set of assumptions that cannot yet be justified by previous or existing practice.
The European Union remains fully committed to res.56/242 adopted in March 2002 and notes the importance of appropriate conference support services to the bodies and committees of the Organisation, and of customary arrangements in servicing the needs of regional groups. However, we also believe that the UN secretariat and member states should support the integrity of budget resolutions and levels agreed at the General Assembly immediately before the biennium to which they apply. There will, on occasion, be a need to grant exceptions for unforeseen and urgent activities such as the enhancement of security at the UN and the Mission in Afghanistan as noted previously. However, we do not believe that conference and support services fall into this category.
The European Union has for many years consistently advocated strict adherence to the mandated hours of Conference Servicing. We support the current practice of the Secretariat in this regard. We believe this enhanced discipline will bring long-term benefits to the UN in terms of better focused meetings and discussions and the efficient allocation of resources which can be used in a more creative manner to address the needs of the full membership of the UN.
However, we share some of the concerns already expressed by other delegations and regional groups on the S-G's report A/56/919. We too are disappointed that the report fails to look creatively at solutions to problems where they remain and that no analysis of possible efficiencies or further productivity improvements has been attempted. We therefore do not believe it productive to enter into debates based on this report, but prefer to consider these matters later in the year when we shall have the benefit of the outcomes of a number of reviews ongoing under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.