04 January 2021, New York - The Fifth Committee concluded its Main Session of the 75th UNGA on 31 December 2020, adopting 16 resolutions and 15 decisions of the Committee.
The Committee began its work on 5 October, and conducted vigorous consultations to consider and approve financial and budgetary requirements and resources of various UN programs and operations and those of its related and specialized agencies for 2021.
The Committee and the General Assembly Plenary approved a $3.21 billion regular budget to be used by the UN Secretariat in 2021. The said amount is slightly higher than last year’s $3.07 billion appropriation.
For this session, the Philippine delegation, headed by the Philippine Mission to the UN in New York, among other initiatives, negotiated on behalf of the 134 Member States of the Group of 77 and China informal discussions on Management reforms (Implementation), UN Pension Fund and Enterprise Resource Planning Project Umoja, and helped facilitate the formal adoption of the budget appropriation for the financing of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
On the agenda item on shifting the management paradigm in the UN, the Committee discussed the progress on the implementation of the Secretary-General’s management reform in the Secretariat, which aims, among others, to decentralize decision-making in the organization, align responsibilities and authority, and simplify policies and processes in order to improve the ability of the United Nations to implement its mandates. In the discussion, the Philippine delegation underscored the need to develop a clear, simple and transparent system for delegating authority and ensuring operational effectiveness and strong internal controls, as well as the importance of geographical representation and the need to redouble the efforts of the Secretary-General to improve it. In acknowledging efforts made to address the challenges arising from the current pandemic and ensure business continuity of the UN, the Philippines also highlighted the need to give particular attention to cybersecurity and effective ICT infrastructure.
The Philippines also coordinated the discussions on the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), which focused, among others, on governance issues, pension administration, and diversification of the Fund and expanded investment strategies aimed at strengthening the efficiency and sustainability of the Fund’s investments system in the long term and addressing the increasing complexity of the global capital markets. The dialogue among delegations also included the allocation of financial resources to support the administrative operations of the Fund in 2021. On this item, the Philippines underscored, among others, the need to conduct proper monitoring through annual reports regarding the status of implementation of the Integrated Pension Administration System (IPAS), specifically the challenges experienced on the implementation of the system, including granting of other forms of assistance, as well as the enhancements made to address these challenges. The Philippine delegation also stressed the importance of identifying the functional responsibilities and reporting lines of the New York and Geneva offices as well as the need for specific measures to ensure efficiency of the Geneva office in rendering services to its clients. The GA approved $111M for the administration of the Fund for 2021.
On Umoja, an administrative reform initiative of the UN Secretariat that includes a thorough streamlining of UN business processes, the Philippines coordinated discussions that resulted in the GA’s approval of, inter alia, the resource requirements of $25.4 million for 2021 for the Enterprise Resource Planning Solution Division, as well as resource requirements of $3.6 million also for 2021 for the business support activities, to be funded from the unused balance at the end of 2020. Umoja was originally conceived as a successor to the Integrated Management Information System and as a means of replacing information technology systems through which technical capabilities cannot keep pace with the evolving business requirements of the organization.
Finally, the Committee took up the draft resolution on Financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/75/L.3/Rev.1). The Philippines helped facilitate the formal conversion of the commitment authority, which was granted during the second resumed session of the Committee in July this year and allowed the financing of Mission’s peacekeeping operations at the start of the fiscal year, into a proper budget appropriation that amounts to $480.64 M for the period of 1 July 2020 - 30 June 2021.
The Fifth Committee commenced its session on 05 October 2020, with an organizational meeting that considered how to effectively manage negotiations consisting of a hybrid of in-person and virtual meetings in view of the restrictions arising from the current health situation.
The Fifth Committee is responsible for administrative and budgetary matters. It also considers and approves financial and budgetary arrangements with specialized agencies and makes recommendations to the agencies concerned-END.