Statement by H.E. Mrs. Norma Goicochea, Ambassador, member of the Cuban delegation to the fifth committee. Main part of the 66th session of the General Assembly.
My delegation has carefully studied the proposed budget of the Secretary-General for the next biennium for special political missions, as well as the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.
We thank the Assistant Secretary General and Comptroller as well as the Chair of the Advisory Committee for the introduction of the reports to be analyzed this morning.
The issue at hand is extremely important due to its various aspects and implications. Allow me to mention some of them:
1. The level of resources allocated to these missions amounts to around 25% of the regular budget, which causes a serious distortion among the various priorities set by the General Assembly.
2. The existing procedure for their approval and follow-up deprives the General Assembly of any possibility to monitor said missions, unlike the case of peacekeeping operations, for which the Committee of 34 was established.
3. In some cases, there is no specific mandate for establishing these missions. Their entry into force is limited to an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Security Council, in spite of the fact that these missions deal with extremely sensitive matters in current international relations.
4. Some of the topics they address do not have an express mandate of the General Assembly; therefore, their establishment constitutes a new violation of the prerogatives of the General Assembly by the Security Council, and reflects contempt for said prerogatives by the Secretariat, which infringes the intergovernmental process in favor of the political interests of a few.
5. Despite the level of resources needed for their funding, no actual efficiency measures to generate savings are observed. My delegation agrees with several observations made by the Advisory Committee, which states that a considerable extent of the reductions in the proposed budgets is not the result of real efficiency measures, but of the practice to discontinue the mandates of some of the missions. We also agree with the need to review the criteria for establishing thematic clusters as well as with other observations and recommendations of the Committee.
Based on the abovementioned, we reject the unacceptable tendency of the Secretariat to introduce the reports relating to these missions, nearly at the end of the Committee’s session. We wonder whether this obvious inefficiency, which does not comply with the decisions of the General Assembly in this regard, owes to the policy decision to prevent a thorough analysis of the budget submission, in favor of the interests of some countries, particularly those using the United Nations to develop their military adventures and interventionist doctrines.
Document A/66/354/Add.1 includes the resources for the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. My country, in accordance with its principled position, firmly condemns genocide and supports the functions strictly inherent in that Special Adviser, whose mandate must emanate from the intergovernmental decisions contained in paragraph 67 of said document.
My delegation categorically rejects the new inclusion of the so-called Special Adviser focusing on the responsibility to protect, although the General Assembly has not issued any statement thereupon. This inclusion reflects a clear policy position by the Secretariat and an evident contempt for Member States’ decisions.
Given the importance of this matter, we will refer to some key elements of the presentation:
1. The presentation is opaque and deliberately gets the mandate and activities of the Special Adviser focusing on the so-called “responsibility to protect” mixed up with those of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide (A/66/354/Add.1), evidently in order to prevent the analysis of the proposed resources for the first one, knowing there is no General Assembly agreement on the matter. My delegation requests that all human and financial resources requested for the functioning of each of these advisers be identified. That is regardless of the fact that the adviser on the responsibility to protect receives one dollar a year as a salary.
2. In paragraph 71 of his proposal, the Secretary-General indicates that this Special Adviser is charged with “the further development and refinement of the concept”, which is also unacceptable for that function falls strictly within the competence of the General Assembly.
3. The reporting mechanism of both advisers is limited to the Security Council, although in the case of genocide there is a comprehensive intergovernmental normative reference, as highlighted in paragraph 67 of the report.
4. There is no legal basis to elaborate the methodology to implement the mandates relative to the responsibility to protect, as it is presented in paragraph 74 of the document. My delegation requests that the General Assembly be informed about the amount of resources associated with such activity.
5. We note selectivity in the regional organizations with which collaboration has been established, according to paragraph 77 of the report. We wonder about the reasons for that approach.
6. Paragraph 78 makes clear the intention of the Secretariat to legitimize the concept of responsibility to protect, although there is no intergovernmental mandate, by holding an interactive debate that, in our opinion, was aimed at favoring an exchange of views in the General Assembly on this matter, in accordance with resolution 63/308, with the purpose of facilitating a consensus on the concept, its content, and implications.
7. We also observe a biased approach by the Secretariat and the Special Adviser concerning information-gathering activities. We wonder, for instance, why elements relative to the instability caused in many populations by the financial crisis particularly affecting some Member States were not included.
Based on abovementioned elements, my delegation will make specific proposals aimed at modifying the presentation of this Special Adviser. We are looking forward to the Secretariat’s information on the allocation of resources for the activities of both special advisers. That is a precondition for us to make decisions on this budget submission.
My delegation will address the modalities to fund those missions in another statement, when the topic is presented.