On 12 June, the UN Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary Issues) completed its review of peacekeeping budgets for July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. Overall, the Committee provided the resources necessary for peacekeeping operations to effectively meet their mandates in the coming year while paving the way for sustainable improvements in performance and efficiency in future years. Final approval by the General Assembly will take place later in June.
· Appropriated by consensus a budget of $7.32 billion for the operation of 18 peacekeeping operations and supporting activities.
· Achieved a net savings of $567 million to Member States. The total appropriation is $517 million below last year’s appropriation of $7.84 billion due to savings realized through downsizing and closing missions, cost efficient purchase of major equipment, good management practices, and scaling down headquarters functions where possible. In addition, a one-time adjustment in the Strategic Deployment Stocks account, resulting from efficient purchasing, will reduce member state assessments by an additional $50 million.
· Encouraged continued belt-tightening at the UN. Measured against the projections for actual peacekeeping expenses in the current period ($7.61 billion), the approved budget represents a 3.8% year-over-year decline.
· Advanced implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy designed to improve administrative and logistics support to peacekeeping operations by agreeing to relocate certain logistics functions to the UN’s Global Service Center in Brindisi, Italy and consider establishing regional support centers to support West Africa and Middle East missions. These service centers offer economies of scale by consolidating back office functions from several missions in a single location. The UN estimates that the GFSS has so far resulted in savings –upwards of $70 million to member states.
· Reaffirmed its unified support for the Secretary-General’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and reiterated last year’s historic prohibition on making payments for troops who are sent home for sexual exploitation and abuse violations.
· Made the unprecedented acknowledgment of the chronic problem of low deployment of mission-critical equipment by some troop- and police-contributing countries, and explicitly called for countries to provide full unit capabilities, consisting of both personnel and equipment. Without these capabilities, contingents cannot perform the tasks required of them and missions cannot meet their mandates.
· Endorsed first-ever Secretary-General comprehensive review of civilian staffing structure to ensure that mission staffing aligns with changing requirements. The lack of such a process has created significant doubts about whether existing staffing structures are properly matched to mission mandates, deployment phases, and the specific situations on the ground.
· Recognized the important contribution of troop contributing countries. The budget resolution provided a supplemental payment of approximately $60 million to troop-contributing countries, pending completion of the work of the Senior Advisory Group on Troop Reimbursement and Related Issues.
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