Statement by Bruce C. Rashkow, Minister Counselor, on the Close of the Fifth Committee Second Resumed Session of the 63rd General Assembly

U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, New York
June 25, 2009


Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like to congratulate you and the Members of the Bureau on the successful conclusion of this very difficult - and time consuming - session.

My delegation would like to applaud all of the Members of the Committee who worked for so long and so diligently to accomplish the results that we have today adopted.  These results demonstrate that Member States, whatever their different perspectives and approaches, can work together to respond to the extremely complex task of balancing the need to ensure that the many peacekeeping missions receive the necessary funding to fulfill their important mandates while at the same time responding to the global financial crisis that affects all Member States by carefully scrutinizing the funding proposals to ensure that these missions receive only what is necessary for that purpose - and no more. 

Indeed, reaching this balance involves weighing the proposals of the Secretary General, who is charged with the responsibility of implementing the mandates of these missions, against the expert views of our colleagues on the ACABQ and the mountains of supplemental information that we solicit from the Secretary General. 

Mr. Chairman. 

This is no easy task under the best of circumstances.  It is particularly difficult where there are so many missions and the funds involved are so large --- over eight billion dollars.

Mr. Chairman.

My delegation would have preferred a different outcome in striking this balance, going in some respects beyond the levels of reductions identified by the ACABQ.  However, we appreciate that others would have preferred going in the other direction, and reduced the overall level of reduction recommended by the ACABQ.  We, nonetheless, believe that the decisions reached in the end by the Committee reflect a responsible balance, and one in which all Member States can reasonably take considerable satisfaction.


Mr. Chairman.

Of course, the actions taken by the Committee today in many respect go beyond simply funding these important peacekeeping missions.  In this respect, we believe that the Members of this Committee are also to be applauded for those actions.  In particular, we would like to applaud the Members of the Committee for the actions taken in regard to the strengthening of the investigation function in OIOS and endorsing the views of the IAAC regarding the filling of vacancies in OIOS. 

We fully supported the proposals of the Secretary General, the so called "Hubs and Spokes" approach, which were fully endorsed by both the ACABQ and the IAAC.  Consequently, we would have preferred to see those proposals adopted.  However, we understand that these proposals raised serious concerns for some Member States.   Under the circumstances, we appreciate and welcome the compromise to establish as a "pilot project" centers for investigations in Nairobi, Vienna and New York.  We believe that the compromise reflects the spirit of the original proposal while addressing the serious concerns of other Member States.

We also welcome the decision of the Committee to endorse the observations and recommendations of the IAAC regarding the filling of vacancies in OIOS.  We share the concerns of the IAAC and other Member States regarding the high vacancy rate in OIOS and with the issues that have arisen regarding the process for selecting the senior managers in OIOS.  In our view, Under Secretary Ahlenius must take heed of the concerns of the IAAC and Member States and move diligently to fill the many vacancies in the OIOS.  We also share the concerns of the IAAC that the Secretary General in filling these vacancies, including the senior managerial positions in OIOS, respects the unique position that OIOS occupies in the Organization under the General Assembly resolution establishing OIOS and the administrative issuances promulgated by the Secretary General to implement those resolutions.  In this regard, we agree with the IAAC that recognition of the unique position of the OIOS is critical to its operational independence.

Mr. Chairman.

We would also like to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to our colleagues in the Committee who took on the difficult responsibility to coordinate the work of the Committee on various matters.  While time does not permit us to name every coordinator, and without diminishing the gratitude we owe each of them, we would like to mention at this time Carlos Ruiz  of Mexico who coordinated the compromise reached in regard to the funding of the peacekeeping missions and Motumisi Tawana of South Africa who coordinated the deliberations on the Support Account. Without the commitment, patience and skill of all of our coordinators, the Committee would not have so successfully concluded its work.

Mr. Chairman.

We would also like to express our appreciation to the Chairperson and Members of the ACABQ for the assistance they provided in their expert advisory capacity to the Committee, often under very demanding circumstances.  Just as it was for the Members of the Committee, this session was a difficult one for the Members of the ACABQ, requiring on their part an extra effort in order to provide us with the assistance we require to fulfill our responsibilities.

In the same vein, we would also like to  express our appreciation to the Chairman and Members of the IAAC for the assistance that they have provided the Committee on matters relating to the OIOS.

Mr. Chairman.

We cannot overlook the importance of the Secretariat to our work. Without their tireless efforts to provide the Committee with the information, analysis and other assistance the Committee would not fulfill its important responsibilities. In this respect we once again express our appreciation to Under Secretary Generals Malcorra and Le Roy, and their staff, as well as the leadership and staff of other concerned Departments. 

Of course Mr. Chairman, a special thanks goes, as usual, to Moses Abelian and his staff who have toiled side by side with the Committee through all of its sessions.

Mr. Chairman.

My delegation also wishes to express a special appreciation to those of us who are leaving the Committee after serving a number of years – a far too large a number --  as they go on to other responsibilities.  We wish them well in those new responsibilities.

Finally, we wish to welcome the new Members of the Committee.  We look forward to working with each and every one of them in the coming months.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/137