Statement by Cherith Norman, Advisor, on Agenda Item 118: Programme Budget 2008-2009 Special Political Missions (A/63/346/Add.6; A/63/779) Before the Fifth Committee

Cherith Norman, Advisor
New York, NY
March 24, 2009


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The United States would like to thank Ms. Sharon Van Buerle for her introduction of the Secretary-General's report on the revised budgets for certain special political missions (SPMs) from January 1 – December 31, 2009, as well as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) Ms. Susan McLurg for introducing her Committee’s related report.

The United States strongly supports the efforts by the Secretary General and his special representatives and special envoys along with the Department of Political Affairs in conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding.

In regards to the reports before us requesting additional resources, we would make the following general observations following which we look forward to engaging in an in depth discussion with our colleagues in the Committee and the representatives of the Secretariat in informal consultations.

With respect to the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq, we continue to support its critical work and role in providing oversight to the Development Fund in Iraq. We favorably note the plan of the Secretary General to fund 2009 requirements from 2008 unencumbered balances.

We are pleased to see the transition between the International Independent Investigation Commission and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon proceeding. We believe it is crucial that the transition be a seamless one and there be no gaps in coverage between the two bodies. We note the ACABQ comments on the resource requirements and possible ways to reduce costs during the liquidation period and look forward to gaining further clarifications in the informals on these possible areas of savings.

The success of a political settlement in Somalia is of great interest to the United States and vital to regional stability. We commend the work of the UN political office in Somalia (UNPOS) under such difficult circumstances and their utilization of common support services available through the UN Office in Nairobi as mentioned by the ACABQ. We note the reduction in the requirements for 2009 are mainly due to the inability of UNPOS to relocate to Somalia due to the current security environment. However, directly related to this issue, we note the request for additional security officers and support the recommendations of the ACABQ on this issue.

We are encouraged that the improved political situation in Nepal has resulted in a downsizing of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). However, we note that planning assumptions for UNMIN in 2009 had to be revised due to the extension of the mandate for UNMIN and the delayed plan for liquidation of the Mission. We encourage the Secretary General to continue to explore cost savings during this further downsizing period.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/059