Statement by David A. Traystman, Adviser, on Agenda Item 132: Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of the Financing UN Peacekeeping Operations - Cross Cutting Issues

U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
David A. Traystman, Adviser
New York, NY
May 13, 2009


Thank you Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by thanking the Secretariat officials for introducing the many reports before us, as well as Chairperson Susan McLurg for her introduction of the related reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). We also thank the Chairman of the Board of Auditors and the Under Secretary-General of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) for introducing their reports, all of which my delegation have found to be highly informative with respect to the key issues and challenges to UN peacekeeping.

Mr. Chairman,

As we have done in years past, the United States would like to pay its deepest respects to those who have lost their lives while performing their obligations as UN peacekeepers.

We also recognize and commend the hard work and commitment of all UN personnel – here and throughout the world – who are devoted to the difficult task that is peacekeeping. We recognize that the surge in peacekeeping operations over the last few years has placed a strain on the Organization. UN staff have responded to this unprecedented surge with professionalism and dedication.

As my delegation has stated in this Committee during previous sessions and reiterated in our statement to this committee yesterday: at a time of rapidly escalating expenses associated with the multiple and varied activities of this Organization, it is imperative that we make every effort to maximize the effective use of available resources. During this session, we will review and take decisions on the management and financial requirements needed to sustain our current peacekeeping missions. A record number of over 113,000 military and civilian peacekeepers are deployed in the field. The members of this committee will examine and adopt budgets for current peacekeeping missions totaling almost $8.5 billion - four times the one year cost of the regular budget.

Given such expected record costs and our responsibilities to our respective governments, particularly in this difficult financial climate, we must be vigilant to ensure that the resources we provide are used in an efficient, effective and transparent manner. In this environment in which all of our governments have to do more with less, I would like to emphasize that all peacekeeping operations, regardless of their size, cannot be immune to the impact of the current world financial crisis.

Allow me to underline the following - in carrying out our responsibilities in this committee, my delegation has not and will not put any component of mandate implementation at risk.

Mr. Chairman,

A review of peacekeeping budgets over the recent past clearly indicates that there is a distinct and persistent pattern of over-budgeting in peacekeeping missions. While my delegation recognizes that some of these under-expenditures are based on the uncertainties of troop and civilian deployment schedules and the projected costs of certain operational requirements, such as fuel, it is nevertheless apparent that the methodology used in preparing peacekeeping budgets yields under-expenditures over and above the inherent uncertainties.

While we expect that our examination of all proposed peacekeeping operation budgets will yield savings of varying percentages and amounts, it is important that all peacekeeping missions, even long-standing and static operations and operations that may be of particular interest to certain Member States, will undergo reductions.

The cross-cutting issues we will be considering during the coming weeks are integral to successful mission management and operations, and they merit our careful consideration. These important, thematic issues should be fully assessed and reflected in what will be our fourth cross-cutting resolution. My delegation looks forward to discussing all of these cross-cutting issues constructively with other members of the committee, including the lack of clarity on the role and organizational relationships of integrated operational teams (IOTs); the need for improvements in fuel management; conduct and discipline, including sexual exploitation and abuse and financial offences, such as fraud; air operations and aviation safety; rations contracts; inter-mission cooperation; information technology; human resources management; training; and welfare and recreation.

With regard to the issue of conduct and discipline, we recognize the important work being carried out by Conduct and Discipline Teams (CDT), OIOS and other UN personnel, both at Headquarters and in the field. The Teams are charged with the important task of implementing the Organization's rules and regulations concerning conduct and discipline. This includes the Organization's three-pronged strategy aimed at eliminating sexual exploitation and abuse, comprised of measures aimed at prevention of misconduct, enforcement of UN standards of conduct, and remedial action. These important functions are "core" responsibilities that should be carried out by permanent CDT capacities, both at Headquarters and in the field. While we applaud the fact that the overall number of allegations of sexual abuse have decreased, we regret the fact that the numbers of allegations of the more egregious acts of abuse have not decreased. We call on all peacekeeping personnel to act in full compliance with the zero tolerance policy.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman


PRN: 2009/100