Statement by Ambassador Joseph H. Melrose, Jr., Senior Advisor, United States Mission to the United Nations, on Peacekeeping Cross-Cutting Issues, including the Proposed Global Field Support Strategy, before the Fifth Committee

Ambassador Joseph H. Melrose, Jr.
Senior Advisor to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
May 7, 2010




AS DELIVERED

Thank you Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin by thanking Under-Secretary-General Susana Malcorra of the Department of Field Support, Assistant Secretary-General Catherine Pollard of the Office of Human Resources Management, and the UN Controller, Jun Yamazaki, for introducing various reports before us, as well as Vice-Chairman Collen Kelapile for his introduction of the related reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). We also thank Under Secretary-General Inga-Britt Ahlenius of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) for introducing her report.
 
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 a cross-cutting resolution.  We believe that the focus that such a resolution places on important thematic issues results in improved management and support of peacekeeping operations along with their uniformed and civilian personnel.  This is particularly true this session where the committee is being presented with the Secretary-General’s proposal for a Global Field Support Strategy.  My delegation laments the fact that we have not been able to adopt a cross-cutting resolution during the past two sessions but looks forward to working with other delegations in adopting such a resolution at this session.
 
Mr. Chairman, my delegation looks forward to discussing all cross-cutting issues with other members of this committee including, for example, rations contracts; information technology; training; conduct and discipline, including sexual exploitation and abuse; financial, economic and administrative misconduct; the need to rationalize air operations and ensure aviation safety; and inter-mission and regional cooperation.

My delegation also looks forward to considering the proposed global field support strategy.  As we have indicated in other fora, including in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in February, we recognize that critical support challenges necessitate a change in the way the Secretariat supports field missions including: in difficult and dangerous environments, a shortage of readily-deployable equipment and civilian personnel for mission start-up, as well as complex mandates.  We support, in principle, the proposed strategy’s core objectives to: expedite and improve support for field missions, strengthen resource stewardship and accountability while achieving greater efficiencies and economies of scale, and improve the safety and living conditions of staff.
 
My delegation commends Under-Secretary-General Malcorra and her staff for preparing this important and far-reaching proposal and very much hopes to participate in the launching of the proposed strategy.  While it is unclear whether the Committee will  succeed in obtaining the agreement for launching the initiative at this session in a manner that effectively accomplishes the desired objectives, my delegation is committed to working closely with the members of this committee toward that end.

Mr. Chairman, my delegation would like to note that many, if not all, of the thematic issues that we have traditionally discussed under this item are key elements of the global field support strategy.  With this in mind, we would like to comment on the following topics.
Requirements for air operations for the July 2010/June 2011 period are expected to amount to over $1 billion.  While noting that significant efforts have been made in the past towards achieving economies in air operations, my delegation believes it is now time to take more comprehensive measures, not only to achieve savings through a regional approach to the management of air operations, but to also ensure the safe and efficient movement of UN uniformed and civilian personnel.

With regard to the issue of conduct and discipline, particularly sexual exploitation and abuse, it is with regret that such egregious acts are still taking place, notwithstanding the measures taken to implement the Organization’s comprehensive package of reforms to prevent such acts, enforce UN standards of conduct, and address the needs of victims. In this regard, my delegation recognizes the important work being carried out by Conduct and Discipline Teams (CDTs), OIOS and other UN personnel, both at Headquarters and in the field.  The activities being undertaken by the CDTs are “core” responsibilities that should be carried out by staff on a permanent basis.

It is imperative, especially in light of the GFSS proposal to significantly change the current support structure for peacekeeping missions, that we continue to ensure that internal controls are strengthened and deficiencies addressed and corrected.  The numerous breaches highlighted in the OIOS report cause my delegation great concern, and we continue to encourage the Secretariat to take swift corrective measures to address these.

Concerning information and communications technology (ICT), my delegation notes that a unified, regional ICT structure is proposed for four missions in close geographical proximity – UNIFIL, UNDOF, UNFICYP and UNTSO.  The United States commends this initiative and calls for further efforts to rationalize and consolidate ICT systems, services and infrastructure in the field.

My delegation looks forward to discussing these and other important cross-cutting issues and to a successful conclusion of this session.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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PRN: 2010/087