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2007-08-03 22:33:00
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DE RUCNDT #0640/01 2152233
R 032233Z AUG 07
						UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000640 



E.O. 12958: N/A




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The Advisory Committee on Administrative and
Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) held its spring session May 15 -
July 27 2007. The session primarily focused on the Secretary
General's proposed budget for the biennium 2008-2009
(A/62/6). It held extensive hearings with Secretariat
officials and studied numerous documents in completing its
analysis of the proposed budget. While the Advisory
Committee could have taken a more proactive approach in
promoting specific budgetary and management reforms in the
context of the budget review, given the scope of work and
time pressure as well as the limited experience of some of
the members, the Committee chose to limit its comments and
recommendations largely on post and non-post resources.
With regard to non-post resources, the Advisory Committee
continued its focus on system-wide concerns, including, inter
alia, use of consultants, travel, training, external printing
and information technology. After prolonged consideration of
the proposed budget, the Advisory Committee found itself
largely in agreement with the overall level of the budget
proposed by the SYG (recommendations are based on majority
rule). As a result, the recommendations made by the Advisory
Committee regarding posts and objects of expenditure have
negligible financial consequences on the overall level of the
proposed budget. Recommendations are contained throughout
the ACABQ's report on the proposed budget for 2008-2009.
Final costing of the ACABQ's recommendations is being
prepared by the Secretariat. What is most notable about this
budget submission is the absence of provisions for a number
of other requirements which have been or will be addressed in
separate reports. Many of which, if adopted by the GA, will
have significant financial implications for the upcoming
biennium. The ACABQ's report is scheduled to be issued in
September. End summary.

2. For the biennium 2008-2009, the SYG proposes a program
budget in the amount of $4,395,600,000 for the expenditure
sections and $515,340,300 for the income sections (at
2008-2009 rates). On a net basis, the estimates total
$3,880,259,700. The proposed 2008-2009 expenditure level of
$4,395,600,000 as compared with the revised estimate for
2006-2007 of $4,173,895,900 reflects an increase of 5.3
percent. Upon inquiry, the Committee
was informed that the
estimated delayed impact in 2010-2011 of proposals in the
proposed program budget for the biennium 2008-2009 is
$34,700,800. To improve budgetary transparency and provide a
more complete picture of the budgetary implications of
proposals, the ACABQ is recommending to the GA that future
budgets provide information on the full cost of budgetary
proposals for each section.

3. In addition to the proposals contained in the proposed
program budget, the GA will concurrently consider a number of
other proposals that have been or will be addressed in
separate reports. Decisions by the GA on these proposals
will be integral to the implementation of the program of work
for the biennium 2008-2009. These include, inter alia, the
UN system of administration of justice, the implementation of
an enterprise resource planning system, arrangements for
business continuity and disaster recovery, revised estimates
related to resolutions and decisions of the Human Rights
Council, strengthening of OIOS, revised estimates related to
resolutions and decisions of ECOSOC and revised estimates
related to the updated terms of reference of the IAAC. The
totality of resources required for the implementation of
these additional proposals was not available at the time of
the Committee's review of the budget proposal. While budget
procedures (GA resolution 41/213 and 42/211) provide
mechanisms for consideration by the GA of new
mandates/activities/initiatives arising during the budget
period, this year's piecemeal approach to the budget process
is more pronounced than in the past. This approach does a
disservice to member states in their consideration of the
budget and, in particular, in determining resource
requirements for priority activities. To ensure the
integrity of the budget process and budget discipline, future
budgets must reflect a more comprehensive and complete
picture of the overall resources requirements for the budget

4. The budget estimates do not include the costs of
peacekeeping and the international tribunals for the former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda, which have separate budgets.

5. A staffing level of 9,993 posts is proposed under the
expenditure sections by the SYG, which represents a net
increase of 220 posts when compared with the staffing level
for 2006-2007 of 9,676. The SYG, in his proposed budget,
proposes the abolition of 35 established posts, the
establishment of 248 new posts and the conversion of 7
positions to established posts from general temporary

assistance. In addition, 2 temporary posts are proposed to
be converted to established posts. Upon inquiry, however, the
Committee was provided with additional information on the
proposed new posts that indicated that many of these posts
were in fact conversions from extrabudgetary posts or
positions funded from general temporary assistance (GTA).
This additional information differed significantly from that
which was included in the proposed budget. It further
clarified that a total of 49 posts are proposed to be
converted from extrabudgetary funding and a total of 42
positions are proposed to be converted from general temporary
assistance to established posts under the regular budget.
While the Committee's review of the staffing requirements was
focused on the SYG's proposed changes rather than looking at
total staffing requirements, it did recommend, in some
instances, that the request for the establishment of a new
post be accommodated through redeployment, particularly in
Departments with high vacancies or with large staffing
complements. The Committee also called for reductions in
general temporary assistance where conversions are proposed.

6. Twelve posts are proposed for redeployment between budget
sections for 2008-2009, excluding the transfer of CEDAW posts
from DESA (section 9) to OHCHR (section 23), which is treated
as a technical adjustment to the base. With respect to
reclassifications, six posts are proposed for upwards

7. Reminiscent of past budget discussions, the Committee did
not conduct a technical review of the post requests, but
rather the members politically aligned themselves in support
of certain posts. The end result being that most of the
proposed staffing changes are being recommended for approval
by the ACABQ. The ACABQ's report contains details on its
recommendations regarding the staffing changes.

8. For purposes of budgeting, the SYG proposes a vacancy
rate of 4.9 percent for professional staff and 1.5 percent
for the general service staff and related categories for
continuing posts. As of May 31, 2007, the overall vacancy
rates in respect of regular budget posts were 6.3 percent for
professional level posts and 4 percent for general service
and related categories. While the ACABQ does not propose
changes to the budgeted vacancy rates, there may be some room
to massage these rates. In this regard, it is noted that a 1
percent movement in the vacancy factor represents some $16.3
million for professional staff and some $10.3 million for the
general service staff.

9. As noted in paragraphs 5 and 6 above, there are a
significant number of staffing changes being proposed. The
ACABQ's report contains details on its recommendations
regarding these changes. The following summarizes the
recommendations taken regarding posts at the P-5 and above
level, with some notable exceptions.

--Section 1 (Overall policymaking, direction and
coordination): The Committee endorses the SYG's proposal to
convert three positions (1 P-3, 1 P-2 and 1 GS) currently
funded from general temporary assistance to established posts
for the Ethics Office. With this conversion, the Ethics
Office would be staffed by 9 regular budget posts, including
a D-2 head of the office. In addition, the ACABQ is
recommending to the GA that the ACABQ Secretariat be
strengthened. The staffing complement of the Secretariat has
not changed for a number of years, despite the increase in
the workload of the Committee. Efforts by some Committee
members to include a request to enhance their conditions of
service was successfully thwarted at the last minute. While
the request didn't make it out of the Committee, it may
resurface during the Fifth Committee's debate on the budget.

--Section 2 (Department of General Assembly and Economic and
Social Council affairs and conference management): A regular
budget staffing complement of 2096 is proposed for DGACM
(NYHQ's, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi) for the biennium.
During informal conversation with the USYG/DGACM, it was
learned that conference servicing resources are managed
directly by each duty station, thereby limiting the authority
and accountability of the USYG/DGACM for the overall
management of the Department. To correct this anomaly, the
Committee, emphasizes in its report the importance that
should be attached to the authority and accountability of the
USYG/DGACM in the effective management of all of the
resources in section 2 of the budget. The Committee concurs
with the SYG's proposal to transfer the Office of Protocol
and Liaison Services into the Department. It also concurs
with the proposal to establish a D-2 post for the Director of
the Cental Planning and Coordination Division in NY. Views

differed considerably among the Committee's members on the
request to establish 7 new P-5 posts for senior revisers
through the conversion of temporary assistance resources. In
the opinion of most members, there were no compelling
arguments presented to support this request. Despite this,
some members remained steadfast in their desire to provide
these posts, ultimately a compromise was reached in which the
ACABQ recommends approval of general temporary assistance
equivalent to three P-5 posts. The Committee concurs with the
SYG's proposals for Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. With respect
to Nairobi, the proposed establishment of 7 new posts is
proposed in lieu of posts currently funded on a reimbursable
basis from extrabudgetary resources of UNEP, UN-Habitat and
other UN funds and programs. The continued strengthening of
the Nairobi Office is in accordance with GA resolution 52/220
and 57/292.

--Section 3 (Department of Political Affairs): Although the
Committee was informed that the SYG is considering making
proposals at a future date concerning the overall
requirements of DPA, it concurs with the SYG's proposal to
establish 3 new posts in DPA to meet immediate priorities.
The Committee calls for greater cooperation and coordination
between DPA and DPO, including the exchange of expertise
between Departments. The Committee does not comment on
Special Political Missions (SPM) as consideration of the
estimates in respect of SPMs, good offices and other
political initiatives will be considered in a separate report
during the fall UNGA session. With respect to the
Peacebuilding Support Office, 8 new posts and 7 conversions
from general temporary assistance funding to established
posts are proposed. After much debate, the Committee
concurred with the SYG's proposal.

--Section 5 (Peacekeeping Operations): ACABQ's report
provides a revised organizational structure for both the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPO) and the
Department of Field Support (DFS), taking into account the
decisions in GA resolution 61/278, including posts, post
levels and related sources of funding, as at July 1, 2007.
The staffing complement of DPO for 2008-2009 includes 28
regular budget posts and 394 extrabudgetary posts, compared
to 30 regular budget posts and 294 extrabudgetary posts in
the biennium 2006-2007. The staffing complement of DFS for
2008-2009 includes 30 regular budget posts, as well as 405
extrabudgetary posts, compared to 32 regular budget posts and
344 extrabudgetary posts in the biennium 2006-2007.

--Section 7 (International Court of Justice): The SYG's
proposed budget includes the proposal to establish 11 new
posts for the Court. While the Committee agrees to the
establishment of one P-5 post of Senior Legal Officer to be
placed in the Department of Legal Matters, it does not agree
with the SYG's proposal to establish nine P-2 posts for Law
Clerks. The Court currently has a pool of five P-2 Law
Clerks and one P-3 Legal Officer for the Office of the
President. The ACABQ has consistently held the view that the
support the judges require can effectively be met by a pool
of law clerks. While the Committee continues to support this
approach, it recommends to the GA that the pool be increased
by only three new P-2 posts. This was a compromise that was
reached after hours of negotiations as some members had been
approached by some of the judges. The persistent lobbying by
some judges will undoubtedly continue into the Fifth
Committee's deliberations. The Committee does not recommend
support of the proposed reclassification of one P-4 post of
Chief of Library to the P-5 level, but does agree to the
merger of the Archives, Indexing and Distribution Division,
currently headed at the P-3 level, and the Library Division,
currently headed at the P-4 level, into the new Documentation

--Section 8 (Legal Affairs): The ACABQ recommends that the
GA support the request for one new P-5 post as Special
Assistant to the USYG and the internal redeployments proposed
in conjunction with the proposed establishment of an Office
of the USYG. The USYG convincingly argued that the
long-standing arrangement of pooling resources from the
Office of the General Legal Counsel and other offices within
the Department in support of his immediate office is not
practical nor feasible in view of the ever-increasing demands
on the Department.

--Section 15 (Human Settlements (HABITAT): The proposed
reclassification of the post of Director of the NY Office
from D-1 to D-2 proved to be hotly debated in the Committee.
The current incumbent heavily lobbied some members,
particularly the African members. As a result, the Committee
discussed this proposed reclassification far too long. In
the end, however, the Committee did not agree to the

reclassification of the post as the sole justification
provided in support of the reclassification was based on
representational tasks involving attendance at meetings at
various levels, This proposed reclassification will continue
to haunt the Fifth Committee when it gets down to the
inevitable "horsetrading" of posts in the final hours of

--Section 23 (Human Rights (OHCHR): A total of 36 new posts
are proposed (18 in 2008 and 18 in 2009). At this time four
of the new posts are proposed for the Human Rights Council
Branch (HRC). The estimates proposed under this section will
be for revisited during the biennium 2008-2009 as a result of
decisions arising from the ongoing review by the HRC of its
subsidiary machinery, which by a decision of June 18, 2007
would entail three components, namely the Universal Periodic
Review, the HRC Advisory Committee and a strengthened
victim-oriented complaint procedure; requirements relating to
the implementation of HR decision 3/104 and resources for the
implementation of two new conventions, the International
Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearance and the Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities should they enter into force during the
biennium. The Committee was informed that the phasing-in of
the posts was intended to reflect the time required to
complete recruitment, given the high number of current
vacancies, and to build the new Office structure through the
initial recruitment of managers and subsequently their staff.
For 2008-2009, the organizational structure of the OHCHR is
proposed to consist of four divisions, eight branches and
other organizational units, with the establishment of a
number of new senior management posts. With the exception
of the following, the Committee concurs with the SYG's
staffing proposals. The Committee does not agree with the
proposed establishment of a D-1 post for Chief of Staff. The
Committee was concerned that the functions may overlap with
those of the Deputy High Commissioner. It also does not
agree with the P-4 post requested for the NY Office. It
found the description of the needs to be addressed through
the establishment of this post to be exceedingly general.
The Committee also does not concur with the proposed
establishment of a D-2 post for the Director of the Special
Procedures Division nor does it concur with the request of a
general service post to support the Director. A convincing
case was not made to demonstrate the need for this Division
to be headed at the D-2 level. GA resolution 60/1 called for
the strengthening of OHCHR through the doubling of its
regular budget resources over the next five years with a view
to progressively setting a balance between regular budget and
voluntary contributions to its resources. The assumption in
the proposed budget for 2008-2009 appears to be that the
baseline against which the doubling of resources is to be
measured is the appropriations for 2004-2005. This is
consistent with the view previously expressed by the
Committee. The GA has yet to pronounce itself on the
appropriate starting point for the redoubling. The Committee
also notes that past and present strengthening of OHCHR has
focused solely on Headquarters and recommends that subsequent
proposals should also concentrate on the Office's field

--Section 26 (Humanitarian Assistance): Three posts are
proposed for conversion from extrabudgetary resources to
regular budget funding. While the Committee does not object
to these conversions, it notes that the proposed budget also
includes 85 new extrabudgetary posts, for a total of 1,041
envisaged extrabudgetary posts and that the choice of these
particular three posts for conversion appeared somewhat
arbitrary. The Committee recommends that in the future such
requests be accompanied by an indication of the essential
elements that underpin the need for conversion.

--Section 28 (Management and Support Services): Within the
Office of Program Planning, Budget and Accounts (OPPBA), the
SYG proposes the re-establishment of a one D-2 and one P-4
for the Office of the Deputy Controller to enhance the
overall management of OPPBA. As background, the Deputy
Controller post was abolished about 10 years ago when a
decision was taken to remove the Treasury and Contributions
functions from OPPBA. This decision was revisited at some
point in time and subsequently both functions were brought
back into OPPBA. The Committee concurs with the request for
these two posts, as well as the request for a P-5 post in the
Budget Division and a P-4 post in the Accounts Division to
primarily focus on special political missions, and a D-1 post
for the head of the Financial Information Operations Service.
Turning to the Office of Human Resource Management (OHRM), a
new organizational structure is proposed, comprised of the
Office of the ASYG and four divisions, namely the Policy and
Strategic Planning Division, the Recruitment and Staffing

Division, the Learning and Development Division and the
Medical Services Division. It is envisaged that each
Division would be headed at the D-2 level. As a result, one
new D-2 post is requested for the newly formed Recruitment
and Staffing Division. While the Committee concurs with the
reorganization and the need for this new Division to headed
at an appropriately high level, it recommends that the
functions and responsibilities of the proposed D-2 post be
met through redeployment from within the Department of
Management. It, therefore, does not recommend the
establishment of this new post. It does concur with the
request for the establishment of a P-5 post in the Division
to focus on recruitment outreach activities. With respect to
the Nairobi Office (UNON), the SYG proposes the establishment
of 2 new posts and the conversion of 34 General Service/Local
Level posts from extrabudgetary posts to regular budget
posts. The conversions are based on GA resolution 52/220,
which addressed the issue that UNON was mostly funded from
extrabudgetary resources and requested the SYG to bring the
financial arrangements of the Office in line with those of
similar UN administrative offices. The gradual process of
achieving this alignment was first reflected in the proposed
budget for 2000-2001. If the GA approves this proposal, all
professional posts and close to 37 percent of local level
posts in UNON Administration would be funded from the regular
budget. The Committee was informed that 144 local level
posts and 3 national officer posts would still remain under
extrabudgetary funding during the 2008-2009 budget period.

--Section 29 (OIOS): The Committee provides an update of the
staffing situation in OIOS to reflect the staffing changes
adopted by the GA in its resolution 61/275. Of the
fifty-four new posts proposed, 25 were approved by the GA in
this resolution. The ACABQ takes exception to the budgetary
procedures followed by the OIOS in presenting its proposed
staffing requirements. In a number of cases, there is no
relationship between the positions authorized in GA
resolution 60/246 as general temporary assistance (GTA) and
the functions now proposed to be established through
redeployment and conversion to established posts. Positions
funded from GTA are of a temporary nature and are intended
for specific functions. Should these specific functions no
longer be required, the related positions and resources
should be surrendered. The ACABQ takes a conservative
approach to the request for the establishment of new posts in
OIOS. At this time it recommends that the GA approve the
establishment of a P-5 post for Legal Officer and the
conversion to establish posts of two GS posts in the
Executive Office. For the following reasons, the Committee
considers that this is not the appropriate time to act on the
staffing proposals for 2008-2009: (i) OIOS requires a period
of consolidation and reflection on the totality of its assets
and needs, rather than continuing to make piecemeal requests
for additional resources; (ii) OIOS is preparing a risk based
workplan to be concluded by the end of 2007; (iii) the
Investigations Division has been the subject of an internal
review, but the conclusions in terms of structures and
resource requirements are not yet finalized; iv) review of
OIOS by the Board of Auditors is expected; and (v) the GA is
due to select members to the IAAC in 2007 that will examine
the workplan and review the budget of OIOS. The Committee
believes it is advantageous first to allow these reviews to
be concluded. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the
SYG submit a comprehensive report to the GA at its 63rd
session on the requirements of OIOS.

--Section 30 (Jointly financed administrative activities and
special expenses): The Committee concurs with the request
for a P-5 Senior Personnel Policies Officer in the
International Civil Service Commission (ICSC). The Committee
does not concur with the request for two professional posts
in the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), as insufficient
justification was provided. The JIU proposal was presented
as "cost neutral" since it was proposed to abolish two GA
posts in exchange for a P-2 and P-3 level posts. However,
this assertion was found to be incorrect. The Committee
recommends the retention of the GS research assistant post
and the abolition of the GS registry clerk post, since the
latter post was deemed no longer needed by the JIU. Resource
requirements under this section of the budget are financed on
an inter-agency basis.

--Section 33 (safety and Security): The Committee concurs
with the request for 8 new posts proposed by the SYG. In
addition, the Committee received a separate note, dated June
14, 2007, from the SYG regarding the proposed
reclassification of the D-2 Deputy to the USYG for Safety and
Security to the ASYG level, effective January 1, 1007. The
Committee recommends approval of this reclassification,
however, with the effective date of January 1, 2008.

10. The Advisory Committee proposes limited adjustments to
non-post resources in a number of budget sections.