Background

The General Assembly at its 59th session adopted Resolution A/RES/59/276 – Strengthened and unified security management system for the United Nations.  While recognizing the operational difficulties linked to cost sharing by organizations, the General Assembly decided “to maintain the existing arrangements with regard to cost sharing for safety and security” rather than funding these costs under the UN’s regular budget.  The resolution also requested the Secretary General, in his capacity as the Chairman of the CEB, “while fully implementing the decision of the GA to maintain the current cost sharing arrangements, to submit a report to the GA at its 61st session on measures taken to improve the operational administration of existing cost sharing arrangements.”  By this same resolution, the GA also recognized “the need for a clearer presentation of security spending by each organization of the UN system”.   It therefore requested the Secretary General, as Chairman of the CEB, “to inform the GA at its 60th session of this issue”.

Subsequently, an HLCM Technical Meeting was convened by the CEB Secretariat in Geneva 3-4 February 2005, and chaired by the United Nations, to discuss details of 2006-2007 field-related security costs and adopt a new approach for the apportionment of such costs.

Mr. Andrew Toh of the United Nations reported on the conclusions on the HLCM Technical Meeting of 3-4 February 2005 (CEB/2005/HLCM/R.4) that he had chaired:

  • It was recognized that, although staff presence in the field was a logical criteria for the apportionment of field-related security costs, the census exercise was not an adequate tool to provide reliable staff counts for this purpose, in view of the difficulty comparing contract types and tracking staff on mission, constantly changing figures, etc.;
  • Nevertheless, the meeting had agreed that staff data as contained in the census as of 18 July 2003, as checked and updated, should be kept as the basis for the apportionment of field-related security costs for the biennium 2004-2005;
  • Organizations had agreed to provide the CEB Secretariat with any corrections on their staff data contained in the census as of 18 July 2003; the resulting updated figures would be used as the basis for the apportionment of field-related security costs for the biennium 2006-2007; and
  • The meeting had recommended that HLCM approve a new approach for the apportionment of 2006-2007 field-related security, based on staff figures as per the revised 2003 census. With the proposed new approach, field-related security costs would be apportioned on the basis of the actual percentage of staff, with a minimum amount of $75,000 (this option was outlined in Annex V of CEB/2005/HLCM/R.4).

Discussion

Organizations reiterated their concern about the lack of consultation during the process that led to the approval of A/RES/59/276. This had resulted in a lack of critical financial information at the time of preparation of organizations’ budgets and in the consequent difficulty that they would face in providing coverage to security costs that are subject to cost-sharing. The requested additional funding of security related costs could also lead to depriving programme activities of already assigned resources.

Action

The Committee agreed that a governance system which would ensure a more participatory and transparent procedures for future exercises on budgets subject to cost sharing should be established.  Thus would ensure that all organizations participating in cost-sharing arrangements would be periodically consulted in a timely manner on each step of the formulation, approval, re-costing and revision of cost-shared budgets.

It was also agreed that organizations would raise the awareness of their governing bodies about the potentially negative impact that the decision to support the cost sharing approach could have on the funding of programme activities.
On the cost sharing formula, the following organizations expressed reservations regarding the level of the minimum amount (US$ 75,000), as this amount would place a disproportionate burden on them given their budget size: WMO, UPU, ITU, ICAO, IMO, WTO (Trade), WTO (Tourism) and ITC.

The proposed formula (apportionment on the basis of actual % of staff, with a minimum amount of $75,000) was nevertheless agreed to by the majority of participants.

The Committee also agreed to establish a working group to:

  • Outline participatory and transparent procedures as indicated in paragraph 16 above for consideration by HLCM at its next session;
  • Explore alternative criteria for the apportionment of field-related security costs as well as more appropriate methodologies to collect reliable data of field staff; in this regard, the Tracking System currently being finalized by Department of Safety and Security (DSS) in connection with the MAIP exercise should be evaluated as a possible tool; and
  • Formulate a campaign strategy for the United Nations General Assembly’s sixty-first session, when the cost sharing approach would be reviewed; in this regard, organizations recognized the need to strongly advocate with Member States on their governing bodies the review of such an approach in favour of the originally proposed funding from the regular budget of the United Nations