Background

At its ninth session, HLCM had agreed to set up a working group to outline more participatory and transparent procedures for future exercises on budgets subject to cost sharing so as to ensure that all organizations participating in cost-sharing arrangements are consulted in a timely manner on each step of the formulation, approval, re-costing and revision of cost-shared budgets.  This Working Group  comprises the major contributors to the cost-shared budget.

Discussion

No detailed record of the discussion on this topic was recorded.

Action

The Committee welcomed the proposals of the Working Group and endorsed its conclusions as follows:

  • The consultative process among organizations must entail dialogue on the strategic direction of the security management system and on the scope of operational requirements for the field-related activities, and should not be limited to modalities for the cost-sharing arrangements. This process must be timely and in line with both the UN Secretariat's budgetary planning cycle and that of the agencies, funds and programmes, so that a consensus may be reached on those inputs which are subject to cost-sharing, while at the same time allowing the agencies, funds and programmes to include resource needs in their budget requests to their respective legislative/governing bodies.
  • DSS should first consult with a sub-group of the IASMN comprised of the major contributors to the budget in the spring of 2006 (for the security budget 2008-2009) on the strategic direction and operational requirements of security arrangements for the field. This would allow DSS to prepare and submit - by late 2006 - a budget proposal which has the endorsement of contributors.
  • The Finance and Budget Network of the HLCM should also be part of the consultative process to deal with any financial aspects of the cost-sharing arrangements.

At the same time, the Committee reiterated its position that Member States on all governing bodies should again be urged to fund centrally the security budget in place of the cost-sharing arrangements.

The UN’s Under-Secretary General for Safety and Security also welcomed the proposals and agreed to work with the Department of Management and the CEB secretariat in developing a detailed timetable for the various steps in the definition of the strategic direction and operational and budgetary requirements of the security arrangements.  This would ensure greater transparency in the decision-making process related to field security issues for the benefit of all members of HLCM.

In keeping with the same framework of enhanced transparency, HLCM requested the UN Secretariat to provide a detailed report on actual field-related security expenditure for the biennium 2004-2005.

With regard to the distribution of field-related security costs for the 2006-2007 biennium, the Secretary of HLCM drew members attention to a communication of 5 October 2005, informing the Committee of the World Bank’s intention to withdraw from HLCM’s funding arrangements for the 2006-2007 biennium.  The Bank believed that the methodology for calculating its future share of the field-related security budget should depart from the agreements reached within HLCM and instead be consistent with that used in the case of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).  This methodology would be based on UN security services being extended only to the Bank’s internationally assigned staff members and visiting personnel.

The current arrangements for the apportionment of the field-related security costs among organizations of the UN family participating in the UN Security System were based on a methodology, which was last revised by HLCM in 2005.  Presently, each organization’s share is calculated on the basis of the total number of staff (irrespective of the type or duration of contract) in duty stations of non-OECD countries at a particular point in time. (A census was conducted generally every two years by the CEB Secretariat.)  The formula also provides for a minimum (floor) amount of $ 75,000.

ADB and EBRD which are not part of the UN system methodology, participate in the field security arrangements but do not receive the full array of services of the Department of Safety and Security; they are billed an amount agreed upon by the Controller of the United Nations and these organizations.

Such a decision by the World Bank would result in a short-fall of approximately $ 8 million in the 2006-2007 budget which could not be made up by the other organizations of the UN system participating in the field security arrangements.

[Note: Consultations were undertaken following the meeting.  It was decided that the UN Controller, the Office of the Security Coordinator and the World Bank should resolve this issue through further consultations on an urgent basis.]