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24 October 2000
Fifty fifth session
Agenda item 138 (b)
Financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces
in the Middle East
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions
1. The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions has considered the report of the Secretary-General containing the revised budget of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for the 12-month period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 (A/55/482). During its consideration of the report, the Committee met with representatives of the Secretary-General who provided additional information.
2. UNIFIL was established by the Security Council in its resolution 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978 for operations in southern Lebanon. The mandate of UNIFIL has been extended several times by the Council, most recently in its resolution 1310 (2000) of 27 July 2000, by which the Council extended the mandate of the Force until 31 January 2001.
3. The Advisory Committee was informed that, as at 30 September 2000, the amount of $903,770,937 was reimbursed for troop costs for the period from 1 December 1989 to 31 March 2000 and that the amount owed for the period from 1 April to 31 August 2000 was $26,480,106.
4. With regard to reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment, the Committee was informed that the amount for the period from 1 June 1994 to 30 September 2000 was $3,921,104; the estimated amount owed, as at 30 September 2000, was $5,936,348; and unliquidated obligations for contingent-owned equipment amounted to $1,406,994. As regards death and disability claims, as at 30 September 2000, 414 claims, totalling $19,563,346, had been paid; unliquidated claims amounted to $3,450,139; and 8 claims were pending.
5. The Advisory Committee was informed that, as at 12 October 2000, the cash position of UNIFIL amounted to $100.2 million. Upon enquiry, the Committee was also informed that the high cash position was due to the fact that contributions to UNIFIL were at a high level and that UNIFIL requires three to four months of operating cash for the maintenance of the Force. The Committee was also informed that the troop payments for peacekeeping missions were now being made for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2000; the amount of the payment for UNIFIL is $14.7 million.
6. Assessments for the period from 16 June 1993 to 30 September 2000 amounted to $3,188.2 million; as at 30 September 2000, payments received totalled $3,021.4 million; and the amount outstanding was $166.8 million. Total unliquidated obligations for the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000 were $23,547,266 for Governments and $14,317,537 for non-governmental obligations as at 30 September 2000.
7. The revised budget of UNIFIL for the period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 amounts to $225,535,700 gross, inclusive of budgeted voluntary contribution in kind amounting to $180,000. The revised estimate is $86,758,400 higher than the initial approved budget of $138,957,300. The proposal reflects increases of 74.5 per cent ($59,652,500) in military personnel costs; 16.5 per cent ($4,141,900) in civilian personnel costs; 75.5 per cent ($22,506,900) in operational requirements; and 12.2 per cent ($457,100) in staff assessment.
8. The Advisory Committee notes from paragraphs 3 and 11 of the report that the revised budget incorporates additional requirements for the expansion of the Force as proposed in the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council of 22 May 2000 (S/2000/460, paras. 31-35) and endorsed by the Council in its presidential statement of 23 May 2000 (S/PRST/2000/18). This included an increase in troop strength to 7,935 from the previous authorized strength of 4,513. The Committee was informed that, as at 30 September 2000, 5,732 troops were already in theatre.
9. With regard to civilian personnel, the Advisory Committee notes from paragraph 13 of the report that the revised budget proposes an increase of 81 posts (34 international and 47 local staff) from 491 posts (141 international and 350 local staff) to 572 posts (175 international to 397 local staff). The Committee was informed that, against the authorized staffing establishment of 141 international and 350 local staff, posts encumbered, as at 30 September 2000, numbered 131 staff and 350 staff respectively.
10. The Advisory Committee notes with concern that out of 11 troop-contributing countries, to date only two countries have signed memoranda of understanding (A/55/482, paras. 18 and 19). The Committee was informed that the process continues to be slow and that it often takes as long as six months for the Secretariat to receive replies from troop-contributing countries concerning the draft memoranda of understanding negotiated with them. The Committee was also informed that the estimates for self-sustainment are based on memoranda of understanding discussed but not yet signed and that no payment is made until they have been signed.
11. The Advisory Committee points out that the new reimbursement arrangements came into force as of 1 July 1997 after being approved by the General Assembly in resolution 50/222 of 11 April 1996.
The Advisory Committee is of the view that the present situation is not satisfactory, since nearly four years after the introduction of the new reimbursement arrangements, the Secretariat is still facing difficulties implementing aspects of the contribution agreements in a timely manner
. The Committee was informed that, out of 11 current troop-contributors, 10 are expected to choose the wet lease arrangements for reimbursement of contingent-owned equipment.
12. The actions to be taken by the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session in connection with the financing of UNIFIL are outlined in paragraph 8 of the report. The Secretary-General proposes that the General Assembly appropriate the additional amount of $86,758,400 gross ($86,301,300 net) for the expansion of the mission for the 12-month period from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, to be assessed at the monthly rate of $7,229,866 gross ($7,191,775 net), subject to the extension of the mandate of the Force by the Security Council beyond 31 January 2001.
The Advisory Committee recommends approval of the proposal of the Secretary-General