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        General Assembly
31 March 1994

Original: English

Agenda item 123


United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories

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 (A/C.5/48/71) on revised estimates under sections 3, 4 and 11A of the programme budget for the biennium 1994-1995 relating to the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories. During the consideration of the report, the representatives of the Secretary-General provided additional information to the Advisory Committee.

2. The Advisory Committee notes with concern that the report of the Secretary-General was presented late and became available, as an advance text in English only, to the members of the Advisory Committee on the evening of 30 March 1994, immediately before consideration. Under the circumstances, the Committee did not have enough time to analyse the report of the Secretary-General as it would normally have done and is not, therefore, in a position to present, at this stage, its detailed recommendations concerning all aspects of the report.

3. The Secretary-General in paragraphs 1 to 5 of his report, provides background information on the subject: paragraphs 6 to 11 outline the orientation of the programme and describe the activities to be implemented during the biennium 1994-1995; paragraphs 12 to 22 contain information on resource requirements; and paragraphs 23 to 25 deal with the procedures relating to the operation of the contingency fund.

4. In paragraph 6 of his report, the Secretary-General states, inter alia, that "in view of the mandates of UNRWA, UNDP and UNICEF and the nature of their respective operations, the Secretary-General believes that it would be inappropriate to designate one as the 'lead agency' ..." and that, "given the complexity and sensitivity of the situation in the region and the multiplicity of factors outside the United Nations system which will be involved during the transitional phase, it will be necessary to establish a specific mechanism to ensure effective coordination and intensification of international assistance to the Palestinians in the occupied territories to meet their immediate and longer-term needs". The Secretary-General continues therein to conclude that "... the establishment of such a mechanism is urgently required".

5. In this connection, the Committee notes that the analysis of the Secretary-General that led to the above conclusion would have been more informative had it outlined in a more detailed way the substantive roles to be played and the goals to be achieved by the United Nations system as a whole and the coordinating role of the United Nations. The Committee believes that care should be taken not to duplicate existing mechanisms and that a better definition is needed of the role of the Coordinator and the scope of his activities. The report of the Secretary-General should also have contained the following information:

(a) The limitations which currently affect the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the provision of assistance to the Palestinians and practical measures to be taken by the Special Coordinator in order to overcome them;

(b) The possibilities for UNRWA, UNDP, UNICEF and other regional and international bodies to provide staff and other administrative support to the Special Coordinator;

(c) The mandate and role of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Coordination of International Assistance to the Palestinians;

(d) The delineation of authority with regard to the administration and/or coordination of available financial resources.

The Advisory Committee requests the Secretary-General to submit, by 31 May 1994, a comprehensive report on the above questions and on all practical measures that are necessary to ensure a unified and coherent approach in the provision of economic, social and other assistance in the occupied territories.

6. In paragraph 7 of his report, the Secretary-General indicates, inter alia, that he "... intends to appoint a Special Coordinator who would serve as a focal point for all United Nations economic, social and other assistance to the Palestinians in the occupied territories".

7. The Secretary-General states in paragraph 10 of his report that the Special Coordinator would be appointed at the assistant secretary-general level effective immediately; he would be stationed in the occupied territories, with an emphasis on Gaza, and the duration of his appointment would be limited and would not exceed the time required for the implementation of the Declaration of Principles. Accordingly, the Advisory Committee recommends the establishment of a temporary assistant secretary-general post for the Special Coordinator.

8. Resource requirements amounting to a total of $2,874,500 gross, including the post of the Special Coordinator, which relate to the discharge by the Special Coordinator of his mandate, are outlined in paragraphs 12 to 22 of the report of the Secretary-General and are estimated by him as follows:

9. The Secretary-General proposes in paragraph 15 of his report to finance the above staff requirements in part through the redeployment of one P-4 post from section 11A of the programme budget, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and two P-3 posts from section 3, Political affairs, with the corresponding transfer to section 4, Peace-keeping operations and special missions, of $215,100 from section 11A and $291,100 from section 3. The Advisory Committee notes, in this regard, that the report of the Secretary-General does not contain information on the implications of the proposed redeployments on the activities from which the posts would be redeployed. Without such information the Committee is not in a position to recommend the redeployment at this time.

10. The Advisory Committee believes that the Special Coordinator should have a core staff and operational resources in order to start successfully discharging his mandate. The Committee recommends, therefore, that one D-1, one P-5 and one General Service temporary post be established for the period from 1 April 1994 to 31 December 1995.

11. At the same time the Committee notes that, in its view, non-post requirements amounting to a total of $910,800 might be somewhat overestimated under general temporary assistance and travel and should be justified in detail in the report requested in paragraph 5 above.

12. In the light of the above observations and recommendations, the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly authorize the commitment of up to $1,441,200 gross ($1,140,000 net) initially under section 4 of the programme budget for 1994-1995 in connection with the establishment of four temporary posts (1 assistant secretary-general, 1 D-1, 1 P-5 and 1 General Service post). In addition, the Advisory Committee recommends that the General Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of up to $130,100 for the period from 1 April to 30 June 1994 in connection with non-post requirements as reflected in paragraph 8 above, pending the submission by the Secretary-General of the report requested in paragraph 5 above. The Committee intends to review proper placement in the budget of the estimates for the Special Coordinator in the light of the report requested in paragraph 5 above, taking into account the special nature and circumstances of this mission.


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