U.N. Panel Approves Peacekeeping Budget for 2012–2013
By Lauren Monsen
IIP Staff Writer
According to the U.N., resources were provided for peacekeeping operations to meet their mandates in the coming year while paving the way for sustainable improvements in performance and efficiency in future years. The new peacekeeping budget achieves a net savings of $567 million to member states, according to the United Nations.
“The United States welcomes the Fifth Committee’s approval of the U.N. peacekeeping budgets that provide significant savings to American taxpayers while supporting and strengthening crucial U.N. peacekeeping operations around the world,” said Joseph M. Torsella, U.S. representative to the United Nations for U.N. management and reform.
In addition to downsizing where peacekeeping missions have changed and shifting resources from overhead to operations, the Fifth Committee reaffirmed its unified support for the U.N. secretary-general’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. peacekeeping forces. Moreover, the committee reiterated the 2011 prohibition on making payments for troops who are sent home for sexual exploitation and abuse violations.
The Fifth Committee also acknowledged the chronic problem of low deployment of mission-critical equipment by some troop- and police-contributing countries, and explicitly called for countries to provide full unit capabilities, consisting of both personnel and equipment. “Without these capabilities, contingents cannot perform the tasks required of them and missions cannot meet their mandates,” the U.N. said.
A U.N. peacekeeper from Brazil walks with Haitian children in Port-au-Prince on March 16, 2010, after an earthquake hit Haiti. U.N. troops often help with disaster relief.
The committee endorsed a comprehensive review of civilian staffing structure to ensure that mission staffing aligns with changing requirements. It also recognized the important contribution of troop-contributing countries by providing a supplemental payment of approximately $60 million to those countries, pending completion of work by the U.N. Senior Advisory Group on Troop Reimbursement and Related Issues.Torsella praised the committee’s actions and cited the United States’ ongoing support for such measures.
The United States applauds “the important reforms adopted during the [budget] session, including continued system-wide management efficiencies and performance improvements, strong support for a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping, and the first-ever comprehensive review of civilian staffing to ensure that staffing levels better align with changing requirements as missions evolve,” he said.
“U.N. peacekeeping is burden-sharing at its best and, when done right, a good deal for American taxpayers,” he added. “The United States and our partners have consistently called for providing U.N. peacekeeping with the resources necessary to do the job, while also stewarding taxpayer resources more responsibly.”
“While final peacekeeping costs will reflect how well the U.N. manages its budget in the months ahead — and may be updated to reflect new or unforeseen developments — we will continue to be vigilant to ensure that these gains are realized,” Torsella said.
Final approval of peacekeeping budgets by the U.N. General Assembly will take place later in June.