Ms. Mari Skåre
New York, 3 May 2004.
I would like to take this opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to express my delegation's satisfaction in seeing you back in the Chair. Let me also thank the Controller for his introduction of the Secretary-General’s reports on this agenda item and Mr. Kuznetsov for his presentation of the ACABQs report. We highly value the comments and recommendations of the ACABQ.
Norway is strongly committed to peacekeeping. To maintain international peace and security is a core task of the United Nations. We, the member states, must live up to our collective responsibility to ensure adequate financing. The UN must be given the means to maintain and even strengthen its capacity to plan and carry out increasingly complex operations. Peace is a condition for social and economic development. We find that our contributions to UN peacekeeping are money well spent.
Anticipated new operations will lead to a significant increase in total expenditure in the year to come. As we are facing substantially higher activity and new challenges, it is paramount that member states pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions.
We welcome the Secretary-General’s performance reports A/58/703 and 703 Add. 1 on the budget for the Support Account for peacekeeping operations. The advantages and benefits of results-based budgeting are easy to see and follow in this format. However, we still feel that more work can be done on the baseline itself and on the indicators of achievement. In this respect, we welcome the improvements put into effect in this year's budget for the Support Account (A/58/715). The challenge in results-based budgeting is to measure real progress in qualifying entities and not necessarily have as many indicators as possible.
Considerable progress has been made over the last years towards the overall conduct and management of increasingly multifunctional operations. We think that the present budget proposal will reinforce this trend and find that the proposed budget increase for the Support Account is fully acceptable.
Adequate resources at Headquarters are vital to ensure proper planning as well as proper implementation of peacekeeping operations. Increased co-operation with regional organisations and arrangements is an important means of making the most out of limited financial resources. Co-operation with the multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade for UN Operations (SHIRBRIG) in the set-up of the UN mission in Liberia as well as in the planning of a possible mission in Sudan is a case in point.
We acknowledge the usefulness of the Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS) and the Strategic Deployment Stocks (SDS) in helping to ensure rapid deployment and we are therefore concerned over the depletion of SDS over the last year. Replenishment strategies for SDS have to be developed.
The safety and security of UN personnel is high on our agenda. The need for new measures to strengthen the safety and security of UN and associated personnel will have budgetary implications. There are many aspects on this we need to discuss and we will come back to this later in our deliberations. Here I wish to point out than when addressing air operations we should not only concern ourselves with the number of flights hours and fuel prices, but also with air safety. Deficiencies in air safety can have detrimental effects. Safety in air operations should always be given the highest priority.
I would like highlight another important issue related to safety and security. Last year this Committee, to our disappointment, rejected a proposal to establish an advisory position in the Secretariat for a trauma expert. Such expertise should in our view always be at hand for post-trauma advice and prevention. More than that, the UN should have a stress management team that is flexible and that could be operative at short notice. The traumatic experience of the terror attack in Baghdad last year was a terrible reminder of the need for such expertise, both for peacekeeping personnel and for UN personnel in general.
Before conluding, Mr. Chairman, Norway wishes to express her appreciation for the work being done by the gender adviser in the DPKO. Allow me at the same time to point to the work that still needs to be done both on a baseline and on indicators for an overall, coherent policy of gender mainstreaming in all of the UN’s peacekeeping activities. We expect to see in next years report a full set of indicators of achievement for the whole process from initial stages of planning for the operation to post-conflict reconstruction. In general the DPKO needs to increase its planning capacity, also for all civilian dimensions of peacekeeping operations and co-operate closely with other UN departments, funds and programs in this respect.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman