EU Statement – Closure of Work – Formal Meeting, 76th Session of the General Assembly, Fifth Committee Second Resumed Session

(Source: EEAS)

29 June 2022, New York —  Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union by Mr. Thibault Camelli, CounsellorDelegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the Closure of Work – Formal Meeting, 76th Session of the General Assembly, Fifth Committee Second Resumed Session 

 

Mr. Chair,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.

At the outset, allow me to thank you, Mr. Chair, together with Andranik and all the members of the Bureau. Your continuous work and dedication throughout the whole 76th Session proved instrumental for a successful year. We would also like to express our utmost gratitude to the Fifth Committee Secretariat and to all the members of the Secretariat, from Headquarters and in the field, for their work, dedication and support.

Mr. Chair,

We are concluding today a very productive Second Resumed Session, where our Committee has agreed by consensus on a number of important and structural agenda items. Allow me to highlight a few particularly meaningful outcomes.

We adopted on time the peacekeeping budgets for the 2022/23 financial cycle. The European Union and its Member States attach great importance to Peace and Security and, as the second largest collective contributors to UN peacekeeping budgets, strive to ensure that peacekeeping operations remain sufficiently financed and adequately resourced to carry out their important mandates. As an acknowledgement of the important work of the UN Peacekeepers, we have also decided to increase the reimbursement rate for troop and police contributing countries, and have adopted a framework to address PTSD.

We also adopted the first Crosscutting resolution on administrative and budgetary aspects of financing UN peacekeeping operations in 6 years. This is nothing short of historic. In an increasingly complex environment, we finally met our collective responsibility to provide guidance to the Secretariat on a number of crucial issues – “including, but not limited to” gender mainstreaming, environmental protection, safety and security of peacekeepers, mental health, sexual exploitation and abuse, and mission performance – through an inclusive, comprehensive and balanced approach to policy paragraphs. “Where applicable”.

Last but certainly not least, we finally adopted a resolution on measures to improve the financial situation of the United Nations. This has been a long endeavor and constant priority of the European Union and its Member States: three years after improving liquidity management of the peacekeeping operations, we were able to adopt measures to tackle the cash shortages of the regular budget. In doing so, we could liquidate the closed peacekeeping accounts. Ensuring the financial health of the Organization is a shared responsibility, fundamental for the ability of the United Nations to respond to its mandates and missions fully and effectively. As staunch defenders of effective multilateralism, the European Union and its Member States welcome these resolutions.

Mr. Chair,

Reflecting on our session, we would like to point out three aspects of our working methods we believe our Committee should address going forward.

Like every year, and at the initiative of the African Group whom we wish to salute for their constant effort on this matter, our Committee has strived to improve the negotiation modalities of the peacekeeping budgets and posts. The difficulty of such an endeavor lies in reconciling divergent objectives: in-depth scrutiny of the underlying budgetary parameters of each mission, and strategic oversight of peacekeeping as a whole. Over the past years, we have tried several options, and learned from each, to continue to improve that process. This year, we dedicated policy under crosscutting, and we engaged on each mission’s resource requirements so we could conduct thorough analyses. This enabled a shared diagnosis that greatly contributed to a more comprehensive approach in the latest stage. We believe that the combination of mission-by-mission and overall discussion strikes the most pragmatic and productive balance and was instrumental in the quality and success of our discussions. It is therefore our hope that, in the future, we can draw from this experience, and avoid spending time negotiating process when we could further engage on substance.

Our shared successes this session owe a lot to the fact we resumed negotiating in-person. It is a relief that we did not fall back into our bad habits, but could build better working methods from our experience of negotiating during the pandemic. We welcome our collective commitment to avoid working overnight, and engage fully in-person during normal working hours while using virtual meetings off hours. It is regrettable, however, that despite two years of remote negotiations, the Organization is still unable to provide hybrid solutions and interpretation services for remote meetings. We continue to believe these would make our negotiations more inclusive, and our decisions more qualitative.

We would like to reiterate our continued and strong commitment to reaching decisions by consensus, a principle that underpins our working methods. The EU and its member States would like to express our sincere appreciation to all colleagues for their continued political will to find negotiated solutions on important topic such as addressing racism and promoting dignity for all in the United Nations Secretariat, or improving the accessibility of our Organization. In this regard, we regret that we did not have enough time to engage fully on the financing of the Peacebuilding Fund. We are committed to resuming in the Fall our discussions on this highly important agenda item for the future of this Organization.

Mr. Chair, distinguished colleagues,

To conclude, and since this closing is also that of our Committee’s 76th session, we would like to salute you Mr. Chair together with your Bureau, and commend your dedication and efforts to facilitate our discussions and clean up our program of work for the next session. Allow me to thank, once again, all Groups and Delegations for their continued effort and tireless work – with a special and personal appreciation to the colleagues who will be leaving our Committee; dear friends, you will be missed.

I thank you,  Mr. Chair

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