Introductory remarks of Ms. Ameerah Haq
Under-Secretary-General for Field Support
Strategic Framework for the biennium 2016-2017
Programme 4 - Peacekeeping Operations
Committee for Programme and Coordination
5 June 2014
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee,
1. I join Assistant Secretary-General Titov in expressing our pleasure to join you as you begin your consideration of the proposed strategic framework for Programme 4, Peacekeeping Operations, for the biennium 2016-2017 (document A/69/6). My remarks this afternoon will touch on the proposed priorities for the Department of Field Support (DFS) over the coming biennium, with a particular focus on Subprogrammes 5 and 6 on Field Administrative Support and Integrated Support Services, respectively.
2. As outlined in the proposed strategic framework, the Department of Field Support delivers administrative and logistical support services in the areas of human resources, finance and budget, conduct and discipline, logistics, and information and communications technology, to enable UN peacekeeping operations to fulfil their mandates.
3. In June 2015, the Global Field Support Strategy’s five year implementation timeline will be complete and DFS will have mainstreamed the strategy throughout its programme of work. The principles and tools developed under the GFSS will be used in providing support to existing missions, facilitating the rapid deployment of new missions, and confronting dynamic challenges in the field.
4. During the 2016-2017 period under discussion, we will continue to enhance the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping activities and to ensure that missions have the material, financial and human resources they need to deliver on their mandates.
The overarching aim is to enable missions to successfully overcome the logistical, administrative and security challenges before them.
5. During the 2016-2017 period, DFS Headquarters, the Global Service Centre, shared service centers and mission support components will continue to evolve in line with the principles of the GFSS. The DFS team here in NY will play its role as a strategic headquarters for administrative and logistical support to the field and for direct interaction with Member States.
6. We will continue to advance the strategic aims articulated in the GFSS, in concert with other major change initiatives. The GFSS integrated field service delivery model will be reinforced by the Organization-wide implementation of Umoja, which deployed its foundation in November 2013 and in March 2014 for peacekeeping and special political missions, respectively.
7. Within the area of human resources management, the Department will continue to support missions on workforce planning. Our priorities for the biennium in human resources management include: strengthening the Department’s capability to plan the rapid deployment of highly qualified staff and non-staff civilian capacity; achieving a more balanced gender representation at all levels; improving the representation of troop- and police-contributing countries; providing opportunities for national capacity building; improving the capacity of field missions to administer themselves, including with the support of shared services providers; and, implementing staff development and performance assessment practices. We will sustain our efforts to meet targeted vacancy rates, and to reduce turnover, and pursue burden-sharing among staff serving in the harshest conditions.
8. In the area of budget and finance, the Department will continue to focus on the following objectives: coordination of guidance and policy on budgetary and financial issues; targeted and cross-portfolio analysis of major resourcing requirements and developments for more cost-effective field operations; development and implementation of programmes and other initiatives to strengthen field financial capacity and supporting changes in demand; timely processing of troop- and police contributing countries’ claims for contingentowned equipment; and, support to legislative bodies considering financial matters and to Member States contributing troops and police contingents. The Department will also continue to support and develop budget proposals and performance reports for start-up, ongoing and liquidating missions, and provide on-site support to strengthen budget planning at the mission level. The programme of work in budget and finance will be informed by the GFSS, as well as the implementation of Umoja and IPSAS.
9. In the areas of logistics and information technology, the Department will continue to provide equipment and services to missions for the effective, timely and efficient fulfilment of their mandates. The Department will also provide strategic guidance to the field in the areas of engineering, supply, logistics planning, surface transport, movement control, medical services, aviation safety, air transport, contingent-owned equipment, property management and environmental sustainability.
10. We must also continue to expect the highest standards of conduct and discipline of all civilian and uniformed personnel involved with UN peacekeeping. In this regard, I would like to call your attention to two changes in the indicators of achievement for our work on conduct and discipline matters; both indicators under item (c) on page 9 of the document before you (A/69/6) now reflect firm timelines for follow-up; this highlights the importance of a central database that can help us to monitor allegations of wrongdoing and ensure accountability.
11. The GFSS has led to genuine improvements in our support to field operations.
Just as the strategy laid out in 2010 has enabled us to respond more effectively to today’s challenges, so too must we be strategic in meeting the challenges of tomorrow. To do this, UN field support must continue its embrace of strategic planning as inspired by the GFSS, and it must continue to evolve to meet future demands.
12. It is in this light that our support to the two missions of immediate interest to this Committee, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), deserves mention.
As two of our longest standing field missions, current expectations for 2016-2017 suggest that both UNTSO and UNMOGIP will largely follow the path that was laid out in the previous biennium. Nevertheless, DFS will work with each to ensure that field support resourcing requirements are maintained at optimised levels, and that the two missions benefit fully from GFSS and other initiatives being implemented across the system. Both have implemented Umoja, and we will look to modernise associated processes and streamline resource requirements in the same way as other field missions.
13. One of the most important concerns that necessitate a careful rethinking of how we do peacekeeping is security. These past twelve months offer ample evidence to suggest that our staff, our troops, our assets and premises, face a higher level of risk due to their affiliation with the United Nations than at any time in the history of UN peacekeeping. The policy implication is that we must do more on the side of prevention and risk mitigation when protecting our colleagues. This will have resource implications as well.
14. Attacks against the UN highlight a reality faced by our colleagues in the field.
Now more so than ever before, the United Nations, both uniformed personnel and civilians, have become targets in the complex calculus of insurrection, insurgency, and terrorism.
15. As more of our peacekeeping missions are given the important mandate of protecting civilians in the midst of instability, UN personnel are faced with heightened risks. These trends have implications for mission planning.
Compounds need to be reinforced. Staff must travel in convoys. Vehicles must be fitted with the required and necessary communications equipment. New technologies must become a more standard feature of our modus operandi.
16. As we look forward to the 2016-2017 biennium, DFS will maintain and extend the hard won benefits of the GFSS by mainstreaming the strategy to help UN peacekeeping fulfil the mandates entrusted to us today and into the future.
17. I would like to conclude my statement by reiterating our commitment to support our colleagues in the field – the military, the police, and the civilians – who continue to risk their lives in our shared endeavor. We look forward to responding to any further queries for clarification.