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Speakers expressed concern over the inconsistent recording of expenditures as the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today considered the 2015/16 budget performance and 2017/18 budget proposal of the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy.

Lourdes Pereira Sotomayor (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the inconsistencies made it difficult to assess budget implementation and make comparisons over time of the Base.

As part of the global field support strategy, the Base had been re-profiled as the Global Service Centre, operating as a unified entity comprising both the Base in Brindisi and the United Nations facility in Valencia.

She reiterated the Group's request to the Secretary-General for a comprehensive study on the deployment of the Centre at the two locations, and expressed its interest in more information on the Service for Geospatial, Information and Telecommunications Technologies and its client missions. She went on to welcome the restructuring of the Base's supply chain service with the supply chain structures of the Logistics Support Division, adding that the Group looked forward to understanding the efficiencies that would be gained.

Maria Costa, Director of the Peacekeeping Financing Division of the Department of Management's Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, introduced the Secretary-General's reports on the budget performance of the Base for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 and its budget for the period of 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, contained in documents A/71/689 and A/71/828, respectively. She said the $67.1 million expenditure for 2015/16 represented a 99.9 per cent budget implementation rate. Meanwhile, the 2017/18 proposed budget of $88.3 million � a 6.6 per cent increase over the 2016/17 approved resources � reflected the replacement of critical information technology and communications equipment, as well as higher requirements for recurrent Umoja maintenance for all peacekeeping operations.

She said that during the 2017/18 period, the Centre would continue to provide services to missions in the areas of geospatial information systems and information and communications technology services, as well as planning, sourcing, delivery and return function support to United Nations peacekeeping missions in line with the supply chain management strategy. The 2017/18 budget proposal included the establishment of an environmental technical support unit, with four new posts and one post in the justice and corrections standing capacity to support field missions in planning and project and programme implementation.

Inga Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Chair of the Fifth Committee, said the corresponding report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (document A/71/836/Add.10) would be posted on the Committee's website.

Heidi Mendoza, Under-Secretary-General of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), introduced the Office's review and evaluation of strategic deployment stocks (document A/71/798), as requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 70/288 with a view to taking a decision on the write-off and replenishment of such stocks. Recalling that the stocks had, since their inception in 2002, supported the start-up of all peacekeeping operations, she said the Office's review showed a tension between the difficulty of predicting when new missions would start and the costs of keeping a permanent stock, with the implied possibility of underutilization and financial loss.

She summarized the Office's recommendations, which included updating and reviewing the strategic deployment stocks concept in the context of supply chain management and ongoing mission start-up initiatives; reviewing the stocks' current composition to ensure that their level and size were based on start-up needs, aligned with the concept of modularization and excluding items with procurement of lead times shorter than 90 days; and implementing measures to ensure that systems contracts remained current; implementing measures to reconcile, review and report on the write-off and replenishment of the stocks on an annual basis. The Office also suggested reporting to legislative bodies the full details of the net transfer of stocks valued at $16.7 million to the United Nations reserve and United Nations Logistics Base inventory.

Wrapping up the meeting, Ms. King said the Fifth Committee � having concluded the formal introduction of all peacekeeping-related reports � now had only two weeks to finish negotiations. It must be realistic about its expectations and how much could be done in such a short space of time. Expectations were no doubt based on past performance, but each session brought new and peculiar realities that had to be confronted with a keen sense of responsibility and pragmatism.

The current session, she continued, ran up against the Ocean Conference, scheduled for 5 to 9 June, when there would literally be no space for the Committee to continue its work. Reminding the Committee of the debilitating effect that breaking momentum would have on its work, she encouraged delegations to dig deep and be pragmatic. The Secretary-General was depending on the Committee, she said, and so too were peacekeepers and missions.

Ms. King went on to express sincere condolences to Sharon Van Buerle, Secretary of the Fifth Committee, on the recent loss of her brother.

The Committee will meet again at a time and date to be announced.

Source: United Nations

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