Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations Fifth Committee: First Resumed Session

New York, 16/03/2018 - 21:42, UNIQUE ID: 180319_24
Statements on behalf of the EU

16 March 2018, New York - Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union by Mr. Jan De Preter, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 72nd Session of the General Assembly: Fifth Committee: First Resumed Session on the Regional restructuring of OHCHR

Mister Chair,

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

The Candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

I would like to thank Ms. Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, for introducing the update of the Secretary-General's reports on the regional restructuring of the OHCHR. I would also like to thank Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing the report of the Advisory Committee.

In November 2016, the member states of the European Union welcomed the report on the proposed regional restructuring of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At the time, we noted that this report had been submitted on the basis of a recommendation of ACABQ as formulated in its report A/70/7 on the 2016-2017 Proposed Program Budget. This ACABQ recommendation requested the SG to provide a clearer and more detailed proposal as compared to the proposal presented to us by the SG in the framework of the 2016-2017 proposed programme budget. This particular ACABQ report was published in August 2015.

In March 2017, almost 2 years later, the SG has presented once again a new report, this time an updated proposal that takes into account all previous recommendations formulated by ACABQ in 2015 and 2016, as well as the views of a large cross regional group of member states. We understand many additional consultations have been held, including with potential host countries and we understand that the updated report of the SG addresses many of not all of the concerns raised by experts in ACABQ and delegations across the board. It is now time for the 5th committee to take action and responds to this emerging consensus in the room.

We are convinced that this proposal increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the Office of the High Commissioner for human rights. We note that the proposal does not entail any change of functions, programmes or mandates of the OHCHR and is therefore of a managerial and budgetary nature only. We also note that no additional layers of supervision would be introduced as a result of this restructuring. We recognize the need for the regional offices to be led at the D-1 level. We note with appreciation that this exercise will be cost neutral.

For all these reasons we see merit in the proposal of the SG to strengthen the field presence of the OHCHR as outlined in the report of the Secretary-General and we look forward to a quick agreement on this issue, based on the emerging consensus in the room and the cross regional language introduced.

Thank you.

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