General Assembly adopts 217 billion peacekeeping budget

Acting on the recommendations of its administrative and budgetary committee – which drafted and approved the proposed budget earlier this month – the UN’s 191-member governing Assembly adopted a resolution yesterday, covering peacekeeping finances for 2003-2004, including some $70.29 million for the maintenance of a peacekeeping support account, and some $21.51 million for the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy. Compared with the appropriation of some $2.6 billion for the current period, the new peacekeeping budget represents a reduction of some $430 million, mostly due to the closing of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and the downsizing of the Organization’s operations in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Lebanon. Since the financial year of peacekeeping operations runs from 1 July to 30 June, most of the 34 draft resolutions and decisions adopted by the Assembly yesterday centred on budgets of individual missions and strategic deployment stocks. The Assembly also dealt with the disposal of the assets of several closed missions, including those in Angola, Tajikistan, Liberia, Rwanda and the Central African Republic. Acting on the concept of strategic deployment stocks, which was introduced last year in order to enhance the UN’s rapid deployment capacity, the Assembly extended to 30 June 2004 the validity period of previously-approved resources of some $141.55 million. Creation of the stocks will allow the Organization to deploy one complex mission per year. It also involves expansion of the role of the Logistics Base. As an operational arm for the strategic deployment stocks, the Base would also become a training and conference centre, and a support base for air operations. The Assembly requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to consider the merits of relocating all Logistics Division resources to Brindisi, as well as those related to communications and information technology services for peacekeeping. read more

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