Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, In the First Part of the Resumed 62nd Session of the Fifth Committee Agenda Item 128. Programme Budget for the Biennium 2008 - 2009: Strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs

Baki İlkin 17.03.2008
Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

My delegation has aligned itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished Representative of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union. This being the case, I still would like to expound on a few points.

At the outset, I would like to thank Under-Secretary General Ms. Alicia Barcena for introducing the related Report on the Strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs, Under-Secretary General Mr. Lynn Pascoe for his statement and Chair Ms. Susan McLurg for introducing the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).

My delegation supports the strengthening of the Department of the Political Affairs of the UN and I wish to stress that we attach importance to this project. This department is the support structure and the operational arm of the good offices and preventive capabilities of the Secretary-General. It provides an overall strategic approach for countries in conflict or emerging from conflict.

As clearly put forward by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), activities administered by the Department have increased many folds during the last decade, but its resources have remained limited. This growing gap is a serious challenge for its capacity to fulfill its tasks. We should remove the obstacles which constrain the Organization's ability to deliver on its mandates.

We believe that, if there is a clear imbalance between the responsibilities with which the DPA is entrusted and the means to carry them out, it should definitely be corrected.

It is much preferable to have the resources to overcome disputes at an early stage and thus prevent larger conflicts before they erupt. The problems should be solved before they become far more acute and complex. Within this context, greater mobility and presence in the field are important factors in coping with potential conflict areas. As a result, the UN can indeed be a more proactive and effective platform for preventive diplomacy, good offices and mediation. Therefore this proposal requiring an additional fund for the strengthening of the DPA should receive our careful and positive attention.

Naturally, the UN should try to find ways and means to redeploy staff from within the UN system to the understaffed units, instead of directly creating new posts. As suggested by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the coordination and cooperation among the UN units should also be enhanced, in order to ensure complementarities, to avoid duplication and overlap.

Yet it is important that we find the right combination and balance between what budgetary discipline requires and what effective conduct of political affairs necessitates. Our debate on this issue should lead us to a balanced and satisfactory solution. We should bear in mind that the need to strengthen DPA is urgent and important. We all have to accept that the success of our Organization depends to a great extent on the achievements of DPA.

I thank you.