Report of the 16 December 1993 Meeting of the Sub-Committee on Administrative And Financial Matters
1. The meeting of the Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial Matters (Sub-Committee) on 16 December 1993 was opened by its Chairman, His Excellency Ambassador A. Kamal (Pakistan). He thanked the members of the Executive Committee for his election as Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee, and hence, Chairman of the Sub-Committee. He also made reference to the work of the former Chairman, His Excellency Ambassador J. F. Boddens-Hosang. The Chairman welcomed the delegates and the newly-appointed Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Gerald Walzer. He asked for the support of the delegates in continuing the transparent dialogue with UNHCR on the range of issues that fell within the purview of the Sub-Committee.
II. DISCUSSION OF PROVISIONAL AGENDA
2. The Sub-Committee next considered the Provisional Agenda (EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.33). A number of delegations asked that Agenda Item 6, namely the Review of the Recommendations of the In-depth Evaluation of UNHCR and of the related comments of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) be deferred to a future inter-sessional meeting of the Sub-Committee. As the document arrived late, many missions had not had the opportunity to consult with their capitals. One mission pointed out that, whilst not objecting to the postponement of the discussion, it nonetheless expected UNHCR to proceed with work on the recommendations found in the In-depth Evaluation; moreover, there were recent decisions of the Executive Committee on a number of issues, that were also covered in the In-depth Evaluation, and which the Sub-Committee would need to address in their own right. This position was supported by another delegation. Another delegation felt that it might be useful to hold informal consultations on the recommendations of the In-depth Evaluation as to the best way to proceed. One delegation, while prepared to consider the agenda item, concurred with the deferment of discussions pending other delegations' consultations with capitals.
3. The Chairman noted that the Sub-Committee's decision to postpone discussions on the In-depth Evaluation was made on the understanding that UNHCR would continue to work on its recommendations and other Executive Committee decisions. The Chairman invited the Secretariat to comment on the matter.
4. The Secretary to the Executive Committee noted that some 30 recommendations in the In-depth Evaluation had to be considered before the October 1994 meeting of the Executive Committee. He also endeavoured to clarify what was under consideration: the recommendations needed to be reviewed to determine what action had been taken and what, if any, were the practical constraints on UNHCR in this regard. He also pointed out that many recommendations touch on issues that the Executive Committee had asked the Sub-Committee to address in the course of its inter-sessional meetings.
5. The Chairman took note of the delegations' unanimous decision to postpone consideration of Agenda Item 6 until a subsequent Sub-Committee meeting.
6. The Chairman informed the delegates that under Item 7, Any Other Business, there were two issues to be considered. First, an Information Note on the Office of the Inspector of Operational Activities, and secondly, authorization to forward UNHCR's response to the Report of the Board of Auditors to New York for the year ending 1992 (EC/SC.2/64 [Advance Copy]). With respect to the second issue, Sub-Committee authorization is required because the General Assembly, by resolution 47/211, requested a follow-up report on the implementation of the Auditor's recommendations to be submitted to the Fifth Committee of the 48th Session of the General Assembly in January 1994.
7. The motion to adopt the Agenda was carried without objection.
III. STATEMENT OF DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER
8. The Deputy High Commissioner thanked the Chairman for his words of congratulations on his appointment. He recalled the statement of the High Commissioner at the last session of the Executive Committee, in which she reiterated her commitment to enhanced accountability and better delivery of programmes, and her goal of creating in UNHCR an institutional culture where effective performance, efficiency and accountability are prized objectives. He said that his foremost task would be to assist the High Commissioner in the achievement of these overarching objectives.
9. Turning to a range of issues, the Deputy High Commissioner stressed the need to further strengthen and improve the Office's contingency mechanisms and emergency response capacities. Speaking on the theme of partnership, he reiterated the High Commissioner's comment at the last session of the Executive Committee, namely that UNHCR can only fulfil its mandate if it enters into meaningful partnership with other actors. In this context, the Deputy High Commissioner spoke of the PARINAC (UNHCR/NGO Partnership in Action) process. He also said how appreciative the High Commissioner was for the quite exceptional support received from donors in 1993 which, together with contributions the Office still hoped to receive before the end of the year, would allow most of the current needs to be addressed. The Office, however, was facing 1994 with some anxiety, especially as new needs manifested themselves. Now, more than ever, it would be imperative for the Office to maintain a close dialogue with the Sub-Committee on the funding situation. On the question of the various guidelines relating to refugee women, refugee children and the environment, he said that these reflected priority programme concerns. The regular review of progress by the Office in integrating these priority issues into its overall programming, he felt, was an important activity of the Sub-Committee.
10. Other agenda items were briefly commented upon by the Deputy High Commissioner. He said that the Office was committed to a more sustained effort to reflect environmental considerations in its overall programme activities, primarily through preventive or pro-active strategies.
11. The Deputy High Commissioner concluded his presentation by saying that he knew he could rely on the support of the Sub-Committee members in working for the best interests of the Office and, ultimately, for the world's refugees.
IV. EMERGENCY SITUATION: CENTRAL AFRICA
12. Before introducing Agenda Item 2, the Chairman gave the floor to His Excellency Ambassador E. Mtango of the United Republic of Tanzania, to speak about the recent influx of over 500,000 refugees from Burundi. Taking into account the 200,000 to 300,000 refugees already in the United Republic of Tanzania, the refugee population now totalled almost 1 million. The Ambassador spoke of the impact of such a large number of refugees on his country.
13. The Ambassador stated that he appreciated the efforts of the donor community, but noted that the response, to date, was inadequate. Whilst the Tanzanian people wanted to help, the prospect was that, with a per capita income of less than $ 200 per annum, the people of the United Republic of Tanzania could not bear the burden of the refugees' presence indefinitely. UNHCR had referred to the Tanzanian people's "remarkable generosity", however without international support, this generosity could not be expected to last. Hence, the Ambassador made a special appeal to the donor community to help his country's people.
14. The Ambassador also pointed to the threat of famine that loomed for both refugees and the local population. Refugees are accommodated not just in camps, but also in schools, churches and warehouses, and, as a result of close ethnic ties, are generally interspersed amongst the Tanzanian people. Consequently, assistance to villagers should also be considered.
15. The Ambassador offered a few words of advice. He asked the international community to act quickly to avoid further hardship and expense. Also, he reminded the international community that Tanzanian roads are bad, the terrain is rough and the distances are long. He suggested that second-hand lorries should not be sent to the area as they would break down and end up costing more than new ones. He also recommended that donors hire qualified local relief staff since they were much cheaper than international staff.
16. The Ambassador concluded by noting that the factions in Burundi were still far from resolving their differences to a point where the refugees would feel safe to return. He urged all the delegations present to contact their capitals and request immediate aid for his country.
V. UPDATE ON PROGRAMMES AND FUNDING
17. This agenda item was introduced by Mr. Eric Morris, Director of the Division of Programmes and Operational Support and by Mr. E. Chipman, Head of Fund Raising Service.
18. Mr. Morris, commenting on the intervention of Ambassador Mtango, said that the Burundi crisis was indeed serious and required extensive financing. He noted that UNHCR had already drawn $ 8 million from the UNHCR Emergency Fund and $ 5 million from the Department of Humanitarian Affairs' Central Emergency Revolving Fund.
19. He then drew attention to document EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.38 ("Overall Programme and Funding Projections for 1993 and 1994") which gave a picture, as at 1 December 1993, of total projected expenditure for activities programmed in 1993. For General Programmes, this was expected to be in the order of $ 395 million. Referring to the annexes in the document which detailed the use of the Emergency Fund, the General Allocation for Voluntary Repatriation and the Programme Reserve, he underlined the value of these contingency funding mechanisms and the flexibility that they afforded. For 1993 Special Programmes, the projected expenditure is likely to be in the order of $ 755 million. This would mean that total projected expenditure under both General and Special Programmes would amount to some $ 1.2 billion. Total projected needs for 1994, either known or anticipated, would amount to some $ 1.1 billion. Mr. Morris concluded his presentation by assuring the Sub-Committee that the situation would be kept under constant review; he said the Office was already considering a range of contingency measures to accommodate various funding scenarios.
20. Mr. Chipman concurred with the urgency of Ambassador Mtango's request for assistance for Burundi from the international community. He intimated that UNHCR would soon be making greater use of the media to draw attention to this tragedy. He referred to the recent joint mission to Rwanda by the European Commission's ECHO, and UNHCR, and expressed his hope that the European Union would soon make a substantial contribution to UNHCR's Burundi programmes. He noted that, in addition to the $ 13 million that UNHCR had used from various emergency funds, it had also received some $ 5 million in contributions from donors.
21. He told the meeting that, as of 9.30 a.m. on 16 December 1993, UNHCR had registered $ 971 million in contributions for the year; a further $ 30 million were being negotiated. On behalf of the High Commissioner, he thanked the donors for this magnificent result. As to 1994, Mr. Chipman said that the Office would again require funding to the order of $ 1.1 billion, and that some $ 25 million might be carried over into 1994. This figure could change, depending on a number of late 1993 contributions and the level of secondary income. With the $ 150 million announced at the Pledging Conference, the Office will be able to enter 1994 with approximately five months General Programme funding assured; the situation in mid-1994 could, however, be problematic. He asked delegates to consider General Programmes as the principal funding objective for the year to come and assured them that the Office stood ready to provide them, both in Geneva and in their capitals, with all the information they might require. The Head of the Fund Raising Service also drew attention to the seven major voluntary repatriation movements which will have to be funded in 1994. He concluded his presentation by thanking the Permanent Missions for the commitment with which they presented UNHCR's problems and priorities to their capitals.
22. Numerous delegations, who took the floor for the first time, congratulated the Chairman on his election and Mr. Walzer on his appointment as Deputy High Commissioner. They commented on the broad experience that the Deputy High Commissioner would be bringing to the position.
23. In commenting on document EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.38, a number of delegations expressed appreciation for the clear and helpful picture that it gave of UNHCR's financial situation. Numerous delegations also noted the Office's concerns for funding prospects for 1994 especially in view of the small amount likely to be carried over from 1993, and urged caution. One delegation felt that UNHCR should improve its cash management by trying to increase the rate of return on unspent reserves.
24. Several delegations advocated greater burden-sharing as a means to remedy UNHCR's financial situation. One delegation stressed the need for UNHCR to cooperate with other agencies and organizations to help meet the burdens it faces. Another delegate wondered from where UNHCR would find the additional financing, and asked whether UNHCR was considering deficit financing; one delegation, in this context, alluded to certain provisions under the Working Capital and Guarantee Fund. Several delegations noted the disturbing trend of declining contributions to General Programmes; this issue, termed "structural underfunding", needed to be looked into. Another delegation pointed out that in 1993, seven donors alone accounted for 72 per cent of the General Programmes contributions. The need for full funding of General Programmes was stressed. Several delegations spoke of maintaining a balance between General and Special Programmes. One delegation urged that contributions be made to allow UNHCR the greatest flexibility; earmarkings, if necessary, should be broad and general. As regards the financial treatment of overhead costs, one delegation felt that UNHCR should increase the proportion of these costs attributed to Special Programmes.
25. A number of delegations either referred to the level of their contributions for 1993 and/or announced additional contributions. The delegate of the United States of America said that his country's contribution had been its highest in the last five years. The British delegate, while noting the value of the Emergency Fund, announced an additional contribution of $ 2 million to the Fund under General Programmes. The delegate for Japan said that in 1993 it had contributed $ 120 million to UNHCR. The delegate of Norway announced an imminent contribution to the Emergency Fund of some $ 500,000; and underlined the usefulness of the Emergency and Voluntary Repatriation Funds. With respect to the Burundi Emergency, Norway had already given an unearmarked contribution of NKr 2 million in addition to NKr 7 million towards the Burundi refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania. Norway also pledged NKr 2 million towards the Liberian repatriation. The delegate for Italy said that every effort would be made to maintain its current level of support. The delegate of Denmark announced that his country would make an additional contribution of $ 8.2 million, thereby bringing Denmark's total contribution for 1993 to $ 35 million. The delegate for the Netherlands said that his country's total contributions to UNHCR for 1993 came to $ 80 million. Sweden announced an offer to match one half of all contributions that UNHCR raised before the end of the year, up to a total of $ 11 million. The delegate for Ireland noted that, for the first time, his country had given more than $ 1 million to UNHCR in 1993.
26. A number of delegations spoke on specific programme issues. One delegation supported the intervention of the Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania, and stressed the seriousness of the situation in Burundi.
27. The Chairman thanked the delegates for their interventions and then gave the floor to Mr. Morris to respond. He took note of and concurred with the various delegations' concern over the level of funding. With respect to deficit financing, Mr. Morris stated that UNHCR does not have the ability, unlike governments, to deficit finance. In this context, he went on to explain the strict provisions in UNHCR's Financial Rules on the use of the Working Capital Guarantee Fund (see A/AC.96/503/Rev.5. article 6.3 (e)).
28. One delegation, commenting on deficit financing, said that the 3 per cent limit in the Working Capital Guarantee Fund was intended to avoid arbitrary funding shortfalls that result from the end-of-year spending limits. The delegate recalled that the drafters' intent was to permit liberal use of the Fund.
29. In terms of budgetary control, Mr. Morris pointed out that UNHCR underwent an agonizing programme review to cut some $ 50 million to meet the 1994 target. The Director said he would be happy to entertain specific ideas on how to cut individual programmes. He warned against the practice of arbitrary percentage cuts, which have a deleterious effect on performance in the field. With respect to the need to move more administrative overhead costs to Special Programmes, Mr. Morris indicated that this process was ongoing. He noted that the categorization of posts exercise that is nearing completion should give UNHCR a better tool for reallocating overhead costs appropriately.
30. The Head of the Fund Raising Service thanked those delegations which had announced new pledges. He also urged delegations to take up Sweden's offer, thereby raising Sweden's generous contribution by a further $ 11 million.
VI. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GUIDELINES ON THE PROTECTION OF REFUGEE WOMEN
31. The Chairman then invited Mr. Pierce Gerety, Deputy Director of the Division of International Protection, and Ms. Ann Howarth-Wiles, Senior Coordinator for Refugee Women, to introduce Agenda Item 3, the Progress Report on Implementation of the Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women (EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.37).
32. Mr. Gerety noted that, although the Guidelines had been discussed and formulated in the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection, their actual implementation fell within the purview of the Sub-Committee on Administrative and Financial Matters. The Deputy Director acknowledged that the Progress Report was actually more of a needs assessment than a testament to actual implementation. While noting that significant work remained to be done, the Deputy Director stressed that the Progress Report showed that a sound work programme had now been developed. Furthermore, the time has come for UNHCR, Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to back the work programme with material, financial and personnel support.
33. In their interventions in response to this agenda item, several delegates noted the progress made by UNHCR on issues concerning refugee women and welcomed the Progress Report as a comprehensive summary of pressing policy issues as well as of needs that still remained to be addressed. Several delegations described the report as rather impressionistic; more targeted reporting needed to be developed. One delegate requested reports on results of the field implementation of the Guidelines on Refugee Women. The dearth of precise, gender-specific statistics in UNHCR's presentations was noted by the same delegation, who stressed the need to improve income-generating opportunities for women, and reiterated the need for women to participate in the distribution of food. Another delegation underlined the importance of assuring that human rights provisions relevant to refugee women are brought to their attention, as well as to that of local officials, military forces and the police. He suggested UNHCR work closely with the Centre for Human Rights to help bring about such developments; the same delegate recognized that women need to be better represented in all areas of social services, especially in the field and in medical services. One delegate referred to the People-Oriented Programming (POP) Training programme and suggested that UNHCR make the course mandatory for all staff assigned to the field or as a requisite to promotion; the delegate was pleased that POP training was being integrated into other training courses. Another delegation requested details on how NGOs will be involved in the implementation of UNHCR Guidelines on Refugee Women.
34. The importance of specialized gynaecological health care was raised by the same delegation. The delegate also suggested that UNHCR take a pro-active approach to population planning and reproductive health care. Already, around 50 per cent of people in the developing world practices some form of contraception, and UNHCR should ensure that refugee women are not deprived of such assistance. Since refugee situations often become protracted affairs, and given the increase in rapes being used as a tool of war, waged against refugee women, reproductive health care had become crucial. The delegate cited the high rate of abortion in the former Yugoslavia as evidence of the need for enhanced reproductive health care. The delegate suggested that a standard UNHCR health question be, "What form of reproductive health care would you like?"
35. One delegation asked some searching questions as to why various recommendations regarding refugee women had not been followed up, including, for example, the recommendation that food distribution be placed entirely in the hands of refugee women. The delegate wondered whether the proposals were flawed or simply that implementation was slow. He requested explanations for the lack of implementation of proposals in the Guidelines. He believed that improvements in the conditions of refugee women were not always a matter of additional money. The time for practical implementation had arrived. He reminded the delegates that 1994 was the International Year of the Family, an ideal occasion for pressing forward with assistance to refugee women.
36. The Chairman thanked the delegates for their interventions and then invited Mr. Gerety and Ms. Howarth-Wiles to respond. The Deputy Director of the Division of International Protection acknowledged the need to move in a more concerted manner in the implementation of the policy recommendations. The Senior Coordinator for Refugee Women confirmed that more implementation was needed. However, she noted that UNHCR should perhaps have reported more extensively in the document on what had already been achieved, rather than concentrating on what remained to be done. She stressed that UNHCR had already made great strides in assisting refugee women in the field, in practical ways, but that EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.37 was not drafted to reflect the progress already achieved. She recognized the need for more focused reporting on field implementation. She went on to say that NGOs are already included in UNHCR training schemes, but that the delegates would be kept informed of the ways in which NGOs participate in improving the conditions of refugee women.
VII. INTERIM ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDELINES
37. The Director of Programmes and Operational Support introduced Conference Room Paper EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.36 entitled "Background Information on the Formulation of Interim Guidelines for Environment-Sensitive Management of Refugee Programmes". He introduced the agenda item by underlining two main themes - the progress on interim Environmental Guidelines, and the budgetary implications of an environmental programme. Mr. Morris stressed the cost-effectiveness of a "preventive and pro-active" approach. He pointed out, that the budgetary implications of any attempt to redress damage already caused by refugee flows would be significant.
38. Delegations welcomed the Guidelines and, in their comments on the budgetary aspects of the proposals before them, applauded the realistic approach taken. The importance of taking preventive action was emphasized by a number of delegations. One delegation nonetheless enquired as to what was currently being done in the face of present refugee emergencies, for example the influx of refugees from Burundi into the United Republic of Tanzania. The need for refugees to participate in any environmental activities was stressed by one delegation. Another delegate referred to the need to raise additional funds for certain types of environmental projects, and asked about the possible sources of such funds, perhaps from other international agencies. The delegation of Japan confirmed its Government's support for the work of the UNHCR Environmental Coordinator for 1994. One delegate noted her country's concern with deforestation related to refugees in asylum countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The importance of close cooperation with the Governments of the asylum countries was also mentioned, given that natural resources in the refugee hosting areas are often shared with local residents; the refugees' impact on the local community should thus be remedied. With regard to projects to rehabilitate any environmental damage caused by refugees, several delegations felt that UNHCR should limit itself to being a catalyst, leaving the lead role in this area to other agencies. One delegate pointed out the need to integrate environmental awareness and preventive measures into UNHCR programmes through a revision of the UNHCR Manual, staff, training development of checklists and other measures. The importance of ensuring that environmental concerns are included in planning for the continuum from emergency relief through to development was also stressed.
39. One delegate proposed the need for a "global environmental compatibility strategy" that would establish scenarios for programme responses. Such a strategy could include an inventory, related to refugee-hosting sites, of existing natural resources coupled with an assessment of the sites' vulnerability. This could lead to the development of a database of factual environmental information that could be used as a management tool to model various response strategies. Owing to the complex nature of environmental issues, it was suggested that an ad hoc technical meeting might be held.
40. The Director thanked the delegates for their constructive comments and noted, particularly with regard to the question raised by the Delegate of the United Republic of Tanzania, that the Office learns lessons from every new crisis. For example, in the Burundi case, UNHCR is field-testing a new emergency shelter kit containing poles, to reduce the local wood consumption. The Director also described UNHCR's research to determine the quantities of various types of fuel needed to cook different foodstuffs. This analysis may reveal that certain foodstuffs have less impact on the local environment than others. Further, this knowledge could lead UNHCR to pursue alternative procurement practices.
41. Mr. Watanabe, the Senior Coordinator on Environmental Affairs, also expressed his appreciation for the valuable comments, and general support for the proposed Guidelines. He mentioned that the United Nations Environment Programme was already helping UNHCR to develop ideas for a database of environmental information. With regard to possible technical and funding support sources for environmental projects, Mr. Watanabe referred to FAO, UNDP, WFP and the World Bank, as well as other regional financial institutions and bilateral cooperation organizations.
VIII. REFUGEE STATISTICS
42. The Director of Programmes and Operational Support introduced Conference Room Paper EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.35, entitled "Note on Refugee Statistics". The Director described UNHCR's progress in developing improved statistics. He said that one change that had been introduced in the document before the Sub-Committee was to draw a distinction between refugees and internally displaced persons. However, one issue that had still to be addressed was the development of a more standardized approach on reporting refugee populations in the more developed countries. Mr. Morris also informed the Sub-Committee of UNHCR's efforts to improve registration of refugees. Moreover, he pointed out that UNHCR was participating in the United Nations Statistical Division's plans to review, in consultation with the Statistical Office of the European Union, the treatment of refugees in the current United Nations Recommendations on Statistics of International Migration.
43. Delegations expressed general appreciation for the detailed presentation of UNHCR statistics; it was thought to be clear, straightforward and comprehensive. One delegate observed that programme statistics were the key to successful operations. He also expressed a desire to enhance automaticity in the gathering of statistics and reporting procedures. Another delegate stressed the importance of registering unaccompanied minors. Several delegations underlined the importance on the part of UNHCR to provide statistics of good quality to WFP, for both emergency and protracted feeding programmes. One delegation highlighted the need to gather gender-specific information in emergency registrations and wondered why UNHCR did not yet provide information on refugee women and children. A number of delegations had queries on specific statistical entries.
44. The Director responded to the delegates' comments. He thanked the delegates for their praise of the document, and welcomed Mr. Bela Hovy's addition to his staff as statistician and commended his work. With regard to some of the observations, the Director recalled that the negotiations between UNHCR and WFP for a revised Memorandum of Understanding addressed the issue of refugee statistics. He observed that registration will now provide basic data on gender, age and, ideally, unaccompanied minors.
45. The Chairman, in commenting on the statistics, stated that, as a start, the work was excellent. The methodology was good, the emphasis clear and simple, and the footnotes adequate. However, some gaps persisted, notably for figures on minors, gender, temporary displacement, etc. The Ambassador noted that one of the basic purposes of UNHCR refugee statistics was to give donor countries a snapshot of the world refugee picture. He suggested UNHCR also take the lead on the problem of quantifying temporary protection programmes.
IX. OTHER BUSINESS
46. The Chairman recalled that there were two issues under Item 7: an Information Note on the Office of the Inspector of Operational Activities; and authorization to forward UNHCR's response to the Report of the Board of Auditors to New York. (EC/SC.2/64 (Advance Copy)).
A. Inspector of Operational Activities
47. The Deputy High Commissioner cited the Information Paper on the Inspector of Operational Activities. He referred to the comments of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgeting Questions (ACABQ) on Conference Room Paper EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.28 ("A Proposal to Create an Inspector of Operational Activities") that had been presented to the 1 October 1993 meeting of the Sub-Committee.
48. Given the developments related to the creation by the Secretary-General of an Office of Inspections and Investigations, and the discussions on having an United Nations Inspector General, the High Commissioner considered her own proposal as being more of an exploratory nature. In essence, the High Commissioner proposed to field a few inspection missions by an individual with extensive experience of UNHCR at a very senior level and whose terms of reference would be broadly consistent with those set out in the Conference Room Papers already presented to the Sub-Committee (EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.9 and EC/1993/SC.2/CRP.28). The Sub-Committee would be kept informed of the outcome of these exploratory measures and the High Commissioner's thinking on her proposal to have an Inspector of Operational Activities.
49. The Sub-Committee endorsed the approach as set out in the Information Note and as explained by the Deputy High Commissioner.
B. Board of Auditors' Report
50. The Chairman introduced the second issue for business under Item 7, and gave the floor to the Controller, Ms. Wallis. She referred the Sub-Committee to the report entitled Measures Taken or Proposed (with timetable) in Response to the Recommendations in the Report of the Board of Auditors to the General Assembly on the Accounts of the Voluntary Funds Administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the Year ended 31 December 1992 (EC/SC.2/64 [Advance Copy]). Ms. Wallis explained that UNHCR requested the Sub-Committee's authorization to forward the report to New York for consideration at the resumed 48th session of the General Assembly.
51. One delegate asked whether the Sub-Committee was being requested to endorse the substance of the Report, or simply approve its submission to the General Assembly through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the Fifth Committee. The Controller confirmed that the Sub-Committee was simply being asked to approve the submission of the Report. The Report itself and the comments of the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee thereon, would be considered in detail at the next session of the Executive Committee
52. The issue of the late arrival of some of the documentation was raised by one delegate who requested that documents ideally arrive at least two weeks before a meeting of the Sub-Committee.
53. The Deputy High Commissioner intervened to express the Office's regrets at the late arrival of some documents. He explained that some of the delay was beyond UNHCR's control. For example, efforts are made to provide the latest figures on overall funding, and an overly advanced cut-off date would work against having an up-to-date picture of funding and expenditure. The Deputy High Commissioner said that UNHCR would try harder to meet all the appropriate deadlines.
54. One delegation recalled that, in the past, UNHCR had organized informal, open-house sessions to consult and prepare agendas for the year's work in the two Sub-Committees; he proposed that this exercise be undertaken in the very near future. This proposal was supported by other delegations. The Chairman agreed to the proposal and suggested an informal, open house session for mid-January 1994. Further discussion ensued as to whether the informal meeting would focus purely on administrative and financial matters. The Chairman undertook to have discussions on the matter with Ambassador J. F. Boddens-Hosang, the Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection
55. The Chairman closed the meeting by thanking members of the Secretariat who had participated in the work of the Sub-Committee; he extended a special word of thanks to Mr. José Riera, the Senior External Relations Officer, for his work for the Sub-Committee over the last two years and wished him well in his new assignment. He gave the floor to the Deputy High Commissioner who made some closing summary remarks. The Chairman then adjourned the meeting.