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DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENT SECRETARIAT AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR ITS FUNCTIONING

Debate on the designation of a Permanent Secretariat (PS) and arrangements for its functioning (A/AC.241/44) centered around what relationship the PS should have to the United Nations Secretary-General (SG) or to other agencies. Concerns were also expressed over how financial support from the SG, thrown into question by the UN financial crisis, could be ensured or replaced.

The Interim Secretariat explained that the issue had two tracks: location, which will be addressed through written submissions for INCD-9, and administrative arrangements for the PS. Most of the document contains a response by the SG to a request from INCD-7 regarding possible support for the PS without fully integrating it into the work programme or management structure of any programme. Paragraph 21(a), paying for core staff from the UN regular budget, should be disregarded because of the UN's current financial uncertainty. Some delegations, such as Argentina, said the PS should be institutionally linked to, but not integrated into, any UN department. Others, including Senegal, said the decision could be a middle ground between attaching the PS to the UN Secretariat or another institution. He favored attaching the PS to the UN with support from specialized agencies. France said discussion should not preclude consideration of other organizations such as UNEP and that integrating the PS with UNEP or UNDP would support it with funds the SG cannot supply. Numerous delegations requested additional information from the UN and potential host agencies.

Germany expressed its interest in hosting the Permanent Secretariat in Bonn and said it intends to submit its candidacy at INCD-9.

The draft decision on the Permanent Secretariat, as contained in document A/AC.241/WG.I(8)/L.1: transmits to INCD-9 a draft decision from the G-77 and China; invites written comments by 15 April on the SG's note; requests UN agencies and international organizations to submit, by 15 April, written descriptions of support and administrative arrangements they would provide; requests governments to submit offers to host the PS by 1 June; and requests a compilation of the submissions for consideration at INCD-9.

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