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Statement by Ms. Sun Minqin Representative of the Chinese Delegation to the Fifth Committee to the 56th Session of the General Assembly On Agenda Item 124: Pattern of Conference

2001-10-23 00:00

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, the Chinese delegation would like to thank Mr. Bouheddou, Chairman of the Committee on Conferences for his introduction of the report of the Committee. We welcome Mr. Chen Jian, the new Under Secretary-General for the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services (DGAACS) and are grateful to him for his introduction of the Secretary-General's report. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to DGAACS whose effective service undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Special Sessions on HIV/AIDS and on Human Settlements.

The Chinese delegation aligns itself with the statement of the distinguished representative of Iran on behalf of G77 and China and here are some additional remarks:

1.We have noted with satisfaction that the 2000 utilization factor for the four UN Offices overall has exceeded the benchmark of 80 percent and that the percentage of requests met for meetings with interpretation by regional and other major groupings of member states rose from 84 percent during the period 1999-2000 to 90 percent for the period from July 2000 to June 2001. We appreciate the great efforts made by DGAACS in this regard.

2. In recent years, member states have raised the question of the quality of interpretation and translation time and again, which is also a major concern for the Chinese delegation. We believe that the improvement of the quality of interpretation and translation should be a top priority. While acknowledging the efforts made by the Secretariat in this regard, we would like to point out that the quality of the services in question is not yet satisfactory to member states. There are still cases of omissions and mistakes in translation and cases where poor interpretation hampered the work of delegations. The Chinese delegation is of the view that there ought to be a complete monitoring system in place in the Secretariat that will ensure that that bases promotion on performance and merits and that there should be zero tolerance for irresponsibility or indifference to work. At the same time, we also call upon the Secretariat to set up training programs to help those who do not measure up to the demands of their work to shape up. My delegation sincerely hopes that the Secretariat will take the necessary measures to improve the quality of interpretation and translation so as to ensure the smooth running of our meetings.

3. The Department intended to continue implementing cost-saving measures, including improved control of resources budgeted for temporary assistance for meetings. My delegation is in full agreement with the Department on this. The hiring of freelancers by the Department in times of need is understandable, but the quality of these freelancers is also a source of our concern. Some of the freelancers are not familiar with the work of the UN and some are simply not up to the job. In this connection, we would appreciate it if the Department can provide us with some information as to the number of freelancers it needs annually and the difference in cost between the use of freelancers and the addition of regular staff.

4. Equal treatment of all official languages needs to be implemented in earnest. Mr. Chairman, we understand that in the Editors Unit of the Publication Section under the Meeting Service in Geneva there are editors for all languages, that is, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic, with the exception of Chinese. We would like to learn from the Secretariat why it is so and what measure it plans to take to correct the situation. Another point I would like to raise here concerns GA Resolution 54/249 which, inter alia, decides to convert the temporary posts working on the Arabic, Chinese and Russian websites to regular posts, we understand that the Secretariat is in the process of implementing this decision, we would greatly appreciate it if the Secretariat can update us on the latest progress.

5. We are pleased to note that the Conference Servicing facility of Nairobi has become organizationally, functionally and budgetarily an integral part of DGAACS. The UN Office in Nairobi, as the only major UN office in a developing country, should enjoy equal status with other UN centers or offices. We hope that the Committee on Conferences' recommendations for further improving the utilization of the conference facilities at Nairobi will be carried out.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

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