In a significant victory for India at the United Nations, Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra was elected to the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.
In the Group of Asia-Pacific States, Maitra, First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, obtained 126 votes. The 193-member General Assembly appoints members of the Advisory Committee. Members are selected on the basis of broad geographical representation, personal qualifications and experience.
Maitra was one of two nominated candidates from the Group of Asia-Pacific States. In the group, Ali Mohammed Faeq Al-Dabag of Iraq drew 64 votes.
The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, which deals with administrative and budgetary issues, recommended Maitra to the Assembly for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021.
The victory comes as India gets ready to sit in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 2021. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said in a video message that Maitra was elected on Friday to the UN ACABQ “in a strong display of support by UN member states”.
He expressed confidence that Maitra “will bring an independent, objective and much-needed gender-balanced perspective to the functioning of ACABQ”. Tirumurti expressed gratitude to all member states who supported India in this “crucial election and reposed faith in our candidate”.
He said ACABQ ensures that fund contributions to the UN system are put to good effect and that mandates are properly funded. He noted that India’s membership of ACABQ is particularly relevant now when the UN budget has come under increasing pressure.
“India has a stellar record of bringing professional auditing experience to the UN and contributing outstanding professionals to UN bodies,” he said, adding that with India’s rising obligations in both assessed as well as voluntary contributions to the UN, “we take the responsibility of administrative and budgetary management of UN’s functioning very seriously”.
Tirumurti emphasised that this assumes greater significance against the backdrop of India’s term in the Security Council for 2021-22. ACABQ consists of 16 members appointed by the Assembly in their individual capacity.
The major functions of the Advisory Committee are to examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly and to advise the General Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it.
It also examines, on behalf of the General Assembly, the administrative budgets of the specialised agencies and proposals for financial arrangements with such agencies; and to consider and report to the General Assembly on the auditors’ reports on the accounts of the United Nations and of the specialised agencies.