Future of Uganda UN base hangs in the balance

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By FREDERIC MUSISI

KAMPALA. The United Nations General Assembly will, in May, receive a report of the working group constituted by General Secretary Antonio Guterres to assess the 11 existing UN secretariats across the world, including the Regional Service Centre (RSC) at Entebbe, with the view of creating one-stop centres to streamline operations.
Diplomatic sources told Daily Monitor that the report findings will then be referred to the Fifth Committee, which handles the General Assembly’s administrative and budgetary matters, for review and recommendation of the next steps.

The 193-member General Assembly is where discussions between member countries on international issues take place and is the world body’s supreme organ where members, at least in theory, have equal voice.
The 11 UN secretariats assessed include, the headquarters in New York, offices away from headquarters, in Nairobi (Kenya), Geneva (Switzerland) and Vienna (Austria). Others are regional commissions in Bangkok (Thailand, Beirut (Lebanon), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Santiago (Chile), and the three locations from which shared services are provided for peacekeeping and special political missions in Entebbe, Kuwait and Brindisi (Italy).

The development comes in the wake of what highly placed diplomatic sources described, as a vigorous political and diplomatic manoeuvring by neighbouring Kenya to woo the General Assembly to relocate the RSC currently hosted at Entebbe, to Nairobi, which already hosts the UN headquarters for Africa.

Uganda not in competition
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Amb Patrick Mugoya, said “though Uganda, specifically Entebbe, stands favourably as the RSC location in Africa, the selection process is still ongoing.”
He said Uganda is neither in competition with Kenya in light of ongoing developments nor is “laid back” instead of fighting back hard to retain the base at Entebbe as some local media reports claimed last week.

Service Centre
Bid. Uganda in 2010 won bid for establishment of the Regional Service Centre to serve as a one-stop centre for activities ranging from administrative, communications technology and logistics, for all UN missions across Africa.

Monitor.co.ug

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