Kampala- The visiting United Nations Under-Secretary for field support, Mr Atul Khare, last week said there should be no anxiety over the ongoing shuffling to relocate key functions of the Regional Service Centre Entebbe to Nairobi, Kenya.
Mr Khare told journalists after a closed-door meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, that “there is no decision yet” following the July 5 resolution by the UN’s 5th Committee which rejected the proposal. The 5th Committee is responsible for budget and administrative issues.
“No decision has been taken yet, and all contracts of local and international staff were extended for one year until June 2019,” he said.
Mr Khare described the current anxiety over whether the service centre will move or not “as understandable”, but said it is premised on ongoing discussions to reform the UN system.
“There are so many changes being made at the headquarter right now, and they will eventually extend to the field.” The 5th committee on July 5 rejected the proposal, backed by secretary general Antonio Guterres to relocate key functions from Entebbe to Nairobi.
The committee directed the secretariat led by Mr Guterres to prepare and table new Global Service Delivery Model (GSDM) reforms at the next 73rd session in September.
In earlier report submitted in May, Mr Guterres had proposed that only Kenya will host the centre for Africa under GSDM reforms.
Other cities handpicked to host UN centre included the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and City of Mexico in Mexico, downsizing from 11 centres.
The exclusion of Entebbe triggered an avalanche of condemnation by Ugandan officials, Members of Parliament, the 290 would-be affected employees, and placed Uganda on a potential collision path with Kenya; its key trading partner and export-import route.
Mr Khare said it was unlikely all functions would be moved, even if decision is to be taken at a later date.
Mr Khare also praised Uganda’s “unwavering commitment” to the African Union Peace-keeping Mission in Somalia (Amisom) despite delayed disbursement of monetary contributions by donors since last October.
Uganda, with more than 6,000 troops in Somalia, is the largest contributor to the 10-year-old AU-led mission.
Other contributors include Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti.
“I have assured your government that we are doing everything we can to have this problem addressed,” he added.
Mr Khare later held a meeting with President Museveni.