General Assembly’s budget reductions risk weakening the UN, Norway warns

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide of Norway. UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell

25 September 2013 – Norway today warned the General Assembly that budgetary incoherence on its part risked weakening the United Nations, not strengthening it; noting that last year, the Assembly cut the Organization’s 2014-2015 budget by $100 million while also increasing its tasks.

“Reducing the budget whilst increasing the number of tasks is a recipe for a weaker, not a stronger UN,” Minister for Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide told the Assembly on the second day of its annual General Debate. “This Assembly must be coherent in its policy.”

He also called for developing a more agile multilateral system for the 21st century based on regional organizations cooperating with the UN.

“Practical cooperation can lay the foundations for strategic trust and shared values,” he said. “It was only after two horrific wars during the last century that my own continent chose close integration. This was instrumental for the creation of a peaceful Europe.”

He pointed to the important role the African Union (AU) had played in seeing its continent through 50 transformative years.

“This emergence of regional organizations as a feature of global governance is in fact good news for the United Nations,” he declared. “We need a UN that can be a catalyst that supports regional development, which reinforces our common global and multilateral agenda.”

Mr. Eide noted that many have criticized the UN for its inability to act in the Syrian crisis. “However, we should not lose sight of the UN’s many achievements,” he said. “Every single day the UN provides shelter for refugees, vaccinates children, promotes maternal health and stabilizes fragile States.”

The Norwegian official is one of scores of leaders to speak at the annual General Assembly session at which heads of State and Government and other high-level officials will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance.

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