UN chief presents $5.4 billion budget proposal for next two years

Flags of Member States fly in front of the United Nations Headquarters building. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

28 October 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today presented a proposed budget of $5.4 billion for the United Nations over the next two years, after instructing managers to rethink business practices, reduce overlap, embrace innovation, encourage creativity and build synergies.

“My budget proposal reflects a conscientious effort to gauge the needs of the Organization for the next two years. But our work does not stop here. We will continue to search for ways to adapt and equip the United Nations to better implement its mandates,” Mr. Ban said as he presented his proposal to the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, which deals with administrative and budgetary matters.

He noted that the proposed budget for the biennium 2014-2015 is 2.9 per cent below the budget level for the current biennium that was projected in December last year. It is also 0.2 per cent below the expenditures for the biennium 2010-2011.

Consistent with established methodology, a preliminary re-costing amount is included. This results in an additional $158 million, bringing the regular budget requirements to over $5.5 billion.

Mr. Ban pointed out that the UN is being called on to play an increasingly prominent role in promoting peace, advancing development and protecting human rights.

“The budget before you reflects a central challenge: how to resource this Organization at a time when the demand for the work of the United Nations continues to grow amidst a period of economic austerity constraint,” he said.

“Many countries continue to suffer crippling effects of the financial crisis. Governments – and especially people – are struggling. At the same time, the world is turning more and more to the United Nations for answers and help across a broad spectrum of issues and needs.

“We must live up to the expectations of the world’s people,” Mr. Ban stressed. “And we must uphold our responsibility to you, the Member States, to make the most prudent use of the precious resources that you provide.”

He reminded delegates that rethinking the way the UN works inevitably has an impact on the number of posts. The proposed budget results in a net decrease of 261 posts, reflecting the abolition of 396 posts, the addition of 52 new posts, and 83 conversions.

Among other things, the proposal includes nearly $1.1 billion for special political missions that are expected to be extended or approved in the course of the next two years.

Now that the Secretary-General has presented his proposal, Member States will discuss and decide on the budget to be adopted by the General Assembly in December for the next two years.

“The decisions you take will fundamentally shape the ability of the United Nations to advance the well-being of the human family at a time of simultaneous peril and opportunity,” Mr. Ban stated.

“My great hope for this process is that we never lose sight of why we are here, and who we are here to serve. We may be discussing numbers, but what really hangs in the balance is the prospects for people, families and communities across the world to enjoy a future of dignity for all.”


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