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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

New York, 10 February 2016 - Secretary-General's remarks at the 70th anniversary commemoration of the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) [as prepared for delivery]


Thank you all for being here. Let me extend a special welcome – welcome back! – to Foreign Minister Malcorra. It is good to have her here again.

Today is a very meaningful occasion.

It is the 70th anniversary of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions. And it is the first time I have the chance to speak to you without budget issues on the table. Without being asked difficult questions from the ACABQ members. I feel free!

Since all of you are so adept at crunching data, today my brief speech will be based on numbers.

Let me go from the lowest to the highest.

First, the number three: That is how many sessions you hold each year. You also have three years in each term, and the ACABQ membership has been increased three times.

Nine. That is the number of ACABQ members in 1946, 70 years ago.

One dozen: The number of capable, committed and talented staff in your hardworking Secretariat. I thank them for their dedication.

Fourteen. That is the number of the General Assembly resolution that established the ACABQ.

Sixteen: That is the number of Committee members now. Thank you all very much for your service.

One hundred and ninety-three. This is the General Assembly’s membership, and the number of States I need to agree on a budget, with your help.

Two thousand ten: This is the first year that ACABQ appeared as a hashtag on Twitter.

In 1946, the Committee held 18 meetings and it produced seven reports.

Last year, you held more than 251 meetings and published 116 reports. What a change! Thank you for your hard work, you have been spending many sleepless nights. Thank you.

I am sure you can do the math. In fact, you are too good in math. The number of committee members has gone up by seven, and the number of reports has gone up by more than 100. If someone asked me for the PBI, the programme budget implications, I would say you have not even doubled the membership, but you have produced more than 10 times as many reports.

I would say that is a very effective use of funds – within existing resources! The words you most often use and impose on the Secretariat.

The most important number today is 70 – that is how many years the ACABQ has been faithfully helping the United Nations to carry out our lifesaving work around the world.

I am very proud of all that we have accomplished together. I thank all the Committee for helping me transform and modernize the United Nations.

This is impressive in an Organization with so many field offices – and 16 peacekeeping operations.

We also have 17 Sustainable Development Goals. When those were negotiated, many people wanted a more round figure.

I am very happy with 17 because that is the exact number we need; no more, no less.

All of you in the ACABQ understand that when it comes to numbers, we have to be very precise.

Like in this equation: One ACABQ plus one Secretary-General equals stronger collaboration than even before.

That is critical in our world because we the Peoples of the United Nations are more than seven billion – and counting.

Thank you.


Statements on 10 February 2016