New York

29 October 2009

Secretary-General's remarks to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on the proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2010-2011

At the outset let me express our shock and indignation at the heinous attack in Kabul on UNAMA personnel and our sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as well as our pride and admiration at the bravery shown by the officials in the face of the attack.

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished delegates

I am pleased to present my proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.

As you know, my involvement in the preparation of budget proposals for the previous biennium was limited given that the process started in 2005, before I took office.

It gives me great pleasure to report that the proposals now before you have been prepared with my full involvement -- from the strategic framework to the budget outline, culminating in the finalization of the proposals.

The proposals before you take into account the global economic and financial crisis. And they reflect my full commitment to enforce strict budgetary discipline, balancing growth in some areas with reallocation and realignment in others.

In formulating the proposals, programme managers were requested to critically scrutinize all activities and their related resources, so as to focus on results and on the optimization of those resources.

Mr. Chairman

My budget proposals reflect the priorities identified by the General Assembly for the biennium 2010-2011.

I am proposing a budget of $4,887.5 million, before recosting, broadly in line with the level of the outline approved in General Assembly resolution 63/266.

This reflects real growth of $22.4 million, or 0.5 per cent over the revised appropriation.

It also reflects a net decrease of 24 posts. While there will be 53 more Professional posts, there will be 77 fewer posts in the General Service and related categories.

Consistent with established practice, a preliminary recosting for inflation is included. This results in an additional $171.8 million, bringing regular budget requirements to $5,059 million.

The proposal also includes $829 million for special political missions that are expected to be extended or approved in the course of the biennium. You will soon receive detailed proposals to allocate this provision for operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and 27 other areas.

Mr. Chairman,

As you know, the United Nations faces increasing demands for its services. As Chief Administrative Officer, I am committed to management reform and to greater transparency, accountability and efficiency.

Toward that end, the proposed programme budget reflects the continuing costs of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning system, as well as training related to International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Resources have also been allocated to ensure that staff have the skills necessary to meet the evolving needs of the Organization. An integrated human resources framework is being implemented to strengthen the capacity of the Organization and to support mobility and leadership development.

In keeping with established practice, a number of significant requirements were not included in the proposals. These will be presented to the General Assembly in separate reports at its sixty-fourth session, as necessary. They include:

Administrative and financial implications arising from the report of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board;

Business continuity management;

Implementation of ERP above the amount already included;

Implementation of Enterprise Content Management and Customer Relationship Management Systems, and a proposal for a unified Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan;

Proposed funding for after-service health insurance benefits;

Requirements that may arise from the follow-up to the Durban review conference and the upcoming Copenhagen conference on climate change;

Matters which could arise from the main Committees during the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly;

Mandatory technical adjustments to account for changes in inflation and exchange rates;

And finally, the strengthened and unified security management system. This should be of paramount importance to all of us. My proposals will enable us to strengthen security for our staff, their dependents and UN premises. I urge Member States to consider these proposals favourably. After all, our people are your people.

In addition, as you know, the Main Committees and the General Assembly are concurrently considering various other proposals, making it even more challenging to provide Member States with a fully funded budget proposal. We will also revert to you on any funding requirements that may arise.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

I look forward to your advice and thank the Committee for the guidance it has provided to date. I also look forward to the Committee's recommendations on ways to improve the budget process.

As you know, I have been advocating an increase in budget flexibility. Toward that end, the General Assembly authorized, on an experimental basis, limited discretion for the past two bienniums.

That experience has been positive. But we can and should go further still. Drawing on the lessons learned, I will propose the continuation of the limited budgetary discretion mechanism and any amendments to the conditions as deemed necessary.

Over the past ten months, participants in informal consultations between the Secretariat and some Member States have generally agreed that the existing process no longer meets the needs of the Organization, and that this matter should addressed at three levels: within the Secretariat, between Member States and the Secretariat and between Member States.

My top three priorities are as follows:

First, there is a need to end micromanagement, whether real or perceived. We need to create an environment of trust based on a strong system of accountability, both within the Secretariat and between the Secretariat and Member States.

Second, we should consolidate the number of budget fascicles. At the moment, there are more than 40, when half that number would suffice. This would help to streamline the budget and increase managerial flexibility.

Third, there is a need for an alternative funding arrangement for Special Political Missions.

I will address these three issues, and other relevant budgetary considerations, in a report to the Assembly, which I plan to submit during the main part of its 64th session. The report will provide information on the findings of the budgetary review process, and will offer a preview of forthcoming initiatives.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

Before closing, let me mention one additional matter.

In order to achieve the goals of the Secretariat-wide ICT Strategy, there is an urgent need to create a budgeting environment in which major ICT projects are considered strategic and different from recurring operational expenses.

Without this kind of "capital" budgeting arrangement for ICT, it will be impossible to overcome systemic under-investment in ICT, which has seen the Secretariat fall far behind other organizations in overall effectiveness and efficiency.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

I am committed to working with you in full partnership and through transparent dialogue. I am eager to hear your advice and look forward to continuing our shared efforts to realize the great aims of this Organization.

Thank you.