New York

28 October 2013

Secretary-General's remarks to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on the Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2014-2015

I am honoured to introduce my proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015, which has been prepared in line with the priorities established by the General Assembly in its resolution 67/248.

As you know, this formal presentation is part of a broader dialogue that we will continue in the weeks to come.

Please know that my door is always open for consultation.  I am absolutely committed to working with all of you throughout this process.

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 constraint.

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.

And we must uphold our responsibility to you, the Member States, to make the most prudent use of the precious resources that you provide.

This budget reflects that reality. It is the product of a careful exercise by all programme managers.

As you recall, although I presented to the General Assembly a budget outline of $5,492 million, the Assembly invited me to prepare the budget on the basis of a preliminary estimate of $5,393 million.

Efforts have been made to minimize the impact of the reductions, and to accommodate new and expanded mandates.  But as I advised the Assembly in January this year, it would be unrealistic to think that such a substantial budget reduction would have no impact.

In this regard, I would also urge you to consider reviewing mandated activities that may have been fulfilled or overtaken by new developments.

For my part, I would like to assure you that we are committed to both budget discipline and the implementation of all mandates.

I have emphasized to all managers and staff that as a global public institution, it is incumbent on us to continually reassess and improve the way we work and to be accountable to those we are privileged to serve.

I have stressed the need to uphold the standards of effectiveness that the Assembly has requested.

And I instructed programme managers to rethink our business practices, reduce overlap, embrace innovation, encourage creativity and build synergies.

Taking all of this into account, my proposals reflect a wide range of adjustments based on efficiencies, improvements and investments. Wherever we anticipate the volume of outputs and performance targets to be affected, that impact is reported in the relevant budget sections.

Though it has been difficult to arrive at the right balance, my budget proposal reflects our current realities and, I am confident, meets the expectations of the General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,

For the biennium 2014-2015, I am proposing a budget of $5,404 million at revised 2012-2013 rates, before re-costing.

This is 2.9 per cent below the budget level for the current biennium that we projected in December last year.

This 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 $5,562 million.

Rethinking the way we work inevitably has an impact on the number of posts. The result is a net decrease of 261 posts, reflecting the abolition of 396 posts, the addition of 52 new posts, and 83 conversions. 

The proposal includes $1,081 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 these funds for missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and 34 other missions, including new missions established after approval of the budget outline level.

In line with my goal of bringing more transparency to the budget process, we have enhanced the presentation format to include detailed information on resource changes and impacts. I hope this will facilitate your deliberations.

Now that the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions has completed its expert review, I look forward to the Assembly’s review.  

As your discussions continue, deliberations in the other main Committees may give rise to new demands. Accordingly, separate reports that may have an impact on the overall budget level will be presented to the Committee at its current session.

Mr. Chairman
Distinguished delegates,

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.

The United Nations is being called on to play an increasingly prominent role in promoting peace, advancing development and protecting human rights.  As we accelerate efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Member States are also deep in discussion on an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

To achieve our goals, we need to build up the Organization’s capacity to leverage the power of the private sector, civil society and the philanthropic community.  That is why I have proposed the establishment of a Partnership Facility.

Multi-stakeholder coalitions and alliances are increasingly recognized as development game-changers.  The Partnership Facility aims to seize this great potential, while ensuring accountability, integrity and transparency in UN partnership efforts.

Modernization is another imperative for the United Nations.  We need to continue building a dynamic management culture focused on excellence and results. Our operations and ways of doing business must keep pace with a complex and fast-changing world.

The budget proposal thus reflects the continued investment in transformative efforts such as Umoja and IPSAS, which are well under way and which, together with the proposed managed mobility policy, will move us towards our shared goal: a truly global 21st-century organization.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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.

I thank you in advance for what we know will be hours and hours of effort in the weeks ahead, and for the hard decisions you will have to take.

My senior advisors and I will always be available for any questions you may have.

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. 

With that duty in mind, I count on your leadership and commitment in supporting the budget proposal before you.

Thank you.