New York

12 October 2015

UN Secretary-General's Remarks to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on the Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2016-2017 [As delivered]

The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is a powerful reminder of the vital need to defend and promote the principles of our Charter.

The opening of the 70th session of the General Assembly was an equally powerful reminder of our relevance in today’s changing and churning world.

Over the last weeks, we welcomed Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and His Holiness the Pope.  Our work attracted leaders from civil society, the private sector, academia and the public at large.  They all came together to forge coalitions for transformative change and sustainable development under the umbrella of the United Nations.

That is the founding spirit of the United Nations.  In the face of grave and global challenges, I believe that we can continue to work together to fulfil our common vision of an effective, efficient, and truly global UN Secretariat that responds to the needs of “we the peoples”, and make this world better for all.

You entrust us with resources to translate commitments on paper into change on the ground. 

Today, it is my honour to introduce my proposed programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017 which supports implementation of the priorities established by the General Assembly in its resolution 69/264.

This proposal encompasses our vision and commitment to budget discipline and strict financial management.

As you know, recent years have been marked by progress in significant initiatives – IPSAS, Umoja, Mobility, and the ICT Strategy.  We have presented separate proposals on the Global Service Delivery Model and the study on long-term accommodation needs here in New York that are all aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of our mandates.

The Secretariat is making major strides with respect to Umoja. In June, ESCAP, UNON, UNEP, UN Habitat and OCHA embraced this new way of working.

The next phase - cluster 4 – will be an even greater challenge, with 71 more entities, including New York, completing the global footprint of Umoja in November.

This is not an easy task, but I am inspired and equally humbled by the dedication and commitment of our staff in making Umoja a reality.

I know we all look forward to realizing the benefits of Umoja, through improved administration of our resources.

My proposals for the 2016-2017 programme budget are built on our progress.

They are fully in line with the three pillars of peace and security, development and human rights and based on  the priorities established by the General Assembly.

In formulating the proposal before you, I continued to challenge my senior managers to find new and better ways of delivering mandates more effectively and efficiently.  I urged them to rethink our business practices and embrace innovative synergies. 

  As you know, we presented a budget outline level of $5.74 billion to the General Assembly. The Assembly then invited me to prepare the 2016-2017 proposed programme budget on the basis of a preliminary estimate of $5.56 billion.

For the biennium 2016-2017, I am now proposing a budget level of $5.57 billion, before recosting.

This is 1.6 per cent -- or $90.8 million -- below the appropriation for the current biennium, and is $10.2 million, -- or 0.2 per cent -- above the budget outline figure set by the General Assembly.

The increase of 0.2 per cent over the Budget Outline figure is mainly due to the adjustments in light of recent General Assembly decisions on Umoja.

The proposals for 2016-2017 include resources for new and extended mandates – specifically contribution to the Resident Coordinator System; the strengthening of UNEP; public information activities for the principle of parity of official languages; the strengthening of the human rights treaty body system; the renovation of the Africa Hall and ESCAP; and support for Habitat III.

Overall, the 2016-2017 proposal reflects a net decrease of 56 posts compared to the current budget, primarily related to the freezing of posts.

This budget includes a preliminary recosting of $125 million, which combined with my proposal of $5.57 billion, would bring the regular budget requirements to $5.69 billion.

The proposal includes a provision of $1.12 billion for special political missions related to peace and security that are expected to be extended during the biennium. This reflects a reduction of $120 million compared to what I proposed in the Budget Outline. I am confident that we can manage the existing SPM portfolio and related mandates within the level set by the General Assembly.

We have reached a critical moment in shaping the future we want for our children and succeeding generations. 

Member States adopted the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the landmark 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In December, Member States have committed to achieve a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris.

Taken together, these actions can help forge a new global development compact that pursues economic growth, human dignity and environmental sustainability.

My budget proposals do not yet reflect any possible financial implications required for the Organization to support Member States in achieving these goals.  We are working towards the most appropriate implementation framework for the UN system and the Secretariat.  As we assess financial implications arising from this framework, I will present any cost estimates to the Assembly. 

I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to realize the aims of the Organization and meet people’s high expectations. This is the start of a broader dialogue that will continue in the weeks to come.  My representatives are always available to answer your questions, and I stand ready to provide whatever help I can.

As you know this is my ninth year as Secretary-General and this proposed Programme budget is for 206-2017 biennium, this means half the executions will have to be carried by my successor. I have taken into consideration a different programme of budget for me, because I have to think about the future after my departure.

I have felt a sense of responsibility to make sure that my successor, whoever it may be, will be able to carry out his or her duties smoothly and with sufficient resources. That is my commitment, and that spirt is reflected in this programme budget. I really count on your strong support on this matter.

Let us work together to ensure that the United Nations makes the best possible use of our resources in the service of humanity.

Thank you.