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UN Documents on UN Finance



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This page contains UN press releases and statements from the General Assembly Administrative and Budgetary Fifth Committee on UN financial issues. Press briefings are usually given by the Under Secretary General for Management, the highest-ranking UN official directly responsible for the UN's finances. Christopher Bancroft Burnham, the current person in this post, worked previously as Undersecretary of the United States Department of State for Management, while his predecessor, Catherine Bertini, used to be executive director of the World Food Program. These statements provide valuable insight into the UN's ongoing financial crisis and efforts to overcome it. During this period, the UN has faced large arrears of the United States and a US-imposed cap on the budget, preventing any growth in spending, regardless of need.

UN Documents and Press Releases

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Financing of Operational Activities for Development of the UN System (April 30, 2009)

The terms "core" and "non-core" resources in the UN budget refer to contributions to the general support of the organization and contributions directed by donors to a specific project or purpose. In 2007, non-core funding was $13.6 billion compared to a core funding of only $5.5 billion. Donor states are reluctant to allocate their donations to the core budget, because they want to control where their funds go. This uneven allocation of funds may create problems in the process of UN "coherence" and the General Assembly has highlighted the need to increase the core contributions. In order to make the UN more coherent, the funding architecture needs to be changed. (ECOSOC)


Comprehensive Statistical Analysis of the Financing of Operational Activities for Development of the United Nations System for 2006: Report of the Secretary General (May 7, 2008)

This report analyzes the financing of the UN development system. It contains data from UN funds, programs and specialized agencies. The report compares trends between UN system financing and other multilateral and bilateral development assistance. Furthermore, the report describes the progress of UN efforts to build comprehensive financial data and reporting systems and to strengthen financial reporting in the UN.


Comprehensive Statistical Analysis of the Financing of Operational Activities for Development of the United Nations System (April 30, 2007)

The UN system is funded by a mix of assessed and voluntary contributions where each Agency, Fund and Program has a separate budget and different standards of reporting financial data. Analysts of UN finance have long called for more comprehensive and comparable data on UN finance. This report of the Secretary General proposes a more comprehensive financial data reporting system as well as harmonizing OECD/DAC financial data on contributions to the UN system.


Investing in the UN Budget and Finance (March 7, 2006)

This excerpt from the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's report Investing in the United Nations urges simplification of the administration of the UN budget. This would include the consolidation of UN Peacekeeping accounts. The report also calls for a stronger linkage between the money spent and the organizations' measurable achievements. In addition, the report points out the problem of slow and unpredictable cash flows to the UN budget, primarily caused by some member states' unwillingness of to pay their assessments in full and in time.


Item 128: Scale of Assessments for the Apportionment of the Expenses of the United Nations (October 17, 2005)

Japanese Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa states that Japan favors a "more equitable and fair" scale of assessments to the UN budget. As the second largest donor after the US, Japan pays more than the contributions made by 4 of the 5 permanent Security Council members. Critics relate Japan's displeasure with the scale of assessments to its failure of getting a permanent seat on the Security Council. Ambassador Ozawa argues that member states with "special status" must undertake "commensurate special responsibilities."

Budget Committee Briefed on Latest Developments in Plan to Refurbish UN HQ (March 28, 2005)

John Clarkson, Officer-in-Charge of the UN Capital Master Plan briefed the Fifth Committee on the latest developments for renovating the UN headquarters. Under consideration is the "host country's" loan offer of $1.2 billion to finance the refurbishment. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sought independent advice on outside loan interest rates and determined that the UN cannot obtain a lower fixed rate than what the US has offered. (UN Press Release)


Budget Committee Told Unpaid Contributions to Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda Tribunals, Resulting Recruitment Freeze, Could Affect Completion Dates (November 24, 2004)

This UN Press Release discusses the UN's administration of justice, which cannot function without substantial financial support. Though some speakers at the General Assembly's Fifth Committee meeting "expressed concern" over the hiring freeze in the former Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals, nothing can change unless member states fulfill their verbal commitments by paying their contributions.

Budget Committee Concludes Debate on Secretary General's Plan for Strengthened UN Security (November 4, 2004)

Member states raise concerns on the extensive costs of Kofi Annan's new security plan -estimated at nearly $300 million over two years - and whether host governments of UN offices or the member states should bear such costs. Though the proposals promise improvements, the representative of India noted that "money and posts alone [cannot] buy security for the United Nations." (UN Press Release)

Progress Made in Strengthening UN Financial Base, But Serious Problems Remain, Budget Committee Told (October 22, 2004)

Under Secretary General for Management Catherine Bertini tells the General Assembly Fifth Committee that the UN financial situation has improved but depends on member states paying "in full and on time." Current unpaid assessments include $80 million for international tribunals, $2.5 billion for peacekeeping operations and $725 million for the regular budget. Bertini adds that the UN cannot pay off debts to member states, which could amount to $605 million by the end of the year, until states fulfill their obligations. (UN Press Release)

Under Secretary General Catherine Bertini: May 21, 2004: Press Briefing by Under Secretary General for Management on UN Financial Situation

Fifth Committee Hears Progress Report on Capital Master Plan (May 20, 2004)

A United Nations New York headquarters Capital Master Plan report included several proposals on payments for a new UN building to the host government (the US) as well as funding for additional renovations and a new visitor's center at the existing headquarters. Under Secretary General for Management Catherine Bertini said she would recommend that the Secretary General set up an Advisory Board for the Capital Master Plan.(UN Press Release)

UN Financial Status 'Good, But Only in Parts', Under Secretary General for Management Tells Budget Committee (May 4, 2004)

In her semiannual report, Under Secretary General for Management Catherine Bertini told the budget committee "the [UN financial] situation remained precarious," especially in regards to peacekeeping missions and ongoing war crimes tribunals. The solution, she noted, was simple: member states should pay their dues. Several member states complained that ineffectiveness increases costs and that the UN needed to make improvements so that contributions could be better assessed. (UN Press Release)


Secretary General's address to the Fifth Committee on the 2004-2005 Budget (October 28, 2003)

The budget for the biennium 2004-2005 aims to catalyze the reform process, to better align activities with priorities, and to enhance public information, says the Secretary General.(UN Press Release)

Briefing Fifth Committee on UN Financial Situation, Under-Secretary-General for Management Says 2002 Was a Good Year, But Uncertainties Remain (May 8, 2003)

(UN Press Release)

Fifth Committee Welcomes New Under-Secretary General for Management (March 11, 2003)

The General Assembly's Fifth Committee welcomes under-secretary general Catherine Bertini to the UN Secretariat's top management position. Bertini, formerly the executive director of the World Food Program, is one of the few women leaders in the UN system to have made a distinctive mark. (UN Press Release)

Growing Disparity between Resources and the Growing Workload in the United Nations Human Rights Office (March 4, 2003)

This General Assembly Fifth Committee (administrative and budgetary) press release discusses the UN Human Right's Office's increasing reliance on extra-budgetary funding and voluntary contributions.(UN Press Release)

Need for Incentives of Timely Payment of Budget Contributions (March 3, 2003)

The UN General Assemblies' Fifth Committee discusses possible incentive schemes for member states to pay their regular UN budget contributions on time. (UN Press Release)

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