Presenting UN budget to finance committee, Annan urges maximizing resources

Presenting UN budget to finance committee, Annan urges maximizing resources

Presenting a new United Nations budget to the General Assembly's finance committee, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to Member States to maximize the Organization's scarce resources.

The Secretary-General submitted the $2,519 million, two-year budget to the Administrative and Budgetary Committee, pointing out that over the past six years, the UN had had absolutely no budgetary growth, despite increasing demands. "With various reforms, efficiency measures and new technologies, we have managed, to a large extent, to do more with less," he said. "Despite our difficulties in coping with stagnant budgets and late-payment of dues, we have carried on serving you, the Member States, and the peoples of the world."

While noting that the UN could do more with less, Mr. Annan warned that "sooner or later, the quality of our work must suffer." Further budgetary constraints "would seriously compromise our ability to deliver the services expected from us, particularly when Member States impose new mandates on us without adding new resources."

Calling for a careful review of the UN's work programme, the Secretary-General asked the Member States to reflect on whether their meetings were really indispensable, whether some reports that were requested duplicated others, and whether resources were allocated in the most productive way. "Please ask yourselves whether all the mandates that you entrust to us are really important," he said.

The new budget calls for "small but important" proposed increases in certain priority areas, Mr. Annan said. He appealed to the Committee to support requests for reforming the UN's work in the area of peacekeeping, upgrading security measures to protect the Organization's staff, and modernizing UN Headquarters to bring it in line with security standards "whose urgency has of course been cruelly emphasized by the events of 11 September."

Reflecting the Secretary-General's ongoing effort to reform the UN, the new budget contains indicators of expected achievements, so that Member States can measure the Organization's success in delivering on its promises. The budget also contains proposed time limits, known as "sunset provisions" for certain new initiatives.