Breaking a diplomatic deadlock that for weeks threatened to leave the United Nations without a budget for its operating expenses, the General Assembly has adopted a $3.79 billion budget for 2006-2007 while limiting first-year expenditures by the Secretary-General, who welcomed the compromise with a pledge for further reform.
Under the formula reached late Friday as the Assembly concluded the main part of its 2005 session, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is authorized to spend $950 million on UN business at his discretion for the first half of the year, but will have to request any other funds needed.
In a resolution adopted on the recommendation of the Budget (Fifth) Committee, the Assembly also indicated that it expected expenditures in the course of 2006 to reach some $1.9 billion.
“I welcome the General Assembly's adoption of the 2006/2007 biennial budget for the United Nations,” Mr. Annan said. “The budget agreed upon today will enable the organization to continue its work uninterrupted while Member States pursue the reform proposals adopted during the 2005 World Summit.”
He added that reform “will continue with increased momentum” and pledged to put forward new proposals for improving management within three months.
“I wish to thank all the delegations that worked on this budget in a spirit of compromise,” said Mr. Annan, who was in New York where the deal was brokered.
The representative of Jamaica, which holds the rotating chair of the influential “Group of 77” developing countries and China, voiced dissatisfaction with the closed-door negotiations that led to the breakthrough, and said the $950 million cap effectively turned what is normally a two-year budget into a six-month budget.
Offering a contrasting perspective, the representative of the United States welcomed the agreement as a means of allowing the UN to operate while Member States continued discussions on implementing the reforms agreed at the 2005 World Summit.
In other action on Friday, the Assembly established an Independent Audit Advisory Committee to help with its oversight responsibilities; adopted budgets for the two international tribunals prosecuting war crimes, respectively, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; and provided an interim budget for the Capital Master Plan renovation project.