Management reform and finance
UN regular budget for the 2010-11 biennium
The UN's Regular Budget is set every two calendar years. It funds UN core activities, including staffing costs, in eight headquarter locations. These headquarters are in New York (USA), Geneva (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria), and Nairobi (Kenya), as well as the HQs of the Regional Economic Commissions for Africa (in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), for Europe (also in Geneva), for Western Asia (in Beirut, Lebanon), for Asia and the Pacific (in Bangkok, Thailand) and for Latin America (in Santiago, Chile). UN activities financed by the Regular Budget include holding conferences, economic development activity, UN public information work and human rights promotion. The UN Regular Budget also pays for special UN missions in countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq.
In December '09 the Fifth Committee agreed upon a Regular Budget of US$5.156 billion for 2010-11, up from US$4.865 billion in 2008-09.
The Scale of Assessments
The Scale of Assessments is the system which sets out what percentage share of the UN’s budgets are charged to each Member State. The present system is based on a complex formula which takes into account the population of the country and its Gross National Income (GNI). The share of the budget that each Member State is charged is known as its assessed contribution. The Regular Budget scale is negotiated every 3 years; the Peacekeeping scale, however, had not been negotiated since 2000: both were on the agenda of the Fifth Committee in the autumn of 2009. The methodology for the next three years was agreed on 23 December 2009 with the understanding that it needs to be carefully reviewed and updated to reflect changing economic circumstances. The UK is the fourth largest contributor to the Regular budget with a contribution of 6.604%. Because the five Permanent Members of the Security Council (UK, US, France, Russia, China) pay a premium on peacekeeping activity on top of their regular assessments, the UK is the third largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping budget with an annual contribution of 8.15%.
Top 10 Contributors to the Regular Budget Scale of Assessments 2010-12
UN management reform
The last few years have seen some important steps taken to modernise the management of the United Nations: the establishment of an Ethics Office, establishment of an Independent Audit Advisory Committee, strengthening of Peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy capacity, modernisation of Information and Communications Technology, agreement to adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and the achievement of major Human Resources reforms relating to streamlining contracts as well as an internal justice system. Much remains to be done. There is still insufficient flexibility for the Secretariat to respond to the greater demands and responsibilities placed on the UN. Despite having some limited autonomy to do so, the Secretariat is unable to shift staff and financial resources within the organisation to ensure priorities are delivered. There are also gaps in the level of controls and the degree to which Member States are genuinely able to hold the Secretariat accountable for the delivery of priorities. The priorities for the sixty-fourth session of the UN General Assembly are:
• Improving the Budget process and enhancing the Secretary-General's ability to deploy resources in line with priorities;
• Ongoing reforms of Human Resource Management to ensure the establishment of a motivated, mobile, cadre of staff with the right contracts and conditions of service.
• Improve the management of UN Procurement and ensure an efficient and accountable system which really means best value for money from across the world.
• Continue to examine the role and functions of UN internal oversight to improve the effectiveness and accountability of the organisation;
• Modernisation of the delivery of support to Peacekeeping Missions.
Refurbishment of the UN HQ
The Capital Master Plan is the $1.9 billion project to renovate UN Headquarters complex in New York to bring it into compliance with building and fire safety codes and modern standards for security, energy efficiency, sustainability and accessibility. Building began in 2008 with the construction of temporary conferencing facilities on the North Lawn of the UN complex and the renovation is now well underway. The project is scheduled for completion in 2013. The UK will continue to work to ensure the project remains on schedule and within budget.