UN regular budget
The UN regular budget comprises all the expenditure made by the Secretariat-General at headquarters and in the field to implement the UN’s action programmes (except for peacekeeping operations and international criminal courts). The budget is denominated in US dollars and adopted for a period of two years. However, it may be amended during this time to take account of the financial effects of General Assembly decisions. The UN budget has expanded considerably in recent years, as the number of special political missions and human rights activities increased along with this of reforms (management and control structures being enhanced, information systems strengthened, and agents better trained and indemnified). The two-year budget for 2010-2011 is $ 5,2 billion.
United Nations system-wide coherence: reform of operational activities
In November 2006, a high-level panel presented the Secretary-General with recommendations to enhance the coherence and efficiency of UN agencies, following the Millenium + 5 Declaration. The panel’s recommendations were based on three pillars (environment, development and humanitarian assistance) and used a double approach (institutional architecture and funding). They came with a specific timetable which constitutes a coherent framework for reforming operational activities (funds, programmes, specialised institutions). Following this report, an intergovernmental discussion process began in the UNGA to examine in depth the panel’s recommendations. In September 2008, the UNGA asked the Secretariat to present a draft for creating a new organisation in the field of gender equality and decided to continue discussing governance issues (changes in the role of ECOSOC, links with UN agencies) as well as the funding of operational activities. A series of proposals in these areas are currently being debated in this forum. At the same time, the panel’s recommendations for better coordination of UN assistance on the ground, are being tried out in eight pilot schemes started in 2007 (Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam). Initial results proved satisfactory. The purpose of this coordination is to prompt specialized agencies, funds and programmes to coordinate their action on the ground in compliance with a single country-specific programme.
UN budget 2010-2011
Internal oversight 1%
Overall policymaking, direction and coordination 15%
Political Affairs 24%
Cooperation for development 18%
International justice and law 2%
Safety and security 6%
Human rights and humanitarian affairs 6%
Public Information 4%
The budget is funded by contributions from Member States. A scale of apportionment was adopted by the General Assembly (Article 17 of the UN Charter) and provides that each member state contributes “approximately according to the ability to pay” . This scale is revised every three years or so
In the scale in force for the period 2010-2012, the method of calculating each State’s ability to pay is based on its share of global gross national products (in US dollars) over a reference period of four years and a half (average of the last three and six past years). Developing countries then benefit from adjustments (linked to low per capita income or external debt), , floor rates (0.001%) and ceiling rates (0.01% for the least developed countries and 22% for maximum contribution) which lower their actual contribution
Main contributors to the UN regular budget (% quota)
United States : 22.0%
South Korea 2.26%
United Kingdom 6.6%
After these adjustments, France’s quota amounts to 6.12% of the budget (5th contributor) and this of the European Union, to almost 40% of the global budget. France’s contribution for 2010 was €90m (not including renovation of UN headquarters).
Except for the longest-running operations (UNTSO in Palestine and UNMOGIP in Kashmir), whose expenses are covered by the UN regular budget, each peacekeeping operation (PKO) has its own budget, adopted in June for the financial year 1 July to 30 June. These budgets have rapidly expanded in the last ten years as the number and size of the operations increased. The PKO budget running from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010 thus amounted to $7.8 billion. Just like the regular budget, it is apportioned between Member States according to a scale designed to reflect their ability to pay As they bear a specific responsibility with regard to peace-keeping, permanent members of the Security Council pay a higher quota , which in turns enables developing countries to benefit from reductions (amounting to 20% to 90% of their regular budget quota). Under this system, France’s contribution amounts to 7.56% of the PKO budget since January 1st 2010. It totalled €395,5m in 2009.
Funds and programmes
The total resources of UN funds and programmes are hard to assess because of the diversity and fragmentation of their activities. Plus, this amount strongly varies from one year to the next, depending on the scope of international crises needing to be solved. In 2008, UN’s main funds (UNCTAD, UNDCP, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, HCR, WFP, UNRWA and UN-HABITAT) had approximately $14 billion at their disposal
Unlike the regular budget and the PKO budgets, the funds and programmes are funded by voluntary contributions. France’s contributions to the operating expenses and regular programmes of these funds and programmes amounted to €71,5m in 2009 less than 1% of UN voluntary funds. . 80% of these contributions helped finance four organisations:
United Nations Development Programme - UNDP (€26m)
Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees - OHCR (€14m)
Programme for Palestinian refugees - UNRWA (€5m)
France will contribute €55,1m to UN funds and programmes in 2010 and will keep focusing on the same four organisations.
Update : July 2010
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