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President Bush's FY 1992 budget, issued in January 1991, included a request for essentially full funding of U.S.-assessed contributions and a renewed request for payments in a 5-year plan to eliminate U.S. arrearages to the United Nations and other international organizations.
U.S. efforts in 1991 regarding UN budget, administration and institutional management issues continued in pursuit of reform measures initiated in 1986. A major accomplishment was the December decision of the UN General Assembly to approve by consensus a UN program budget for the 1992–1993 biennium, which included an overall zero real growth budget level and established a contingency fund to finance new activities. (Resolution 46/186.) This consensus approval of the budget continued implementation of the budget process reforms established in General Assembly resolution 41/213 in 1986.
The work of the General Assembly's Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) deals with organization-wide administrative problems, and thus is a major forum in which to pursue the policy objective of a “Unitary UN.” The Fifth Committee must provide information on how General Assembly resolutions with financial implications, if adopted, would affect the UN budget. Its most important function is to make recommendations to the General Assembly on the regular program budget and on assessed peacekeeping budgets.
Several special UN bodies assist in this work. In financial matters, there are two key expert bodies composed of individuals acting as independent experts rather than as instructed delegates. The Advisory Committee
Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) examines the Secretary General's proposals and reports to the General Assembly on UN budgets and UN accounts, on administrative budgets of UN specialized agencies and on other administrative, financial and budgetary matters referred to it. The Committee on Contributions advises the General Assembly on all questions relating to apportionment of UN expenses among member states. Other expert financial bodies are the Board of Auditors, the Investments Committee (which advises on the management of the Pension Fund) and the UN Joint Staff Pension Board.
The International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), another expert body, makes recommendations to the General Assembly on the regulation and coordination of conditions of service within the United Nations, specialized agencies and other international organizations which participate in the UN common system of salaries and allowances. The Committee on Conferences is an intergovernmental, administrative body, which develops a workable calendar of UN meetings and advises the Assembly on the most efficient use of conference resources and on current and future requirements.
Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), composed of the UN Secretary General and executive heads of specialized agencies, IAEA and other major bodies and programs, meets regularly to supervise implementation of agreements between the United Nations and specialized agencies and to coordinate activities of the various organizations. The Committee for Program and Coordination (CPC), an intergovernmental body, serves as the main subsidiary organ of both ECOSOC and the General Assembly for planning, programming and coordination. It plays an additional key role in implementation of the new consensus-based budget process. The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), a group of experts who serve full time, is empowered to investigate and evaluate any matter bearing on efficiency of services and proper use of funds.
On December 20 the UN General Assembly adopted, without a vote, decision 46/467 concerning the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations. In this decision, the General Assembly:
• Took note “with appreciation," of the report of the Secretary General on facilities management and the comments and observations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), and urged the Secretary General to continue with the formulation of an integrated and coordinated approach to facilities management.
• Took note of the report of the Secretary General on administrative, structural and other aspects of the improvement of the efficiency of the United Nations, and indicated it would keep the matter under review.
• Deferred consideration of two documents—the report of the Secretary General on extra-budgetary resources of the United Nations and the note by the Secretariat on the application of workload analysis techniques at the United Nations to a later stage at its 46th session.
• Deferred consideration of the follow-up report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the Management Advisory Service of the United Nations and the comments of the Secretary General thereon.
In addition, the General Assembly on December 20 approved, without a vote, resolution 46/220 regarding the rationalization of the work of the Fifth Committee. The resolution adopted the "biennial approach" for consideration of agenda items of the Fifth Committee, with the exception of items specifically mandated to be considered annually, as required, or on an ad hoc basis. Items to be considered annually included financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors; program budget of the United Nations; current financial crisis of the United Nations; financial emergency of the United Nations; pattern of conferences; financing of UN peacekeeping operations; appointments to fill vacancies; and report of the Economic and Social Council. Items to be considered biennially, in odd calendar years, include proposed program budget for the next biennium; Joint Inspection Unit (in-depth examination and consideration of annual reports); and administrative and budgetary aspects of financing UN peacekeeping operations. The scale of assessments for apportionment of UN expenses is to be considered as required under this resolution.
Unlike previous years, the agenda item concerning the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations was characterized by uncertainty about actions that might be taken in 1992 by a new UN Secretary General on restructuring and streamlining of the UN Secretariat. This uncertainty was evident in decision 46/467, which called on the General Assembly to either take note of or defer action on the various reports submitted for this agenda item by the incumbent Secretary General. Also, resolution 46/220 concerning rationalization of the work of the Fifth Committee was introduced very late in the regular session of the 46th General Assembly (December 18). Its introduction and subsequent approval (December 20) followed informal consultations among Committee members in which concerns were expressed over the ability of the Committee to complete its ever-increasing workload during the regular session of the General Assembly. This
particular issue had not previously been considered by the Fifth Committee under the general theme of UN reform.
In its statement of October 23 to the Fifth Committee on the 1992-1993 UN program budget, the United States reaffirmed its strong commitment to the UN reform process. The U.S. Representative noted that for the United Nations to respond to new demands and requirements,
... it must be equipped with the management and administrative structure that will strengthen its capacity and its flexibility. These changes are urgently required to ensure the most effective use of the
funds and resources our governments currently put at its disposal. The U.S. Representative welcomed ongoing discussions of the various measures needed to strengthen and streamline the UN Secretariat. He indicated the U.S. hope was
that these consultations will lead to broad agreement on key
Assembly for approval.
.. current systems do not provide the Secretary General with
Current Financial Crisis of the United Nations
Due to time constraints, action on a resolution regarding the current financial crisis and emergency of the United Nations was deferred until a resumed session of the Fifth Committee in 1992. Despite improvement in the cash flow situation, the Secretary General proposed a number of measures to strengthen the organization's financial position. The potential cost and complexity of these proposals, together with the consideration of these items late in the session, prevented member states from reaching agreement at the regular session.
The improved cash position reflected significant payments made by the United States during the course of the year. Total U.S. payments to the UN regular budget in 1991 amounted to $301.3 million. Of this amount, $265.2 million related to the U.S. assessed contribution for calendar year 1991, financed from fiscal
year 1992 funds. The balance of the $301.3 million related to
an initial payment of $36.1 million toward regular budget
The Secretary General sought approval for a number of measures previously rejected by the Assembly as well as several new proposals. The United States opposed most of these proposals which, if approved, would have required substantial additional assessed contributions. These included an increase in the Working Capital Fund from $100 million to $250 million; establishment of a $1 billion Peace Endowment Fund to be financed in part through a $300 million assessment on member states during 1992; establishment of a $50 million fund to finance start-up costs of new humanitarian operations; and charging interest at commercial rates for all assessments unpaid 60 days after issuance of a letter of assessment, either for the regular budget or peacekeeping. These proposals, if accepted, would have required special assessed contributions from the United States of more than $140 million in calendar year 1992. In addition, the Secretary General sought the authority to borrow commercially to finance expenses of the organization.
Although the United States could not support these proposals, it endorsed resolution 46/182 which established a $50 million humanitarian assistance reserve fund financed through voluntary contributions. The United States also expressed willingness to consider further the Secretary General's proposal to establish a fund to cover startup costs of new peacekeeping operations. The Secretary General planned to allocate unspent balances totaling $50 million remaining in the UNTAG and UNIIMOG accounts to capitalize this fund. Several delegations, including the U.S., expressed reservations about this method of funding
The General Assembly adopted three resolutions on the UN program budget. One resolution approved final estimates for the 1990–1991 biennium, while the other related to budget estimates for the 1992-1993 biennium.
Resolution 46/184, approved without a vote, recommended final expenditure estimates for the 1990–1991 UN program budget. The Secretary General's performance report proposed an increase of $47,769,500 in expenditures from the revised level approved in 1990. Due to late issuance of this report, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) did not recommend approval of the entire estimated increase in expenditures. The final expenditure estimate for the