UN: Financially sound, but complicated and fragmented in reforms

Besides billions of US dollars of committed credits to the United Nations annual budget, a snapshot of UN financial picture shows handful amount of cash, but reforms are still not fully on track.

UN: Financially sound, but complicated and fragmented in reforms

World Bulletin/News Desk

The United Nations (UN) financial situation in first three quarters of 2013 – until October 1st was “good and sound”, Yukio Takasu, Under Secretary General for Management, said, Wednesday afternoon at the UN Headquarters in New York. Yet, when it comes to reforms especially within management operation – UN became “very complicated” and somewhere “fragmented”, Takasu said.

He underlined the financial health of the world organization depends upon member states meeting their financial obligations in full and on time. On behalf of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, top management official appealed to those remaining member states to pay their dues in full.

Mr. Takasu’s presentation was on the regular budget, UN peacekeeping operations, the international criminal tribunals and the Capital Master Plan of still unfinished but very expensive renovations of the UN landmark Headquarters in New York.

Good payers and notorious debtors

According to the official figures – up to October 1st this year, 7.690 million US dollars (USD) were paid in UN annual budget by 127 out of 193 member states, while 66 UN member states, which is slightly more than one third of the full UN membership still were owing 3.406 million USD to the UN budget.

Still, UN undersecretary Takasu expressed hope that outstanding payments will be contributed by the end of year.

Talking about UN financial indicators -- unpaid assessments, cash on hand, and the Organization’s debt to member states, Takasu presented a snapshot of UN financial picture in an overall positive way. He said the UN has a handful amount of cash to operate: with 55 million USD for regular budget, 3.353 million USD for UN Peacekeeping Department, 216 million USD for UN tribunals and 244 million USD for Capital Master Plan (CPM) .

Accordingly, that makes UN organization with quite a decent amount of cash – as of October 1st,  2013 – 3.868 billion USD.

CPM is most criticized part of UN budget, with many member states expressing dissatisfaction with the penetration of financial limits with over 400 million USD of additional costs for UN headquarters renovation.

Still doing business as usual

Although the financial situation of the UN remains stable and wealthy, the main challenge for the UN system are changes needed in business cultures, performed in the old traditions that led even to the corruption within the system.

Not responding directly to the concrete accusations by Transparency International stating the “culture of corruption at the UN” – Takasu confessed the Organization needs to be changed within. He said, that does include the business philosophy of the long serving UN bureaucrats:

“Once you are in (UN) Secretariat for many years, you start to believe that this Organization belongs to you. They (UN bureaucrats) forget that the Organization belongs to the member states,” Takasu said.

“This is a mindset, (but) we (UN) secretariat are here to serve member states decisions, General Assembly, Security Council, Human Rights Council required mandates,” Takasu told reporters at the UN.

“We have to think about it globally, because over the years in more than six decades this organization has become very complicated,” Takasu said. He went on to explain although “we call it UN as a whole, as a one,” even with diversified programs in the fields of peace and security, human rights issues, development – supporting these activities financially was very difficult:

“We missed lot of things,” Takasu confessed, adding UN became fragmented:

“Even in one mission people are using different ways – there not talking to each other,“ he said, pointing that there is not an organized “mobility system.”

Principle of mobility a must

For UN reforms of business culture to move forward, it is also important - the agreed principle of mobility of the UN staff should be obeyed in full.

Takasu said UN is changing this for better. Required principle of enforced mobility would mean that none of the UN personnel does not stay longer than three years at a same UN location and that the UN staff in future will have to operate within uniformed management code.

“It is a huge task,” Takasu said explaining the importance of applying same standard working procedure for all and many thousands UN workers anywhere in the world. He added, this is a “most serious management reform in the history of the UN,” expressing confidence -- it will change the culture of work within the organization globally.

“We are making a good progress here,” top UN management official stressed.

Last Mod: 10 Ekim 2013, 10:19
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