29 October 2013
Statement by Mr. Rashid Bayat Mokhtari, Counselor of
the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
during the informal discussions on the Proposed Budget of the United Nations
for the biennium 2014-2015, in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly.
New York – 29 October 2013
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Allow me to share some thoughts, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, about the overall policies and orientations of the proposed budget for the biennium 2014- 2015. The centre of discussions and debates around this proposed budget seems to be the proposed figure of around 5.5 billion dollars, as the proposed budget figure. A debate that all of us expect to be a long, contentious one that will take us to the last hours of the last working day of the year.
Yet, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the operations of the United Nations are not run by 5.5 billion dollars in a biennium. Taking into consideration of the extra-budgetary resources of roughly 20 billion dollars, we shall come to the true figure needed to run the UN, let alone the 15 billion dollars annually to run the peace keeping operations.
While there is so much commotion about the reduction of some tiny amounts regarding issues like re-costing or abolishment of some posts here and there; in real terms, there is no reduction in overall expenses of the UN. That is, because for every dollar which we supposedly reduce from regular budget; a budget under the scrutiny of the General Assembly, there is a dollar or more added to the extra-budgetary resources; a budget with not enough information and analysis. A budget that is mainly directed towards the providers aims and not where the real needs and requirements of the member states lies.
In each financial cycle and especially in the recent ones, there have been extremely costly mandates added to the workload of the UN. Cases like the SPMs, the infrastructural projects such an UMOJA and IPSAS or the plan to strengthen the pillars of the UN are but some of them.
Although such increased costs are the result of increased mandates, they are interpreted as “Financial indiscipline” and a reduction of the budget is persistently called for.
Nobody agrees with financial indiscipline. Yet, we must all be cognizant of the fact that the increase in the budget in recent decade or so has had other driving forces. A request to decrease the regular budget under the pretext of budgetary discipline and at the same time providing for expenses through the back door and by increasing the extra-budgetary resources is not financial discipline but “Financial Deception”. This also means undoing all recent efforts to strengthen the UN.
The question is, with this trend, how the bigger picture of the UN budget down the road in ten years can be perceived?
On one hand the regular budget of the United Nations will come to its minimum as a result of which the member states are stripped from their operational independence and will be handed over to the providers of extra-budgetary resources. On the other hand, through projects such as “Partnership”, the United Nations will transform from an intergovernmental institution to a commercial enterprise which would have to resort to ways and means of such enterprises in order to sustain its daily requirements. One should not be surprised if, in ten years, one sees the United Nations running some chain hotels somewhere in the world or manage ,say, a tobacco plantation somewhere else, just to survive financially. Is this what we are striving for?
Hence, allow me to stress today that it is not the motto of “Do more with less” that is actually attained. In reality, what is sought after by some here is: “Do more of unregulated, not scrutinized activities with less operational authority for the Member States”.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.