UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN STANDS FIRM ON BUDGET

 

SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN STANDS FIRM ON BUDGET

15 December 2005

It does not matter who advised the Secretary General to postpone his Asian trip to focus on passing the regular budget. What matters is that he did. The decision was his. So is the budget -- the most crucial engine to run the Organization.

Reform, obviously is crucial. But it will be handicapped rather than consolidated by a hand to mouth attitude. "An organization with ongoing activity in the middle of implementing mandates approved by member states themselves, we need to have a budget to continue our work whilst we press ahead with reform," said the Secretary General. "Everyone agreed that a budget is needed, we must have a budget; but at the same time we should find some means of maintaining the pressure for reform."

His clear position makes a difference. He is the Secretary General who is in charge of delivering the programme -- the Chief Administrative Officer. An added effectiveness is in the fact that he knows what he is talking about fully well. As a former Budget Director / Controller, he is not aware of the intricacies involved; but he was accustomed to defend through prolonged, often very difficult handling of requests by member states. In that regard, current Controller Warren Sach will be of practical value. An insider with impeccable credentials, Mr. Sach had also dealt with both the smooth and rough edges, discreetly yet firmly. The $3.89 billion regular budget proposed before the Administrative and Budgetary Committee includes an amount of $73.4 million to cover already adopted reform recommendations.

Traditionally, various departments time their annual season's parties with the adoption of the budget. Let's hope that the regular budget this year is approved in time for staff, diplomats and everyone to have happy holidays.