15 June 2007

A last minute visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon averted an open rebellion by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). By end of May, members of that powerful group were asking where was the budget. They had received nothing. The Budget Controller who capably held their hands while waiting happened to be away. So was the Secretary General who would normally present the budget. "Where is the budget?" was about to become a battle cry when Mr. Ban went to see the group on Monday 11 June. It took some delicate handling but he finally managed to patch up pending questions.

As some members diplomatically said they looked forward to seeing him again soon, the Secretary General resorted to what has become his trademark self-deprecating humour. When he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, he said, his greatest fear was to go see those in charge of Finance. They were very good, very efficient people; but they were very very tough. That's why ACABQ members should understand his reluctance to rush to their meeting. His approach seems to work -- at least for the moment.