Reform Effort Pushed as Part of U.N. Budget Deal
The budget provides $3.8 billion over the next two years, but limits spending to $950 million until June when Secretary-General Kofi Annan will have to go to the assembly to request additional funds.
The ongoing battle over the budget and reform has pitted the United States, European Union and Japan against a group of 132 developing nations and China known as the Group of 77.
The United States and its partners have demanded the international body take a serious look at internal management, as well as how the organization handles international security and human rights, and base approval of the budget on the success of that reform.
Though several countries, including Canada, Australia, Japan and the EU struck down an early proposal from U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton that would have reduced the customary two-year budget to three or four months pending progress on reform, Bolton claimed victory late Friday after marathon talks averted a crisis.
“This evening the United States obtained something it had been striving for the last three months, which is a clear linkage between management reform and the budget process of the United Nations,” Bolton said.
The calls for reform follow a year of scandal at the United Nations, during which time allegations of fraud and mismanagement, particularly in the organization’s oil-for-food program, have marred the world body and its head, Annan.
On Friday, Annan released a statement saying the budget “will enable the organization to continue its work uninterrupted while member states pursue the reform proposals adopted during the 2005 World Summit.”