The Undersecretary General for Management responds to last week’s front page Washington Post article on rising costs at the U.N.

The March 21 front-page story “Expenses at U.N. Balloon 25 Percent; U.S. Demands on Body Help Drive Up Budget” suggested that the United Nations recently “presented its top donors with a request for nearly $1.1 billion in additional funds.” The implication is that spending is out of control and member states are saddled with the consequences.

But the General Assembly approved the $4.1 billion budget. All additional costs reflect new demands from members, notably the United States, particularly in peace and security. The United Nations does not “present” bills to its members; it acts upon their instructions.

A “doubling” of “administrative costs” is stated as part of the problem. The budget includes mounting costs of special political missions, including Iraq and Afghanistan. By no stretch can these be considered “administrative costs.”

The costs of U.N. operations are spiraling upward because they have never been more in demand.

ALICIA BARCENA
Undersecretary General
Department of Management
United Nations
New York

The Undersecretary General for Management responds to last week’s front page Washington Post article on rising costs at the U.N.

The March 21 front-page story “Expenses at U.N. Balloon 25 Percent; U.S. Demands on Body Help Drive Up Budget” suggested that the United Nations recently “presented its top donors with a request for nearly $1.1 billion in additional funds.” The implication is that spending is out of control and member states are saddled with the consequences.

But the General Assembly approved the $4.1 billion budget. All additional costs reflect new demands from members, notably the United States, particularly in peace and security. The United Nations does not “present” bills to its members; it acts upon their instructions.

A “doubling” of “administrative costs” is stated as part of the problem. The budget includes mounting costs of special political missions, including Iraq and Afghanistan. By no stretch can these be considered “administrative costs.”

The costs of U.N. operations are spiraling upward because they have never been more in demand.

ALICIA BARCENA
Undersecretary General
Department of Management
United Nations
New York

Get occasional updates from UN Dispatch

* indicates required

Want Our Social Media List?