Deva calls for UN to cut ballooning budget

26-Sep-2013 @ 12:0

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Nirj Deva MEP, Vice Chairman of the European parliament's Development Committee and Conservative spokesman for International Development, today lashed out at bloated and expanding UN bureaucracy.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York Nirj Deva said: “Despite the welcome, but slight reduction in a 2012-2013 budget, one that marked a pause to a decade of unprecedented and reckless growth...we cannot be fooled into believing this is anything but an incidental aberration to the trend; one that will not be repeated unless the void between budget decisions and financial contributions can be bridged."

He pointed to what he called an obscene inflation of 114% in the budget between 2000-2001 ($2.53 billion) and 2010-2011 ($5.42 billion),

And he went on: "While the UN remains paralysed and impotent to the worsening crisis in Syria, the latest budget marks only a superficial reduction and makes no provisions for desperately needed structural adjustments to an organisation utterly divorced from economic reality.

"The EU and its member states are currently the largest financial contributors to the UN budget with the EU 28 contributing to 35 per cent of the UN regular budget, accounting for almost half of the voluntary contributions and it is high time that we demanded a corresponding grip on the budget.”

"The European Commission alone contributed more than $1.35 billion to the UN's external assistance programmes this year whilst the UK Department for International Development provided £350 million to the 13 UN agencies for 2011-2012, most notably £55 million to United Nations Development Programme, £44 million to UNICEF, £12.5 million to WHO and stands as the 5th largest provider to UN peacekeeping mission, accounting for 6.68% of the funds available.

“It is ludicrous to consider that the UN's regular budget, determined by a two-thirds majority vote of the General Assembly can theoretically be passed by any 128 Members; an unbelievably short-sighted system that fully allows the 128 countries with the lowest assessments (accounting for a combined 1.3% of the budget) to overrule the contributors who make up the other 98.7% of donations. We will continue to see the overly swollen budget rise, free from desperately needed reform, until financial contributions and budget decisions are linked.

"The already bloated UN budget is only exacerbated by implausibly-rising institutional employment, out-of-touch tax-free salaries and benefits; a state that has led to an incendiary 74% of UN spending being allocated to personal costs (UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions).”

It is estimated, by the US's Government Accountability Office (GAO) that, despite a global economic crisis, UN staffers were paid as much as 30% more than their American, civil servant counterparts, upon whose wages theirs are supposedly pinned.

“Despite a global commitment to the UN’s multilateral agenda; one that has seen 63 field missions, 172 peaceful settlements to regional conflicts, empowered free and fair elections in more than 45 countries, and witnessed the extraordinary contribution and sacrifice of peacekeepers on the ground, working under the most demanding of circumstances, the distortion of UN salaries has served as a clear contributor to the obscenely ballooning budget.

"Salaries alone could account for a ludicrous $4 billion in 2014-2015 in the grotesquely expanding $36 billion institution that is now larger than half its member states’ individual GDP. The European Taxpayer should be seriously concerned about the unchecked growth of the mounting bureaucracy.

"With the EU accounting for 36.76% of the peacekeeping budget; a budget estimated to stand at $7.120 billion for 2013-2014, it is, as representatives, our responsibility to ensure that this serious commitment to global stability is accounted for and not wasted on self-serving, institutional benefits and vanity projects, like the Capital Master Plan (CMP), the six year renovation of the UN's headquarters which is estimated to have cost the taxpayer $2.15 billion before its completion in 2014. It is a responsibility that, against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, we have to date failed in.”

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