Kofi Annan has issued a warning that unless the budget cap is lifted, the United Nations will face a severe budget crisis in July. Last year, the UN General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, which is responsible for setting the UN’s overall programme budget, only approved funding for the institution until the middle of 2006, with the rest of the funding on hold unless sufficient reform measures were instituted. Now it appears that the largest donors to the UN, notably the US, Japan and the EU, are not willing to lift the cap even though many of the requested reforms have taken place.
South Africa’s representative commented that “member States cannot, on the one hand, be calling for the reform of the Organization, while, on the other hand, through their actions bring it to the brink of financial insolvency.”
Meanwhile a campaign called, appropriately enough, “Don’t Shut Down the UN” has been launched by the Better World Foundation.
The UN is responsible for programs around the world that every day save lives and protect human dignity, from peacekeeping to humanitarian aid to election monitoring. To risk all that to make a point about management reform seems cruel and short-sighted to me. Yes, management reform is important, to preserve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. But don’t hold up the UN’s vital work in the process.