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UN budget agreed on (sort of)

Posted by Helen Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Washington Times reports (ans Associated Press story) that the UN member nations have agreed on a two-year budget for that organization. John Bolton’s idea of an interim budget just for a few months got no support and an alternative proposal of the two-year budget of $3.8 billion but with a spending cap of $950 million for 2006. This is supposed to encourage administrative reform, something that the United States and a few, very few, other countries have been pushing for.

According to the Associated Press story linking the reform to the budget was supported by the EU as well, though most of us had seen little evidence of that. In fact:

“U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton called the approval a victory for the United States. Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, whose country holds the EU presidency, said he wouldn't claim victory for the 25-member bloc but for the United Nations.”
Quite so.

The General Assembly’s budget committee is expected to approve the proposal within days and with some relief, one imagines. However, the problem of reform remains unresolved. No agreement has been reached on anything but the smallest of cosmetic measures and there has been a great deal of opposition from developing nations to the idea of the budget being linked to reforms.

On the other hand, American congressmen are still threatening to hold back part of America’s contribution unless serious root-and-branch reforms are enacted.

Given SecGen Kofi Annan’s hysterical reaction to perfectly ordinary journalistic questions about the oil-for-food scam and the Mercedes his son acquired in an unexplained fashion, the UN has a long way to go if it intends to reform itself. My own conviction is that the idea of the organization is contradicted by its reality to such an extent that no meaningful reform is possible.