Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 7 News List

UN adds almost US$700m to budget

PEACEKEEPING EFFORTS Among the items was US$449 million to pay for the UN-African Union mission to violence-wracked Darfur from next month through June


The UN General Assembly increased its 2008-2009 budget to US$4.86 billion on Wednesday, adding nearly US$700 million to fund UN peace efforts in 27 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, and additional staff for development and conflict prevention.

The 192-member world body met through the night to revise the UN’s two-year US$4.17 billion budget adopted at the end of last year to reflect new demands on the UN.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply appreciative” of the additional resources and administrative changes agreed to by the assembly, which enhance “the United Nations’ ability to better respond to the needs of the organization,” UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

Looking ahead, the General Assembly adopted a budget outline for 2010-2011 totaling US$4.87 billion.

As part of the revised 2008-2009 budget, the assembly authorized US$429.5 million for 27 special political missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year, Ban failed to get funds to beef up the UN Department of Political Affairs and broaden its activities, including conflict prevention. But the revised budget will fund 49 new posts for the department, to be phased in next year.

The revised budget also provides for 91 new posts to promote development activities — a key demand of developing countries.

Also included in the funding was US$449 million for the joint UN-African Union (UNAMID) mission in Sudan’s war-wracked Darfur for the first six months next year.

The increased allocation for UNAMID is based on a revised deployment plan and projected expenditures totaling roughly US$1.5 billion for the period July 1 this year to June 30 next year.

Ban said last week that only 60 percent of what is mandated to be a 26,000-strong UNAMID will be deployed by the end of this year and 85 percent by March to try to end more than five years of deadly civil strife in the Sudanese western region.

The General Assembly also decided not to abolish the post of UN special adviser on Africa at the undersecretary-general level. Ban had combined that post with the representative for least developed countries over strong objections from African nations.

The assembly approved new UN staffing arrangements consisting of temporary, fixed-term and continuing appointments, and it adopted the statutes for new UN Dispute and Appeals Tribunals to deal with the internal administration of justice. Both measures will take effect on July 1.

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