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Dy UN Chief urges budget panel to follow Annan's way

Written by: Staff

United Nations, Apr 4 (UNI) United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown has urged the UN budget committee to back a sweeping set of reforms, put forth by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to keep step with the shift at the global organisation from bureaucratic tasks to life-saving work in the field.

Mr Annan presented the proposals last month in a report titled ''Investing in the United Nations: For a Stronger Organisation Worldwide'' which focuses on ensuring efficiency and accountability in a way that reflects the fact that more than 70 per cent of the 10 billion dollars annual budget now relates to peacekeeping and other field operations, up from around 50 per cent of a 4.5 billion dollars budget ten years ago.

''The underlying principle and idea that drives this report is that of an organisation which has outgrown its existing business model,'' Mr Brown told the General Assembly's Administrative and Budgetary Fifth Committee yesterday.

''We needed to lay out -- so that we can all sign off on it -- the idea that today's UN is a much more complex, much more diverse, much more fast-moving organisation than the UN of the past and despite the heroic efforts of our staff all around the world to deliver on the new demands on they are encumbered by institutional arrangements, by human resource policies by financial regulations, by a lack of investment in field commissions and in management development or IT systems,'' he said.

Mr Brown told delegates, ''What we are saying here is if you would allow the Secretariat the tools and means to deliver on the responsibilities you've tasked it with, it will allow us in return to offer you a much better set of tools to judge our performance by and to hold us accountable for.'' In the 16 years since the Cold War ended, the UN has taken on more than twice as many new peacekeeping missions as in the previous 44 years and spending on peacekeeping has quadrupled. Over half of its 30,000 civilian staff now serve in the field -- not only in peacekeeping, but also in humanitarian relief, criminal justice, human rights monitoring, supporting national elections, and in the battle against drugs and crime.

The proposals encompass a revamped version of how to recruit, contract, train, assign and compensate staff, with an emphasis on bringing conditions for field-based personnel up to par with those at other UN agencies operating in the field.

This will include proposals for converting 2,500 existing short-term peacekeeping positions into a new flexible and mobile core of dedicated specialists who can be deployed rapidly in urgent peacekeeping and special political missions.

The Secretary-General's comprehensive reform blueprint was called for in the outcome document adopted by leaders at last September's World Summit in New York.

Mr Brown took over as the Deputy UN Chief from Louise Frechette who quit her post at the end of last month.


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