Cablegate: Unesco: Administration Commission: Program And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. The Administrative Commission of UNESCO's
General Conference considered budget, administrative and
personnel issues. It approved the administrative items in
the two-year overall program and budget after debate focused
on the budget's unsatisfactorily long and complex format.
Member State interventions often invoked the need for
reform, but decisions generally continued the status quo,
sometimes with a provision that changes could be made during
semi-annual meetings of UNESCO's Executive Board. End

2. The Administrative Commission met twelve times October 4
to 13. Items it considered generally fell within the
category of budget preparation, financial and administrative
costs and reforms, and personnel matters.

3. The length and complexity of the budget documents
received unfavorable review. USDEL noted that the budget
should be a policy document, but that the costs of
developing normative instruments had not been reflected in
the last budget and that the costs of translating
proceedings into six languages were not stated in this
proposed budget. Delegations generally agreed that the
budget should highlight major expenses of this nature. The
decision of the Administrative Commission generally approves
the present budget format, it does allow the Executive Board
to direct changes.

4. Following up on discussions at the Executive Board, the
USG and others stressed that expenses should be paid within
the year time limit set forth in UNESCO's Official Financial
Regulations and the GC decision repeats the Board's

5. The USG, supported by Great Britain and Nordic
representatives, succeeded in placing some limits (none now
exist) on the DG's power to engage in external borrowing (DG
must exhaust internal borrowing possibilities first and must
report any external borrowing to the next meeting of the
Executive Board).

6. Thanks to USG insistence, the Administrative
Commission's vote to approve the budget applied only to the
administrative sections, rather than to the whole budget, as
originally proposed.

7. USG and others noted strongly that UNESCO must decide
whether proposals to be funded through extrabudgetary
contributions are consistent with UNESCO priorities before
accepting the funding. USG and others pointed out that
regular budget now supports administrative expenses
associated with some, but not all, extrabugetary projects.
The Secretariat conceded inconsistency in determining
administrative charges for extrabudgetary accounts and noted
that it is preparing a comprehensive report on this for the
Executive Board.

8. Personnel policies were discussed in the presence of
staff association leaders. USG insisted that the decision
noting progress in the reform of the personnel system pick
up on the emphasis in DDG Barbosa's presentation on changing
attitudes within the Secretariat. As a result, the first
paragraph of the decision now refers to the "profound
changes" necessary within the Secretariat. USG joined other
Member States in questioning the apparently ad-hoc decisions
concerning whether to offer a buy-out to employees.

9. After painstaking debate, a working group recommended
that some countries that had not paid their contributions
nevertheless be allowed to vote, given circumstances beyond
their control. Iraq was included in this group, which is
consistent with USG policy.

10. Note. Many delegations praised USG interventions as
thoughtful and helpful. One UNESCO long-timer said that the
USG rep interventions had managed to change the course of
the debate on several occasions. End Note.


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