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Annan submits $3.05 billion budget for UN

Annan submits $3.05 billion budget for UN, representing 0.5 per cent growth

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today recommended a 0.5 per cent growth in the organization's budget for the 2004-2005 biennium, including small extra expenditures on programmes for Africa, crime prevention and human rights observance, after nearly a decade of no growth.

"The budget embodies both our great hopes for the organization and our carefully considered decisions of what to do in a world of finite and limited resources," he told the General Assembly's Administrative and Budgetary Committee, also known as the Fifth Committee. He introduced a budget of $3.058 billion, adjusted for inflation.

While cautioning that the security of UN mission staff would require more funds than presently requested, the results-based budget reflected a major effort to align the activities of the organization with priorities agreed on at the Millennium Summit of 2000 and major world conferences, Mr. Annan said.

"The budget allocates additional resources for financing for development and the special needs of Africa. There are also modest yet necessary increases for drug control, crime prevention and human rights," he said.

Of the 50,000 projects in the budget, Mr. Annan recommended discontinuing 900, "the first real effort of this kind," knowing "how difficult it is to end UN activities once they have started." He also proposed shifting $100 million between sub-programmes and redeploying 810 posts.

The budget incorporated the results of comprehensive reviews of public information and human rights requested by the General Assembly, Mr. Annan said.

It set out changes needed to implement a new information and communications technology strategy. These included improving the United Nations web site and the use of technology to modernize the servicing of UN meetings and strengthening the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

DESA compiles a wide range of data to facilitate intergovernmental negotiations aimed at forging unified economic, social and environmental policies.

His proposed budget also provided for more staff training, as it proposed hiring 117 new, mainly young professionals, Mr. Annan said.

He appealed to the Fifth Committee not to reduce the budget in the ways recommended by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), since such a shrinkage of funds could "put us under undue constraints, especially in terms of the reform effort."

The ACABQ, comprising 16 experts nominated by their governments and elected by the General Assembly, reviews the Secretary-General's budget proposals and reports to the Fifth Committee.

The ACABQ Chairman, Tanzanian Ambassador Conrad Mselle, introduced a report recommending a budget of $3.02 billion, achieved by cutting expenditures for secretarial staff, consultants, general operating expenses, furniture and equipment.

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