Statement by the Honorable Joseph H. Melrose, Ambassador, on the Secretary General's Proposal to Reduce the UN Budget Three Percent before the Fifth Committee

Ambassador Joseph H. Melrose, Jr.
Senior Advisor to the United Nations 
New York, NY
March 17, 2011


Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you to Chef de Cabinet Mr. Nambiar, Under-Secretary-General Kane and Controller Assistant Secretary-General Yamazaki for being here today and for the very informative presentation.

Mr. Chairman,

The United States welcomes the Secretary-General’s initiative to instill budget discipline. This is especially important now, as all Member States contend with difficult economic conditions.  It is the Secretary-General’s responsibility as the Chief Administrative Officer of the UN to prepare the budget, taking into account the need to implement the mandates that Member States have approved and other relevant circumstances.

The United States is a strong proponent for effective program delivery by the United Nations. We believe in the adage that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. We do not support any initiative that would weaken the United Nations’ ability to deliver results. The Secretary-General’s proposal does not target any single program for reduction, but empowers his senior managers to work creatively to achieve efficiencies. We believe that budget discipline and effective mandate delivery are complementary rather than mutually exclusive goals.

By increasing efficiencies the United Nations can meet its responsibilities within budget without any adverse affect on service delivery. For example, the United Nations could streamline work processes, eliminate unproductive administrative practices, leverage modern technology, increase the relevance of oversight bodies such as the Joint Inspections Unit in identifying efficiencies, and adopt proven best practices throughout the Organization. To this end, the budget reduction should be viewed as a catalyst for broader reforms to improve effectiveness and efficiencies.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, the United States commends the Secretary-General for taking this initiative that will benefit all those served by UN programs as well as all taxpayers who generously fund them.

Mr. Chairman, the United States is committed to working with other Member States to preserve effectiveness while achieving the proposed budget reduction. We look forward to the budget that the SYG will submit to us in the fall and to closely working with our colleagues in the Committee to support his proposals.


PRN: 2011/078