Statement by Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, U.S. Representative to the United Nations for UN Management and Reform, on the Conclusion of the 67th Main Session of the Fifth Committee

Ambassador Joseph M Torsella
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
December 24, 2012


The United States notes the conclusion of the 67th Main Session of the Fifth Committee and is pleased by the significant progress we were able to achieve toward advancing fiscal discipline during a period of significant global financial difficulty and setting the United Nations on the path of increased efficiency.

The United States is very pleased to have maintained the critical 22% ceiling for U.S. contributions to the UN regular budget, protecting U.S. taxpayers from the additional bills -- estimated to be at least $300 million annually in both the regular and peacekeeping budgets -- that would have resulted from an increase in the U.S. ceiling level. We are also pleased to have negotiated a budget outline for 2014/15 that instills real financial discipline by keeping the UN budget level constant over several years.

We note the first-ever UN pay freeze for New York based staff, setting the important precedent that UN staff salaries are not immune to the financial realities of the outside world. While the United States regrets that the pay freeze is only for a six month period, it is
important that member states finally recognize that "business as usual" can not continue in the current financial climate. The United States is committed to continuing efforts to extend the freeze.

Finally, the United States is disappointed that a small number of states were able to defer yet again a decision on the full public disclosure of all UN audits, in spite of the full support of the OIOS and the fact that many UN funds and programs will begin taking this basic step toward transparency with the new year. Taxpayers everywhere have a right to know that their money is being spent wisely and not wasted, and public disclosure of UN audits represents the minimum of what the United Nations should be doing to demonstrate transparency and accountability for the decisions they make with our citizens' money.


PRN: 2012/299