The United Nations General Assembly on
Friday approved a $5.53 billion UN budget for 2014-2015, down
1 percent from the total spending during the previous two years.
The new biennial budget includes a 2 percent staffing cut,
or some 221 posts, and a one year freeze in staff compensation.
The so-called core UN budget that was adopted does not
include peacekeeping, currently running at over $7 billion a
year and approved in separate negotiations, or the costs of
several major UN agencies funded by voluntary contributions
from member states.
As in past years, the biennial budget negotiations were
marked by a tussle between poor countries seeking to raise UN
development spending and major developed countries, which are
the biggest budget contributors, trying to rein in the figures
as they struggle to reduce expenditures in their own national
Fiji's UN Ambassador Peter Thomson, speaking on behalf of
the Group of 77 developing nations, said the 2014-2015 budget
"represents the best that we as member states can muster at this
time of continuing austerity in the world economy."
He said the G77 bloc supported the budget "with deep concern
that budgetary austerity may negatively effect the development
pillar of the work of the United Nations."
Critics of the United Nations, especially in the United
States, have long charged that it is a bloated and sometimes
corrupt bureaucracy that wastes taxpayers' money.
US Deputy Ambassador Joe Torsella, who focuses on UN
management and reform at the US mission, said the 2014-2015
budget marked a "new commitment to real fiscal discipline at the
United Nations at a tough time for hardworking families around
"Our shared goal should be to ensure that the United Nations
can maximize the results that it delivers with the amount of
resources that member states are collectively able to provide,"
The United States, which pays 22 percent of the UN budget,
is the biggest financial contributor to the United Nations.