UN member states approve USD 6.69 bln for 13 peacekeeping ops in 2018-19

UNITED NATIONS: The UN member states approved a USD 6.69 billion dollar budget for 13 peacekeeping operations for the year 2018-19, besides agreeing to major management reforms, including creation of two new departments focused on political and peacebuilding affairs.

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the General Assembly recommended authorisation of USD 6.69 billion to finance 13 peacekeeping missions from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

It is the second year in a row in which the committee has made significant cuts to the overall peacekeeping budget.

The missions include MINUJUSTH (United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti), MINURSO (Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic), MONUSCO (Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo) and UNIFIL (Interim Force in Lebanon).

The Committee also approved significant management reforms including the creation of two new departments focused on political and peacebuilding affairs and four stand-alone divisions for Africa aimed at streamlining the Organisation's operations.

Approving a draft resolution titled 'Special subjects relating to the programme budget for the biennium 2018-2019', the Committee asked the assembly to endorse the establishment of the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and the Department of Peace Operations.

Further, the assembly would create four stand-alone divisions for Africa, effective from January 1 2019. Affirming "Middle East Division" as the name of the related new regional division, the lead responsibility for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) would be placed in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.

The US Mission to the UN said the UN Member States adopted a responsible peacekeeping budget that reflects hundreds of millions of dollars in savings from the previous year and ensures peacekeeping missions are adequately funded to fulfill their mandates.

It said the major reforms approved by the member states, the first in more than 40 years, would result in a restructuring that cuts through silos and UN bureaucracy, increases commonsense UN coordination, removes redundancies, and ultimately makes the UN a more accountable, transparent, and efficient organisation.

"The new UN peacekeeping budget is a responsible reduction in spending. The world needs a UN that is disciplined, efficient, accountable, and results-driven. With these reforms come opportunities to finally bring the UN into the 21st century, get rid of things that aren't working, and help the UN work smarter," US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 per cent of the USD 5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 per cent of the USD 7.9 billion peacekeeping budget.

China is the other top contributor with 10.3 per cent and Japan with 9.7 per cent. However Haley had said that other countries need to "step up" and pay a bigger share, adding that Washington's contribution will be capped at 25 percent.


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