Addressing the General Assembly’s main budget committee, Guterres emphasised the unparalleled importance of the United Nations in the current global landscape. “The role of the United Nations has never been more vital – and we are stepping up our efforts,” he stated.
The budget proposal, a response to an array of pressing global challenges including conflicts, human rights violations, inequalities, and climate disasters, heralds a paradigm shift in the UN’s approach. Key initiatives such as the SDG Stimulus, Our Common Agenda, Climate Solidarity Pact, and Acceleration Agenda will be underpinned by this groundbreaking data-centric approach.
The proposed 2024 regular budget allocates resources towards implementing new intergovernmental mandates and ensuring sustainable funding, particularly in the areas of counter-terrorism and human rights. It also focuses on sustainable development, multilingual programming, global outreach, and optimising the workforce for greater efficiency.
Guterres outlined a strategic shift towards cultivating new skills in data, innovation, digital, foresight, and behavioral science expertise. He emphasised that this realignment is in line with his data strategy and the broader vision for a UN 2.0.
However, concerns were raised over the organisation’s liquidity situation. Guterres urged member countries to make timely and full payments. With collections on the decline, temporary cash management measures have been implemented. Programme managers are working to mitigate the impact, but further measures may be required.
Over the next several weeks, the Fifth Committee – the General Assembly’s primary body on budget – will engage in thorough discussions on the proposal. This will include consultations with heads of UN Secretariat departments and senior programme managers. The Committee is expected to present its report with recommendations to the General Assembly plenary for approval of the UN budget by the end of December.
As the UN embraces the future with an innovative, data-driven approach, it stands poised to navigate the challenges of an ever-evolving world, committed to its mission of fostering peace, sustainable development, and human rights on a global scale.