Poorer nations block UN reform

Developing nations have pushed through a resolution that blocks proposals to give the UN secretary-general more power over staff and money, a move that could lead to a budget crisis.

    Kofi Annan has failed to gain greater powers

    The vote was 108-50 on the resolution opposed by the United States, the European Union and Japan, who collectively pay 80% of the United Nations budget.

    At the insistence of the US, the assembly in December tied progress on management reforms to approval of refinancing the UN budget on June 30.

    The vote could well spur Washington and others to insist a budget cap stay in place and withhold the $950 million needed to pay UN salaries after June 30.

    Separately, the United States could withhold its own dues, usually paid after September.

    Kofi Annan last month introduced a 33-page blueprint on overhauling the bureaucracy, in part an outcome of scandals in the now-defunct Iraq oil-for-food programme.

    He sought more financial oversight, simplified hiring and firing procedures, career planning, staff buyouts, a modern information system as well as flexibility in assigning staff and resources.

    Reports

    The wealthy nations do not want any final decision now on Annan's plans but prefer to wait for detailed reports he promised in May and June and then again in September.

    However, they back Annan's proposal to give him more authority on where to spend funds and that a small, representative group of nations approve some of his choices and report back to the larger membership.

    Dumisani Kumalo, South Africa’s ambassador to the UN and chairman of a group of 132 developing nations, said: "The report of the secretary-general had an unfortunate underlying theme - that is to change the role of oversight by the member states of the General Assembly."

    Kumalo and others fear the General Assembly will lose control to the West over jobs and programmes they feel already favour wealthy nations.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.