Ambassador Hunte to chair UN budget negotiations

ST. JOHN‘S, Antigua and Barbuda: This country’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Conrod Hunte, has been appointed to chair the United Nations’ budget negotiations in the Fifth Committee.

Hunte, a very experienced diplomat in UN administration and budgetary matters, will facilitate the 2012-2013 budget.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a budget proposal last week of US$5.2 billion to enable the organization to carry out its work, ranging from peace and security to human rights and development. The new budget includes more than US$1 billion for special political missions related to peace and security that are expected to be extended or approved during the period.

The budget is 3.2 per cent less than the current 2010 -2011 budget and the detailed process behind the Secretariat’s number crunching was criticized by several member states.

Hunte said that negotiations on this budget will be one of the most difficult in recent times given the global financial crisis and the diverging views on the cut of three per cent which, for some delegations, was not justified or well analyzed, and for others – like the United States – perhaps not enough.

“I was honoured to have been selected as the facilitator on this important agenda item,” Hunt said of the appointment. “It is the most involved and longest negotiated item in the Fifth Committee and I will do my best to bring all sides together despite the diverging positions that were expressed.

“It is now up to member states to discuss and decide in the next few weeks on the ultimate budget to be adopted by the General Assembly in December for the next two years.”

The Fifth Committee is the Committee of the General Assembly with responsibilities for administration and budgetary matters. Based on the reports of the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly considers and approves the budget of the organization in accordance with the United Nations Charter. The Assembly also considers and approves financial and budgetary arrangements with specialized agencies and makes recommendations to the agencies concerned.

The committee meets during the main part of the General Assembly session (September to December). Because of its heavy workload, it also meets during a session in March and holds a second session in May to deal with administrative and budgetary aspects of UN peacekeeping.

The Fifth Committee also considers urgent matters relating to the financing of a peacekeeping mission authorized by the Security Council at any of its sessions.

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