Section 5. Administrative and Financial Problems


(1)  The Group of High-Level Intergovernmental Experts (G-18), whose establishment was proposed by Japan at the 40th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, was set up in February 1986, and after holding four meetings, submitted a report containing 71 recommendations to the General Assembly in August. Following the report, the 41st session of the General Assembly adopted, without taking a vote, the resolution (41/213), which sought the implementation of the Group's recommendations almost in their entirety, including a 15 percent reduction of the Secretariat's staff, within three years. The resolution also required setting the overall level of the United Nation's two-year budget through prior consensus at the Committee for Programme and Coordination.

Japan played an important role for the adoption of the resolution, including the presentation of a compromise proposal that took into account varying positions of other member states on the problem of budget-setting procedures, the most difficult issue in the negotiations.

(2)  The United Nations' regular budget, funded by assessed contributions from member states, had shown revenue shortfalls due to nonpayment by some countries for political and other reasons. The financial crisis came to the fore in 1986 as the United States suspended partial contributions following the enactment of the Kassebaum Amendment (which links the introduction of the weighted voting at United Nations organizations to payments of U.S. contributions) and the Gramm-Rudman Act (which provides for reduced federal deficits and leads to a balanced budget in 1991).

Because of this situation, the General Assembly reopened the 40th session in the spring of 1986 to approve measures for saving $60 million. As nonpayment of substantial amounts of contributions was anticipated in 1987 as well, the Secretary-General at the 41st session of the General Assembly in late 1986 proposed cost-saving measures of $85 million, such as the shortening of meetings, which were approved with little change.

(3)  Since personnel issues are important in dealing with administrative and financial problems at the United Nations, the 41st session of the General Assembly engaged in heated debate and adopted resolutions on the following points.

(a)  A resolution on the recruitment of the Secretariat staff requested the Secretary-General to lift the freeze on new recruitment as early as possible and to examine ways of conducting internal examinations (advancement examinations from general service to professional category) and external examinations according to a comparable set of standards and criteria.

(b)  The desirable ranges for professional staff to be recruited from each member state have been set on the basis of three factors-financial contributions (56 percent), membership (36.8 percent) and population (7.2 percent). A resolution seeking a review of the formula was submitted, but did not generate agreement among member states and was carried over into the next session of the General Assembly. The Japanese staff at the United Nations Secretariat numbered 101 at the end of June 1986, against its desirable range of 161 to 217.

(c)  On staff pensions, the 41st session adopted a resolution that called for the introduction of a formula setting pensionable remuneration on the basis of annual salary amounts (to make up a scale which is an average 20 percent higher than that of U.S. federal employees).



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