Le Secrétaire général présente un budget-programme de 3,2 milliards de dollars pour permettre à l’ONU de s’acquitter pleinement de ses mandats

 On trouvera, ci-après, le texte de l’allocution du Secrétaire général de l’ONU, M. António Guterres, prononcée lors de la séance de la Cinquième Commission de l’Assemblée générale, à New York, aujourd’hui:

I welcome this opportunity to introduce the proposed programme budget for 2023.  But before starting, I would like to thank you for your generosity and your patience.  You are going to listen to the most boring speech I do during this year.  If you compare it with what I said in the General Assembly, you will notice that indeed, your patience will be very much welcomed.  But these things are what they are and I think it is my obligation to bother you with my own words so counting on your generosity, let me go on. 

I do so in the context of a world that is challenging us on every front.  Conflicts are upending the globe.  Poverty and hunger are on the rise.  The number of refugees and internally displaced persons is reaching new highs.  Financing for development is coming too little and too late.  Our commitments to combat the climate crisis pale in comparison to the scale of this existential threat.  Meanwhile, the pandemic and its impacts are far from over. 

The role of the United Nations has never been more vital – and we are stepping up.  We are improving our adaptability and breaking silos.  Our reforms continue to help us deliver better.  We are shifting our center of gravity from headquarters to the field.  We are speeding our decision-making process and moving it closer to the point of delivery.  We have made significant progress in strengthening our internal controls and I know this is a matter of great interest to this committee. 

In June, I signed the second Statement of Internal Controls for the Organization.  It provided assurances to Member States that mandated activities are being implemented effectively and efficiently; that our financial reporting is reliable and compliant with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards; and that our practices and procedures properly reflect the regulatory framework.  The second Statement also enables us to benchmark our efforts to strengthen internal controls.  It provides for a more systematic approach to managing risk. 

Following the adoption of our evaluation policy in 2021, we have moved ahead in training programme managers and rolling out new resources to strengthen evaluation of our work.  The Secretariat-wide risk register was finalized in 2020 and corresponding risk mitigation plans were put in place in 2021.  Individual departments, offices and missions – starting with the larger ones - are developing entity-level risk mitigation plans.  By early next year, all entities should have plans in place.

A working group under the Management Committee is monitoring implementation efforts and adjusting risk mitigation measures.  The working group will also oversee the full reassessment of the current portfolio of corporate risks.  We are also making progress in increasing transparency for the use of resources and delivery of results.  Thanks to the reforms introduced, Member States are now able to access more information, more often. 

The complete roll out of the Umoja Extension 2 solution enables for the first time the capture of comprehensive data in one system, from the programme planning and budget to the actual results and use of resources.  More information has been made available to Member States and the Advisory Committee through portals -- namely the Budget Information Pilot and the Budget Results Dashboard “” – with better capabilities to retrieve and analyze resource and programmatic information. 

Member States now have access to the Uniformed Capabilities Support Portal providing real time information.  Troop and Police Contributing Countries now have higher visibility over the payment of their reimbursements and conclusion of memoranda of understanding. 

Starting this month, Member States will have access to more information on staff and demographics through the new UN Secretariat Workforce portal.  All senior managers are provided with real-time management information through the expanded Management Dashboard to support effective and timely decision making.  The Management Client Board enables client entities to provide feedback on management strategies and operational support.  With that feedback, DMSPC and DOS continue to prioritise initiatives to help ensure the most effective delivery of mandates.

Our reform of the development pillar also continues to yield results.  More than nine out of ten governments expressed appreciation for the COVID-19 responses of the UN development system -- from health to humanitarian assistance and socio-economic support.  87 per cent of governments confirmed that our Resident Coordinator system has scaled up support to countries to advance the SDGs.  91 per cent of host governments indicated that the United Nations today is more relevant to their country’s development needs.  92 per cent felt that the new Cooperation Frameworks have enabled them to effectively address and respond to national priorities.  We are fully respecting the principle of ownership by Governments in our partnership. 

These perceptions are backed by tangible impact on the ground.  In 2021, our repositioned UN country teams helped deliver 1.4 billion doses of COVID19 vaccines; facilitated access to nearly 50 million out-of-school children – half of them girls; extended access to water and sanitation to close to 50 million people and supported 70 countries to strengthen regulations for decent work for persons with disabilities.  The new peace and security architecture is more integrated, with our Peacebuilding Office serving as a hinge between peace and security and development. 

We will continue to forge ahead with reforms, and we are committed to doing even more to improve effectiveness and better support Member States.  We know these efforts yield results.  I am proud that our reforms have allowed us not only to respond quickly and effectively to the challenges of an unprecedented global pandemic, but also enabled us to survive one of the worst financial crises for the United Nations in more than a decade. 

The programme budget I am presenting today is the fourth since Member States approved, on a trial basis, the biggest change in our planning and budgeting processes since the 1970s.  The move from a biennial programme and budgetary cycle to an annual exercise is a major step towards more realistic planning and budgeting and reflects a greater focus on results.  It has improved the accuracy of our resource estimates, enabled us to adapt more quickly to changes in mandates, and allowed us to adjust our planning based on actual programme performance, thereby enhancing mandate delivery and accountability for results. 

The annual cycle also provides Member States with an opportunity to provide more frequent direction on resource allocations for the Organization, and to align those decisions with recent or sudden events, such as the global pandemic.  The annual programme budget is more comprehensive, enabling one holistic review by Member States.  Programme performance, programme plans, and resource requirements are integrated in one document and considered at the same time, allowing Member States to better assess the link between resources and planning, and between programme performance and future plans. 

The shorter cycle afforded by the annual budget has also enabled us to adapt our programme planning and resource requirements faster to new mandates and changes in our operating environment.  The proportion of new mandates issued within the last two years that were included in the programme budget grew from less than 15% in 2018-2019 to more than 30% under the annual budget.  The rapid adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic is visible testimony to the agility of our responses under the annual programme budget.  The annual programme budget reforms are facilitating a cultural shift towards a more results-oriented Organization. 

Programme managers are more engaged in preparing the programme plans and performance targets now focus more clearly on concrete results.  Performance target improvements in sub-programmes have increased from 30 percent in 2018-2019 to more than 50 percent in the annual programme budget for 2022.  The inclusion of information on actual performance and evaluation results ensure a continuous learning cycle that leads to more effective mandate implementation. 

In the proposed programme document for 2023, we are reporting on the performance of our programmes in 2021.  In instances where our performance fell short, we made adjustments for better results in 2023.  The document now includes a multi-year account of measurable results.  This year’s document includes measurable planned results for 2022 and 2023, and measurable actual results in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for each of the 350 result frameworks.  This offers a comprehensive picture of our programme delivery over the past three years. 

Permettez-moi à présent d’aborder la question des besoins en ressources pour 2023.  Pour nous acquitter pleinement de nos mandats, un montant total de 3,22 milliards de dollars sera nécessaire.  Ce montant permettra de financer 10 122 postes, soit une augmentation nette de 95 postes, principalement pour la conversion de postes financés au moyen de ressources extrabudgétaires qui seront désormais inscrits au budget-programme par souci de durabilité.

Nous estimons que le montant final du projet de budget-programme sera probablement de 3,4 milliards de dollars.  Ce montant comprend environ 69 millions de dollars pour l’actualisation des coûts et une augmentation de 34 millions de dollars par rapport à 2022 au titre des grands projets de construction, principalement en raison d’un financement plus élevé pour le Plan stratégique patrimonial.  Globalement, si l’on exclut les projets de construction, et malgré plusieurs nouveaux mandats, le projet de budget-programme que je propose est conforme à ma pratique consistant à éviter une augmentation des ressources en termes réels.  Je voudrais souligner quatre aspects de nos propositions.

Premièrement, nous devons continuer à investir dans le développement.  Nous proposons une augmentation d’un montant total de 3,6 millions de dollars pour la CNUCED, le Programme ordinaire de coopération technique et ONU-Habitat.  Il s’agit de la quatrième augmentation consécutive proposée pour le développement depuis le début de mon mandat de Secrétaire général.

Deuxièmement, nous proposons de renforcer notre travail dans le domaine de la lutte contre le terrorisme.  Notre budget-programme demande l’allocation de 4,4 millions de dollars supplémentaires, ce qui permettrait notamment de financer 25 postes pour le Bureau de lutte contre le terrorisme, auparavant financés au moyen de ressources extrabudgétaires.  Ceci est conforme aux orientations de l’Assemblée générale.  Et l’évolution tragique du terrorisme dans le monde, les problèmes dramatiques auxquels nous faisons face, et l’extension de nos programmes d’appui aux États membres en matière de lutte anti-terroriste justifie pleinement la caractérisation de ces postes comme des postes durables. 

Créé par l’Assemblée générale en 2017, le Bureau de lutte contre le terrorisme s’appuie depuis lors essentiellement sur des ressources extrabudgétaires provenant d’une base étroite de donateurs.  Mais la réduction des ressources extrabudgétaires menace des fonctions essentielles.  Notre proposition est donc la première phase d’une transition vers un financement plus stable et plus prévisible pour le Bureau, afin de garantir la pleine exécution de ses mandats.

Troisièmement, nous souhaitons renforcer les droits humains et les affaires humanitaires.  Conformément aux orientations de l’Assemblée générale, nous proposons un montant supplémentaire de 2 millions de dollars, qui permettrait notamment de financer 16 postes, afin de renforcer l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient, d’assurer un financement durable des fonctions permanentes et de combler les lacunes critiques en matière de financement.  En accord avec la décision de l’Assemblée générale, nous avons également demandé par anticipation des ressources au titre d’un budget-programme plus complet pour les droits humains, ce qui permettra de mieux planifier les besoins en ressources du Haut-Commissariat.

Et quatrièmement, s’agissant des services d’appui communs, nous proposons de poursuivre notre action stratégique pour lutter contre le racisme au Secrétariat de l’ONU.  Par ailleurs, le projet de budget-programme pour 2023 comprend des ressources pour le Bureau du Coordonnateur spécial chargé d’améliorer les moyens d’action de l’Organisation des Nations Unies face à l’exploitation et aux atteintes sexuelles.  Ainsi, cette fonction importante pourra être maintenue et disposer d’un financement plus durable.  Je dois rappeler que cette question est une question absolument clé pour la réputation des Nations Unies.  Un des critères d’évaluation de notre travail de plus en plus évident et dans la presse et dans les actions des gouvernements se réfère exactement au besoin de renforcer notre capacité de combattre les abus sexuels et l’exploitation sexuelle.  Nous proposons également des mesures visant à améliorer le multilinguisme, notamment en renforçant nos programmes de formation linguistique.

Pour mettre en œuvre un autre volet de notre réforme de la gestion, conformément à la résolution 72/266B de l’Assemblée générale, nous proposons de transférer quelques fonctions opérationnelles, ainsi que les ressources qui leur sont associées, du Département des stratégies et politiques de gestion et de la conformité au Département de l’appui opérationnel.

Across the budget sections, the proposals also demonstrate how our workforce is transforming in line with our global data strategy.  Through reassignment, we are planning to refocus on data management and analysis, to strengthen our normative and advisory work.  The proposals also leverage lessons learned from our responses to the pandemic, especially opportunities for a so-called “next normal”, with more virtual collaboration, reduced travel and enhanced use of technology. 

I am proud to report that we are on a positive trajectory towards achieving gender parity across the United Nations system.  We achieved gender parity among senior leadership for the first time in UN history – and we did so two years ahead of schedule.  In the Secretariat, the proportion of women in the professional categories and above has increased to over 42 per cent from 37 per cent in 2017 – a 15 per cent annual increase.

I am also pleased to report meaningful results in our efforts to achieve more equitable geographical representation in the Secretariat – and this is despite the slower pace of recruitment over the last few years due to hiring restrictions forced by the precarious liquidity situation and the evolution of the retirement age. 

Between 2016 and 2021, the number of under-represented countries dropped by approximately 20 percent from 44 to 36 countries.  But this is an effort we must pursue and this is for me, an absolute priority as I have been clearly telling our dear colleagues in DMSPC and DOS.  We are working to make even greater progress, and hope that the improved liquidity situation will allow us to avoid new hiring restrictions.  Our experience in relaxing hiring restrictions has shown that vacancy rates do not respond quickly to interventions. 

I am thankful that, during the second resumed session, Member States responded to my appeals to address some of the structural problems affecting the liquidity situation of the regular budget operations.  The increase of the working capital fund by an additional $100 million by using a part of the credits returnable to Member States in 2023 will have two effects.  It will permanently increase the liquidity reserves, while averting another liquidity crisis triggered by returning a large amount of unspent funds to Member States in 2023. 

Let us be clear, we did not spend the funds in 2023 because those funds were not available and so it is rather ironic that we have to give back funds that we did not spend because we did not receive but that is one of the things that I believe at some stage, the Fifth Committee must look seriously  into because it is one of the most absurd budget regulation that I have ever seen in my long career of national public service and international civil service.  However, I must remind you that many of my proposals for improving the financial situation were not considered favourably.  Therefore, we have to keep a watchful eye on the liquidity situation. 

This year, despite more Member States paying earlier than before, collections had been trailing estimates by over $260 million.  In September, we had to borrow from the working capital fund, unlike last year when we borrowed only in November.  We collected only 71.9% of the year’s assessment by the end of September, compared to 82.6% last year.  We are hoping that collections will pick up in the last quarter and the year-end arrears will not go up again. 

There was, I believe, a very healthy response to the liquidity crisis that mobilized Member States last year.  I hope this mobilization will not disappear.  I think we need to keep this mobilization because the threats are still persistent as you are all aware.  So, we are hoping that collections will pick up in the last quarter and that year-end arrears will not go up again. 

I thank those Member States who have changed their payment pattern in response to my appeals.  This year, 53 Member States paid within 30 days, the highest in the last 20 years.  I call on more Member States to pay earlier, so that the pressure on the liquidity reserves can be reduced and we can spend the money when we need to, without fear of disrupting our operations. 

Unpredictable payment patterns mean that our expenditure patterns do not give a reliable indication of our real needs over the year, making liquidity planning more challenging.  Money that could not be spent as and when required, because we did not receive it on time, results in poorer programme delivery and refunds even to Member States who have not paid their contributions.  For example, even after retaining $100 million for the working capital fund, we will be returning about $179 million as credits against the 2023 assessments.  This will impact our liquidity for 2023.  Therefore, it is important that we continue to collect contributions as early as possible during 2023. 

Knowing when you are likely to pay is important for our planning, especially in the second half of the year.  Therefore, I urge you to notify us of your planned payments, as many of you have been doing.  The ‘pledge to predictable payments’, which many Member States have signed already, will be very helpful in managing liquidity constraints.  The more certain we are about the amounts and timing of contributions, the greater will be our confidence in committing funds to deliver our programme of work.  Our repeated brushes with the fiscal cliff over the last few years have taken a toll on our ability to deliver. 

I hope that a more stable financial situation will allow us to focus on the substantial challenges confronting us.  Against this backdrop, I look forward to your support for our 2023 programme budget proposals, as we prepare our Organization to better respond to the needs and demands of governments and people.

I am pleased with achievements made possible by the changes to the budgetary cycle – and once again thank you for your support.  The invaluable feedback of Member States has been crucial in improving the format of the programme budget document.  As we conclude the trial period, I trust that we can continue to count on you to advance the annual programme budget reforms we have made a real difference over the past few years.  I welcome this opportunity to engage with you today, and assure you that my senior managers will continue to support your deliberations on these proposals.

À l’intention des organes d’information. Document non officiel.