Fussing about funds

Published: Friday 30 April 1993

DID YOU know the total UN budget for 1992 was just US $5.2 billion? That's less than the cost of two Stealth bombers, but still enough to pay for all the UN programmes to care for children, feed the hungry, promote development and preserve the peace.

A 11-member group convened by the Ford Foundation to review the UN's financial structure, was astonished that UN operations required so little funding. Says Brian Urquhart, who joined the Ford Foundation after a distinguished career at the UN secretariat, the budget takes into account that the UN has assumed far wider responsibilities and its "blue helmets" are engaged in security operations in nearly all of the world's hot spots. But nations are still investing only 0.14 per cent of their own military expenditures on UN's peacekeeping operations.And, voluntary contributions to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for 1993 is likely to be less than US $1 billion for the first time in the last four years. This could jeopardise core operations, warns UNDP administrator William Draper.

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