UN funding [fr]
A complex affair, the UN’s financing simultaneously reflects the diversity of the organization’s missions, the priorities of its mandates as well as the overlapping of its structures. Member States constitute the principal source of financing.
The organization’s mandatory spending is taken on by Members States according to an apportionment negotiated in the Fifth Committee, adopted by the General Assembly and revised every three years. The contribution scheme is based on the payment capacity of each Member State.
A general budget for the functioning of the UN
The UN’s general budget primarily serves to finance spending related to personnel, investment and functioning of the Secretariat and the organization’s other field offices.
The budget has so far been adopted each second civil year (« biennial »), but starting from 2020, it will be adopted for the duration of one year.
For the civil years 2018 and 2019, the organization’s general budget was revised in June 2019 and stands at 5,868 million dollars. For the 2019-2021 period, France is the 6th highest contributor, with a 4.43% share, amounting to a 123 million dollar contribution, which accounts for the credits it is entitled to.
A budget for each peacekeeping operation
Peacekeeping operations help countries affected by conflicts to create the necessary conditions for a return to peace. The United Nations’ ability to deploy troops and police forces, originating from countries around the world, which it integrates to civilian peacekeeping personnel, enables the UN to fulfill the mandates bestowed upon it by the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Each peacekeeping operation receives a specific budget, destined to finance spending in personnel (troops, police personnel and civilian personnel) and its operational spending (functioning and investments).
Just as for the general budget, these budgets are financed by mandatory contributions from Member States, according to a method of apportionment decided by the General Assembly and revised every three years. The contribution scale for peacekeeping operations however differs from that of the general budget: the Security Council’s permanent members, which include France, take on a large share of financial contributions due their prominent position in peacekeeping.
For the period between July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020, the total budget for the 13 peacekeeping operations that are currently active and expenses for transversal support stands at 6,518 million dollars. France contributes up to 5.61% of the budget of these peacekeeping operations, which translates to 381 million dollars, accounting for the credits the country is entitled to.
In addition to mandatory contributions to the general budget and the peacekeeping operations budget which are negotiated in the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, Member States can choose to make voluntary contributions to specific UN funds and programs.
These voluntary contributions serve to finance initiatives led by the Secretariat General which complement activities financed by the general budget (this being the purpose of the special account). These additional contributions amount to highly superior amounts than those of mandatory budgets and are often directed towards specific programs or initiatives.
Finally, UN funds and programs (notably UNDP, UN Women or UNICEF), as well as UN specialized agencies, possess their own budgets: the majority of their resources come from voluntary contributions by Member States and private donors.