FACT SHEET: U.S. Accomplishments During UN Fifth Committee Negotiations (December 2018)

December 22, 2018


The United States again led efforts at the United Nations to instill budgetary discipline; pursue equitable financial burden sharing; enhance accountability and oversight; and advance key priorities of reform, human rights, and peace and security in the UN’s Fifth Committee (administrative and budget). which just concluded.

Key accomplishments achieved during the main part of the UN General Assembly’s 73rd session include:

  • Preserved the 22% ceiling on the U.S. regular budget contributions despite attempts to eliminate it by some countries

  • Reduced the additional financial requests for the 2018-2019 regular biennial budget by approximately 17%

  • Ensured that the benefits, allowances, and pensions of UN staff members are commensurate with global financial realities

  • Provided funding for reform initiatives related to the overhaul of the UN’s information technology platforms and smart working arrangements which will continue to modernize the UN’s systems and allow the UN to reduce its leased space around New York

  • Secured adequate resources for 36 special political missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere as well as for the Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Burma.

  • Strengthened the governance of the $60 billion UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, including through eliminating conflict of interest between the UN Pension Board and the Pension Fund.

  • Secured the remaining elements of the Secretary-General’s UN reform agenda related to human resources management and the development system/Resident Coordinator

As a strong promoter of reform of the organization and how it delivers its mandates, the United States also sought to reform the way the peacekeeping operations are financed by establishing a 25% ceiling on the assessments for these operations. Unfortunately, the UN General Assembly failed to find the political will to come to a sustainable financing agreement and adopt a ceiling, and instead settled on the status quo for peacekeeping financing that will cause the organization to face continuing budgetary uncertainties.

The United States will continue to call for more equitable financial burden sharing noting that nowhere is it more clear for this urgent need for reform than the discount for wealthy countries, whose per capita income is more than twice the average of the organization’s membership. These discounts are without justification and have no basis in any methodology and should be eliminated. However, the United States will continue to abide by its law and only pay 25% for peacekeeping operations.

The United States will continue to press for reform of the organization and how it is financed. We further intend to advance the objectives of the UN Secretary-General’s reform agenda as it is implemented in 2019 to make the organization more effective and ensure that the United Nations realizes its full potential and delivers on its mandates in an effective and efficient manner.