Together with its EU partners France is working to promote responsible and sustainable management of the UN. To that end, it has set itself 3 goals:
Faced with a regular budget and a peacekeeping budget (PKO) that have been constantly increasing over the last 15 years, France is in favor of improved expenditure control. The adoption of the 2014-2015 regular budget, which notably resulted in an initial budget representing a zero nominal growth compared with the final implementation of the budget for 2014-2015, is a first step in this direction but other more structural measures must follow:
The scale of contributions must be more in line with member states’ capacity to pay. The scale of contributions is renegotiated every three years but is still very unfair; France for example contributes 5.59% of the budget while its share of GNI is 4.52%. Although certain adjustments are necessary, notably adjustments that will benefit the poorest countries, greater consideration must be given to states’ capacity to pay.
The budgetary procedure must be overhauled, in particular the recosting methodology. The budgetary procedure which culminates every two years in the adoption of the biennial budget should better protect states against volatility in expenditure. In this respect, continuing to use the so-called recosting methodology, which involves updating the budget every year according to inflation and the exchange rates recorded, is not sustainable; the UN should have a strategy to manage these risks.
The civilian capabilities of the PKOs must be streamlined. The civilian capabilities of the PKOs are essential to the proper operation of the missions and represent more than a fifth of the PKO budget and approximately 25,000 personnel members. Streamlining this component requires the implementation of reforms initiated within the framework of the Global Field Support Strategy as well as the development of performance indicators in order to compare the civilian components of each of the missions.
The UN’s personnel are its greatest strength (competency, professionalism, commitment to the values of the Charter, etc.) but also the main expenditure item on the regular budget (72%). Adapting its personnel to the challenges of the 21st century therefore responds both to the need for financial sustainability and the need to ensure the effectiveness of UN action. In this respect France proposes:
A review of the wage policy and benefits under the UN common system: Although the compensation package of UN staff corresponds in part to their specific constraints it is also based on benefits that are no longer in line with the reality of national civil services and other international civil services. The review of this compensation package currently being carried out by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) should lead to the creation of a more sustainable framework.
Adapting the workforce in order to improve productivity: Efforts to streamline the workforce, notably resulting in the elimination of 200 positions in the 2014-2015 budget, must be continued. In this respect, the implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning Project (UMOJA) and the comprehensive review of staffing requirements (review requested by resolution 67/248) should further improve productivity.
Reenergizing human resources management: Functional and geographic mobility is required to reenergize human resources management. However, the mobility policy can only be successful if it is applied within a broader context that also includes the introduction of mechanisms for performance appraisal and career development, etc.
The UN must continue to adapt its working methods in order to improve its effectiveness and ensure greater efficiency. We must therefore:
Modernize the management tools (IPSAS, UMOJA): France and the other major financial contributors agree that IPSAS adoption and in particular the gradual introduction of the enterprise resource planning system (UMOJA) will help make management of the United Nations more transparent and effective. The key to these reforms lies in ensuring that the staff members and their superiors take ownership of these tools.
Develop a genuine buildings policy: the renovation of the headquarters in New York and, in the future, the Palais des Nations in Geneva reflect the member states’ commitment to the quality of UN buildings. These investments must however go hand in hand with a revised buildings policy, notably resulting in improved property management, higher standards of environmental performance and a greater focus on building upkeep and maintenance.
Move toward a more economical and sustainable purchasing policy: Since the UN is a major purchaser, notably within the framework of the PKO budget (more than USD8 billion per year), it must ensure that its purchases represent the best value for money. In this respect, we believe that it would be in the interest of the UN to revise its procurement procedures in order to make them speedier, more transparent and more efficient (notion of sustainable sourcing, sustainable construction, etc.).