Global Policy Forum

Financing the United Nations in Times of Economic Insecurity - June 16, 2010


Global Policy Forum co-hosted this event at the Church Center with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. The conference considered work of the Administrative and Budgetary Fifth Committee, which is charged with overseeing and setting the funding of the United Nations. The conference convened high-level officials and noted experts, and generated an engaging debate that touched on both the policy and rhetoric of UN finance. A list of attendees is available here.

The first panel of the day was called Rising Demands and Shrinking Resources for the UN? and analyzed UN finance in light of a sluggish world economy. The panel was asked to address the following questions:

How badly has the global financial crisis hit the UN? Do the European financial difficulties spell more problems ahead? Are there near-term solutions that can ease the UN's budget pains? Where are we headed with the scale of assessments? Can a broader base of mid-level contributors help? How can we look innovatively at financing mechanisms and the issue of voluntary vs. assessed contributions? What impact will the current reassessment of peacekeeping costs have for the regular budget?

The panelists were:



Panel Moderator: Barbara Adams (Senior Fellow, Global Policy Forum)

Ren Yisheng (Counsellor, Permanent Mission of China to the UN)



Thomas Gürber (Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN)

Klaus Hüfner (Member of Executive Board, UNA Germany; Senior Research Fellow, Global Policy Forum)


The second panel, Looking Ahead: How to Move Forward on Key Issues considered the future of UN finance and the prospects for securing more resources for the world. This panel asked speakers to address, in particular:

What are means to build bridges among member states for a common political project? Is a grand bargain possible that addresses the priorities of all member states? Vast resources have been mobilized when needed for economic rescue packages. Why is the UN often bypassed by these measures? What would be global priorities and how can their financing be advanced? What kind of world institution is envisioned? How can finance coalesce around a shared governance vision?

The panelists were:



Panel Moderator: Jeffrey Laurenti (Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation)

H.E. Kaire Mbuende (Permanent Representative of Namibia to the UN)


H.E. Morten Wetland (Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN)

H.E. Bengt Säve-Söderbergh (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, ret.)


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