Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions
In a significant victory for India at the United Nations, Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra was elected to the U.N. Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.
● The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) is a subsidiary of the General Assembly responsible for "expert examination of the programme budget of the United Nations".
● Established by a UN General Assembly resolution in 1946
● The Advisory Committee is an expert Committee of sixteen Members elected by the General Assembly for a period of three years, on the basis of a broad geographical representation.
● Members serve in a personal capacity and not as representatives of Member States.
● The 193-member General Assembly appoints members of the Advisory Committee. Members are selected on the basis of broad geographical representation, personal qualifications and experience.
● The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee are elected by the Members of the Advisory Committee.
● It meets in New York in closed sessions
○ Meeting records and press releases are not issued
● It reports to the General Assembly on:
○ Proposed programme budget
○ UN Accounts
○ Specific topics relating to the budget and finances of the organization
Major functions of ACABQ
To examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly;
To advise the General Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it;
To examine on behalf of the General Assembly the administrative budgets of the specialized agencies and proposals for financial arrangements with such agencies;
To consider and report to the General Assembly on the auditors’ reports on the accounts of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies.
The programme of work of the Committee is determined by the requirements of the General Assembly and the other legislative bodies to which the Committee reports.
Issues related to UN Budgeting
The UN has faced financial difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas, even as new mandates have arisen.
Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN's voluntary funds. For example: The Trump administration suspended all funding for the UN Population Fund starting in 2017; UNAIDS and the WHO also experienced significant cuts, losing about 30 percent and 20 percent of their U.S. funding, respectively, in 2018
Calls for reform in UN Financial administration
Many proposals for UN reform call for
o Better budgeting
o Better financial oversight
o More efficient use of funds.
o The UN should seek Alternative Financing (not just dues and voluntary contributions) to fund its programs. A global tax on currency or financial transactions, a carbon tax or taxes on the arms-trade might provide such revenue. But states are jealous of their taxing powers and not keen to transfer such authority to the UN.
India has a stellar record of bringing professional auditing experience to the U.N. and contributing outstanding professionals to U.N. bodies. With India’s rising obligations in both assessed as well as voluntary contributions to the U.N, India is taking responsibility of administrative and budgetary management of U.N.’s functioning very seriously. Ms. Maitra election to the U.N. ACABQ is a strong display of support by U.N. member states for India.