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UN General Assembly trims core budget despite increased demands

The UN General Assembly trims the agency's core budget for the next two years, with the aim of cutting waste. But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon laments the cuts.

Despite ever increasing demands on the United Nations, its core budget for the next two years has just been trimmed.

The 193-member General Assembly has agreed to a $5.4 billion budget for the years 2016/2017, which is $100 million less than for the past two years.

The US, which pays the maximum 22 percent, said the 2016/2017 budget was a "great step forward"

for reforming management and budgetary practices

.

"For the first time in 26 years, the committee adopted a staff compensation package that slows previously-mounting staff costs, which had hindered service delivery," said a US official.

"The elimination of 150 redundant posts is a further step in the direction of the organization's efficiency, as are 5 percent reductions in supplies, travel, and furniture and other equipment costs," the official said.

But it remains to be seen

whether these cuts will improve efficiency

, or lead to diminished services.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech, with a large Screen Image of his face behind him

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the assembly that the cuts were effectively penny-wise but pound-foolish.

"The budget you have approved reflects the difficult global financial reality we have faced for a number of years," Ban Ki-moon said. "Funding continues to shrink while demands on the United Nations grow."

The budgets cuts, however, do not include peacekeeping

- which has a separately negotiated budget of $8.27 billion for the year to June 30, 2016 - or the costs of several major UN agencies funded by voluntary contributions from member states.

Other top contributors for 2016/2017 will be Japan with 9.68 percent, China 7.92 percent,

Germany 6.38 percent

, France 4.85 percent, Britain 4.46 percent, Brazil 3.82 percent, Italy 3.74 percent, Russia 3.08 percent and Canada 2.92 percent.

bik/jil (Reuters, AP)

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