Budget terminology

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This is a guide to commonly-used terminology used in United Nations budget documents.



The amount to be divided amongst Member States on the basis of the applicable scale of assessments.


An authorization granted by a legislative body to allocate funds for purposes specified by the legislature or a similar authority. For the United Nations, appropriations are voted upon by the General Assembly.[1]

Delayed deployment factor

A factor, usually expressed in percentage terms, applied to the costs associated with military and police personnel to reflect expected delays in reaching the full planned strength during a budget period.


The transfer of funds between groups, classes or objects of expenditure by the Secretariat within an approved budget.[2] This is subject to some limitations. Under the programme budget, the Secretary-General does not have authority to transfer resources between programmes[3] and, as per General Assembly resolution 55/231, any transfer of resources between post and non-post objects of expenditure requires prior approval of the General Assembly.

Vacancy rate

The percentage of posts not filled during a budget period. Budgets are prepared on the basis of historical or projected vacancy rates. The vacancy rates actually used in the calculation of the approved resources are the budgeted rates approved by the General Assembly, usually on the basis of recommendations by the ACABQ. The actual vacancy rates for a financial period are reported in the associated budget performance report. Vacancy rates are calculated separately for national and international staff.

Common staff costs

The percentage of associated staff costs in relation to total net salary (net base salary plus post adjustment). Such costs include contribution to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, dependency allowance, education grant, home leave, language allowance, insurance, rental subsidy and staff rotation.

Programme planning

The below definitions are drawn from the glossary of terms in Annex I of A/54/456 Results-based budgeting.


Determination of the relevance, effectiveness and impact of the outputs, projects, subprogrammes or programmes in the light of the objectives and expected accomplishments.

Expected accomplishment

A desired outcome involving benefits to end-users, expressed as a quantitative or qualitative standard, value or rate. Accomplishments are the direct consequence or effect of the generation of outputs, and lead to the fulfillment of a certain objective.


Personnel and other resources necessary for producing outputs and achieving accomplishments.


Tracking and determining the actual delivery of an output in comparison with the commitments reflected in the programme budget.


An overall desired achievement, involving a process of change and aimed at meeting certain needs of identified end-users within a given period of time. Objectives can be met through the achievement of certain accomplishments.


Final product or service delivered by a programme or subprogramme to end-users.

Performance indicator

A feature or characteristic used to measure whether and/or the extent to which the expected accomplishment has been achieved. Performance indicators correspond either directly or indirectly to the expected accomplishment for which they are used to measure performance.

Performance measurement

The determination of realized accomplishments in comparison with expected accomplishments, based on data collected for performance indicators for a given period of time or at a certain reference date.

Results-based budgeting

A programme budget process in which: (a) programme ormulation revolves around a set of predefined objectives and expected accomplishments; (b) expected accomplishments justify the resource requirements which are derived from and linked to the outputs required to achieve such accomplishments; and (c) performance in achieving expected accomplishments is measured by performance indicators.

Human resources

Post (fr: post)

An authorization to employ a person, or a succession of persons, for the performance of work required by the Organization.[4] Once a post has been established by the General Assembly, it remains in existence until the General Assembly decides to abolish it.
Note: For the process for establishing posts funded under extrabudgetary resources, please see the article on extrabudgetary resources.
A new post is proposed to be established when additional resources are necessary and when it is not possible to redeploy resources from other offices or otherwise accommodate specific activities from within existing resources.[5]
An approved post that was intended to cover a certain function is proposed to implement other priority mandated activities unrelated to the original function. While a post reassignment may involve a change of location or office, it does not change the category or level of the post.[6]
An approved post is proposed to be redeployed to cover comparable or related functions in another office.[7]
Post reclassification
An approved post is proposed to be reclassified (upgraded or downgraded) when the duties and responsibilities of the post have changed substantially. [8]
An approved post is proposed to be abolished if it is no longer needed to implement the activities for which it was approved or to implement other priority mandated activities within the mission.[9]
Three possible options for post conversion are as follows:
  • Conversion of general temporary assistance positions to posts: approved positions financed under general temporary assistance are proposed for conversion to posts if the functions being performed are of a continuing nature.
  • Conversion of individual contractors or individuals on procurement contracts to national staff posts: taking into account the continuing nature of certain functions, in line with section VIII, paragraph 11, of General Assembly resolution 59/296, individual contractors or individuals on procurement contracts are proposed for conversion to national staff posts.
  • Conversion of international staff posts to national staff posts: approved international staff posts are proposed for conversion to national staff posts.[10]

Position (fr: poste temporaire)

In peacekeeping and special political mission budgets, positions are understood to be temporary posts funded through general temporary assistance. Unlike posts, which remain in the staffing table until explicitly abolished by the General Assembly, GTA positions need to be approved each financial period. In practice, the staffing of special political missions is entirely done through GTA positions rather than on the basis of approved posts; this is in contrast with the practice elsewhere in the regular budget or in peacekeeping missions.
Continuation is used to describe the proposed extension of a previously-approved GTA position for an additional financial period.
Conversion in the context of positions is used to describe the proposed conversion of a position to a post.

General temporary assistance

In the regular budget, general temporary assistance (GTA) funding is primarily used to meet exceptional and/or peak workload circumstances or for replacement of staff on maternity leave or sick leave.[11] In peacekeeping and special political missions, GTA is used to finance temporary positions.

See also


  1. ST/IC/2013/36 United Nations policy framework for International Public Sector Accounting Standards, Appendix II
  2. See, for example, A/66/5 (Vol. II) Report of the Board of Auditors, Volume II: United Nations peacekeeping operations (2010/11), paras 45-49
  3. A/72/492/Add.1, paragraph 22
  4. ACC/1983/FB/1 Glossary of financial and budgetary terms by the CCAQ, May 1983
  5. A/64/643 Overview of the financing of peacekeeping operations, Annex II
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. A/C.5/54/33 Use of general temporary assistance for specific positions