Peacekeeping missions, with the exception of UNTSO and UNMOGIP (which were established before the introduction of special accounts for peacekeeping missions) are financed separately from the "regular" programme budget of the United Nations.
- 1 Peacekeeping budgets
- 2 Budget process
- 3 See also
- 4 References
Unlike the "regular" programme budget, which is a monolithic budget assessed under the regular budget scale of assessments, each peacekeeping mission has a separate special account assessed under the peacekeeping scale of assessments. Three other accounts—the support account, the Global Service Centre, and the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe—also support peacekeeping operations but are funded through a pro rata charge against each client mission. The totality of requirements requested is summarized in the annual peacekeeping overview report.
Peacekeeping mission budget structure
Mission budget requirements are based on the results-based budgeting framework (RBB framework), which—in theory—translates a Security Council mandate into expected accomplishments, reflected as indicators of achievement and outputs, which form the basis for allocating resources to missions.
Budgets for peacekeeping operations are broken into three broad groups of expenditure:
- Military and police personnel: costs associated with military and police personnel and their equipment.
- Civilian personnel: costs associated with civilian staff.
- Operational requirements: all other costs, including for consultants, mission support, programmatic activities and quick-impact projects.
These are further divided into classes of expenditure (e.g. military contingent personnel), which themselves are subdivided into objects of expenditure (e.g. troop reimbursement, contingent-owned equipment reimbursement, travel, allowances, rations and death and disability compensation for military contingent personnel). At the mission level, the heads of the mission support component (directors of mission support for large missions and chiefs of mission support for small missions) have the flexibility to re-allocate requirements within groups of expenditure based on operational requirements, though transferring resources between groups requires approval from the Controller’s office at Headquarters.
The budget is generally only broken down to the object level in the report containing the Secretary-General's proposal, but a more detailed breakdown is presented in tabular form in supplementary information provided to the ACABQ. The same information provided to the ACABQ is generally presented to the Fifth Committee at the start of informal consultations on the mission budget in question.
Group 1: Military and police personnel
The Security Council sets the maximum authorized military and police strength of a mission, though the Secretary-General has the flexibility to determine how many military and police personnel are required to implement a mandate, as long as he remains within the authorized strength. As reimbursement rates for contingent personnel (and, to a lesser extent, their equipment) as well as mission subsistence allowance for military observers and IPOs are generally fixed, the primary cost driver is the number of military and police personnel deployed, which is generally expressed through the budgeted vacancy rate for each category of personnel. This figure represents the average percentage of authorized personnel not deployed during the financial period.
Group 2: Civilian personnel
In the case of civilian personnel, the General Assembly approves every staff post or position. Starting in 2013, the Secretary-General began periodic civilian staffing reviews to review whether the staffing tables were still aligned with mission requirements. Staff costs are generally constant, though periodic revisions of staff salaries can cause changes every few years. As such, overall civilian personnel costs are primarily driven by the number and type of authorized posts and the budgeted vacancy rate for each category of personnel.
Group 3: Operational requirements
The costs under each class within the operational requirements group of expenditure is primarily determined by planning assumptions that are scrutinized by the Fifth Committee. These include useful lifespan benchmarks and staff-to-equipment ratios considered in procurement plans, different models for contracting for fuel, cost-benefit analysis of brick-and-mortar construction vs. use of prefabricated structures, and consideration of whether project implementation plans (for procurement, construction, quick-impact projects, etc.) are realistic given conditions on the ground.
The support account was established effective 1 January 1990 to finance posts and positions at Headquarters that support peacekeeping operations. Previously, these posts and positions were funded through each individual mission budget and were known as “overload” posts. There was, however, a recognition that consolidating all overload posts into a single budget would facilitate better analysis of the totality of resources supporting peacekeeping operations at Headquarters, allow for more efficient use of those resources, and more easily allow for planning for potential missions.
Global Service Centre
The Global Service Center (GSC) consists of the United Nations Logistics Base (UNLB) in Brindisi, Italy, as well as the United Nations Support Base in Valencia, Spain. Under the Global Field Support Strategy, the GSC is responsible for handling global operational support to peacekeeping missions in areas such as information and communications technology and logistics. UNLB also manages the UN strategic deployment stocks and UN reserve of equipment that can be rapidly-deployed to support new or expanding field missions.
The financing arrangement for GSC was approved by the General Assembly in its 52/1 B.
Regional Service Centre, Entebbe
The mandate of each peacekeeping mission is established by the Security Council. Since 2009, the Security Council has requested an estimate of resource implications from the Secretariat whenever a new peacekeeping mission is proposed, or where significant change to a mandate is envisaged.
The Secretary-General submits full-year budget requests for each peacekeeping mission on the basis of the mandate and planning assumptions applicable at the time of submission, with the assumption that any mission whose mandate expires during the financial period will be renewed with the same mandate to avoid prejudging any decision by the Security Council to change or terminate a mandate.
Mission budget formulation begins a year in advance of the financial period in question with the issuance of budget instructions, including timelines, by the Controller. These are accompanied by mission-specific strategic guidance, including priorities for financial period, issued by DPKO (DPO after 1 January 2019). On the basis of the budget instructions and strategic guidance, the head of mission approves mission budget instructions that are issued by the director or chief of mission support to the chief of staff, substantive component unit heads and mission support section chiefs. Preparation of the overall results-based budgeting framework is coordinated by the mission chief of staff. Resource requirements (post and non-post) are developed by each substantive unit or cost centre and compiled by the chief budget officer prior to submission to the director or chief of mission support and then to the head of mission.
In the fall, missions submit their budget requests to the Controller in Headquarters. Mission budget requests are supposed to be finalized by January, after which they are edited, translated, and submitted to the ACABQ for its consideration. The Secretary-General’s requests and the associated ACABQ reports are then presented to the Fifth Committee for consideration during the second part of its resumed session in May.
The second part of the resumed session of the Fifth Committee is supposed to be reserved for consideration of the administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Although the second part of the resumed session is scheduled for four weeks in May, in practice the Committee regularly meets until the end of June. If budgets are not adopted by the end of the fiscal year, peacekeeping missions no longer have a legal basis for incurring expenses.
The Fifth Committee considers mission budgets separately from the budgets of the support account, GSC and RSCE. Separate financing resolutions are adopted for each mission, the support account, GSC and RSCE. Because the support account, GSC and RSCE are funded through pro rata charges to their client missions, the mission budget resolutions cannot be finalized until after agreements have been reached on the support account, GSC and RSCE (if applicable) in order to calculate the shares of those budgets to include in each of the mission financing resolutions.
In addition to budget requests for the next peacekeeping financial period, the Fifth Committee also reviews budget performance reports from the previous financial period, the report of the Board of Auditors on peacekeeping operations, a report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services summarizing its activities with regards to peacekeeping from the previous year, an annual report by the Secretary-General on special measures against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
Appropriation and assessment
Draft peacekeeping financing resolutions for each mission can only be finalized after agreement has been reached on the requirements of the individual missions, the support account, and the GSC. Peacekeeping financial resolutions fundamentally accomplish the following:
- Establish the authorized appropriation for the mission.
- Determine the assessment under the peacekeeping scale of assessments.
- Determine how much of the assessment should go to the Tax Equalization Fund.
- Place the financing of the mission on the agenda for the next session of the General Assembly.
The appropriation for the mission, which determines the amount that the Secretary-General is authorized to spend consists of three components: (1) the requirements of the mission as determined by the Fifth Committee based on its consideration of the Secretary-General’s request and ACABQ recommendations; (2) the mission’s share of the support account budget; and (3) the mission’s share of the GSC and RSCE budgets.
The assessment authorizes the Secretary-General to charge (or “apportion amongst”) Member States to finance an appropriation. Most missions are assessed twice; the first assessment authorizes the Secretary-General to bill Member States for the proportion of the appropriation corresponding to the part of the fiscal year covered by a mission’s active mandate. The second assessment authorizes the Secretary-General to bill Member States for the remaining amount of the appropriation subject to a decision of the Security Council to extend the mandate.
Budget implementation refers to the utilization of the approved budget during the financial year. As necessary, funds can be redeployed between cost centers or classes of expenditure.
After the financial period has ended, the mission prepares a performance report for consideration by the General Assembly on actual performance against the approved budget. Any redeployment of funds must be reflected in performance reports.
Commitment authority is a mechanism by which the missions are able to make commitments in the absence of an approved budget. During mission start-up or expansion, missions can use commitment authority to draw against the balance of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund. The General Assembly may also decide to approve commitment authority with assessment, usually for six months, in lieu of approving a full budget when a mission is in transition or if circumstances have changed since the budget was prepared.
- List of peacekeeping missions
- Peacekeeping financial crisis of the 1960s
- Approved resources for peacekeeping operations
- Peacekeeping financial period
- Peacekeeping financing resolutions
- Overview report
- Programmatic activities
- Quick-impact projects
- Budget terminology
- UNEF Financial Rules