Programme budget

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The programme budget, or regular budget, is the budget of the United Nations prepared by the Secretary-General in his capacity as chief administrative officer of the Organization[1] and approved by the General Assembly[2]. It does not cover the expenses of large peacekeeping missions funded through separate special accounts. The appropriation for the approved budget is apportioned amongst Member States on the basis of the scale of assessments.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Library has an excellent guide to the programme budget and the many different documents and intergovernmental bodies involved in the budget process: UN Documentation: Regular Budget

Budget period

The programme budget runs from 1 January to 31 December, unlike peacekeeping budgets, which run from 1 July to 30 June.

The budget was originally produced and approved on an annual basis. In General Assembly resolution 3043 (XXVII) of 19 December 1972, the General Assembly approved, "on an experimental basis" the move to a biennial (two-year) budget. The first biennial budget, covering calendar years 1974 and 1975, was approved in General Assembly resolution 3199 (XXVIII) of 18 December 1973. As part of the management reform, the General Assembly approved "the proposed change from a biennial to an annual budget period on a trial basis, beginning with the programme budget for 2020", in its resolution 72/266 of 24 December 2017.

Budget structure

The programme budget is divided into parts corresponding to the broad categorization of activities performed by the United Nations. Each part is subdivided into one or more sections, which in turn are subdivided into the budgets for individual entities (e.g. departments and offices). For example, Part II of the 2020 programme budget is divided as follows:

Part II: Political affairs
Section 3: Political affairs
I. Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
II. Special political missions
III. Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
IV. United Nations Register of Damage
V. United Nations Office to the African Union
V. Office of Counter-Terrorism
Section 4: Disarmament
Section 5: Peacekeeping operations
I. Department of Peace Operations
II. United Nations Truce Supervision Organization
III. United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan
Section 6: Peaceful uses of outer space

The programme budget is also presented on the basis of different types of expenses, which are referred to as objects of expenditure, as follows:

  • Posts
  • Other staff costs
  • Non-staff compensation
  • Consultants
  • Experts
  • Travel of representatives
  • Travel of staff
  • Contractual services
  • General operating expenses
  • Hospitality
  • Supplies and materials
  • Furniture and equipment
  • Improvement of premises
  • Grants and contributions

Budget process

The regulations and rules that govern the budget are the Regulations and Rules Governing Programme Planning and the Financial Regulations and Rules.

Relevant reports on the current annual budget process:

  • A/74/852 Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations: Budgetary procedures and practices
  • A/75/6 (Introduction) Proposed programme budget for 2021: Forward and introduction (see section A: Methodology and Format)

Approved budgets

The approved annual budgets under the process approved in General Assembly resolution 72/266A are as follows:

Approved levels

The basis of assessment for recent calendar years, reflecting the approved level of the budget and all add-ons, is reflected below.

Year Basis for assessment Resolution Member States Non-Member States Notes
2021 $3,176,058,600 75/254 C ST/ADM/SER.B/1023 ST/ADM/SER.B/1024 No consensus; budget adopted by vote of 168-2-0 (Israel and United States voted against)
2020 $3,084,608,300 74/264 C ST/ADM/SER.B/1008 ST/ADM/SER.B/1009
2019 $3,064,575,900 73/280 C ST/ADM/SER.B/992 ST/ADM/SER.B/993
2018 $2,688,127,790 72/263 C ST/ADM/SER.B/973 ST/ADM/SER.B/974
2017 $2,776,529,900 72/374 C ST/ADM/SER.B/955 ST/ADM/SER.B/956
2016 $2,745,188,100 70/249C ST/ADM/SER.B/932 ST/ADM/SER.B/933 $45 mil related to the capital master plan to be assessed under 2013-2015 scale and the rest under the 2016-2018 scale
2015 $2,976,267,900 69/263 C ST/ADM/SER.B/910 ST/ADM/SER.B/911
2014 $2,823,653,100 68/248 C ST/ADM/SER.B/889 ST/ADM/SER.B/890 Assessment for State of Palestine introduced
2013 $2,811,278,100 67/247 C ST/ADM/SER.B/866 ST/ADM/SER.B/867
2012 $2,585,230,800 66/248 C ST/ADM/SER.B/853 ST/ADM/SER.B/854
2011 $2,648,538,700 65/260 C ST/ADM/SER.B/824 ST/ADM/SER.B/825
2010 $2,350,606,850 64/244 C ST/ADM/SER.B/789 ST/ADM/SER.B/791
2009 $2,719,509,550 63/264 C ST/ADM/SER.B/755 ST/ADM/SER.B/756
2008 $2,060,629,050 62/237 C ST/ADM/SER.B/719 ST/ADM/SER.B/720
2007 $2,241,667,450 61/253 C ST/ADM/SER.B/701 ST/ADM/SER.B/702
2006 $1,924,840,250 60/247 C ST/ADM/SER.B/668 ST/ADM/SER.B/669

See also


  1. Article 97 of the Charter
  2. Article 17 of the Charter