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General Assembly approves $3.2 billion UN budget for 2021

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NEW YORK, 1 January, 2021, (TON): The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday approved 3.231 billion U.S. dollars to fund the world body's regular budget for 2021.

The UNGA's body dealing with UN administrative and budgetary matters, the Fifth Committee, discussed and approved the budget Thursday afternoon before the plenary voted in favor of the financial plan.

Back in October, the UN chief had proposed a programme budget of $2.99 billion – a net reduction of 2.8 per cent over 2020.

Secretary-General António Guterres had told the Fifth Committee that despite the pandemic and liquidity crunch, “our new processes and structures have proven instrumental in enabling us to remain open and function effectively…we are running this Organization from thousands of dining tables and home offices”.

"We worked together to build consensus, exercise prudence and flexibility, at a critical time in history," UNGA President Volkan Bozkir told the final plenary of the year.

Bozkir said that the Assembly's performance throughout this difficult year was a testament to the high caliber of diplomacy practiced in the Assembly Hall, which also encompassed efforts to ensure a more gender-inclusive chamber.

"In 2020, the General Assembly continued to lead on the world stage and fully function, in order to implement its mandates ... to meet the needs of the people we serve," said this senior diplomat from Turkey.

Bozkir on Tuesday expressed his disappointment at the world body's failure to adopt the budget and plan for 2021.

He said that if member states failed to reach an agreement, the consequences on the work of the United Nations would be "dire."

At the last 2020 plenary, the UNGA president urged the member states to harness multilateralism to end the COVID-19 pandemic and "address the needs of those furthest behind first."

He pushed for actions toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while "greening the blue" and noted that despite the pandemic, "climate change continues to destabilize the world."

Bozkir encouraged the ambassadors of the member states to create a better future by joining him in re-committing to the UN Charter and strengthening multilateralism.

"Our work here in the General Assembly requires us to recognize the great responsibility placed upon us by the people we serve," he said, calling it "our solemn duty" to engage in constructive dialogue to pursue the UN's noble goals of universal peace, human rights and sustainable development.

The UNGA on December 27, 2019 adopted a regular budget of 3.07 billion dollars for the world body to cover the year 2020.

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