The UN Budget 2020 Displays A Shift In Dynamics

The United Nations General Assembly on 27th December. 2019, has adopted a $3.07-billion operating budget. This is a slight stretch from last year’s budget of $2.9-billion. The UN has reported that the increase is to account for additional missions assigned to the UN Secretariat, along with inflation and exchange rate adjustments. It is to be noted that the UN operating budget is different from its annual budget for peacekeeping missions that were adopted in June.

The UN Budget 2020

A unique feature of this budget is that for the first time it will include sanctions for investigation of war crimes committed in Syria and Myanmar. Among new missions adopted is the observer mission in Yemen, a political mission in Haiti, the investigation of crimes committed in Syria since the outbreak of their 2011 civil war, and in Myanmar after the crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017.
A significant step taken has been making contributions by all 193 member countries towards the Syria and Myanmar investigations obligatory. Previously, this was done voluntarily, but with them being on the agenda this year, contributions will be made via the UN secretariat budget directly. Russia proposed multiple amendments during negotiations towards this new addition to the budget. However, they, along with Syria, Myanmar and their supporters such as North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, and Venezuela were outvoted at each step.


Russia has maintained that they will reexamine future obligatory payments in light of the vote. They also made references to a future increase in arrears in the UN treasury due to countries failing to pay enough. Other countries such as North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, along with Syria and Myanmar, even Russia have officially stated that they have disassociated themselves from the investigation process suggested in the adopted resolution. Moscow has claimed that the investigative mechanism is illegitimate, while Damascus has said that they are yet to receive a mandate from the Security Council.

Way Forward

The UN was established to be a checkpoint for the world and its nations. Despite each country’s own interests, at times of crisis, the UN members have found a way to ensure further retaliation was avoided. Human Rights is one of the key responsibilities each country is expected to keep. The UN serves as a reminder for it. In the future, we hope the UN continues its duties.


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