An Insider's Assessment of UN Management Reform
Recorded on March 17, 2006
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
Amidst worldwide calls for management reforms at the United
Nations, Under-Secretary-General for Management Christopher B.
Burnham is playing a major role. On the job less than a year, the
former Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Department of State has
greatly influenced UN reform decisions. The UN has agreed to
establish an Independent Audit Advisory Committee to provide
independent oversight of the UN's budget. An Ethics Office has been
set up to instruct staff on their responsibilities and to monitor
compliance. A whistleblower policy protecting those who come
forward with claims of waste, fraud, and abuse is in place; and
financial disclosure requirements for many UN officials and their
spouses have been toughened up. Yet many of the reforms the United
States seeks still remain undone.
Last December, in adopting a $3.8 billion 2006/2007 biennial
budget for the UN, the General Assembly agreed to U.S. pressure and
capped authorized budget expenditures at $950 million in order to
maintain pressure for reform. That amount may be exhausted in June.
Member States will soon meet to review whether reform efforts have
been sufficient to merit authorizing the remainder of the budget.
The U.S. will be paying close attention. What further reforms is
the UN considering to address the UN's management, oversight, and
budgetary failures? Which reform benchmarks laid out by the U.S.
Government or Congress have been met? Can the UN Secretariat
sufficiently overhaul operations to prevent a recurrence of the
procurement, peacekeeping, and Oil for Food scandals? Please join
us as the Honorable Christopher Burnham discusses these issues and
shares his experiences in his first year as Under-Secretary-General