April 21, 2013
By Brett D. Schaefer
Under the tenure of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the number of the highest-ranking U.N. officials has increased by an average of 35 percent (a 47 percent increase in New York and a 27 percent increase elsewhere).
This expansion of top-level officials is troubling for a number of reasons, including lack of transparency in the nominating process, unsystematic allocation of senior positions, insufficient justification for why certain positions require senior ranks in order to fulfill their responsibilities, weak efforts to determine ongoing relevance or impact, politicization and patronage in appointments, and obscure reporting of costs of many positions. ...
The budgetary implications of individual appointments are usually small, which reduces incentives for the member states to question or scrutinize their effectiveness. This is especially the case with those envoys, representatives, and advisers who receive a symbolic salary of a dollar a year.
However, when considered as a group along with their associated costs of travel and support staff, the budgetary impact quickly mounts. For example, the cost of just eight special advisers, envoys, and representatives is projected to be $16.7 million in 2013.
Among these, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, charged with assisting in the negotiations to resolve the decades-old Cyprus dispute between Greece and Turkey, and 18 support staff are projected to cost $3.5 million in 2013.
The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, who is paid a symbolic salary of a dollar a year, is projected to cost the U.N. $2.5 million in 2013 due to nine support staff and associated costs.
There are non-monetary costs as well. The proliferation of these positions in recent years can be explained, in part, as political patronage and influence pedaling. The positions are high profile, frequently well-paid sinecures (many with few responsibilities or expectations) too often awarded to former U.N. diplomats and employees.
First appeared in The Washington Examiner.
Brett D. Schaefer
Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs
Read More >>
Request an interview >>
Please complete the following form to request an interview with a Heritage expert.
Please note that all fields must be completed.
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Read More
© 2014, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973