Thomas calls for push on value for money in the UN system

UN needs to target 25% in efficiency savings

09 December 2009

International Development Minister Gareth Thomas yesterday called for a push on value for money in the UN system with a traget of 25% efficiency savings.

In his speech in New York at an event organised by the Centre for International Co-operation he said:

"The scale of the challenges the UN will need to respond to demands a sharp acceleration of this reform programme over the next five years; with much more focus on grassroots delivery supporting and enabling the work of national governments to get better results.

"The impact of the recession has been felt across the world. While developing countries have been hardest hit, richer donor countries are not immune and aid budgets are coming under pressure.  The UK is holding to its aid commitments of 0.7 % of GNI.  But for the past five years we have been expected to cut 5% from our administration or staffing costs across Government. 5% – year on year.

"This has not been easy.  But it has been an inescapable part of a “one Government” approach that seeks to achieve efficiency savings at the centre in order to release more money to front-line services. 

"The UN needs a similar joined-up response."

He asked for three specific changes:

  • Investment in the Humanitarian and Resident Coordinators – the UN's leaders – to deliver a stronger approach.
  • A stronger peace-building effort, for a joined-up international system to nurture peace and support national efforts to rebuild countries as they emerge from war.
  • A push on value for money in the UN system. Over the next 5 years the UN needs to target 25% savings, – savings that can be ploughed straight back into country programmes, 5% year on year.

Read the full speech