The General Assembly has approved a $3.59 billion budget for the United Nations for 2024, including the establishment of a special account to finance the organisation’s peace-building fund.

The Office of the President of the General Assembly, in a statement on Sunday, stated that the budget was approved on Friday.

In actions taken on Friday, the 193-member General Assembly also adopted nearly $50 million in additional funding for decisions taken by the Human Rights Council, the UN’s primary forum on human rights matters.

It also decided to establish the Peace-building Account, a dedicated multi-year special account, as a modality to finance the Peace-building Fund. Additionally, it approved $50 million of assessed contributions per annum to fund the Account, starting 1 January 2025.

The Peace-building Fund is the UN’s leading instrument to invest in prevention and peace-building efforts and support joint responses to address critical peace-building opportunities, connecting development, humanitarian, human rights and peace-building pillars.

Back in October, the Secretary-General had presented a $3.3 billion budget proposal to the General Assembly, stressing to delegates at the Assembly’s main budget committee that “the role of the United Nations has never been more vital.”

In his presentation, the UN chief also voiced concern over the deteriorating liquidity situation of the organisation, urging countries to ensure timely and full payments.

The assembly further adopted a resolution that includes provisions to expand the coverage of UN official intergovernmental meetings in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish languages.

The 20 positions, classified as general temporary assistance (GTA), include editors, press officers and assistants working in the four languages.

Similarly, in a statement, the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, welcomed the Security Council’s unanimous adoption, on 21 December 2023, of Resolution 2719 (2023) on the financing of African Union-led Peace Support Operations.

“Since the start of his mandate, the Secretary-General has repeatedly called for a new generation of Peace Support Operations, led by African partners, with guaranteed funding, including through UN-assessed contributions, to respond to the peace and security challenges on the continent.

“This is also one of the key recommendations of his recent policy brief on A New Agenda for Peace.

“This ground-breaking resolution by the Council will help address a long-standing and critical gap in the international peace and security architecture and bolster the international community’s efforts to tackle peace and security challenges on the continent.’’

According to the statement, the Secretary-General is committed to further strengthening the strategic partnership with the African Union, including through the implementation of this milestone resolution.

It stated that the United Nations would continue its collaborative efforts with the African Union towards political solutions to address conflicts on the continent and enhance the AU-UN consultative decision-making process as outlined in the resolution.

Also on Friday, the General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the killing of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff and the destruction of buildings under the UN flag, amidst the ongoing fighting in the Gaza Strip.

As of Saturday, 142 UNRWA staff members have been killed and 123 installations damaged. Other UN agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), have also lost their personnel.

*Source: Premium Times

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