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At UN Ban & Kim Try to Bypass GA with "Change Management," Budget Overtime

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- The UN's Budget Committee was supposed to finish its work last Friday but did not, pushing its deadline back to today March 28. Now it's been delayed again.

  Among with opposition to a US proposal that the audit of the Capital Master Plan cost overruns be conducted not by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services but by an outside party, another major dispute is the issue of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's so-called Change Plan.

  This document, consisting of “proposals to the Secretary-General” prepared by the Change Management Team which had been led by India's Atul Khare but has now been taken over by Ban's senior adviser Kim Won-soo, has run into opposition by the Group of 77 and China.

  The chairman of the Budget or Fifth Committee told Inner City Press on Tuesday night that "there is a fundamental disagreement on the vision. G-77 are saying in the letter of March 14 he already says he can do things under his 'own purview.' They are inclined to put a resolution saying you have to recognize the General Assembly is the oversight body, come up quickly with a proposal to the Fifth Committee."

  According to a well placed G-77 source, Ban's Secretariat has been extremely cagey about which recommendations would require GA approval and which ones can be implemented 'within the authority of the SG.' While there is broad agreement by all parties that the document contains both types of recommendations, the G-77 is very concerned that the Secretariat is taking the broadest possible interpretation of the Secretary General's authority and is attempting to make important changes to the functioning of the Organization that will impact on intergovernmental mandates, without consulting Member States.

  The members of the Western European and Other Group (WEOG) have been adamant in refusing to take up the Change Plan in the Fifth Committee, under the allegation that it is 'an internal document' – though these countries have never been shy about pushing through intergovernmental consideration of internal documents when it is in their interest to do so.

  The G-77 has argued that as a number of the recommendations will impact on Fifth Committee mandates, as the Secretary-General has formally sent the document with a cover letter to all Member States, as the Secretariat has informed Member States that 50% of the recommendations will be 'fully implemented' by July, consideration by the Fifth Committee is not only appropriate, but urgent.

  The G-77 has submitted language that does not seek to prejudge the recommendations, but to ensure that those which would require intergovernmental approval are brought to the consideration of the General Assembly.

  The issue has reached an impasse; the atmosphere has been further poisoned by nitty gritty issues such as the facts that language that was proposed by the WEOG last year for Fifth Committee resolutions and subsequently rejected subsequently made their way into the Change Plan, as 'independent recommendations' by the Change Management Team.

  At its root, Inner City Press views it as a separation of powers question, a question of principle that will go down to the wire -- or beyond. Watch this site.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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