Proposed programme budget for 2022- UN Chief (13 October 2021)

Remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the Proposed programme budget for 2022 at the Fifth Committee, Administrative, and Budgetary Committee, 3rd meeting - General Assembly, 76th session.

"Welcome this opportunity to introduce the proposed programme budget for 2022.

The context for this presentation remains a world upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has revealed fractures in our societies; inadequate healthcare; gaps in social protection; structural inequalities; and massive shortcomings in financing and global solidarity.

But times of crisis can also bring out the best — and show what is possible when we work together.

Around the world — and thanks to your support and engagement — the United Nations has stayed and delivered.

We helped the world respond to the immediate effects of the pandemic – from the health response to its devastating socio-economic impacts.

We delivered medical, food and humanitarian supplies; provided electoral assistance, undertook mediation efforts, and led and supported peace talks.

We called for a global ceasefire – and appealed for action to address the alarming rise in domestic violence that has accompanied the pandemic.

We protected and spoke up in defense of the human rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized.

We did all of this complex and wide-ranging work while navigating a serious liquidity crisis.

And throughout, our reforms remained on course.

We are well into the third year of implementation and the benefits are visible.

The COVID-19 pandemic was an early test of our reforms – and they have enabled us to adjust our business operations and respond quickly to the needs of countries.

Unlike past emergencies, the Secretariat did not need to create new structures to manage the response. The new reform structures in development, peace and security and management already in place facilitated a unified and agile response to the pandemic, saving time and money.

In a matter of months, United Nations Country Teams rolled out 121 socio-economic response plans covering 139 countries and territories.

More than $3 billion was repurposed, and an additional $2 billion was mobilized, to prioritize immediate support.

According to independent surveys, over 90 per cent of governments in developing countries agree that Resident Coordinators helped ensure a coherent United Nations response to the pandemic.
And our ongoing reforms are yielding results.

91 per cent of host governments indicated that the United Nations today is more relevant to their country’s development needs when compared to three years ago.

92 per cent felt that the new Cooperation Frameworks have enabled them to address effectively and respond to national priorities.

And more than 80 per cent of governments confirmed we were successful in targeting at-risk groups, those most hurt by this crisis.

The Resident Coordinators are now drawing on assets across the three pillars to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The peace and security reforms have allowed us to begin implementing comprehensive regional strategies, leading to greater harmonization of action with regional and subregional organizations and other stakeholders.

There is now a single point of contact for peacekeeping and special political missions operating in the same region, with distinct but complementary mandates.

A strengthened Peacebuilding Support Office now serves as a dedicated ‘hinge’ with the development pillar.

Management reform has brought substantial changes in structures, accountability, delegation and internal operations. These have been critical to sustain business continuity during the pandemic.

The reforms enabled us to quickly adjust policies and procedures to accommodate the new realities on the ground; at the same time, we had dedicated capacities that could focus on key areas of concern, such as health and supply chain management.

The new division of labour between strategic and policy functions and operational functions has proven especially useful.

Dedicated resources for policy were quickly able to adjust frameworks for new remote working arrangements, and other policies, while the Department of Operational Support was able to provide dedicated service to all entities in the UN Secretariat.

In human resources, affected policy and guidance were revised and published quickly in consultation with key stakeholders to adjust to the situation on the ground. Additionally, DOS created a dedicated way to respond to urgent COVID-19 queries in less than one business day".

[Exceprt - António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General]
Full remarks [as delivered]:
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