The Fifth Committee approves a bigger budget for MINURSO amid the US’ UN cuts

The UN Fifth Committee approved earlier this week the MINURSO’s budget for 2019/20. The approved budget is higher than the one allocated to the peacekeeping mission in the previous year. This decision comes amid the United States’ UN cuts.

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The United Nations Fifth Committee approved, Wednesday, $6.51 billion for 13 peacekeeping operations in 2019/20. The approved peacekeeping budget will cover the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

During the same meeting, the UN Fifth committee announced that it is allocating $60.45 million for the peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara for the period between 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. In the same document the UN body indicates that the abovementioned budget «includes $56.35 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $3.2 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $568,700 for the United Nations Logistics Base and $345,900 for the Regional Service Centre».

The $56.35 million approved by said Committee correlates with the amount recommended in March by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The latter proposed to increase the money allocated to the peacekeeping mission by 7.6 per cent compared to the previous year, without including additional funds.

In general, the approved peacekeeping budget for the 13 missions remains «below the previous year’s level» and is «1.8 per cent less than the Secretary-General’s request».

Commenting on the Fifth Committee’s decision, the US Ambassador for UN Management and Reform Cherith Norman Chalet said that «in adopting a peacekeeping budget of $6.5 billion for 2019/20, a 1.8 per cent reduction of the Secretary-General’s request, the Committee has provided adequate funding for full mandate implementation while strengthening key capabilities».However, the American ambassador stressed that the UN must «maintain fiscal discipline throughout the year».

The United States' UN cuts and MINURSO

This announcement comes as the Trump administration, the biggest donor to the United Nations, has been trying to curb the finances of the organization’s peacekeeping missions. MINURSO is one of the missions that has been eyed by the United States.

note published on December the 22nd by Chalet stated that Washington «sought to reform the way the peacekeeping operations are financed».

In a document entitled «Explanation of Position on Scales of Assessments for UN Peacekeeping Operations», the diplomat explained that «the United States firmly believes that no Member State should pay more than one-quarter of the organization’s budget».

The diplomat confirmed that the United States will «pay no more than 25 percent of peacekeeping expenses, again a less than ideal outcome».

The statement of the US diplomat was preceded by a similar discourse, regarding peacekeeping missions, especially those located in Africa.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington in December, the National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton told reporters that Washington will no «longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable UN peacekeeping missions».

Referring to the peacekeeping mission operating in the region, Bolton announced that he was «frustrated» that the Western Sahara conflict has not been resolved yet.

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