Developed Countries. In some cases, the reform priorities of developed countries may not always align with the reform priorities of the G-77 and other developing countries. While the G-77 views development as a top U.N. reform priority, many developed countries tend to focus on management, budget, and structural reform. Generally, developed countries make significantly larger financial contributions to the U.N. system than developing country member states and therefore may want to ensure that their funds are used in what they perceive as the most effective way. For example, the United States and the EU, which together accounted for over 50% of the U.N. regular budget in 2005, view management and budget reform as a top priority. Japan, which contributed approximately 19.5% of the U.N. regular budget in 2006, also views management reform as a priority, specificallynoting the importance of Secretariat reform, SecurityCouncil reform, and system-wide coherence.94
The differing perspectives on U.N. reform among developing and developed nations were highlighted in December 2005 when a group of U.N. member states, led primarily by developed countries such as the United States and Japan, sought to link progress on management reforms to the U.N. budget. The countries placed a spending cap of $950 million (about six months of U.N. spending) on the two-year $3.6 billion budget in hopes that the General Assembly would adopt a series of management and budget reform measures proposed by Secretary-General Annan.95 On May 8, 2006, the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) bypassed the traditional practice of budget-by-consensus and voted on a resolution, supported by the G-77, that approved some reforms but delayed the consideration of several others. The developed nations that imposed the budget cap were disappointed with the outcome, and eventually lifted the budget cap in June 2006 because they were unwilling to cause a shutdown of the United Nations.96
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Generally, many NGOs believe that the United Nations needs reform, though they may differ on the best way to achieve this goal. NGO interest in a specific U.N. reform issue is largely dependent on the mission and purpose of the organization. One U.N. reform issue that has captured the attention of some NGOs is the improvement of U.N. human rights mechanisms. The majority of human rights organizations generally supported the creation of a new U.N. Human Rights Council to replace the discredited U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Manybelieved that the Council was an improvement
94 The foremost institutional reform priority for Japan is changing the composition of the Security Council to “reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st Century.” For more information on Japanese U.N. reform priorities, see the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs publication, “Japan’s Efforts for Reform of the U.N.,” available at [http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/un/reform/pamph0608.pdf].
95 Annan’s reforms were proposed in his March 2006 report, Investing in the United Nations: For a Stronger Organization World Wide.
96 On July 7, 2006, the General Assembly approved the reforms recommended by the Fifth Committee. (See U.N. document, A/RES/60/283, July 7, 2006.) A list of the approved reforms is available in the “Recently Adopted Reforms and the New Secretary-General” section of this report. For more information and additional resources on the six-month budget cap controversy, [http://www.globalpolicy.org/finance/docs/unindex.htm].