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UN in Geneva to Partially Shut Down for Second Time Due to Cash Flow Crisis — Global Issues


United Nations, Geneva
  • by Thalif Deen (united nations)
  • Inter Press Service

Within the earlier cutbacks, a number of the Geneva workplaces remained closed or partially closed from 20 December final 12 months to 12 January 2024.

However the impending closures is not going to have an effect on UN businesses—such because the World Well being Group (WHO) or the Worldwide Labour Group (ILO), as a result of they’re funded individually.

The WHO will get its funding from two important sources: Member States paying their assessed contributions (nations’ membership dues), and voluntary contributions from Member States and different companions.

In 2023, in response to Tatiana Valovaya, Director-Common UNOG, the UN confronted its worst monetary shortfall in years, with the bottom dues assortment in 5 years and solely 142 Member States (out of 193) paying in full.

“This has resulted in a fragile monetary outlook for 2024, severely impacting our operational capabilities”.

To deal with this, the United Nations Workplace at Geneva is tasked with lowering non-salary bills by 42%, equating to financial savings of over 15 million USD, whereas preserving important capabilities.

Beginning April 22, UNOG will implement strategic cost-cutting measures to boost effectivity and guarantee sustainability

Ian Richards, an economist on the Geneva-based UN Convention on Commerce and Growth (UNCTAD) and former President of the Coordinating Committee of Worldwide Workers Unions and Associations, informed IPS the price of late funds by member states is being pushed onto workers.

Whereas intergovernmental conferences will proceed virtually unimpeded, workers are being requested to hold out their regular work with out an workplace, he identified.

“There isn’t sufficient usable workplace house remaining, regardless of what’s being affirmed. Workers should work at home for months at a time. These residing in cramped metropolis centre flats might have to relocate elsewhere”.

“ I’m not positive all of this has been thought by way of,” mentioned Richards.

The UN workplaces affected by the cutbacks embody the UN Convention on Commerce and Growth (UNCTAD)—and not directly, the Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Financial Fee for Europe (ECE).

Additional, the query is: why cannot the burden be shared? Why is not New York closed for a month, after which Vienna, Bangkok and Nairobi?, requested Richards.

The United Nations Workplace at Geneva (UNOG) should save $15.5 million because of the liquidity disaster.

“We’re going to do all the pieces we are able to, with out touching our basic mandate,” the director of the UN Data Service, Alessandra Vellucci, informed the Keystone-ATS, a Swiss information company final week. Every division has taken numerous selections primarily based on the efforts requested by UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres.

Requested for his response, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq informed IPS the UN in New York has no plans to shut down. “ We talked about our price saving measures in January and people nonetheless apply.”

In an interview final February, Haq mentioned that with the intention to guarantee liquidity for paying workers salaries, sure tough steps shall be vital. Hiring restrictions will should be maintained throughout 2024, he mentioned.

“Restrictions in non-post spending may also be vital to bridge the liquidity hole. Because of this, till the state of affairs improves, official journey will should be restricted to probably the most important actions.”

“Purchases of products and providers shall be postponed, except completely vital. Hiring of consultants and consultants shall be minimized to the extent possible”.

And most development and upkeep tasks shall be suspended, besides the place the slowing down of main development tasks would lead to important future extra bills.

“We are going to implement energy-saving and different measures to cut back utility payments and curtail bills on managing services. Non-essential safety bills may also be curtailed, so long as they don’t affect the security of our premises, belongings and of our personnel and delegates,” mentioned Haq.

On constructing closures in Geneva, Richards mentioned, workers are very involved about this closure.

Research and surveys present that for sure capabilities, hybrid work, which splits the week between workplace presence and work at home can have productiveness advantages, with out prejudice to being accessible to fulfill with member states as required.

“Nonetheless, closing the workplace for an prolonged interval will create issues. Many workers wouldn’t have properties which can be outfitted for long-term teleworking and for these workers they could have to relocate quickly to their residence nations, which may have knock-on results”.

In keeping with UNOG, a number of the measures to deal with the UN liquidity disaster embody the next:

Journey: Solely operationally crucial journey shall be accredited.

Procurement: All procurement is suspended except operationally required (Canine Unit help, alternative of damaged/misplaced gear, and many others.). The acquisition of uniforms, flags, and many others. shall be delayed.

Coaching: Solely operationally crucial coaching shall be performed (e.g. Firearms, Use of Power, First Assist, and many others.) with all exterior coaching involving prices to be suspended.

Common Constructing Operations

Discount in heating (20.5°C) and within the hotter seasons, discount in cooling (26.0 °C).

Minimized out of doors lighting, apart from that vital for safety and security.

All gear purchases or replacements shall be stopped, apart from operationally vital necessities, e.g., ICT gear, constructing infrastructure gear and different vital provides.

All extra time wants required to take care of the compound are below evaluation with a possible shift to common working hours, which might trigger disturbances because of upkeep/work throughout common working hours.

The summer time season of the language lessons is not going to be held as per previous observe.

Conferences

Time slots of a normal three-hour length inside official working hours (from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, and three p.m. to six p.m.) for conferences with convention providers shall be strictly utilized (in keeping with Common Meeting decision 56/242, annex).

Mandated conferences have absolute precedence. However, servicing capability is considerably restrained and will not suffice to help all mandated actions throughout peak durations as at present deliberate.

So as to handle inside present limitations, no parallel conferences of the identical physique will be accommodated. Servicing of casual consultations or working conferences, or conferences of regional or different teams of Member States, shall be accommodated strictly on an “if accessible” foundation.

For non-calendar conferences with out interpretation, use of digital self-service platforms (e.g., Microsoft Groups), and use of rooms with out providers shall be accessible.

Any intergovernmental resolution to implement a brand new mandate inside current budgetary sources shall be topic to the provision of enough money sources and capability.

Conferences have to be confirmed or cancelled to the Conferences Administration Part by three pm the Tuesday of the week previous to the scheduled begin date, in keeping with the established observe. Late additions will not be accommodated whereas late cancellations would doubtless lead to idling of convention servicing capability or/and services.

The accredited Geneva Calendar of Conferences and Conferences in 2024 has been fastidiously fine-tuned. Requests for modifications of dates of the calendar classes at this stage is not going to be favorably thought-about.

Audiovisual and assembly protection providers

All purchases or replacements of webcast and different audiovisual gear shall be stopped.

Restricted or no protection of some conferences, notably of the Human Rights Council, when a number of concurrent conferences are happening. UNIS might not be capable of cowl all of them.

UNTV will function with lowered core capability. Webcast dwell streaming shall be assured on current sources. There’ll, nonetheless, be no cue factors, or “chapters”, (that are usually put in by the webcasters because the assembly is ongoing, and which comprise speaker-by-speaker info related to the related moments within the assembly video). Broadcast protection shall be extraordinarily restricted.

Lowered providers to Member States and the media on the supply of audiovisual supplies and help.

Specifically, no picture service shall be supplied, together with for the Human Rights Council. Movies will not be captioned, printed or distributed to the requesting events on the identical day when there are a number of conferences/occasions occurring that day.

Library analysis help on-line and in-person shall be quickly lowered.

How lengthy are these cost-saving measures anticipated to be in place?

Until we get an inflow of funds to cowl the allocations within the price range, UNOG says, “we count on these measures to be applied till the tip of the 12 months 2024.”

IPS UN Bureau Report


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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service





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