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Posted on on December 22nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Japan & EU Move to Cut Rio+20, US “Divides on Scales,” of R2P & Ban’s Car.

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 21 — Alongside the approach of the US fiscal cliff in Washington, at the UN in New York the annual budget fight is entering the end-game. Thursday the gloves came off, tellingly about a $8.7 million budget proposal to “implement Rio+20” on sustainable development.

The UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions ACABQ supported the budget item. But on Thursday the European Union and Japan proposed to cut that budget to zero. This gave rise to howls among the Group of 77 and China, and accusations that the EU and Japan are hypocrites on sustainable development and the environment.

There are other fights, on a proposed salary freeze in the UN Common System and the deferred issue of re-costing of the budget. The funding and mandate of the Responsibility to Protect office is being questioned, while other “Special Political Missions” are almost agreed.

Less certain is Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s “mobility” proposal, on which Ban met with a group of Permanent Representatives and got feedback sources say he did not expect. Still the effort continues.

Seemingly less contentious than in other years has been the scales of assessment. But, a good Fifth (Budget) Committee sources exclusively tells Inner City Press that “some attempts by the United States to split the Group of 77 irritated the Group and made progress stop.”

The US Mission’s budget and reform ambassador Joe Torsella was at Morocco’s End of Security Council Presidency reception in the UN Tent Thursday night, just behind the North Lawn building where the talks are talking place.

Man’s got to eat. But seven fishes for Christmas Eve? (Click here for that story from last year). This year, how will re-costing play out?

What about reform issues like Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this week accepting as a gift from South Korea an armor plated Hyundai? What safeguards are in place? Watch this site.

Footnote: the UN provided Inner City Press with this answer to a related, previously asked question about the Capital Master Plan:

Subject: Answer to your question
From: UN Spokesperson – Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Please find our answer to the question your asked yesterday at the Noon briefing:

“The CMP is contributing to a report the Chef de Cabinet is preparing on what lessons the Secretariat (not just the CMP) can learn from Hurricane Sandy.”

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