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UN budgets for 2018-19 : tracing decision-making across the UN system [regularly updated]

In our research on UN budgeting (results and early insights published for example here, here, here), we follow budget procedures throughout the UN system, in particular in the UN proper and in the Specialised Agencies of the UN. This post will be updated continuously throughout 2017 to help you follow UN’s regular budgeting like we do. We also follow the consequences of the Trump budget cuts on the UN for you.

UN Budgeting

Since UN budgets are under special scrutiny this year due to the Trump cuts announced earlier this month, I will help those of you interested to follow some of the procedures throughout this year.

The first and important insight from our ongoing research is that budget procedures in the UN system follow their own logic and timeline in each of the UN organisations, and few people actually follow them across the whole UN system.

Below you find some budget proposals from UN specialised agencies and the UN regular budget. These (preliminary) proposals or outlines are already published but not yet adopted. They are order by the expected month in which they’ll typically be adopted by the main assemblies of the respective  UN organisations, usually for the next two years (= biennium):

  • May (3rd week): World Health Organization (WHO) – 2018-19 budget proposal
  • June (3rd week): International Labour Organization (ILO) – 2018-19 budget proposal; Director-General adjustments after the Governing Body debate in March
  • June: UN Peacekeeping July 2017 to June 2018: proposed overall budget *
  • June/July: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - 2018-19 budget proposal
  • September: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - 2018-19 draft budget (TBC)
  • September (first half): Approval of Strategic Plans and Integrated Budgets 2018-21 of UN-Women, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA. Timeline
  • November: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – 2018-21 preliminary draft budget; draft programme and budget (39 C/5, March 2017)
  • December (first week): UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) – 2018-19 draft budget (TBC)
  • December (last week): United Nations (UN regular budget) – 2018-19 UN Regular Budget outline;
    Sections of the proposed UN Regular Budget (in order of mentioning in the UN Journal): Sec. 26 (UNRWA)* ; Sec. 25 (UNHCR)*, Sec. 17 (UN-Women)*, Sec. 10 (LDCs etc.)*, Sec. 7 (International Court of Justice)*, Sec.4 (Disarmament)*

I will update dates and add further organisations and additional documents in the coming weeks and months as these processes advance throughout 2017 and as I’m continuing our research.

Some organizations are missing because I simply haven’t added them to the list. Some of the organisations we study don’t actually provide updates on budgeting procedures on their websites. Others only provide final budgets or budget resolutions but not draft budgets, so it’s difficult to list those here.

One of the calls that I would have to the whole UN system is to make it easier for us, the public, to follow budgetary decision-making, for example by having dedicated budgeting and planning pages with all relevant documents, including for past years.

If you are interested in more details on our research on UN budgeting or if I’m missing something important in the list above, feel free to make me aware of it via Twitter or via email.


- on 29 March 2017 with the ILO budget adjustment document link

- on 12 April 2017 with the first section of the UN proposed budget for 2018-19 (UNRWA), on 20 April 2017 with the UNHCR budget section; on 21 April 2017 with the UN-Women budget section of the UN Regular Budget; on 22 April with Sec. 10; on 25 April with the ICJ and disarmament sections.

- on 19 April 2017 with the timeline for  UN-Women, UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA 

- on 25 April 2017 with the UNESCO draft budget

- on 26 April 2017 with the UN peacekeeping budget proposal for July 2017 to June 2018



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