U.S. Should Hold the Line on the U.N. Salaries

Personnel costs, including salaries, comprise nearly three-quarters of the U.N. regular budget, and increases in U.N. salaries have significant budgetary implications for the member states. Over the past few years, the U.N.’s International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) has recommended salary increases despite the fact that some member states, including the U.S., have been forced to freeze their government salaries in response to significant fiscal crises. As a result, U.N. compensation—already more generous than that paid by the member states to their own civil servants—has grown even more lavish. Surprisingly, the ICSC recommended a temporary freeze in U.N. salaries in July. However, unless the General Assembly (GA) decides otherwise, a salary increase will go into effect in January 2013 and will apply retroactively to August 2012. The U.S. should oppose the proposed increase in U.N. salaries and urge the GA to update its 1985 instructions to the ICSC and demand a salary freeze until U.N. net remuneration falls to match that of the U.S. federal civil service.

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