According to the UN Headquarters of the Associated Press, the member states of the UN passed the annual budget of $3.2 billion despite the opposition of the US and Israel . This figure is higher than the budget proposed by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Trump administration strongly opposed the budget because it contained funds to commemorate the outcome of the 2001 Durban Conference in South Africa.
The UN’s regular operating budget is usually approved by consensus before Christmas, but the previous controversial negotiations caused diplomats to quarrel until New Year’s Eve. Although many countries have reached consensus on various issues and compromised with each other, the US asked for a vote on the allocation of funds to commemorate the Durban Declaration and Program of Action adopted at the World Conference against Racism.
At the UN General Assembly meeting on December 31, 2020, the member states approved a US$3.231 billion budget with a 167:2 vote. Only the US and Israel voted against it.
Kelly Kraft, the US Ambassador to the UN, accused that this prolonged “a shameful legacy of hatred, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israeli prejudice”. Because an official event commemorates the outcome of the Durban Conference will be held during the next session of the UN General Assembly in September this year.
The main topic of the Conference is the leftover problem of conflicts and slavery system in the Middle East. The US and Israel withdrew during the conference because the draft of the conference separately criticized Israel and compared Zionism to racism, which were deleted from the final document.
On December 29, UNGA President Volkan Bozker wrote to the member states, urging them to “do everything possible to overcome differences and disputes.” He warned that “if member states fail to reach an agreement, it will have terrible consequences for the work of the UN.”
The budget approved two days later was slightly higher than the 2020 regular budget of US$3.07 billion, and the US$2.99 billion budget proposed by Guterres in October 2020.