Mr. Napolitano introduced UNIDIR and the institute’s goal to maintain autonomy. UNIDIR aims to ensure its own evolution, express member state support, maintain contact with Geneva to develop new projects, and build constituencies. Mr. Sareva emphasized how UNIDIR faces a threat to its existence and operation because of low funding. UNIDIR has an institutional budget, but no working capital. The budget, which supports resources needed to run the institute and its projects has been decreasing. This funding comes from a small budget subvention, overhead from projects (about 20%), and voluntary contributions. Mr. Sareva expressed that member states must provide the funds that they promised in Geneva. UNIDIR’s dependence on a small group of countries is risky, so they are looking to expand their donor base to NGOs and private donors. The current stability fund goal is $1 million, which can be allocated and replenished accordingly.
The UN has introduced a new, integrated resource management system, UMOJA, which makes UNIDIR’s business processes obsolete because they cannot continue providing staff contracts. UMOJA also prevents management systems from allowing fund cross borrowing and it requires UNIDIR to keep reserves (creating a lack of working capital). UNIDIR’s unique structure maintains institutional independence and allows for a wide mandate that covers arms control and related security issues like nuclear disarmament. UNIDIR works with new, emerging security issues and has crosscutting work that aids stakeholders. It also has strong convening power, is practical and effective, and frames agendas to inform and motivate collective action.
Switzerland’s representative expressed support of UNIDIR and agreed with Austria that a “Plan B” is needed as time continues to run out. Most members in the meeting agreed that the UN Disarmament Commission needs to be utilized to gain support on the political level.
Meeting: Meeting of the Group of Friends of United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) (organized by the Permanent Mission of France)
Date & Location: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015; 11:00 am to 12:15 pm; Conference Room E
Speakers: Jarma Sareva, Director of Disarmament Affairs of the United Nations; Moderator Tomas Napolitano, Representative of the French Mission to the United States (Political Affairs and Security Council)
Written by WIT Representatives: Ellie Guner and Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey