Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the U.N. General Assembly's budget committee on Thursday that he was seeking a budget of $4.2 billion for 2008-09. While the figure is a 5 percent increase over the $3.8 billion budget for 2006 and 2007, Ban said it only represented $23 million in real growth, or 0.5%.
"That is not much, considering the demands upon us," he said. "Never has the world so needed a strong United Nations. Yet never have our resources been stretched so thin."
Russian First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Igor Scherbak said that the actual level of the UN's 2008-09 budget "could come to more than $4.6 billion," going on to note that this was a significant increase from the current budget, and something that was "cause for concern".
"The given figures are misleading, in as much as they fail to take into account a whole range of elements, not included for one or another reason in the proposed budget," added Scherbak.
The UN's so-called 'regular budget' does not account for funds allotted to peacekeeping operations and international tribunals, which are paid for from a separate UN budget.
Scherbak also said that Russia was "unconvinced of the urgency to make a decision" over the proposed budget, and that the proposals also failed to meet UN rules.
Russia, stressed the diplomat, would push for a moderation of the "unjustified growth" of the proposed budget.