The United Nations system includes a large number of organizations and programs. United Nations programs, such as the Peace Keeping Programs and the United Nations Development Program, which fall directly under the United Nations itself may be considered to form one aspect of the system. The World Bank Group of agencies, including the International Monetary Fund, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association (together with other international development banks) may be considered to form another aspect of the system -- one with independent governance. The third aspect would then be the decentralized agencies, such as UNESCO, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, etc. These too have their own independent governance structures. All cooperate, and all share certain features such as a those of the international civil service.
The Global Policy Forum maintains a website with good information on UN Finance. The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $20 billion each year. (The International Development Banks, which loan as well as grant fund projects, are not included in this total.) The regular budget of UNESCO is some US$300 million per year, of which the United States government contributes 22 percent, under US$70 million per year. This might be compared to the operating budget of the public schools of the county in which I live, of US$1.85 billion. In 2000, according to the National Science Foundation, "global R&D expenditures totaled at least $729 billion, half of which was accounted for by the two largest countries in terms of R&D performance, the United States and Japan." Note that the United States is severely in arrears in its payments to the United Nations:
31 October 2006Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (and their answers) about the United Nations, provided by The Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations.Regular Budget: $526 million (80%)
Peacekeeping: $799 million (31%)
Total: $1,384 million (42%)
While you are at it, check out Lien/Links, the online magazine of the Association of Former UNESCO staff members.