Skip to Main Content
UN Library logo
Research Guides

UN Documentation: Regular Budget (2004-2019)

Note about Guide

This guide is no longer updated.

Please consult our UN Budget Documentation, 2020- guide for the current pattern of documentation.

Regular Budget Documentation

Meeting of the Fifth Committee

The Charter of the United Nations gives responsibility for:

  • approving the budget to the General Assembly (Chapter IV, Article 17)
  • preparing the budget to the Secretary-General, as “chief administrative officer” (Chapter XV, Article 97)

The Charter also addresses the non-payment of assessed contributions (Chapter IV, Article 19).

The planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation cycle of the United Nations has evolved over time;

  • major resolutions on the process include General Assembly resolutions:
  • the current Regulations and Rules Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the Monitoring of Implementation and the Methods of Evaluation are in ST/SGB/2018/3
  • the current Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations are in ST/SGB/2013/4 

The UN programme budget now covers a two year period, beginning in January of an even-numbered year (e.g. 2016-2017).

In the past the Report of the Board of Auditors for the United Nations was issued every other year following the completion of the biennium. Beginning with the 70th session, the Financial Statements and Report of the Board of Auditors covers one year. 

The General Assembly may adopt resolutions and decisions on every aspect of the planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation cycle. These resolutions offer citation to the documents considered by the General Assembly in its deliberations and are an excellent starting point for the researcher.

The programme budget offers a wealth of information about the activities of the United Nations, including the details of the programmes carried out by the UN.

Related Research Guides

Budget Documents as part of GAOR

Certain documents in the budget cycle are issued as supplements to the General Assembly Official Records (GAOR).

The links below provide access to key documents for the years they have been issued.

Supplement 5 (Vol. I): UN. Financial report and audited financial statements for the year/biennium ended 31 December ... and report of the Board of Auditors

Supplement 6 (planning years): Biennial programme plan and priorities for the period ...

Supplement 6 (budget years): Programme budget for the biennium ...

Supplement 7 (planning years): Report of the ACABQ on the proposed programme budget for the biennium ...

More information about these documents and the related bodies is available within this research guide.

Important Note, as of 2019

Please NOTE!

General Assembly resolution 72/266 AShifting the management paradigm in the United Nations, approves changes to the budget cycle and to the programme budget documentation, on a trial basis, beginning with the programme budget for 2020.

We have created a new guide with information about the new budget cycle.

This guide will not be updated but will remain online for reference and to assist those looking at the pattern of documentation prior to the 2020 budget cycle.

UN Budget Cycle

The UN Programme Budget cycle takes about 5 years:

  • Preparation begins 2 years before the biennium
  • The Programme Budget covers 2 years
  • Evaluation concludes after the biennium

This 5 minute video from the Dag Hammarskjöld Library gives researchers a simplified introductory overview of the major documents issued during a sample budget cycle.

Training on UN Budget Documents

The Dag Hammarskjöld Library occasionally offers training on the budget documentation for the UN community.