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Research Guides

UN Budget Documentation, 2020-


UN Photo #117440: Wide view of the Fifth Committee meeting's informal negotiations during a break in the meeting.


The budget and finances of the United Nations are complex and include:

  • Programme budget (sometimes called the "regular budget")
    • Financed by Member States according to the Scale of assessments
  • Peacekeeping operations budgets
    • Financed by Member States according to the Peacekeeping scale of assessments
  • Voluntary, extrabudgetary, and in-kind contributions
  • Other UN System organizations, including the UN Funds and Programmes and Specialized Agencies, have their own governing bodies that approve their budgets and financing

The documents related to the UN budget and financing offer a wealth of information about the activities of the United Nations, including details on the programmes carried out by the UN.

Foundational Documents

The Charter of the United Nations gives responsibility for:

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

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

Other key documents include:

Overview Documents

  • Financial situation of the United Nations : report of the Secretary-General, includes
  • Budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system : note by the Secretary-General, includes:
    • Approved budgets for the UN, Specialized Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and other entities, including the IAEA
    • Assessed, voluntary, and in-kind contributions by Member States
    • Glossary of terms
    • Covers a 5 year period
    • Search in UN Digital Library for this title
  • Overview of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations : budget performance for the period [concluded] and budget for the period [forthcoming] : report of the Secretary-General

Related Research Guides

UN Budget and Financing Statistics Resources

About this guide

General Assembly resolution 77/267 of 30 Dec. 2022, Shifting the management paradigm in the United Nations : review of changes to the budgetary cycle, approved the change from a biennial to an annual budget period; A/RES/72/266 A approved the trial period, which ran from 2020-2023.

This guide will be updated as the new pattern of documentation emerges with the change in the budget cycle as of 2020.

This guide replaces the former UN Documentation: Regular Budget guide. The old guide will remain online for reference and to assist people looking for budget documents from years prior to 2020.

Major Changes to the Budget Process

The planning, programming, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation cycle at the UN has changed over time.

Selected General Assembly resolutions related to the process include:

Simple overview of the programme budget cycle over time:


  • Annual budget


  • Medium term plan (4 years)
  • Biennial budget


  • Strategic Framework (2 years)
  • Biennial Programme Plan (2 years)
  • Biennial budget


  • Plan Outline (3 years)
  • Annual Programme Plan
  • Annual budget