20 July 2006 | Paul Snell
Money approved by the United Nations (UN) to reform its procurement department has been criticised as insufficient.
Mark Wallace, US representative for UN management and reform at the US Mission to the UN - which assists the President and the Department of State on policy at the UN - said there was a "key deficiency" in the amount approved for reform.
Last week the UN General Assembly approved $706,600 (£382,000) to begin procurement reforms recommended by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report (see News, 6 July
The money will be used to improve internal controls in procurement and to hold business seminars for suppliers in developing countries.
But the General Assembly has approved enough money to fund extra procurement posts for six months only. Requests for additional funding for procurement and other general reforms have been deferred until September.
In a statement Wallace said: "While the draft grants a small amount of resources to begin badly needed improvements to the UN's woefully inadequate purchasing functions, the conditional and temporary nature of the authorisation leaves us doubtful whether the UN can quickly and decisively repair this activity."
He added: "What qualified procurement officers would be willing to take temporary jobs with the UN, knowing that their longer-term status is so uncertain?"
The General Assembly also approved $4.43 million (£2.4 million) to help implement other general reforms proposed in Annan's report.