May 2012, Geneva, Switzerland - Thanks to the support of the Swiss Confederation UNITAR implemented, in Geneva, a two day workshop on “Working with United Nations Budget” was recently held by UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme in Geneva.

Reading and understanding the budget plans put forward by the United Nations Specialized Agencies can seem a daunting task. However, for many delegates, this is what daily work is usually comprised of. Therefore, in order to help them better manage such complex documents and ease the information finding process within, UNITAR delivered a concise introduction to this crucial issue.

The methodology for the course was designed to be as comprehensive and intelligible as possible, first of all providing a complete overview of the criteria Specialized Agencies take into consideration upon setting up their budgets. The course was also meant to explain results based budgeting and the steps and its implications on the process behind budget construction, the language used in budget documents, and the skills required to read and interpret the information they include. Such skills are essential to diplomats working in multilateral environments, notably in the field of international organizations where budgets are thoroughly discussed time and time again. In other words, it is the overall efficiency of the UN that is here under the scope and improved by training delegates of UN Permanent missions expected to be in a position that entails working on budget issues for at least two years after the training.

A series of practical exercises came in support of the theory, providing opportunities for participants to understand technicalities through use of multiple hands-on exercises especially designed to faithfully reproduce real-life situations. Thanks to the combination of these and the valuable input brought by highly experienced and recognized Ambassador Jean-Marc Boulgaris, former permanent representative of Switzerland to the UN, the participants took back a wealth of useful information and unique professional tips on how to go about UN budget documents in an international context. Finally, they left with a sense of fulfillment and strengthened confidence about ways to reinvest their new skills in the future, well beyond the walls of the training room.