US hits out at UN business class lifestyle
Complaints by the United States and other cash-strapped western nations have been bolstered by revelations that nearly three quarters of the money spent on air fares at UN headquarters goes on business class.
That is "clearly unjustifiable," said Joseph Torsella, the US envoy who since 2011 has been leading a US war on "waste" at the UN.
Rules on business class travel are "out of whack" and the failure to enact "common sense and overdue reforms is creating a system that is ripe for abuse," the US envoy for UN management and reform told AFP.
The United Nations spent at least USD 769 million of its general budget of more than USD 5 billion in 2010-11 on moving officials and staff around the world, according to UN figures. The peacekeeping department, which has its own budget, spent another USD 200 million.
Some USD 54 million of the USD 74 million of air tickets bought at the main headquarters in New York and Geneva were business class. Diplomats say the figure is probably much higher as no clear figures have been given.
"There are are a series of loopholes that are just on the face of it crazy," Torsella said.
Most UN staff travel under a 1990 system wherea lump sum of 75 percent of the full economy class fare can be given. UN auditors estimate that this now costs
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