By Diana Panke (auth.)

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They are also the ones that are most likely to grapple with staff shortages back home in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs). 34 “There’s a lack of resources on the New York end and that kind of has chances are if they’re poorly resourced in New York, then they’re often poorly resourced in the capital. It’s a kind of vicious cycle of under-resourcedness” (interview UNmission#10, 15-11-10). Third, in UNGA negotiations, “expertise is important, sometimes fundamental” (UNmission#29, 10-12-10).

Yet UNGA negotiations are resource-demanding. States acting in the UNGA and its committees have to invest in financial, ideational and staff capacities to face the challenges of a broad negotiation agenda, time pressure and high workload. The resource-demands associated with negotiating in a multilateral institution with a broad policy scope might introduce inequalities through the backdoor between formally equal states. UNGA member states are highly diverse: bigger states have considerably more diplomats, administrators or experts as well as bigger budgets.

What accounts for the greater success of Brazil compared to Pakistan or Indonesia, which are equally populous? Why is Ecuador more successful than Sudan or Slovenia, who do not differ much in terms of financial capacities (measured by GDP)? Why are Turkey and Canada more successful than the USA although the latter is usually regarded as bigger? Are Kiribati and Tuvalu less successful in the UNGA because they have less staff capacity in their MFAs back home and at their missions in New York than Panama, New Zealand or Jordan?

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