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For first time in years, UN funding on 'secure and solid' basis, finance committee told

For first time in years, UN funding on 'secure and solid' basis, finance committee told

With Member States paying more dues than at any other period, the United Nations for the first time in many years has a "secure and solid basis" to deal with key fiscal issues, the world body's top finance official said today.

In a presentation to the UN General Assembly's Administrative and Budgetary Committee, Under-Secretary-General for Management Joseph Connor said the rosier financial outlook for the Organization would enable it to address such important concerns as cash deficits, cross-borrowing (taking money from peacekeeping budgets to pay for regular expenses), and reimbursing countries for equipment and troops.

"Financial stability and security are close at hand," Mr. Connor told the Assembly's Fifth Committee, as it is known. "We may need it now more than ever."

Mr. Connor said that the UN expected Member States to contribute more dues - called "assessed contributions" - than in any previous year, with an aggregate of $4.72 billion projected to be paid over the course of 2001, compared to $2.89 billion paid last year.

Of that amount, he said, the UN expected the United States to pay an aggregate of $1.67 billion in 2001, with most of that money to be received between this month and the end of December. Meanwhile, payments from other Member States were expected to total more than $3 billion this year, with most of that money already received by 30 September.

Although unpaid peacekeeping assessments were currently high, at $3.281 billion on 30 September, they were expected to be cut in half to $1.538 billion by the end of December, Mr. Connor said. Accordingly, the UN intended to pay all certified claims for contingent-owned equipment, now totalling $505 million, as soon as it received the arrearage payment from the United States.

Summarizing the UN's financial situation, he said that unpaid assessments were down, cash was up, and debt to Member States [which contribute troops and equipment to peacekeeping operations] had been drastically reduced.