UN cash position stronger than last year but still fragile, controller reports

UN cash position stronger than last year but still fragile, controller reports

Although the cash position of the United Nations is stronger than last year, and projections to the end of 2005 are more positive than in 2004, the world body is suffering from "continuing fragility" with a deficit of more than $2 billion alone for peacekeeping operations, the organization's controller reported today.

"The only way to secure financial health for the United Nations is for Member States to meet their financial obligations to the Organization in a full and timely fashion," Warren Sach told the General Assembly's Fifth Committee, which deals with administrative and budgetary affairs.

The amount outstanding for peacekeeping operations exceeded $2.5 billion at the end of 2004, after assessments of over $5 billion being issued last year. So far in 2005 payments have somewhat exceeded new assessments, lowering the outstanding amount by over $400 million as of 7 October.

As of that date a further $739 million remain outstanding for the regular budget, and $73 million for the international war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Moreover debts to Member States providing troops and equipment to peacekeeping operations are projected at $779 million by the end of the year.

"There are some encouraging signs of improvement but there is still cause for concern," Mr. Sach said, summing up the UN's current financial position. "The amounts outstanding are quite highly concentrated and the positive projections depend crucially on a relatively few Member States making payments in line with their past pattern of payments.

"This underlines the continuing fragility of our financial situation and it may still be necessary to cross-borrow from the very limited pool of unobligated funds in the accounts of closed peacekeeping operations."