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Controller gives UN’s financial health mixed report card

Controller gives UN’s financial health mixed report card

The United Nations’ Capital Master Plan is in better shape than last year, but the Organization’s regular budget faces uncertainty due partly to swelling peacekeeping bills and Member States with overdue assessments, the UN’s chief controller said today.

“Clearly, the final picture for 2006, as well as the final cash position for the year, would largely depend on the action taken by those countries in the coming weeks,” UN Controller Warren Sach told the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, as it began its twice-yearly consideration of the Organization’s financial health.

Mr. Sach was pleased to report that as of 31 October, $661 million remained outstanding for the regular budget, down $58 million from last year.

But he pointed out that the number of Member States that paid their dues in full by 31 October had dropped to 122 from 130 on the same date last year. On 31 December last year, 140 Member States had paid, with almost 95 per cent of the outstanding amount owed by four countries – Argentina, Brazil, Japan and the United States, which owed 80 per cent of the total.

“In particular, depending on action yet to be taken on the national budget of the United States, the UN might have to borrow over $200 million from the reserve account by the end of December,” he said. “Alternatively, should the United States pay its 2006 assessment in full, the Organization could have a cash balance at approximately the same level as at the end of 2005.”

Mr. Sach pointed to an outstanding $2.5 billion for peacekeeping operations by the end of October, and that the Organization’s debt to Member States for troops and equipment was likely to increase by $300 million. In addition, as of 31 October, the amount outstanding for international war crimes tribunals stood at $18 million higher than last year.

By the end of October, the Capital Master Plan had $66 million still outstanding, an amount that could be covered if member states pay dues in full and on time, Mr. Sach said.

“The only way to resolve those issues was for Member States to meet their financial obligations to the United Nations in a fuller and timelier fashion,” he said.