UN’s fiscal health depends on Member States meeting obligations, senior official reports

9 October 2014

With its limited cash reserves, the financial health of the United Nations is “totally dependent” on how quickly and how much Member States pay towards Organization’s operations, the top UN management official told journalists in New York today.

Mr. Yukio Takasu, Under Secretary General for Management, this morning briefed the General Assembly’s main administrative and budgetary body – known as the “Fifth Committee” – on the Organization’s financial situation.

Cash positions are positive for all categories except in connection with the Organization’s regular budget, Mr. Takasu said referring to the four main assessment areas: the regular budget; peacekeeping operations; international tribunals and the Capital Master Plan (CMP).

Although there are increases in the number of Member States paying in full their obligations to international tribunals and the CMP, there have been decreases in payments for the regular budget and peacekeeping operations.

On the cash front, the regular budget currently has a stockpile of $35 million in “cash on hand” – 20 million dollars less compared to this time last year, Mr. Takasu said, calling the decrease “alarming.”

While, CMP cash will be exhausted in November, the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account will be used to bridge CMP cash flow needs.

While the financial situation of the Organization is “generally good,” the annual regular budget, which currently stands at $2.6 billion, has a gap of close to one billion.

Unpaid regular budget assessments remain at a significant level and continue to be highly concentrated with France, the United States and Italy leading in outstanding payments. Mr. Takasu also noted that some 29 Member States have paid in full as of today.

About 40 per cent of the annual regular budget (2.6 billion) remains unpaid, while around 44 per cent of the peacekeeping budget (5.8 billion) has yet to be met compared to a lower 31 per cent of the total tribunal budget (196 million).

On the flip side, the United Nations is outstanding in its payments to Member States who contribute troops and other personnel to peacekeeping missions. The Organization plans to bring that figure down to $500 million by the end of the year.

Mr. Takasu also stressed the need to finalize and approve a budget for the new UN Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) recently deployed to West Africa. Earlier this week, the Fifth Committee earmarked $50 million for UNMEER to be provided until the end of December.


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