Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Guterres warns United Nations may not have money to pay staff next month

United Nations-Secretary-General-Protests United Nations 'could run out of money by end of month'
Deanna Wagner | 09 October, 2019, 18:32

"This month, we will reach the deepest deficit of the decade", said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the UN's General Assembly Budget Committee on October 8. As in, it might run out of it by Halloween.

The United Nations says it is facing a severe shortage of cash. As a result, "we run the risk of depleting our backup liquidity reserves by the end of the month", he wrote.

By the end of September, Dujarric said, member states had paid only 70% of the total assessment for the regular budget, compared with 78% at the same time past year.

Washington owes some $381 million for prior regular budgets and $674 million for the 2019 regular budget.

All UN members are required to make annual payments to help fund the bloc's regular budget.

Because of the USA government's budget calendar, Washington usually pays its dues in October.

Guterres had asked member states earlier this year to up contributions to the world body to head off cash flow problems, but they refused, a United Nations official said on condition of anonymity.

Wigan climate change protestor arrested at Extinction Rebellion demonstration in London
Julie Hotchkiss, a senior NHS worker from Appley Bridge, was taken into custody by police in Westminster on Tuesday morning. Climate change activists block a road during the Extinction Rebellion protest in Vienna, Austria, October 7, 2019.

While India has been among the few countries to have fully paid its dues to the United Nations on time, the United Nations owed India $38 million, among the highest it has to pay to any country, for peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.

The US is the largest contributor - responsible for 22 percent of the more than $3.3bn regular budget for 2019, which pays for work including political, humanitarian, disarmament, economic and social affairs and communications.

The secretary-general stressed that cash flow is a recurrent problem and the U.N.is now driven to prioritize work based on cash availability, thus undermining its mandates and obligations "to the people we serve", Dujarric said.

US President Donald Trump has complained that Washington bears too great a responsibility to the United Nations budget and has called for reforms.

The U.S.is also in arrears in payments for the separate budget for the U.N.'s far-flung peacekeeping operations.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents in NY that others needed to pay "urgently and in full".

"The Secretary-General, therefore, looks to Member States to resolve the structural issues that underlie this annual crisis without further delay", Dujarric added.