Work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’, Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis
Almaty. October 9. KazTAG - The United Nations is facing a severe shortage of cash, and unless more Governments pay their annual dues, “our work and our reforms are at risk”, the UN chief António Guterres told Member States, reports the UN press-service.
In a statement issue by his Spokesperson, the Secretary-General said he had written to Member States, “about the worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade. The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors.”
Although 129 States out of 193 have now paid their regular annual dues, the most recent being Syria, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents at the regular briefing in New York, others needed to pay “urgently and in full”.
“This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.”
As of the end of September, only 70 per cent of the total assessment for the year had been paid, versus 78 per cent this time last year. Up to 8 October, Member States have paid $1.99 billion towards the regular budget assessement for 2019, which means there is an outstanding amount of around $1.3 billion for the year, Mr. Dujarric told correspondents.
Had the Organization not “contained expenditures globally from the beginning of the year”, the cash shortfall in October could have reached $600 million, meaning there would not have been enough cash to pay for the General Assembly debate and the high-level meetings last month.
“To date, we have averted major disruptions to operations”, said the statement, but “these measures are no longer enough. The Secretariat could face a default on salaries and payments for goods and services by the end of November unless more Member States pay their budget dues in full.”
“The Secretary-General noted that this is a recurrent problem that severely hampers the Secretariat’s ability to fulfil its obligations to the people we serve”, said Mr. Dujarric. “We are now driven to prioritize our work on the basis of the availability of cash, thus undermining the implementation of mandates decided by inter-governmental bodies. The Secretary-General therefore looks to Member States to resolve the structural issues that underlie this annual crisis without further delay.”
Photo source: picture from an open source