Work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’, Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas The UN Secretariat building in New York.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


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 on Tuesday.

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.”

Guterres addresses budget-setting Fifth Committee, on ‘severe financial crisis’

Addressing the budget-setting Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General noted that “this month, we will reach the deepest deficit of the decade.” In relation to borrowing from reserves set aside for UN Peacekeeping Operations in order to meet urgent expenditure needs, he said that the Organization risks “exhausting the closed peacekeeping cash reserves and entering November without enough cash to cover payrolls.”

After running through the programme, or regular budget proposals for 2020, which keep spending the same as this year and amount to a total of $2.94 billion, including a net decrease of nearly 100 posts, Mr. Guterres said the plan represented a “profound reflection on the path ahead and deep commitment to our shared work.”

“Yet the Organization is facing a severe financial crisis. To be more specific, a severe liquidity crisis.  The equation is simple: without cash, the budget cannot be properly implemented.”

The UN chief said budget implementation was no longer being driven by planning, but according to “the availability of cash at hand.” With hiring and non-salary expenditure limited by liquidity, “this undermines mandate delivery and goes against our efforts to focus less on inputs and more on results’, he added.

Noting the difficulty of planning expenditure when money was not being received early enough in the year, he said urged Governments not to base spending next year on this year’s patterns. “This would only worsen an already alarming situation.”

Mr. Guterres said that last week, he had been “forced to introduce extraordinary measures to cope with the record-level shortage of cash. Vacant posts cannot be filled, travel will be limited to essential travel only, meetings may have to be canceled or deferred”. This would not only affect operations in the main hubs of New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi, but also regional commissions, he warned.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Italian electoral results to change Eurozone climate and weight on the Cyprus issue

5G in Russia: a local and global view on the way forward, in association with The European Sting

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Safeguarding civilians, strengthening Ebola response in DR Congo, marking Fistula Day, updates on CAR and Syria

Stateless Rohingya refugee children living in ‘untenable situation’, UNICEF chief

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: new actions of almost €150 million to tackle human smuggling, protect vulnerable people and stabilise communities in North Africa

The crunch ‘COP 24’ UN climate change conference: what’s at stake and what you need to know

How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic

2019: An unpredictable, confrontational and financially ominous year

ITU Telecom World 2019 will take place on 9-12 September in Budapest, Hungary

Is Europe ready to cooperate with the rest of the world? Can Germany change its selfish policies?

We can meet the SDGs using the wisdom of crowds. Here’s how

Draghi repels Trump’s threats, rejects Schauble’s dictums

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

4 lessons on human cooperation from the fight against Ebola

REACT-EU: EU support to mitigate immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

How Africa and Asia are joining forces on universal healthcare

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Commission launches new edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019

Finland has giant supermarkets that only stock second-hand goods

EU trade agreements deliver on growth and jobs, support sustainable development

From ‘strength to strength’ UN-African Union security partnership growing, Security Council hears

Why it’s time to take central banks’ digital currencies seriously

Brexit may finally not really happen; The Brits have second thoughts

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Busting the myth by looking at the facts

The Ecofin deceives the SMEs with the EIB €10bn capital increase

‘Embrace the transformation’ to a carbon-neutral world by 2050, UN chief tells COP25

Removing sweets from supermarket checkouts could help fight obesity

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

4 innovative renewable energy projects powering Europe’s green future

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

US and China in painstaking efforts to conclude trade talks

Horse meat runs faster than authorities…

If a virus could sing … Could this musical version of COVID-19 help us defeat the disease?

Compensation for damages by the State for infringement of EU law: the European Commission refers Spain to the Court of Justice for its rules on the compensation for damages incurred by private parties

Amid pandemic detours, mental health matters

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: Strategies and reflections

Brexit: MEPs concerned over reported UK registration plans for EU27 citizens

5 amazing people fighting to save the oceans

Eurozone’s north-south growth gap to become structural

Lithuania should find its own way in the EU

Children are forgetting the names for plants and animals

How to promote Primary Healthcare to the Young Healthcare Workforce?

UN and partners call for solidarity, as Venezuelans on the move reach 4.5 million

What the COVID-19 pandemic teaches us about cybersecurity – and how to prepare for the inevitable global cyberattack

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

The story of 2018, in 10 charts

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

Celebrating Gaston Ramon – the vet who discovered vaccinology’s secret weapon

India’s economy is an ‘elephant that is starting to run’, according to the IMF

State aid: Commission approves €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine: Guterres

Some endangered languages manage to thrive. Here’s how

Meet the woman prescribing books as a cure

What does ‘excess deaths’ mean – and can it give a clearer picture of the number of coronavirus fatalities?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s