UN may run out of money by end of the month: Guterres

Nellie Chapman
October 9, 2019

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has again sounded a warning that the world organisation is facing a financial crunch and may run out of funds by the end of this month. As in, it might run out of it by Halloween. This translates into a cash shortage of $230 million at the end of September.

"Member States have paid only 70 per cent of the total amount needed for our regular budget operations in 2019". "We risk exhausting the closed peacekeeping cash reserves, and entering November without enough cash to cover payrolls", he said.

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

The United Nations' operating budget in 2018-2019, not including peacekeeping operations, was around US$5.4 billion.

In December 2017 Nikki Haley, the then United States Ambassador to the organization, announced the federal government had reduced its contribution to the U.N.'s annual budget by $285 million, as Breitbart News reported.

Yesterday, he indicated that if the world body had not taken the initiative to cut spending since the start of the year, the hole would have been even bigger in October ― possibly US$600 million ― and could have affected last month's General Assembly attended by world leaders.

A United Nations official speaking on condition of anonymity said Guterres had raised the budget issues with member states as early as this past spring, asking them to pay up, but they refused.

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The last country to have paid up is war-wracked Syria, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday at his daily press conference.

If the funds don't flow in this month from more of the nations in arrears, the UN will likely continue its operations by dipping into its working capital fund temporarily.

The UN has a separate budget for peacekeeping operations, which also operates consistently in a deficit mode.

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

Guterres said he introduced extraordinary measures last month to cope with the shortfall - vacant posts can not be filled, only essential travel is allowed, and some meetings may have to be cancelled or deferred.

United Nations operations in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi and at regional commissions will be affected.

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