Under-Secretary-General for Management Briefs Budget Committee; Says Overall United Nations Financial Situation Improved

12 May 2011
GA/AB/3989

Under-Secretary-General for Management Briefs Budget Committee; Says Overall United Nations Financial Situation Improved

12 May 2011
General Assembly
GA/AB/3989
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

36th Meeting (PM)

Under-Secretary-General for Management Briefs Budget Committee;

 

Says Overall United Nations Financial Situation Improved

 

Focuses on Four Indicators: Assessments, Unpaid Assessed

Contributions, Available Cash Resources, Debt to Member States

The United Nations top management official told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today that the Organization’s overall financial situation had improved, as the number of Member States that had paid in full as of 10 May 2011 was above the level of a year ago across all funds except for one, the Capital Master Plan.

Angela Kane, Under-Secretary-General for Management, gave the Committee a snapshot of the Organization’s current financial picture, as she focused on four main financial indicators: the assessments issued on Member States, unpaid assessed contributions, available cash resources and debt to Member States.  The overall financial situation had improved, as assessments were up by $3.5 billion, while unpaid assessments had gone up by only $600 million, she said.  Cash on hand was up by $800 million, mainly in peacekeeping.

Ms. Kane opened with an overview of the regular budget and said that assessments and payments were both lower in 2010 than in 2009, by $333 million and $431 million, respectively.  Unpaid assessed contributions were up by $16 million to $351 million at year-end 2010, compared to $335 million for year-end 2009.

She was pleased to announce that 138 Member States, two more than the previous year, had paid their regular budget assessments in full by the end of 2010, and 99 per cent of the $351 million that remained outstanding at year-end 2010 was owed by five Member States.  About 1 per cent of the remaining unpaid assessments were owed by the remaining 49 Member States.

As of 10 May 2011, 86 Member States had paid their assessment to the regular budget in full, 11 more than at the same date a year ago, she said.  The regular budget’s financial position as of 10 May 2011 reflected the net result of higher assessments and lower payments.  Unpaid assessed contributions were up by $366 million on 10 May 2011, compared with a year earlier.  There was an increase of $249 million in the regular budget assessment for 2011, while payments received by 10 May 2011 were down by $101 million, compared to 10 May 2010.

The financial outcome for 2011 depended largely upon the actions to be taken by the 11 Member States responsible for more than 96 per cent of the $1.3 billion outstanding on 10 May 2011, she noted.  The regular budget’s cash resources were made up of the general fund, to which assessed contributions were paid, and the working capital fund, which was authorized periodically by the General Assembly.

Turning to peacekeeping operations, she said the unpredictable nature of the demand for peacekeeping activities made it very difficult to predict a financial outcome.  The financial period for peacekeeping ran from 1 July to 30 June, rather than the calendar year, and assessments were issued separately for each operation.  Since assessments could only be issued through the mandated period approved by the Security Council for each mission, they were issued for different periods throughout the year.  All those factors complicated any possible comparison between the financial situation of peacekeeping operations and the regular budget and the tribunals, she added.

At year-end 2010, unpaid assessments had totalled just under $2.5 billion, up $608 million from the $1.85 billion outstanding at year-end 2009.  Yet, that amount was lower than the $3.9 billion increase in assessments for 2010, which tallied $9.67 billion, compared with $5.76 billion in 2009.  The United Nations had received $9.06 billion worth of payments for peacekeeping in 2010, nearly $2.3 billion more than in 2009.  About 83 per cent of the unpaid peacekeeping assessments were owed by nine Member States.  She referred to chart 12 of her presentation, which indicated that Japan topped the list with $674 million, followed by the United States at $431 million and Spain at $298 million.

She paid special thanks to the 27 Member States that had paid all peacekeeping assessments that were due and payable on 31 December 2010: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, Cyprus, Eritrea, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.

The more than $3.2 billion of cash available for peacekeeping at year-end 2010 was divided between separate accounts maintained for each peacekeeping operation and there were restrictions on its use, she said.  Active missions held the bulk of the cash with $2.67 billion, closed missions accounted for $414 million and the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund stood at $141 million.

Peacekeeping operations showed an improved financial position as of 10 May 2011.  Against new assessments of more than $1.6 billion, contributions of more than $2.4 billion had been received, reducing the outstanding amount from more than $2.4 billion to about $1.7 billion.  About 80 per cent of the outstanding amount was related to seven Member States.  Ms. Kane referred to chart 16, which placed the United States at the top with $411 million, followed by Spain at $326 million and Japan at $220 million.

She paid special tribute to the 32 Member States that had paid all their peacekeeping assessments: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belize, Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Ms. Kane expected that the total cash available in peacekeeping accounts at year-end 2011 would total more than $2.4 billion, with about $2.1 billion in the accounts of active missions, $193 million in the accounts of closed missions and $140 million in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund.

Turning to the Organization’s debt to Peacekeeping Member States, Ms. Kane said the amount owed to troops and formed-police units and contingent–owned equipment at year-end 2010 was $539 million, down from the $787 billion owed at the start of 2010.  Future obligations should drop slightly in 2011 as the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) had been closed, military personnel at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were reduced and police personnel at the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) was reduced.

At the end of 2011, debt was expected to increase slightly to $568 million, accounting for new obligations of $2 billion and projected payments of just under $2 billion.  As of 30 April 2011, the debt owed to Member States was $728 million.  Payments were current up to February 2011 for all 11 missions with liabilities for troop and formed police unite costs.

The financial position of the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia had improved slightly in 2010 as outstanding assessments had dropped to $27 million, down from $37 million at the end of 2009.  Ninety-eight Member States paid their assessed contributions for both tribunals in full by the end of 2010, seven less than the previous year.

Finally, Ms. Kane turned to $1.9 billion budget for the Capital Master Plan, which had been approved by the Assembly in 2006.  As of 10 May 2011, 186 Member States had made payments totalling $1.7 billion, with $116 million currently outstanding.  Twelve Member States had opted for one-time payments and the remaining 180 Member States were under the multi-year payment system.

She added that, as of 10 May 2011, 179 Member States had already made payments for the working capital reserve fund that totalled $44.9 million.

In other business, the Committee decided by acclamation to recommend to the Assembly the appointment of David Traystman to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).  Mr. Traystman would fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Susan McLurg, which would take effect 22 July 2011. Mr. Traystman would assume his position on the date of the appointment by the Assembly until 31 December 2011, when Ms. McLurg’s appointment expires.

The Fifth Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/65/101/Rev.1/Add.1) on that matter.

The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, 13 May, to discuss the financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.