Briefing Budget Committee, Under-Secretary-General for Management Reports Improvement in United Nations Financial Situation

11 October 2011

Briefing Budget Committee, Under-Secretary-General for Management Reports Improvement in United Nations Financial Situation

11 October 2011
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

7th Meeting (AM)

Briefing Budget Committee, Under-Secretary-General for Management


Reports Improvement in United Nations Financial Situation


Despite Ongoing Global Financial Uncertainty, Angela Kane Sees

Positive Cash Balances in All Organization’s Assessment Areas at Year’s End

The United Nations top management official told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today that the Organization’s financial indicators for 2011 had improved in some areas even as a single Member State was responsible for 87.4 per cent of the $867 million outstanding in the regular budget.

Angela Kane, Under-Secretary-General for Management, used four main financial indicators — assessments issued, unpaid assessed contributions, available cash resources, and debt to Member States — to give the Committee a snapshot of the Organization’s current financial picture.  Despite the current global financial climate, the Organization’s cash positions were projected to be positive at year-end for all funds, even as unpaid assessments had “increased slightly”.  The final outcome depended on last-quarter contributions.

She recognized the 18 Member States — Australia, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand — that had fully paid all their assessment due as of 10 October 2011.

Ms. Kane laid out her detailed semi-annual presentation of the Organization’s finances for, respectively, the regular budget, its peacekeeping operations, the international tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and the Capital Master Plan, created to manage the renovation of the world body’s landmark Headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side.  The Committee is scheduled to discuss the financial situation as an agenda item on 20 October as it prepares to consider the biennial 2012-2013 budget.

According to a chart included in her accompanying presentation, assessments for the regular budget were $2.4 billion as of 5 October, up from nearly $2.17 billion at the end of 2010; peacekeeping assessments were $7.43 billion, down from $9.67 billion; assessments for the tribunals were $286 million, up from $256 million; and the Capital Master Plan assessments remained the same at $341 million.

Another chart showed that the United States was responsible for $758 million of the $867 million outstanding of regular budget assessments, followed by Mexico at $40 million, Spain at $19 million, and Venezuela at $11 million, with 57 other Member States accounting for the remaining $39 million gap.  That $867 million in unpaid assessed contributions in the regular budget was $81 million more than the $786 million in unpaid budget assessments at the same time last year, she said.

Turning to the Organization’s vast peacekeeping operations which run on a 1 July to 30 June timetable, Ms. Kane said $3.3 billion was outstanding as of 5 October, up $113 million from the same date a year ago and $843 million more than the amount outstanding at year-end 2010.  The $3.3 billion includes assessments for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) of about $474 million, levied on 16 September 2011 and still within the 30-day due period.

According to another chart, Japan topped the list of Member States with unpaid peacekeeping assessments at $648 million outstanding, followed by Spain at $490 million, and the United States at $405 million.

The unpredictable demand for peacekeeping activities made it difficult to forecast a financial outcome, Ms. Kane said.  In addition, assessments were issued separately for each operation and at different periods throughout the year since they could only be levied through the mandate period approved by the Security Council.  Such unpredictability made it more difficult for the Member States to be fully current with assessments.

The cash balance in peacekeeping accounts as of 5 October was about $4.3 billion, including $3.8 billion in the accounts of active missions, $314 million in the accounts of closed missions, and $143 million in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund.  The use of those resources was restricted and General Assembly resolutions specified that a mission could not be financed with funds borrowed from other active missions.  The Peacekeeping Reserve Fund’s use was restricted to new operations and the expansion of existing operations.

Cash available in those peacekeeping accounts at the end of 2011 was expected to total $3.2 billion, with $2.8 billion in the accounts of active missions, $140 million in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund, and $316 million in the accounts of closed missions.  Of that $316 million, $263 million was set aside for outstanding liability, such as troop and equipment payments and credits to be returned to individual Member States.  That left $53 million for possible cross-borrowing by active peacekeeping operations, she said.  That need had increased this year with a drop in liquidity in peacekeeping missions, though the situation could change if Member States paid their assessments promptly.

She said that so far in 2011, $130 million had been borrowed for six active missions:  the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).  That compared with $148 million in cross-borrowing in 2008 for seven active missions, followed by two years of lower levels:  $49 million in 2009 for four active operations, and $33 million in 2010 for three active missions — the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.

The Organization’s debt to Member States was expected to tally $448 million at the end of this year, down from the $539 million outstanding at year-end 2010 and less than the projection made in May, she said.  New obligations were up in 2011, primarily because of a one-time supplemental payment to troop-contributing countries, decided by the Assembly in resolution 65/289, and deployment of military contingents to the newly established United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), partly offset by a reduction of military personnel in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and a reduction of policy personnel in UNMIT.

An accompanying chart laid out the $598 million owed to 79 troop- and police- contributing countries as of 11 October 2011.   Pakistan topped the list with $63 million, followed by India and Bangladesh at $52 million each and the United States with $34 million, according to another chart.

She said that the overall financial picture of the international tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia had improved slightly as of 5 October 2011, even though unpaid assessments had headed up by $6 million to $56 million.  Ninety-three Member States had paid their assessed contributions for both international tribunals as of 5 October, five more than the same time last year.  The tribunals’ final financial position would depend on the payments of assessed contributions, and Ms. Kane said one Member State accounted for 64 per cent of that $56 million.  The accompanying chart showed this was the United States with $36 million.

Turning to the $1.9 billion Capital Master Plan budget approved in December 2006, payments of $1.8 billion had been made against assessments due and payable.  Eighty-eight million was still outstanding as of 5 October, she said.  In accordance with an Assembly resolution, 180 Member States were under a multi-year payments system and 12 Member States had opted for one-time payment.

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