United Nations Financial Indicators Generally ‘Positive and Sound’, Under-Secretary-General for Management Tells Budget Committee

11 October 2012
GA/AB/4042

United Nations Financial Indicators Generally ‘Positive and Sound’, Under-Secretary-General for Management Tells Budget Committee

11 October 2012
General Assembly
GA/AB/4042
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Fifth Committee

6th Meeting (AM)

United Nations Financial Indicators Generally ‘Positive and Sound’,

Under-Secretary-General for Management Tells Budget Committee

While Forecasting Positive Year-End Cash Balance, Yukio Takasu Says

Regular Budget ‘Under Pressure’, with $855 Million in Assessments Outstanding

The United Nations top management official today told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) that the Organization’s financial indicators for 2012 were generally “positive and sound” though the regular budget’s cash level was under pressure with $855 million of the $2.4 billion budget still outstanding.

Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management, laid out four main financial indicators — assessments levied on Member States, unpaid assessments, available cash resources, and the Organization’s debt to Member States — to give the Committee a snapshot of the Organization’s financial picture.  [The Secretariat will incorporate this information into a report, which will be released for the Committee’s discussion at its 18 October meeting.]

The semi-annual presentation of the Organization’s finances to the General Assembly’s budgetary committee included information on the regular budget, United Nations peacekeeping operations, the tribunals and the Capital Master Plan account, created to manage the ongoing renovations of the world body’s landmark Headquarters on Manhattan’s East Side.

He said that cash balances were projected to be positive for peacekeeping, the international criminal tribunals and the Capital Master Plan, and the level of debt to Member States was expected to drop to $512 million at year-end, down $17 million from the level of debt, $529 million, at the end of 2011.  That debt to Member States now stood at $1.06 billion, but the Organization was making substantial payments in the next few days, Mr. Takasu said.

Mr. Takasu presented charts that showed assessments for the regular budget tallied $2.412 billion for 2012, slightly lower that the $2.415 billion in assessments for 2011.  Unpaid assessed contributions totalled $855 million as of 5 October, $12 million less than the $867 million outstanding at the same point last year.  Unpaid assessment at the end of 2011 totalled $454 million for the regular budget.

The payments of the 129 Member States as of 5 October was $2.01 billion, up slightly from $1.89 billion in 2011.  Sixty-three Member States had not yet paid their assessed contributions.  Mr. Takasu said the unpaid contributions were highly concentrated among a few Member States.  A chart that was part of his presentation showed that the United States was responsible for $744 million of the $855 million in outstanding payments; followed by Mexico at $42 million; Saudi Arabia at $20 million; and Venezuela at $14 million.  Fifty other Member States owed $35 million.  “Clearly, the final financial picture for 2012 will largely depend on the action taken by these Member States in the coming months,” he added.

The evolving demands for the Organization’s peacekeeping activities — which run on a 1 July to 30 June fiscal year — made predicting a financial outcome for peacekeeping operations more difficult, he said.  In addition, assessment letters were issued for different periods throughout the fiscal year as they could only be issued through the mandate period approved by the Security Council for each mission.  “All of these factors complicate a comparison between peacekeeping operations and the regular budget,” he said, adding that the unpredictable amount and timing of peacekeeping assessments throughout the year made it more difficult for Member States to keep current with their payments.

Using the same 5 October 2012 cut-off date, outstanding contributions for peacekeeping operations totalled $1.85 billion, a decline of $775 million from the $2.625 billion outstanding at the end 2011.  He said the current level of unpaid assessments resulted partially from the lower level of peacekeeping assessments for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, pending approval of a new scale of assessments for 2013.

According to a chart that separated some of the unpaid peacekeeping assessments by country, Japan topped the list with $356 million in unpaid assessments, followed by the United States at $347 million; and Italy, at $137 million.  The varying fiscal years of Member States could impact their ability to make a prompt payment, he noted.  The Organization had $3.7 billion in cash available for its peacekeeping operations, including $3.2 billion for active missions; $351 million for closed missions; and $130 million in the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund.

Turning to the Organization’s outstanding payments to Member States, Mr. Takasu said those payments should total $512 million by year end 2012, less than the amount expected in May and less than the $529 million owed to Member States at year-end 2011.

He said that at the beginning of October, the Organization owed $349 million to Member States for troops and formed police units; $550 million for contingent-owned equipment claims for active missions; and $86 million for contingent-owned equipment claims for closed missions under an older methodology.  In addition, the Organization needed to pay out $76 million for “letters of assist” and $1 million for death and disability claims.

After it made substantial payments in the next few days, the Organization would be current in its payments up to August, except for three missions, for troops and formed policy units, and contingent-owned equipment for active missions, he said.

Noting the Secretary-General’s commitment to meet obligations to Member States, he said the Secretariat depended on Member States meeting their financial obligations to the United Nations in full and on time, and the speedy sealing of Memorandums of Understanding with troop contributions for equipment provision.

Turning to the international tribunals, Mr. Takasu said their unpaid assessments were $63 million as of 5 October.  That was slightly higher than the $56 million in unpaid assessments on 5 October 2011.  This year’s financial snapshot enveloped the newly established International Residual Mechanism, as well as the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.  The Organization had received $195 million from 95 Member States by 5 October, compared with $257 million from 93 countries at the same time last year.

Finally, Mr. Takasu outlined the financial picture of the Capital Master Plan account, which had $4.6 million in outstanding assessments.  The Organization had assessed $1.87 billion for this multi-year renovation, with 180 Member States under multi-year payment plans.  Twelve Member States had chosen one-time payments.

He recognized the 31 Member States — up from 18 in 2011 — that had fully paid all assessments due as of 11 October 2012.  Those countries were Australia, Austria, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Libya, Malawi, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Republic of Tanzania.

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