Financial Situation of United Nations ‘Generally Sound’, Under-Secretary-General Tells Fifth Committee

6 May 2014
GA/AB/4106

Financial Situation of United Nations ‘Generally Sound’, Under-Secretary-General Tells Fifth Committee

6 May 2014
General Assembly
GA/AB/4106
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Fifth Committee

36th Meeting (AM)

Financial Situation of United Nations ‘Generally Sound’,

 

Under-Secretary-General Tells Fifth Committee

 

Despite Pace of Contributions, Several States Largely Responsible for Shortfall

The United Nations financial situation was “generally sound” at the end of 2013 thanks to the continued positive efforts of many Member States, the Organization’s top management official today told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management, highlighting financial indicators — Member States’ obligatory payments to the Organization, unpaid contributions, available cash resources and the money the Organization owes Member States — said that those gauges were generally healthy, although some areas needed to be closely monitored.

For the 2014 regular budget, Member States were collectively obliged to pay $2.6 billion to the United Nations, the same level as the previous year, he said.  By 30 April, the Organization had received $1.68 billion, up from $1.53 billion a year earlier, as 79 States, or three more than last year, had already paid their dues in full.  For 2013, 146 Member States had paid their regular-budget assessments in full, exceeding the previous year’s 143.

Noting that a large share of the outstanding amount had been owed by a handful of Member States, he noted that the final outcome for 2014 would depend on actions taken by those States.  He, however, acknowledged the differences in the financial years of countries, and the timing of the related national legislative processes, which might prevent prompt payment.

Cash balances had been positive throughout 2013 for peacekeeping, tribunals and Capital Master Plan accounts, he said.  But, the cash position for the regular budget turned negative in the final quarter of that year, which necessitated the use of reserves, namely the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account, to cover the shortfalls.  The regular budget cash position had since improved to $806 million by 30 April.  Yet, if the trend of previous years continued, it would face some tightening in the last quarter of 2014 and, accordingly, the cash position would need to be closely monitored.

Turning to the peacekeeping budget, he noted that unpaid assessments stood at $2.2 billion at the end of 2013, up from $1.33 billion a year earlier.  As of 30 April, that amount had been reduced to $1.5 billion, the same level from a year earlier, as 23 Member States had paid their dues in full.  The cash available for peacekeeping at the end of 2013 had been at $4.1 billion.  The General Assembly had decided to maintain separate accounts for each peacekeeping operation, specifying that no peacekeeping mission should borrow from other active ones.  In addition, the terms of reference of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund restricted its use only to new operations and expansions of existing operations.

Regarding outstanding payments to Member States, the amount for troops, formed police units and contingent-owned equipment as of 31 December 2013 had stood at $513 million, down from $745 million owed on 30 April of that year, he said.  By the end of 2014, the amount was expected to decrease to $500 million.

For international tribunals, unpaid assessments at the end of 2013 had stood at $54 million, up from $36 million a year earlier.  On a positive note, 113 Member States — nine more than the previous year — had paid their dues in full in 2013.  For 2014, 54 Member States had paid their contributions in full by 30 April, 13 more than last year, with unpaid assessments decreasing to $149 million, a $29 million decrease over the previous year.

For the Capital Master Plan, 174 States had paid their contributions in full, he said.  Most of the total assessed amount of $1.87 billion had been received, with only $0.7 million outstanding.  Cash, which had stood at $145 million as of April, could be fully depleted in the coming months, but the General Assembly had authorized the use of the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account on an exceptional basis as a bridging mechanism.

Janne Taalas ( Finland), Chair of the Fifth Committee, informed Member States that a general discussion on the Under-Secretary-General’s presentation would be held on 15 May.

The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 7 May, to continue its second resumed session.

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