Committee on Contributions


Apportionment:  While there is no formal definition of the term "apportionment" as the term most often used is "assessment", it should be noted that Article 17(2) of the Charter states that "The expenses of the Organization shall be borne by the Members as apportioned by the General Assembly."

Appropriation: The amount voted by the General Assembly for a financial period against which expenditures may be incurred.  For the regular budget, the appropriations are voted by the Assembly broken down by each section of the budget.  Unspent appropriations are surrendered back to Member States.

Assessment: The amount of money which the General Assembly determines should be assessed to finance the approved appropriation, shared among Member States in accordance with the scale of assessment.  Letters of assessment for the regular budget are sent to Member States in January of each year.

Commitment authority: Authority given by the General Assembly to the Secretary-General to incur expenditures without an appropriation.  The authority is usually given for emergency situations, pending detailed review of budgetary proposals.
Financial Period:  The financial period is as follows:

(i) Regular budget - In accordance with Resolution 72/266 of 24 December 2017 the General Assembly:

    1. approved the proposed change in budget period from a biennial to an annual budget period on a trial basis, beginning with the programme budget for 2020;
    2. requested the Secretary-General to conduct a review of changes to the budgetary cycle in 2022, following the completion of the first full budgetary cycle; and
    3. decided to review at its 77th session with a view to taking a final decision on the implementation of the annual budget paras (6 and 7).

 (ii) Peacekeeping operations – 1 July current year to 30 June next year.

 (iii) International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals - In accordance with Resolution 72/258B of 5 July 2018 the General Assembly:

    1. Requests the Secretary-General to prepare an annual budget for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals on a trial basis, beginning with the budget for 2020, and also requests the Secretary-General to conduct a review of this budgetary cycle for the Mechanism in 2022, following the completion of the first full budgetary cycle;
    2. Decides to review at its seventy-seventh session, with a view to taking a final decision, the implementation of the annual budget;

Contingency Fund: Level of resources, set at 0.75 per cent of the overall level of the outline which can be added to the budget to accommodate additional expenditures arising from programme budget implications of mandates or revised estimates of activities not foreseen in the proposed programme budget.

Peacekeeping Reserve Fund: The Peace-keeping Reserve Fund was established in 1992, at a level of $150 million, as a cash flow mechanism to ensure the rapid response of the Organization to the needs of peace-keeping operations.

Working Capital Fund: The Working Capital Fund was established in 1946 to provide advances necessary to finance budgetary appropriations, pending the receipt of contributions, and to finance unforeseen and extraordinary expenses pending appropriation action by the General Assembly.  In 1982 the level of the Fund was set at $100 million, and in July 2006 the General Assembly decided that the level should be increased to $150 million effective 1 January 2007.

Special Account:  The United Nations Special Account was established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 2053 A (XX) of 15 December 1965 to record the results of the Secretary-General’s appeal to the Governments of “all Member States to make voluntary contributions so that the financial difficulties of the Organization may be solved and the future may be faced with renewed hope and confidence.”  By General Assembly resolution 3049 A (XXVII) of 19 December 1972, the Secretary-General was requested to establish a special account into which “voluntary contributions may be paid and used for the purpose of clearing up the past financial difficulties of the United Nations and especially for resolving the short-term deficit of the Organization referred to in the report of the Special Committee on the Financial Situation of the United Nations, and to merge into this account the United Nations Special Account referred to above.”

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