11 May 2018
Seventy-second Session, 37th Meeting (PM)

Cash Balances Positive for Peacekeeping, Tribunals, Regular Budget, Management Chief Tells Fifth Committee in Briefing on United Nations Financial Situation

The United Nations senior management official today laid out the Organization’s semi-annual financial situation to Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) members gathered for the second part of a resumed seventy-second session focusing on the multibillion dollar financing needs of more than a dozen active peacekeeping missions.

Jan Beagle, Under-Secretary-General for Management, provided an overview of the Organization’s finances by focusing on four main financial indicators: the amounts of assessed contributions; unpaid assessed contributions; available cash; and outstanding payment to Member States.  While the cut-off date for inputs for the presentation was 30 April 2018, Ms. Beagle provided updates throughout her presentation.

At the end of 2017, cash balances were positive for peacekeeping operations and tribunals, but the regular budget experienced cash shortfalls in the year’s last quarter.  “This is a troubling pattern that has been experienced in recent years,” she said.  “More recently, at the end of April 2018, cash balances were positive for all categories.”

Turning first to the regular budget, Ms. Beagle said assessments were issued in 2018 at a level of $2.5 billion, $91 million less than the 2017 level.  Payments received by 30 April 2018 totaled $1.5 billion.  Unpaid assessed contributions at 30 April 2018 were $1.6 billion, up by $166 million over a year ago.  By the end of 2017, 145 Member States had paid their regular budget assessments in full, the same number as at the end of 2016, she said.

By the end of 30 April 2018, 88 Member States had paid their assessments to the regular budget in full, she said.  Of the $1.6 billion outstanding for the regular budget as of 30 April, the largest amounts, included in Chart 5, were owed by the United States at $938 million, followed by Japan at $144 million and Brazil at $134 million.

The United Kingdom had paid in full the $66 million it had owed at the end of April.  And Andorra, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania and San Marino had also paid their assessments in full, bringing the total to 93 Member States, she said.

She urged all Member States to pay their assessed contribution in full as soon as possible.  “The final outcome for 2018 will depend on actions taken by Member States,” she said.

Fifth Committee Chairman Michel Tommo Monthe (Cameroon) said the Committee would hold its general discussion on the financial situation on Friday, 18 May.  The information from today’s presentation will be incorporated into a report from the Secretary-General on improving the financial situation of the Organization.

Ms. Beagle said cash resources available for the regular budget under the General Fund included the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account.  There were cash shortfalls in the last months of 2017, which were covered by the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account and the final position as of 31 December 2017 reflected a cash shortfall of $278 million under the regular budget.  By April’s end, the cash position had improved due to Member States’ contributions and it now stood as $330 million.

Monthly cash positions from 2016 to 2018, reflected in Chart 8, showed the regular budget cash position was now positive, but also showed the declining cash levels as the year progressed and the deteriorating level at year end.  “Given the limited reserves available in the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account, the final outcome will depend largely on the payments to be made by Member States in coming months,” Ms. Beagle added.

Turning to peacekeeping operations, Ms. Beagle said the changing demand for peacekeeping activities made it difficult to predict financial requirements.  In addition, the financial period for peacekeeping operations was different, running from 1 July to 30 June rather than the calendar year, assessment letters were issued for each operation, and assessment letters were issued for different periods throughout the year.

At year-end 2017, the total amount outstanding for peacekeeping operations was $1.9 billion; it was $2.3 billion as of 30 April 2018, she said.  In 2018, new assessments of $1.5 billion had been issued to date and payments of $1.1 billion had been received.

With respect to troop costs and contingent-owned equipment, the amount outstanding at year-end 2017 was $796 million, a decrease compared to the $810 million owed at year-end 2016, she said.  As of 30 April 2018, the amount outstanding tallied $1.2 billion.  The Secretariat made every effort to expedite outstanding payments, which were dependent on income from assessments, to Member States.  The current outstanding amounts included payments related to additional appropriations approved in December 2017 for the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) ($416 million) and the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) ($86 million), for which assessments were made in January 2018.

In addition, troop payments were scheduled for next week for UNAMID and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and further payments were planned by the end of the quarter, she said.

Unpaid peacekeeping assessments as of 30 April 2018 were shown in Chart 12 and tallied $2.27 billion.  A payment from China, which had owed $67 million, was made after the cut-off date and brought that country up-to-date with its payments.  The $2.3 billion in unpaid peacekeeping assessments as of 30 April 2018, shown in Chart 13, indicated that $1.9 billion was owed for active missions and $414 million for closed missions.  For active missions, $798 million related to 2018 assessments, while $1.1 billion related to assessments in 2017 and before.

At year-end 2017, 29 Member States had paid all peacekeeping assessments in full, and as of 30 April 2018, 38 Member States had fully paid, as shown in Chart 15, she said.  Since the cut-off date, payments had been received from Bhutan, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, India, Israel, Nauru and the Russian Federation.

While the total cash available for peacekeeping (including the reserve) at year-end 2017 was about $3 billion, that amount was segregated in accordance with the General Assembly’s decision to maintain separate accounts for each mission, she said.  The use of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund was restricted to new operations and expansion of existing operations.  Chart 16 showed the breakdown of peacekeeping cash.  At year-end 2017 it consisted of $2.7 billion in the accounts of active missions, $177 million in closed missions accounts, and the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund of $138 million.

Regarding the International Tribunals, as of 31 December 2017, 114 Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full, with outstanding assessments for Tribunals tallying $47 million, she said.  As of 30 April 2018, $83.2 million was unpaid, including amounts still outstanding for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was last assessed in 2016.

“As always Mr. Chairman, the financial health of our Organization depends on Member States meeting their financial obligations in full and on time.  For our part, the Secretariat pledges to use funds entrusted to it in a cost-effective manner, and to provide information with the utmost transparency,” she said.

For information media. Not an official record.