Prompt, Full Payment Key to Carrying Out United Nations Mandate amid ‘Precarious’ Cash Position of Regular Budget, Top Management Official Tells Fifth Committee

GA/AB/4293
16 October 2018
Seventy-third Session, 5th Meeting (AM)

Prompt, Full Payment Key to Carrying Out United Nations Mandate amid ‘Precarious’ Cash Position of Regular Budget, Top Management Official Tells Fifth Committee

The cash position of the Organization’s regular budget is precarious, the United Nations senior management official told members of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today as she laid out the Organization’s key financial indicators for 2018.

Jan Beagle, Under‑Secretary‑General for Management, detailed the Organization’s three main financial categories - the regular budget, peacekeeping operations and the international tribunals - for the Fifth Committee delegates.  For details and charts, please see bit.ly/2Ez1IFY.

“The cash situation of the regular budget continues to be precarious, with deficits becoming larger and arising earlier in the year,” Ms. Beagle said, noting that that regular budget shortfall, which was $139 million as of 30 June, had reached $365 million by 30 September.  This exhausted the reserves of $353 million, which is comprised of $150 million from the Working Capital Fund and $203 million from the Special Account.

The unpaid regular budget assessments at the start of 2018 were $531 million, up $122 million from the unpaid assessments tallied at the start of 2017, she said.  Assessments were issued in 2018 at a level of $2.5 billion.  While assessments in 2018 were $91 million less than in 2017, unpaid contributions as of 30 September 2018 were only $7 million less than the same date in 2017.  As a result, a total of $1.1 billion remained unpaid as of 30 September 2018.

By September’s end, 141 Member States had paid their regular budget contributions in full, seven more than at the same date last year, she said.  Since the 30 September cut‑off date, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia and Yemen had joined this group.

Chart 6 details the amounts outstanding as of 30 September 2018 from all Member States who have not paid, or who have not yet paid in full, their assessed contributions, she said.  Ms. Beagle urged the remaining Member States to pay their regular budget contributions in full as soon as possible as the final outcome of 2018 will depend on their actions.

Turning to peacekeeping operations, Ms. Beagle said changing demands for peacekeeping activities makes it difficult to predict financial requirements.  In addition, the financial period of peacekeeping operations runs from 1 July to 30 June, assessments are issued separately for each operation, and the assessment letters are issued for different periods throughout the year.  The letters can only be issued through the mandate period approved for each mission by the Security Council.

Referring to Chart 7, Ms. Beagle said a total of $4.9 billion has been assessed for peacekeeping operations in 2018.  Contributions received by 30 September of this year totalled $4.3 billion.  The total amount of unpaid peacekeeping assessments, as of 30 September 2018, was slightly more than $2.5 billion.

At the end of 30 September, $92 million was owed to Member States for troops and formed police units, she said.  For contingent‑owned equipment claims, $43 million was owed for active missions and $86 million for closed missions.  Payments for troops and formed police units are current for all missions up to July 2018, except for the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH); United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO); United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).  Contingent‑owned claims are current for all missions up to June 2018, except for MINUJUSTH, MINURSO, UNFICYP and the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Of the total $221 million owed to Member States, $9 million earmarked for troop and formed police units for UNFICYP and UNISFA as well as $24 million for contingent‑owned equipment claims for UNAMID have been paid, she said.

Ms. Beagle said the Secretary‑General is committed to meeting obligations to Member States providing troops and equipment as quickly as possible as the cash situation permits.  She reassured Member States that the Office was monitoring cash flow closely and minimizing payments based on available cash and dates.  “To do so, however, we depend on Member States meeting their financial obligations to the United Nations in full and on time,” she said, adding that the expeditious finalization of Memorandums of Understanding with contingent‑owned equipment contributors is also important.

Chart 10 shows the breakdown of unpaid peacekeeping assessments as of 30 September and lists amounts outstanding from these Member States as of 30 September 2017, she said.  Payments were received from the United States, France and Italy after the cut‑off date.  Chart 11 provides an overview of outstanding amounts by peacekeeping operation.  The $2.5 billion outstanding as of 30 September includes about $2.1 billion owed for active missions and $426 million for closed missions.

Ms. Beagle said Chart 13 details the cash available for peacekeeping operations, with approximately $1.6 billion earmarked for active missions, $153 million for closed missions, and a Peacekeeping Reserve Fund of $141 million.

The total cash available for peacekeeping operations as of 30 September 2018 is about $1.9 billion and the amount is segregated to adhere to the General Assembly’s decision to maintain separate accounts for each mission, she said.  The Assembly has specified that no peacekeeping mission should be financed from other active peacekeeping missions and the use of the Peacekeeping Fund is restricted to new operations and the expansion of existing operations.

Turning to the financial conditions of the international tribunals, she said Chart 14 lays out the overall status of assessments of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.  As of 30 September 2018, the total outstanding for the tribunals tallied $68 million, $19 million more than one year ago.

Chart 15 provides more detail on the tribunals.  The $68.2 million outstanding as of 30 September 2018 includes $7.7 million for the Rwanda Tribunal; $30.1 million for the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal; and $30.4 million for the Residual Mechanism.  The reason for the Mechanism’s lower figure is that its assessment was issued in July, after the appropriation was approved on 5 July 2018.  For the Former Yugoslavia Tribunal, last assessed in 2016, 165 Member States have paid in full.

Chart 18 summarizes the outstanding assessments for tribunals at year‑end and at the end of September 2018, she said.  Chart 19 lays out the month‑by‑month position of the overall cash balances for the tribunals over the last three years.  The cash position is currently positive, yet the final outcome of 2018 depends on Member States continuing to honour their financial obligations during the year’s remaining months.

Referring to Chart 20, Ms. Beagle said the Secretary‑General expressed his deep appreciation to the 43 Member States that have paid their assessments.  She added that the financial health of the Organization depends on Member States meeting their financial obligations in full and on time.  “A sound cash flow is essential for the Organization to deliver on its mandates,” she said.  “For our part, the Secretariat is committed to use the resources entrusted to it in a cost‑effective and efficient manner, and to provide information to Member States with utmost transparency.”

The Fifth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 18 October, to discuss construction and property management and the administration of justice.

For information media. Not an official record.