UN Chief Warns That Cash Flow Problems Will Force Expense Cuts

(Bloomberg) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned member states that the organization is facing “troubling” funding issues as a result of delayed dues payments that will force reductions in non-staff costs.

“This new cash shortfall is unlike those we have experienced previously,” Guterres wrote in a letter Thursday obtained by Bloomberg News. “Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year, and the broader trend is also concerning: we are running out of cash sooner and staying in the red longer.”

Guterres said he’s asking the organization’s management department to seek ways to reduce costs without compromising policy goals and added that he’s “appealed to Member States to pay their assessments on time and in full.”

Guterres’s letter didn’t single out any countries to blame for late or insufficient payments, but, separately, the UN said 112 members have paid their regular budget dues in full so far. Eighty-one nations, including the U.S., Argentina, Syria, Venezuela and Belarus, haven’t done so.

The organization has received $1.49 billion so far this year, down from $1.7 billion at this time last year, according to the UN, and $809 million short of its regular budget.

United Nations member states pay dues based on a formula previously agreed to. The U.S. is the UN’s top contributor, providing about 28 percent of the $7.3 billion peacekeeping budget and approximately 22 percent of the core budget of $2.7 billion.

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