The UN is warning that it may default on its bills by the end of the month unless member states pay up.
The cash crunch is a result of nations not paying their dues on time. Contributions are down about 10% compared to this time last year.
The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors,” a statement by Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“Stressing the Charter obligation of Member States, the Secretary-General thanked the Member States who have paid their regular budget assessments, which is now 129, and urged those who have not paid to do so urgently and in full,” the statement said. “This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.”
The U.S. is not one of the deadbeat nations.
“To date this year, we have contributed over $600 million to UN peacekeeping operations, and will be providing the vast majority of the $674 million we owe to the 2019 regular budget this fall, as we have in past years,” the official said. “Overall the United States, as the largest contributor to the UN, contributes roughly $10 billion annually in assessed and voluntary contributions across the United Nations system.”
The official also said the U.S. has been clear that no single member should pay for more than a quarter of the U.N. budget. (The U.S. currently pays approximately 22 percent of the U.N.’s operating budget.)
Donald Trump reiterated that demand.
So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States! https://t.co/IVbE4MqBVl
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
Trump is late to this party. Presidents since Reagan have been cutting back U.S. contributions to the UN across the board.
Naturally, the first thing a sensible country might want to ask is, “Where does the money go?”
“That’s a good question,” the UN might respond. “We’ll get back to you on that.”
Indeed, a former assistant UN secretary-general, Anthony Banbury, once wrote in the New York Times, “I was unprepared for the blur of Orwellian admonitions and Carrollian logic that govern” the secretariat. “If you locked a team of evil geniuses in a laboratory, they could not design a bureaucracy so maddeningly complex, requiring so much effort but in the end incapable of delivering the intended result. The system is a black hole into which disappear countless tax dollars and human aspirations, never to be seen again,” he said.
John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, once famously remarked that if the United Nations headquarters building in New York “lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” Considering that dollars “disappear down a black hole,” perhaps we should double Bolton’s suggestion.