United Nations headquarters to stay shut on weekends due to cash crisis

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Oct 19, 2019, 03:29 PM(IST)

United Nations Building. Photograph:( AFP )

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As of October 10 2019, 131 Member States have paid their regular budget assessments in full.

The United Nations Headquarters in New York City will be closed on weekends owing to the ongoing cash crisis.

On October 8 Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said that the United Nations is running a deficit of $230 million and may run out of money by the end of October.

As of October 10 2019, 131 Member States have paid their regular budget assessments in full.

The 34 member states which paid their regular budget assessments in full before January 31, 2019, include India, Australia, and Canada.

Additional 97 states paid their dues in full by in the period after January 31 and leading up to October 10 2019. These include the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, France, Russia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

In a letter sent out earlier this month intended for the 37,000 employees at the U.N. secretariat and obtained by AFP, Guterres said unspecified "additional stop-gap measures" would have to be taken to ensure salaries and entitlements are paid.

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Majority of the member countries (127) paid their dues in the month of September with the least number of payments (37) coming in the month of January.

"Member States have paid only 70 per cent of the total amount needed for our regular budget operations in 2019. This translates into a cash shortage of $230 million at the end of September. We run the risk of depleting our backup liquidity reserves by the end of the month," he wrote.

To cut costs, Guterres mentioned postponing conferences and meetings and reducing services, while also restricting official travel to only essential activities and taking measures to save energy.

Guterres had asked member states earlier this year to up contributions to the world body to head off cash flow problems, but they refused, a U.N. official said on condition of anonymity.

"The ultimate responsibility for our financial health lies with the Member States," Guterres said.

Not including what it pays for peacekeeping operations, the U.N.'s operating budget for 2018-2019 is close to $5.4 billion, with the United States contributing 22 per cent.

(With inputs from AFP)

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