UN appeals to CARICOM to pay mandatory contributions

United Nations Secretary General Secretary-General António Guterres has urged Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other member states to pay their mandatory contributions “on time and in full,” warning that the global body is “at risk of running out of cash.”

In a letter to UN staff,  Guterres  on Thursday said that he had “written to member states regarding the troubling financial situation facing the United Nations.”

The UN chief said it was necessary for the world body to continue delivering on its key mandates.

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Unusual cash shortfall

“Caused primarily by the delayed contributions of Member States to the Regular Budget, this new cash shortfall is unlike those we have experienced previously”, he wrote.

At the end of June this year, the UN said the amount of money paid by member states for the 2018 assessment stood at around US$1.49 billion.  At the same time last year, the amount paid to the regular budget was just over US$1.70 billion.

Five delinquent Caribbean countries

In a table complementing the report, the UN said that, as of Wednesday, 112 member-states have paid their regular budget assessments in full, with only five of the 14-member CARICOM states having done so. They are –  Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and St. Lucia.

“I have appealed to member states to pay their assessments on time and in full, and highlighted the risk the current situation poses to the delivery of mandates and to the reputation of our organization,” Guterres noted.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters here, his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said  the UN fully understands that some member states operate on different fiscal timetables, “but, unlike in previous years, the cash flow has never been this low, so early in the calendar year.”

He also said the UN does not have much financial flexibility “and relies on member states to pay their dues on time and in full.”

Dujarric said  the UN Secretariat would now be looking into ways of reducing expenses, “with a focus on non-staff cost savings.”

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