UN in crisis: Forced to freeze hiring, stops use of escalators and ACs

UN Cash Crisis

The United Nations is facing the worst financial crunch as it has run out of cash. This is because nearly one-third of its members failed to pay their dues. UN says if this crisis continues, it will be unable to pay salaries from December.

The world body to deal with the crisis has taken these measures which in its own words is the UN’s “worst crisis in nearly a decade”.

António Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, in a letter addressed to the heads of all UN departments said these emergency measures would affect working conditions and operations until further notice.

In his letter, the UN chief said if the dues aren’t paid in full on time, the United Nations may have to deplete its liquidity reserves by the end of October and default on payments to staff and vendors. Guterres has requested the 65 defaulter countries to pay their remaining dues. 

Percentage of Funds 

The United Nations receives its funds from its member states for its smooth functioning. As per the UN Charter, each member is supposed to pay a certain amount every year.

Article 17of the charter says: “The expenses of the organization shall be borne by the members as apportioned by the General Assembly.”

The amount to be paid depends on each country depends on the various factors such as a country’s gross national income, its ability to pay, external debt, etc. The five permanent members of the Security Council are the US, the UK, France, China, and Russia–pay the maximum and have a rate higher than others. The United States of America is the highest contributor and pays 22% of the total UN budget, which is the highest permissible limit. Russia pays 2.40%, the UK 4.5 percent, France 4.42 percent and China 12 percent and India’s contribution is 0.831 percent of the UN budget. For remaining countries, the amount is decided based on a country’s economy with the least developed countries paying the least amount.

Reason for crisis 

Sixty-five countries failed to pay their dues in full this year on October 4. The cumulative amount stands at $1.38 billion and is the reason to make the world body become prey to financial crunch. US President Donald Trump in a tweet, said that the UN chief should ask all countries instead of asking the only US. The funds should be shared by all.

Emergency measures

As emergency measures, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ordered all the UN offices to cut their expenses. These measures include freezing hiring, cancel meetings, stopping the use of escalators, reducing air conditioning and heating, and limiting official travel to name a few. The UN staffs are even asked to reduce official travel, postpone expenses on goods and services and cancel the events scheduled after official hours at headquarters. They may postpone their meetings or conferences to relieve the crisis. 

The statement said if the measures were not taken by the UN chief, the UN would not have the funds for the recently conducted General Assembly session.

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