India has voiced concerns over a whopping $1.3 billion unpaid assessments at the United Nations even as the current regular budget financial year ends in three months.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday (October 8) that the UN may run out of money for operations by the end of October as the world body is struggling with a deficit of $230 million. Guterres raised the alarm last year too and said that the organisation was facing an unprecedented shortage of funding for its core budget and will need to make urgent cuts unless member states pay up.
“We note with concern that while the current regular budget financial year ends in three months, around 1.3 billion dollars of assessments for this and past year are outstanding. These unpaid assessments will have implications on the work of this Committee also during the session,” First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Mahesh Kumar said on Monday.
Speaking at a session of the Organization of Work of the Fifth Committee, which deals with administrative and budgetary matters, Kumar said that it was important to emphasise that payment of an assessed contribution in full, on time, and without preconditions is a legal obligation of the member states.
He also said that during the last few sessions, the Committee had deliberated and approved major reforms proposed by the Secretary-General.
In this regard, the annual budget for the Organisation, perhaps the most important and complex element of the reforms, has also been approved on a trial basis. “While discussing the budget figures for 2020, we should also seek its alignment with established budgetary procedures and practices. Our task has been that the reforms, while rationalising processes and structures, should also strengthen the intergovernmental nature of the UN,” he said.
Kumar stressed that India hoped that the efficiencies generated from the reforms would be utilised for the developmental work of the organisation. He voiced concerns over the proposed cut in the budget of bodies like United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UN Economic Commission for Africa, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia.
India also expressed support for Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia, who would have ordinarily fulfilled their financial obligations to the UN but for the genuine economic difficulties faced by them.
“We fully endorse the recommendation of Committee on Contributions that these member states be permitted to vote in the General Assembly until the end of its seventy-fourth session,” Kumar said.