The United Nations is facing a severe cash crunch as most of the member nations have been defaulting on their payments. As UN chief Antonio Guterres had informed recently that the UN may run out of money by the end of this month, the organisation has been taking serious cost-cutting measures.
In the UN headquarters at New York City, after-hour meetings and late-night receptions have been stopped. The building restricts Air Conditioning after 6 pm till the 8 am in the next morning. Heating and drinking water outlets are limited too.
As per reports, the organisation is preparing for more cost-cutting measures, like cancelling the freebies like water bottles and such at conferences, and additional services like translations and prompt availability of documents are expected to be limited and delayed too.
Some reports have stated that the UN does not even have the money to pay staff salaries for the month of November
The 39-storied secretariat building has shut down many of its water fountains and escalators. As per reports, UN chief Guterres has sent a letter to all department heads, offices and special political missions informing them of the problem’s severity.
Bring your sweaters and your sneakers to the #UN next week! Austerity measures going into effect on Monday include shutting down some escalators and adjusting the thermostat. UN is facing a major cash shortage and is asking member states to pay their 2019 assessments asap!
— Margaret Besheer (@mbesheer) October 11, 2019
In his letter, Guterres reportedly mentioned that beginning October 14, austerity measures will be implemented and it will affect working conditions and operations until further notice. The organisation has also stopped new hirings.
The UN’s cash crisis is mainly due to member nations not paying their annual assessment bills.
“Member states have paid only 70% 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,” Guterres had written earlier.
India is one of the only 35 of the 193 member nations that have paid all their dues to the UN. Apart from this, the UN also owes India a staggering 38 million USD for contributing peacekeeping forces. India’s ambassador to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin had shared an image where the names of the nations that have made full payments to the UN was displayed at the headquarters.
— Syed Akbaruddin (@AkbaruddinIndia) October 11, 2019
The US owes the highest amount to the UN. According to UN officials, the United States owed $381 million to the regular budget as of January 1 and $776 million to the peacekeeping budget.
However, US President Donald Trump has stated recently that the US is being billed unfairly and the UN should make all the nations pay, not just the US.