UN Is Running Out Of Money While The U.S. Still Owes $491 Million For 2019
The United Nations is in financial distress, Yahoo Finance reported this week, and not helping matters is the outstanding $491 million the United States still owes for 2019.
UN Secretary General’s Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told Yahoo Finance that the U.S. has made only partial payments for 2019, the most recent occurring on December 2.
But this is not uncommon for the U.S., according to American University Associate Professor Tamar Gutner, who told the publication: “The U.S. is often late in paying its dues because the U.S. budgetary cycle is different from the UN.”
“The UN asked for members to pay their dues in the first month of the calendar year, and the U.S. typically pays in the fall. So that's been a problem for a long time,” he added.
UN officials reported in October that the organization’s financial situation was becoming “more dire than the year before,” noting a “growing downward trend” and cash deficits from earlier in the year tending to “linger longer and run deeper.”
The U.S. is “responsible for 22% of the regular budget and 28% of the peacekeeping budget,” Yahoo Finance reported, making its failure to pay up in full problematic for the international body.
“This month, we will reach the deepest deficit of the decade,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told member states in October. “We risk exhausting the closed peacekeeping cash reserves, and entering November without enough cash to cover payrolls.... Our work and our reforms are at risk.”
He also asked that members “recommit to paying your financial obligations on time and in full.”
Despite Guterres’ call to break out the checkbooks, about 50 member states have yet to pay in full, including the U.S.
“An official from the U.S. mission previously said that D.C. is committed to meeting the payments in the fall,” Yahoo Finance reported. “But history suggests that the delay in payments could be a result of political intent.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly disparaged the UN, saying in 2017 that the U.S. was carrying too great a share of the financial burden.
“We must ensure that no one and no member state shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden and that’s militarily or financially,” Trump said at the time, and his position has not changed since.
Still, UN officials remain optimistic that the issue will be resolved in the near future.