The United Nations is completely out of funding and is currently running at a $230 million deficit, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres revealed on Monday.
CBS News reports Guterres said in a letter sent to the 37,000 employees employed at the UN secretariat that if the international governing body is unable to obtain “additional stop-gap measures” to keep it afloat, then drastic changes would have to be made.
“Member States have paid only 70 percent 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,” he wrote.
According to the report, member states are refusing to pay their full share—an effort led by the United States and President Trump. Trump has repeatedly said it was not fair that the U.S. should have to pay more to the UN if other countries were not required to do so—or were paying at a lower rate:
To cut costs, Guterres mentioned postponing conferences and meetings and reducing services, while also restricting official travel to only essential activities and taking measures to save energy.
Although 129 States out of 193 have now paid their regular annual dues, the most recent being Syria, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents at the regular briefing in New York, others needed to pay “urgently and in full”.
“This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.”
Guterres had asked member states earlier this year to up contributions to the world body to head off cash flow problems, but they refused, a UN official told French news agency AFP on condition of anonymity.
The United States currently pays 22 percent of the UN’s operating budget, not including peacekeeping operations.
President Trump, who has repeatedly instructed the international body to force other countries to pay more, again echoed this suggestion in a response to an article detailing the UN financial woes.
“So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!” Trump tweeted.
So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States! https://t.co/IVbE4MqBVl
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2019
CBS News adds:
As the Council on Foreign Relations explained earlier this year, U.S. contributions are vital to the UN’s operations, and cuts to discretionary contributions implemented by Mr. Trump’s administration have already forced the UN agency that serves Palestinian refugees to make deep cuts.
The White House has been pushing for a broad reassessment of the U.S. contribution to the UN budget since Mr. Trump took office.