The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres on Monday said the body is running a deficit of $230 million and may run out of money by the end of October.
In a letter intended for the 37,000 employees at the UN secretariat, Guterres said unspecified ‘additional stop-gap measures’ would have to be taken to ensure that salaries and entitlements were paid.
“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,” Guterres wrote.
To cut costs, Guterres said the UN has taken some measures like postponing conferences and meetings and reducing services. It is for now also restricting official travel to only essential activities and taking measures to save energy.
“The ultimate responsibility for our financial health lies with Member States,” Guterres added.
A UN official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Guterres had earlier this year asked member states to up contributions to the world body to tackle cash flow problems but they refused.
Besides what it pays for peacekeeping operation in troubled member states, the UN’s operating budget for 2018-2019 is close to $5.4 billion, with the United States contributing 22 percent.