United Nations Confronting Worst Liquidity Crisis in Recent Years

Global Governance – Fiscal Stability

11 October 2019
GA/AB/4332
United Nations Confronting Worst Liquidity Crisis in Recent Years, Top Management Official Says, Presenting Key Financial Indicators for 2019 to Fifth Committee
…Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, said the United Nations risks starting November with insufficient cash to cover even payrolls and uncertainty about paying its vendors on time. Unpaid assessed contributions as of 4 October 2019 totalled nearly $1.4 billion, $299 million higher than last year. Ms. Pollard detailed the Organization’s three main financial categories — the regular budget, peacekeeping operations and the international tribunals — for the Fifth Committee.

She said the cash shortfall in the regular budget exists despite the Secretariat’s attempts to curb costs since the beginning of the year by slowing hiring and curtailing several non-post expenditures. It also shifted money from the Working Capital Fund in July and borrowed from the Special Account in August. “The cash deficits occur earlier in the year, linger longer and run deeper,” she said. “For the second successive year, we have exhausted all regular budget liquidity reserves, despite several measures we had taken to reduce expenditures to align them with available liquidity.”

The ongoing financial uncertainty has compelled the Organization to manage expenditures based on liquidity rather than programme delivery, which runs counter to the Secretariat’s efforts to focus less on inputs and more on results, she said. “Unless these structural and liquidity issues are addressed expeditiously, our work and our reforms will be at increasing risk,” she warned…