The Guardian reports that António Guterres, the UN secretary general, has warned that the organisation is facing an unprecedented shortage of funding for its core budget and will need to make urgent cuts unless member states pay up. The alarm was raised in letters, seen by the Guardian and other news organisations, sent by Guterres to member states and staff.
Guterres told member states that the UN’s core budget was in the red more deeply and earlier in its financial year than it had ever previously experienced. He added that, as of 30 June, core funding had a deficit of $139m (£106m), and said the UN had “never faced such a difficult cash flow situation this early in the calendar year”.
In a second letter sent to staff, seen by the Guardian, Guterres underlined the UN’s precarious finances. “Caused primarily by the delayed contributions of member states to the regular budget, this new cash shortfall is unlike those we have experienced previously,” he wrote, warning the funding crisis posed a risk both to the organisation’s operations and “reputation”.
“Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year, and the broader trend is also concerning: we are running out of cash sooner and staying in the red longer,” wrote Guterres.
“An organisation such as ours should not have to suffer repeated brushes with bankruptcy. But surely, the greater pain is felt by those we serve when we cannot, for want of modest funds, answer their call for help. Guterres wrote.