World

UN could run out of money by end of month

UNITED NATIONS : The United Nations is running a deficit of US$230 million (S$318 million), Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, and may run out of money by the end of the month.

In a letter intended for the 37,000 employees at the UN secretariat and obtained by AFP, Mr Guterres said unspecified "additional stop-gap measures" would have to be taken to ensure salaries are paid.

He wrote: "Member states have paid only 70 per cent of the total amount needed for our regular budget operations in 2019.

"This translates into a cash shortage of US$230 million at the end of September. We run the risk of depleting our backup liquidity reserves by the end of the month."

To cut costs, Mr Guterres mentioned postponing conferences and reducing services, while also restricting official travel to only essential activities.

Mr Guterres had asked member states earlier this year to up contributions to head off cash flow problems, but they refused, a UN official said on condition of anonymity.

"The ultimate responsibility for our financial health lies with member states," Mr Guterres said. - AFP

WORLD