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Not An UNprecedented Condition

Important meetings have been postponed… escalators have been stopped… high-ranking officials have been asked not to travel foreign countries for official purposes… the maintenance staff have received orders to turn off the air conditioners… translation works in different languages have also been suspended. On top of these, even the fountain, made by the American schoolchildren in 1952 outside the Headquarters, has been shut down. This, now, is the current situation at UN Headquarters in New York! Similar restrictions have recently been imposed in all UN offices across the globe, as the World Body is facing the greatest financial crisis of the decade!

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UN Headquarters

The situation prompted UN Secretary General António Guterres to send letters to the Chiefs of all the major departments, and also to 37,000 employees at the UN Secretariat, asking them to cut their spending. He clearly mentioned in the letter that the emergency measures “will affect working conditions and operations until further notice”. After receiving his letter on October 11, each and every department implemented the order on October 14.

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António Guterres

Catherine Pollard, the Under-Secretary General of the UN (for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance), informed the General Assembly’s Budget Committee that 128 of 193 member countries had paid USD 1.99 billion in dues for the UN’s 2019 Operating Budget by October 4. However, 65 countries are yet to pay USD 1.386 billion, including more than USD 1 billion by the US. Speaking at a media conference last week, Pollard said: “The Regular Budget has been facing severe liquidity issues in recent years, with a growing downward trend whereby, each year, the situation becomes more dire than the year before.” She added: “The cash deficits occur earlier in the year, linger longer and run deeper.

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Catherine Pollard

Meanwhile, India’s Permanent Representative at the UN Syed Akbaruddin has claimed that the South Asian nation paid all its dues. On Twitter, he also mentioned names of 35 countries who had paid their dues. According to the senior Indian diplomat, the UN is currently more than USD 200 million in the red, with the US, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, South Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Israel and Saudi Arabia are among the countries still to clear their payments.

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Perhaps, the Global Community has lost interest in establishing fraternity, and maintaining peace!

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