United Nations: Status of U.S. Contributions and Arrears - GAO Report
|Date:||July 28, 1999|
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Federal aid to foreign countries
Future budget projections
Central African Republic
East Timor (Indonesia)
To reduce its arrears and avoid losing the right to vote in the U.N. General Assembly, the United States will need to pay about $153 million in addition to the $508 million that the State Department now expects to pay before the end of 1999. The United States risks losing its vote in the General Assembly in January 2000 because the sum of its assessed contributions for the last two years--the "yardstick" for measuring U.S. arrears when applying Article 19--had declined each year since 1996. This decline largely reflects a decrease in assessments for U.N. peacekeeping operations since 1995. In essence, the United States now faces the loss of its right to vote in the General Assembly because its assessed contributions are substantially less than in 1996 while its arrears have stayed about the same. This explains why, with basically the same level of arrears as in past years, the United States narrowly avoided losing its right to vote on January 1, 1999. U.N. records show that U.S. arrears for regular budget, international tribunals and peacekeeping operations totaled $1,294 million on January 1, 1999. Of this amount, the United States has refused to pay $472 million--about 36 percent--for legislative and policy reasons. The United Nations reported in February 1999 that 44 of the 185 U.N. members had arrears equaling or exceeding their assessed contributions for the preceding two full years as of January 1, 1999. As of mid-May, six of these members had paid enough to regain their right to vote in the General Assembly; eight others were allowed to vote temporarily because their failure to pay was judged to be due to conditions beyond their control, such as civil wars or natural disasters. The remaining 30 members lost the right to vote in the General Assembly.