Noble decision for greater cause! Amid financial crisis at UN, SG Antonio Guterres considers selling posh official residence

News Bharati    05-Jun-2019
United Nations, Jun 5: United Nations is a global body which worked for global welfare and development of each and everyone on the planet. But from last year, the UN is facing a cumulative financial crisis.
 
 
 
To find a solution to this gripping problem, with a noble cause, Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed, he is planning to sell his official four-story residence at New York.
 
Antonio Guterres oathed with he took charge as chief, to help the UN to resolve the worsening financial crisis.
 
While speaking to UN General Assembly’ Fifth Committee on 'Improving the Financial Situation of the Organisation’, Guterres said, “Looking at the Organisation's overall finances, and its financial ratios, can be misleading. We have of course more assets than liabilities but not enough liquid assets. I cannot sell this building”.
 
 
 
He said to the delegates present at the meeting that the first thing he did when he arrived in New York to assume charge as the UN Chief was to ask if he could sell the residence.
 
He said, “I am not joking. It is a true story. I discovered that I couldn't, because the residence can only be sold to the United States of America when we close the doors in New York. Obviously, it is not something that is not, hopefully, going to happen”.
 
The house he is referring to is, is a 14,000-square-foot neo-Georgian townhouse with four floors and a basement. that The residence was once home to the daughter of financier JP Morgan, Anne Morgan and was donated to the United Nations in 1972.
 
From the beginning of his career as SG, Antonio Guterres expressed strong concern over the deteriorating financial health of the UN, attributing the budget crisis to increase in arrears from member states in both the regular and peacekeeping budgets as well as integral structural weaknesses and inflexibilities in the budget methodologies that exacerbate cash shortfalls.
 
He said, “At the end of 2018, we have really reached the bottom”. Further, he added, Five months into this year, arrears are still at USD 492 million.
 
While addressing the financial status of peacekeeping missions, Guterres said, “Outstanding contributions to active peacekeeping operations amount to USD 1.5 billion. At the end of May, despite a cash balance of USD 1.3 billion, which could theoretically cover our operations for about two months, two large missions had the cash to cover a mere two weeks of operations, and three missions were already in deficit”.
 
He added, The United Nations is now financed for prolonged periods by troop- and police-contributing countries. Many of them are low-income countries. At the same time, we are asking them to do more -- to train their personnel and to improve the quality of their equipment.
 
He strongly stated, “The consequence is that the shortage of cash tends to result in delays in payments to troop- and police- contributing countries. These countries have become, in essence, the financiers of the Organisation's liquidity. Which means that we have not decided that that would happen, but the absence of other decisions makes this inevitable, so, it is as if we have collectively decided that to finance the UN, it is the mission of police and troop-contributing countries, even if they are extremely poor”.
 
In conclusion, Guterres said, “said it is important to manage the cash balances of all active peacekeeping operations as a pool, create a Peacekeeping Working Capital Fund of USD 250 million that would give active operations about two months of operating costs, including payments to troop- and police-contributing countries and to temporarily suspend the obligation to return unencumbered balances to Member States”.