Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General says the organisation is facing a severe paucity of funds, the worst in nearly 10 years.

Guterres told the member states on Tuesday that the organisation “runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors".

He said only 70 percent of the total budget assessment for 2019, amounting to $1.99 billion, had been paid as of the end of September, leaving a balance of $1.3 billion.

The current figure, according to him, is eight percent lower than the 78 percent payment recorded in the same period in 2018.

“Unless more Governments pay their annual dues, our work and our reforms are at risk,” UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, quoted him as telling the budget-setting Fifth Committee of the General Assembly.

Dujarric told journalists in New York that although 129 out of the 193 nations had now paid their regular annual dues, others needed to pay “urgently and in full”.

“This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally.

“The secretary-general further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing,’’ he added.

Guterres said the financial shortage in October could have reached $600 million had the organisation not “contained expenditures globally from the beginning of the year”.

“To date, we have averted major disruptions to operations, but these measures are no longer enough.

“The secretariat could face a default on salaries and payments for goods and services by the end of November unless more member states pay their budget dues in full.

“The secretary-general noted that this is a recurrent problem that severely hampers the Secretariat’s ability to fulfill its obligations to the people we serve.

“We are now driven to prioritize our work on the basis of the availability of cash, thus undermining the implementation of mandates decided by inter-governmental bodies,’’ Dujarric said.

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