New York – The United Nations warned on Thursday that a cut to its funding would impact its operations.
It made the announcement shortly after United States President Donald Trump unveiled his first budget proposal that includes a slash in funding to the world body.
Secretary General Antonio Guterres “is totally committed to reforming the United Nations and ensuring that it is fit for purpose and delivers results in the most efficient and cost-effective manner,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
“However, abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts.”
Guterres “stands ready to discuss with the United States and any other member state how best we can create a more cost-effective organization to pursue our shared goals and values,” said the spokesman.
The secretary general, who took office at the start of the year, has met several times with Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, he added.
“In many areas, the UN spends more money than it should, and in many ways it places a much larger financial burden on the United States than on other countries,” Haley said in a statement.
Trump’s budget proposal, unveiled Thursday, calls for a cut in US funding to the UN, and says Washington “would not contribute more than 25 percent for UN peacekeeping costs.”
The US is the biggest contributor to the UN, paying 22 percent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 percent of the $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget. These are assessed contributions agreed by the UN General Assembly.
The US currently owes the UN $896 million for its core budget.
When asked about the budget cuts, France’s ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, told reporters that the world more than ever needed “a strong UN and an America that stays committed to world affairs.”
“America’s retreat and unilateralization or even the perception of it by other players would create the risk of coming back to the old ‘spheres of influence’ policy, and history teaches us that it has only led to more instability,” Delattre added.
In 2016, the United States was the top contributor to the UNDP’s core budget, with an $83 million donation; the leading donor to UNICEF’s core budget in 2015 with $132 million; and the fourth-largest donor to the UNFPA, giving $75 million in core budget and earmarked contributions.