50 Member States Still to Pay 2012 UN Dues, Including US

Jan. 2, 2013 – Fifty UN member states have yet to pay their dues to the organization’s Regular Budget for 2012, including the United States – the largest contributor by some distance, assessed to pay 22 percent of the $2.5bln budgeted for last year.

A tally, or “honour roll” as it’s called by the UN, shows that 143 countries have paid their dues to the Regular Budget – which pays staff wages and related costs in eight headquarter locations in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Regular Budget also covers international conferences, public information work, human rights promotion, and special UN missions to conflict areas.

Nine countries contribute about 70 percent of the total budget: US – $568mln; Japan – $296mln; Germany – $189mln; UK – $156mln; France – $144mln; Italy – $118mln; Canada – $75mln; Spain – $75mln; and China – $75mln. The US is the only one of the nine not to have paid its dues by Dec 31, 2012.

Among the countries that also have not yet paid are Comoros, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan, *South Sudan, and Venezuela.

The two countries with the lowest assessments – Central African Republic and the Solomon Islands – have both paid their $23,000 share.

Republican lawmakers are quick to pour scorn on the UN but a closer look at what the US gains from the organization – strictly in economic terms – paints a different picture.

Of the 43,000 staff working for the UN Secretariat, some 2,700 are US citizens, or 6.2% of the total staff. Japan, the second highest financial contributor, has a mere 167 staff members or 0.59%, according to the latest available Composition of the Secretariat report.

In addition, a 2010 report from UN Foundation showed that the UN Secretariat procured more than $832 million from US companies in 2010. The report also said that the economic benefit to New York City by having UN Headquarters located in the city is about $3.3bln annually.

– Denis Fitzgerald 

(Separate to economic benefits, the US – as well as holding a veto in the Security Council – is also allocated the key top political post in the UN – Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, currently Jeffrey Feltman. It also gets to nominate the head of the UN children’s agency, UNICEF, currently Anthony Lake; and the World Food Program, currently, Ertharin Cousin.)

* South Sudan was admitted to the UN in July 2011, after the Budget Committee met in June and thus was not assessed.