Are there any funded Model UN conferences

The United Nations

How are the United Nations and its work such as the UN peace missions financed? Which states pay how much? And where does the often lamented underfunding of the UN come from?

Funding the United Nations. License: cc by-nc-nd / 3.0 / de /

The financing system of the United Nations is based on three main pillars: the compulsory contributions to the regular budget, the compulsory contribution levies to finance peace missions and international tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR = International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) and the former Yugoslavia (ICTY = International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) as well as the voluntary contributions of the member states.

The regular budget consists of the compulsory contributions of its members. This finances the central organs, such as the secretariat, the general assembly, the specialist committees and sub-committees. The amount of the budget and the respective compulsory contributions is decided by the General Assembly. These compulsory contributions are calculated using a contribution key that is adopted every three years by the member states on the recommendation of the contribution committee. The basis for the contribution key are the respective shares of the member states in the world gross national product (measured over the past six years) and the solvency of the country.

When calculating the contributions, the principle is: richer countries pay more, poorer countries pay less. However, there is both a minimum and a maximum rate when calculating the contribution key. For the period 2010-2012, there is a lower limit of 0.001 percent and an upper limit of 22 percent of the UN budget. The USA is the only member state to pay the maximum rate of 22 percent; Germany, with eight percent, is the third largest contributor to the current UN budget. Overall, the 2010/2011 double budget of the United Nations amounts to 5.156 billion US dollars, for 2010 membership fees of 2.167 billion US dollars are estimated. The annual contributions for the regular budget must be paid within 30 days of notification by the Secretary General, i.e. by the end of January of the budget year.

The second pillar of funding of the United Nations is the so-called mandatory contribution levies. This is used to finance the United Nations peace missions and the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Here, too, there are percentage contribution assessments (measured by the economic strength of the members), which are based on the respective contributions to the regular budget.

The following applies to the peace missions: The percentage contribution of the member states corresponds to between ten and 100 percent of their contribution key to the regular budget, depending on their economic strength. For example, the poorest member states of the UN pay ten percent of their contribution rate to the budget (0.001 percent), i.e. 0.0001 percent of the mandatory contribution levies. The five permanent members of the Security Council are an exception. You take on a higher percentage of the mandatory contribution levies than you do in the regular budget. This reflects the special responsibility, but also the extraordinary rights of the five permanent members, such as their veto right in the Security Council. This additional contribution also compensates for the lower contributions from developing countries.

The special feature of the two international criminal courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda is that half of the net contribution is calculated on the basis of the contribution scale for the regular contribution and half on the basis of the contribution scale for the peace missions. In total, the contributions of the UN member states to the peace missions and criminal tribunals for 2010 were estimated at 9.766 billion US dollars. Here, too, the USA pays the highest contribution rate.

Voluntary contributions from member states form the third pillar of the United Nations funding system. The special and subsidiary organs, programs and funds of the United Nations are wholly or at least partially financed from the voluntary contributions. These include, for example, the UNICEF children's aid organization, the UNDP development program and the World Health Organization (WHO). Exceptions are the so-called Bretton Woods institutions, i.e. the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. You have your own financing model.

The amount of voluntary contributions is determined at so-called contribution approval conferences. The advantage of this system for the donor countries is that they can set political priorities. At the same time, however, they can also influence the work of an organization through the amount of their contributions and, if necessary, generate political pressure. The disadvantage for the organizations financed by the voluntary contributions is the planning uncertainty. A recurring criticism of this system is that the short-term budget commitments contradict long-term development goals.

For many years the United Nations system has suffered from continuous underfunding. This results from the fact that member states do not pay their contributions in full or at least not on time. In some member states, this is the result of budgetary constraints, such as national austerity programs or financial crises. The reluctance to pay contributions can also have a political background. The large contributors in particular can exert pressure on the United Nations, emphasize strategic interests or demonstrate their rejection of UN programs. Some experts therefore speak of a political rather than a financial crisis for the United Nations.

In October 2010, 119 of the 192 member states had paid their contributions to the 2010 regular budget. Around 787 million US dollars, i.e. a good third of compulsory contributions for the current financial year, were not transferred or not transferred on time. A similar relationship arises with a view to the compulsory contribution levies. As of October 2010, there were still $ 3.241 billion in commitments to maintain peacekeeping missions and criminal tribunals. Only thirteen of the 192 members had paid their estimated contributions, including Germany.

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