Financing UN Peacekeeping: Avoiding another Crisis

UN peacekeeping missions are facing cash-flow problems and financial strains due to the late payment and withholding of assessed contributions. Since the inception of UN peacekeeping, the financing of missions has been a challenge, with periods of calm followed by periods of crisis. The UN has been particularly vulnerable to withheld and late payments from its biggest financial contributors. This has an impact on missions’ effectiveness and the ability of troop-contributing countries to deploy.

This paper examines how member-state contributions to peacekeeping are calculated, historical and current financing challenges faced by peacekeeping missions, and ideas for placing UN peacekeeping on a firmer financial footing. It recommends reevaluating some of the rules and regulations that govern the management of UN peacekeeping. It specifically recommends:

  • Creating a cash reserve for peacekeeping: A new reserve fund or the relaxation of restrictions to use of the existing reserve fund could help manage liquidity problems.
  • Consolidating peacekeeping accounts: Consolidating the accounts for missions would significantly improve cash management and operational flexibility by allowing the Secretariat to borrow between the accounts of different missions.
  • Streamlining budgeting: Aligning the billing process with the budget period would reduce bureaucracy, reducing the burden on both the Secretariat and member states.
  • Incentivizing budgetary discipline: Allowing some flexibility on the crediting of savings to member states could improve liquidity and incentivize missions to be more disciplined in their spending.
  • Encouraging prompt payments: To encourage member states to meet the deadline for payments, they could be penalized for making late payments or given positive incentives to pay on time.