United Nations

China and emerging powers in deal to increase UN payments

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2012, 3:50am

China, Brazil, India and other emerging powers have agreed to major increases in their UN payments as the global body hammered out a new budget deal this week to avoid its own looming fiscal cliff.

The boom countries will pay more as economic crises allow other nations such as Britain, Germany, France and Japan to cut their contributions.

While the sums involved are not huge by global standards - the revised UN budget for 2012-2013 is US$5.4 billion - diplomats say the changes are a snapshot of the world's changing economic fortunes. And the UN system has maintained some of its quirks - Greece, despite its economic slump, is still paying more than India, which aspires to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

UN contributions are worked out according to a country's share of global gross national income (GNI). China will pay an extra 61 per cent in UN fees, taking its share of the budget from 3.2 to 5.1 per cent. It will overtake Canada and Italy to become the sixth biggest UN contributor.

Brazil has agreed to an 82 per cent rise in payments.

The US remains the major UN financier. Its contributions are pegged at 22 per cent, while it accounts for 24.2 per cent of world GNI. Other major contributors will see payments decrease. Japan, in second place, will see a 13.5 per cent drop to 10.8 per cent. It previously accounted for 12.5 per cent of UN finances.

A complicated series of rebates allows various countries to claim reductions in payments.

China and the other emerging powers still pay less than their share of the world economy. The Europeans and Japan still pay more.

The UN's regular budget does not include its peacekeeping operations, which cost more than US$7.5 billion a year and are paid for with separate assessments.

Under the deal agreed to this week, a pay freeze has been ordered for the estimated 10,000 UN staff in New York.