New York: India, which is owed $38 million by the UN for peacekeeping operations, has voiced concern over the "unjustifiable and inexplicable" delays in reimbursement to countries providing peacekeeping troops and police for UN missions.
It underlined that recurrent delays in payments have turned the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) as "de facto financers" of UN peacekeeping.
"Reimbursement on time for peacekeeping is a genuine expectation," First Secretary in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Mahesh Kumar said at a Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) session on ''Improving the Financial Situation of the United Nations'' on Thursday.
Kumar noted that total arrears currently stand at a whopping $3.6 billion, nearly one-third of the annual assessment of the United Nations, adding that UN peacekeeping also suffers from delay in reimbursements.
He pointed out that apart from the one billion dollar worth of unsettled reimbursements to TCCs, large reimbursements related to Letters of Assist ($178 million) and death and disability claims ($8 million) were also outstanding.
These amounts do not include the long unsettled Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) reimbursements of many TCCs, including India, from the closed peacekeeping missions.
The UN owes India $38 million, among the highest it has to pay to any country, for peacekeeping operations as of March 2019, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had said in his report in April on improving the financial situation of the UN. As at March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was $265 million.
Kumar emphasised that India is among those member states who continue to be owed significant sums towards troop and COE reimbursements from the active peacekeeping missions but the country still continues to support UN peacekeeping, and is cumulatively the largest troop contributor.
He voiced concern over the "unjustifiable and inexplicable" delays in reimbursement, saying it negatively impacts on UN''s ability to maintain honest agreements with TCCs on other aspects of peacekeeping. "This situation calls for a serious introspection," he said.
Emphasising that arrears put those member states that would have benefitted from the efficient implementation of mandates to a serious disadvantage, Mahesh Kumar noted that while there has not been any real growth in the reimbursement rates, the TCCs have been asked to bring in more capacities and more equipment to achieve ambitious mandates....