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Thursday 18 December  

China and emerging powers to pay more for UN

Published on 26 December 2012 - 2:34am
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China, Brazil, India and other emerging powers agreed to major increases in their United Nations payments as the global body hammered out a new budget deal this week to avoid its own fiscal cliff.

The boom countries will pay more as economic crisis allows European nations, such as Britain, Germany and 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 $5.4 billion -- diplomats say the new shareout is a snapshot of the world's changing economic fortunes.

And the UN system has maintained sum of its quirks with Greece, despite its economic slump, 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 percent in UN fees, taking its share of the budget from 3.2 to 5.1 percent. It will overtake Canada and Italy to become the sixth biggest UN contributor.

Brazil has agreed to an 82 percent hike in payments. It will pay 2.9 percent of the budget instead of 1.6 percent. India's payments will increase 24 percent, taking its budget share from 0.5 to 0.66 percent. And Russia's payments will go up by 52 percent.

The United States remains the major UN financier, though its contributions are pegged at 22 percent while it accounts for 24.2 percent of world GNI.

Other major contributors will all see payments decrease. Japan, in second place, will see a 13.5 percent drop to 10.8 percent of the budget. It previously accounted for 12.5 percent of UN finances.

Germany's share of the budget will fall from 8.0 to 7.1 percent, France from 6.1 to 5.6 percent and Britain from 6.6 to 5.18 percent.

"This is a start brought on by the economic crisis in Europe, but there will have to be more changes eventually," said one western diplomat.

Another noted the new payment breakdown reflects changes around the world, and that the contrast between Greece and India was "striking."

Greece's share of budget will decrease from 0.7 to 0.64 percent. But its share of global GNI is 0.5 percent, while India, which pays about the same amount, accounts for 2.2 percent of world GNI.

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 $7.5 billion a year and are paid for with separate assessments.

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


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