New York: UN member countries on Sunday agreed to a peacekeeping budget of just under $6.7 billion, according to diplomatic sources.
Two sources confirmed an agreement had been reached for $6.689 billion, about $122 million less than what had been recommended by a panel of experts.
It is also about $600 million less than last year’s final figure of $7.3 billion.
Last year’s budget was initially set at $6.8 billion but was boosted in December by an additional $500 million for missions in Haiti and Sudan’s Darfur.
The United Nations currently has about 100,000 peacekeepers operating around the world, on fourteen active missions. The budget is set to be formally endorsed by the General Assembly later Sunday or Monday.
The most important and therefore financially demanding missions are in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mali, each running to more than $1 billion a year.
The peacekeeping budget is separate from the UN’s operating budget which is announced in December.
Last year, the top contributors to peacekeeping funding were the United States with 28.5%, China with 10.3% and Japan with 9.7%.
But in March, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said other countries need to “step up” and pay a bigger share, adding Washington would cap its contribution to 25%.
The second-largest contributor, China, is assessed a bit over 10%.
The cap of 25% of the US contribution has been in US law since the 1990s, but Congress has in the past waived that requirement at the administration’s request.
President Donald Trump’s administration has taken a hard line on UN funding, cutting contributions and pushing for cost-saving reforms. Trump’s administration has complained before about the cost and pressed to cut this year’s budget. It is $570 million below last year’s, a smaller decrease than the U.S. wanted.