Financing the United Nations

The UN's liquidity crisis jeopardizes its mandates. A new study by FES and IDOS explores new mechanisms for UN funding.

Authors: Max-Otto Baumann (Senior Researcher, IDOS) & Sebastian Haug (Senior Researcher, IDOS)

Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the accelerating liquidity crisis for the UN’s regular budget risks the organization’s ability to deliver on its mandates. Moreover, as the 2024 Summit of the Future aims to build a more effective multilateralism, there is a need to explore new mechanisms for UN funding. To date, UN financing has become a complex and decentralized affair dominated by voluntary contributions. 

This new study titled "Financing the United Nations: Status quo, challenges and reform options" analyzes how current patterns of UN financing undermine the foundations of inclusive and effective multilateralism. The authors argue that member states should reform the system of assessed contributions and increase the transparency of voluntary funding. 

On April 11, 2024, the study was jointly launched by FES New York, IDOS, and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York. Bringing together the New York-based UN community, the launch event added cross-cutting elements to dialogues on UN financing to stimulate a more holistic and forward-looking consideration of funding challenges to contribute to discussions at the Summit of the Future and beyond. The discussion was held under Chatham House Rule.


  • Frank Jarasch, ECOSOC Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN


  • Michael Bröning, Executive Director, FES New York


  • Max-Otto Baumann, Senior Researcher, IDOS
  • Sebastian Haug, Senior Researcher, IDOS


  • Ulrika Modeer, Assistant Secretary-General, Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP
  • Eugene Chen, Senior Fellow, New York University's Center on International Cooperation Juliana Gaspar Ruas, UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions


Financing the United Nations

Baumann, Max-Otto; Haug, Sebastian

Financing the United Nations

Status quo, challenges and reform options
Bonn, 2024

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