UN Pleads for Billions in Spending To Support Poor Nations While Spending Millions on Lavish Tent To Entertain Guests at Next Week’s General Assembly

‘We need to put our money where our mouth is,’ says the chairwoman of the UN’s sustainable development goals.

M.J. Koch/The New York Sun
The deputy secretary-general of the UN, Amina Mohammed, on September 15, 2023. M.J. Koch/The New York Sun

While the United Nations is hitting up taxpayers and private donors to raise funds for poor countries to deal with poverty and climate-related challenges, the global body is spending lavishly on its own offices, including a lavish new tent to entertain its guests.  

UN leaders will call upon the international community to spend more on its “sustainable development goals,” at next week’s opening of the General Assembly session even as the cash-strapped organization is spending millions on amenities at its New York headquarters.

As floods and earthquakes ravage North Africa, the UN will ask member states to dedicate substantial funds toward its roadmap out of global crises — the sustainable development goals — which is the theme of the summit next week.

“We need to put our money where our mouth is” and ensure heads of state follow through on their commitments, urged the sustainable development goals chairwoman and deputy secretary-general of the UN, Amina Mohammed, at a Friday briefing on the upcoming summit. 

The tent in which Ms. Mohammed delivered her remarks, though, cost “just over $3 million” to construct, she said in response to a question. 

The arrangements on the North Lawn, boasting a lush indoor garden and spectacularly lit stage of panelists, were funded by the UN’s “partners,” she said, citing “the need to find another space that other stakeholders could come into” when the UN conference rooms are occupied. 

 Meanwhile, as humanitarian crises mount across the world, the UN has doubled its funding demands to the tune of $800 million dollars, as noted by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, at Geneva in May. 

“The needs have exponentially increased, but there isn’t the commensurate funding available on the humanitarian front — that’s just the reality,” Mr. Türk said. 

Funding shortages have forced the UN’s World Food Program to cut its food assistance and malnourishment prevention programs in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen in recent months. To operate over the next six months, WFP requires $1.05 billion dollars in funds, only 28 percent of which have been secured, the agency reports. 

Halfway to the UN’s agenda deadline in 2030, the panelists warned that nations have not done enough to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which are “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity,” the mission statement reads. 

In her remarks, Ms. Mohammed pushed for more spending, leveraged through multilateral development banks, as part of “the evolution roadmap for the World Bank.”

The UN has already called for the international community to mobilize at least $500 billion dollars to accelerate investments in renewable energy, universal social protection, job creation, and other initiatives. 

This effort seeks to “massively scale up affordable long-term financing by aligning all financing flows to the SDGs and improving the terms of lending of multilateral development banks,” stressed the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, in a February statement.

Of her hopes for the summit next week, Ms. Mohammed said from the flower-adorned stage, “we want to find an additional re-channeling of a hundred billion dollars.”

The New York Sun

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