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Statement by H.E. Mr. Takahiro Shinyo
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Fifth Committee
On Item 122: Scale of Assessments
10 October 2006
Since this is the first occasion for my delegation to take the floor, allow me to join the other speakers in congratulating you on your appointment to the very important position of the Chairman of the Fifth Committee. I would like to assure you that you will have the full cooperation of my delegation as you guide us through deliberations of this Committee.
My delegation would like to extend words of tribute to Mr. Bernardo Greiver, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, for the work that has been done this year as well as for his introduction of the report of that Committee. We also wish to thank Mr. Mark Gilpin for his presence here today.
SCALE OF ASSESSMENTS FOR THE PERIOD 2007-2009
In its resolution 55/5 B, the General Assembly established the elements of the methodology used in preparing the scale of assessments for the period 2001-2003. The General Assembly also decided, inter alia, that the elements of the methodology should remain fixed until 2006, subject to the provisions of its resolution 55/5 C, in particular paragraph 2 of that resolution, and without prejudice to rule 160 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly. Pursuant to that decision, the General Assembly decided to use the same methodology in preparing the scale of assessments for the period 2004-2006.
We are to deliberate on the methodology for the scale of assessments for the period 2007-2009. At this critical juncture, my delegation would like to reiterate Japan's willingness to participate in the negotiations in a constructive manner with a view to improving our burden-sharing structure by making it more equitable and fair.
One of the fundamental questions that Japan has raised with regard to the methodology concerns fairness. Based on the criterion of fairness, is it permissible to maintain the status quo, in which, for example, four of the five permanent members of the Security Council together shoulder a smaller financial burden than Japan does?
The special responsibility of the permanent members of the Security Council with regard to contributions to the financing of peace and security operations is already reaffirmed in General Assembly resolution 55/235. One might argue that the permanent members are discharging their special responsibilities when they make their additional contributions to the PKO budgets. Such an assertion is tenuous, however, since the decisions of the Security Council today have direct impact on not an insignificant portion of the regular budget. Japan therefore believes that the current system of burden-sharing is grossly lopsided and unfair. Inequity needs to be redressed. We would like to work together with all other Member States to that end in an open-minded and constructive manner.
As my delegation has stated repeatedly, we believe that the principle of capacity to pay should be our guide in the negotiations on the scale of assessments.
Those Member States whose relative capacity to pay have increased are expected to make increased contributions accordingly. Their enhanced capacity to pay is testimony to their economic success. On the other hand, there are other Member States which have experienced economic difficulties with consequent decline in their capacity to pay. It is natural and just that their financial burden be lightened accordingly.
In this context, my delegation would like to emphasize that making the base period longer goes against the principle of capacity to pay. A longer base period redistributes points in the scale of assessment from countries with faster-growing economies to those that are experiencing slower growth or decline. In other words, a longer base period benefits faster-growing economies at the expense of others which are not that fortunate. Such a redistribution of the financial burden is not in line with the principle of capacity to pay. This is why we favour a shorter base period, which leads to more accurate assessment of the most recent financial status. Having made significant contributions to the activities of the United Nations over the years, Japan has an exemplary record with regard to the fulfillment of its duties as a Member State, including paying its assessed contributions. My delegation is compelled to state, however, that a redistribution of the kind I have just mentioned may seriously undermine the financial commitment of Member States, particularly those which have experienced economic difficulties and a consequent decline in capacity to pay.
MULTI-YEAR PAYMENT PLANS
With regard to multi-year payment plans, we welcome the new plan that was submitted by Liberia. We also welcome the payments by Iraq and the Republic of Moldova envisaged in their payment plans, and would like to congratulate them for not falling under the provisions of Article 19 of the Charter this year. The payments as scheduled by Georgia for 2005 and 2006 as well as by Niger for 2005 are also welcome. We also note the payments by Tajikistan for 2005 and earlier years.
We share the Committee on Contribution's observation that the system of multi-year payment plans has encouraged and assisted Member States in reducing their unpaid assessed contributions and provided a way for them to demonstrate their commitments to meeting their financial obligations to the United Nations. We also take note of the recommendation of the Committee on Contributions that the General Assembly encourage other Member States in arrears to consider submitting multi-year payment plans.
ARTICLE 19 OF THE CHARTER
With regard to the application of Article 19 of the Charter, we endorse the conclusion of the Committee on Contributions that the failure of the eight Member States to pay the full minimum amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 was due to conditions beyond its control. At the same time, we would like to join the Committee in noting that some of these Member States have made no payments for many years and to urge them to consider the actions the Committee encouraged them to take. Concerning Georgia, we note with appreciation that it is continuing to make the payments provided for in its multi-year payment plan. Concerning Liberia, we endorse the Committee's observation that it has a particularly strong case for an exemption under Article 19. Its submission of a multi-year payment plan and its first payment are appreciated. Concerning Niger, we note the difficulties it faces as well as its adherence to a multi-year payment plan, and agree with the conclusion of the Committee. We note Tajikistan's continuing payments under its multi-year payment plan, and endorse the Committee's recommendation.
With regard to Sao Tome and Principe, we regret that it repeatedly failed to submit its request to the Committee on Contributions for exemption from the application of Article 19 of the Charter according to established procedures. However, having carefully studied their explanations, we would like to accept that its failure to pay the full minimum amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 was due to conditions beyond its control. We strongly urge them to submit relevant information in future in accordance with the procedures prescribed in General Assembly resolution 54/237C.
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