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25 OCTOBER 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Secretary-General for introducing personally his proposed programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009. I would also like to thank Mr. Saha, Chairman of the ACABQ, for introducing the report of the Advisory Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan welcomes the dedication and seriousness with which the Secretary-General is making efforts to improving efficiency and better functioning of the Secretariat. The Secretary-General's programme budget proposal for the biennium 2008-2009 currently stands at about $4.396 billion, including preliminary recosting. This amount represents an increase of 15 percent over the initial appropriation for 2006-2007, as approved in December 2005, which was $3.799 billion. Moreover, it is expected that there will be substantial additional requests for resources. The Secretariat has provided information to Member States that suggests that the budget level will exceed $4.628 billion, when all program budget implications, additional revised estimates, and December recosting are factored in. My delegation has to express its deep concern about such excessive increase of nearly $830 million, or 22 percent, over the initial 2006-2007 budget.

In discussing the programme budget proposal, we cannot ignore the high level of total financial responsibilities of Member States; peacekeeping operations budget for the year starting 1 July 2007 is expected to be $5.25 billion and on top of the unprecedented increase in the Regular Budget, the Capital Master Plan budget for 2008 and 2009 is $690 million. We have to keep in mind always what overall assessed amount will be and whether Member States are ready to pay such amount. In the light of the sharp increase in the assessment for PKOs and CMP, we must all the more subject the regular budget proposals to critical scrutiny and judgment. In this context, Japan continues to advocate the principle of meeting new demands of requirements through redeployment from obsolete or low priority activities. Japan supports the general rule of zero nominal growth (ZNG) in the programme budget of international organizations. From these standpoints, we will examine Secretary-General's budget proposals constructively but carefully and strictly on the merit basis.

Mr. Chairman,

The programme budget is the important means to establish contract between Member States and Secretary-General; the Secretary-General present the vision and totality of activities he envisages for the next two years and to incorporate totality of necessary requirements, in accordance with the overall level of resources and priorities as we negotiated and agreed a year before proposed programme budget is presented in the budget year.

As was pointed out by the ACABQ in its report, it is incumbent on the Secretary-General, in submitting programme budget proposal for 2008-2009, to present us with a vision of the overall program and a whole picture of the anticipated needs of the Organization for the next two years. Piecemeal approach and submission of additional requests on ad hoc basis, are not conducive to consensus approval of programme budget. We would therefore like to request additional information on activities which will be streamlined and outcomes which are intended by those proposals.

In doing so, we should follow the established budgetary procedures and methodology, based on GA resolutions 41/213 and 42/211. The overall level, priorities and contingency fund of proposed programme budget must be submitted in conformity with the programme budget outline which has been approved by the previous session of the General Assembly. Additional expenditures emanating from programme budget implications and revised estimates must be contained within the level of the contingency fund. These mechanisms are intended to control budget growth through sharp sense of prioritization of activities and best efforts of redeployments to meet new requirements within the resources that Member States agree to make available to the Organization by consensus. Thus, they bring dynamism in the budgetary process. We should maintain those established practice, budgetary principles, abiding by the relevant provisions of the GA resolutions. My delegation has great difficulty in deviating from the established procedures and concurs with the ACABQ in its report (A/62/349) to maintain the current level of 0.75 percent, which has demonstrated validity and relevance over two decades. The Secretary-General should, when submitting the revised estimates to the regular budget, adhere to those procedures and exercise maximum budgetary discipline.

Mr. Chairman,

We support Secretary-General's effort to streamline and modernize the work of the Secretariat. In this effort, stronger accountability and responsibility must be prerequisite for more flexible Secretariat. In this regard, we are disappointed that the Secretariat has not taken full advantage of the flexibility provided to him by the General Assembly Resolution 60/283 to reallocate up to $20 million to meet evolving needs of the Organization. We have seen only very limited efforts for redeployments within and between sections budget. I reiterate Japan's strong request that the Secretary-General makes, first of all, additional efforts to utilize existing resources through redeployment and flexibility clause before coming up to us with new money. I should like to stress the merits and importance of rigorous application of Regulation 5.6 of the PPBME.

Another step that might be taken to the same end would be to identify posts to be downgraded, for example, from P-5 to P-4, when the incumbent retires, thereby helping rejuvenate the top-heavy post structure of the Secretariat. Wherever possible, P-2 and P-3 posts should be increased within the total staff structures. Now that the Organization is seeing a large segment of its staff facing retirement, this may be a timely measure to adopt.

Finally, Mandate Review is another useful step to improve const-effectiveness of UN activities. We very much hope positive outcome will be produced in time.

Mr. Chairman,

The Secretary-General expressed his intention to link closer between peace, human rights and development. We are fully aware of the importance to allocate limited resources along those priority areas. At the same time, we insist equally the most efficient use of financial and staff resources to realize maximum delivery and services to meet high expectations of Member States.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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