Statement by Mr. Jun Yamada
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Item 130: Improving the Financial Situation of the United Nations
Sixty-second Session of the General Assembly
15 November 2007
I would like to start my statement by thanking Mr. Warren Sach, the Controller, for giving us a comprehensive overview of the matter before us. And now I wish to outline my delegation's views on the issues raised by the Controller, in particular those relating to the re gular budget and peacekeeping operations.
At the outset, my delegation reiterates its basic view on this subject, which is that it is the responsibility of every Member States to pay its assessment, on time and in full. The Government of Japan has faithfully fulfilled its responsibilities in the past, despite an extremely difficult financial situation in recent years, and it will make every effort to meet those responsibilities in the future as well.
As for the regular budget, the Controller indicated that unpaid assessed contributions increased by $175 million in the one-year period ending 31 October this year. To understand this figure from a different perspective, we should consider the sharp increase in the assessment itself. The documents presented by the Controller indicate that, as of October 2007, regular budget assessment had increased by $314 million dollars from a year ago. Clearly the larger the assessment grows, the harder it becomes for Member States to fulfill their commitments. As the growing assessment burdens the national budgets of Member States, timely and sufficient payment becomes more difficult.
While it is the due responsibility of the Member States to pay assessments, the Secretariat should play a role in addressing the problem. For instance, it is expected to make the utmost effort to implement mandates within the limited existing resources and avoid acting in a way that will have negative impacts on the budget, increasing the baseline for the following biennium. It should work relentlessly to absorb additional costs by increasing efficiency, in accordance with Regulation 5.6 of the Regulations and Rules Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the Monitoring of Implementation and Methods of Evaluation (PPBME).
It is incumbent on the Secretary-General, in submitting a programme budget proposal for 2008-2009, to present us with his overall vision of the overall programme and full 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 the budget. We would therefore like to request additional information on activities to be streamlined and the outcomes it is expected to produce. In doing so, we should follow the established budgetary procedures and methodology, based on General Assembly resolutions 41/213 and 42/211. In this regard, my delegation is concerned about the delayed submission of the reports by the Secretary-General on information and communication technology (ICT) and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) reforms. We also strongly request the Secretary-General to expedite the submission of his reports on special political missions (SPM) and the second performance report for the biennium 2006-2007, so that we may have them as soon as possible.
The sharp rise in assessments is evident in the peacekeeping budget as well. While the review of the scale methodology in late 2006 is no doubt part of the reason, there is no denying that the increase in PKO assessments has been a burden on Member States and made timely payment difficult. My delegation is concerned about the huge expenses the Secretary-General suggests the new missions of UNAMID and MUNURCAT will entail. In the next few weeks, we will be looking carefully at pursuing every means of making them more cost-efficient.
In closing, my delegation reiterates its view that assessed contributions are an obligation every Member State must meet. However, the rapidly rising level of assessments is a factor that should not be neglected in addressing the current financial situation of the United Nations.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
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