Statement by Mr. Kenichiro Mukai
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
Item 117: Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations:
Proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 2010-2011

Fifth Committee
Sixty-third Session of the General Assembly
19 December 2008

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to start my statement by thanking Mr. Jun Yamazaki, the Controller, for introducing the proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 2010-2011, and Ms. Susan McLurg, the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing the Committee's report on the budget outline.

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I wish to share the views of my delegation on the budget outline presented to us.

In off-budget years, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 41/213, the Secretary-General submits to the General Assembly an outline of the programme budget for the following biennium. Upon its adoption by the General Assembly, the Secretary-General prepares the programme budget proposal on the basis of the preliminary estimate included in the outline. In essence, therefore, the budget outline is a tool that provides the Secretariat with guidance as it prepares the proposed programme budget for the following biennium.

The utility of the budget outline, however, is not limited to the service it provides the Secretariat. It has other valuable functions. Most notably, it presents Member States with a comprehensive picture of the next biennial programme budget, indicating its size and structure. It should convey the priorities of the Secretary-General and explain how he intends to translate his vision into reality. Thus, the budget outline is a navigational tool for Member States that should be discussed thoroughly and carefully in the General Assembly. It is not a document merely to be rubber-stamped after a few hours' perusal.

My delegation therefore deeply regrets its late submission. Introducing the outline document one working day before the end of the session deprives Member States of the time they need to discuss, in practical terms, how the Organization is to advance through the next biennium. We urge the Secretary-General to make greater efforts to expedite its release in the next submission.

We also note with concern that the document does not show the estimated impact of the so-called add-ons to the next biennial budget. The Controller has supplemented the budget outline with the total estimate of 5,187 million US dollars to the ACABQ. My delegation understands that this figure is merely indicative and may change greatly depending on the ongoing budgetary consultations. The proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 should be based on the total indicative estimate of 4,617 million US dollars presented in the outline document.

Mr. Chairman,

In the view of many delegations, there are shortcomings in both the preparations and presentation of the current outline document, and they should be corrected. It is also of the view of many, my delegation believes, that the document in front of us should be considered and adopted without delay. Deferring adoption would only produce greater confusion and damage to the process of preparing the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011. We have no time to spare. My delegation is committed to actively engaging in the consultations and making every effort to adopt a resolution by consensus. We hope that the views in this statement are shared by others.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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