(As delivered)

Statement by H.E. Mr. Toshiro Ozawa
Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations
On Improving the financial situation of the United Nations
(Agenda Item 110)

Fifth Committee
Fifty-ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
28 October 2004
New York

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to join previous speakers in thanking Ms. Catherine Bertini, Under-Secretary-General for Management, for her concise presentation of the financial situation of the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

Regarding the financial situation of the United Nations, the question of which country has or has not paid its assessed contributions is relevant and important, but my delegation feels strongly that there are other questions which are as much or even more important. One is the question of whether the rapid increase of UN assessed contributions has gone beyond the Member States' capacity to pay. Another is the question of whether limited resources are truly used in the most efficient way. And yet another is the question of whether we are striking an appropriate balance between assessed contributions and voluntary contributions.

Mr. Chairman,

The budgets for the United Nations Peacekeeping operations for the current fiscal year have gone beyond the level of 4 billion dollars. This figure is anticipated to increase further with the expansion of MONUC and the expected UN operations in the Sudan, leading us to an unprecedented level of financing for PKOs. Last week, Ms. Bertini made an appeal, as she should, to those who have not yet paid their assessed contributions in full to emulate the examples of the "Honorable Members" who have paid their total assessed contributions. We feel compelled to comment that if this appeal is conducted in a spirit of business-as-usual, then she is overlooking the fact that the United Nations Peacekeeping budgets are growing to become more than double the amount of the previous fiscal year.

We all know that each Member State has its own budgetary cycle and its unique approval/oversight mechanisms. Not all Member States are blessed with systems that can quickly respond to rapid increases of UN assessed contributions. This is especially so, if the figures involved are large, and certainly, Japan is one of such countries. My delegation has mentioned before that Japan has consistently paid its assessed contribution in full without any conditions. The timing of the full payment of PKO contributions by Japan is often late by up to one year, but this is a consequence of democratic oversight over possible expenditures. We feel that what is more important than this issue of partial late payment of PKO budgets is the unfortunate but undeniable trade off between assessed contributions and voluntary contributions. It goes against our good intentions, when we must reduce our voluntary contributions to international organizations including the UN Funds and Programs in order to meet our obligation to pay the increasing amount of UN assessed contributions. In the case of Japan, the Government continues to face a major fiscal challenge of dealing with the enormous amount of accumulated public debt. We do intend to continue paying our assessed contributions, but please do be reminded of the unintended consequences of the collective decisions made in this committee for increases of expenditures. Personally, I have found it to be a very tough task to inform the Funds and Programs here in New York engaged in humanitarian and development assistance that Japan can no longer fund this or that programme. On 3 June this year, here in this committee, I made a statement focused on the challenges that we face with an unprecedented level of PKO activities. One complaint included in that statement is Japan's serious concern of not participating in the establishment of PKOs in the Security Council. Fortunately, one week ago, Japan was elected to serve in the Security Council for the years 05 and 06. We do intend to participate actively in the reviews of the PKO mandates and the implementation of their completion strategies. We do hope that our participation in the Security Council will be found to be useful for our colleagues in the Fifth Committee as well.

Mr. Chairman,

Turning to the Tribunals, my delegation would like to commend the Russian Federation for making full payments to both Tribunals, despite its comments concerning the ICTY. On the other hand, it was most surprising to learn that thirteen countries have never paid their assessed contributions since the establishment of the Tribunals. Perhaps it is time, after ten years, for the Secretariat to enquire those Member State why this is so. We note that Ms. Bertini has imposed fiscal austerity measures vis-à-vis ICTR and ICTY. Certainly, no organization can live beyond its means. We hope that the measures that you have taken, and further measures that you may take, are in line with the implementation of the completion strategy.

On the regular budget, my delegation reiterates our concern on the continuous increase of expenditures. We will carefully study all major items, including the proposal for Special Political Missions and Safety and Security, and also on the issue of re-costing. Lastly, but not the leastly, my delegation would like to take this opportunity to ask Ms. Bertini why the request of the General Assembly to the Secretary-General to re-deploy, on an experimental basis, fifty posts Organization-wide has not been implemented so far.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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