Statement by Mr. Ken Mukai
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations on organization of work

The Fifth Committee
The First Resumed Part of the Sixty-third Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
2 March 2009

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, my delegation wishes to join others in appreciating you, your staff, the distinguished members of your bureau and the Secretariat for the preparation of the first resumed session.

There is no need to remind the Committee that the world is facing financial and economic challenges unprecedented in recent decades and hence that every government is obliged to tighten the reins on spending. It is all the more important for the United Nations, at this time of urgency, to be managed in the most effective and efficient manner and with budgetary discipline. Efforts should be exerted to limit expenditures to a necessary minimum through the established procedures that have stood the test of time. Member States should carefully continue to monitor subsequent budgets in order to avoid continuing the piecemeal approach.

Mr. Chairman,

The first resumed session concerns the agenda items remaining from the main session. We need to continue to incorporate clarity, predictability and comprehensiveness in the budget discussion. Allow me to touch upon the major items before us: CMP, Safety and Security, HRM, Accountability, OIOS, PKO and SPM, and the scale of assessment.

As for the proposals on the Capital Master Plan associated costs, my delegation believes that Member States should continue to scrutinize these costs to effect further reduction and absorption, based on the full details of and justification for these extra costs. It is necessary to distinguish between those that should be attributed to the CMP projects and those that should be funded from regular departmental budgets. My delegation reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to make every effort to absorb truly associated costs within the approved CMP budget, as was agreed in paragraph 43 of GA resolution 62/87.

With regard to the Secretary-General's report on safety and security, my delegation fully understands the importance of the issue. It regrets, however, that the Secretary-General submitted a report on such an important issue by reverting again to a piece-meal approach. My delegation is of the view that the Secretary-General should present his proposals on safety and security, following the established budget cycle. It fails to see why at this stage the Secretary-General is choosing to take up certain issues, leaving aside important factors as accountability and management review pointed out by the Independent Panel on Safety and Security.

Concrete steps are to be taken in human resource management (HRM) reform. To ensure sustainability in the implementation of the new contractual arrangements, my delegation wishes to stress once again that, for the purpose of granting continuing appointments, rigorous scrutiny under a clear set of criteria have to be in place. As we are to discuss this issue at the main part of the 64th session, the amendment to the staff regulations in this resumed session should be considered provisional.

Accountability is essential for effective management. What the Organization should pursue is not just to "explain and justify," but also to take responsibility for an action or the lack of it. My delegation is of the view that our request for accountability does not create any new mandate but, rather, calls on the Secretariat to exercise its management responsibility for implementing the mandates. Unfortunately, the lack of accountability is revealed in various aspects of the activities of the current administration, including fragmented implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors in the peacekeeping operations and the delayed UNON construction project.

As for the OIOS, my delegation is concerned about the posts left vacant over the year at the Headquarters, and supports any effort to fill the vacancies expeditiously in compliance with the current rules, regulations, procedures and practices.

My delegation is obliged to request again the Secretary-General to submit the budget documents on special political missions, peacekeeping operations and other issues in a timely manner following the General Assembly resolutions 62/225 and 63/248, so that the Member States can duly prepare for proper consideration. Submission of these documents after the middle of the session is simply not acceptable.

Mr. Chairman,

Finally yet importantly, Japan also places great importance on discussing the issue of the scale of assessments during this session. We need to bear in mind that at the sixty-fourth main session of the General Assembly we take decisions not only on the regular budget scale but also on the PKO budget scale, as well as on the biennium budget for 2010-11. My delegation assures you that it will engage in the negotiation with good faith with a view to passing the resolution by the end of March and giving a necessary guidance to the Committee on Contribution.

During the next four weeks, my delegation assures you that it will make a substantial contribution to all agenda items, with a view to steering the Organization towards greater efficiency and effectiveness.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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