STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MAGID YOUSIF, MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 136: SCALE OF ASSESSMENTS FOR THE APPORTIONMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF THE UNITED NATIONS, IN THE FIFTH COMMITTEE AT THE MAIN PART OF THE 64TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 5 October 2009)
1 I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on Agenda Item 136, entitled "Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations".
2 The Group of 77 and China thanks Mr. Bernardo Greiver, Chairperson of the Committee on Contributions, for introducing the report of the 69th session of the Committee on Contributions, as contained in the document A/64/11. We recognise the value and importance of the work undertaken by the Committee on Contributions in advising the Fifth Committee on the technical aspects of the item under consideration. We also thank Mr. Lionelito Berridge, Chief of the Contributions Section, for introducing the report of the Secretary-General on multi-year payment plans, as contained in A/64/68.
3 The Group reaffirms its long-standing position that the financial resources provided to the Organisation must be commensurate with its legislative mandates. Without adequate resources, the Organisation cannot be expected to implement its mandates effectively. We therefore believe that all Member States should fulfil their legal obligations to bear the expenses of the Organisation, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the requirements to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions. We also stress that the special and genuine difficulties faced by some developing countries that prevent them from temporarily meeting their financial obligations should be fully taken into account and that the decisions of the General Assembly on this item must be responsive to such difficulties.
4 The Group of 77 and China wishes to make the following announcement to the Fifth Committee: We stand ready to adopt right now the updated scale of assessments for the triennium 2010-2012, as prepared on the basis of the current methodology. We strongly encourage all our Partners to do likewise promptly. It is our firm belief that it will be a collective act of prudence and political sagacity by this Committee if all of us choose to exercise our responsibilities in such a fashion. Ultimately, any attempt to change the methodology for preparing the scale of assessments in order to further and unfairly shift the burden of financing the Organisation to developing countries will only entail divisive, unproductive and lengthy discussions that will not have any meaningful outcomes.
5 The Group notes that by maintaining the current methodology for the preparation of the scale of assessments, the majority of developing countries will see substantial increases in their contribution rates for the triennium 2010-2012. While we developing countries will have to make greater efforts to fulfil our financial obligations to the United Nations, we are prepared to accept and fulfil our responsibilities as stakeholders of the Organisation. In this regard, we reiterate the value of maintaining the current methodology for the preparation of the scale of assessment for the triennium 2010-2012, even if it results in developing countries taking on a larger share of the burden of financing the Organisation.
6 In this context, the Group of 77 and China wishes to share with this Committee the decision adopted in its Ministerial Declaration of 25 September 2009, which states:
"The Ministers further reaffirmed the principle of 'capacity to pay' as the fundamental criterion in the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations and rejected any changes to the elements of the current methodology for the preparation of the scale of assessments aimed at increasing the contributions of developing countries. In this regard, they emphasized that the core elements of the current methodology of the scale of assessment, such as base period, Gross National Income, conversion rates, Low Per Capita Income Adjustment, gradient, floor, ceiling for Least Developed Countries and debt stock adjustment must be kept intact and are not negotiable."
7 Having said that, the Group recalls that the current maximum assessment rate, or ceiling of 22% in the current methodology had been fixed as a political compromise and is contrary to the principle of "capacity to pay" and a fundamental source of distortion in the scale of assessments. It allows the main contributor an assessment rate far below its "capacity to pay", and at the same time imposes an unfair burden on the rest of the membership. In this context, we recall our position that the General Assembly should undertake a review of this arrangement, in accordance with paragraph 2 of General Assembly resolution 55/5C. This position was similarly reaffirmed in our Ministerial Declaration of 25 September 2009. Hence, while we stand ready to adopt right now the updated scale of assessment for the triennium 2010-2012 as prepared on the basis of the current methodology, we are also prepared for a serious discussion on the issue of the ceiling should it be the wish of our Partners to examine the various elements of the current methodology.
8 The Group has carefully reviewed the requests by Central African Republic, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia for exemption under Article 19 of the Charter. We are convinced that their inability to make the minimum payments on their assessed contributions was due to conditions beyond their control. We therefore endorse the recommendations of the Committee on Contributions to permit these countries to vote until the end of this 64th session of the General Assembly. In this connection, we stress that this Committee should act promptly on the requests of these countries at the earliest opportunity.
9 On the issue of multi-year payment plans, the Group appreciates the efforts made by those Member States that have submitted multi-year payment plans and that have honoured their commitments under those plans. At the same time, we reiterate that multi-year payment plans should remain voluntary in nature and should take into account the financial situation of the concerned Member State. It should not be used as a way of exerting pressure on Member States that are already in difficult circumstances, and should definitely not be included as a factor when considering exemption under Article 19 of the Charter. We continue to invite all Member States with significant arrears to consider submitting multi-year payment plans if they are in a position to do so.
10 The Group of 77 and China emphasizes that any negotiations on this item must be conducted in an open, inclusive and transparent manner and which upholds the legitimacy and competency of the Fifth Committee as the sole Main Committee of the General Assembly entrusted with responsibilities for administrative, financial and budgetary matters. We reiterate our strong opposition to decision-making on this item in small group configurations, as well as to the imposition of any conditionalities in the negotiations. We affirm the unity and solidarity of all our Members on this item and we stand ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with all our Partners in order to achieve a swift conclusion to the negotiations during this main session.
I thank you, Mr Chairman.