STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 BY AMBASSADOR FEDA ABDELHADY, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE INFORMAL BRIEFING TO THE PLENARY OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (New York, 1 March 2019)
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China at this informal briefing on the financial situation of the United Nations.
2. The Group thanks the Secretary-General for his continued outreach to the General Assembly on this important issue, including through today's presentation. We welcome his commitment to addressing our common challenges in an open and inclusive manner. This can only strengthen our sense of common purpose in advancing the cause of multilateralism.
3. As a large and diverse Group, the Group of 77 and China is a collection of countries with many important and varied interests. There are many troop- and police-contributing countries in our Group. Some host peacekeeping missions. Others are small island states with unique vulnerabilities. Some are Least Developed Countries. Some are emerging economies or economies in transition, others are middle-income countries, or large developing countries. Many in the Group still struggle with low per capita income or inequality. In addition to the various entities of the UN system, some in this Group also host UN Country Offices, Offices Away from Headquarters, or Regional Economic Commissions. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of the G77 and China, and the Group is proud of our diversity.
4. It is precisely because of our intrinsic diversity that the Group strongly supports the work of the United Nations and the principle of multilateralism. Multilateralism requires compromise, and a recognition that the interests of one can also be achieved by taking into account the interests of many. In practice, supporting multilateralism, and supporting the Secretary-General and the work of the UN, also means committing to our common agenda from start to finish.
5. In the life cycle of any mandate, it is Member States who determine the objectives. The Secretary-General puts forth proposals for what resources he needs to fulfill these objectives. Member States then decide on the level of resources to give the UN. But the process does not end there. Having agreed on the mandates and the budget, we must support the Secretary-General by giving him the tools to implement his mandates. We must show our commitment not only through political support, but by upholding our obligations under the UN Charter and relevant resolutions, to pay our assessed contributions to the Organization, in full, on time, and without conditions. This is why members of the Group of 77 and China have made utmost efforts to meet their financial obligations to the Organization, even though many of us continue to face challenges at home. We take this opportunity to express appreciation to all Member States who have made real efforts to reduce their outstanding assessments to the UN, and we empathize with those who are unable to do so for reasons beyond their control.
6. Finance serves as the foundation of, and an important element, underpinning United Nations governance. The Group of 77 and China shares your concern at the financial situation of the United Nations. Unfortunately, financial problems are not new to this Organization. Since 1975 and the adoption of resolution 3538 (XXX), this item has been a constant, either under the title "Financial emergency of the United Nations" or "Current financial crisis of the United Nations".
7. We note that the UN has faced liquidity shortfalls and greater fiscal uncertainty in recent years. Over the same period, mandates have continued to grow. While the Group supports effectiveness and efficiency, there is a limit to how long we can ask the UN to keep doing more and more, while giving less and less.
8. The Group is particularly concerned with the impact of these financial issues on the development pillar, including but not limited to, the valuable work of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; the Regional Economic Commissions; UN offices in developing countries; and the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island States. We are also concerned with the impact on peacekeeping missions, particularly the safety, security, and conditions for peacekeepers who put their lives on the frontlines of international peace and security. It is unacceptable that due to some countries withholding payments, the UN continues to owe payments to 76 Member States, most of which are developing countries. The Group appreciates the Secretariat's efforts to expedite payments to TPCCs, and reiterates our call for the UN to continue making every effort to settle outstanding payments for troops and formed police units, as well as for contingent owned equipment.
9. There is a simple solution to the financial problems of the United Nations. It is for all of us to honor our commitments to you and to one another, and pay our assessed contributions in full, on time, and without conditions. We acknowledge that the existing methodology for determining how the UN is financed does contain a distortion. Even so, it represents a political compromise, and includes several important elements on which the Group will not compromise. Having agreed on this compromise, we should honor it. The Group believes that the non-payment of assessed contributions, and indeed, the willful and unilateral withholding of contributions, have led us to this crisis. Almost half of all monies owed to the United Nations as of 27 February can be attributed to a single Member State. We should not confuse revenue shortfall with the flexibility of budget mechanisms. They are related, but one cannot solve the other. Complete freedom from fiscal rules will not change the absolute number of dollars we have, or do not have.
10. Nevertheless, the Group is prepared to consider proposals to improve the financial functioning of the UN, which can help the UN to meet our common goals. We support the Secretary-General's desire to have a reinvigorated and outcome-focused Organization, which can support the international community in meeting the urgent challenges of today, including climate change, the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the maintenance of international peace and security. In any proposal, the Group's yardstick for success will be how these proposals can result in better outcomes for all of us, especially the smallest and most vulnerable. The Group will also prioritize the principles of stability, sustainability, accountability, efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in reviewing proposed financial reforms. One area that can reap quick wins is by increasing and sustaining procurement from and in developing countries. We urge the Secretary-General to do more in this regard, and will pay close attention to how Member States' contributions can be spent closer to the ground, and closer to the point of delivery.
Madam President, Mr. Secretary-General,
11. We strongly encourage the continuance of such dialogue between the Secretary-General and the General Assembly. We would also encourage the Secretary-General to consult widely and transparently, and give all of us sufficient time to carefully consider the full implications of proposals. This is especially important for small delegations. As the UN moves towards its first annual budget, beginning in 2020, it would also be useful to have a holistic picture of how proposed measures would fit in the context of the annual budget. These are subjects that would benefit from being considered together.
12. In closing, let me assure you that the Group of 77 and China will participate constructively and in a collective and inclusive effort towards resolving the perennial financial difficulties of the Organization.
I thank you.