STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS NADA TARBUSH, FIRST SECRETARY, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 139: SCALE OF ASSESSMENTS FOR THE APPORTIONMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 7 October 2019)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 139: "Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations".
2. The Group of 77 and China would like to thank Ambassador Bernardo Greiver, Chairperson of the Committee on Contributions, for introducing the report of the Seventy-fourth session of the Committee on Contributions, as contained in the document A/74/11. We also thank Mr. Chandramouli Ramanathan, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, for introducing the report of the Secretary-General on multi-year payment plans, as contained in the document A/74/68.
3. The Group reaffirms its long-standing position that the Organisation must be given sufficient financial resources to carry out its mandates. We cannot expect the Organisation to do more, while unilaterally withholding contributions. All member states should therefore fulfill their legal obligations to bear the expenses of the Organisation, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. All member states should pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions.
4. At the same time, the Group recognises that some developing countries face special and genuine difficulties that prevent them from temporarily meeting their financial obligations. These circumstances should be fully taken into account. In this regard, we have carefully reviewed the requests by Comoros, 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 based on their assessed contributions was due to factors beyond their control, and therefore endorse the recommendations of the Committee on Contributions to permit them to vote until the end of the 74th session of the General Assembly.
5. Regarding multi-year payment plans, the Group appreciates the efforts made by Member States who have honoured their commitments under those plans. We reiterate that multi-year payment plans should remain voluntary. The Group encourages member states with significant arrears to also consider multi-year payment plans in meeting their obligations to the Organisation.
6. In its Ministerial Declaration of 27 September 2019, the Group reiterated once again its firm position that the current methodology for the preparation of the scale of assessments reflects changes in the relative economic situation of member states. We reaffirm the principle of "capacity to pay" as the fundamental criterion in the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations. We reject any change to the elements of the current methodology for the preparation of the scale of assessments aimed at increasing the contributions of developing countries.
7. The Group emphasises that the core elements of the current methodology of the scale of assessments, 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.
8. The Group also reminds this Committee that the current maximum assessment rate, or ceiling, had been fixed as a political compromise, and is contrary to the principle of the capacity to pay. It is a fundamental source of distortion in the scale of assessments. We note from the report of the Committee of Contributions that the ceiling has resulted in a reduction of 5.982 percentage points, and that only one member state has benefited from this. We urge the General Assembly to undertake a review of this arrangement, in accordance with paragraph 2 of General Assembly resolution 55/5 C.
9. The Group of 77 and China also stresses that organisations which have an enhanced observer status at the United Nations, giving them rights and privileges usually only applied to Observer States, such as the right to speak in the General Debate of the General Assembly and the right of reply, should also bear the same financial obligations to the United Nations as Observer States. The Group calls on the General Assembly to consider a decision on an assessment for such organisations.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.