STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS MEGAYLA AUSTIN, MINISTER COUNSELLOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON THE SCALE OF ASSESSMENTS FOR THE APPORTIONMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF THE UNITED NATIONS - ARTICLE 19, AT MAIN PART OF FIFTH COMMITTEE DURING THE SEVENTY-FIFTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 5 October 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 145: "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-fifth session of the Committee on Contributions, as contained in the document A/75/11. 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/75/67.
3. The Group expresses its concern regarding the cash deficit that the Organization continues to face, which is currently endangering the fulfillment of mandates. We also acknowledge the difficulties many Member States face in light of the COVID -19 pandemic, yet we cannot ask the Organisation to carry out business as usual and even do more during these complex times, while unilaterally withholding contributions. The Group reaffirms its long-standing position that all Member states should 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. However, 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 consider the requests for exemption under Article 19 of the Charter should be granted. We are convinced that the inability of the countries in this situation to make the minimum payments based on their assessed contributions is due to factors beyond their control, and therefore we agree they should be permitted to vote until the end of the 75th 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 line with its Ministerial Declarations, the Group reiterates 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 placing an unfair burden on developing countries by increasing their contributions, which are already on the rise.
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, was fixed as a political compromise, though it is contrary to the principle of the capacity to pay. It is a fundamental source of distortion in the scale of assessments. 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.