Mr. Chair,

1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on the organization of work of the Fifth Committee for the main part of the 76th Session of the General Assembly.

2. At the outset, the Group extends congratulations to you and the members of your Bureau on your election. We trust that under your able leadership and guidance, the Committee will conclude this session in a timely manner and with a positive outcome. We also would like to record our sincere appreciation to the outgoing Bureau members for their hard work during the 75th session.

3. We reiterate our deep gratitude for the stellar work of the Secretariat of the Fifth Committee led by Mr. Lionelito Berridge, in facilitating the work of the Committee.

4. The Group also wishes to thank the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for its invaluable support and assistance to our work. Into the second year of this terrible COVID-19 pandemic, the Group recognizes the many challenges the Secretariat and the ACABQ have had to overcome in carrying out their work. We thank you for your efforts.

5. The Group thanks the Bureau and the Secretariat for providing the draft programme of work and the status of preparedness of documentation, both of which, we know, will be reviewed and adjusted during the course of the session to reflect the progress of the work and priorities of the Committee, as well as the progressive improvement of the prevailing public health situation.

Mr. Chair,

6. The new guidelines for in person participation at UN headquarters in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, give the Group hope that sooner rather than later we will be able to put this difficult time behind us and look forward to engaging once more in the halls and rooms of 1B.

7. We understand that for now we are limited to just the formal meetings being in person due to the confluence of all main committees being in session at this time, but we do believe we will get the opportunity to have informal consultations also in person. On this, the Group would like to caution that we cannot favor the consideration of one agenda item over another, and all should receive the same opportunities to be discussed under the same meeting modalities.

8. The Group continues to be disappointed that due to security concerns the Committee is still deprived of interpretation services during our informal consultations. We look forward to the day that Multilingualism is fully restored, and we can enjoy interpretation services as we are doing here today.

Mr. Chair,

9. We are committed to a thorough consideration of the agenda items allocated to the Committee, and in this regard, note with disappointment that several reports are still outstanding. This endemic situation significantly compromises the Committee's work. The Group wishes to reiterate that adequate time should be given to each item and that practical steps must be taken to ensure that reports from the Secretariat and the ACABQ are issued in all official languages in a timely fashion, in line with the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly and relevant resolutions to this effect.

10. In the weeks ahead, the Fifth Committee will address issues of crucial importance to the General Assembly and the Organisation. The Group will actively engage in the deliberations of this session on issues such as the Proposed Programme Budget for 2022; the Scales of Assessment; Construction and Property Management; Review of budgetary cycle involving CPC and ACABQ Sequencing; the United Nations Common System; Pension System, Umoja, Conditions of Service for ICSC and ACABQ, and Administration of Justice. Close attention will also be paid to deliberations on the Capital Master Plan, all programme budget implications and revised estimates, Improving the Financial Situation of the United Nations, as well as the reports of the Board of Auditors and the OIOS.

11. We will of course speak in more detail about these items when the time comes. However, regarding the Proposed Programme Budget for 2022, the Group wishes to reiterate its long-standing position that mandates as translated into the strategic framework, must determine budget proposals and not the other way around. Further, the level of resources to be approved by the General Assembly must be commensurate with all mandated programmes and activities in order to ensure their full and effective implementation.

12. Additionally Mr. Chair, the Group reaffirms the critical role of the CPC and wishes to remind the Committee that implementation of resolution 75/243, paragraph 9, is vital to ensure an effective and efficient outcome of the overarching Programme Budget negotiation. The ten programmes of the proposed programme budget for 2022 that do not have conclusions and recommendations from the Committee on Programme and Coordination, should be reviewed by the plenary or the relevant Main Committee responsible for those mandates. This must be done in a timely manner, so that the Fifth Committee can discuss and approve the related budget.

13. In the same context, it is worth noting that during the adoption of the Programmes of Work of the other Main Committees, numerous delegations raised the issue of the open CPC programs relevant to each Committee. In this regard, the G77 and China is certain that a resolution adopted by consensus - here I am referring to resolution 75/243 op 9 - will be respected and the voice echoed many times by 134 member states will be heard. It is not possible to turn a blind eye to a General Assembly resolution and a deaf ear to the two-third majority of the General Membership.

Mr. Chair,

14. The Group reiterates its belief that the consideration of the budget on a yearly basis imposes additional time constraints for the thorough discussion of other agenda items. However, we are committed to overcoming this challenge as well as the continued challenges posed by the pandemic in order to conclude our work in a timely manner. We trust that the Committee will devote an adequate level of dedication to all agenda items and that our discussions will be fruitful, and our negotiations will be conducted in an open, transparent and inclusive manner.

15. In closing, the Group assures you of its full cooperation and constructive engagement with you, the Bureau and our partners to reach a successful outcome for this session.

I thank you.