STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR, SECOND SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 140: IMPROVING THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, DURING THE SECOND PART OF THE RESUMED SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 12 May 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on Agenda Item 140: Improving the financial situation of the United Nations.
2. Our Group would like to thank the Secretariat for the presentation of Addendum 1 to the Report of the Secretary General on this very important agenda item that relates to the financial health of this Organization. The Group also expresses its appreciation to Mr. Ramanathan, ASG Controller, for the updated information on the assessments of Member States, provided last 4th May.
3. To enable the UN and the multilateral system to fulfil its mandates, the UN must be funded adequately and in a predictable manner. The Group is concerned that the implementation rate of the regular budget has consistently fallen short over the past decade. The unpaid assessed contributions as at 30 April 2023 were $253 million more than as at 30 April 2022, indicating a problematic trend in payments for regular budget.
4. Similarly, for peacekeeping operations, the level of unpaid assessments as at 30 April 2023 was $2.8 billion, which is $693 million more than that last year on 30 June 2022. The trend shows that unpaid assessments, as a percentage of the assessments, have been increasing in each of the last four financial periods. With only two months remaining in the current fiscal year, the unpaid contribution to assessment percentage is 36 %.
5. The ability for the Organization to settle its liabilities is fully contingent on payments being made to the UN. Of particular emphasis are those member states with the highest arrears that have seriously impacted the organization's financial situation. It is extremely concerning that one Member State currently owes more than a half of all outstanding assessments to the UN regular budget and Peacekeeping operations budget respectively, despite having the capacity to pay. This is especially egregious in the current circumstances. Despite already benefiting from a fundamental distortion in the determination of how the Organization is financed, this member state continues to unilaterally withhold its contributions for political reasons, while still clinging on to its special privileges in the Security Council.
6. We call on member states who are in a position to do so to put their words and commitments into action, and to settle their arrears and pay their assessments in full, on time and without conditions.
7. The Group reiterates that ensuring financial stability is critical for the Organization to function effectively and fully implement its mandates. The Group wishes to express its appreciation to Member States who have made real efforts to reduce their outstanding contributions, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their economies. We continue to empathize with Member States who are genuinely unable to meet their financial obligations for reasons beyond their control.
8. The Group also wishes to reaffirm that all actions should be taken in order to facilitate the payments of assessed contributions of Member States, and that Member States should not be prevented or hindered from honoring their legal and financial obligations to the Organization. This is especially pertinent when the Organization is experiencing persistent liquidity challenges.
9. Despite bearing an ever-increasing share of the financial burden of the Organization, the Group remains committed to participate constructively in any efforts towards resolving the financial difficulties of the Organization. Likewise, we call on our partners to do the same. Otherwise, we will be setting up the Organization for failure at a time when its success is most imperative.
I thank you.