STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. RICHARD TUR DE LA CONCEPCIóN, SECOND SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 136 "IMPROVING THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS", AT THE MAIN PART OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 17 October 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Our Group wishes to thank Ms. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, for her presentation on the financial situation of the Organization on 9th October. We also thank Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, the Controller and Assistant Secretary-General, for his briefing on the management of the liquidity situation on 6th October.
3. The Group is seriously concerned because, as of 30 September 2023, only 64% of the assessments to the regular budget has been collected, the lowest in the last five years.
4. The unpredictability in the pattern of collections has resulted again in extraordinary measures such as the hiring suspension and restricted spending, both of which negatively affect mandate delivery. At the same time, the gap between budgeted and actual vacancy rates, the increase in post adjustments and faster hiring have increased the liquidity pressure. The Group reiterates that budget management must be driven by programme delivery and not based on available cash on hand.
5. The Group is therefore extremely concerned that more than two-thirds of the current regular budget arrears can be attributed to a single Member State, despite having the capacity to pay. To compound matters, that Member State is benefiting from an artificially imposed ceiling on its contributions, that was premised on the unfulfilled clearance of prior arrears. We urge that Member State to fulfil its financial and legal obligations to the Organization without delay.
6. On the peacekeeping front, the Group is encouraged to see more timely payment of liabilities to troop and police contributing countries. However, as at 30 September 2023, we have seen the highest percentage of unpaid assessment over the last five fiscal periods, which will potentially impact the reimbursements.
7. 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.
8. We continue to empathize with Member States who are genuinely unable to meet their financial obligations for reasons beyond their control. 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 they should not be prevented or hindered from honoring their legal and financial obligations to the Organization.
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. 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 than ever.
I thank you.