On behalf of the G-77 and China, I have the honour and privilege of expressing our confidence that under your wise leadership we will achieve fruitful results. Be assured of our full cooperation.
We also extend our cordial welcome to Mr. Carlos Magariños in his second session of the IDB. We note with satisfaction the great progress achieved in the implementation of UNIDO´s Business Plan under its new leadership in such a short period of time and commend him for his excellent work.
We extend our sincere gratitude to all the members of the Secretariat. They have given generously of their time; they have accorded freely of their talents; and they have wholeheartedly dedicated their work in order that our joint endeavor succeeds.
This session of the Board coincides with the celebration of the African Industrialization Day. In this regard, we take this opportunity to welcome their Excellencies the Ministers of Industry of Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, the Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
The founding of the Group of 77, thirty four years ago was the result of the collective perception by the developing countries that their problems are shared and common, and of the need for joint action in accordance with the principles and objectives of the UN Charter.
In this context we thank the Director-General of UNIDO for making available a staffed office for the Vienna Chapter of the G-77. This initiative was welcomed by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the G-77 and China in September 1998 in New York, and is in line with current practices in the other G-77 capitals. Although only in its fifth month of operation, the office of the Vienna Chapter is already providing many benefits to Member States. It is ensuring the overall coordination with countries of the G-77 and China. It is also providing vital support services related to the preparation and servicing of meetings, access to official documentation - soon through the ODS (Optical Disk System), where all UN Documents can be retrieved, including major UN General Assembly documents as well as Policy Making Organs documentation.
An additional benefit is the establishment of an institutional memory of the G-77 and China which enables members to consult relevant documents, minutes of meetings (which are prepared in the office) and other relevant subjects related to their interest. This service is of particular relevance for small missions and missions accredited to UNIDO, but located in other capitals. The office supports the study group of the G-77 and China, which examines subjects of special interest related to UNIDO Matters. The objective of the study group is the strengthening of the position of the G-77 in UNIDO as well as making the presence of the group more effective in matters of mutual interest and with a long-range perspective. This function benefits all Member States.
The Office is also utilized by G-77 and China, for IAEA, UNOV and CTBTO related matters. We take pleasure in announcing that a G-77 Vienna Chapter Homepage, directly linked with G-77 New York Chapter - cross referenced to UNIDO and IAEA Homepages will be introduced in the course of this month. Up to the present time the Office of the G-77 and China has coordinated and provided support service for 11 Meetings for UNIDO Matters and 20 Meetings for IAEA Matters, excluding Meetings of the Board and of the General Conference. A special thanks to the hardworking and efficient staff of the office.
At this time, I wish to express the view of the Group of 77 and China with respect to the items of the agenda of this session.
The Group is mindful that 57 Member States have lost their voting rights. Bearing in mind the recommendations of the Inter-sessional open ended discussion group on timely payments of assessed contributions, the G-77 and China is of the view that serious and meaningful efforts have to be made by all Member States to pay their assessed contributions in full and on time. In this respect the catalytic role of the Secretariat is critical in promoting and implementing measures to facilitate these payments through incentives, use and settlement plans of local currencies as agreed in IDB.19/Dec.5. Therefore, the Group calls on the Director-General to continue his efforts and contacts with Member States who have lost their voting rights in order to ensure the clearance of their arrears.
It is worthwhile noting that the financial situation of UNIDO would be substantially improved by the settlement of arrears owed by the United States.
The Regular Budget of UNIDO has come down significantly over the past years. This trend now needs to be arrested and we feel that the Director-General should be provided with appropriate financial resources to implement the concepts contained in the Business Plan.
The G-77 and China commends the contributions made by the UNIDO Member States to the Industrial Development Fund and calls upon them to continue and to nurture this very positive trend. We also support the efforts of the Secretariat to convene the Consultative Meeting for Industrial Partnership and Investment in Africa.
In conformity with the political declaration of the twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in June 1998, dedicated to counter the World Drug Problem, and in light of the decision IDB.11/Dec.7 of the Board, we call on the Director-General to continue his efforts to cooperate with UNDCP, in the framework of the Business Plan, to help to combat the World Drug Problem.
We express our warm appreciation to the Director-General in implementing the terms of the Business Plan concerning Field Representation. We are aware of the difficulties faced by him in this area due to financial and personnel constraints beyond his control. We note that this is an on-going process which needs close coordination with Member States.
While taking cognizance of the relevant articles of the constitution of UNIDO, we strongly urge the application of the principle of equitable geographical distribution in the personnel policy of UNIDO, particularly at the professional level. For the long-term sustainability of the Organization, it is therefore imperative to see its proper and fair implementation. Likewise, we also consider that the issue of gender balance in all levels of the Secretariat, especially in the level of D-1 and D-2 needs to be addressed in line with current reforms in the UN System.
The G-77 and China attributes special significance to the important role the performance indicators will play in the evaluation and judgment by the Member States in its services and programmes as well as the assessment of the implementation of UNIDO's reform process. The G-77 extends its cooperation to the DG on the implementation of new service modules in full conformity with the Business Plan and encourages the Organization to promote this package through intensive and extensive interaction with the respective counterparts. We are confident that this new initiative will continue to impart new dynamism to UNIDO.
As members of the United Nations System we are deeply committed to fostering the important contribution of UNIDO in solving the serious economic and social problems facing the developing world. Let us renew our pledge of support to strengthening its shield of the new and the weak.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, we wish every success to our meeting.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.