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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2009

UNGA, Fifth Committee, Item 134: Improving the Financial Situation of the UN

Statement by Ms Annette Ellis MP, Parliamentary Adviser, Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations
on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Friday 23 October 2009

Mr Chairman

I have the honour to speak today on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

We thank the Under-Secretary-General for Management, Ms Angela Kane, for her thorough presentation on 16 October on the Financial Situation of the Organisation and the Controller, Mr Jun Yamazaki, for today’s update.

We welcome the Secretariat’s efforts to keep the membership informed of the state of play in relation to the Organisation’s finances, including its breakdown of the situation with regard to Member State assessments.

Mr Chairman

We are all keenly aware of the global challenges that face us today: challenges that threaten our peace, security and prosperity; challenges that require global solutions. In order to find those solutions, we need a properly functioning United Nations.
Mr Chairman

CANZ acknowledges that there has been progress on some fronts with regard to the financial situation of the United Nations.

We see an improvement in the liquidity of the Organisation, stemming in part from the reduction in arrears by the United States – a positive development, which we welcome.

We also see strong support for projects such as the Capital Master Plan – with 93 per cent of assessments paid for 2003-2009 and a solid cash position of some $800 million.

Mr Chairman

Each of the CANZ countries continues to pay its assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions, and we acknowledge those other countries that also make the effort to do so.

Our delegations regret, however, that there has been an overall decline of 30 per cent in the number of Member States that have paid all assessments on time and in full as compared with this time last year.  Or put another way, only 11 per cent of the membership have paid their dues.

In addition, we continue to observe some Member States engaging in selective payment of assessments.  For example, the Tribunals are poorly served by a number of countries and unpaid assessments for the Tribunals are higher than they have been in a number of years.

CANZ delegations are also disturbed by the Organisation’s liabilities to troop and police contributing countries for many peacekeeping missions, including Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire and Timor Leste.  Many of these countries can ill-afford to bear the burden of what is effectively the subsidisation of those Member States that choose not to uphold their financial obligations to the Organisation.

Mr Chairman

CANZ is mindful that some governments find it more difficult to fulfil their financial obligations to the United Nations given current economic circumstances, and we understand these real financial difficulties.

While these circumstances should make us all more mindful of the need for budget discipline, they are not a reason to shrink from our shared obligation to finance the work of the Organization.

Mr Chairman

Once again, CANZ remains concerned that the majority of Member States have failed to pay their assessments in full, on time and without condition.

We commend those countries, both developing and developed, that have made the effort to adhere to their Charter obligations and we urge others to do the same.
Thank you Mr Chairman.

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