Mr Chairman, Mr. Secretary-General,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his presentation of the Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011. I also thank the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Ms. Susan McLurg, for her presentation of that Committees report.
The Programme budget of the United Nations is a strategic instrument of utmost importance to enable the Organisation to carry out its activities around the world in various areas. The European Union continues to be a staunch supporter of the United Nations and believes that the Organisation should be provided with the necessary resources to implement its mandates.
At the same time, in this period of global financial crisis affecting Member States of the European Union and the membership of the United Nations at large, it is important that we ensure that all resources of the Organisation are used in the most effective and efficient way and that the same strict budgetary discipline is applied that we Member States are required to apply. This is a reality that the Organisation will have to handle in a close dialogue with Member States.
From this perspective the European Union will carefully study the Secretary-Generals budget proposal and engage constructively in the upcoming negotiations.
Your initial budget proposal for the biennium 2010-2011 amounts to $4.89 billion. The increase of $22.4 million, or 0.5 per cent, above the revised appropriation for the current biennium and of $16.4 million above the budget outline, decided in December last year, may not seem very large. Yet, we should not forget that the proposed budget level represents an increase of more than $700 million, or 17 per cent, if compared to the initial appropriation for the current biennium as decided in December 2007. Also, this amount does not show the full expected costs for proposals that will be under our consideration during this main session, such as the preliminary estimates for recosting, additional requirements for Enterprise resource planning (ERP), Business continuity management and Safety and security, PBIs and revised estimates. All in all, the total amount of the proposals that will be before us seems more likely to be in the range of $5.3-5.4 billion.
This, the European Union wants to stress clearly, would be a very substantial increase which is more than we, as the largest contributor, are able to resource. The budget proposal will need to be carefully considered from the perspective outlined above in order to find a more reasonable budget level. Further, as we have stated before, the European Union believes firmly that a fair and more balanced way to share the budgetary responsibilities of the United Nations is essential to the effective functioning of the Organisation.
We appreciate your and the Secretariats efforts to apply budgetary restraint and present a full and transparent picture of the proposed resources. At the same time, we regret that the proposed budget, once again, is not complete. We want to stress that at least preliminary estimates of the expected additional requirements could have been provided, where possible, together with a clear order of priority and indications on how to use resources in the most effective and efficient way. We wish to recall paragraph 9 of General Assembly resolution 62/236, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General, for all future proposed programme budgets, to take the necessary steps to avoid a piecemeal approach to the budget process and to ensure the fullest possible picture of the Organisations requirements for future biennia. We trust that, in future budget submissions, the established budget process, as set out in General Assembly resolutions 41/213 and 42/211, be fully applied.
Further, we would like to clarify that strict budgetary discipline and consideration of additional requirements imply a need to carefully study possibilities for redeployment of resources and cross-cutting savings. This would also include close consideration of recurrent expenditures and to go beyond incremental budgeting. We concur with the comments of the ACABQ in this regard. We also want to stress that, especially in the current financial climate, there is a need for clear priority-setting by the Secretariat. This would help us Member States when considering the proposals before us and deciding how to prioritise and use the resources of the organisation in the most effective and efficient way. A clearer results-oriented approach and more effective use of results-based budgeting as a management tool is also critical to this end.
In concluding, let me assure you and the other Member States that the European Union is ready to engage constructively in a spirit of collegiality and dialogue in the upcoming negotiations in order to reach a successful outcome on this important item and bring the final appropriation to a manageable level.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary-General,
I thank you.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and As-sociation Process.