Thank you Mr Chairman
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
I wish to thank Under Secretary-General Alicia Barcena for the briefing on the financial situation of the United Nations. This information provides us with a glance at the finances of the UN. It also clearly indicates which Member States have taken their responsibility for the financial well-being of the Organisation – and which Member States have not done so. Hence, the European Union wishes to underscore that it is the responsibility of each individual Member State to pay its assessed contributions in full and on time without conditions.
Although the financial situation in 2006 was generally better than in 2005, the picture is still mixed and there are reasons for concern.
Firstly, the position of the regular budget is uncertain. As indicated in the financial presentation, 139 Member States have paid in full their regular budget assessments by the end of the year 2006 including all 27 Member States which comprise the European Union. This leaves 53 Member States owing a total of 361 million USD, with over 90 per cent being owed by only three Member States.
Secondly, the total amount outstanding for peacekeeping operations at the end of 2006 was almost 1.9 billion USD. These large arrears have a negative impact on the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. Meanwhile, the Organisation’s outstanding obligations to troop contributing countries at the end of 2006 amounted to 1 billion USD.
Thus we find ourselves in a vicious cycle year after year. The Organisation needs full and timely payments in order to plan and execute the budgets the General Assembly has approved. The effectiveness of peacekeeping operations will suffer and troop contributing countries will continue to face delayed reimbursements unless the payment pattern of Member States changes.
It is for this reason that the European Union stresses the need to pay in full and on time, noting yet again that the largest part of the outstanding dues for financing peacekeeping operations are owed by less than a handful of Member States.
For the European Union, the retention of funds due to consistently late or even non-payment of assessed contributions by certain Member States is not acceptable,
Peacekeeping has indeed a different financial period, assessments are issued separately for each operation and they are issued for different periods throughout the year.
In this context, the European Union recalls, the comment made by USG Barcena on the unpredictable nature of the demand for peacekeeping activities. Nevertheless, the European Union wishes to commend Member States who lead by example by regularly keeping current with their assessments for peacekeeping operations and urges all Member States to pay in full and on time.
Capital Master Plan
Thirdly, turning to the financial situation of the Captial Master Plan, the European Union wishes to stress again the great importance we attach to this project.
The Capital Master Plan has been under discussion in the Fifth Committee since 2000. Eventually, in June 2006 the General Assembly took a decision on the Capital Master Plan strategy, followed by the decision in December 2006 on the total budget for the Capital Master Plan of 1.9 billion USD. After this protracted decision-making process we trust in the timely realisation of the project as decided by the General Assembly.
Further, according to the financing options possible, the European Union expects all Member States to pay their assessed contributions to finance the project.
In this context we appreciate that 168 Member States have made payments amounting to 331 million USD so far.
Concluding this statement, the EU believes that the United Nations Organisation can only perform its ever increasing and challenging tasks if all Member States accept their responsibility to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions. This may sound reiterative and even tedious. But this is the commitment each Member State has entered into.
As the European Union accounts for about 40 per cent of all assessed contributions to the United Nations, we expect the Secretariat to show the same commitment to use the resources of the Member States in the most accountable, efficient and effective manner.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
*Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.