I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
I would like to thank the Controller, Assistant Secretary General, Ms Maria Eugenia Casar, for briefing us today.
It has been extremely helpful to be briefed today on the preparation of the Secretary General’s Regular Budget proposal for 2014 and 2015. We very much look forward to considering the proposal and the associated report of the ACABQ in the 68th session of the General Assembly later this year.
While we will consider the budget proposal in detail in the autumn, it is important to recall the context in which we shall consider it, and in fact the context the United Nations operates in today. That is, one where there are continued demands on the Organisation to deliver, and to deliver more when Member States decide, against the background of budget restraint and reduced spending by many national governments, who look to the United Nations to work better and smarter, and to achieve its goals while operating within the budget level agreed by the Member States.
In agreeing the Budget Outline resolution on 24 December, the General Assembly sought to give the Secretary General the opportunity to examine how the Organisation delivers the mandates the Member States have decided upon. The Member States of the EU expect to see in the budget proposal that this opportunity has truly been grasped.
We expect to see that the Secretary General, as chief administrative officer of the Organisation, has prepared a budget based on a preliminary estimate of $5.392 billion, that he has looked to all sections of the budget to make savings, and has – as mandated by the General Assembly – reviewed possible obsolete activities, taken additional cost effectiveness measures, and simplified procedures. Furthermore, we also look forward to proposals that reflect the outcomes of a review of the staffing requirements of the Organisation.
By undertaking these measures, we are confident that the Secretary General will have been able to prepare a robust proposal which matches the budget level which the General Assembly decided on as being the appropriate amount to allow for the full implementation of mandated programmes and activities.
The Member States of the EU believe it is important also to recall that the General Assembly also decided last December to further defer consideration of the issue of recosting of the regular budget for 2012 and 2013. This deferral does not imply a mere delay. There should be no assumption by the Secretary General, or his staff at all levels, that further funding for recosting will be agreed when this is considered again at the end of this year. It is imperative that concrete steps are taken now, at all levels, to spend more wisely, to deliver in new ways, and to ensure that the Organisation lives within the agreed budget level. Other tools, such as forward purchasing to reduce the impact of currency fluctuations, must be used as well, but a fundamental shift is needed across the Secretariat starting today. As we said in our statement of 11 December 2012 – “an unceasing effort to find new and creative ways to work is essential to achieve more effective delivery of mandates and sustainable use of resources. Business as usual approaches simply do not address the scope of the financial challenges the UN is facing today”.
I thank you, Mr Chairman.