I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
At the outset, let me thank Mr. Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary General for Management, for his presentation on 11 October and his update today, which contained useful information on the financial situation of the United Nations and on how member states fulfil their obligations under the United Nations Charter to contribute to the financial expenses of the Organisation.
We wish to reiterate in this regard that it is the responsibility of each member state to pay its assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions, while budgetary responsibilities have to be shared among member states in a fair and equitable way. We would also like to underline that, on the part of the Organisation, effective and efficient use of resources remains important.
We noted that Mr. Takasu stated on 11 October that overall, the financial indicators for 2012 are generally positive. We would like to use this opportunity to stress here again that the Secretariat and member states need – in close collaboration – to explore alternatives to improving the budgeting process.
We are pleased to see that, as of 10 October 2012, 132 member states had fully paid their regular budget assessments, while 131 had fulfilled this obligation at the same time last year. We hope that the remaining member states will pay their assessed contributions in full and as soon as possible.
Turning to peacekeeping operations, we note with appreciation that the total amount outstanding for peacekeeping operations at 5 October 2012 is $ 1.85 billion, a decrease of $ 775 million from the amount at the end of 2011. We hope this foreshadows further structural improvements in peacekeeping budgeting.
We also note with appreciation that the Organisation’s projected debt to member states providing troops and police-units and contingent-owned equipment to peacekeeping operations is lower now than the actual figure for 2011. The Member States of the European Union hope that this trend will continue and welcome the commitment of the Under-Secretary General for Management in this regard.
The situation where active peacekeeping operations are financed to some extent from the closed peacekeeping operations accounts, due to unpaid assessments, is not sustainable in our view. In that respect, we wish to reiterate that the remaining balance of funds in the closed peacekeeping operations account must be returned to Member States, in accordance with the Financial Rules and Regulations of the Organisation.
Turning to the Capital Master Plan, we are pleased to note that 150 member states have paid their contributions. At the same time, we obviously remain very concerned about the cost overruns and call upon the Secretary General – even in this end-stage of the project – to do everything to identify further cost-saving measures.
To end on a positive note, we are pleased that so far 32 member states have fulfilled all their financial obligations to the United Nations, compared to 18 last year. We sincerely hope this positive trend will continue in the future.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.