I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union. The Acceding country Croatia* aligns itself with this statement.
In our opening statement to the first part of the resumed sixty-sixth session of the Fifth Committee, on 5 March, we expressed the hope that this session would be constructive and that all Member States would work in a spirit of collegiality and true and real consensus, and show flexibility in trying to reach a consensual outcome. We regretfully note that the Fifth Committee did not perform in accordance with this standard.
First of all, let me recall that among the important items that the Committee had on its programme of work, none is so crucial for the functioning of the UN as the scale of assessments. As we stressed time and again, only a more equitable financing according to Member States’ actual capacity to pay can secure a sustainable financing architecture of the UN system. In this spirit, paragraphs 9 and 10 of General Assembly resolution 64/248 mandated a comprehensive review of all the elements of the methodology.
Last December, the Member States of the European Union proposed the establishment of a high level group of eminent persons to implement General Assembly resolution 64/248 and carry out the review, building on a successful 1994 precedent. As we mentioned before, this process would have safeguarded the competences and prerogatives of this Committee.
Our proposal met with strong resistance in particular from one group during this session. This group did not come up with an alternative approach to carry out the review. As a result, we deeply regret that the review mandated by General Assembly resolution 64/248 has not yet taken place. Nonetheless, we still look forward to a process that would ensure the carrying out of the review as mandated.
We would also like to express our deep regrets that the Committee was unable to reach a consensus on agenda item 132, Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations.
EU Member States have been actively involved and engaged in trying to reach a consensus on this agenda item. During the negotiations, EU Member States made it clear that the proposals by the Change Management Team to the Secretary General should not be part of the accountability agenda item during this First Resumed Session. As stated before, the proposals of the CMT are part of an internal document and we have made it clear many times that it is up to the Secretary-General to look carefully at those recommendations and come back to the General Assembly when he deems appropriate. We believe it is important to further strengthen the role, capacity, effectiveness and efficiency of the United Nations and improve its performance. Therefore, we welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General and the work of the Change Management Team and their Change Management Plan and have full confidence in the Secretary-General as the Chief Administrative Officer of the organisation.
EU Member States, with other like-minded countries reached out again to the G77 and China and proposed compromise language. In a spirit of compromise, we were willing to agree to a compromise proposal presented by the Committee’s Chair. Unfortunately, no consensus could be reached. We regret this and that is why we were forced into a vote today.
We continue to be strong supporters of the Change Management Initiative of the Secretary-General. Above all, we are true supporters of effective multilateralism and therefore in favour of a more effective, efficient and leaner Organisation. EU Member States support the need to ensure a more effective delivery of mandates through innovation and change management. We encourage the Secretary-General to continue working on, and implementing, the recommendations.
The unfortunate situation that resulted from this confrontation has prevented the Committee from pushing forward a number of overdue reform initiatives that we had on our programme of work. Consequently, the discussion of other important items such as the conditions of service of judges and the standard of accommodation for air travel could not be completed. This is also regrettable.
The Member States of the European Union are deeply concerned about the working methods of the Fifth Committee. The fact that a majority of Member States used their majority and did not show any willingness to compromise risks jeopardizing the partnership between Member States and the sustainability of the Organization.
We look forward to discussing all these issues that relate to our working methods in depth at the upcoming retreat you are hosting. The EU Member States appeal to all member states to redouble their efforts in future sessions, keeping in mind what should be our common goal: an efficient organization that delivers on its mandate effectively.
Thank you, Mr. President.
*Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.