Statement by Mr. Shinichi Iida
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
On Item 123, "Improving the financial situation of the United Nations"
28 October 2003
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My delegation also wishes to thank Ms. Catherine Bertini, Under-Secretary-General for Management, for her presentation on the financial situation of the United Nations, which helped Japan and, I am sure, other Member States to understand the issues facing the Organization.
Year after year, Japan has been faithful in paying its assessed contributions to the United Nations, as the record will bear out. This year, Japan has already paid two hundred forty-four million four hundred and twenty thousand dollars ($244,420,000) for the regular budget, and five hundred two million and eighty thousand dollars ($502,080,000) for the peacekeeping budget.
In her presentation on 21 October, Ms. Bertini described the Member States that have and have not paid assessments as "good guys and girls" and "bad guys and girls" respectively. It is my delegation's understanding that Ms. Bertini meant simply to present her argument in a clear and forceful manner. Yet it must point out that such simplification tends to minimize the serious nature of the problems that exist, and sometimes adversely affects efforts to resolve them.
It is with taxpayers' understanding that the governments of Member States pay their assessed contributions. And as Ambassador Haraguchi, our Permanent Representative, mentioned in his statement concerning regular budget scale on 14 October, a growing number of our taxpayers are expressing their dissatisfaction with the way that Japan is being treated in the United Nations. As a result, the process of obtaining their understanding with respect to the payment of assessments to the United Nations has become highly politicized, and it is increasingly difficult for Japan to continue to pay its assessments at the present rates.
Taxpayers of Member States are asking for proof that the United Nations is being managed efficiently, and that its work is truly to their benefit. The responsibility for providing such proof primarily falls upon the government of each Member State, and yet efforts on the part of the Secretariat are also called for. What Member States need is not rhetoric but a meaningful message to their taxpayers.
With regard to the peacekeeping budget, as my delegation has stated on numerous occasions, it is important that some mechanism for dialogue be established between the Security Council and major financial contributors so as to ensure transparency. Without such a mechanism, my delegation believes, it would be an open question whether we shall continue to be able to obtain our taxpayers' understanding.
The Government of Japan will make its utmost efforts to pay its assessed contributions for the budgets of the two international tribunals. It is imperative, on the other hand, that the tribunals preserve the present budget levels as ceilings and strictly rationalize their budgets in order to dispel strong scepticism in Japan towards these budgets. In this connection, my delegation considers as problematic, that the Rwanda tribunal did not compile its completion strategy for quite some time, submitting it only recently. This must be looked into. My delegation requests maximum efficient use of the budgets and full implementation of the completion strategies of the two tribunals.
As of 30 September, Mr. Chairman, one hundred and sixteen Member States had not paid any of their assessments for the two tribunals. We need to ask ourselves why, and my delegation believes that this is a question that the tribunals should be asking themselves as well.