H.E. Mr. Yoshiyuki Motomura
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On Item 121, "Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2004-2005"
29 October 2003
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I would like to thank the Secretary-General for presenting his proposed programme budget for 2004-2005. I would also like to thank Ambassador Mselle, Chairman of the ACABQ, and Mr. Mirmohammad, Chairman of the CPC, for introducing their respective reports.
The United Nations is expected to play an important role for global peace and prosperity. In order to do so effectively and to realize enhanced support to the Organization, promotion of UN reform is essential. Japan is of the view that budgetary discipline is one of the important pillars of such efforts of the Organization. We believe that zero nominal growth should be the underlying principle for the next programme budget, and that new financing needs should be met through establishment of priorities and by strictly redeploying resources from lower-priority activities to higher-priority activities. Although the Secretary-General has proposed discontinuation of 912 outputs, it is difficult to say that thorough scrutiny has been applied to identifying all possible outputs that could be discontinued.
The ACABQ has recommended a reduction of 41 million dollars from the overall level of the proposed programme budget, and my Government basically supports this recommendation. However, the possibility of further reductions should be pursued. It is important that the budget level not exceed 3 billion US dollars.
Although my delegation will be presenting during the deliberations to follow its detailed views on the budget and the presentation made by the Secretary-General yesterday, today I would like to touch upon the following several points.
First of all, there is need to bring about change to the top-heavy post structure in the UN Secretariat. We would like to request the Secretary-General to compare it with the post structures in major governments in addition to those of other international organizations which tend likewise to be top-heavy, and to report at an early date on the information obtained. Requests for the creation of high-level posts will not be immediately justified from the view point of strengthening the staff of the Secretariat. These requests could further distort the structure and consequently reduce the efficiency of the activities of the Organization. Rejuvenation of the Secretariat is also important in the context of revitalizing the UN.
With regard to the ACABQ recommendation to give the Secretary-General the authority to manage the staffing table as a whole, we believe that ensuring an improved post structure would be a prerequisite.
Secondly, Japan highly appreciates the economic measures introduced by the Secretary-General in February last year, which have greatly contributed to the rationalization of UN activities. We believe, however, the savings accruing from the introduction of the economic measures should be utilized to the maximum extent possible to meet increased expenditures resulting from inflation and currency fluctuations.
Regardless of whether or not the December recosting would be conducted at the time of the adoption of the budget, a recosting would be necessary at the end of year 2004. Recosting must not be conducted in December of this year when there is a strong possibility that the level of the budget may rise sharply in nominal terms due to currency fluctuations. My delegation would rather support the recommendation of the ACABQ to postpone the December recosting.
Finally, I would like to touch upon the issue of equitable geographical distribution of the staff in the Secretariat. Although the Secretary-General and his staff have made efforts to improve the situation, satisfactory results are yet to be achieved. In order to further improve the situation, there is a need to introduce new measures in addition to the efforts being pursued currently.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.