Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
On agenda item 134: Proposed Programme Budget
For the Biennium 2012-2013
The Fifth Committee
Main Part of the Sixty-Sixth Session
United Nations General Assembly
28 October 2011
At the outset, permit me to express my heartfelt congratulations on your assumption of the Chairmanship of the Fifth Committee. I am confident that with your rich experience and wisdom, you will be able to more than fulfill the heavy responsibilities of the Chairmanship and contribute to sound resource management of the United Nations.
I would like to start by extending my sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon for his commitment to management reform and accountability. We are also grateful to him for his personal leadership in the budgetary process including introducing his proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013. I would also like to thank Mr. Collen Kelapile, Chairman of the ACABQ, for his work and introducing the report of the Advisory Committee.
Japan firmly believes that the prime purpose of the programme budget is to uphold the three pillars of the United Nations, namely, peace and security, development and human rights. We are also of the view that the budget serves to implement the eight priorities determined by the General Assembly in its budget outline resolution for biennium 2012-2013. My government acknowledges the need to approve resources needed to implement the mandates agreed by Member States for the Organization.
Nevertheless, we must clearly recognize that our financial resources are finite. This is especially true when Member States are struggling with severe financial conditions at home. During the regular budget negotiations, the Member States must carefully examine each resource request and decide to provide funding only to those activities with high priority. To this end, the Member States will need to bring together their insights and ideas to determine the most efficient and effective way to allocate the limited resources across budget sections. Japan will constructively engage in the budget negotiations in order to reach an agreement which will allocate the resources in a balanced and sensible manner, and implement the priority activities. In order to do so, we should not hesitate to discontinue or defer activities which have lost priority in accordance with the established budgetary mechanisms.
In this regard, Japan highly commends the Secretary-General’s attempt to reduce the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 by approximately three per cent. The Secretary-General took the initiative in his capacity as the chief administrative officer of the organization, who clearly has the prerogative to exercise his judgment to formulate a budget proposal. We also support the statement reiterated by the Secretary-General to “do more with less”. We expect that the Secretary-General and his staff will stay fully accountable for what has been proposed in the programme budget during the entire negotiations. We strongly hope that a decrease of minus three per cent against the revised appropriation budget level for 2010-2011, which would include recosting and add-ons, will be achieved at the end of the negotiations.
We also appreciate the efforts of the Secretary-General to establish a change management team and initiate other reforms for the Organization. At the same time, we would like to point out that we first need to assess the progress of the reform initiatives which have already been started. The Secretary-General should place priority on completing ongoing initiatives, inter alia Umoja, and show us the tangible fruits of the reforms he has undertaken.
Finally, Japan attaches great importance to the established working methods of the Committee as well as ensuring transparency in the budget negotiations. We highlight the fact that General Assembly resolutions 41/213 and 42/211 give us clear guidance to reach our final agreement by consensus. In closing, I would like to assure you that my delegation will participate actively in the consultations to achieve a consensus on the proposed programme budget under your able guidance.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.