(Check against delivery)Mr. Chairman,
At the outset, I would like to thank Ms. Jan Beagle, Under-Secretary-General for Management, for providing last week a comprehensive overview of the financial situation of the United Nations, as well as today's additional information. I wish to briefly outline Japan's views on this issue.
First of all, it is the responsibility of the Member States to pay their assessments in full and in a timely manner. For its part, Japan has been faithfully fulfilling its obligation in spite of our long-standing domestic financial difficulties. Japan's determination to play an active role in maintaining international peace and prosperity remains unchanged and therefore we will continue to faithfully discharge our international commitments.
At the same time, the capacity of the Member States to pay is not unlimited. We should not forget that the assessed budget is borne by the taxpayers of the Member States. All concerned parties must be aware of this, and my delegation would like to stress that when resource requirements are elaborated and deliberated, it is important to set realistic levels of resources that are both necessary and sufficient for the delivery of the given mandates.
We are concerned that the Secretariat covers the cash shortfalls of the regular budget not only through the Working Capital Fund, but also through the Special Account. Given the difficult situation of the cash position of the regular budget, my delegation believes that stricter budgetary discipline is required in the management of the Secretariat. In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to ask the Secretariat a question: what concrete measures have been taken within the Secretariat to address the negative cash flow of the regular budget?
It would not make sense to many of the taxpayers of the Member States if the UN staff were to continue traveling by business class despite such difficult situation of the cash position, where even the Working Capital Fund is depleted. My delegation sincerely hopes that the decision we collectively made in the first part of the resumed session on air travel expense will help the Secretariat to take appropriate measures, including the voluntary down-grading of flight class, which the General Assembly requested in addition to abolishing the use of first-class by UN staff. There may be other cost-saving measures that can be implemented by the Secretariat without waiting for the decision of the General Assembly. We are interested to know what cost-saving measures have been taken to address the cash shortfall.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.