Statement by H.E. Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, On Agenda Item 141: Proposed Programme Budget for 2021 and Agenda Item 142: Proposed Programme Plan for 2021, at the Main Part of the 75th Session of the Fifth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

(As delivered)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
At the outset, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, for his introduction of the Proposed Programme Plan and the Proposed Programme Budget for 2021. I would also like to thank the efforts by the Committee for Programme and Coordination and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions for their respective reports.
Japan supports the basic direction of the reform led by the Secretary-General. As we approach the end of the second year of the reform, we expect to start reviewing the tangible outcomes of the reform in light of more effective and efficient implementation of mandates. We therefore look forward to a full exchange of views with the Secretariat and among the Member States in the course of the budget assessment, so that the General Assembly could provide appropriate guidance for the next steps.
In this context, we note with appreciation that in the second year of the annual budget cycle, the Secretary-General has refined the format of the programme and budget documents, following the last year’s resolution of the General Assembly.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is causing serious human security crisis worldwide, requires the United Nations to be nimble, agile and responsive to emerging needs and changes in external factors. The Fifth Committee is of no exception. The Programme Budget 2021 will serve as a good test case to confirm how the annual budget cycle has brought progress in the responsiveness of the UN budget process in the midst of this pandemic. In the course of budget discussion, my delegation will seek further improvements in the budget methodology with emphasis on the predictability, while also keeping an eye on budgetary discipline, accountability and efficiency.
Mr. Chair,
Japan notes that the budget for 2021 is proposed with 2.8% reduction to the approved budget for 2020. However, it is most likely that the total budget requirements including the so-called “add-ons” would exceed the amount approved in the previous year. We will assess the proposal in an objective manner to bring it to an appropriate level, after carefully examining the entire picture of the proposed budget.
My delegation appreciates the total posts requirements with the reduction of 25 posts. Especially, we highly commend the efforts of DGACM to streamline its staff structure, which should be looked at as an exemplary case by other entities. On the other hand, we note with concern the continuous trend of top-heavy staff structure and expect further efforts by the Secretary-General towards reconfiguration and rejuvenation of the Organization.
Finally, my delegation is committed to engaging positively and constructively in the upcoming negotiations in order to achieve consensual outcome on the important agenda items. You can count on my delegation’s full cooperation in that regard.
Thank you.