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Statement by the Acting DPR of China Mr. YAO Shaojun at the Second Resumed Session of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 137: Improving the Financial Situation of the United Nations

2020/05/14

Mr Chair,

This is the first time I make a statement at the Fifth Committee of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. I would like to congratulate your assumption as the chair of the Fifth Committee of the 74th General Assembly and appreciate your leadership. The Chinese delegation thanks Ms. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for DMSPC, for the presentation on the financial situation of the Organization on 7 May 2020, and for the updates provided today. China associates itself with the statement made by the delegate of Guyana on behalf of "the Group of 77 and China" and wishes to make the following comments and recommendations.

The worldwide spread of COVID-19 poses an enormous threat to life and health and a formidable challenge to global public health security. In response to the gravest test that the United Nations faces since its foundation, Secretary-General António Guterres launched the Appeal for Global Ceasefire and the Global Humanitarian Response Plan to promote international solidarity and cooperation to fight the pandemic. The Chinese delegation highly appreciates these efforts. Finance serves as a foundation of and an important element underpinning the United Nations governance. Sound financial situation is the guarantee for the UN to fulfill its mandates and to combat the pandemic. In this context, it is of utmost importance for member states to fulfill their obligations under the UN Charter and provide necessary financial resources to the UN.

According to the Secretariat, as of May 11, the total unpaid assessments under the regular budget and peacekeeping amount to 1.63 billion and 2.15 billion US dollars respectively. One member state owes the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget 1.165 billion and 1.332 billion US dollars, accounting for 71 per cent and 62 per cent of the total arrears. My delegation expresses deep concern over the fact that despite the difficult financial situation of the UN and the Secretary-General’s repeated calls for timely payment, the member state now has higher arrears compared with the same time of last year by withholding its assessed contributions.

Since the beginning of this year, China has been facing tremendous economic and fiscal pressure from the COVID-19 outbreak, and the annual session of the National People's Congress of China was postponed to the end of May which was planning to deliberate and approve the government budget proposal in March. As the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget, China has managed to make special arrangements and pay all assessed contributions in full. It shows China’s concrete support to the cause of the UN and the work of the Secretary-General. China has also decided to donate another 30 million US dollars in cash to the WHO in addition to the 20 million US dollars cash donation already made to support the global fight against COVID-19 and strengthen developing countries' health system. We call upon all member states to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time, and without conditions. Those countries with the capacity to pay, in particular, should expeditiously settle their dues and translate their promise to support the UN into action.

Improving the financial situation of the UN needs the joint efforts of member states and the Secretariat. The Secretariat should take measures to implement the reform initiatives, implement comprehensive budget performance management, and strengthen internal control and budget discipline so that efficiency and effectiveness in all spending can be ensured and that every penny by taxpayers of member states is well-managed and well-spent.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN. The international community has high expectations on the UN. China is ready to work with all parties to support the UN and its specialized agencies in combating the pandemic and promoting international peace and security.

I thank you, Mr Chair.

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