|Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin at the Fifth Committee of the 61st Session of the General Assembly on Item 122: Scale of Assessment|
At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election. In the face of an extremely heavy workload at this session of the Fifth Committee, the Chinese delegation hopes and believes that under your guidance and with the collective efforts of all member states, we can successfully accomplish all the tasks we set out to do.
The Chinese delegation would like to thank Mr. Bernardo Greiver, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions for his introduction of the report A/61/11, and Mr. Warren Sach, Controller of the United Nation, for his introduction of the report of the Secretary-General on multi-year payment plans (A/61/68). We also endorse the statement made by the distinguished delegate of South Africa on behalf of G77 and China. This year, the Fifth Committee is scheduled to discuss and adopt the scale of assessments for the period 2007-2009. After serious and careful consideration of the question at its 66th session, the expert members of the Committee on Contributions have submitted a report which provides a good basis for our consideration. My delegation appreciates the work of the Committee experts. I would like to make some brief comments and suggestions on the scale methodology:
1. Capacity to pay has been the cornerstone of the scale methodology ever since the inception of the United Nations and this principle brooks no change or distortion. It is a principle that reflects the general consensus worked out by the broad membership and has been reaffirmed by relevant GA resolutions numerous times. We are against any proposal that deviates from this principle, be it the concept of "responsibility to pay" or the setting up of a minimum assessment rate for permanent members of the Security Council, as advanced by a certain State. The United Nations is not a share company, nor a rich men's club, it is an intergovernmental international organization formed by member states of equal sovereignty. Any effort to link contribution with status in UN affairs is in contravention of the spirit of the UN Charter and will result in a serious erosion of the status of developing countries in the Organization and affect the friendly cooperation among member states.
2. Taking national income and allowing appropriate adjustment for low per capita income countries proves to be the best way to measure and reflect member states' capacities to pay, hence the need for its continued use. The adjusted GNI takes into consideration not only the overall economic strength of a state as reflected in its national income, but also its actual capacity to pay as reflected in its per capita income. Only by allowing reasonable income adjustment can we be assured that member states are assessed in accordance with their actual capacity to pay.
3. The Chinese delegation is in favor of adopting the same methodology used for the current 2004-2006 scale to prepare the 2007-2009 scale. The existing methodology is the result of long and hard negotiations and full consultations among all member states. It is a consensus that is based on the capacity to pay, but due consideration has also been given to other elements as well as different viewpoints and positions. As the United Nations is undergoing various reforms, it needs to have a solid financial base. To use the same methodology can ensure stability in methodology and the predictability of the scale, reduce uncertainties to a minimum and is therefore of great importance to the normal functioning of the United Nations and its subsidiary organs. Practice has shown that the existing scale methodology has served us well and is in the interest of the general membership.
As a member of the UN family and a permanent member of the Security Council, the Chinese government understands very well its responsibility towards the Organization and towards peace and security of the world. My government stands ready to make an even greater contribution to the United Nations on the basis of capacity to pay, as our domestic economy continues to grow. China's assessment rate has increased from 0.995% in 2000 to 1.54% for 2001-2003 and 2.053% for 2004-2006. That represents a 107% increase in the short span of 4 years. The Chinese government has honored its financial obligation towards the Organization both in word and in deed by paying its dues in full and on time every year. As a permanent member of the Security Council, it has also assumed additional financial obligations for peacekeeping.
China's assessment rate will continue to go up as its economy develops further and its per capita income increases. According to the data provided by the COC, if the existing scale methodology holds, China's assessment rate will be raised to 2.716% in 2007; the 0.7 percentage point increase will be the largest among all member states. Nevertheless, I would like to stress here that so long as the rate is calculated by using the existing methodology, thus in keeping with the principle of capacity to pay, China is willing to give favorable consideration to it.
We also need to bear in mind the fact that despite its rapid economic development in recent years and its impressive GDP figures; China is a country with the largest population and faces enormous challenges. China's per capita GDP for 2005 is US $ 1,703, outranked by over a hundred other States and a far cry from the average per capita GNI (the threshold) of $5,094. At the end of 2005, there were still 23.45 million Chinese living in abject poverty with an annual income of less than US$ 85 which was hardly enough for them to feed and clothe themselves decently. By the criteria of the World Bank that consider those who live on less than one US dollar a day as poor, China's poor population numbers the second highest in the world and all of them are badly in need of help. Economic development, poverty eradication and the realization of modernization remain daunting challenges for China.
The scale of assessments for the period 2007-2009 is an important agenda item for the Fifth Committee at this session. The scale is the basis on which member states' financial obligation towards the Organization is determined, and it is an important means for the Organization to receive financial resources. All member states have a strong interest in the establishment of a fair and equitable scale methodology, which involves an extremely complicated procedure. The Chinese delegation hopes that all sides can, through friendly consultations and dialogue on an equal basis, arrive at a practical and scientifically based scale of assessments that is acceptable to all.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.