I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Andorra, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Monaco and Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, we wish to thank the Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, for presenting the Committee's report of its 81st session, as well as the Controller, for his presentation of the Secretary-General's reports on multi-year payment plans.
Let me begin by addressing the issue of the requests for exemption under Article 19.
The Member States of the European Union stand ready to endorse the recommendations of the Committee on Contributions allowing the countries that requested exemption under Article 19 to vote in the General Assembly until the end of its 76th session.
We would like to stress, however, that funding the United Nations is the joint and shared responsibility of the Membership, as stated in Article 17 of the UN Charter: the payment of their assessed contributions is a fundamental duty of all members. Of course, we acknowledge that some Member States may face temporary difficulties in fulfilling their annual financial obligations to the United Nations. We note that several countries requesting the exemption have been facing such difficulties recurrently. We also note that, once arrears have accumulated, multi-year payment plans seem to be an effective tool to help Member States to reduce their unpaid assessed contributions. We therefore strongly encourage those Member States to consult with the Secretariat in order to develop and submit practical multi-year payment plans. By doing so, these countries would not only meet their duty, they would also show solidarity towards other countries who struggle financially and yet still contribute their share to the Organization.
Allow me to continue by addressing the scales methodology.
As Member States, our collective main priority should be the financial sustainability of the Organization, so that it can deliver effectively all its mandates.
We believe that to achieve such a goal, the General Assembly must strive towards an equitable and balanced distribution of the financial responsibilities, in accordance to every member's capacity to pay. We are therefore grateful to the Committee on Contributions for their assessment of the issues preventing the current methodology from adequately reflecting the capacity of Member States to pay. We renew our call to the Membership to improve the current methodology of cost sharing, and we look forward to further discussing ways to achieve this goal, along the following lines:
Regarding the regular budget, the report of the Committee on Contributions identifies several areas of improvements in the scale formula. The Member States of the European Union will build on those and complement with their traditional technical assessment with a view to correcting the scale of assessments methodology. For instance, we were particularly interested in the Committee’s comments regarding the use of verifiable and comparable public external debt flow data in the debt-burden adjustment: this would allow the relief measure to better capture the reality of related financial flows, as it was originally designed for, and better tailor the relief to countries in need. In addition, the Low Per Capita Income Adjustment, which we agree should remain an essential element of the methodology, does not provide targeted relief to the countries with low per capita income who are in real need of the adjustment. Instead, the adjustment is now providing relief to middle-income countries, which limits simultaneously the pool of countries that carry the burden of this relief. Continuing on that path both fails to help those Member States that really need the adjustment and unnecessarily overburdens those who cover for it.
Regarding peacekeeping operations, the Member States of the European Union actively contribute with troops, civilian police and other personnel to missions around the world. As such, we remain committed to providing adequate financial resources for these missions. Similar to the Regular Budget, the rates of assessment should reflect the capacity to pay of Member States, while taking into account the special responsibility of the permanent members of the Security Council. On this principle, we will propose modernizing and updating the formula to reflect today’s realities more accurately: for instance, specific peacekeeping discounts should be based on justifiable, objective and comparable criteria, allowing relief to countries with limited capacity to pay.
In conclusion, we would like to assure you and the members of our Committee of our readiness to cooperate and engage constructively and in a spirit of compromise with all groups and delegations in the upcoming negotiations.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.