|Statement by Counsellor Cheng Lie on Agenda Item 139: Program Planning and Item 138: Proposed Program Budget for 2023 at the Main Part of the Fifth Committee During the 77th Session of the General Assembly|
I thank Secretary-General Guterres for the presentation of the program plan and the proposed program budget for 2023. China associates itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of G77 and China, and would like to make the following comments and recommendations:
Regarding the programme planning, China upholds that the leading role belongs to Member States in reviewing the program plans. The implementation of programme plans should not only be efficient but also effective. We look forward to seeing greater accountability and transparency of programme activities. We note the positive efforts taken by the Secretariat since last year in improving the quality of programme budget report, including using more inter-governmentally-agreed terms and improving the accuracy of programmatic narratives. We request the Secretariat to enhance its efforts in this regard, in order to provide better basis for Member States to review programmes and reach consensus. The CPC plays an indispensable role in correctly interpreting the mandates given by Member States and in reviewing the programme plans. The 62nd CPC held in June ended with very positive outcomes, which marks the best result since the beginning of the trial period of annual budget. China supports the General Assembly in continuing to review the 5 open programs in line with its resolutions.
Regarding the programme budget, it should be maintained at a reasonable level with strengthened comprehensive budgetary performance, with the aim of achieving cost-saving and better efficiency. We request the Secretariat to strictly abide by fiscal discipline and strengthen supervision, auditing and accountability. The management of extra-budgetary resource need to be further strengthened, in ensuring that the use of extra-budgetary resource is transparent, regulated and in line with mandates and rules of the UN. In the current situation, the vast developing countries are facing bigger challenges in economic recovery and looking forward to better support from the UN. However, the budget level of development sections has too little increase to reflect the demand and appeal of developing countries. We hope that the Secretariat could optimize the budget allocation to ensure development is prioritized with adequate and sustainable financial resources, in order to respond to the actual difficulties and concerns of developing countries, and promoting the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
We note with concern that, under section 24, the Secretariat at its first time includes resources to implement the mandates expected to be adopted in the name of new and expanded mandates. Pre-judging the mandate of the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council and front-loading the potential resources into budget section goes against the basic principle of “mandate first, programme next, budget last”. We recall the recommendations of the ACABQ, and the criteria, scope and reasons should be clarified in advance of any inclusion of anticipated proposed resource requirements in a future programme budget proposal. For now, the revised estimate is the feasible and reasonable budget methodology.
China has always actively fulfilled its financial obligations to the UN and attached great importance to the budgetary management. The program plans approved by the GA lay the basis for programme budget, and the program budget reflects program plans from the perspective of finance. They commonly ensure that the UN would be able to accurately implement mandates and priorities of Member States. Neither of them should be undermined or ignored. Any changes in the budget modality should not weaken or cut off the relations in-between.
China is ready to constructively participate in consultations with all parties. We will continue to act in the spirit of unity, cooperation and consensus to continue to promote on-time conclusion of all agenda items.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.