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Statement by Counsellor CHENG Lie, Permanent Mission of China to the UN on Agenda Item 136: Review of Efficiency -- Review of the Changes to the Budgetary Cycle at the Main Part of the Fifth Committee During the 77th Session of the General Assembly

2022-11-28 17:39

Mr. Chair,

I thank Madam USG for the presentation of the review of changes to the budgetary cycle, and thank ACABQ for introducing its report. 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:

The United Nations plays the core role in international affairs. Finance serves as the foundation of and an important element underpinning the UN governance. In no way there could be a strong UN without a healthy financial and budgetary system. China recalls the vision of the annual budget reform of the Secretary-General in the 72nd session of the General Assembly, which is “creating a planning and budgeting process that is transparent and agile, a process that ensures that resources are best allocated for the effective and efficient delivery of mandates”.

The annual budget reform is an important part of the management reform of the Secretary-General, and represents the most significant change in the UN’s planning and budgeting processes in decades. China supports continuous improvement on efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in budgetary management. Budget modality should be scientific and reasonable, with the aim of effectively improving the accuracy and stability of budget preparation, and promoting the implementation and performance of the budget and programs. Any reform on budget modality should be under Member States-driven process and with the widest consensus.

China notes that the annual budget on a trial basis is implemented in an extraordinary context, including the Covid-19 pandemic and liquidity crisis. During the trial period, several problems are revealed one after another. Although some new attempts have been made, the result is still not satisfying enough. The programme budget is no longer prepared on the basis of programmes approved by the General Assembly. The programmatic narratives were once far deviated from the intergovernmentally agreed terms. The workload of the Fifth Committee, the CPC, the ACABQ and programme managers of Secretariat is multiplied, which potentially leads to unnecessary budgetary implications and internal friction. The traditional balance between the “budget year” and “human resources year” in the Fifth Committee no longer exists. The human resource management issues are forced to be postponed to the first resumed session, ending up in no resolution for years due to inadequate time of review. The expiration of funds becomes more frequent during the trial period. All the problems mentioned above have not been properly resolved yet, either properly reflected in the report. A solution is needed. China supports the ACABQ recommendations. We hope the Secretariat could comprehensively assess all important issues, including two kinds of budgetary cycles, their impacts, and any potential changes to the rules related to programme budget and Financial Regulations and Rules. We further hope that the assessment will be presented to the General Assembly in a comprehensive and balanced manner for consideration.

Mr. Chair,

Budgetary cycle is a complicated structural issue, relating to many aspects such as budgeting methodology, responsibilities and functions of different bodies, and working methods of the Fifth Committee. It is also a process with tremendous details and needs many supporting measures. Acting too hastily only makes the opposite. The assessment of the budgetary cycle should be carried out in a practical and realistic manner, through analyzing the actual effects, comparing the pros and cons of annual budget and other budget modalities, clarifying problems and potential risks during the trial period, and taking into consideration concerns of all sides. We call upon to find the most reasonable budget modality with a responsible approach, in order to ensure the mandate implementation and management effectiveness.

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 the agenda item.

I thank you Mr. Chair.

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