Statement of the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Main Session, Fifth Committee. 68th Session of the General Assembly “Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2014-2015”. New York, October 28, 2013.
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on agenda item 134, entitled “Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2014-2015”.
I should first like to thank the Secretary General for the presentation of the proposed programme budget for the next biennium. I would also like to thank the Chairman of the ACABQ, Mr. Carlos Ruiz Massieu for introducing the related report.
CELAC attaches great importance to the consideration of the proposed programme budget of the United Nations. This is a crucial time for Member States to ensure that all the priorities decided by intergovernmental bodies are adequately reflected in the regular budget of the Organization.
As we have stated in the past, our Community considers it essential to strike a balance between the three main pillars of the organization. We emphasize that development, human rights and peace and security activities must receive adequate resources from the regular budget.
While recognizing the value of achieving efficiencies, we would like to reiterate our view that any cuts in search of efficiencies must be preceded by a case-by-case analysis that prevents any negative implications on the quality and timeliness of the mandate delivery. CELAC shares the concern expressed by ACABQ that no reliable impact assessment has been undertaken and that there may be implications in terms of the ability of the Organization to deliver its substantive mandates. In that regard, CELAC would like to highlight some of the specific problems we have with the proposed programme budget presented to us today.
For CELAC, assuring adequate resources for the development pillar is of utmost importance. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is a key player in the development agenda of the region. ECLAC's expertise in development issues affecting Latin America and the Caribbean has made it an extremely reliable source of knowledge and guidance in important national, sub-regional, and regional consultations. Having positioned itself as the leading provider of development expertise in the region, ECLAC countries are increasingly demanding more services from the Commission.
ECLAC has successfully helped our countries to develop policies in efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, improvement to access to education and health services, the advancement of women, the rights of indigenous peoples, migrants and many other vulnerable groups; all of these having direct socio-economic repercussions towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. ECLAC, as the other Regional Commissions, will also be indispensable for the promotion of the new agenda for sustainable development.
In view of the above, we are extremely concerned about the proposed cuts for ECLAC, which reflects a decrease of 3.2% compared with 2012-2013 resources at revised rates. We find it discriminatory and unfair that for the second biennium in a row, this Commission is one of the most affected by the proposed reductions, while some other departments maintained or increased their proposed budgets. We cannot agree with cuts that undermine the Commission's capacity to provide expertise to our region in key areas.
Our Community also would like to emphasize the importance of ensuring adequate resources for the Human Rights pillar from the regular budget. We reiterates our support to the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and, in this regard, stresses the need for her and her team to be provided with the necessary resources to fully discharge her mandate.
CELAC would like to express its repeated concern over the existing arrangements for support and financing of special political missions. Over the last decade, the budget of special political missions has grown dramatically, with a distortionary effect on the regular budget. These missions make up for a considerable portion of the regular budget of the United Nations and do not take into account the special responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council for the maintenance of peace and security. CELAC would like to reiterate the importance of reviewing these arrangements as a matter of urgency.
CELAC sees many departures in the proposed programme budget for the next biennium from the well-established budgetary methodology approved and confirmed by the General Assembly through multiples resolutions, in particular Resolutions 41/213 and 42/211.
An important aspect of the existing budgetary procedures and practices is the issue of recosting. CELAC would like to highlight that recosting is an essential part of the existing budget methodology as it ensures that planned activities are not impacted by currency fluctuations and inflation.
With this in mind, CELAC would like to urge the Secretariat and all Member States to strictly abide by the many decisions of the General Assembly that no changes to the established budget methodology, procedures, and practices or to the financial regulations should be implemented without prior consideration and approval of the General Assembly.
In conclusion, CELAC stands ready to collaborate on all items contained in the agenda with the goal of advancing negotiations and reaching agreements agreeable to all. We stand ready to constructively engage in negotiations to ensure that the areas entrusted with performing the development mandates approved by the General Assembly have adequate resources for their full implementation.
I thank you.