Statement by the Cuban Delegation on Agenda Item 136: Improving the Financial Situation of the United Nations for the Second Resumed Part of the 68th Session before the Fifth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. New York, 15 May 2014
My delegation thanks Under-Secretary-General Mr. Yukio Takasu for his presentation. We welcome the update he has provided us on this matter.
My delegation endorses the statement delivered by the Delegation of Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The United Nations, the most universal, representative and accredited intergovernmental organization in the world, plays an increasingly important role in peacekeeping, promoting development and strengthening international cooperation; hence, a steady financial base is essential for the Organization. To that end, Member States should pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and unconditionally.
It is significant that the bigger debts to the budgets of the United Nations continue to focus around one Member State. It is, by the way, the same State that benefits from the main distortion in the methodology for the calculation of the scale of assessments.
The strict an unconditional payment of assessment is a requirement of the Charter of the United Nations. The intentional withholding of payments is not only reckless and irresponsible, but also compromises the financial stability of the Organization. The United Nations has no independent source of general revenue; therefore it depends on Member States to pay their assessed contributions in order to avoid interruption of its operations.
At the same time, the Secretariat should prove capability to manage financial resources entrusted to it with more efficiency, particularly when Member States, themselves, are taking strict austerity measures internally. In like manner, it is necessary to continue to strengthen accountability, transparency and the ability to attain results.
Member States with permanent seats in the Security Council have special responsibilities to keeping international peace and security. Therefore, delays or imposing conditions for the relevant payments to peacekeeping budgets, as has been happening with one State in particular, are paradoxically. Arrears accumulation has negative effects in the Organization’s ability to fulfill its mandate and generates a considerable financial limitation.
The systemic problem of peacekeeping operation funding should be definitively solved. For instance, we cannot continue to promote the unsustainable practice of financing ongoing peacekeeping operations to be charged to the account of the completed ones. The balance of the accounts of the completed peacekeeping operation should be returned to Member States, in compliance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the Organization.
In this context, Cuba notes with concern the increasing delays in payments due to Member States providing troops, police and equipment for peacekeeping missions. Timely reimbursement of the cost incurred by States that contributed with troops and equipment would help to relieve the financial burden of many of these developing countries. Peacekeeping operations would be impossible without their participation. Hence, Cuba hopes that the Secretariat make greater efforts so that these States contributing with troops and equipment receive their refunds in full and on time. Obviously, those reimbursements depend on the assessments paid in full and on time by Member States.
We should not overlook the fact that many developing countries have made great efforts to meet its financial obligations to the Organization, despite their economic difficulties. Unfortunately, the financial crisis of recent years and its negative impact on the capability of payment of developing Member States are not the only hindrance in the way of many States that have the political will to pay their contribution to the Organization. There are coercive measures contrary to international law that hinder and prevent the payment from several of these developing countries. Those measures also violate long-standing agreements the Organization has with the host country. Cuba rejects this reality.
Despite the big obstacles it faces as a developing country and the consequences of the said economic crisis, Cuba keeps its firm commitment to multilateralism, which is proven not only by its hectic participation in the United Nations, but also with the fulfillment of its financial obligations.
As to the aforementioned coercive measures contrary to international law, once more, I would like to denounce that for more than 50 years Cuba have suffered the consequences of the unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States; notwithstanding, our country keeps its budgetary obligations updated.
As a result of the United States blockade, Cuba cannot use the U.S. dollar for its international transactions, including those intended to pay its financial commitments to international organizations. Because of this situation, our transfers have to be made through third countries and are subject to the constant monetary fluctuation of the market, which negatively impact our capacity of payment.
In like manner, Cuban transfers to international bodies have been frozen in many occasions, even when those are denominated in euros or Canadian dollars.
The blockade policy against Cuba should come to an end. The economic, financial and commercial siege imposed unilaterally on Cuba is the main obstacle to the sustainable development of our country. The extraterritorial nature of the blockade infringes the rules and principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations. The General Assembly has expressed its opposition to the blockade on 21 consecutive occasions.
In closing, we would like to thank the cooperation we have received from the Contribution Office with monitoring information to States on our contributions to the budgets of the Organization.
Once again, we emphasize the readiness and political will of Cuba to honor their financial obligations to the United Nations.