2006.06.01: Item 126: Improving the Financial Situation of the United Nation

H.E. Ambassador Cho Hyun, Deputy Permanent Representative, at Fifth Committee of the General Assembly

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

1. Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for the illuminating presentation by Mr. Warren Sach and for the hard work of the Secretariat in addressing the financial situation of the United Nations.

2. Overall, my delegation is pleased to see a number of signs of improvement in the financial situation from the end of 2004 to the end of 2005. Encouraging is the change in cash on hand, which increased in all areas. The amount has gone from negative to substantially positive for the regular budget and from a mere $5 million to a less precarious $55 million for the tribunals. Also positive is the drop in unpaid assessments to both the tribunals and the regular budget despite increased assessments in both categories.

3. Another good sign is the lower-than-expected debt to Member States. Contribution of troops and equipment by Member States to peacekeeping operations is crucial to the functioning of the Organization. These contributions often entail significant financial outlays. My delegation hopes that the outstanding debt to Member States will continue to decrease.

Mr. Chairman,

4. Despite various signs of improvement in the financial situation of the United Nations, the future remains uncertain. Time and again, Mr. Sach in his presentation points out that the bulk of outstanding assessments in every category are owed by a small number of Member States on which the United Nations is especially dependent. It should be remembered that payment of assessments is a responsibility of membership in the United Nations. Furthermore, the Organization can carry out the decisions of the Member States only if it is given the necessary resources. It is also our firm hope that as the UN reform process moves forwards, all Member States will feel increasingly confident that their contributions are well spent.

5. The Republic of Korea acknowledges its responsibilities in this regard. Because of rapid increases in both the peacekeeping budget and our share of it, my country has been unable to keep up with its peacekeeping assessments. To some extent, our difficulties reflect the nature of peacekeeping operations, which are established unpredictably throughout the year as the need arises. This can cause unexpected spikes in the assessments due, which can be challenging for many Member States to meet. Indeed, the total amount of unpaid peacekeeping assessments increased from $2.57 billion to more than $2.9 billion over the course of 2005.

6. For our part, the Government of the Republic of Korea, through intense consultation among the ministries concerned, has recently developed a payment plan that will allow us to keep pace with future assessments while paying all outstanding peacekeeping assessments by the end of 2008. We hope that this effort will play a part in improving the financial health of the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

7. The Republic of Korea remains fully committed to multilateralism and the United Nations, and we regard our financial and other responsibilities to the United Nations with the utmost seriousness. As such, we will strive to eliminate our outstanding assessments to the peacekeeping budget. At the same time, we will make our best efforts to pay our assessments to the regular budget, the tribunals and the capital master plan on time and in full.

Thank you.