73 UNGA: Statement of the Cuban delegation under agenda item 138: "Improvement of the United Nations Financial Situation". Second resumed session of the Fifth Committee. 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. New York, 16 May 2019.

Madame Chair,

We thank the Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance for her presentation on the financial situation of the Organization and the subsequent update. We further extend our appreciation to Mr. Lionelito Berridge and the Department of Financial Reports and Contributions for the continued support they provide to Member States.

My delegation aligns itself to the statement made by the State of Palestine on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Madame Chair,

It is not the first time that the United Nations Organization faces a difficult financial situation. Cuba, like other countries, has warned for years of the dangers that entail the non-payment of the quotas that Member States must contribute to the United Nations.

Through the information presented last week, we can observe the poor financial health of the Organization, especially regarding the regular budget. Fortunately, the payments made by Member States since January 2019 to date have allowed a brief recovery in this area. However, this is only temporary, since more than 3.6 billion dollars are pending payment, if the pending quotas of previous years are taken into account. If the quotas for 2019 are not paid soon, as usual in the months of May and June the funds in existence will have been executed and we will return to the same situation we had in 2018.

In addition to this, the other worrying trend is the defaults to Peacekeeping Operations, with a collective debt to these of almost 2 billion dollars. We highlight the regrettable practice of withholding payments to certain operations, creating an unnecessary imbalance in the funds allocated to them.

Madame Chair,

As pointed out by the Under-Secretary-General, the majority of the membership fulfills its obligations, and more and more are doing so. We want to recognize the remarkable effort made by these Member States, particularly the developing countries, which, despite adverse circumstances, comply with our obligations and pay our contributions on time, in full and without conditions.

We ratify that at all times we must take into account the special situations that some developing countries go through, which prevent them from honoring their financial commitments, beyond their political will. In light of such adverse situations that these sister nations face, we always call for solidarity.

However, we cannot avoid noticing that it is precisely the nation with the greatest resources and wealth on the planet, which has the biggest debts to the whole budget of the United Nations. The US, who insists on reminding us of its role as the main contributor, today owes the Organization more than 2.1 billion dollars, 60 percent of the total debts by Member States, 53 percent of which represent arrears.

The more than one billion dollars that the US owes both to the budgets of active and inactive Peacekeeping Operations, prevents the mandates that the Security Council has agreed on for such operations to be fully implemented; keeps the Organization in great debt to troop contributing countries, many of them developing countries; and from returning the surplus balances of already closed operations.

Madame Chair,

It is not a secret for anyone that the withholding of payments by the United States, has as its main purpose to subject the Organization to a financial blackmail and has nothing to do with its capacity to pay.

Furthermore, it is offensive and outrageous for the United States to talk about getting better returns on its investment in the United Nations. This shows that they consider international peace and security, development and human rights, as a business. Their complaints are shameful for the amounts that they have to pay to the Organization, when their companies make great profits off the business they do with the Organization and for hosting in its territory, all valued at the end of 2017 in more than 1.7 billion.

Today the United States could meet its debts to the United Nations if it consigned to it only 0.2 percent of the budget it approves for military expenditures.

Madame Chair,

Cuba strives to fulfill all its financial obligations to the Organization. But to do this, we have to face the obstacles and sacrifices imposed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States. This has been applied for 57 years against the Cuban people, continues in force and now intensifies with the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the Charter of our Organization.

This blockade is the main impediment to the development of Cuba and to the fulfillment and implementation of the SDGs. It also affects, hinders and sometimes prevents the payment of our dues to the Organization and other international organizations.

Madame Chair,

In conclusion, I express my delegation's commitment to participate constructively in the debate on the Secretary-General's proposals to improve the financial situation of the United Nations. We intend to carefully study these proposals in the interest of finding sustainable solutions to the monetary liquidity problems of the Organization beyond the obvious need to pay to it what it is owed.

I thank you.