73 UNGA: Statement by the delegation of Cuba under agenda item 138: "Improving the financial situation of the United Nations". New York. 23 October, 2018.

Madame Chair,

As this is my first statement this session, I seize the opportunity to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election.

We thank the Under-Secretary-General for Management, for her presentation on the financial situation of the Organization, and Mr. Lionelito Berridge and the Contributions Department for their continuing support to Member States.

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Madame Chair,

The United Nations is facing one of the most complex moments of its 73 years of existence. For two consecutive years, the tendency to reduce its budgets has expanded and it has become the norm to tell the UN to do more with less.

In addition, we have seen how every year and more than once, the Secretary-General must request Member States to pay their contributions to the Organization. This is not because the majority of the membership fails to meet its obligations. On the contrary, each year we see that the vast majority of Member States are increasingly making significant efforts to pay their contributions on time, in full and without conditions.

In this regard, we reaffirm that at all times the special situations that some developing countries go through, which prevent them from fulfilling their financial commitments beyond their political will, must be taken into account.

Madame Chair,

The information presented last week shows the Organization's poor financial health. The regular budget shortfall had reached $365 million by September 30, which depleted the existing reserves. Currently, outstanding contributions to the regular and peacekeeping budgets represent 44 and 51 per cent, respectively, of the amounts approved for 2018.

We know full well who is responsible for the current critical financial situation of the Organization. It is alarming therefore that the largest debts of the United Nations budget as a whole continue to be concentrated in the hands of the United States, which insists in reminding us of its status as main contributor, when actually it owes the Organization over $1.625 billion, a 58 per cent of the total assessments owed by Member States.

The more than $800 million that the United States currently owes to the approved Peacekeeping budget prevents the mandates that the Security Council has agreed on for these operations to be fully implemented, causing the Organization to maintain large debts with troop contributing countries, many of them developing countries and who do not see a return of the surplus balances from already closed peacekeeping operations.

Madame Chair,

It is no secret that the main purpose of withholding payments by the United States, and in particular its habit of submitting contributions to the regular budget at the end of the year, is to subject the Organization to financial blackmail and has nothing to do with its capacity to pay.

Coincidentally, this is the same Member State that benefits from the main distortion in the methodology to calculate the scales of assessments, imposing over the years a reduction of the ceiling of the scale from 39.89 percent in 1946 to the current 22 percent.

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 it considers international peace and security, development and human rights, a business. It is shameful that it regrets the amounts that it has to pay to the Organization, when its companies make profitable returns off their business with the Organization and for hosting it in their territory, valued at the end of 2016 at approximately $ 1.595 billion.

However, it intends once more to impose its will on the rest of the membership and to reduce the amounts of the contribution it must pay, which already falls far short from what it should be in accordance with the principle of capacity to pay.

Madame Chair,

Cuba appreciates the recognition it has received, along with 44 other countries, for having fulfilled all of our financial obligations to the Organization. This is not something we do to seek recognition. It is merely part of our duty and responsibility to the United Nations.

However, in order to fulfill this duty, Cuba tackles the obstacles and sacrifices imposed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States implemented for 56 years against the Cuban people, which remains in force and has been intensified. The blockade affects, hinders and sometimes impedes the payment of our contributions to the Organization and to other international organizations.

Despite this siege that seeks to isolate us, Cuba remains firm in its commitment to multilateralism and the values and principles of the United Nations Charter.

Thank you very much.