Statement by Cuba: Agenda Item 137: “Improving the financial situation of the United Nations”
74th Session. Second resumed session. Fifth Committee.
New York, 14 May 2020
We would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Pollard and her team, for the presentation on the financial situation of the Organization; as well as to extend our gratitude to the tireless Committee on Contributions for their constant support to Member States.
My delegation fully endorses the statement delivered by Guyana on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We face a scenario very different from that of last year or 7 months ago when we last discussed this topic. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread all over the world, and has had an impact on everybody. The United Nations has been no exception. We extend our condolences to all the members of the international community and our Organization for the tragic loss of lives.
Regarding the issue at hand, we celebrate the contributions made by many Member States to pay their debts to all the budgets of the Organization. Based on the information provided by the Secretariat, it is estimated that with the resources available to the United Nations at this moment, there will be no need, at least until August, to borrow money from the Working Capital Fund or the Special Account, or even from the accounts of closed Peacekeeping Operations, once the traditional deficit of the regular budget becomes evident. In the case of Peacekeeping Operations, this deficit is not expected to happen, thanks to the pooled management of cash.
These favorable circumstances prove that when Member States meet their financial obligations, the Organization has the tools to fulfill its mandate and strengthen the support provided to the international community, especially during this global emergency we are facing. The improvement in chronic deficits of the United Nations financial liquidity depends more on the fulfillment of our commitments than on changes in budgetary methodologies and regulations.
COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever the inequalities in our world. Developing countries are tackling this pandemic in very difficult conditions, as previously we were already facing monumental obstacles in our path to sustainable development, obstacles that are weighing today more heavily on our own survival.
Even developing countries, which for decades have always paid our assessments to UN budgets in full, on time and without conditions, are today in a precarious situation. Therefore, it is more important than ever that Member States that have the capacity to pay to do so, to show their solidarity with the United Nations and all the countries that, due to the current adverse conditions, are unable to meet our financial obligations, beyond our political will.
Unfortunately, not all countries are willing to do good without expecting anything in return. Such is the case of the government of the United States, which insists in reminding us of its condition as the main contributor to the United Nations, when we all know it is the main responsible for making the financial situation of the Organization critical in the second semester of every year. Additionally, to make matters worse, said government prefers to withhold its contributions not only to the assessed budgets of the Organization, but continues shamefully to withhold or eliminate its payment to organizations within the UN System, like they did in the past with UNICEF and UNIDO and now with the WHO.
To date, the government of the United States owes the regular budget just over 1.1 billion dollars, 71 percent of the total amount owed by Member States to that budget, of which more than 486 million corresponds to arrears. The US debt in Peacekeeping Operations amounts to just over 1.3 billion dollars, 62 percent of the total debt of Member States in that budget category, which includes closed peacekeeping operations to which they owe more than 255 million dollars.
The non-payment of these sums has very negative consequences to the work of the Organization, especially in the current conditions. However, the US government remains impassive, while it keeps the Organization subject to a financial blackmail. They insist that it is enough with the millionaire amounts of money they pay to those extra budgetary programs and activities they choose to fund in order to control unilaterally the destination of those funds, instead of doing it through the General Assembly.
Today Cuba faces a much different situation from months ago. To date, we have only been able to meet in full our financial obligations related to the regular budget of the Organization. This is because all our resources are focused on fighting COVID-19, a terrible disease that has joined another enemy that has persecuted us for almost 60 years: the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States. In spite of this cruel policy, Cuba is currently attempting every effort to make at least partial payments of its assessments to Peacekeeping Operations.
While the government of the United States follows the path of unilateralism and confrontation, my country continues believing that only together, through multilateralism and international cooperation, and from a non-politicized approach, humanity will overcome this pandemic or any other global challenge. Let us keep doing everything possible to support the United Nations and not hold it hostage at a time when humanity needs it the most.
I thank you.