We welcome to the Fifth Committee the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
We thank the Under-Secretary-General for Management for her presentation on the financial situation of the Organization and the Department of Contributions for their continued support to Member States.
My delegation endorses the statement delivered by Palestine on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The United Nations continues to face a difficult situation of limited financial liquidity. We know that this is not the first time that this has happened in the 74 years of the Organization's existence; however, the aggravation of this trend cannot be ignored.
Once again, the Secretary-General requests Member States to pay their dues to the Organization, when this is our duty. Despite the measures taken by this Committee during the last session, the difference between the debt to this Organization and the amount its members have contributed is still simply abysmal.
We reiterate the call upon all Member States to pay their dues to the Organization on time, in full and without conditions. At the same time, we must take into account the special situations faced by some developing countries, which are prevented from honoring their financial commitments beyond their political will.
From the information provided by the Secretariat, it can be established that we have made almost no progress since we last addressed this issue in May and June of this year. Peacekeeping operations, thanks to resolution 73/307, will be able to survive despite the withholding of payments made by some Members.
In the case of the regular budget, the 2018 scenario is unfortunately beginning to repeat itself, where the existing reserves are exhausted and the Secretariat finds itself in the difficult situation of borrowing funds from the closed peacekeeping operations, a practice that should not occur.
It is of great concern that the Organization's monetary deficit was $230 million dollars higher than the one experienced in the same month in 2018. However, we disagree with the consideration that this situation originates in the so-called "structural rigidity in the implementation of the budget". The cause lies in the late payments of member states' contributions, which, as the Secretary-General has pointed out, at the end of the third quarter, have fallen to a mere 70 per cent (of the current year's assessment) compared with 78 per cent last year.
Currently, outstanding assessed contributions to the regular budget account for 31 per cent of the amount approved for 2019. Meanwhile, outstanding assessed contributions from previous years account for 25 per cent of these total debts to the Organization.
In the context of this situation, we recognize the efforts that the Secretary-General and the entire Secretariat are making to make savings in all possible areas. However, we express our concern over the negative impact that this has on the lives of the workers of the Organization and on the adequate development of the intergovernmental processes, which the United Nations is obligated to.
We know perfectly well, who is primarily responsible for the very critical financial situation that the Organization is experiencing today. The government of the United States insists on reminding us of its status as the largest contributor; when it owes the regular budget more than $800 million dollars, 72 per cent of the total dues of Member States, out of which more than $381 million are overdue debts. This, we reiterate, is only in relation to the regular budget, since regarding peacekeeping operations their debt amounts to little over $2,122 million, over 50 per cent of the total arrears of Member States in this budget category.
The absence of these amounts has very real consequences, ranging from limiting the capacity of our Organization to deal with events of great significance, such as the High-level Segment of the General Assembly, to protecting the lives of those who serve in conflict zones.
However, the government of the United States remains immutable in the face of this, while keeping the Organization under a financial blackmail. On the contrary, they choose to allocate millions of dollars to extra-budgetary programs and activities in order to unilaterally control the use of those funds, rather than allocating them through the organ of universal democracy that is the General Assembly.
In addition, the U.S. government's moans over the amounts it must pay to the Organization are shameful, when we all know that they pay far less than they should according to their capacity to pay. Moreover, their companies obtain lavish profits for the business they do with the Organization and for hosting it in their territory; profits valued at the close of 2018 at about $1.64 billion dollars a year.
Cuba appreciates the recognition we have received for having fulfilled our financial obligations to the Organization. In order to fulfil this duty, however, Cuba faces the obstacles and sacrifices imposed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States. This obsolete policy, which has been applied for 57 years against the Cuban people, and which today is worsening, affects, hinders and sometimes curbs the payment of our contributions to the Organization and other international organizations.
At a time when the U.S. government's blockade seems to be strengthened, our people and government have chosen not to close themselves off from the world, but rather to bet on multilateralism, and to that end, we are doing everything possible to contribute our grain of sand to the United Nations. We, Member States, must aspire to be worthy of our common home, at least by trying to finance it and not by holding it hostage.
Thank you very much.