We thank Mrs. Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, for her presentation updating us on the financial situation of the Organization. We also thank the Division on Contributions for its continued support to Member States.
My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by the Republic of Guinea on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic became a global reality, its impact on our economies has been evident, with more devastating consequences for developing countries. This impact has only deepened and we do not know how many years it will take for a broad economic recovery to happen.
We note that the cost-saving measures implemented by the Secretariat, along with the contributions of most Member States, have led to a deficit at the close of 2020 that was 186 million dollars lower than in 2019. While we support the need to promote savings, we reiterate that this must not be at the expense of compliance with activities and programmes approved by Member States.
The deficit reduction means that so far in 2021 the reserves of the Working Capital Fund and the Special Account have been replenished at a faster pace than in previous years; as well as the loan taken from closed peacekeeping operations accounts. Likewise, we highlight the more stable situation of outstanding assessments to International Tribunals and peacekeeping operations.
It is also encouraging to note that, compared to the same date in 2020, eleven more countries have paid in full their contributions to the regular budget and that the amount of arrears is lower by approximately 379 million dollars, which demonstrates the commitment of the majority of Member States to the Organization. This information proves that improvement of the severe financial liquidity crisis of the organization depends more on us honoring our commitments than on modifications to budgetary methodologies and regulations.
However, we cannot be confident that this relative improvement will prevent a recurrence of the severe deficit experienced by the regular budget. Only the payment of contributions in full, on time and without conditions can prevent this situation from happening again and affecting the proper functioning of the Organization.
At the same time, we must take into account the special situations faced by some developing countries, which are unable to honor their financial commitments beyond their political will, mostly due to the serious impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their economies.
In the information provided by the Secretariat, it stands out that the country that tops all lists as the main debtor continues to be the United States. The recent willingness expressed by the US delegation to pay their debts to the Organization is the first step of a long path. The policy of willful withholding must be definitively left behind and financial obligations must be fulfilled, as established by Article 17 of the Charter.
As part of our commitment to the Organization, Cuba has made enormous efforts to pay its assessments. To date, we have met almost all of our financial obligations with the Organization, despite the serious impact of COVID-19 on our income, and the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States against my country, which was strengthened to unprecedented levels during the last four years.
The criminal and inhumane nature of that policy, which is still in force, has manifested itself with total harshness during this difficult period of the onslaught of the global pandemic. Therefore, the payments made by Cuba to honor its debt to the Organization have been made with a high level of sacrifice.
To conclude, we reiterate that only the payment of contributions by Member States to the Organization can lead us to overcome the recurrent lack of liquidity, and thus ensure that the United Nations has sufficient resources to carry out its work. Today, more than ever, we need a strengthened multilateralism, led by the United Nations, to overcome the pandemic and other previous crises caused by hunger, poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.