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Fifth Committee of the 54th General Assembly

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  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the Agenda Item 151: Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of the Financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
    New York, May 17, 2000

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the Financial Situation of the United Nations
    New York, March 23, 2000

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the Financial Situation of the United Nations

Madame Chairman,

I would like to start by thanking the Under Secretary-General for Management Joseph Connor for his important presentation. The Czech Republic associated itself with the statement of the European Union presented earlier. In addition, I take the floor to add a few factual remarks.

The United Nations and the whole "UN family" with its agencies, programmes and funds reflect by their size, scope of activities and authority the best common interests of the people from around the world. We support a strong, democratic, transparent and caring United Nations - United Nations that promotes close international co-operation. This co-operation is not a one-issue agenda, certain issues may catch and almost monopolize the headlines for a while. In Europe we have to deal with the Balkans, in South East Asia with East Timor... But we must not neglect other important issues on the agenda, in particular international humanitarian assistance and development co-operation.

The Czech Republic has always fulfilled its financial obligations to this Organization on time, in full and without conditions. Our contribution to the regular budget, to the peacekeeping operations and to the international tribunals (ICTY, ICTR) in the year 1999 totaled more than 2 million US$. Even though the Czech Republic is still facing some transitional challenges, we are devoted to the notion of international multilateral development cooperation. That is why the Czech Republic increased financial support to the UN development activities during the last year by almost 30% and our voluntary contributions amounted to 750.000 US$. Voluntary humanitarian assistance to the various regions of the world reached over 1,6 mils.US$ during last year. Moreover, at the end of the last year we effected some single voluntary contributions to various peacekeeping operations (UNOMSIL, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNAMET, UNMBIH, UNOMIG, UNMOT, UNIKOM and ITF for de-mining) in the amount of 75.000 US$.

In view of the continuing frailty of the Organizations's financial situation, at the end of last year we advanced partial payment of our full assessed contribution for the year 2000, whilst the remaining part of the regular contribution was paid at the end of January 2000.

According to our view, the United Nations still remains the one and only global organization, tackling common problems of the nations of the world. Therefore, we support the strengthening of the UN authority. We have welcomed the results so far achieved in implementing the Secretary-General's plan of reforms. Much of the reform package, we are aware, still remains unresolved. The Czech Republic supports a speedy approval and implementation of the remaining reform proposals. However, even the best blueprints do not count much without money to implement them. We are prepared to discuss the ways to adequately finance the Organization's needs and to accomplish the Organization's ambitious agenda in the new millennium.

Thank you, Madame Chairman.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the Agenda Item 151: Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of the Financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Madame Chairman,

At the outset I would like to join those speaking yesterday in thanking Mr. Halbwachs, Ms. Stern and Amb. Mselle for the introductions of their respective reports. I would like to also commend your leadership, Madame Chairman, in tackling this important item and wish you good luck and success in your difficult chairmanship.

Madame Chairman,

My delegation is following this useful debate with great attention. We fully associated ourselves with the statement of the European Union presented by the Ambassador of Portugal yesterday morning. In addition, I would like to address a few additional issues.

Firstly, we share the opinion, that peacekeeping is one of the crucial functions of the Organization. The Czech Republic, since its establishment on January 1, 1993, has been actively participating in many peacekeeping missions and operations. The involvement in the UN peacekeeping operations has continuous priority in the country's foreign policy. Therefore we are deeply concerned about the constant high level of unpaid dues for the peacekeeping operations, as well as about the growing debt of the Organization to member states providing troops and equipment to peacekeeping missions. In our own case, this debt is approaching nine million US$.

Secondly, I would like to make some comments on the peacekeeping scale. The current assessment formula for financing the peacekeeping, based on a four-group pattern and created in the early seventies - under completely different political circumstances and for much smaller peacekeeping budget - has become obsolete, and is no longer reflecting today's reality. It has little in common with the capacity to pay and it does not adapt at all to the changing economic performance of member states.

We are very pleased that the issue of a comprehensive revision of PKO scale of assessments is on the agenda of this Committee. As you may be aware of, after the dissolution of former Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the Czech Republic joined the UN in January 1993 as a new member state. Experiencing economic difficulties resulting from the transition of its economy, division of the country, and having per capita national income below the world average, the Czech Republic requested at that time to be placed in the scale accordingly, i.e. to group C. However, despite our efforts and due to the lack of any transparent criteria for placement, the Czech Republic, though otherwise not considered a successor state of former Czechoslovakia, has followed the fate of its predecessor and was allocated to the group B. Only for the transitional three-year period (from 1993 until 1996) the Czech Republic was placed in group C. Our placement in group B means that for years the Czech Republic has been contributing to the peacekeeping budget much more than the member states with comparable economic data from group C.

The Czech Republic has always fulfilled its financial obligations on time, in full and it is prepared to bear its equitable share of UN peacekeeping expenses in the future. But we consider the present methodology for financing the PKO unfair and inequitable. Many times we have expressed our support to, and aligned ourselves with the EU proposals for the comprehensive reform of the PKO scale and methodology. We are concerned by the fact that the current stage of negotiations on this question does not seem to be bringing change soon enough. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic and assume that the discussions will intensify during this year and the overall PKO scale reform will be implemented in the near future. Having the UN peacekeeping budget much higher than in previous years we cannot let the current situation continue much longer.

The Government of the Czech Republic supports the idea of more transparent and equitable PKO scale and we are prepared to discuss any changes in the current PKO scale, based on clear economic criteria. We are of the opinion that current group system cannot be simply improved just by moving some states from one group to another. Such a process can only lessen the existing anomalies, but cannot establish fair methodology with an equitable share of peacekeeping expenses for all. The group system needs to be thoroughly reviewed in order to take into account objective criteria, in particular the level of economic development of member states. There are several proposals on the table. We can imagine the establishment of more groups, the composition of which would be based on national per capita income and some additional criteria. We are open to other innovative ideas.

Not just the Czech Republic but all the member countries of the UN and the Organization itself will undoubtedly benefit from a fair new methodology of peacekeeping assessments.

Thank you.