Statement by H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan at the 34th Session of the Programme and Budget Committee of UNIDO


Agenda Item 4: Report of the External Auditor for 2017

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by congratulating you, H.E. Ambassador Shi Zhongjun of China on your election as Chair of the thirty-forth session of the PBC. I am sure that this session will be successful under your able leadership. I would also like to thank the outgoing Chair, H.E. Ambassador Hannu Kyröläinen of Finland, together with his Bureau members, for their dedicated work.

My appreciation also goes to the External Auditor, Mr. Kay Scheller, for his diligent work during his term of four years, including on his last report on the accounts of UNIDO for the financial year 2017. We hope that UNIDO will continue to make its best efforts to follow up on his recommendations. We also welcome the appointment of the new External Auditor, Mr. Michael G. Aguinaldo.

Mr. Chairman,

UNIDO’s key role in implementing the SDGs, especially in relation to Goal 9, has been firmly acknowledged by the international community. It is clearly reflected in the growing trend of voluntary contributions in recent years. In Japan, the promotion of SDGs has become a society-wide movement, uniting the public and private sectors as well as academia. UNIDO is an important partner in our efforts for this objective.

Japan has been contributing through UNIDO to the promotion of clean energy and climate technologies in Africa by utilizing the technology and know-how of the Japanese private sector.

Japan has also contributed through UNIDO to the promotion of “human security” and the “humanitarian-development nexus”. This year, Japan newly funded eight projects embodying these two concepts. The eight beneficiary countries in the Near and Middle East and Africa received a total of 5.2 million US dollars. We place high value on the tripartite cooperation between the donor and the recipients through UNIDO, which was demonstrated in a tangible manner at the Kick-off Ceremony held in March.

This year DG Li Yong’s second term has started. The DG’s successful visit to Japan in April has not only bolstered our ties, but has also shown the potential for expanding our cooperation. Further cooperation may be explored, especially in the areas of “Science Technology Innovation (STI),” “empowerment of women” and “technology transfer of the Japanese private sector and municipalities”, which are prioritized areas in Japan’s “SDGs Action Plan 2018.”

In 2019, Japan will host the 7th International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) and G20. We highly commend UNIDO’s active engagement in these fora, and look forward to furthering our cooperation with UNIDO, gaining momentum from these important events.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me turn to the financial aspects of the organization.

First of all, a sound financial and organizational basis is imperative to meet an increasing demand for the Organization’s services. As repeatedly underlined in the External Auditor's report, full and timely payment of assessed contributions is crucial. We reiterate that Member States should act on their obligations under the Charter in this regard. Further efforts by the Secretariat to improve the collection rate remain important.

In this context, the withdrawal of Member States is still a matter of concern. We would like to invite the Secretariat to continue implementing concrete measures to stop this trend and to win back former Member States.

As pointed out in the External Auditor's report, After Service Health Insurance (ASHI), Unutilized Balances (UB) and the full-cost-recovery policy are the important factors for the financial sustainability of the Organization. We highly appreciate the enhanced information-sharing and dialogue between the Secretariat and Member States, especially in the form of the newly established Informal Working Group on PBC-related issues. Japan will continue to engage in the working group’s discussions in a constructive manner.

The External Auditor's report also identifies several areas for improvement in the internal management of the Organization. Japan encourages the Secretariat to follow up on these recommendations appropriately.

Last but not least, let me touch upon the ongoing discussions on the UN development system reform. While Japan supports the Secretary-General's initiative of reform in principle, we believe that UNIDO needs to assess the potential impact on its operations in the field, as well as on the finance of the Organization, in order to adapt to the new conditions. Japan expects the Secretariat to actively engage in the discussions in NY and with other relevant agencies. Japan would also like to encourage UNIDO to continue timely communication with Member States in this regard.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing, I wish to assure you of our fullest support for the success of this PBC session.