Statement by H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan at the 33rd Session of the Programme and Budget Committee for the UNIDO

[Agenda Item 4: Report of the External Auditor for 2016]
Mr. Chairman,
I would like to begin by congratulating you on your election as Chair of the thirty-third 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, Ambassador Michael Adipo Okoth Oyugi of Kenya, together with his Bureau members, for their dedicated work.
My appreciation also goes to the External Auditor Mr. Kay Scheller for his diligent work on the report on the accounts of UNIDO for the financial year 2016. We hope that UNIDO will continue to make its best efforts to follow up on his recommendations.
Mr. Chairman,
As Director-General Li Yong emphasizes on various occasions, 2017 is the year to move into action in regard to the implementation of the SDGs. Japan recognizes UNIDO’s key role in implementing the 2030 Agenda and commends the Organization’s policy engagement in promoting ISID, especially in relation to Goal 9. The implementation of the SDGs is now firmly mainstreamed in Japan’s diplomatic policy. The SDGs Promotion Headquarters, headed by Prime Minister Abe, was established last year, and has already adopted the “SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles”. UNIDO is an important partner in our efforts towards the achievement of the SDGs.
Mr. Chairman,
Under DG Li Yong’s strong leadership, the expectations of the international community in the Organization are steadily increasing. The positive trend of growth in demand for UNIDO’s technical cooperation confirms this. We praise UNIDO’s resource mobilization efforts which have led to a significant volume of voluntary contributions.
In this connection, allow me to touch upon our recent contributions towards UNIDO’s activities.
In the area of clean energy and environment, for example, Japan funded a project assisting African countries in enhancing their energy sector with 16 million USD last year. We are pleased to see that the Japanese private sector’s geothermal power generation technology and technical know-how will contribute to this project. We place high value on UNIDO’s role as a platform for partnership, bringing together donor countries, the private sector, and recipient countries.
This year, Japan also supported projects in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Somalia, South Sudan and Turkey, with a total of 5.5 million USD. In these projects the humanitarian-development nexus and human-security approaches are applied. The Kick-off Ceremony for the projects held in March this year together with the recipient countries was a symbolic illustration of trilateral cooperation, made possible by UNIDO.
Furthermore I have the pleasure to share with you that DG Li Yong’s visit to Japan last month was a great success. In a series of meetings an exchange of views on how to enhance the Japan-UNIDO cooperation took place, and both parties reconfirmed their firm partnership. The successful outcomes of our cooperation demonstrate the standout leadership of DG Li Yong. The Government of Japan strongly supports his re-election for a second term.
[Agenda Item 6: Draft Programme & Budget Proposal] and [Agenda Item 5: Financial Situations of UNIDO]
Mr. Chairman,
I would now like to turn to the aspects of organizational management.
Japan places high importance on the principle of Zero Nominal Growth, and the principle of “not increasing the assessed contributions of remaining States as a result of the withdrawal of other States”.
The Draft Programme & Budget Proposal for 2018-2019 shows that the Secretariat has made serious efforts to approach these principles. Japan highly commends the efforts made under severe financial constraints caused by the withdrawal of Member States. Yet this Budget Proposal is still above this desired level. We are ready to discuss this Proposal in a constructive manner.
It is furthermore imperative that the regular budget be made available to the organization at the level approved by Member States. In this regard, Japan shares the concerns expressed by the External Auditor in his report, regarding the delayed payment of assessed contributions and its direct impact upon the activities of UNIDO. Japan would like to underscore each Member States’ respective financial obligations under the Charter to pay assessed contributions in a timely manner. We also invite the Secretariat to further its efforts to agree upon payment plans with both Member and non-member States that are in arrears.
With regard to the use of Unutilized Balances, Japan recognizes the necessity to discuss this issue against the backdrop of UNIDO’s current financial situations, with an aim to stabilize the Organization’s financial cycle as soon as possible. Japan stands ready to engage constructively in discussions with other Member States.
One last but overarching problem we would like to address is the withdrawal of Member States. It is the cause of so many of the Organization’s current difficulties, and remains serious concern. We invite the Secretariat to continue considering and taking concrete measures to stop this trend, and to win back former Member States to UNIDO.
Mr. Chairman,
In closing, I wish to assure you of our fullest support for the success of this PBC meeting.