[Agenda Item 4: External Auditor’s Report 2020]
Mme Chair,

Let me begin by congratulating your Excellency Ambassador Faouzia MEBARKI of Algeria on your election as Chair of the thirty-seventh session of the PBC.  I am sure that this session will be successful under your able leadership.  I would also thank the outgoing Chair, H.E. Ambassador Jose Antonio MARCONDES DE CARVALHO of Brazil, together with the Bureau members, for their dedicated work. 

My appreciation also goes to Mr. Director-General LI Yong and the Secretariat for preparing this meeting.  Our delegation is determined to continue the fruitful collaboration with DG LI Yong and his team.

Mme Chair,

Japan thanks the External Auditor for his Report on the accounts of UNIDO for the financial year 2020.  It covers financial management as well as governance, and provides valuable insight to Member States.  We hope that UNIDO will continue to follow up on his recommendations.

The human security crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the progress of the SDGs and IDDA III.  Japan commends UNIDO’s prompt response to the situation while maintaining a high level of technical cooperation activities. 

Since last year, Japan has intensified its cooperation with UNIDO.  We approved UNIDO projects in 22 countries and one region in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, amounting to 11.2 million USD in total.  They aim to support their societies respond to the COVID-19 crisis, and increase their strength to build back better.  We have also approved projects in four countries with 15 million USD in total, with a view to advance on the SDGs and IDDA III despite the pandemic.  Their focus are on developing value-chains, fostering industrial skills development, and tackling marine plastic issues.

In total, Japan’s contribution to UNIDO technical cooperation activities will exceed 25 million USD in 2021.  This record-high amount in a time of crisis reflects our trust in UNIDO and Director-General Li Yong’s leadership.  We expect those projects to produce tangible results as the previous ones so far always did. 

Mme Chair,

The PBC is mandated with considering the next biennium budget.  All member states know that UNIDO needs a sound financial basis.  But on the other hand, we all face financial constraints due to the current crisis.  We need to find a solution to this dilemma.  Allow me to share Japan’s views with you. 

First, the timely payment of Member States’ assessed contributions to the regular budget is more important than ever.  We strongly encourage those in arrears to assume their responsibility, and consider arranging a payment plan with the Secretariat, where necessary.

Second, Japan highly appreciates the Programme & Budget Proposal for 2020-2021 presented by the Secretariat in accordance with results-based principles.  We encourage the Secretariat to further strengthen and refine results-based management, throughout the budget discussion and the PDCA cycle.

Third, Japan places high importance on the principle of Zero Nominal Growth for the next biennium’s budget.  We appreciate the revised proposal submitted by the Secretariat, upon Member States’ request.  Under current circumstances, however, any expense of lower priority must be postponed.  Every possible effort should be made to cover indispensable increases through scrap-and-build, further savings and efficiency gains.

Fourth, Japan is ready to discuss constructively the idea of providing limited flexibility to the Director-General in the budget allocation.  For the amendment of the Financial Regulations, however, thorough discussions may be necessary.

Fifth, all reform efforts, such as the effective adaptation to the UN Development System Reform, Full Cost Recovery and the Resource Optimization of Technical Cooperation, should be further pursued in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organization.  Our contributions should create maximum value.

Last but not least, Japan highly values the Informal Working Group as a forum to discuss technical PBC-related issues. We commend the Co-Chairs for their valuable contributions to the budget discussion towards this PBC.    

Mme Chair,

In closing, let me assure you of our fullest support for the success of this PBC session.  Thank you.