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Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin on Scale of Assessments at the Fifth Committee of the 64th Session of the UNGA


Statement by Ambassador LIU Zhenmin on Scale of Assessments at the Fifth Committee of the 64th Session of the UNGA

New York, 5 October 2009

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election. The Chinese delegation is convinced that under your leadership and with the concerted efforts of all Member States, the Fifth Committee will successfully accomplish all the tasks entrusted to it.

The Chinese delegation would like to thank Mr. Bernardo Greiver, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions (COC) for his introduction of the Committee's report (A/64/11), and Mr. Lionelito Berridge, representative from the Secretariat, for his introduction of the report on multi-year payment plans (A/64/68). We align ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished delegate of the Sudan on behalf of G77 and China.

The Fifth Committee at this session is scheduled to discuss and adopt the scale of assessments for the period 2010-2012. At its 69th session, the experts of the COC, based on facts, engaged in careful and serious discussions on the scale of assessments and put forward their proposals. The Chinese delegation appreciates the work of the experts. I would like to make some brief comments and suggestions on the scale methodology for 2010-2012:

First, capacity to pay should be strictly adhered to and serve as the basis for arriving at a practical and scientifically based scale of assessments. Capacity to pay has been the cornerstone of the scale methodology ever since the inception of the United Nations. It also reflects the general consensus of the broad membership. When measuring a member state's capacity to pay, we should not only look at the size of the economy and its gross national income, but also consider its per capita income. While the former is the basis, the latter is the decisive factor. Over-emphasis on gross national income, and disregard for factors such as the size of big population and low per capita income is disrespectful of human rights, unjustifiable and unfair.

Second, only by allowing reasonable income adjustment can we ensure that Member States are assessed in accordance with their actual capacity to pay. Low per capita income adjustment is an important element in the scale methodology, the essence of which is to make adjustment to the economic aggregates based on per capita income level to alleviate the difficulties in payment encountered by Member States with low per capita income. Low per capita income adjustment should be equally applicable to all Member States. They are entitled to adjustment based on the same set of criteria as long as they qualify as low per capita income states. Evidently, Member States with big economic aggregates yet low per capita income fall into this category. Any proposal to limit the rate of adjustment based on a state's share in the world economy or to put an artificial ceiling on adjustment runs counter to the principle of capacity to pay.

Third, it is in the interest of all Member States to maintain the stability of the scale of assessments. The existing methodology is the result of long and hard negotiations and full consultations among all Member States. It reflects the consensus on capacity to pay, and due consideration has also been given to other elements as well as different viewpoints and positions. The current methodology has been applied for three consecutive scale cycles. Practice has shown that it is reasonable and has served us well. As decided in relevant GA resolutions and to ensure that UN has a stable and sound financial foundation for its functioning, the scale of assessments should be kept relatively stable, which is also fair to all Member States. In addition, the world economic and financial crisis is still deepening. Its effects on the capacity to pay of Member States, developing countries in particular, can not be ignored. Consequently, it is not advisable to adjust scale of assessments by a large margin.

Mr. Chairman,

China is in favor of adopting the same methodology used for the current 2007-2009 scale to prepare for the 2010-2012 scale of assessments. As a responsible developing country, China has always actively honored its financial obligations to the UN. Even when we suffered huge losses last year during such severe natural disasters as the earthquake in Sichuan, and when this year our deficit reached historic record as a result of the impact of the global economic crisis, the Chinese government has consistently paid its assessed contributions in full and on time. Meanwhile, as a permanent member of the Security Council, China has assumed additional financial obligations in peace-keeping. China stands ready to make an even greater contribution to the UN on the basis of capacity to pay, as our economy continues to grow. China's assessment rate has increased from 0.995% in 2000 to 1.54% for 2001-2003, again to 2.053% for 2004-2006, and to 2.667% for 2007-2009. It represents an increase of almost 3 fold in a short span of 7 years.

According to the calculation provided by the COC by using the current scale methodology, China's assessment rate for 2010-2012 will go up further to 3.189%, an increase of 0.522 percentage point over that of 2007-2009, which represents a growth of 20%. I would like to stress here that, even though the recommendations of COC will lead to a significant increase of China's assessment rate and China's economy is also facing many difficulties, so long as the rate is calculated by using the existing methodology, thus in keeping with the principle of capacity to pay, China is willing to give it favorable consideration.

Mr. Chairman,

We also need to bear in mind the fact that, despite its rapid economic development in recent years and its impressive GDP figures, China is a country with the largest population and it still faces enormous challenges at home. In 2008, China's per capita GDP is $3,000, ranked around the 100th place in the world and this is still a far cry from the average per capita Gross National Income (GNI) of $7,119 (the threshold). As of the end of 2008, there are still 43 million Chinese living in poverty. By the standard of the World Bank which considers those living on less than $1.25 a day as poor, China's poverty population will total 250 million, the second largest in the world. Economic development, poverty eradication and the realization of modernization remain daunting challenges for China. The evaluation of China's capacity to pay should not be conducted without taking into account China's specificities.

Mr. Chairman,

The Fifth Committee has a heavy workload during this session of the GA. Its members will deliberate on many important agenda items including the scale of assessments for the period of 2010-2012. The Chinese delegation hopes that all parties can, in the spirit of understanding, cooperation and pragmatism, engage in consultations on an equal footing, and reach consensus at an early date on the scale of assessments for 2010-2012.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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