Statement of Iceland in the Fifth Committee

Allow me to begin by congratulating you, as well as other members of the bureau, on your election, and assure you of our full cooperation and support.

Let me also thank the chairman of the Committee on Contributions and the Chief of the Contribution Section for their reports.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Iceland believes that the sharing of financial responsibilities among the member states of the United Nations should be guided by fairness and that the principle of capacity to pay should be applied as the fundamental criterion for apportioning the expenses of the organization.

We concur with the Committee on Contributions (CoC) that the best way to capture this principle is to use the most current and comprehensive data on Gross National Income available as a basis, and to reflect in this way  each country’s  share in the world economy.

As we all know, the current scale of assessment is at odds with present economic realities. Over the past years there have been sweeping changes in the world economy, bringing about a realignment of economic and financial power. The recent global financial turmoil has served to underline these changes and may affect the world’s financial and economic architecture in years to come.

These developments call for some adjustments in the UN´s scale of assessment so as to ensure that the scale remains fair and equitable.  If not, we risk undermining the underlying principle of capacity to pay.

Based on the current methodology, my own country, to take one example, would contribute to the UN budget for the years 2010-2012 over 27% more than our share in the world economy, as calculated by the CoC, would require. As was noted by the European Union and Japan, in similar comparisons yesterday, such discrepancies are clearly not in line with the principle of capacity to pay.

We do fully accept that capacity to pay cannot, and should not, guide the scale of assessments to the exclusion of all other considerations, including important adjustments that provide relief to the most vulnerable countries. At the same time, we do believe that time is ripe for some countries  that have been experiencing buoyant economic growth over the past years to assume a share of the regular UN budget that is more in line with their relative size in the world economy.  

This would be fair and consistent with the collective nature of our organization and it would reinforce the membership’s commitment to the fundamental principle of capacity to pay.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.



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