29 October 1997
Ambassador Bagher Asadi
of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the Fifth Committee
Agenda Item 120:
Scale of Assessments for the
Apportionment of the Expenses of the United Nations
New York, October 29, 1997
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Taking the floor on this important agenda item, let me first of all express my delegation’s thanks to the distinguished Chairman of the Committee on Contributions for presenting the Committee’s report on proposals for a scale of assessments for the next three-year period as contained in document A/51/11. Joining others who have already taken the floor, I would like to express our appreciation for the Committee’s efforts towards implementing the provisions of the General Assembly resolution 51/212 B.
Now let me turn to the substance of the matter at hand. In doing this, I shall be brief.
We do not believe that the issue of the scale of assessments should be dealt with as part of a package for resolving the financial situation of the Organization. Improving the financial situation of the UN is not linked to the methodology of the scale. The current predicament, as we all know beyond a shred of doubt or delusion and in clear contravention of the unambiguous provisions of Article 17 of the Charter, is the very direct product of the policy of the major contributor towards its indeed very substantial accumulated arrears.
The mandate of the Fifth Committee is to recommend to the General Assembly for approval a scale of assessments for the period 1998-2000 before the conclusion of the 52nd regular session. Establishing artificial linkages will only serve to further complicate the sensitive issue of the scale, and worse still, it would for all practical purposes undermine the very delicate state of our deliberations on the issue. What is imperative, and hence, incumbent upon us all, is to engage in a result- oriented process of constructive negotiation, with political will, practical commitment and goodwill, to arrive at a conclusion that can address all genuine concerns.
It is our considered view that the principle of capacity to pay should continue to serve as the fundamental criterion in the fulfillment of our task. Obviously, the notion of the ceiling is a departure from this established principle, affecting adversely the assessment for other members of the Organization, including the developing countries. For the same token, any further reduction of the ceiling will increase the existing gap between the real capacity to pay of the major contributor and its level of assessment, and hence, is unacceptable. Likewise, it is not acceptable that many Member States pay a floor rate in excess of their capacity to pay.
My delegation believes that the criterion for the assessment of capacity to pay, if determined only by the income measure, does not truly reflect the real capacity to pay of Member States which are at different levels of development. The present economic realities of countries, particularly when considered from the viewpoint of the existing and ever-widening gaps and disparities between developed and developing countries, would make it unjustifiable to put both categories on an equal footing when determining their share of the expenses of the United Nations. Therefore, other elements which are detrimental to a more accurate and realistic determination of the Member States’ real capacity to pay, including low per capita income formula, should be taken into account.
At the same time, we concur with the view that the present methodology for apportioning the expenses of the UN needs to be improved. In our view, since distorting elements in the scale methodology negatively affect a quite wide range of countries in different parts of the world, even expeditious action as regards their removal is well justified. Accordingly, my delegation supports the immediate phase-out of the remaining effects of the scheme of limits. As such, we believe that a three-year base period would have the advantage of providing the most recent, and therefore the most realistic, approximation of Member States’ current capacity to pay. Nevertheless, we are ready to engage in constructive discussions to reach agreement, through consensus, on a set of elements acceptable to all membership. To this end, it is indeed imperative that all of us should work with open minds, and if I may add, at the peril of sounding repetitious, with goodwill, to find appropriate modifications for the proposals , as compiled and presented by the Committee on Contributions in the annex to its report.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.