20 October 1999
H.E. Mr. Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Before the Fifth Committee
On Agenda Item: 125, “Scale of Assessments”
New York, October 20, 1999
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
At the outset, allow me to express my warm felicitations to you for your well-deserved election as the chairman of the Fifth Committee of the 54th Session of the General Assembly. I would also like to echo our sincere gratitude to Mr. David Etuket, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, for his presentation of the Committee’s report, contained in document A/54/11. My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Ambassador Insanally, distinguished Chairman of the Group of 77 and China.
We underscore the mandate of the Committee on Contributions, as a technical advisory body that is expected to formulate concrete recommendations on the elements of the scale methodology, based on sound technical grounds and updated data. However, having carefully studied the report of the Committee on Contributions, we note with concern that in many key areas of the focus of the work of the Committee divergent views, and in other cases, conflicting views seem to have prevailed in the deliberations of the Committee.
We fully concur with the consensual principle that the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations should be equitable, building upon the most fundamental criterion of “capacity to pay”. In our view, equity may only be achieved if the differentiable economic capabilities and strengths and differing developmental levels of various member states alongside genuine economic constraints of the developing countries are taken into serious consideration.
Having said this, my delegation would like to make the following comments on the report of the Committee on Contribution:
1- Debt-burden Adjustment: We believe that the present “debt stock approach” should continue to be used for the inclusion of this element in calculating the scale of assessments;
2- Base Period: We take note that on this element divergent views prevailed in the Committe. Therefore, the Fifth Committee should undertake to find a consensual solution to this significant element of the scale methodology.
3- Conversion Rates: We share the views of the Committee on Contributions that Market Exchange Rates should be used for the purposes of the scale, except where that would cause excessive fluctuation or distortions in the income of a Member State, in which case other appropriate conversion rates should be employed. We believe that in such cases the use of the Weighted Average Rates should be given serious consideration. Therefore, use of the deliberations and conclusions contained in the previous reports of the Committee, in its future recommendations on this parameter is advisable.
4- Low Per Capita Income Adjustment: We fully agree with G-77’s proposal for a meaningful increase in the gradient from the current 80%.
5- Ceiling: The present ceiling, that is the maximum assessment rate of 25%, is already a departure from the fundamental principle of capacity to pay. Therefore, any review of the scale methodology should exclude a consideration of the question of ceiling.
6- Scheme of limits: We recognize that, in accordance with General Assembly Resolutions 48/223B and 52/215A, the effects of the scheme of limits would be fully phased out during the current scale period.
7- Annual Recalculation: Given a number of procedural and practical questions arising from the proposal of annual recalculation, as highlighted in the review of the proposal by the Committee on Contributions, we presume that the proposal lacks sufficient merit to be further considered by the Committee.
8- Article 19: A due recognition of and full compliance with the complementary roles of the General Assembly and the Committee on Contributions, should be made, in accordance with Article 19 of the Charter and Article 160 of the Rules of Procedure respectively. With regard to exemptions, my delegation would like to underline the need for an equitable and non-discriminatory treatment in considering requests by Member States for exemptions. We agree with the Committee’s observation in paragraph 59 of its report (A/54/11) that any change in the date of application of Article 19 would require revision of the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations to redefine “arrears” for the purpose of Article 19, which is unlikely to be easily achieved.
In conclusion, Madam Chair, I would like to assure you of my delegation’s sincere desire to contribute constructively to the debate on such a pivotal item on the agenda. We rest assured that under your capable leadership, the Fifth Committee will produce balanced and satisfactory results at the end of the day.