6 October 2000
Mr. Mohammad Reza SALAMAT
Delegate of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Before the Fifth Committee
on Agenda Item 122:
Scale of Assessments for the apportionment
of the expenses of the United Nations
55th Session of the General Assembly
New York, 6 October 2000
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I would like to express my warm felicitations on your chairing the deliberations of the Fifth Committee at such a significant session. You can rest assured of our full cooperation with you as well as with other members of the Bureau and of the Fifth Committee with a view to achieving satisfactory results from the seemingly hard but challenging negotiations ahead of us during the coming weeks.
My delegation deeply appreciates Mr. Ugo Sessi, the distinguished Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, for his commendable work and presentation of the report of the Committee contained in Document A/55/11. We fully support the statement made by Nigeria on behalf of G-77 and China.
The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to this agenda item. We believe that a sound and effective financing system for the United Nations is a unique symbol and an unquestionable proof of a well-founded and highly trusted universal organization as the United Nations. Therefore, any modification to the current elements or introduction of any new element or criterion in the scale methodology should be thoughtfully designed and carefully developed and, of course, negotiated transparently, so as to avoid any deviation from the fundamental principle of “Capacity to Pay”, and equally from the principles of fairness, equity, transparency and universality.
The report of the Committee on Contributions contains 12 proposals for the scale, ranging from one extreme to another. In our view, the basic principles which have evolved since the United Nations was created and agreed upon in numerous previous resolutions by the General Assembly should not be easily discarded. However, this does not mean that we are not open to further improvement and evolution of the scale methodology in a direction that would ensure more fairness, equity, better burden-sharing and more accurate reflection of the ability of countries to contribute to the functioning of the Organization and the common but differentiated responsibilities of the Member States. In other words, while we should not lose sight of the experience we have gained from history, we ought to be forward looking and prepare ourselves for contributing to a more effective future of the United Nations that should respond to the increasing demands of its members at the dawn of the new Millennium.
Allow me also to make some comments on specific elements of the scale methodology discussed by the Committee on Contributions:
1 Conversion rates: We agree with the view of the CoC that in cases where the Market Exchange Rates cause excessive fluctuation or distortion in the income of a member state, other appropriate conversion rates should be used. However, this should not be limited to a single alternative conversion rate. Therefore, we fully support the position of the G-77 and China that this should include not only “PAREs” but also “Weighted Average Rages”, as reflected in official IMF publications (IFC); since Weighted Average Rates more realistically reflect the GNP of those countries that maintain multiple exchange rates.
2 Low Per Capita Income Adjustment: We reiterate the position of the G-77 that the gradient should be increased from its current level. A meaningful increase in the gradient is an absolute necessity for incorporating the economic difficulties of developing countries in the calculation of the scales, in accordance with the principle of capacity to pay.
3 Debt-Burden Adjustment: The “Debt Stock Approach” should continue to be pursued.
4 Annual Recalculation: We are of the firm conviction that annual recalculation would cause further instability in the scale system. Therefore, this proposal should not be further pursued.
5- Ceiling: We concur with the G-77 and China that this matter should be reviewed bearing in mind that the ceiling should not be arbitrary so as to obscure the relationship between a country’s capacity to pay and the rate of assessment applicable to it. The current ceiling is already a departure from capacity to pay. However, we are prepared to examine relevant proposals for reviewing the ceiling, provided that such proposals contain provisions to ensure that the burden of payment would spread among developed countries.
We need to strike a balance between technical and political considerations in order to be able to agree on scale elements that are politically acceptable to all member states and are justified by sound information and economic realities. That is why we strongly believe that all elements of the scale methodology should be viewed and discussed as a “package” with a view to achieving consensus on the scale that would take on board the concerns of all member states, big and small.
We, on our part, are fully prepared to engage in the forthcoming negotiations on this important issue with the sincere aim of contributing to exploring solutions to and achieving consensus on all critical issues relating to the scale of the regular budget. What we all need to do to achieve consensus on the extremely difficult issues before us is to negotiate in good faith and with open minds and in a spirit of understanding and accommodation.
In conclusion, I wish you all the best and we look forward to working with members of the Fifth Committee on such a pivotal issue during the informal consultations.