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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2008-2009

Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson

Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations

Proposed Programme Budget

for the Biennium 2008-2009

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to begin by thanking the Secretary-General for presenting the United Nation's Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2008-2009, as well as the Chairman of the ACABQ, Mr. Rahjat Saha, for briefing us on the committee's report on the budget proposals.

Furthermore, as this is the first time Iceland takes the floor in the fifth committee during this session, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and other members of the Bureau, on your election and reassure you of my delegation's full cooperation and support.

Mr. Chairman,

Today´s discussion marks the official start of our negotiations on the 2008-2009 Proposed Programme Budget, the results of which will have a fundamental effect on the operations of the United Nations in the coming years. It is during these negotiations that we put the puzzles together and address collectively the different mandates and responsibilities of the UN, taking into account the complementarities and the necessary trade-offs we are faced with within a restricted budget envelope. The final aim of these negotiations should be to ensure that the Secretary General has the necessary resources to fulfill the mandates he has been entrusted with.

In its totality, the Secretary General's Proposed Programme Budget entails a considerable budget increase, and when broken down it includes a number of very important individual budget proposals. As we will certainly discuss these proposals thoroughly in the weeks to come, I will not comment on them seperatly at this moment.

However, what Iceland would like to emphasize is the central importance of having a balanced approach when dealing with the budget proposals. We view a balanced approach as encompassing the following key elements: Firstly, that there is a balance between the resources available and resources allocated, or, in other words, budgetary and fiscal discipline needs to be respected and secondly, there needs to be a balance between the emphasis given to different mandates within the budget, taking into account the fundamental priorities of the UN as reflected in the organization's main pillars and the mandates provided by the General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman,

As said before, it is through our important deliberations on the Programme Budget, that we put the puzzles together and back our mandates with the resources needed for implementation. It is Iceland's sincere wish that, guided by a balanced approach, our deliberations will lead to a successful conclusion of this 5th Committee Sesssion on the Biennial Budget - both on time and by a consensus - thereby  providing the UN with a strong support for its work in the coming years.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.


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