Sweden looks to shrink funding to UN bodies

Sweden looks to shrink funding to UN bodies
The Swedish finance minister has said Sweden may reduce contributions to several UN organizations by as much as 10 percent, and redirect the cash to taking care of newly arrived refugees.

“When the number of refugees from developing countries goes up, then the portion of the international development aid that we put on receiving them goes up,” Anders Borg told the TT news agency.

“Fundamentally, it’s not that complicated.”

Borg refused to give further details, and the actual minister who oversees development aid, Gunilla Carlsson, was unavailable for comment as she has travelled to Botswana.

She has previously made similar statements that Sweden deducts the money for receiving refugees from the aid budget.

“I think it’s good that they come out of the same account,” Carlsson told Sveriges Radio (SR) last autumn.

The Foreign Ministry is responsible for about 11 million kronor ($1.7 million) annually, of which much is routed to various UN organizations.

“From a development perspective, what with rapid growth in Africa, there are reasons to question if we shouldn’t change how we divvy up aid,” Borg told TT.

“Not least between the UN and the World Bank, the latter which focuses on infrastructure, investments and economic development.”

The opposition Social Democrats responded to Borg’s comment on the refugee deductions from the aid budget by saying they were not controversial.

“That’s a technical rather than a political question, and has been in place since 1986,” said Kenneth G. Forslund, member of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

Forslund did criticize, however, Borg’s statements on whether Sweden should review whether the UN or the World Bank are the best partners to administer its contributions.

“You could also take a moment to consider whether it’s the finance minister or the aid minister who should make priorities concerning Swedish aid,” he told TT.

TT/The Local/at

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