An international solidarity contribution on plane tickets — Norway’s position —

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Kun engelsk versjon)

In December 2005 Norway agreed to support the French initiative on a solidarity contribution on plane tickets to help mobilize additional development finance for pursuing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Among a host of creative proposals to achieve increased, long-term, stable and predictable funding for development by means of internationally coordinated taxation, this initiative holds much promise. (26.01.06)

An international solidarity contribution on plane tickets – Norway’s position –

In December 2005 Norway agreed to support the French initiative on a solidarity contribution on plane tickets to help mobilize additional development finance for pursuing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Among a host of creative proposals to achieve increased, long-term, stable and predictable funding for development by means of internationally coordinated taxation, this initiative holds much promise, and more than the other suggested alternatives.

Norway long ago reached and surpassed the internationally agreed target of allocating 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA). We continue to hold the opinion that providing ODA through ordinary budgetary allocations is the most important means of mobilizing external development finance. In view of the challenge of the MDGs and the indisputable gap between these common goals and the financing available to reach them, Norway nevertheless finds it imperative to help stimulate additional efforts, including through new and innovative mechanisms. The decision to support an air transportation levy thus follows on the heels of Norway’s support to the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm), as proposed by the United Kingdom.

Norway’s implementation of an air transportation levy will depend upon increased international support for – and a more concrete political commitment to – the French initiative. Norway stands ready to establish such a scheme provided we can mobilize a critical mass of countries, including key members of the European Union, to implement such a levy. We hope other countries will come forward before, during or after the Ministerial Conference on Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Development, to be held in Paris on 28 February and 1 March 2006.

France has proposed that the funds raised through an air transportation levy be used to combat hiv/aids, malaria and tuberculosis, including through the creation of a new international facility for drug purchases. Norway supports the gist of this proposal, but would not necessarily rule out alternatives. Beneficiary programmes should be discussed among those countries that decide to become partners in this initiative.

Norway would prefer that as much as possible of the funds collected through a solidarity fee be pooled and disbursed through existing multilateral institutions that have a good track record in terms of achieving results. We believe UN organizations should be prioritized. In order to mobilize popular support for the air transportation levy, we believe priority should be given to clearly identifiable programmes and purposes with a high degree of visibility.

Norway insists that the funds raised through new and innovative mechanisms, including a solidarity contribution on air transportation, be entirely and truly additional to existing ODA efforts from donor countries. After all, this is the sine qua non of any new and innovative mechanism.

Should a plane ticket levy be implemented, care should be taken to compensate for failure to include the cost of environmental damage caused by international air transport. From an environmental policy perspective, a plane ticket levy would not be not the most cost-efficient way of taxing air transportation. A development-motivated plane ticket scheme could nevertheless co-exist with more environmentally efficient mechanisms.

Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
10 January 2006