Achieving economic growth through rural sector development which paid special attention to income-generating agricultural activities was critical to the success of poverty eradication programmes, the representative of Niger told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this morning as it began its consideration of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006).
The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said poverty eradication would require a significant increase in public and private expenditures on infrastructure and social services as well as the complete integration of people living in poverty. The empowerment of women, new and additional resources, increased official development assistance (ODA) and debt reduction were critical to effective poverty eradication programmes.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, the representative of Luxembourg said poverty could not be eradicated merely by transferring capital. Military expenditure in the recipient countries must be reduced and resources should be redistributed in favour of the poorest members of the population. Creating an environment conducive to foreign investment and developing a social structure which responded to people's needs were important.
In combating poverty, the United States' representative said governments must create an environment of entrepreneurship favourable to the establishment of small and medium-sized enterprises and assist them in gaining access to capital markets. Governments should also give attention to ending civil strife, providing better governance and ending official corruption.
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A representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) said seven out of 10 of the world's poor were women earning less than one dollar a day. Successful development projects must directly target women. They must be involved in assessing food aid needs, distributing food to households, and managing and monitoring their overall distribution.
The representative of China said poverty eradication was not only an important indication of the progress of mankind, but an urgent task for international cooperation. Developing countries had already made efforts to eradicate poverty in their countries. International development cooperation must now be strengthened.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Uruguay (on behalf of the Common Market of the Southern Cone -- MERCOSUR), Tunisia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Japan and Bangladesh, as well as by those of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The Director of the Social Policy and Development Division of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs, John Langmore, made an introductory statement.
Also this morning, the Committee heard the introduction of three draft resolutions sponsored by the Group of 77. Under those drafts, the Assembly would:
-- Decide to hold a special session in the year 2001 for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) (Istanbul, 1996);
-- Call on the United Nations system to provide resources for operational activities to support the efforts of developing countries to integrate gender concerns into national programmes; and
-- Request the Secretary-General to ensure that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had the capacity to complement the work of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in implementing the Programme of Action of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its discussion of the United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.
Committee Work Programme
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to consider the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, under the general heading of "sustainable development and international economic cooperation".
The Secretary-General's report on the observance of the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty (1996) and recommendations for the rest of the Decade (1997-2006) (document A/52/573) contains information on targets and trends in poverty eradication, national strategies, international cooperation and methods to raise awareness and strengthen motivation.
According to the report, the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) are good guides for national poverty eradication strategies. Such strategies include the following measures: time bound national poverty reduction goals; strengthening economic development through seeking to sustain strong rates of economic and employment growth; a framework of public policy; measures targeted at increasing opportunities for the poor; improving the equity of the distribution of income, wealth and power; and strengthening international cooperation.
The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) is being strengthened, the report states. It proposes that in the future the Day should be marked by concentrating on the themes which the Assembly chooses for its observance. Planning had begun for intellectually and politically substantive activities on the Day in 1998. In addition, more attention needed to be devoted at the national level to highlighting the observance of the Day. The United Nations system offices in each country should be involved in the organization of events and discussions on national poverty issues.
At the international level, within the context of the Assembly's deliberations on the Decade, the report states that it might be desirable to focus on national and international action in alternative years. The theme for 1998 will be "Poverty, human rights and development". That year will also mark the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it has been proposed that attention be given to poverty within the events planned for the year. The Assembly will select the themes for the succeeding two years, and consideration could be given to "Poverty eradication lessons from industrial countries" as the theme for 1999, the report proposes.
While there was reason to be encouraged by the progress made in the area of poverty reduction, there was even greater reason for concern, the report states. While the continued globalization of the world economy has been beneficial for some countries, there has been few net benefits for many. More
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international support for those countries with limited capacities is needed so that they can boost their pace of development and devote more resources to social purposes.
The report says the renewed commitment made at the Social Summit must be more effectively applied. National strategies should be revised to reflect those priorities and international cooperation should be strengthened and extended to increase the pace of poverty reduction. The United Nations system is attempting to work more closely and more pointedly in furthering action at the national and subregional levels, and in monitoring progress. Stronger political will and commitment, and more focused technical work also are required.
Poverty eradication is far more than just a national or international issue, according to the report. Every individual has the capacity to make a contribution. That can be achieved through personal expressions of human solidarity, through lifestyle changes and through participating in community programmes. Networks of people committed to poverty eradication are a necessary part of what must become a successful global campaign.
Also in his report, the Secretary-General notes that two reports have been published in the last year that described the extent of poverty, analyzed trends and discussed poverty reduction strategies. The Report on the World Social Situation 1997 (document E/CN.5/1997/8) dealt extensively with such issues as the measurement of poverty, trends and patterns of global poverty, and policies for poverty reduction. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 1997 was entirely devoted to the eradication of poverty.
JOHN LANGMORE, Director, Social Policy and Development Division, Department for Economic and Social Affairs, said the Social Summit had launched a global campaign for the eradication of poverty. Experience was clarifying types of policies that worked well in the fight against poverty, although conditions in every country differed and national strategies must be the direct result of attention to national conditions. He then reviewed the national strategy for poverty reduction contained in the Secretary-General's report (document A/52/573).
Poverty and poverty-related issues were at the core of deliberations in a wide range of funds and programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, he said. To a certain extent, poverty eradication had become a proxy for development issues in general, particularly as they related to the low-income countries. The danger was that poverty eradication became just another slogan or that the entire complex of development issues was reduced to poverty eradication only. Both of those dangers must be avoided.
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KATINDA KAMANDO (United Republic of Tanzania), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said the eradication of poverty should be one of the fundamental goals of the international community and the entire United Nations system. To achieve that objective, the efforts of individual governments and international cooperation and support should be combined in a complementary way. That would require a significant increase in public and private expenditures in the infrastructure and social sectors. Furthermore, the eradication of poverty depended on the complete integration of people living in poverty into economic, social and political life. Therefore, the empowerment of women was a critical factor. New and additional resources, through official development assistance (ODA) and debt reduction, were critical if poverty eradication was to be effective.
Private flows to developing countries were highly nationally selective, he said. Most countries received little benefit and even in those countries which benefited from inflows of private capital, ODA was still valuable for the overall development process of those countries, particularly in infrastructure, agriculture and human capital development. In that context, the need for ODA remained particularly critical in order to achieve the objectives of the Poverty Eradication Decade.
Regarding observance of the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty and plans for the first Decade, he said many United Nations system- wide initiatives had been established to ensure a coordinated follow-up to the recent global conferences. Those initiatives, however, should not be confined to United Nations agencies, particularly the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). Intergovernmental bodies, such as the Economic and Social Council, should take the lead in that area. The oversight and coordination roles of the Council might ensure that poverty eradication activities were carried out in a coordinated and timely manner.
HENRI SCHUMACHER (Luxembourg) spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the associated country of Cyprus, as well as the European Free Trade Association member of the European Economic Area, Norway. He said poverty eradication was a matter that should be dealt with from both the social and economic perspectives. Each government was primarily responsible for poverty eradication amongst its people and for devising national strategies in cooperation with all the sectors of civil society. Official development aid was still a major source of financing for the developing countries, especially the least developed among them.
Noting that poverty eradication had now become an integral part of sustainable development strategies of multilateral organizations, he said the international community would have to continue its efforts to mobilize official development aid as well as predictable and sufficient new resources. All available funding mechanisms must be explored, particularly from multilateral, bilateral and private sources on preferential terms or on a
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free-of-charge basis. Creating an environment conducive to foreign investment as well as developing a social structure which responded to people's needs was important. Poverty could not be eradicated merely by transferring capital. Military expenditure in the recipient countries must be reduced and resources should be redistributed in favour of the poorest members of the population.
SHIRLEY ROBINSON HALL (United States) said sustainable development was critical to poverty eradication, and international organizations and other institutions should provide an enabling environment for sustainable development. Universal public education, sensitivity to the gender gap and basic health and nutrition needs must be addressed. National reporting on poverty eradication must contain frank assessments and establish national targets and specific action plans. Governments needed to sustain economic and employment growth as a means of ameliorating conditions and alleviating poverty.
Notwithstanding the importance of the international community in the development process, she said, primary responsibility for poverty elimination rested at the national level. Without a proper policy environment, development assistance, including foreign direct investment, would be ineffective. Governments must foster an environment of entrepreneurship favourable to the establishment of small and medium-sized enterprises, and assist them in gaining access to capital markets. Governments should also give attention to ending civil strife, to making available opportunities for personal and community development, to providing better governance and to ending official corruption. In many societies, too many women, youth, elderly, people with disabilities and others had been consigned to the margins of society. The contributions of so many who had so much to offer should not be wasted.
JORGE PEREZ OTERMIN (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the member countries of Southern Cone Common Market (MERCOSUR), said all men, women and children had the inalienable right not to suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Yet there were currently 840 million people that did suffer from those afflictions. In the countries of MERCOSUR, efforts to eradicate poverty were ongoing, and the governments had programmes and policies which worked to fight poverty.
For 22 years there had been very little progress in the fight against poverty, he said. The desolate world picture allowed for the assumption that formal declarations had not been matched by measures to fight malnutrition and child mortality. The MERCOSUR countries believed that fighting poverty should be the primary task of the new century. The MERCOSUR had been encouraged by the Assembly's decision to proclaim the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.
The MERCOSUR countries were trying to alleviate the critical problem of poverty and had allocated resources to invest in the social areas, he said.
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The sole goal was to drive poverty statistics down and combine the positive aspects of growth and progressive income distribution. That was the outcome of progressive policies which had been established earlier in the decade with the full involvement of the citizens of MERCOSUR countries. The international community must strive harder to create conditions necessary to obtain favourable economic and social development. It should invest more in people and give them more modern tools, putting in place policies to allow them to be better prepared for development without shutting them out. It was important to ensure that programmes were properly designed to meet the needs of the neediest and those that had the least.
WANG QUN (China) said poverty eradication required enhanced awareness on the part of the general public of the need to alleviate poverty and to rise from poverty. All social forces must be mobilized to participate in that awareness campaign. Efforts should be aimed at its root causes as well as its symptoms. Relief alone could not provide a permanent solution. Achieving development was fundamental. External support was also needed to enhance the capacity for self-development and gradually achieve the objective of prosperity through economic development.
He said poverty eradication also required an integrated and comprehensive approach. Poverty was caused by economic, historical and geographical factors. To tackle it effectively, it was imperative to abide by the principle of sustainable development and to pay attention to the ecological balance in the development process. Excessive population growth must also be curbed. Education and science and technology levels must be raised. Fast-growing regions must be encouraged to support those lagging behind. Poverty eradication was not only an important indication of the progress of mankind, but an urgent task for international cooperation. Developing countries had already made efforts to eradicate poverty in their countries. International development cooperation must be strengthened.
MONA HAMMAM, Acting Director of the New York Liaison Office of the World Food Programme (WFP), said in 1996 WFP had reached more than 45 million people living in hunger and poverty. It was quite clear that hunger was not just a symptom of poverty; it was a cause. An adult whose childhood had been scarred by malnutrition was, more often than not, condemned to poverty. The hungry poor simply could not produce and compete with the well-nourished. They lacked the same capacity to work, they were more vulnerable to disease, and they died younger. Hunger also affected women and young children far more often than it did grown men. Seven out of 10 of the world's poor were women earning less than one dollar a day. When WFP targeted its resources on women, it was, by definition, focusing on the poorest of the poor.
Successful development projects directly targeted to women succeeded for women and the community as a whole, she said. The track record of actually getting food directly into the hands of needy families was better if WFP targeted women and involved them in assessing food aid needs, distributing
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food to households, and managing and monitoring the overall distribution. A household with a mother, involved in her community both socially and economically, was far more likely to withstand the strain of physical uprooting or a sudden loss in normal food supply channels. By giving food directly to women, WFP supported both her traditional familial role and helped her strengthen her options, her family and her potential for the future. To help strengthen female education, WFP was now requiring all school feeding projects to have girls as at least 50 per cent of the beneficiaries.
ABDERRAZAK AZAIEZ (Tunisia) said poverty eradication required the mobilization of all resources and efforts of the international community. The United Nations family had a colossal task before it. Poverty eradication needed the cooperation of all the United Nations bodies, including the Bretton Woods institutions. The work programmes of those bodies must also be harmonized. Efforts at the local level must also be coordinated. Tunisia had made poverty eradication a priority. A number of projects were being implemented in that regard.
He said it was interesting to note that poverty eradication had become a major goal of the international community in recent years. It had become a major challenge for the world. However, all commitments made at various United Nations conferences in the past must be honoured. To achieve sustainable development, the problems of resource flows, the debt burden of developing countries, declining ODA and transfer of technology must be addressed. All those undermined the efforts of many countries to eradicate poverty. But it was important that resource flows be predictable and adequate so that poverty eradication would not remain a pipe dream. International cooperation must be strengthened. Debt relief and increased ODA were fundamental to poverty eradication efforts. The international community must invest in the well-being of all people.
BERHANU KEBEDE (Ethiopia) said poverty eradication policies and strategies must be targeted at strengthening the productive capacity of those living in poverty, who must be empowered to participate in making decisions that affected them. Such policies must ensure access to all productive resources, opportunities and public services and should enhance social protection and reduce vulnerability. Sustained and broad-based economic growth, social development and environmental protection were crucial in raising living standards and for finding a durable solution to poverty and related problems.
He said poverty eradication efforts of national governments in the developing countries must be supported by wealthier nations. Developing countries, especially the least developed countries and African countries, must be helped to increase food security. Official development assistance must be increased; the debt burden of those countries must be relieved; and more favourable terms of trade be granted to them. All commitments made at the various international conferences must be met. Poverty eradication
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required predictable and sustainable flow of resources to the affected countries.
HAOUA ALOU NA-ALLAH (Niger) said her Government, with the support of its development partners, had made working toward sustainable human development and fighting poverty a central goal. Reversing the trends in poverty and food insecurity in rural and urban populations was one of the highest priorities in combating poverty. An inter-ministerial working group in 1995 had established, with the cooperation of the private sector, a national framework programme to combat poverty. Those strategies highlighted economic growth as a priority for rural sector development and gave a special place to agricultural activities to generate income and favourable conditions to achieve its goals. The implementation of that framework required an effective partnership with the population either in the form of a dialogue on priorities or in the form of direct access to available resources.
Poverty eradication should be considered an absolute priority by the international community, she said. The developed countries should support the efforts of those who fought every day to meet their needs. In recent international conferences, developing countries had reiterated the need to address the set of problems of debt, the drop in ODA, the lack of investment and the allocation of new financial resources. All of those reflected the poverty raging in developing countries. The least developed countries should receive special treatment in the areas of external debt reduction, foreign direct investment and ODA.
Specific efforts in the areas of transfer of technology, infrastructure creation and human resources development could strengthen the efforts of those countries attempting to combat poverty, she said. The international community must focus its action on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. She appealed to all countries and organizations to make efforts to help integrate developing countries into the world community.
SADIG RASHEED, Director of the Programme Division of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said the number of children living in absolute poverty had been rising by some 4 per cent per annum in recent years in sub- Saharan Africa and Latin America. Their ranks also continued to expand in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Children must occupy centre stage in development because it was the investment in their well-being today that would be the guarantor of sustainable and equitable human development of future generations. Fighting poverty was also an international imperative under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognized the right of all children to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
The UNICEF believed that poverty had to be fought on many fronts simultaneously, he said. It was also convinced that the delivery of basic social services was one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways of
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combating some of the worst manifestations of poverty. Therefore, the bulk of UNICEF's support and resources were concentrated in the areas of basic health, water and sanitation, nutrition and basic education. It assisted governments, non-governmental organizations and communities with providing services to those not reached. Since the poor were more likely than the non-poor to be without access to adequate basic services, UNICEF programmes helped provide services largely to the poor.
PRIANTI GAGARIN DJATMIKO-SINGGIH (Indonesia) said the poor must be integrated into the mainstream of development programmes. Their rights, particularly their right to development, must be promoted. Only by empowering the poor could their well-being and development be fostered on a sustainable and lasting basis. The eradication of poverty at the national level was facing a basic contradiction. The developing countries were being urged to reduce the role of the state and reduce government expenditures while at the same time being told to allocate more resources to social sectors and poverty eradication. Social progress was impossible without sustained and accelerated economic growth.
She called on the international community to address the issue of finding new and innovative sources of funds, implement the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, strengthen access to markets and technology, and make available opportunities such as micro-credit arrangements. Food security and the mainstreaming of gender perspective must also be pursued. International support for countries which had not benefited from globalization was indispensable. Since the greater majority of the poor lived in developing countries, their experiences in poverty eradication must be taken into account in the implementation of poverty-eradication programmes.
HYE RAN YOO (Republic of Korea) said that despite remarkable economic advances, poverty remained a far too pervasive problem. Recent economic trends further risked marginalizing and excluding poor people from the global economic mainstream. The Secretary-General's report provided a valuable outline for efforts at the national and international levels for the eradication of poverty. Her Government particularly supported the report's conclusion that time-bound poverty reduction goals needed to be set at the national level to ensure a clear focus for policy development. Economic growth was an essential prerequisite for the eradication of poverty, but careful policy actions were necessary to ensure that the poor were able to share in the benefits of growth.
It was important to remember that poverty was a multifaceted problem, she said. Poverty manifested itself in the deprivation of basic human needs related to nutrition, health, water, education and the ability to exercise human and political rights. Therefore, anti-poverty efforts should include a greater allocation of resources for social development. Her Government supported the goals of the "20/20" initiative, which is based on the idea of allocating 20 per cent of ODA and 20 per cent of national budgets to priority
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basic social programmes. Poverty eradication should also incorporate a gender perspective.
Concrete measures were needed to increase the access of the impoverished to productive resources, such as land, credit and technology, she said. Micro-credit was an instructive example of how such measures could achieve success. Early next year Her Government would host an Expert Group Meeting on Micro-credit for Enterprise Development in Africa, in cooperation with the Office of the Special Coordinator on Africa and the Least Developed Countries.
YUTAKA YOSHINO (Japan) said the eradication of poverty in developing countries should be pursued by promoting the development efforts each country was making, based on a global partnership. Developing countries must assume ownership and responsibility for their own development, and the international community must support their efforts. His Government supported the proposal that a national poverty eradication strategy be established in each developing country at the initiative of its national government and with support from the international community.
Capacity-building was the single most important feature of any effort to eradicate poverty and promote development cooperation, he said. Capacity- building sought to empower people and unleash their creative energies so they could take full advantage of all opportunities open to them. In that context, education, particularly basic education, was critically important. Micro- credit schemes also proved to be an effective means of capacity-building, because they made possible the independence of micro-businesses in the rural sector.
Technical assistance could also contribute significantly to the eradication of poverty, he said. For example, technical assistance provided by consultants and volunteers dispatched on a project basis could aid efforts in the areas of rural development and the empowerment of women, and innovative schemes utilizing such resources had already been devised. The monetary value of such assistance was not as large as loans extended for the construction of power plants, but it would clearly be useful to analyze the content of such assistance as well as its volume. It might also be useful to devote efforts to an analysis of the impact of the "real side" of the economy -- trade and investment and direct non-portfolio investment -- which related more directly to the creation of economic opportunities for people in poverty.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said people living in poverty had the right to redeem themselves. The international community needed to constantly evaluate how much it had succeeded in realizing its commitment to assist their climb out of the downward spiral of poverty. There should be a constant search for effective and innovative ways for helping the poor to help themselves. The eradication of poverty required the creation of an enabling and responsive environment. That would allow people living in poverty to gain
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access to economic opportunities and utilize their creativity to climb out of helplessness.
Poverty eradication was a highly complex undertaking and involved planning, action and strategies in a multitude of economic and social sectors, he said. It included primary health care, family planning programmes, universal access to basic education by primary school-age children and adult literacy, among others. Those factors were intimately cross-linked, and effective steps in one sector tended to be complementary to other areas. If certain key areas could be singled out for priority attention, parallel advancement in other interrelated fields would become visible.
It was encouraging that many countries had learned that micro-credit was an effective tool for social change, he said. It helped to promote personal entrepreneurship and stimulated personal creativity in the search for self- reliance. The international community should support the creation of institutions which would support the intrinsic human endeavour in their attempts to free themselves from the bondage of poverty. Already many micro- lending institutions had been found highly effective in their programmes. His Government was convinced that more would be soon conceived.
ALIYE PEKIN CELIK, a representative of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), said economic change and liberalization must proceed in such a way that it benefited the poorer segments of society. It was essential that the international community redress equitably the existing imbalances in the distribution of resources, in the access to shelter, infrastructure, land, finance, education, employment and health. Otherwise, those ills would become barriers to economic growth and social development. Those problems had a far-reaching impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of poor and disadvantaged people huddled in vast urban slums and rural shacks, particularly in the developing countries.
The Centre was addressing poverty eradication mainly at the urban level and it had incorporated a gender dimension in its activities, she said. Informed by the Habitat Agenda, the programme of action adopted by the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) (Istanbul, 1996), the Centre was implementing poverty eradication with three major aims: creating or enhancing employment and income, mainly in the formal and informal construction and urban services sector; provision of access for the poor to urban services; and promotion of social integration policies. That last objective included measures specifically targeted at groups, such as poor female-headed households, scavengers, homeless people and street children, and implementing policies for the prevention of urban violence, which was a phenomenon that severely affected the urban poor.
With those aims in mind, the Centre was pursuing a variety of specific activities aimed at poverty reduction and eradication, she said. Those included supporting local plans of action, practical field programmes, city- wide consultations and building local and international coalitions.
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SERGE NAKOUZI, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said poverty and food insecurity would be the biggest challenge for developing countries in the next century. Strategies to address that challenge must be targeted at the majority of the world's 1.3 billion poor living in the developing countries. The FAO had been undertaking policy advisory and technical assistance programmes in support of countries' efforts to raise agricultural and food production and to create rural employment, particularly in low-income, food-deficit countries.
Reviewing his organization's efforts on poverty eradication, he said FAO had several ongoing programmes that were helping member nations with regard to land and access to rural resources. The FAO was helping member countries reform land leasing and land tenure. It had produced training manuals, as part of its capacity-building programme, on the implications of economic reform policies for food security and for poverty eradication. It had also mainstreamed a gender perspective within its mandate and technical expertise. It had adopted a Plan of Action for Women in Development and created the Committee on Women in Development.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
Mr. KAMANDO (United Republic of Tanzania), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, introduced three draft resolutions on the following subjects: the implementation of the outcome of Habitat II; women in development; and implementation of the outcome of the 1994 Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
By the first draft text (document A/C.2/52/L.18), the Assembly would decide to hold a special session in the year 2001 for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of Habitat II, including the identification of obstacles to implement it and the consideration of further actions and initiatives. The Secretary-General would be requested to submit to the Assembly, at its fifty-fourth session, a report containing recommendations for consideration by the Assembly on the format, scope, organization and substantive aspects of the special session. The Assembly would also decide that the eighteenth session of the Commission on Human Settlements, in 2001, should be the preparatory mechanism for the special session and that it should be open-ended to allow the full participation of all States.
By a draft on women in development (document A/C.2/52/L.17), the Assembly would call on all governments and all actors of society to create an enabling environment by removing discriminatory barriers and ensuring the full and equal participation of women in activities through the adoption of gender- sensitive policies and legal measures and the provision of other necessary structures. Governments would also be called on to develop strategies aimed at promoting sustainable and productive entrepreneurial activities for income- generation among disadvantaged women and women living in poverty. The United
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Nations system would be called on to provide adequate resources for operational activities to support developing countries in their efforts to integrate gender concerns into national programmes and to implement those programmes. The Assembly would request the United Nations development system to work towards establishing a more coherent approach to its support for women's income-generating activities, particularly credit schemes.
By the third draft resolution, on the sustainable development of small island developing States (document A/C.2/52/L.19), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had the capacity to carry out the research and analysis necessary to complement the work of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs regarding the implementation of the Programme of Action of the Global Conference. The bilateral and multilateral donor communities would be called on to mobilize adequate financial resources to supplement efforts by small island developing States in implementing the Technical Assistance Programme and the information network for those countries. The Assembly would also take note of the progress in the development and compilation of a vulnerability index for small island developing States. It would also take note of the report of the Committee for Development Planning on its thirty- first session and decide to retain the status of Vanuatu as a least developed country, pending the finalization of the vulnerability index and the next review in the year 2000.
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