15 December 1998


Press Release
GA/9537



ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR ACTION ON EXCESSIVE VOLATILITY IN GLOBAL FINANCIAL FLOWS; SEES POSSIBILITY OF REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

19981215
Action on Economic Committee Texts; Development, Environment, Poverty Eradication, Palestinian Sovereignty Among Issues Addressed

The General Assembly called on the international community to pursue national and international efforts to contribute to minimizing the excessive volatility of global financial flows by the terms of a draft resolution adopted without a vote this morning on the recommendation of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial). It was among 32 resolutions adopted by the Assembly, one by a recorded vote.

By the draft, the Assembly invited the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to facilitate a dialogue to consider the possibility of establishing a regulatory framework for short-term capital flows and trade in currencies, and it stressed the need to endow the IMF with adequate resources to provide emergency financing to countries affected by financial crises.

In a related action, the Assembly urged the international community to consider voluntary measures and mechanisms that would allow debtor countries breathing space through, among other measures, mutually agreed temporary suspension of payments, while maintaining their access to interim financing. It also stressed the urgent need to endow the IMF with adequate resources to provide emergency financing to countries affected by financial crises as a result of the high volatilities of international capital flows.

Reaffirming that the United Nations has a central role to play in promoting international cooperation for development and in providing guidance on global development issues, the Assembly urged the international community, including the World Trade Organization, to continue to grant further preferential treatment to developing countries and it would stress the importance, at the national level, of maintaining sound macroeconomic policies and developing effective institutional and regulatory frameworks and human resources.

In other actions related to macroeconomic policy questions the Assembly:

-- Stressed the urgent need to facilitate the integration of the African countries into the world economy and the need to give special attention to the


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implementation of the many international development commitments geared to meeting the special development needs and problems of small island developing States and of landlocked developing States.

-- Invited donor countries and multilateral financial and development institutions to continue to help the landlocked States in Central Asia, and their transit developing neighbours, with financial and technical assistance for the improvement of their transit environment.

-- Requested that the ad hoc open-ended working group on intergovernmental consideration of financing for development should consider appropriate modalities to ensure the completion of its work and the submission of specific recommendations to the General Assembly at its next (fifty-fourth) session.

-- Urged developed countries to continue to support the commodity diversification and liberalization efforts of developing countries, especially African countries, in a spirit of common purpose and efficiency. That should be done by providing technical and financial assistance for the preparatory phase of their commodity diversification programmes.

-- Expressed the urgent need for supportive international policies to improve the functioning of commodity markets through efficient and transparent price formation mechanisms.

On the subject of sustainable development and international cooperation, the Assembly adopted seven resolutions. By one of the texts, the Assembly called upon the organizations of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to continue analytical activities, policy advice and technical assistance to the governments of the countries with economies in transition in strengthening the social and political framework for economic and market reforms.

By a text on cultural development, the Assembly called upon Member States to intensify their efforts to integrate cultural factors into their development programmes and projects, so as to ensure sustainable development that fully respects cultural diversity, taking into account their cultural values and identity.

Under another resolution, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with relevant international organizations, to submit to the General Assembly an analytical report containing a thorough evaluation of the implementation of the commitments and policies agreed upon in the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation.

By other texts on the topic the Assembly decided: to hold biennially a high-level renewal of its dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership; that the special session of


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the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda would be held in June 2001 for a period of three working days; to convene the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in the first semester of the year 2001 for a duration of seven days, at a venue and time to be determined later; and to invite all relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to contribute to the special session to review implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, to be held from 30 June to 2 July 1999.

On the topic of environment and sustainable development, the Assembly adopted seven resolutions. It stressed the need to accelerate the full implementation of Agenda 21 (adopted at the Rio de Janeiro Conference-UNCED) and the Programme for the Further Implementation of that agenda, and it called on the Commission on Sustainable Development to continue to complement, and to provide interlinkages to, the work of other United Nations organs, organizations and bodies acting in the field of sustainable development.

In another text, the Assembly urged small island developing States to continue preparations for the seventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and its special session in September 1999 for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

In separate texts on environment and sustainable development, the Assembly also:

-- Called upon governments, in cooperation with the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to use science-based analyses to study and monitor closely the evolution of new technologies to prevent possible adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

-- Called upon all States and other actors to contribute to the successful outcome of the second session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification at Dakar.

-- Called for the continued implementation of its resolution 52/200 (of 18 December 1997), which dealt with international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niņo phenomenon.

-- Emphasized that policy decisions under various conventions on environment and sustainable development are undertaken by their respective conferences of the parties, which are autonomous governing bodies.

-- Encouraged the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to further strengthen its revitalized role as an important implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility.


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On the subject of operational activities for development, the Assembly adopted two draft resolutions. In a text on the triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, the Assembly stressed the need for all organizations of the United Nations development system to focus field-level efforts on priority areas to avoid duplication, and enhance the complementarity and impact of their work. It also expressed serious concern at the persistent insufficiency of resources for the operational development activities of the United Nations, in particular the decline in contributions to core resources.

By the second text, the Assembly decided to postpone until its next session consideration of the arrangements for the special session of the General Assembly in the year 2001 to review the achievement of the goals of the World Summit for Children.

Two texts were adopted on sectoral policy questions. By the first, the Assembly called upon Member States to take all possible measures to further the implementation of the United Nations Declaration against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions and relevant international declarations, and to ratify, where appropriate, existing instruments against corruption. By the second text, the Assembly called upon donor countries and the recipient countries to continue to cooperate in their efforts to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in the application of official development assistance resources to industrial development cooperation.

On the text regarding the permanent sovereignty over their natural resources of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, the Assembly had its only recorded vote of the morning. The Assembly called upon Israel not to exploit, to cause loss or depletion of, or to endanger, the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. It also recognized the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of, or danger to, their natural resources. The draft was adopted by 144 in favour to 2 against (United States and Israel), with 12 abstentions (See Annex).

The Assembly adopted two draft resolutions related to the Decade for Eradication of Poverty. By the first, the Assembly proclaimed 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit and asked all those involved in the eradication of poverty to consider taking additional steps to allow credit and related services for self-employment and income-generating activities to be made available to an increasing number of people. By the second draft, the Assembly called for continued action by the international community to create an enabling economic environment and to further assist developing countries in their efforts to combat the negative impact of globalization, to fight marginalization and to pursue their development.


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In consideration of the report of the Economic and Social Council, the Assembly adopted three draft resolutions. By the texts the Assembly:

-- Decided that, starting from the year 1999, proposals for the proclamation of international years should be submitted directly to the Assembly for consideration and action, unless the Assembly decides to bring them to the attention of the Economic and Social Council for evaluation.

-- Proclaimed 2002 as International Year of Ecotourism.

-- Recalled its resolution 50/225 of 19 April 1996 on public administration and development, and took note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on its implementation. (That resolution invited governments and public agencies to strengthen their public administrative and financial management capacity through public sector administrative and management reform.)

On the topic of training and research, the Assembly adopted two texts. By the first, it requested the Council and the Rector of the United Nations University to enhance further coordination and complementarity between the University's research and training centres and its programmes. It also requested the Council and the Rector to continue to make further efforts to ensure the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the activities of the University, as well as its financial transparency and accountability. By the second text, the Assembly called on the Secretary-General to continue to explore all possible ways and means to provide additional facilities to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for maintaining its offices and for conducting programmes and training courses.

The Assembly also adopted 10 draft decisions on various topics which take note of reports before the Committee throughout the session.


Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to consider the reports of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial). The reports concern the following topics: report of the Economic and Social Council; macroeconomic policy questions; sectoral policy questions; sustainable development and international economic cooperation; environment and sustainable development; operational activities for development; training and research; permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their resources; and the implementation of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.

Economic and Social Council Report

The Committee's report on "the report of the Economic and Social Council" (document A/53/605) contains two draft decisions and three draft resolutions.

Draft decision I would have the Assembly take note of the relevant chapters of the report of the Economic and Social Council for 1998; and of the note of the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the United Nations Population Award. The draft was approved on 1 December.

Draft decision II would have the Assembly approve the biennial programme of work of the Second Committee for 1999-2000, as contained in the annex to the present decision. The draft was approved on 1 December.

Draft resolution I, titled proclamation of international years, was approved without a vote on 25 November. The draft would have the General Assembly decide that, starting from the year 1999, proposals for the proclamation of international years should be submitted directly to the Assembly for consideration and action, unless the Assembly decides to bring them to the attention of the Economic and Social Council for evaluation.

Draft resolution II, titled proclamation of the year 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism, was approved without a vote on 25 November. That draft would have the Assembly proclaim 2002 as International Year of Ecotourism.

Draft resolution III, titled public administration and development, approved without a vote on 24 November, would have the Assembly recall its resolution 50/225 of 19 April 1996 on public administration and development, and take note with appreciation of the report of the Secretary-General on its implementation. (That resolution invited governments and public agencies to strengthen their public administrative and financial management capacity through public sector administrative and management reform.)


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Macroeconomic Policy

The Committee's report on "macroeconomic policy questions" (document A/53/606) is submitted in six parts.

Part II of the report (document A/53/606/Add.1) contains one draft decision and two draft resolutions.

The draft decision would have the Assembly note the reports of the Trade and Development Board on its sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth sessions (A/53/15 (Parts I-III)). It would also take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up to the agreed conclusions of the Economic and Social Council (A/53/510). The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

Draft resolution I, entitled international trade and development, was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the draft, the Assembly would request the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to continue to identify and analyse the implications for development of issues relevant to investment, taking into account the interests of developing countries and bearing in mind the work undertaken by other organizations. It would also stress the urgent need to facilitate the integration of the African countries into the world economy and the need to give special attention to the implementation of the many international development commitments geared to meeting the special development needs and problems of small island developing States and of landlocked developing States.

Draft resolution II, on transit environment in the landlocked States in Central Asia and their transit developing neighbours, was approved without a vote on 25 November. By the draft, the Assembly would invite donor countries and multilateral financial and development institutions to continue to help the States concerned with financial and technical assistance for the improvement of their transit environment, including construction, transport maintenance, communications, storage and other transit-related facilities.

Part III of the report (document A/51/606/Add.2) contains one draft decision and two draft resolutions.

The draft decision would have the Assembly take note of reports of the Secretary-General on financing of development, including net transfer of resources between developing and developed countries (document A/53/228) and the report of the Secretary-General on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development: work of the United Nations system (document A/53/479). The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

Draft resolution I, entitled the financial crisis and its impact on growth and development, especially in the developing countries, was approved


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without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would call on the international community to pursue national and international efforts, at the intergovernmental and inter-agency levels, to contribute to minimizing the excessive volatility of global financial flows. Also, the Assembly would invite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to facilitate the dialogue among relevant actors to consider the possibility of establishing a regulatory framework for short-term capital flows and trade in currencies. It would also stress the need to endow the IMF with adequate resources to provide emergency financing to countries affected by financial crises.

Draft resolution II, on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development, was approved without a vote on 10 November. By the text, the Assembly would request that the ad hoc open- ended working group on the topic to consider appropriate modalities to ensure the completion of its work and the submission of specific recommendations to the General Assembly at its next (fifty-fourth) session. It would also call for the organization of briefings or panel discussions on important topics, or significant trends and events, that may enrich the deliberations of the group.

Part IV of the report (document A/53/606/Add.3) contains a draft resolution on commodities, which was approved without a vote on 1 December. By that text, the Assembly would urge developed countries to continue to support the commodity diversification and liberalization efforts of developing countries, especially African countries, in a spirit of common purpose and efficiency. That should be done by providing technical and financial assistance for the preparatory phase of their commodity diversification programmes. It would also urge producers and consumers of individual commodities to intensify their efforts to reinforce mutual cooperation and assistance and it would express the urgent need for supportive international policies to improve the functioning of commodity markets through efficient and transparent price formation mechanisms and through the use of commodity price risks management instruments.

Part V of the report (document A/53/606/Add.4) contains a draft resolution on enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problem of developing countries, which was approved without a vote on 25 November. By the text, the Assembly would urge the international community to consider voluntary measures and mechanisms that would allow debtor countries breathing space through, among other measures, mutually agreed temporary suspension of payments, while maintaining their access to interim financing. The urgent need to endow the IMF with adequate resources to provide emergency financing to countries affected by financial crises as a result of the high volatilities of international capital flows would be stressed. It would also call upon the international financial institutions to help those countries in their reconstruction efforts by, among other measures, lessening the debt-service burden and considering appropriate additional measures, as well as through the early consideration of Nicaragua


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and Honduras for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Initiative.

Further, by the draft, the Assembly would call for the speedy and determined extension of the Initiative to more countries, and encourage all eligible countries to take policy measures needed to embark on the process as soon as possible so that all can be in process by the year 2000. It would stress the need for the IMF and the World Bank to expeditiously address the special needs of poor post-conflict countries, in close cooperation with all relevant parts of the United Nations system.

Part VI of the report (document A/53/606/Add.5) contains a draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence was approved without a vote on 1 December. By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm that the United Nations has a central role to play in promoting international cooperation for development and in providing guidance on global development issues, including in the context of globalization and interdependence. It would urge the international community, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), to continue to grant more preferential treatment to those countries and it would stress the importance, at the national level, of maintaining sound macroeconomic policies and developing effective institutional and regulatory frameworks and human resources. The Assembly would also strongly underline the importance of an enabling environment for investment to achieve sustainable development in all African countries and to encourage the participation of all African countries in the global economy.

Sectoral Policy

The Committee's report on "sectoral policy questions" (document A/53/607) contains two draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I, entitled action against corruption and bribery in international commercial transactions, was approved without a vote on 24 November. By the text, the Assembly would call upon Member States to take all possible measures to further the implementation of the United Nations Declaration against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions and relevant international declarations and to ratify, where appropriate, existing instruments against corruption. It would also request UNCTAD and other competent bodies of the United Nations system to assist Member States in implementing national programmes to strengthen accountability and transparency and in implementing relevant conventions, declarations and instruments to combat corruption and bribery in international commercial transactions.

Draft resolution II, entitled industrial development cooperation, was approved without a vote on 24 November. By the draft, the Assembly would call upon donor countries and the recipient countries to continue to cooperate in


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their efforts to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness of official development assistance resources devoted to industrial development cooperation. It would also call upon the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to continue carrying out its central coordinating role within the United Nations system. The Assembly would also call upon the international community and the relevant bodies and organizations of the United Nations system, in particular UNIDO, to support the efforts of the developing countries to intensify and expand industrial cooperation among themselves with respect to, among other things, trade in manufactured products, industrial investments and business partnerships, as well as industrial technology and scientific exchanges.

Sustainable Development, International Cooperation

The Committee's report on sustainable development and international economic cooperation (document A/53/608) is submitted in eight parts.

Part II of the report (document A/53/608/Add.1) contains a draft resolution on implementation of the commitments and policies agreed upon in the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the revitalization of economic growth and development strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade, which was approved without a vote on 24 November. By the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, in consultation with all concerned organs and organizations, to submit to the General Assembly for consideration at its fifty-fourth session an analytical report containing a thorough evaluation of the implementation of the commitments and policies agreed upon in the Declaration and of the implementation of the Strategy, including the progress made and the constraints encountered therein.

Part III of the report (document A/53/608/Add.2) contains a draft resolution on integration of the economies in transition into the world economy, was approved without a vote on 24 November. By that text, the Assembly would call upon the organizations of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to continue analytical activities, policy advice and technical assistance to the governments of the countries with economies in transition in strengthening the social and political framework for economic and market reforms, thereby creating an enabling environment for foreign investment, and in the early identification of nascent crises in order to ensure their economic and financial stability.

Part IV of the report (document A/53/608/Add.3) contains a draft decision and a draft resolution.

The draft decision would have the Assembly take note of the report of the Secretary-General on a comprehensive and in-depth assessment of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (document A/53/512). The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.


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The draft resolution, on special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, was approved without a vote on 24 November. By that text, the Assembly would decide that the special session would be held in June 2001 for a period of three working days, and reaffirm that the special session for the overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the 1996 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), held in Istanbul, will be undertaken on the basis of and in full respect for the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements and the Habitat Agenda and that there will be no renegotiation of the existing agreements contained therein.

Part V of the report (document A/53/608/Add.4) contains one draft decision and one draft resolution.

The draft decision would have the Assembly take note of a number of documents before it under the item. The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

The draft resolution, on renewal of the dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership, was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would decide to hold biennially a high-level renewal of its dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership to provide impetus for the promotion of international economic cooperation for development. It also would stress that such dialogue should be conducted in response to the imperatives of mutual interests and benefits, genuine interdependence, shared responsibility and the partnership for achieving development.

Part VI of the report (document A/53/608/Add.5) contains a draft resolution on implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s which was approved without a vote on 16 November. By that text, the Assembly would decide to convene the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in the first semester of the year 2001 for a duration of seven days, at a venue and time to be determined later.

Part VII of the report (document A/53/608/Add.6) contains one draft resolution and one draft decision.

The draft resolution, on the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, was approved without a vote on 24 November. By the text, the Assembly would invite all relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to contribute, as appropriate, to the special session to review implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, to be held from 30 June to 2 July 1999. It would also decide to invite States members of the specialized agencies that are not members of the


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United Nations to participate in the work of the special session in the capacity of observers.

By the draft decision on commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Population Fund, approved without a vote on 24 November, the Assembly would decide to allocate a plenary meeting during its fifty-fourth session to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the operation of the United Nations Population Fund, under the sub-item entitled, "Sustainable development and international economic cooperation: implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development".

Part VIII of the report (document A/53/608/Add.7) contains a draft resolution on cultural development, which was approved without a vote on 24 November. By the text, the Assembly would invite all Member States, intergovernmental bodies and organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations to implement the recommendations of the Action Plan on Cultural Policies for Development adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, held in Stockholm from 30 March to 2 April 1998. It would further call upon Member States to intensify their efforts to integrate cultural factors into their development programmes and projects, so as to ensure sustainable development that fully respects cultural diversity, taking into account their cultural values and identity.

Environment and Sustainable Development

The Committee's report entitled "environment and sustainable development" (document A/53/609) is submitted in seven parts.

Part II of the report (document A/53/609/Add.1) contains a draft resolution on implementation of and follow-up to the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), including the outcome of the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly for the purpose of an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21, which was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would stress the need to accelerate the full implementation of Agenda 21 (adopted at the Rio de Janeiro conference-UNCED) and the Programme for the Further Implementation of that agenda. The Assembly would also call on the Commission on Sustainable Development to continue to complement and provide interlinkages to the work of other United Nations organs, organizations and bodies acting in the field of sustainable development. The Commission should also play its role in assessing the challenges of globalization as they relate to sustainable development, and to perform its functions in coordination with other subsidiary bodies of the Economic and Social Council and with related organizations and institutions.

Part III of the report (document A/53/609/Add.2) contains a draft decision which would have the General Assembly take note of a note by the


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Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on the results of the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention. The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

Part IV of the report (document A/53/609/Add.3) contains a draft resolution on implementation of the outcome of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, approved without a vote on 25 November. By the text, the Assembly would urge small island developing States to continue preparations for the seventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and its special session in September 1999 for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. It would urge the international community, organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental bodies to continue to assist in that regard. The Assembly would also reiterate the urgency of the international community's support of adaptation efforts by small island developing States to cope with the threat of sea-level rise experienced as a consequence of climate change.

Part V of the report (document A/53/609/Add.4) contains a draft resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity , which was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would call upon governments, in cooperation with the Conference of the Parties, to use science-based analyses, to study and monitor closely the evolution of new technologies to prevent possible adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, which might have an impact on farmers and local communities. States parties to the Convention would be called upon to urgently settle any arrears and pay their contribution in full and in a timely manner.

Part VI of the report (document A/53/609/Add.5) contains a draft resolution on implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, which was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would call upon all States and other actors to contribute to the successful outcome of the second session of the Conference of the Parties at Dakar. It would also call upon all countries that are not yet parties to ratify or accede to the Convention as soon as possible. The Assembly would also urge all parties to the Convention to pay promptly and in full, in the first month of each year, starting on 1 January 1999, the contributions required for the core budget of the Convention. The Assembly would also call upon developing country parties to the Convention to accelerate the process of elaboration and adoption of national action programmes.

Part VII of the report (document A/53/609/Add.6) contains one draft decision and three draft resolutions.


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The draft decision would have the General Assembly take note of the report of the Secretary-General on products harmful to health and the environment (document A/53/156-E/1998/78). The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

Draft resolution I on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niņo phenomenon, was approved without a vote on 10 November. By that text, the Assembly would call for the continued implementation of its resolution 52/200 (of 18 December 1997), which dealt with international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niņo phenomenon and would request a report from the Secretary-General at its next session on implementation of the present resolution.

Also, it would request the Secretary-General to submit recommendations on how the United Nations system would deal with the reduction of natural disasters after the conclusion of the International Decade for the Reduction of Natural Disasters in 1999.

Draft resolution II, entitled international institutional arrangements related to environment and development, was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would emphasize that policy decisions under various conventions on environment and sustainable development are undertaken by their respective conferences of the parties, which are autonomous governing bodies, and would note that various conventions related to environment and sustainable development are at different stages of implementation. It would also recognize its role in fostering progress in the implementation of those conventions. It would encourage the conferences of the parties and the permanent secretariats of three conventions to examine appropriate opportunities and measures to strengthen their complementarities and improve scientific assessment of ecological linkages between the conventions.

(The conventions are: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa.)

Draft resolution III, on the report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was approved without a vote on 1 December. By that text, the Assembly would encourage UNEP to further strengthen its revitalized role as an important implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility. It would stress the importance of adequate, stable and predictable financial resources as an essential prerequisite to enable UNEP to discharge its strengthened mandate. The Assembly would also call upon governments to make contributions in order to allow for the full implementation of the programmes of UNEP.


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Operational Activities for Development

The report of the Committee on "operational activities for development" (document A/53/610) contains one draft decision and two draft resolutions.

The draft decision would have the General Assembly take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the triennial review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document A/53/226 and Add.1-4). It would also take note of the Secretary-General's note transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) entitled "Fellowships in the United Nations system" (document A/53/154) and the comments thereon of the Secretary-General and the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) (document A/53/226/Add.1); and the Secretary-General's note transmitting the report on the activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (document A/53/363). The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

Draft resolution I, entitled Triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the text, the Assembly would stress the need for all organizations of the United Nations development system to focus their efforts at the field level on priority areas in order to avoid duplication, and enhance the complementarity and impact of their work. The Assembly would express serious concern at the persistent insufficiency of resources for the operational development activities of the United Nations, in particular the decline in contributions to core resources. And, it would urge the United Nations Development Group to work in a fully transparent and accountable manner towards a more coherent United Nations performance in the development field, while respecting the specific mandates and identity of its members.

The Assembly would decide that, with the agreement of the host country, the United Nations development system should assist national governments in creating an enabling environment in which the links between national governments, the United Nations development system, civil society, national non-governmental organizations and the private sector were strengthened with a view to seeking new and innovative solutions to development problems. It would call for the further simplification, harmonization and rationalization of procedures for operational activities of the United Nations development system at the field level, where possible, and for developing common databases, in consultation with national governments.

Draft resolution II, on preparations for the special session of the General Assembly in the year 2001 to review the achievement of the goals of the World Summit for Children, was approved without a vote on 10 November. By the text, the Assembly would decide to postpone consideration of the arrangements for that special session to its fifty-fourth session.


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The report of the Second Committee on "training and research" (document A/53/611) contains two draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I, United Nations University, was approved without a vote on 16 November. By the text, the Assembly would request the Council and the Rector of the University to enhance further coordination and complementarity between the University's research and training centres and its programmes. The Assembly would also request the Council and the Rector to continue to make further efforts to ensure the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the activities of the University, as well as its financial transparency and accountability. They would also be asked to intensify efforts to augment the University's Endowment Fund and to find innovative ways to mobilize operating contributions and other programme and project support. The Assembly would invite the international community to make voluntary contributions to the University, including its research and training centres and programmes, in particular to the Endowment Fund.

Draft resolution II, entitled United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), was approved without a vote on 24 November. By the text, the Assembly would call on the Secretary-General to continue to explore all possible ways and means to provide additional facilities to the Institute for maintaining its offices and for conducting programmes and training courses.

It would also further request the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Institute, as well as with the United Nations funds and programmes, to continue to explore ways and modalities to systematically utilize the Institute in the execution of training and capacity-building programmes. It would also renew its appeal to all governments and to private institutions that have not yet contributed financially or otherwise to the Institute to give it their generous financial and other support.

Sovereignty of Palestian People

The report of the Committee on the "permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources" (document A/53/612) contains one draft resolution under the same title. The draft was approved by a recorded vote on 16 November of 116 in favour to 2 against (United States, Israel) with 8 abstentions (Bahamas, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Georgia, Marshall Islands, Panama, Paraguay, Swaziland).

By that draft, the Assembly would call upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, to cause loss or depletion of, or to endanger, the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. The Assembly would recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of, or danger to, their natural resources. The Assembly would


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also express the hope that the issue would be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Decade for Eradication of Poverty

The report of the Committee on "implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006)" (document A/53/613) contains one draft decision and two draft resolutions.

The draft decision would have the General Assembly take note of a report of the Secretary-General on the role of microcredit in the eradication of poverty (document A/53/223). The draft decision was approved without a vote on 1 December.

Draft resolution I, entitled International Year of Microcredit 2005, was approved without a vote on 10 November. By the text, the Assembly would proclaim 2005 as the International Year of Microcredit. It would also request that the observance of the Year be a special occasion for giving impetus to microcredit programmes throughout the world. It would also ask all those involved in the eradication of poverty to consider taking additional steps to allow credit and related services for self-employment and income-generating activities to be made available to an increasing number of people.

Draft resolution II, on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, was approved without a vote on 1 December. By the draft, the Assembly would call upon developed countries to strengthen their efforts to achieve as soon as possible the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product for overall official development assistance. It would also call upon the international community, including multilateral financial institutions, to implement fully and effectively all initiatives taken regarding debt relief for developing countries. The Assembly would also call for continued action by the international community to create an enabling economic environment and to further assist developing countries in their efforts to combat the negative impact of globalization, to fight marginalization and to pursue their development. It would reiterate its call to all donors to give high priority to the eradication of poverty in their development assistance programmes.

Action on Second Committee Reports

ULADZIMIR GERUS (Belarus), the Rapporteur of the Second Committee, introduced the Committee's reports. He said the Committee this year had made a number of substantial proposals which should be a valuable contribution in creating favourable conditions around the world for the promotion of sustainable development. It had made 36 draft substantial proposals and 32 draft resolutions.


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The Committee took up the report on macroeconomic policy questions. Adopted without a vote were the draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence; the draft resolution on international trade and development; and the draft resolution on transit environment in the landlocked States in Central Asia and their transit developing neighbours.

The draft decision taking note of reports on trade and development was adopted.

The draft resolution, on the financial crisis and its impact on growth and development, especially in the developing countries, was adopted without a vote, as was the draft resolution on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development.

The Assembly then adopted a draft decision taking note of reports related to the financing of development.

Adopted without a vote were the draft resolutions on commodities, and on enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problem of developing countries.

The Assembly then took note of the Committee's report on sectoral policy questions.

The draft resolution on action against corruption and bribery in international commercial transactions and the draft resolution on industrial development cooperation were both adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then took note of the Committee's report on sustainable development and international economic cooperation.

Adopted without a vote were the following draft resolutions:

-- on implementation of the commitments and policies agreed upon in the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular, the revitalization of economic growth and development strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade;

-- on integration of the economies in transition into the world economy;

-- on special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda; and

-- on renewal of the dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership.


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The draft decision on a report on the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) was adopted without a vote, as was the draft decision taking note of a number of documents on the item.

Also adopted without a vote were draft resolutions on implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s, and on the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, as orally corrected.

The draft decision on the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the UNFPA was adopted without a vote, as was the draft resolution on cultural development.

The Assembly then took up the Committee's report on environment and sustainable development.

Adopted without a vote were the draft resolutions on: international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niņo phenomenon; the international institutional arrangement related to environment and development; and the report of the Governing Council of UNEP.

The draft decision on the report on products harmful to health and the environment was adopted without a vote, as was the draft resolution on implementation of and follow-up to the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), including the outcome of the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly for the purpose of an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21.

The draft decision on the Executive-Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted without a vote.

Speaking before action, ESPEN RONNEBERG (Marshall Islands) said the convening next year of the special session of the General Assembly to review the implementation of the Barbados Conference was of great importance to his delegation. It was disappointing that the Second Committee could not find an equitable solution to the issue of representation of those States which were not Members of the United Nations. As currently drafted, those States would be able to be present only as observers, even though they were independent and sovereign States. That situation was further evidence of the increasing marginalization of the small island developing States. His delegation had regretfully decided to accept the consensus on the resolution, forced upon it by a minority in the Committee for reasons unrelated to the resolution, for the sake of retaining other important elements of the text. He added that his delegation would work closely with the delegations of the non-Member small island developing States, so that their participation in the special session would be more meaningful than had been envisaged.


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AMANDA HAWKINS (Australia) said her delegation was pleased to have co-sponsored the resolution; however, it was disappointed that the resolution was not able to ensure the full participation of small island developing States that were not Members of the United Nations. Her delegation requested that all would be done to facilitate their participation, to ensure a successful review of the Barbados Conference.

The draft resolution on the implementation of the outcome of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States adopted without a vote, as were the drafts on the Convention on Biological Diversity and on implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa, was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then took note of the Committee's report on operational activities for development.

The draft resolution on triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system was adopted, as orally corrected, without a vote. The draft resolution on preparations for the special session of the General Assembly in the year 2001 to review the achievement of the goals of the World Summit for Children was also adopted without a vote, as was the draft decision on the reports considered under the item.

The Assembly then took up the report of the Committee on training and research, adopting without a vote two draft resolutions on the topic dealing with the United Nations University and with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Turning to the report of the Committee on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, the Assembly adopted the related draft resolution by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 12 abstentions. (See Annex.)

The Assembly then took up the report of the Committee on implementation of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006).

MUHAMMAD SORCAR (Bangladesh) noted that Under-Secretary General Nitin Desai had introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the role of microcredit in the eradication of poverty (document A/53/223) before the Second Committee on 15 November. His statement on that report was issued as a note by the Secretariat (document A/C.2/53/7). That note should be considered as an integral part of the report of the Secretary-General on the topic. His delegation would have liked the Assembly to take note of both documents together in its decision regarding the role of microcredit.


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The draft resolution on International Year of Microcredit 2005 was adopted without a vote, as were the draft resolution on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty and the draft decision on the report on the role of microcredit in the eradication of poverty.

The Assembly then took note of the report of the report of the Economic and Social Council.

Three draft resolutions were adopted without a vote, as follows: on proclamation of international years; on proclamation of the year 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism; and on public administration and development.

The Assembly then adopted a draft decision which took note of documents relating to the report of the Economic and Social Council. It also adopted a draft decision on the biennial programme of work of the Second Committee for 1999-2000.

(annex follows)


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General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9537 91st Meeting (AM) 15 December 1998

ANNEX

Vote on Sovereignty of Palestinian People

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory (document A/53/612) by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to 2 against, with 12 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstain: Bahamas, Barbados, Cameroon, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Georgia, Grenada, Marshall Islands, Paraguay, Swaziland, Uzbekistan.

Absent: Albania, Burundi, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Guatemala, Honduras, Madagascar, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Turkmenistan, Zambia.

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