Fifty-fifth General Assembly                                  GA/9849

Plenary                                                     21 December 2000

88th Meeting (AM)

 

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS THREE RESOLUTIONS CONCERNING AFRICA,

 

TEXT ENTITLED ‘TOWARDS GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS

 

 

      The General Assembly this morning adopted three resolutions concerning Africa, as well as a text entitled “Towards global partnerships”, all without a vote.

 

      The texts on Africa addressed implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, including measures and recommendations agreed upon at its mid-term review; causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa; and cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

 

By the resolution on global partnerships, the Assembly stressed the need for Member States to further discuss partnerships and consider ways and means to enhance cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, among others the developing countries, to give them a greater opportunity to contribute to the realization of the Organization’s goals.  The Assembly invited the Secretary-General to seek the views of relevant partners, in particular the private sector, on how to enhance their cooperation with the United Nations.

 

      By the text on implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, introduced by the representative of Madagascar, the Assembly urged the implementation without delay of the enhanced programme of debt relief to heavily indebted poor countries and the cancellation of all the official bilateral debt of those countries in the context of poverty eradication, in return for their making a demonstrable commitment to poverty reduction as part of their overall development strategy.  The Assembly also stressed the urgent need to facilitate the full integration of African countries into the world economy and called for continued efforts to enhance market access for products of export interest to African economies.

 

      The text on causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa was also introduced by the representative of Madagascar.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to extend the mandate of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on the subject until its fifty-sixth session, and invited the Security Council to pursue its consideration of the follow-up to the Secretary-General's recommendations in the areas of peace and security.

 

      The resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), introduced by the representative of Togo,

 

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General Assembly Plenary           - 1a -            Press Release GA/9849

88th Meeting (AM)                                      21 December 2000

 

 

was adopted as orally revised.  By its terms, the Assembly called upon the Secretary-General to encourage the involvement of the OAU in the implementation of the commitments contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, particularly those related to the special needs of Africa.  It also called upon the international community to support and enhance the capacity of African countries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization.

 

The Assembly also called upon the United Nations to actively support the efforts of the OAU in urging the donor community and multilateral institutions to meet the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product for official development assistance.  It further requested the United Nations to intensify its assistance to the OAU in strengthening the institutional capacity of its Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in Africa.

 

      Also this morning, the Assembly's President, Harri Holkeri (Finland), announced that he had appointed Shamshad Ahmad (Pakistan) and Inocencio Arias (Spain) as the two vice-chairpersons of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa.

 

The representatives of the United States and Japan spoke in explanation of position on the text concerning the causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.  The representative of Sudan, in his capacity as coordinator for the African group of experts on economic matters, also spoke.

 

     The Assembly will meet again to consider the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) at a date and time to be announced.

 

 

 

 

 

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      Assembly Work Programme

 

      The General Assembly met this morning to take action an draft resolutions concerning:  cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU); implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, including measures and recommendations agreed upon at its mid-term review; causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa; and towards global partnerships.

 

      On cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Assembly had a draft resolution submitted by Togo (document A/55/L.67).  By its terms, the Assembly would call upon the Secretary-General to encourage the involvement of the OAU in the implementation of the commitments contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, particularly those related to the special needs of Africa.  Further, it would call upon United Nations agencies to intensify the coordination of their regional programmes in Africa to ensure the effective harmonization of their programmes with those of African regional and subregional economic organizations.

 

     By the text, the Assembly would call upon:  the international community to support and enhance the capacity of African countries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization; the United Nations to actively support the efforts of the OAU in urging the donor community and multilateral institutions to meet the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product for official development assistance; all Member States and regional and international organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations, to provide additional assistance to the OAU and those governments of Africa concerned with the problems of refugees, returnees and displaced persons; and relevant organizations of the United Nations system to ensure the effective and equitable representation of African men and women at senior and policy levels.

 

     The Assembly would also urge the United Nations to encourage donor countries, in consultation with the OAU, to contribute to adequate funding, training and logistical support of African countries in their efforts to enhance their peacekeeping capabilities.  It would also request the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to implement the recommendations of the annual meeting of the two organizations held at Addis Ababa on 10 and 11 April.

 

     In addition, it would request the United Nations to intensify its assistance to the OAU in strengthening the institutional capacity of its Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in Africa, notably in the following areas:  development of its early warning system; technical assistance and training of civilian and military personnel; exchange and coordination of information; logistical support, including mine clearance; and mobilization of financial support, including through the trust funds of the United Nations and the OAU.

 

      By the terms of the draft resolution on the implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (document A/55/L.68), sponsored by Madagascar, the Assembly would urge the implementation of the enhanced programme of debt relief to heavily indebted poor countries without delay and the cancellation of all the official bilateral debt of those countries in the context of poverty eradication, in return for their making a demonstrable commitment to poverty reduction as part of their overall development strategy.

     

      The Assembly would also stress the urgent need to facilitate the full integration of African countries into the world economy and would call for continued efforts to enhance market access for products of export interest to African economies and support for the efforts at diversification and building of supply capacity.

 

      The Assembly would urge all States, international financial institutions, in particular the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, multilateral organizations and development funds and programmes of the United Nations system, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, to pursue with renewed vigour and as a matter of urgency, the realization of the goals and objectives embodied in the New Agenda.  The Assembly would also call upon the above-mentioned bodies to ensure that development assistance activities in Africa were carried out in a more coordinated manner for greater efficiency, impact and tangible results under the leadership of recipient countries.

 

      By the terms of the text, the Assembly would also invite the Secretary-General to encourage the closer involvement of the OAU in the implementation, follow-up and evaluation of the New Agenda, including the conduct of the final review of the implementation in 2002.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit an independent and objective evaluation of the New Agenda to the General Assembly not later than 31 May 2002.

 

      By the terms of the draft resolution on causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/55/L.37/Rev.1) the Assembly would decide to extend the mandate of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group until its fifty-sixth session, to enable the Working Group to continue to monitor the implementation of all the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report (document A/52/871-S/1998/318).  It would invite the Security Council to pursue its consideration of the follow-up to the recommendations in the areas of peace and security, with a view to ensuring a coordinated and integrated implementation of the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's report.

 

      The Assembly would also request the Working Group, in devising the modalities for its work, to consider the need for a comprehensive follow-up to the recommendations of the Secretary-General and the necessity of ensuring efficiency by focusing on selected thematic areas.  It would request the Economic and Social Council, at its substantive session of 2001, to consider the proposals of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group contained in chapter IV of its report, including the creation of an ad hoc advisory group on countries emerging from conflict.

 

      Further, the Assembly would request that, where applicable, benchmarks be developed by the Secretary-General to assess the impact of and measure performance in the implementation of the recommendations contained in his report and to submit them to the Open-ended Ad Hoc working Group for its consideration. 

 

      The draft resolution is sponsored by Canada, Denmark, France, Mali, Madagascar, Nigeria, Singapore and Spain.

     

The draft resolution entitled Towards global partnerships (document A/55/L.71), would have the Assembly stress the need for Member States to further discuss partnerships and consider ways and means to enhance cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular, from the developing countries, to give them greater opportunities to contribute to the realization of the Organization's goals and programmes.

 

The Assembly would also invite the Secretary-General to seek the views of relevant partners, in particular the private sector, on how to enhance their cooperation with the United Nations.

 

Further, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report containing a compilation of views of Member States, views of other relevant partners, and his recommendations in this regard, for consideration by the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.

 

      The draft resolution is sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

 

      Action on Texts

 

      The Assembly adopted the draft resolution entitled “towards global partnerships” (document A/55/L.71) without a vote.  Prior to adoption, Assembly President Harri Holkeri (Finland) informed delegations that the following countries had joined as co-sponsors to the text:  Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Namibia, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia and South Africa.

 

      Next, the Assembly turned to the draft resolution concerning implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (document A/55/L.68).

 

      Introducing the text, JEAN DELACROIX BAKONIARIVO (Madagascar) said that the debate held on the item highlighted the fact that while progress had been made, several factors served as obstacles to the development of Africa.  The draft resolution was designed to maintain the high priority given to Africa, until Africa attained new growth leading to sustainable development.  Adoption of the text would encourage Africa to intensify its own efforts.  Africans must reap the fruits of their own efforts, so their future can become more solid than fragile.  India and Singapore had joined as co-sponsors to the text.  The co-sponsors, as well as the Group of African States, hoped the text could be adopted by consensus.

 

      Action on Draft Resolution

 

      The representative of the Secretariat informed the Assembly that it was the intention of the Secretary-General to submit the preparation of the evaluation asked for in paragraph 14 of the text to a team of experts.  It was expected that the team of experts would carry out the evaluation during a period of five months.  The amount of $240,000 required for 2001 could be absorbed from the resources appropriated for the current biennium, and the amount of

$120,000 required for 2002 would be reflected in the proposals for the biennium 2002-2003.

 

      The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution without a vote, and concluded its consideration of the item.

 

      Mr. BAKONIARIVE (Madagascar) introduced the draft resolution on causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/55/L.37/Rev.1).  He said Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal had joined as co-sponsors. 

 

The debate on the item in the Assembly had led to a recognition that the development of Africa depended on preventing conflicts, among other things, he said.  That idea was reflected in the preamble of the draft.  The Working Group had pointed to the absence of political will as an obstacle to obtaining the objective.  Stronger political will was indispensable for that objective.  The proposals of the Working Group would help to promote peace and development in Africa.  The Assembly was in a unique position to make the dream of peace and development come true for Africa.  The Group of African States hoped the Assembly would adopt the draft by consensus.

 

      Speaking in explanation of position, JAY SNYDER (United States) clarified his country’s position on specific measures contained in the report of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group.  Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) aid should not be wasted on States still engaged in conflict, he said.  Also, official bilateral debt relief should not be de-linked from the HIPC process of the international financial institutions, either unilaterally or through the Paris Club.  That would reduce leverage to encourage economic reform.

 

      He added that only the international financial institutions arbitrated the extent to which external debt was sustainable.  He did not agree that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) should be given a role in making that assessment.  He opposed expanding HIPC debt relief to middle-income countries.  That would have significant budget implications.  Finally, the United States had not agreed to the 0.7 per cent official development assistance target.  Despite those concerns, his country would join consensus on the resolution.

 

 

 

 

 

The Assembly was informed that Ireland and Sweden had become co-sponsors.

 

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa without a vote.

 

      Speaking after adoption, HIDEAKI MARUYAMA (Japan) said that he had a few problems with the text.  Nevertheless, his Government continued to work to achieve tangible results with regard to issues such as poverty eradication and sustainable development.  His Government would like to call on the international community and the United Nations to commit themselves to the further development of Africa.

 

      The Assembly PRESIDENT announced that, having adopted the resolution, the Assembly had just extended the mandate of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa until its fifty-sixth session.  Following consultations, he had decided to appoint Shamshad Ahmad (Pakistan) and reappoint Inocencio Arias (Spain), as the two vice-chairpersons of the Group.

     

      MUBARAK HUSSEIN RAHMTALLA (Sudan), speaking as coordinator for the African group of experts on economic matters, said that he was grateful for the appointments just announced.  He also expressed his gratitude to the outgoing vice-chairman, the Permanent Representative of Singapore.

 

Next, the Assembly turned to the draft resolution concerning cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU (document A/55/L.67). 

 

      Introducing the text, ROLAND Y. KPOTSRA (Togo) said that in the preambular part, the draft resolution referred to the report of the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU and emphasized the important events that took place this year to strengthen such cooperation.  Regarding the particularly difficult situation of African countries, the draft emphasized the need for the OAU to work in cooperation with the United Nations to strengthen African capacities.  It also emphasized that the question of African indebtedness required greater attention by the international community. 

 

He said that last minute negotiations had resulted in a revision to operative paragraph 11.  It now reads:  “Calls upon the United Nations to actively support the efforts of the Organization of African Unity in urging the donor community and, where appropriate, multilateral institutions to strive to meet the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product for official development assistance, to implement fully, speedily and effectively the enhanced programme of debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries, and to achieve the goal of securing debt relief in a comprehensive and effective manner in favour of African countries through various national and international measures designed to make their debt sustainable in the long term.”

 

The draft resolution, as orally amended, had the advantage of being more concise than last year’s text and reflected the interests of both African States


and Africa’s partners, he added.  He hoped that the text would be adopted without a vote.

 

      The Assembly adopted the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU as orally revised, without a vote.

 

 

 

 

 

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