Press Release

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

22nd Meeting (AM)



Corporations had an increasing responsibility to help the international community reduce poverty and reach other social development goals, delegates told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this morning as it discussed business and development.

The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the responsibility of business in terms of social development, respect for human rights and protection of the environment was no longer questioned.  It was no longer sufficient to sell a good, inexpensive product and generate profits.  Companies must perform their job well and also generate well-being around them. The United Nations was stepping timidly towards a recognition of the private sector as an actor in the pursuit of sustainable development goals.

Industry and business played a key role in economic growth –- an important condition for poverty eradication -- said the representative of Japan.  Governments could aid the private sector by pursuing stable macroeconomic policies.  The establishment and fair implementation of legal frameworks in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy, intellectual property rights and labour were particularly important.  Also, the public sector could develop physical infrastructure that industry and business needed, such as adequate power and water supply, roads, railroads, airports and telecommunications networks.

As part of its general discussion of sectoral policy questions, the Committee also discussed industrial development cooperation.

The representative of Iran, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the main challenge for Africa’s industrial development was to reverse its marginalization from the global economy.  Industrial development cooperation could not be adequately addressed without considering that Africa had largely been left out of the globalization process.  To help Africa’s economies, there must be more resolute movement towards the transfer of appropriate technologies and diversification of its industrial products.  That would have to be combined with sustained and systematic efforts for greater and easier market access in the developed world.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Pakistan, Ghana, Russian Federation, Togo, Mexico and Nigeria.

In other work this morning, the representative of Tajikistan introduced a draft resolution on the status of preparations for the International Year of

Freshwater 2003.  Representatives of Iran, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, introduced draft resolutions on:  the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the El Niño phenomenon; the Convention on Biological Diversity; the World Solar Programme 1996-2005; the triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations; and economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its discussion of business and development and industrial development cooperation.


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to begin consideration of sectoral policy questions, focusing on the sub-items business and development, and industrial development cooperation.

Before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the programme for the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1993-2002) (A/56/139).  The report stated that economic performance in Africa in 2000 was modest compared to other regions of the world.  At 3.2 per cent, Africa's growth rate was the third in the world after the United States at  5 per cent and the European zone at 3.4 per cent.  Developing countries as a group registered a growth rate of 5.6 per cent in 2000, compared to 3.5 per cent in 1999.

One of the most persistent challenges to economic development in Africa is the high incidence of poverty, the Secretary-General stated.  Poverty rates increased during the 1990s, emphasizing the fact that social considerations were not fully accounted for in macroeconomic reform packages.  The challenge of halving poverty in Africa by 2015 implies that:  poverty will have to decline at an annual rate of 4.5 per cent; an annual per capita income growth of 4.5 to    4.9 per cent must be sustained; total gross domestic product (GDP) growth will have to increase to 7.7 per cent annually; a financing gap of 16 per cent of GDP will have to be filled to cover the shortfall created by low domestic savings and official development assistance (ODA).

The programme for the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa will come to an end on 31 December 2002 and its outcome is, for many reasons, falling short of expectations.  Given the underdeveloped state of industry in Africa, combined with the heavy debt burden facing the majority of African countries, there is still a need for continued support by the United Nations system for Africa's industrialization.  The first step in industrializing Africa is to strengthen its private sector.  This has been internationally acknowledged as a critical ingredient in ensuring rapid economic growth.

Another important starting point in enhancing an expanded role for the private sector in industrial development is for the State to invest heavily in education and other human resources, particularly targeting areas of science and technology, the Secretary-General added.  In order to motivate industrial entrepreneurship and minimize start-up costs, governments or relevant public departments must provide the minimum basic economic infrastructure.

In order to improve African access by entrepreneurs and small- and medium-scale enterprises to financing, the report stated, African governments should promote and harness internally available investment resources, especially domestic savings.  New sources of financing, such as from pension funds and building societies, should be actively tapped.  Also, any reasonable approach to economic development and industrialization in Africa should take into account the crucial dimension of the need for subregional and regional cooperation in all sectors.

The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on prevention of corrupt practices and illegal transfer of funds (A/56/403).  The report stated that, in recent years, it had become apparent that high-level corruption is a major obstacle to key objectives of the international community.  It had also become apparent that the recovery of the assets looted from national economies and transferred abroad will have to form part of the solution to this problem.  Recovery can make a critical difference to societies and economies damaged by the corruption which generated the assets.

The complexities of the issue surrounding the transfer of illicit funds, corruption and recovery, could not be underestimated, the report adds.  Such complexities are compounded by the nature of activities that produce illicit wealth as well as by the authors of such activities and their position of power.  Corollary factors include gaps in domestic legislation and deficiencies in international cooperation.  The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice addressed some of these conceptual and technical difficulties during its tenth session held from 8 to 17 May in Vienna.  An ad hoc committee had also been established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to negotiate a new United Nations convention against corruption.

Individual countries were turning to the United Nations seeking assistance in their efforts to identify and recover illicitly obtained and transferred assets, the report stated.  The United Nations had an obligation to spare no effort in rendering such assistance, and it was well positioned to do so.  However, in order to perform these functions and not disappoint expectations, the United Nations needed the political, substantive and financial support of States.  In that regard, the United Nations could provide help in such areas as training and development of expertise, advisory assistance for strengthening management of ongoing cases, and mediation between concerned States.

Over the longer term, the Secretary-General added, United Nations efforts to combat corruption and illegal transfer of funds could be focused on conducting further research and study of the problem as well as the identification of a broad range of potential solutions for dealing with cases on a proactive and reactive basis.  Such solutions could include mechanisms to assist countries in establishing or strengthening their capacities to handle relevant cases expeditiously.

A report of the Secretary-General on business and development was also before the Committee (A/56/442).  It stated that most United Nations efforts to promote entrepreneurship focus on the access problems faced by small- and medium-sized enterprises, that is, access to markets, finance, business skills and technology.  That access had, in many cases, been aggravated during the last decade by the intense competition on the global market.  The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is continuing to implement an entrepreneurship programme that assists in developing business skills, accessing finance, partnering and networking.  It has also undertaken extensive research on linkages between foreign affiliates of multinational enterprises and local companies in developing countries. 

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) provides a board range of services to help strengthen private-sector representative organizations so that they can offer effective advisory and training services to their members, the report added.  The UNIDO Partnership was launched in 1998 with the objective of working with the established business community to enhance competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises and facilitate their integration into the global value chains.

Developing and transition economies are taking steps to encourage enterpreneurship and start-ups of small- and medium-sized enterprises, said the report.  They recognize that these enterprises required only modest amounts of capital to generate employment, spread economic activity and distribute the benefits of economic development.  Under the section on socially responsible behaviour, the report added that a major complaint of chief executives in all regions was not about the existence of regulations.  Rather the main complaint was about the lack of harmonization of laws and regulations around the world.  There seemed to be space for trying to establish a kind of best practices guide for corporate governance as a global public good.

While there was growing awareness of such issues in corporate boardrooms, socially responsible behaviour of business remains far from being assured, the report said.  It was encouraging though that the most reported international cases in recent times that have involved endangering the environment, bribery or inhuman working conditions have been solved based on the demands of public opinion.  And usually new codes of conduct were adopted by the company concerned.  The constituency interested in and ready to respond to business behaviour therefore seemed to be broadening.

The Committee was also expected to hear the introduction of the following draft resolutions.

The draft resolution on promotion of new and renewable sources of energy, including the implementation of the World Solar Programme 1996-2005 (document A/C.2/56/L.8) was sponsored by Iran, on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China.  It would have the Assembly urge national governments and relevant stakeholders to make more use of the World Solar Programme as one of the vehicles to boost the development and utilization of solar energy technologies.

Also, the Assembly would invite the international community to support, including by providing financial resources, the efforts of developing countries to move towards sustainable patterns of energy production and consumption.  Further, it would invite the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to make effective the implementation of the Global Renewable Energy Education and Training Programme 1996-2005 in the different regions, and to strengthen the implementation of all its chapters.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/C.2/56/L.9), sponsored by Iran, on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China.  By its terms, the Assembly would urge Member States that have not joined the Convention to become parties to it without further delay.  Also, it would call on States parties to the Convention to settle urgently any arrears and to pay their contributions in full and in a timely manner so as to ensure continuity in the cash flows required to finance the ongoing work of the Conference of the Parties (COP), the subsidiary bodies and the Convention Secretariat.

In addition, the Assembly would call on Member States that are parties to the Convention to sign and ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as soon as possible.  Further, it would request the COP to the multilateral environmental conventions to take into consideration the schedule of meetings of the Assembly and the Commission on Sustainable Development when setting the dates of meetings of the COP, so as to ensure the adequate representation of developing countries at those meetings.

By the draft resolution on status of preparations for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003 (document A/C.2/56/L.10), the Assembly would encourage all States, the United Nations system and other actors to take advantage of the Year to raise awareness of the strategic importance of achieving sustainable development and use of the freshwater resources of the world, which are essential for satisfying basic human needs, health and food production, economic and social development and the preservation of ecosystems; and to assign high priority to the formulation and implementation of action-oriented policies and programmes for the sustainable use of freshwater for social and economic purposes.

Also, the Assembly would encourage all States, national and international organizations, major groups and the private sector to support local, national and international programmes and projects for the Year, inter alia, through voluntary contributions.

The text was sponsored by Tajikistan and the Russian Federation.

The Committee had before it a draft resolution on the World Summit on Sustainable Development, sponsored by Iran, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China (document A/C.2/56/L.11).  It would have the Assembly approve the provisional rules and procedures of the Summit, as recommended by the Commission on Sustainable Development acting as the preparatory committee for the Summit at its organizational session.  The Assembly would call on relevant regional and international organizations to further step up their efforts to assist countries in completing their national assessment reports in time.

The Assembly would invite donors to continue providing extrabudgetary resources in support of the preparatory activities for the Summit, as well as the travel of representatives from the developing countries to attend the sessions of the preparatory committee and the Summit.

Further, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to launch a comprehensive and proactive public information campaign with sufficient financial resources to raise global awareness of the Summit while also building broad international support for the Summit and its goals.  It would also request the preparatory committee to decide on all remaining issues related to the organization of work of the Summit, including specific details of the series of side events to be held.

A draft resolution on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Nino phenomenon (document A/C.2/56/L.12), sponsored by Mexico and Iran on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, would have the Assembly call on the Secretary-General and the relevant United Nations organs, funds and programmes and the international community to adopt the necessary measures to support the establishment of the international centre for the study of the El Niño phenomenon at Guayaquil, Ecuador, and invite the international community to provide scientific, technical and financial assistance and cooperation for that purpose.  The text would also have the Assembly commend the measures adopted by the host country for the centre's establishment.

Also before the Committee is a draft resolution on the triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document A/C.2/56/L.13), sponsored by Iran on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  It would have the Assembly take action in the following 13 areas -- role of operational activities in response to global challenges; funding for operational activities; capacity-building; United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF); evaluation of operational activities; simplification and harmonization of rules and procedures; resident coordinator system; planning, programming and implementation; humanitarian assistance; gender; regional dimension of operational activities; South-South cooperation/Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC); and follow-up.

Among other things, the Assembly would call on the United Nations system for an assessment of the transaction costs borne by recipient countries in programming and implementing operational activities, and their comparison with the total expenditures of operational activities in the field, and request the Secretary-General to report on this question to the ECOSOC at its substantive session of 2003.  Also, it would call for renewed efforts in gender mainstreaming in the framework of operational activities in all fields, particularly in support of poverty eradication.

The draft resolution on economic and technical cooperation among developing countries (document A/C.2/56/L.14) is also sponsored by Iran, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  It would have the Assembly call on all relevant United Nations organizations and multilateral institutions to consider increasing allocations of human, technical and financial resources for South-South cooperation.

Also, the Assembly would reiterate that South-South cooperation should be viewed not as a substitute for, but rather as a complement to North-South cooperation, and note with appreciation the increasing number of developed countries and development foundations supporting South-South cooperation activities through a variety of triangular arrangements, including direct support or cost-sharing arrangements, joint research and development projects, and third-country training programmes.

Further, the Assembly would reiterate its request to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to ensure that the separate identity of the Special Unit for TCDC is maintained, and to further strengthen its institutional capacity through mobilizing additional resources to enable it to execute its increased responsibilities effectively as the United Nations system focal point on South-South cooperation. 

Introduction of Reports

JERZY SZEREMETA, Officer-in-Charge of the Division for Public Economics and Public Administration, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on business and development.  He said that the balance sheet on human development was in great need of improvement.  Even if the goal of halving extreme poverty was met by 2015, there would still be 900 million people in the world who would continue to live in extreme poverty.  Coping with such challenges would be impossible without the help of the business community. 

He said that the enormity of the task of human development and the role of business continued to make the topic relevant for United Nations discussion.  There were many issues and concerns related to the topic of business and development.  In their discussions, Member States might wish to focus on a narrower selection of specific topics.  Among those topics, regulatory reform and corporate governance seemed to be of particular concern.

IRENE FREUDENSCHUSS-REICHL, Special Representative and Assistant Director-General for United Nations Affairs, UNIDO, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on industrial development cooperation in Africa.  She said that the contribution of the manufacturing sector in Africa as a percentage of GDP was lower than in Latin America and South and East Asia.  Industrial development was constrained by a number of factors, including the virtual absence of communications technologies, adequate human capacities, and a lack of good governance.

It was imperative to develop and implement technical assistance programmes to improve production and competitiveness, she said.  The UNIDO could play a large role in that development with the assistance of the donor community.  It was heartening that the discussion of African development was taking place against the backdrop of the recently adopted African-led initiative for the development of the African continent, now termed the New Economic Plan for African Development (NEPAD).  The role of the manufacturing sector, the importance of diversifying African economies and of enhancing the capability of African industries to comply with international standards and quality controls was clearly recognized within NEPAD.  The United Nations and the international community should support such African-led initiatives.

NASROLLAH KAZEMI KAMYAB (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that the programme for the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa would come to an end in 2002 and its outcome was, for many reasons, falling very short of expectations.  The main challenge for Africa’s industrial development was to reverse its marginalization from the global economy.  Industrial development and cooperation in an interdependent world could not be adequately addressed without considering that Africa had largely been left out of the globalization process.

The linkage between the industrialization programme for Africa and poverty eradication targets was clear, he said.  To halve poverty by 2015, total GDP growth would have to increase to about seven per cent annually in Africa.  Such a high growth rate could only be sustained if efforts were made to diversify the production base of African economies.  Africa’s industries continued to be dominated by low levels of technology, including a virtual absence of information and communication technologies.

To help Africa’s economies, he said there must be more resolute movement towards the transfer of appropriate technologies and towards diversification of its industrial products.  That would have to be combined with sustained and systematic efforts for greater and easier market access in the developed world.  Moreover, concrete steps must be taken to transform the continent’s enormous natural resources into manufactured products, particularly through strengthening small-and medium-size enterprises.  Also, Africa’s struggle to achieve a rapid economic transformation would be lost or won depending on how effectively industrial development was linked with agricultural development.

MICHEL GOFFIN (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, said the business sector was increasingly being called upon to intensify its efforts in terms of social responsibility.  It was no longer sufficient to sell a good inexpensive product and generate profits.  Doing well without doing harm was no longer enough. Companies must perform their job well and also generate well-being around them.  The responsibility of business in terms of social development, respect for human rights and protection of the environment was no longer questioned. 

It should be acknowledged, he said, that the United Nations was stepping timidly but steadily towards a recognition of the private sector, and transnational corporations in particular, as actors in their own right in the pursuit of sustainable development goals.  That certainly represented a positive response to the anti-globalists of all kinds, who sometimes accused the transnational corporations of being the perverse instrument of social and environmental degradation.

On the topic of corrupt practices and illegal transfer of funds, he said the European Union considered the expression “illegal transfer” was probably not the most appropriate.  In many cases, the transfer of funds was performed in a legal way.  What was illegal was the way in which those funds had been obtained.  Henceforward, the expression “transfer of funds of illicit origin” should be used.  The recovery of diverted funds and their transfer to the victims of the crime could contribute to rebuilding political trust in the countries that had suffered from large-scale corruption.  In that regard, a common and determined action by the international community was of the essence, regardless of the practical and legal constraints of recovery.  The European Union was ready to assist in building management capacities for illicit funds recovery. 

MOHAMMAD HASSAN (Pakistan) said that corruption and the illicit transfer of illegally acquired funds left a large majority of people impoverished and was a constant drain on the meagre resources of developing countries.  Like termites, such transfers were making the economies of developing countries hollow, fragile and debt-ridden.  Corruption not only impeded their economic growth and sustainable development but also multiplied their debt burdens. 

It also reduced the effectiveness of the externally funded projects in the country and rendered their poverty alleviation programmes ineffective, he continued.  Without firm support at the global level, national efforts were sometimes ineffective in retrieving illegally transferred funds.  Therefore, it was necessary to elaborate an international mechanism to combat corruption and the illegal transfer of funds. 

Turning to industrial development cooperation, he said that while industrialization was an essential component for achieving the goals of development, a large number of developing countries had remained unable to effectively put their economies on the track of industrial development.  The challenge was to create an environment that avoided the marginalization of developing countries.  That could not be left to market forces and globalization alone.  Affirmative action must be taken.

KWABENA OSEI-DANQUAH (Ghana) said the impact of industrial development on the prosperity of the continent and on the lives of African people had been minimal.  Industrial growth and development over the last few years in Africa had been negative.  How seriously the international community took industrial development in Africa would reflect how seriously it was committed to the goals of the Millennium Summit.  The growth process in Africa was highly fragile and international cooperation was needed to expand Africa’s industrial development.

Considerable reforms had been made to strengthen the private sector in Africa, he said.  The stagnant state of industrial development on the continent, however, meant more needed to be done.  Strengthening linkages between agriculture and industry and education and industry was a good first step.  Countries also needed to create a system of one-stop service of entrepreneurs.  A network transport and energy system in sub-Saharan Africa would cut down on transaction costs.

He added that Africa’s ability to control the effects of industrialization depended heavily on factors beyond its control.  There was a need for global regulations concerning industrial development and the environment.  Also, in some cases, well-grounded policies were not enough.  The international community must help by making funds available for borrowing at favourable rates for African development efforts.  The task now was to find a way to create a supportive environment for industrial development in Africa that was beneficial to all sides.

EVGENY A. STANISLAVOV (Russian Federation) said that his Government was taking steps to further create a more favourable climate for the development and support of entrepreneurship as part of intensifying reforms.  In that regard, important guidelines were incorporated in Russia’s economic modernization programme to further liberalize the economy, while taking social factors into due account.  Further reform of the taxation, pension and judicial systems was envisaged, as well as modernization of large monopolies and development of financial and insurance services.  Work was continuing on getting rid of much of the red tape.

With regard to corruption, he said that during the summer, a law on countering the legalization of revenues gained by criminal means was adopted.  A decision was taken to establish financial intelligence in the country, which would act in close coordination with the Ministry of Finance.  He was in favour of expanding international cooperation, including within the framework of the United Nations, in an effort to strengthen national capacity to prevent corruption incidents, bribery, money laundering and its illegal transfer to other countries, as well as for the repatriation of illegally transferred funds to their countries of origin.

KENJI HIRATA (Japan) said that industry and business both contributed greatly to development and poverty reduction.  They played a key role in economic growth, which was an important condition for poverty eradication.  Even though the private sector was the main actor in industry and business, the public sector could promote those economic activities by creating a suitable environment.  Such an environment should contain three basic elements –- political stability, a regulatory framework and physical infrastructure.

First, he said, governments could maintain political stability, the precondition for any economic activity.  Political instability, on the other hand, could hinder such activity, including the investment necessary for the promotion of industry and business.  Thus, it was important to prevent armed conflict or peacefully resolve it when it occurred, maintain harmony in society and promote tolerance among different regional, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups.

Secondly, he continued, governments could pursue a stable and sound macroeconomic as well as industrial policy, and establish a legal framework in which the private sector could engage in its activities.  The establishment and fair implementation of legal frameworks in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy, intellectual property rights and labour were particularly important.  Thirdly, the public sector could develop physical infrastructure that industry and business needed.  Adequate power and water supply, roads, railroads, ports, airports and telecommunications networks were important for industry and business to flourish.

SIMBAWA AWESSO (Togo) said the outcome of the programme for the Second Industrialization Decade for Africa was falling short of expectations.  While the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and UNIDO had undertaken important activities in support of that programme, it had not received the attention it deserved from the international community.  Despite many appeals for support for the programme and the plan of action of the Alliance for the Development of Africa, launched in 1996, the problem of the industrialization of Africa still remained unresolved.  The industrial sector had not emerged in the way it needed to for Africa’s industrial development.

The question, he said, was whether Africa could ever become industrialized.  He himself believed Africa’s industrialization could be achieved, regardless of how little international political will and assistance came its way.  With regard to foreign direct investment (FDI), the Secretary-General had noted that despite the efforts of African countries to attract FDI, the response of developed countries had been less than expected.  The industrialization of Africa would also depend on the attention given to the New African Initiative, adopted in Lusaka in July.  That Initiative, meant to create conditions for good governance and the appropriation of new technologies, warranted the support of all.

CARLOS VALERA (Mexico) said that corruption represented a great obstacle to the achievement of the goals of the international community, including social and economic development.  Combating corruption required a global, transparent, impartial, and long-term approach, both nationally and internationally.  It also required a stable framework for implementing laws as well as better methods for recovering illegally acquired funds.  National and foreign enterprises could fight against corruption at local and international levels.

He said Mexico had taken a number of steps to combat local and national-level corruption.  Its anti-corruption efforts included establishing procedures and methods to determine the scope and practice of corruption.  There was greater cooperation among Government agencies and branches in combating corruption.  His Government was also enlisting civil society in the fight.  In that regard, there were currently 124 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) enabled to find and report corrupt practices around the country.  There was also a new electronic system established to catch corrupt practices in Government procurement procedures.

M. K. IBRAHIM, Assistant Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said that he did not doubt the need for high-quality regulatory frameworks, good governance, respect for democratic principles, and commitment to the principle of the free market, including privatization and marketization as prerequisites for participation in the globalized economy.  However, since the beginning of the 1990s, although most African countries had subscribed wholly to those values, guided both by the invisible hands of the free market and the visible hands of the Bretton Woods institutions, there had not been any noticeable improvement in the continent’s entrepreneurial development.  Therefore, the answer to Africa’s entrepreneurial development needed action more pragmatic than transplanting values.

He noted with satisfaction the call for a more socially responsible business behaviour in the Secretary-General’s report.  The need for a more acceptable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could not be overemphasized, especially in relation to the activities of many transnational corporations in developing countries.  However, CSR should not be left to the public relations outfits of corporations.  The United Nations should set a global standard for CSR, making it mandatory for companies to go beyond their historical role of making profits, paying taxes and employing people to contributing to broad societal goals.

Introduction of draft resolutions

RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) introduced the text on the status of preparations for the International Year of Freshwater 2003.  Among other things, he said, the text contained an appeal to Member States, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to make their contributions to the ongoing preparations.

HOSSEIN MOEINI MEYBODI (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, introduced the text on the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  The text focused on those aspects of the Secretary-General’s report that presently needed further consideration, including the preparation of national reports, the adoption of rules of procedure and the contributions of major groups.  The text highlighted the role of the Commission on Sustainable Development as the sole body to which all inputs to the process should be transmitted.

Next, introducing the text on the El Niño phenomenon, he said that it encouraged the provision of the necessary support for the establishment of the international centre for research on the phenomenon, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

He then introduced the text on the Convention on Biological Diversity, with one amendment.  Preambular paragraph four should now become operative paragraph 2 bis, as follows, “takes note of the outcome of the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, which discussed the appropriate access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of its utilization, held in Bonn, Germany, from 22 to 26 October."

After that, he introduced the text on the World Solar Programme 1996-2005.

Following him, MOHAMMAD ALI ZARIE ZARE (Iran) introduced the text on the triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations, which he said would be one of the most important resolutions considered by the Committee studying its implications for operational activities for development. 

Lastly, ALIREZA TOOTOONCHIAN (Iran) introduced the text on economic and technical cooperation among developing countries, which was prepared based on the belief that, given current global economic conditions, the international community must act decisively to strengthen South-South cooperation.  Due to the postponement of the Assembly’s general debate, the Ministerial Declaration of the Group of 77 would be issued in a few weeks, and that would need to be reflected in the text later on.

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