19/11/2001
Press Release
GA/EF/2978



Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

27th Meeting (AM)


REPORT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL UNDER SECOND COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION


Committee Also Considering Draft Texts Sponsored by Group of 77


Introducing the report of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this morning, Johan Scholvinck, Chief, Policy Coordination Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), told the Second Committee that, over the last year, the Council had used innovative approaches to policy development and coordination among all stakeholders in the development process. 


He said the Council had also made further progress in the effective exercise of its management and oversight responsibilities vis-à-vis its subsidiary machinery and had continued to improve its working methods.  Of particular importance was the fourth annual meeting between the Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, which proved once again its value as a forum for exchange and dialogue between those responsible for macroeconomic questions and those responsible for development cooperation issues.


Speaking on public administration and development, Guido Bertucci, Director, Division for Public Economics and Public Administration, DESA, said administrative and management reform was a continuous and multifaceted process.  It was necessary to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in reinforcing their capacities to sustain that reform process.  In that regard, the United Nations could and should help with policy advisory services, particularly in human resources development and in bridging the digital gap.


The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Francesco Frangialli, said the Council had presented the Assembly with a draft resolution which would invite governments and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to apply the principles embodied in his Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.  That Code spelled out the respective rights and obligations of all stakeholders in the tourism industry.  It sought to minimize the negative impact of tourism on the environment, on host communities and on cultural heritage.  It was also intended to maximize the potential benefits for the residents of areas visited and for the private sector of both tourist-receiving and tourist-generating countries.


Also this morning, the Committee heard the introduction of several draft resolutions, sponsored by Iran on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China.  Those texts covered the areas of women and development, high-level dialogue on strengthening international cooperation for development through


partnership, and implementation of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries, and implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade. 


Also presented were texts on human resources development, on the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1993-2002), and on preventing and combating corrupt practices and illegal transfer of funds and repatriation of such funds.


Statements on the report of the Economic and Social Council were also made by the representatives of Iran (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Japan, China, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 20 November to begin consideration of implementation of the Habitat Agenda and the outcome of the special session of the General Assembly on topic.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to begin its consideration of the report of the Economic and Social Council.


The Committee had before it the report of the Economic and Social Council for 2001 (document A/56/3).  Among other things, the report highlights matters calling for action by the General Assembly or brought to its attention, as well as the special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions.  The report also discusses the 2001 substantive session of the Council, including the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the session. The economic and environmental questions the report addresses include sustainable development, science and technology for development, public administration, women in development, international cooperation in tax matters and narcotic drugs.


This year's high-level segment of the Council's session, held from 16 to

18 July, was on the role of the United Nations system in supporting the efforts of African countries to achieve sustainable development.  During the segment, ministers agreed to support the consolidation of democracy in Africa and assist Africans in their struggle for lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable development.  They also agreed to:  encourage and sustain regional and subregional mechanisms for preventing conflict; take special measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication, including debt cancellation and improved market access; and help Africa build up its capacity to tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS.


Under operational activities for development, the report stresses the need for economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.  Among its agreed conclusions, the Council found that the transfer of technology should be suited to the particular needs of developing countries and their development policies.  Stress should be given to such areas as training of educators,

e-commerce, telemedicine, and promotion of access to information and communication technology.  A deliberate effort needs to be pursued in order to improve effective access to and transfer of this knowledge to developing countries.


Also before the Committee is the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the United Nations Population Award (document A/56/459).  The Award, established by the Assembly on 17 December 1981, is presented annually to an individual(s) or an institution(s) or any combination thereof for the most outstanding contribution to increasing awareness of population questions or to finding solutions to them.  The laureate is selected by the Committee for the United Nations Population Award, which is composed of representatives of 10 Member States elected by the Council for a period of three years.


The report states that, in May 2001, the Committee selected Nafis Sadik in the individual category and the Japanese organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning in the institutional category, as the laureates for 2001.  Dr. Sadik was selected in view of her tremendous impact on population and development issues during her tenure as Executive Director of the UNFPA.  The Japanese organization was selected because of its outstanding contribution to population issues in the developing world, as well as in Japan.  The Award consists of a diploma, a gold medal and a monetary prize.


The Committee also had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the five-year assessment of the progress made in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/225 on public administration and development (document A/56/127-E/2001/101).  It says that it is essential for the State, especially in developing countries, to strengthen its administrative capacity and enhance the effectiveness of public institutions.  Overall, public administration systems have a crucial role to play in the quest for peace, greater freedom, social equity and sustainable development.


It goes on to say that the five years since the adoption of the resolution have witnessed the multiplication of important reforms in many countries along the lines defined by the Assembly.  An important lesson that has emerged is that administrative and management reform is a continuous and multifaceted process.  The rapid changes in today’s world require the adaptation of institutions and systems to this ever-changing environment.


In the present report, special emphasis has been placed on the need to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in reinforcing their capacity to govern.  It explores the nature of capacity-building in tandem with the concept of the strong strategic State.  It defines capacity-building or capacity reinforcement as the needed coefficient of three interrelated and mutually complementary pursuits –- institution-building, human resources development and technological adequacy.


Draft Resolutions


The Committee today will also hear the introduction of several draft resolutions, sponsored by Iran on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.


By the draft on women and development (document A/C.2/56/L.21), the General Assembly would urge governments to develop and to promote methodologies for mainstreaming a gender perspective in all aspects of policy-making, including economic policy-making.  Governments would also be urged to ensure the equal access of women to education, training, employment, technology and economic and financial resources.  The Assembly would also urge governments to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in regard to their access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would urge multilateral donors, international financial institutions and regional development banks to review and implement policies to support national efforts to ensure that a higher proportion of resources reach women, in particular, in rural and remote areas.  It would also urge the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March 2002, to examine all aspects of financing for development from a gender perspective.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to submit to it at its fifty-eighth session a report on progress made in the implementation of the present resolution, including the impact of globalization on the empowerment of women and their integration in development.


The draft resolution on high-level dialogue on strengthening international cooperation for development through partnership (document A/C.2/56/L.22) would have the Assembly decide to convene the third two-day high-level dialogue during the fifty-eighth session of the Assembly.  It would also decide that the timing, the themes and the modalities of the dialogue will be determined through the intergovernmental process at the fifty-seventh session of the Assembly.


In addition, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, in close consultations with governments, all relevant parts of the United Nations system and other relevant stakeholders, to propose themes for the promotion of international economic cooperation for the dialogue for consideration by the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session. 


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on implementation

of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular, the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries, and implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade (document A/C.2/56/L.23).  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to consider the further development of a new international development strategy during its fifty-seventh session, based on the outcomes of a number of meetings and keeping in mind the outcome of the review of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s. 


[Those meetings included the special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS, the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, the special session of the Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, the International Conference on Financing for Development, the Assembly’s special session on children and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.]


Also, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to provide the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session with an overview of the challenges and constraints, as well as progress made, towards achieving the major development goals and objectives adopted by the United Nations during the past decade.


By the terms of the draft resolution on human resources development (document A/C.2/56/L.24), the Assembly would call on the United Nations system to harmonize further its collective human resources development efforts, in accordance with national policies and priorities.  It would also call on developed countries and the United Nations system to increase support to programmes and activities in developing countries for advancing human resources development and capacity-building, particularly those geared towards harnessing information and communication technologies. 


Further, the Assembly would invite international organizations, including international financial institutions, to continue to give priority to supporting the objective of human resources development and to integrating them into their policies, projects and operations.


The draft resolution on the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1993-2002) (document A/C.2/56/L.25) would have the Assembly call on the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to continue to work closely with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other relevant multilateral institutions in the provision of technical assistance to African countries, particularly the least developed among them, so as to enhance their capacity to overcome technical barriers to trade in industrial and other products, and to promote industrial competitiveness within the context of the integrated framework initiative to enable them to integrate fully into the world economy.


The Assembly would also call on the international community to support Africa in strengthening its private sector, in particular, through the promotion of investment and exports, the promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprise, productivity, quality assurance and standardization, and financing.  Further, it would call on the international community to support Africa’s efforts to enhance the development of its human resources. 


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices and illegal transfer of funds and repatriation of such funds (document A/C.2/56/L.26), which would have the Assembly call for increased international cooperation in support of efforts by governments to devise ways and means of preventing and addressing illegal transfers of funds, as well as repatriating those funds.  Also, the Assembly would urge the ad hoc committee, established pursuant to resolution 55/61, to include in its work the consideration of illegally transferred funds and the repatriation of such funds.


Introduction of Reports


JOHAN SCHOLVINCK, Chief, Policy Coordination Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report of the Economic and Social Council.  He said that, over the last year, the Council had used innovative approaches to policy development and coordination among all stakeholders in the development process.  The Council had also made further progress in the effective exercise of its management and oversight responsibilities vis-à-vis its subsidiary machinery, and had continued to improve its working methods.


Of particular importance was the fourth annual meeting between the Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, he said.  The meeting proved once again its value as a forum for exchange and dialogue between those responsible for macroeconomic questions and those responsible for development cooperation issues.  It highlighted the urgent need to strengthen policy coherence in areas that critically affected the opportunities for growth and development for all countries, especially the developing countries.  Consideration could be given to a broadening of the basis for this dialogue by bringing in the WTO.


On the future work of the Council, he said next year’s high-level segment would focus on the contribution of human resources development, especially education and health, to the process of development.  For its coordination segment, the Council decided to take up the commitment contained in the Millennium Declaration, namely, to further strengthen the Council, building on its recent achievements, to help fulfil the role ascribed to it in the United Nations Charter.


GUIDO BERTUCCI, Director of Administration, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the five-year assessment of progress made in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/225 on Public Administration and Development.  He said the report recommended that the United Nations continue to assist governments in reinforcing core public service values, in promoting institution-building efforts and in improving coordination of development assistance.


He said the report highlights the fact that administrative and management reform was a continuous and multifaceted process, and that there was a growing need to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in reinforcing their capacities to sustain that reform process.  In that regard, the United Nations could and should help with policy advisory services, in particular, in human resources development and in bridging the digital gap.  The report concludes that the Council and the Assembly should continue to provide guidance to help Member States maintain the momentum gained, consistent with the Millennium Declaration.


FRANCESCO FRANGIALLI, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said the Council had presented the Assembly with a draft resolution that asked it to consider the World Tourism Organization’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.  That draft would have the Assembly invite governments and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to apply the principles embodied in the Code of Ethics. 


That Code, he said, was meant to accentuate a set of truly shared and universal values.  The Code spelled out the respective rights and obligations of all those who were stakeholders in the tourism industry.  On the one hand, it sought to minimize the negative impact of tourism on the environment, on host communities and on cultural heritage.  On the other hand, it sought to maximize the potential benefits for the residents of the areas visited, as well as for the private sector, of both tourist-receiving and tourist-generating countries. 

While the tourism industry had encountered a slowdown following the attacks of

11 September, he hoped that States would not allow such concerns to eclipse the need for sustainable tourism development in the medium and long term.


Statements


BAGHER ASADI (Iran), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that substantive discussion in the humanitarian segment and some items in the general segment of the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) faced serious difficulty because of late preparation and distribution of relevant documents.  It was true that the humanitarian segment had an excellent summary by the Vice-President and two panel discussions on “natural disaster preparedness and response measures” and “emergency assistance to groups with special needs”.  Nevertheless, the Group had a clear preference for a negotiated outcome for that segment, which could help guide and better coordinate the relevant bodies and organizations active in that field within the United Nations system.


Also, he continued, in the general segment, late preparation and distribution of necessary documents created a very difficult situation for delegations in preparing their national as well as group positions.  Such a situation constrained progress on some issues and had led to the late submission of draft resolutions.  Moreover, late presentation of some of the draft decisions left them with no other option but to defer their consideration to the resumed session of the Council.  That situation could not be allowed to continue.


MICHEL GOFFIN (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he supported the decision to take up the report of the Council in a plenary meeting of the General Assembly.  The European Union would make its statement on the report during that plenary meeting.


MASASHI MIZUKAMI (Japan) said he would like to draw the Committee’s attention to the Council’s recommendation in its report, namely, that the General Assembly should examine how best to address the reviews of the implementation of the outcome of the major United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s, including their format and periodicity.  The Committee should conduct a comprehensive examination of that urgent issue, in accordance with the recommendation of ECOSOC.


LIU JINGTAO (China) said the Ministerial Declaration on Africa adopted at the Ministerial Segment of ECOSOC’s substantive session would guide the efforts of the United Nations in helping African countries to achieve development and supporting their integration into the world economy.  With regard to the reform of the United Nations in the economic and social fields, the Council’s working methods and efficiency had, indeed, been improved.  However, there had been a downward trend in support by the international community for operational activities for development, as well as in the provision of financial resources to implement those activities.  It was necessary to reverse that downward trend of support for United Nations development activities. 


He added that he wished to see a further strengthening of cooperation between ECOSOC and other bodies of the United Nations system so as to achieve the millennium development goals.  Although it was important to conduct follow-up to the major United Nations conferences of the 1990s, it was also necessary to reform the format of such review processes so as to relieve the burden they placed on the Secretariat and to make the reviews more efficient. 


OLEKSII HOLUBOV (Ukraine) said that, regarding the humanitarian segment of the Council, it should be stressed that the results of the discussion under that segment had reaffirmed the role of the Council in defining the guidelines for humanitarian assistance.  Taking into consideration the views and concerns expressed during that debate on the need for increased efforts of the United Nations and its Member States in response to natural disasters, as well as a serious lack of funding for United Nations humanitarian activities, he believed it would be advisable to approve at the Council’s 2002 substantive session the agreed conclusions as an outcome of the segment.


Regarding the general segment, he commended the work done by the Council in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of its functional and regional commissions and its subsidiary bodies.  At the same time, he believed that the work of the segment still left some room for improvement.  The experience of the recent session showed that further efforts had to be made on the rationalization of the agenda of the general segment and on further improvement of the Council’s methods of work.  Nevertheless, he hoped the Council would be successful in adapting its activities to the need for effective response to the various challenges of the new century.


YURIY ISAKOV (Russian Federation) said it had been recognized that information technology played a unique role in the process of globalization.  The Council had addressed that issue during its session, particularly the problem of overcoming the digital divide.  The creation of the Task Force on Information and Communications Technology was an important step forward in addressing that problem, and meetings of that body were already under-way. 


Improving the efficiency of the Council’s humanitarian segment was of particular concern to his delegation, he said.  That segment should continue to function in a businesslike and professional manner and avoid politically sensitive problems that led to controversy.  The effectiveness of the session would depend on whether a consensus could be reached among countries and on their readiness to cooperate.  Up to now, humanitarian efforts had not been coordinated by the Council, and that had hindered their effectiveness. 


The review of the implementation of follow-up to world conferences and summits was also an important exercise, he said.  The Council should undertake such a review of conferences in close coordination with the General Assembly.  Those review measures could be integrated in the overall review process for the Millenium Declaration.  The Council remained a very important link in the global system of multilateral machinery.  It played a key role in the economic, environmental and humanitarian spheres.  Efforts should be taken to enhance the role of the Council and look for further ways to fulfil its mandate. 


Introduction of draft resolutions


MEHDI MIRAFZAL (Iran), on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, introduced the draft resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices and illegal transfer of funds and repatriation of such funds. 


Next, ALIREZA TOOTOONCHIAN (Iran) introduced the draft resolution on the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1993-2002).  He said industrial development was the prime engine for acceleration of economic growth and eradication of poverty.  The programme for the Second Industrial Decade would come to an end next year, and its outcome was falling short of expectations owing to a serious of internal and external difficulties.  Urgent steps needed to be taken to strengthen small and medium-size enterprises as well as agro-based industries.  The text was a reflection of those views and other important considerations regarding Africa’s industrialization.


FROUZANDEH VADIATI (Iran) then introduced the draft resolution on women and development, as orally amended. 


Introducing the draft resolution on human resources development, Mr. TOOTOONCHIAN said there was a need for an enabling international environment to address that issue properly.  Also, developing countries must be helped to overcome difficulties in that regard.


MOHAMMAD ALI ZARIE ZARE (Iran) then introduced the draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries, and implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade.  He also introduced the draft resolution

on high-level dialogue on strengthening international cooperation for development through partnership.  


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