17/10/02
Press Release
GA/EF/3004



Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Second Committee

12th Meeting (AM)


MEXICO'S DELEGATE URGES METICULOUS EVALUATION OF PROGRESS ON MONTERREY


COMMITMENTS BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE


Second Committee Discussion Focuses on Sustainable Development


The General Assembly’s high-level dialogue in 2003 should meticulously evaluate the progress that had been made towards fulfilling commitments made at the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, Mexico’s representative told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) as it met this morning to consider sustainable development and international economic cooperation.


He said the dialogue should include all participants in the Monterrey process as well as the private sector and civil society at the national and international levels.  He also called on the Economic and Social Council, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to pay special attention, in their political discussions, to development goals and the tools for meeting them.


Guyana's representative said the Monterrey Consensus had provided a new mandate for the high-level dialogue.  That mandate entailed pinpointing the next steps in implementing the Consensus and taking stock of the progress made.  He stressed that the dialogue should not seek to renegotiate the Monterrey Consensus, but rather focus on implementation and practical suggestions for moving forward.


The dialogue should reinforce the holistic and integrated approach to the Financing for Development Agenda, identifying areas for further inter-institutional coordination and collaboration among the monetary, financial and trading systems, he continued.  It should work to ensure participation by ministers as well as heads of major stakeholders.


Japan’s representative, noting that attainment of the Millennium goals was one of the most pressing challenges facing the United Nations, stressed that if the international community sincerely wished to accomplish that, it would pay special attention to the Monterrey Consensus on the need to form a new partnership to generate vitally-needed resources for development.


Pointing out that the Monterrey Consensus specifically mentioned the General Assembly's high-level dialogue as the intergovernmental focal point for the general follow-up to the Consensus, alongside the spring meetings between the


12th Meeting (AM)


Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, he said the United Nations should also ensure a far greater role for the Second Committee and the Economic and Social Committee in that area.


Introducing a report on the high-level dialogue, earlier, the Director of the Division for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination explained that the idea of holding the dialogue had come from a developing country almost

10 years ago, at a time when building dialogue on the basis of partnership had been a new element in the United Nations.


Other reports introduced dealt with implementation of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation and of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade; integration of the economies in transition into the world economy; culture and development; and involvement of civil society organizations other than NGOs and the private sector in technical cooperation activities.


Five draft resolutions introduced this morning focused respectively on commodities; science and technology for development; enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problem of developing countries; the international financial system and development; and the World Summit on the Information Society.


The Committee also heard statements by the representatives of Venezuela (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Switzerland, Denmark (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Russian Federation, Indonesia, Oman, Croatia, Romania, Belarus and India.


Also speaking was the Observer for the Holy See.


Others speaking were the Director of the Development Policy Analysis Division of the Economic and Social Council; a representative of the New York Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Director of the Division for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination; a representative from the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU); and a representative from the Secretariat of the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).


When the second Committee meets at 10 a.m. tomorrow, it will continue its consideration of sustainable development and international economic cooperation.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to consider sustainable development and international economic cooperation.


International Economic Cooperation


Before the Committee, was a report of the Secretary-General on Challenges and progress in implementing the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries and the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade.


That report (document A/57/216) notes that economic growth in developing countries is still hindered by mass poverty, armed conflict, declining commodity prices and insufficient financial inflows.  New challenges, such as the surge in armed conflicts and the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, have arisen.


According to the report, globalization has stimulated growth in some developing countries, but those with weak productive and financial bases, as well as meagre human resources, have become further marginalized.  Restricted access to markets in the developed countries and heavy external debt also continue to stunt growth.


The report notes that average annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP), for developing countries as a whole, rose from 2.3 per cent in the 1980s to

4.5 per cent between 1991 and 2000, mainly due to strong growth in East and South Asia.  Overall economic performance in Africa was only marginally better in the 1990s than it was in the 1980s.


Several developing regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, were slowed by stagnant industrialization, the report observes.  While the share of developing countries in world exports of manufactured goods rose from 17 per cent in 1990 to 27 per cent in 2000, Africa’s share dropped from 5 per cent in 1990 to 3 per cent in 2000.


A further hindrance to development, the report says, was the drop in net resource flows from $206.9 billion in 1996 -- the year before the Asian financial crisis -- to $12.2 billion in 2000, mainly due to a decrease in bank lending.  Moreover, official development assistance (ODA) from countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had plummeted to $54 billion by the end of 2000, 0.22 per cent of the donors' combined gross national income.  While bank lending and ODA decreased, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased from $35 billion to $178 billion in 2000, becoming the single most important capital flow in the 1990s.


Such mixed economic indicators led to varied social impacts, according to the report.  The proportion of people worldwide living on less than a dollar a day dropped from 29 per cent in 1990 to 23 per cent in 1999, mainly due to improvements in East and South Asia.  In Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty declined only marginally, and the number of people living below the poverty line increased.


The report says that the percentage of the world's population with improved water sources increased from 77 per cent in 1990 to 82 per cent in 2000, but about 1.1 billion people still had no safe drinking water.  Adult illiteracy in developing countries as a whole declined from 33 to 26 per cent by 2000, which still left 880 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom were women.


Turning specifically to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the report states that their average annual growth rate during the 1990s was 3.1 per cent, compared to 2.3 per cent in the 1980s.  While their share of world merchandise exports has been small, growth in the value of that share outpaced that of the total world merchandise trade for two consecutive years, in 1999 and 2000.


However, the report states, long-term capital flows into LDCs dropped during the 1990s.  The countries as a group received $4.5 billion in FDI by 2000, which was concentrated in five countries that are rich in petroleum or minerals.  LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa continued to have problems attracting FDI due to poor infrastructure, political uncertainty, small markets and an unattractive investment climate.


On average, 15 per cent of children born in LDCs died by the age of five, and life expectancy was approximately 51 years, the report says.  Adult literacy

–- severely impeded by the rapid spread of such diseases as HIV/AIDS in several LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa -- was 49 per cent, compared to 81 per cent for other developing countries.  Reflecting these continuing hindrances, only Botswana "graduated" successfully from the LDC group during the 1990s, while Senegal became an LDC in 2000.


Culture and development


Also before the Committee was a note of the Secretary-General (document A/57/226) transmitting the report of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Culture and development


The report notes that new challenges sparked by globalization and cultural diversity continually redefine the link between culture and development.  The events of 11 September 2001 stressed the need to focus on dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions, and to raise public awareness about cultural diversity through education and the media. 


In adopting the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in November 2001, the international community has for the first time set up an ethical frame of reference defining cultural diversity as "the common heritage of humanity", the report says, noting that since then, many nations have been seeking advice from UNESCO on national cultural policies that could contribute to development by safeguarding and enhancing cultural diversity.


UNESCO continues its efforts to link tourism with cultural preservation and environmental protection, emphasizing the sustainable management of World Heritage sites in several countries, according to the report.  The World Heritage Centre promotes cultural ecotourism in developing countries, encouraging tour operators and industry stakeholders to do business in ways that benefit local communities.  UNESCO has also created publications with comprehensive cultural indicators, such as Human Development Report and World Culture Report, which include prospective analyses of globalization's impact on conflict resolution, linguistic diversity, cultural flows and markets.

Economies in transition


The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on Integration of economies in transition into the world economy (document A/57/288), which reviews macroeconomic indicators, private sector development and success in attracting FDI in transition economies.  It also examines external debt and trade liberalization, noting the importance of reaching trade agreements with other economies in transition and third parties, especially the European Union.


According to the report, many transition economies, especially those applying to join the European Union, have made considerable inroads into the global economy. In 2001, the European Commission agreed that eight Central and Eastern European countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia -- were functioning market economies, able to withstand competition and market forces within the European Union.


For other transition economies, especially some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), building a workable market economy and reaching sustainable growth has been more gruelling, the report says.  According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, the seven low-income CIS countries have become increasingly insular with independence, and their efforts to diversify or promote trade have brought mixed results.


A particular challenge facing these nations is geographical location, the report notes. They are far from the world’s three major markets -- Japan, the United States and Western Europe -- and some are landlocked.  They were also more severely affected by the socio-economic shocks that occurred at the beginning of transition than were the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.


The break-up of the Soviet-era Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) left the CIS economies without reliable trade partners, and unable to easily reorient their trade towards Western Europe, the report says.  Independence also meant the loss of fiscal and financial subsidies from the former Soviet Union.  In addition, an increase in energy prices to world levels after the Soviet Union broke up led to rising external debt as governments, fearing social upheaval, failed to impose hard budget constraints on enterprises in energy-importing countries.


In an effort to tackle such obstacles, the report states, the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced an initiative in April 2002 to reduce poverty and promote growth, as well as sustainable debt levels in the seven low-income CIS countries.


International assistance to transition economies will help release considerable human, technological and natural resources that have previously been under-used, according to the report.  Furthermore, integration of these countries into the world economy should bring benefits, not only to their citizens, but to present and potential trading partners.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions


VICENTE VALLENILLA (Venezuela), on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, introduced four draft resolutions.  The first, on commodities (document A/C.2/57/L.5), noted that the great majority of developing countries depended on commodity prices and access to the markets of developed countries.  The second draft, on science and technology for development (document A/C.2/57/L.3), dealt primarily with Chile’s initiative to host the World Forum on Biotechnology in 2003, asking States to participate fully, as the subject was vital for development.


The third text concerned enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problem of developing countries (document A/C.2/57/L.5).  He noted that for almost 20 years, external debt had been a major concern for developing countries and that despite enormous efforts to pay it off, it remained intact with countries spending large portions of their budgets on debt-servicing.


The final draft resolution, on the international financial system and development (document A/C.2/57/L.4), dealt with the role played by the World Bank and the IMF and steps taken by international financial institutions to involve developing countries in financial decisions.


OLIVIER CHAVE (Switzerland), on behalf of his own country and Tunisia, Tunisia, introduced a draft resolution entitled World Summit on the Information Society (document A/C.2/576/L.7), the main purpose of which was to recognize progress in preparations for the Summit and to foster system-wide support.  Urging Member States to raise awareness of the preparatory process and to contribute additional financial resources for the Summit, he said Switzerland and Tunisia would seek to introduce the report in informal discussions next week, and that both nations would be ready to incorporate comments and suggestions by colleagues into the Summit process.


Introduction of Reports    


IAN KINNIBURGH, Director of the Development Policy Analysis Division, introduced the report on Implementation of the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation and of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade (document A/57/216).  He also introduced the report on Integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (document A/57/288), in response to a request by the Second Committee.


He said that for most developing countries, the economic difficulties of the early 1990s had prevailed for almost a decade and that East and South Asia had been the only developing subregions to achieve meaningful growth during the 1980s.  Although both had ended that decade with stronger growth rates, there had been pronounced differences in economic performance, both within the group of economies in transition and in developing countries as a whole.


Noting that several developing countries had become more fully and effectively integrated into the world economy, he said Central and Eastern Europe had gradually followed suit, building functioning market economies, expanding international trade and attracting FDI, while reducing poverty and achieving other Millennium goals.  However, many more countries had yet to integrate into the world economy in a similar way.


JONES KYAZZE, Representative of the United Nations Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO), presenting the report on culture and development (document A/57/226), stressed the importance of steps taken to advance links between culture and development, including the adoption by the November 2001 UNESCO General Conference of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and the main lines of its Plan of Action.


He said the Declaration was a landmark in the field of normative action, serving as a regularly instrument in drafting national cultural policies based on respect for human rights and with the aim of achieving economic and social development.  It was the international community's first ethical frame of reference for achieving sustainable development.


In addition, he said that in order to place culture at the very heart of any development process, it was necessary to work with the United Nations system to disseminate the Declaration and implement the Plan of Action.


SARBULAND KHAN, Director of the Division for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, introduced a report on the high-level dialogue on strengthening economic cooperation for development through partnership.  He said the idea of holding that dialogue had begun with an initiative from a developing country almost 10 years ago.  At that time, the idea of building dialogue on the basis of partnership had been a new element, different from the normal pattern of discussion in the General Assembly and Second Committee.


He said the report on the high-level dialogue was based on two elements:  the mandate from the General Assembly last year calling on the Secretary-General to impose modalities on the next dialogue; and a mandate emerging from the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, identifying a role for the high-level dialogue.  Other elements included the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the follow-up to the Millennium goals.  The interaction of those elements should be considered in devising a structure for the high-level dialogue, he added.


FRANCESCO MEZZALANA of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), introduced a report on “Involvement of civil society organizations other than NGOs and the private sector in technical cooperation activities:  experiences and prospects of the United Nations system” (document A/57/118).


He noted that civil society organizations were gradually acquiring autonomy, covering sectors that so far had been dealt with insufficiently or not at all.  An incomplete and tentative list included professional associations, cooperatives, village development communities, indigenous peoples, women and youth groups, networks for home work, religious and cultural associations, academia, parliamentarians, media and business promoters, intellectual and research entities.  Many of those sectors could not be identified with existing NGOs.


Civil society had gone through a progressive diversification, he continued, noting that new forces had emerged and were becoming more organized.  However, they had not yet reached the level of recognition necessary to establish a full and fruitful cooperation with the United Nations system.  One traditional and well-known expression of civil society was represented by NGOs, which were well-structured at the international and national levels.  Many had acquired consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, he added.


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had recently issued a publication on the dialogue with civil society, he said.  The report of the JIU on the subject devoted an entire chapter to the relationship of civil society organizations with United Nations bodies to show how those organizations had gradually progressed to mutual understanding and cooperation with NGOs.  Against that background, the JIU report contained recommendations aimed at:  involving civil society organizations, at all stages, of elaborating technical cooperation programmes, especially at community levels; establishing their legitimacy and accountability; proposing flexible guidelines to govern the partnership, including focal points; as well as training and empowering civil society organizations and strengthening their organizational structures.


JAIME SEVILLA, on behalf of the Chief Executives Board of Coordination, (CEB) Secretariat, said the JIU report was a useful addition to a growing body of work, particularly in achieving the Millennium goals.  While the CEB had generally supported the report’s recommendations, it did have a few reservations, including one relating to the second recommendation, which called for partnerships with civil society organizations to create a standard system-wide framework for technical cooperation.  That proposal was impractical due to the great diversity and specialization in United Nations programmes.  Nor did the CEB see the need for a common set of principles to guide United Nations involvement with civil society organizations.


He said that already, the CEB agenda regularly included issues concerning collaboration with civil society organizations, entrusting its High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) to foster dialogue with and inclusion of those organizations.  Also, the recommendation calling for the empowerment of civil society organizations required clarification.  In fact, several United Nations organizations had already been engaged in capacity-building with civil society organizations for a considerable period of time, he pointed out. 


Statements


Mr. VALLENILLA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, requested advanced notice of the introduction of all reports in the future so that delegates could prepare beforehand.


Noting that developed nations had given less priority in the 1990s to development goals in developing countries, he said that in 2000, only five wealthy countries had earmarked the proposed 0.7 per cent of their GDP for ODA.  He added that although there had been progress in education and in combating infectious diseases and malnutrition, little real progress had been made in economic development, particularly in the LDCs.


He said that in December, the Group of 77 and China would hold a high-level meeting on South-South cooperation in Caracas, Venezuela.  High-level representatives of Member States and of United Nations programmes and specialized agencies, as well as regional and subregional organizations were expected to attend.


TOMAS CHRISTENSEN (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, noted that the grouping would be enlarged in December, at its upcoming Summit in Copenhagen.  The Union's ambition was to conclude accession negotiations with all candidate countries that would be ready by the end of 2002, and which intended to become full members in 2004.  The enlargement would contribute markedly to the further economic development of the new Member States and provide significant new opportunities for their economic development and integration.


He said the Union was strongly determined to further assist transition economies integrate into the world economy, since integration, while primarily a national responsibility, also called for international support.  To increase and attract trade, investment and capital flows, as well as advances in technology, including information technology, transition countries must continue to develop sound macroeconomic policies, the rule of law and good corporate governance.  It was also important that they establish coherent domestic policies to mitigate the social impact of transition and promote national stability and security.


Emphasizing the Union's commitment to continuing the full integration of all economies in transition, he said that in order to complement national efforts, international institutions must support their integration into the world economy, through strengthened, adequately-resourced technical assistance and productive capacity-building programmes.


MAURICIO ESCANERO (Mexico) said it was important that the high-level follow-up to the Monterrey Conference meticulously evaluate progress made thus far and what remained to be done in order to achieve the goals of financing for development.  All participants in the Monterrey process should be involved in evaluating and implementing the programme, through follow up, performance reports and position papers and the Second Committee must also do its part.


He stressed the need to build bridges and propose innovative initiatives between development organizations and financing and trade groups.  High-level dialogue should also include the private sector and civil society at the national and international levels, he said, adding that political dialogue among the Economic and Social Council, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) should pay particular attention to development goals and tools for meeting them.


YURIY ISAKOV (Russian Federation) suggested that the high-level dialogue could have a three-day format, which would provide for an interactive dialogue with business as well as various roundtables.  The dialogue could also be expanded to include such issues as the challenges and opportunities of globalization.  However, it may be more practical to focus on financing for development and to adopt the relevant decisions.


Turning to the report on transition economies, he said it showed that those nations had fully felt the challenges of globalization.  However, their integration into the world economy was extremely uneven, due to historical, geographic and other factors.  They urgently needed to integrate into the multilateral trade system, with access to the world’s markets.


He said that international cooperation with respect to transition economies should focus on the most needy, but should not be limited only to them.  They needed to restructure their economies, develop market infrastructures, support medium and small businesses and establish favourable conditions for attracting FDI.


Mr. TALBOT (Guyana), noting that the Monterrey Consensus provided a new mandate for high-level dialogue, said the dialogue should identify the next course of action for implementing the consensus and take stock of progress made thus far.  It should not be a renegotiation of the Monterrey Consensus, he stressed, adding that preparations for the dialogue should focus on implementation and practical suggestions for moving forward.

He said the dialogue should reinforce the holistic and integrated approach to the Financing for Development Agenda, identifying areas for further inter-institutional coordination and collaboration among the monetary, financial and trading systems.  It should work to ensure ministerial-level participation and engage the heads of major stakeholders.


YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia) said that in today’s interdependent world, little could take place without having an impact elsewhere, and that the only way forward was through dialogue and partnership.  The dialogue sought to promote broader and deeper understanding of global issues that cut across individual, national, regional and group interests.


For global partnership to work, he said, it must include all relevant stakeholders at various levels, ensuring a broad spectrum of perspectives.  It must be rooted in mutual interests and benefits, genuine interdependence and shared responsibility for the promotion of development.  Thus, the dialogue should foster synergies of cooperation between those stakeholders, including governments, the United Nations, civil society and the business sector.


He called for the strengthening of existing mechanisms that had already proven successful, such as interactive dialogue among all key actors, roundtables at the highest level and informal panels with a broad cast of stakeholders.  Those mechanisms had a proven track record for enhancing deliberations and it was important that they contribute towards an action-oriented outcome, leading to effective implementation.


ABDULLAH AL-SHEKAILY (Oman) said the dialogue between the North and the South was vital to finding ways to implement resolutions sets forth at the Millennium Summit and at Monterrey.  Such a dialogue could contribute significantly to enhancing economic and scientific cooperation.  It should focus on helping developing countries meet the challenges of globalization and on the follow-up to United Nations conferences on economic cooperation and development.


Oman had adopted strategies to create economic and trade links with neighbouring friendly countries, he said.  It had set up joint committees for that purpose that had identified many investment opportunities and fostered increased regional trade and economic cooperation.  Oman was also working within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab countries and the Group of Indian Ocean Countries to spur trade and economic links.


He said economic deregulation was spurring the flow of capital and transfer of technology and could be very useful to developing countries.  Developed nations, however, should do more to promote the expansion of the commercial and economic sectors in developing countries, enabling them to gain a more equitable share in global markets.  Ever-increasing indebtedness in developing countries remained a major obstacle to development, he added.


IRENA ZUBCEVIC (Croatia) said the world economy had shown a better overall performance in the 1990s than in the 1980s, due to vibrant trade and financial flows.  However, that effect had been due mainly to better performance in East Asia and in most transition economies.  Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, faced with armed conflict, the increased spread of HIV/AIDS, limited access to markets and heavy external debt, were still lagging behind.


Stressing the vital importance of integrating the transition economies into the world economy, she said the change from planned to market economies in those nations had been accompanied by a major recession, as their industries, unable to operate in a market environment, had been forced to downsize and shed their labour forces.  An important achievement was that most economies in transition had successfully implemented privatization programmes.  However, many problems remained and further divestment of state assets must be accomplished before some countries could fully integrate into the world economy.


Policies to promote private sector growth had been a major factor in attracting FDI to economies in transition, she said.  While that had contributed to integration, progress towards constructing a functioning market economy and achieving sustainable growth had been difficult.  International assistance was needed as an investment in helping to release considerable human, technological and natural resources that had previously been underexploited.


RENATO MARTINO, Observer for the Holy See, questioned the principles that helped to address UNESCO’s cross-cutting issues of poverty eradication and the contribution of information and communication technologies to developments in education, science and culture.  Such principles should be based upon the recognition of human dignity, human rights protections and fundamental freedoms and respect for cultural differences and uniqueness.  That foundational understanding would then lead to human solidarity that promoted social cohesion and a deeper appreciation of humanity’s common heritage.


He emphasized that discussion must focus on finding the means to allow culture to complement development and vice versa.  The United Nations recognized that process, having held discussions on the Culture of Peace and Dialogue among Civilizations to Protect Cultural Heritage.  The United Nations was an excellent venue for continuing those discussions and for exchanging ideas, he added.


OVIDIU IERULESCU (Romania) said the most important challenge for transition economies was still the development of the private sector through privatization and the setting up of new enterprises.  FDI would continue to have an important role for those economies as a catalyst for the growth of domestic investment and enterprise competitiveness.  In that regard, Romania, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was interested in organizing a second round table at the beginning of 2003 to promote FDI and lessons learned.


Romania was currently entering a second phase of transition for which the most important issue would be the institution of a comprehensive strategy to manage the pressure of the first transition.  UNDP had drawn up an agenda for action with a set of policy guidelines that could help put some issues back on the public agenda and provide new inputs to discuss their feasibility.  Among those issues were ensuring the quality of economic growth, strengthening the democratic model and engaging civil society in the decision-making process.


ALEG IVANOU (Belarus), recalling that the United Nations had begun 10 years ago to help Central and Eastern European countries and the newly independent States to implement wide-scale social, economic and democratic reforms, said that the transition economies had since made significant progress towards becoming market economies and integrating fully into the international economic, trade and financial systems.


He said that his country's 2001-2005 Programme for Social and Economic Development included strategies for deregulation and privatization, private-sector development promotion for small and mid-sized businesses, human resource development and the creation of market infrastructure.  Belarus was also actively consulting the IMF and the World Bank for counsel on market and macroeconomic reform and structural and social change, and was determined to become a full-fledged member of the WTO.


However, sweeping economic reforms and integration into the global economy had come at a great social price for many countries in transition, he pointed out.  They lacked funds for essential social programmes to combat HIV/AIDS, cross-border environmental degradation and transnational crime.  Despite their significant potential, the contribution of transition economies to the global merchandise trade was just 7 per cent to 8 per cent.  Moreover, they had difficulty in attracting FDI.  Belarus and other interested Member States intended to introduce a draft resolution on the integration of countries in transition into the world economy, he said.


MASASHI MIZUKAMI (Japan) said one of the most pressing challenges facing the United Nations was to make progress towards attaining commitments made in the Millennium Declaration two years ago.  If the international community sincerely wished to realize the Millenium goals, it would give special attention to following up on the Monterrey Consensus on the formation of a new partnership for generating critically-needed resources for development.


He said the Monterrey Consensus specifically mentioned the high-level dialogue of the General Assembly as the intergovernmental focal point for the general follow-up to the Monterrey Conference, along with the spring meeting between the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions.  However, those were not the only means by which the United Nations could conduct the follow-up.  It should also ensure that the Second Committee and the Economic and Social Council played far greater roles in that area than they were playing now.


SUSHIL KUMAR SHINDE (India) noted that according to the Secretary-General’s report, the average annual GDP growth rate in developing countries had been only 4.5 per cent in the 1990s and none had achieved the targeted growth rate of 7 per cent, stipulated in the Development Strategy.  The challenges of poverty, hunger and under-development had yet to be addressed meaningfully and effectively, he said.


Despite the Uruguay Round, developing nations continued to face high tariffs, quotas and non-tariff barriers when exporting goods like textiles, clothing and primary commodities, he went on.  From 1990 to 2000, the external indebtedness of developing countries had nearly doubled from $1.4 trillion to

$2.2 trillion, while external resource flows had dropped.  In the coming years, he said, the international community’s performance in development would have to improve dramatically to ensure that future generations were free from hunger, disease and poverty.


He said the High-Level Dialogue on Strengthening International Economic Cooperation for Development through Partnerships should be the intergovernmental focal point for a general follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development.  The dialogue should be held immediately after the fall meetings of the Bretton Woods institutions in Washington, D.C., he said, suggesting that it

last two days and include a plenary meeting and panel discussions.  He also suggested that a communique or declaration resulting from the dialogue would send a strong message that the international community was committed to addressing trade, monetary and financial issues for development.


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