10/12/2002
Press Release
GA/EF/3032



Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Second Committee

42nd Meeting (PM)


SECOND COMMITTEE DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLS FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY


IN REFORM OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL ARCHITECTURE


Approves International Finance and Development Text, Eight Others


The General Assembly would emphasize the need to uphold efforts to reform the international financial architecture, with greater transparency and more effective participation by developing countries and economies in transition, according to one of nine draft resolutions approved by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this afternoon.


Also by that draft, on the international financial system and development (document A/C.2/57/L.72), the Assembly would emphasize the importance of confronting the difficult world economic situation through strong cooperative efforts by nations and institutions, as well as continued efforts to improve global economic governance.  By other terms of the text, the Assembly would stress the need for structural reforms to strengthen corporate governance, accounting and auditing, particularly in cases where inadequate policies had negative systematic consequences.


A second draft resolution, on the promotion of an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area in the context of sustainable development (document A/C.2/57/L.66), would have the General Assembly encourage Caribbean countries to develop further an integrated management approach in addressing such concerns as land-based pollution, pollution from ships, physical impacts on coral reefs, as well as the diversity and dynamic interaction of socio-economic activities for the use of coastal areas, the marine environment and its resources.


By other terms, the Assembly would support Caribbean countries in implementing sustainable fisheries management programmes by strengthening the recently established Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.  It would also call upon States to develop national, regional and international programmes for halting the loss of marine biodiversity in the Caribbean Sea, particularly fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs.


According to a third draft resolution, relating to the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/C.2/57/L.67), the Assembly would call upon the secretariat of that Convention to work closely with the Global Environment


Facility (GEF) and other relevant institutions to help developing countries build national capacities in risk management and risk assessment.  It would also welcome the replenishment of the GEF and emphasize the need for a substantial increase in financial and technical resources for developing countries and economies in transition for the implementation of the Convention.


A fourth text related to integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields (document A/C.2/57/L.70).  By its terms, the General Assembly would set up an open-ended ad hoc working group that would ensure the integrated and coordinated follow-up of United Nations conferences and summits, thus contributing to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.  The group would begin its work no later than January 2003, and submit a report for the Assembly’s consideration before 27 June 2003.


Acting without a vote, the Committee also approved draft resolutions relating to Culture and development; the International Year of the Mountains, 2002; the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.


It also approved a text on implementation of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development; 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.


Denmark’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, as well as the representatives of the United States and Australia made statements concerning the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Morocco’s representative introduced the first resolution, the representative of the Czech Republic presented the following seven, and Committee Chairman Antonio Suazo (Honduras) the final text.


The Second Committee will meet again tomorrow, Wednesday, 11 December, at a time to be announced.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take up several draft resolutions relating to the international financial system and development; sustainable development and international economic cooperation; environment and sustainable development; and implementation and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields.


Among the drafts before the Committee was a text on Culture and development (document A/C.2/57/L.63), by which the General Assembly would proclaim 21 May as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.  Also by that draft, the Assembly would invite Member States, intergovernmental bodies, United Nations bodies and relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure the implementation of the Action Plan of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity; to implement the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace; the Programme of the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations; and the relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development.


By other terms, the Assembly would encourage the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to continue promoting greater awareness of the crucial relationship between culture and development and the important role of information and communications technologies (ICT) in this relationship.  Further, the Assembly would encourage UNESCO, United Nations bodies and multilateral development organizations to continue supporting developing countries, with particular regard to national capacity-building and access to ICT for the implementation of international cultural conventions and for the return or restitution of cultural property.


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the International Year of Mountains, 2002 (document A/C.2/57/L.65) by which the General Assembly would decide to designate 11 December as International Mountain Day, as from

11 December 2003, and encourage the international community to organize events on that day at all levels to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.


Also by that text, the Assembly would encourage all relevant United Nations bodies to continue constructive collaboration in following up the Year, taking into account the inter-agency group on mountains, and the need for the further involvement of the United Nations bodies, consistent with mandates specified in the Bishkek Mountain Platform.


Another draft resolution, on Promoting an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area in the context of sustainable development (document A/C.2/57/L.66), would have the General Assembly call upon States to continue to prioritize action on marine pollution from land-based sources as part of their national sustainable development strategies.  It would also call upon them to implement further the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, and the Montreal Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based activities.


By other terms, the Assembly would call further upon all relevant States to take the necessary steps to bring into force the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment for the Wider Caribbean Region.  The Assembly would, further, call upon the United Nations system and the international community to help Caribbean countries and regional organizations to protect the Caribbean Sea from ship pollution, particularly the illegal release of oil and other harmful substances, including radioactive materials, nuclear waste and dangerous chemicals and pollution from land-based activities. 


Also by the text, the Assembly would support Caribbean countries in implementing sustainable fisheries management programmes by strengthening the recently established Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.  It would also call on States to develop programmes for halting the loss of marine biodiversity in the Caribbean Sea, particularly fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs.  In addition, it would call on Member States to urgently improve their emergency response capabilities and the containment of environmental damage, particularly in the Caribbean Sea, in the event of natural disasters or of an accident or incident relating to maritime navigation.


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/C.2/57/L.67), which the General Assembly would reiterate the importance of the decision of the fourth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Meeting to examine, through the WTO Council on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the relationship between the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the Convention, as well as the protection of traditional knowledge.


Calling upon the Convention secretariat to work closely with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other relevant institutions to help developing countries build national capacities, including in risk management and risk assessment, the Assembly, would welcome the Facility's replenishment and emphasize the need for a substantial increase in financial and technical resources for developing countries and economies in transition to implement the Convention and its Protocol.


Also before the Committee was a text 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.2/57/L.68).


By its terms, the Assembly would make a final decision on the need for an international development strategy for the first decade of the new millennium at its fifty-eighth session.  That decision would be based on the outcome of the ad hoc working group on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to provide an overview of constraints and progress related to achieving the major development goals and objectives adopted by the United Nations during the past decade.


According to a draft on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/C.2/57/L.69), the General Assembly would welcome the memorandum of understanding between the inter-agency secretariat for the Strategy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and encourage the secretariat to strive for the creation of similar synergies with other international organizations.  Also by that draft, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General provide, during its fifty-eighth session, specific proposals to Member States for implementing relevant actions of the Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.


Also by the text, the Assembly would decide on how to conclude, during the fifty-eighth session, the review of the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World:  Guidelines for Natural Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation and its Plan of Action.  It would also request that the Strategy’s inter-agency secretariat coordinate and report on the Yokohama Strategy’s progress, and request also that the Secretary-General allocate adequate financial and administrative resources for the effective functioning of the inter-agency secretariat.


A draft on Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields (document A/C.2/57/L.70) would have the Assembly set up an open-ended ad hoc working group, chaired by the President, with two vice-chairmen, which would produce concrete recommendations to ensure the integrated and coordinated follow-up of United Nations conferences and summits, thus contributing to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.


Also by that draft, the Assembly would decide that the working group would submit proposals on how best to review implementation of the outcomes of conferences and summits.  The Assembly would also consider how to ensure that conference outcomes are integrated into the United Nations, and fully considered for the operational work and country frameworks of United Nations bodies.  Further, the Assembly would decide that the working group would begin its work no later than January 2003 and submit a report for the Assembly’s consideration before Friday, 27 June 2003.


By a draft on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (document A/C.2/57/L.71), the Assembly would decide to proclaim the 10-year period beginning on 1 January 2005 the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.  It would designate UNESCO the lead agency for promoting the Decade and would ask it to develop a draft international implementation scheme, clarifying its relationship with the existing educational processes, particularly the Dakar Framework for Action.


A final text, on International financial system and development (document A/C.2/57/L.72), would have the Assembly express concern over the present world economic situation, stress the importance of confronting it through strong cooperative efforts by all countries and institutions, underline the importance of continued efforts to improve global economic governance and strengthen the United Nations leadership role in promoting development.


By that draft, the Assembly would underline the importance of promoting financial stability and measures to mitigate the impact of excessive volatility of short-term capital flows as well as to improve transparency of and information about financial flows.  Moreover, it would stress the need for multilateral financial institutions to provide policy advice and financial support based on sound, nationally owned paths of reform that take into account the needs of the poor and pay due regard to the special needs and implementing capacities of developing countries and economies in transition for economic growth and sustainable development.

Further by that draft, the Assembly would underline the importance of adopting effective measures to support developing countries’ efforts toward sustained economic growth, sustainable development, poverty reduction and stronger democratic systems, while reaffirming that each country is primarily responsible for its own economic and social development.  It would stress, in considering any new debt resolution mechanism, the importance of a broad discussion with the participation of all interested actors, and welcome the steps taken by the international financial institutions to take into account social aspects and borrowing costs of developing countries.


The Assembly would, by other terms, stress the need for structural reforms to strengthen corporate governance, accounting and auditing, particularly in cases where inadequate policies have negative systematic consequences.  It would also underscore that the effective and equitable participation of developing countries in creating financial standards and codes is essential.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would note that important efforts are underway to reform the international financial architecture.  By the same terms, it would emphasize the need to sustain those efforts with greater transparency and effective participation by developing countries and countries with economies in transition, with the objective of enhancing financing for development and poverty eradication.


KIT TRAUB (United States) said that while joining the consensus regarding the resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity, his delegation took a reservation on its operative paragraph 8.  Moreover, while the United States had joined the consensus on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, it was concerned over paragraph 44 (o), which envisaged the negotiation “within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, bearing in mind the Bonn Guidelines, an international regime to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources”.  That paragraph, she said, constituted an invitation for States to explore non-binding tools to better implement the Convention as well as the Bonn Guidelines adopted in April.  Any initiative in that area must fully accord access to genetic resources and respect rights and obligations under international law, she stressed.


PETER GEBERT (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, also referred to the resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity, saying that operative paragraph 2 and the footnote did not imply that decision 23, made by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its sixth session, did not stand, nor were they without prejudice to the agenda of the seventh session of that Conference.  He agreed with the United Nations Legal Counsel’s interpretation of consensus, as stated in his 17 June 2002 letter, and accepted the Counsel’s conclusion that the decision may stand as adopted.


He went on to stress that the decisions of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Conference of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity at its sixth session were balanced overall and would form the basis for further work on biological diversity.


GUY O’BRIEN (Australia), referring to operative paragraph 2 of the resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity, said his country had delivered a statement under that item in the Second Committeeand continued to maintain the same view.  Australia looked forward to resolving the issue at the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties.