12 November 2010
General Assembly
GA/EF/3297

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Second Committee

28th Meeting (AM)


Second Committee Approves Draft Resolution Calling for Promotion of Ecotourism


As Tool in Helping to Realize Millennium Development Goals

 


In Consensus Actions, Members also Pass Texts

On Operational Activities for Development, Renaming Board of UNDP, UNFPA


The General Assembly would call upon the United Nations to promote ecotourism as an instrument to help realize the Millennium Development Goals, and to support similar efforts by developing countries, by the terms of one of three draft resolutions that the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved by consensus today.


Also by that draft, on the promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit to its sixty-seventh session, a report on implementing the text in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization and other relevant agencies and programmes of the United Nations.


By the terms of a text on operational activities for development of the United Nations system, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on analysis of the funding of those activities for 2008, the report of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation on its sixteenth session, and the report on the activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).


Further by that draft, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the role of special representatives of the Secretary-General and resident coordinators, and of relevant comments by the Secretary-General.  It would also recognize the importance of strengthening strategies for operational activities for development in order to achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015, especially in least developed and other developing countries lagging behind in pursuit of those targets.


By the third text approved today, the Assembly would rename the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to include the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).  It would also decide that the Board’s functions, as set forth in Assembly resolution 48/162, apply mutatis mutandis to UNOPS.


Presenting the three draft resolutions for action were representatives of Morocco and Haiti.


An official of the World Tourism Organization also spoke.


Earlier, the Committee heard the introduction of 17 draft resolutions relating to the following agenda items:  sustainable development; follow up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference; implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); international migration and development; implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017); agriculture development and food security; and permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.


Introducing those drafts were representatives of Yemen (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Lithuania, Honduras, Panama, Tajikistan, Bolivia and Egypt.


Also today, the Committee considered two reports relating to operational activities for development.  Even Fontaine Ortiz, Inspector with the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), presented via a video link from Geneva, the Secretary-General’s note transmitting the JIU’s report on the role of special representatives and resident coordinators.  Kenneth Herman, Senior Adviser on Information Management Policy Coordination at with the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), presented the note containing comments by the Secretary-General and the CEB on the role of special representatives and resident coordinators.


Participating in the discussion on those reports were representatives of Cuba, United States, United Republic of Tanzania and Qatar.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 17 November, for further action on draft resolutions.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to continue its consideration of operational activities for development of the United Nations system.  It was also expected to take action on three draft resolutions relating to operational activities for development, poverty eradication and other development issues on its agenda in addition to hear the introduction of several texts.


Before the Committee was a note by the Secretary-General (document A/65/394), transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the role of the special representatives of the Secretary-General and resident coordinators (document JIU/REP/2009/9).  The report examines current barriers to coherence and integration within the United Nations system, makes recommendations on how to overcome them and proposes, with a “flexible model”, a series of benchmarks that can be tailored to the needs and wants of all countries where the Organization operates so as to foster development and assist those in conflict or post-conflict situations.


Also before the Committee was a note (document A/65/394/Add.1) containing comments by the Secretary-General and the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the JIU report.  While welcoming the in-depth nature of the report, its valuable observations on coherence and integration and the general thrust of the benchmarks, they indicate a desire for additional clarity on the mechanisms proposed for the implementation of each benchmark.


Introduction of Reports


EVEN FONTAINE ORTIZ, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), introduced the Unit’s report via video link from Geneva, saying it examined the role of special representatives of the Secretary-General and resident coordinators in the context of the United Nations process towards coherence and integration.  It also provided guidance in the form of 18 benchmarks that Member States should use in their efforts for a more efficient and effective United Nations.  He said it was important for all entities of the world body playing a key role in a particular country to have the opportunity to share their views and participate in programme planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.  The Chief Executives Board served that purpose, he said, adding that the United Nations must speak through it with one voice in its cooperation with the Organization’s various funds, programmes and specialized agencies.


KENNETH HERMAN, Senior Adviser on Information Management Policy Coordination at the Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), then introduced the note (document A/65/394/Add.1) containing the comments by the Secretary-General and the CEB on the role of special representatives and resident coordinators.


He said that while agencies did not question the need for a review of coherence and integration within the United Nations system, they had expressed regret for the implicit change in the review’s scope.  They had suggested that, if preliminary research showed a need to refocus the review, it would have been advisable to re-launch it with a redefined scope, clear new objectives and a correspondingly adapted methodology.  In particular, agencies had suggested that their responses may have been different if the questions had been posed in the context of coherence and integration within the United Nations system rather than that of the role of special representative and resident coordinators.


During preparation of the report, events had overtaken some of the analysis, he pointed out, a point illustrated by the fourth benchmark, which called for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs to improve their coordination mechanisms.  The agencies had largely accepted the benchmarks as presented, but they had expressed the difficulty they were having with the proposed actions for achieving them.  For example, the fifth benchmark called for the existing inter-agency coordination mechanism, mainly the CEB, to promote system-wide integration and coherence more effectively.  The agencies supported the concept of a stronger voice to stimulate coherence, but noted that certain proposals, such as enhancing the CEB to make it an instrument for implementing Member States’ mandates, were not practical.


He emphasized that the CEB functioned as a coordinating body while individual agencies were empowered to implement, and accountable for implementing, Member States’ mandates.  The agencies therefore remained unclear as to how the CEB’s mandate could be changed to function in a different capacity.  Additionally, the fifteenth benchmark recommended a results-based approach to ensuring coherence and integrating processes, which agencies strongly supported, but they felt the proposal to employ a single common country programme and strategy for achieving that may be difficult to realize, given the different mandates of the Organization’s diverse parts.  In particular, the “One United Nations” approach was unlikely to be applicable to conflict and immediate post-conflict situations, or where the role of Government was ambiguous, he said.


Discussion


In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Cuba said many of the JIU report’s recommendations were useful and deserving of due consideration by the Committee and other bodies, such as the Economic and Social Council.  She asked what concrete actions should be taken to improve the current selection process for resident coordinators.  What was the Inspector’s opinion on harmonizing the conditions of service for all United Nations staff members on the ground?


The representative of the United States asked Mr. Fontaine Ortiz which two or three benchmarks would have the greatest impact, before asking Mr. Herman which two or three could be most easily implemented and to what effect.


The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania asked Mr. Fontaine Ortiz which efforts towards system-wide coherence had worked well.


The representative of Qatar requested more information on cooperation between the CEB and the General Assembly.


Mr. FONTAINE ORTIZ stressed that the benchmarks were simply a framework and “did not pretend to solve all coherence and integration problems”, adding that Member States should use the report as an input when discussing strategies.  On the selection of special representatives and resident coordinators, he said one of the main questions was that of ownership, adding that a more democratic selection process was needed.  As for condition of service, he said it was a serious problem that must be resolved as part of the enhancement of coherence and integration.  He stressed that he could not choose a few benchmarks to highlight since it would be impossible to discuss one without taking the others into account.  However, the first benchmark was central because it related to the role of host countries in the coherence and integration process.


Mr. HERMAN agreed that the report merely “began the conversation”, adding that he therefore could not pick out the most “implementable” benchmark.  While all agencies that had responded to the report found the benchmarks useful, details on their implementation them would require more discussion within the international community.  He went on to say that Member States had taken the lead in coordination efforts, with the CEB acting as the coordinating body, but the Board was always open to suggestions on how to improve existing channels between itself and the General Assembly.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions


The Committee then heard the introduction of several draft resolutions relating to various agenda items.


The representative of Yemen, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced a draft resolution on innovative mechanisms of financing for development (document A/C.2/65/L.37).


He went on to introduce the following drafts:  towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations (document A/C.2/65/L.26); follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (document A/C.2/65/L.40); International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/C.2/65/L.27); international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Nino phenomenon (document A/C.2/65/L.34); protection of global climate for present and future generations (document A/C.2/65/L.33); and the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/C.2/65/L.39).


The representative of Lithuania introduced a text on cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from sea-dumped chemical munitions (document A/C.2/65/L.32).


The representative of Honduras introduced a draft resolution on the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (document A/C.2.65/L.35).


The representative of Panama introduced a text on follow up of the International Year of Sanitation, 2008 (document A/C.2/65/L.24).


The representative of Tajikistan introduced a draft on the International Year of Water Diplomacy (document A/C.2/65/L.25).


As the Committee turned to “Harmony with Nature”, a sub-item under its sustainable development cluster, the representative of Bolivia introduced a related draft resolution on harmony with nature (document A/C.2/65/L.30).


The representative of Yemen took the floor again to introduce the following texts:  implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (document A/C.2/65/L.36); international migration and development (document A/C.2/65/L.23); implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) (document A/C.2/65/L.38); and agriculture development and food security (document A/C.2/65/L.29).


The representative of Egypt introduced a text on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/65/L.31).


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee then took up the eradication of poverty and other development issues, approving by consensus a draft resolution introduced by the representative of Morocco on the promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection (document A/C.2/65/L.2).  The text had no programme budget implications.


The representative of Morocco said the draft resolution aimed to build up ecotourism as a means to help realize the Millennium Development Goals.


A representative of the World Tourism Organization said it was ready to collaborate with the United Nations system and Member States in its implementation.


Turning to operational activities for development of the United Nations system, the Committee then approved, also by consensus, a text submitted by the representative of Haiti on renaming the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Population Fund to include the United Nations Office for Project Services (document A/C.2/65/L.19).  It also had no programme budget implications.


Finally, the Committee approved, again without a vote, a draft resolution tabled by the representative of Haiti on Operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document A/C.2/65/L.14).  The text had no programme budget implications.


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For information media • not an official record