30 November 2010
General Assembly
GA/EF/3301

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

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Second Committee

32nd Meeting (AM)


Second Committee Approves Text Recommending That General Assembly

 

Stress Importance of Responsible Borrowing, Lending

 


Members Pass Seven Draft Resolutions by Consensus, Defers Action on Three Others


The General Assembly would stress the importance of responsible borrowing and lending, while urging all lenders and borrowers to integrate debt sustainability analyses into their decisions in order to help maintain sustainable debt levels through a coordinated and cooperative approach, according to one of seven draft resolutions that the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved by consensus today.


By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would encourage Member States, the Bretton Woods institutions, regional development banks and other relevant multilateral financial institutions to pursue the ongoing discussions in the initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to promote responsible sovereign lending and borrowing.


The text would also have the Assembly note with concern that some low- and middle-income developing countries excluded from existing debt-relief initiatives may have large debt burdens constraining their mobilization of resources for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  It would call for full and timely implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, continued support to the remaining eligible countries, and additional measures to ensure long-term debt sustainability and full cancellation of eligible HIPC debt, while considering, on a case-by-case basis, significant debt relief or restructuring for non-HIPC developing countries carrying an unsustainable debt burden.


By another draft resolution approved today, the Assembly would decide to hold its fifth High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development on 7 and 8 December 2011 at United Nations Headquarters.  Expressing deep concern over the ongoing adverse impact of the global financial and economic crisis on development, including the capacity of developing countries to mobilize the necessary resources, the Assembly would recognize the need to sustain the recovery through timely implementation of all development commitments.


The Assembly would, by other terms, urge developed countries that had not yet done so to allocate the target figure of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for official development assistance (ODA), including 0.15 to 0.2 per cent for least developed countries.  It would also emphasize the need to resist all protectionist tendencies and to rectify any trade-distorting measures that were inconsistent with World Trade Organization rules.  The Assembly would stress that the economic and financial crisis had highlighted the need for reform, and call for increased efforts to enhance policy coherence for development.


By a text on follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference, the Assembly would reaffirm the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, and recognize that mobilizing financial resources was central to the global partnership for development.  It would also reaffirm each country’s primary responsibility for its own development and recognize that national efforts should be complemented by supportive global programmes, measures and policies aimed at expanding the development opportunities of developing countries.


The Committee approved three draft resolutions under the sustainable development cluster.  A text entitled “International Year for Sustainable Energy for All” would have the Assembly decide to proclaim 2012 as that International Year, and ask the Secretary-General to consult with the relevant United Nations agencies in organizing and coordinating related activities.  The Assembly would also encourage all Member States, the United Nations system and all other actors to take advantage of the Year to increase awareness of the importance of addressing energy issues for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.


By a draft on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the Assembly would express its deep concern over the number and scale of natural disasters and the increasing challenges posed by their consequences, as well as the impact of climate change, which impeded progress towards sustainable development, particularly in developing, least developed, landlocked developing and other vulnerable countries.  The Assembly would urge the international community to continue to address ways and means to reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters by implementing the International Strategy and encouraging institutional arrangements to enable it to continue its work.


Further by the draft, the Assembly would emphasize the importance of early warning systems and stress the need to better mainstream disaster-risk reduction into national development strategies while building and strengthening coping capacities by exchanging experiences and technical knowledge on the subject.  It would call upon the United Nations, and invite international financial institutions as well as other regional and international bodies to integrate the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action into their strategies and programmes, and help developing countries design and implement disaster-risk reduction measures with a sense of urgency.


A text headed “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” would have the Assembly urge full and effective implementation of the outcome document adopted on 25 September 2010 by the High-Level Review Meeting of the General Assembly.  It would call upon the international community to enhance support for efforts by small island developing States to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, including by providing dedicated sources of financing, capacity-building and technology transfer.


Also by that draft, the Assembly would urge Governments and all relevant regional and intergovernmental organizations, United Nations entities, global financial institutions and the Global Environment Facility to take timely action to effectively implement and follow up the Mauritius Strategy.  It would call upon all relevant regional and intergovernmental organizations to enhance cooperation, coherence and coordination through the Inter-agency Consultative Group on Small Island Developing States in order to strengthen support for them in further advancing the Mauritius Strategy.  It would underscore the importance of providing the Small Island Developing States Unit with adequate, stable and predictable funding and staffing so as to implement its mandates fully and effectively.


A draft resolution entitled “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)” would have the Assembly recall the importance of UN-Habitat’s timely action in response to natural and human-made disasters, particularly in addressing post-disaster and post-conflict housing and infrastructure needs.  It would call for continued financial support to the Programme through increased voluntary contributions, and invite Governments and other stakeholders to provide predictable, multi-year funding and increased non-earmarked contributions.


Further by its terms, the Assembly would invite the international donor community and financial institutions to contribute generously to the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation, including the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund.  It would request the Secretary-General to keep the resource needs of UN-Habitat and the United Nations Office at Nairobi under review to allow for timely and necessary services.  The Assembly would also reiterate its encouragement to the Economic and Social Council to include sustainable urbanization, urban poverty reduction and slum upgrading as a cross-cutting issue.


The Committee also deferred action on three draft resolutions, including one titled “International Year of Quinoa, 2012”, after Bolivia’s representative said it had been the topic of constructive consultations and would be discussed in 2012.


Submitting draft resolutions for the Committee’s consideration were the Vice-Chairs Erik Lundberg ( Finland) and Csilla Würtz ( Hungary).


Also addressing the Committee today were the representatives of Suriname, France, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), India and the United States.


The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 1 November, when it is expected to take action on all outstanding draft resolutions.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take action on draft resolutions relating to its agenda items on agriculture development and food security, follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference, sustainable development, macroeconomic policy questions, and globalization and interdependence.


Action on Draft Resolutions


ERIK LUNDBERG ( Finland), Committee Vice-Chair, called attention to a draft resolution titled “External debt sustainability and development” (document A/C.2/65/L.59), saying it contained no programme budget implications.

As the representative of Suriname proposed some editorial changes to the text, the representative of France expressed doubts about the French-language translation of the title.


The Committee then approved the draft, as orally revised, withdrawing a text titled “Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice” (document A/C.2/65/L.6).


Vice-Chair LUNDBERG ( Finland) then submitted a draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development” (document A/C.2/65/L.53), which the Committee approved without a vote, withdrawing a similarly titled text (document A/C.2/65/L.7).


Mr. LUNDBERG ( Finland) then tabled a draft on innovative mechanisms of financing for development (document A/C.2/65/L.57), as the representative of France noted that it contained a translation error.


The Committee approved the text without a vote, withdrawing a similarly titled draft (document A/C.2/65/L.57).


CSILLA WÜRTZ ( Hungary), Committee Vice-Chair, then submitted a draft resolution titled “International Year for Sustainable Energy for All” (document A/C.2/65/L.70).


Mr. LUNDBERG ( Finland) noted that the text had only been circulated this morning, thus requiring the waiving of rule 120 (“the 24-hour rule”) of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure.  (It stipulates that “as a general rule” no proposal shall be put to a vote before copies have been circulated to all delegations no later than the day preceding a meeting.)


The Committee Secretary said that, should the draft be adopted, no additional requirements would arise under the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


The Committee then approved the text without a vote.


The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she understood that, while implementing the text, the Secretary-General would be mindful of the annex to Economic and Social Council resolution 1980/67, particularly paragraph 21, which states that expenditures should normally be met from existing resources in the regular budget.  The European Union understood that the Secretary-General would not seek extrabudgetary resources to fund the International Year.


The representative of India said the International Year would help galvanize access to energy for all people.


Ms. WÜRTZ (Hungary) then submitted a draft resolution headed “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.60), which had also been circulated only this morning, but there were no objections to the waiving of rule 120.


The Committee approved the draft without a vote, withdrawing a similarly titled text (document A/C.3/65/L.40).


Ms. WÜRTZ (Hungary) then made an oral amendment to the text of a draft resolution on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/C.2/65/L.58) before the Committee approved the draft without a vote, withdrawing a similarly titled text (document A/C.2/65/L.27).


Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the United States noted that operative paragraph 15 asked the Secretary-General to consider how best to support implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, taking into account the important role played by its Secretariat.  While recognizing the need for sufficient funding so that it could successfully carry out its mandate, the United States believed that request should be considered in the context of the existing allocation of resources for natural disaster reduction in the 2010-11 programme budget.


The Committee deferred action on a draft resolution headed “Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its eleventh special session”.


Ms. WÜRTZ (Hungary) then submitted a draft on 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.63), making a slight correction to the text.  Since it had only been circulated this morning, the Committee once again waived the “24-hour rule”.


The Committee approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected, withdrawing a similarly titled one (document A/C.2/65/L.36).


It then deferred action on a draft headed “Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption” (document A/C.2/65/L.68).


Finally, the Committee took up a draft resolution titled “International Year of Quinoa, 2012” (document A/C.2/65/L.16), with the representative of Bolivia noting that it had been the topic of constructive consultations and would be discussed in 2012.  The issue of agricultural development and food security should remain an open item, and the Secretariat of the Second Committee would adopt the necessary provisions for that.


Vice-Chair LUNDBERG ( Finland) said that in light of that statement, no action would be taken on the draft.


Thanking the facilitators and coordinators of the drafts just approved for their hard work and perseverance in bringing their respective negotiations to a successful conclusion, he said the Committee would take action on all outstanding draft proposals on Wednesday, 1 December.


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