10 September 2012
General Assembly
GA/11274

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

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

127th Meeting (AM)


General Assembly Calls for Accelerated Efforts to Eliminate Malaria in Developing


Countries, Particularly Africa, by 2015, in Consensus Resolution


Also Adopts Consensus Text on Human Security,

Holds Dialogue on Macroeconomic Policy, Sustainable Development


In a wide-ranging meeting of the General Assembly today aimed at completing the agenda of the current session before ushering in the new one next week, attention focused on rolling back malaria, furthering the human security concept, and a dialogue on the link between macroeconomic policy and sustainable development.


Introducing the first of two draft resolutions adopted today, the representative of Liberia on behalf of the Africa Group, said that more than 1 million lives had been saved from malaria in the last 10 years.  Yet, the disease remained a “grim reality” that killed one child every minute in Africa.  Eradicating that “global emergency” would require more than $3 billion in aid through 2015.  Adopted by consensus, the text called for increased support for the implementation of global commitments pertaining to that fight, and it encouraged sharing, across regions, of knowledge in malaria control and elimination, she said.


The second draft resolution, on human security, was introduced by Jordan’s representative, on behalf of the other main co-sponsor, Japan, and the so-called Human Security Network.  He said the text, adopted by consensus, made clear that human security was distinct from the responsibility to protect, although it entrusted Governments with the primary role of ensuring its citizens’ survival, livelihood and dignity.  It also recognized the role of human security in development.


The resolution’s adoption drew several comments, with some delegations warning that the human security concept should not weaken State security or endanger the system of international relations.  Venezuela’s delegate, for example, said that under no circumstances should it challenge State security or the system of safeguards put in place by the United Nations Charter, of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, and non-interference.


The European Union’s representative said human security was precisely about linking the United Nations founding pillars with individual protection and empowerment.  He maintained that coercive measures, including sanctions, must remain part of the toolbox needed to ensure States’ compliance with their obligations.  At the same time, he reaffirmed States’ primary responsibility to fulfil their international human rights and humanitarian law obligations.


Opening the development dialogue, Assembly President Abdulaziz Nassir al-Nasser said that the present task was to examine how macroeconomic policymaking could foster the world transition to a more sustainable paradigm of development.  The Rio+20 outcome provided a solid foundation for advancing social, economic and environmental well-being.  Policies thus far had been inadequate in containing the risks, he said, urging that macroeconomic policy be revisited.


Building on that theme on behalf of the Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, said the economic debate had been hovering between two choices.  The first choice was to provide more fiscal stimulus to get growth back on track, unclog credit channels, and take measures to slash unemployment.  The second choice was to shift into fiscal austerity to reduce public debts to more sustainable levels.


Member States were duty-bound to establish a clear connection between macroeconomic policies and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  Further, they must formulate a bold, yet practical, development agenda for the post-2015 period, which embraced economic, social and environmental perspectives.  The conventional approach to economic development in recent decades, he said, had focused on low inflation and balanced budgets in the short run and ensuring growth in the long term, but those policies had not made full employment an explicit target.  He advocated for more resources to the employment, education and health sectors.


Also speaking today were the representatives of Pakistan, Syria, Russian Federation, United States, China, Egypt, and Mexico.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to consider two draft resolutions: on rolling back malaria, and on the human security provision of the 2005 World Summit Outcome.  It was also expected to convene a development dialogue, following which it was scheduled to hold an informal plenary meeting, entitled “Macroeconomic policies for the Future We Want:  sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals”.


The draft resolution entitled, “Consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2015” (document A/66/L.58), recognized that increased global and national investments in malaria control had yielded significant results and that some countries were moving towards malaria’s elimination.  It would note, however, that many still had unacceptably high burdens of malaria, requiring a rapid increase in prevention and control efforts.


Towards that goal, the Assembly, in the draft sponsored by Liberia on behalf of the African Group, would call on Member States, particularly malaria-endemic countries to strengthen national policies and operational plans, with a view to scaling up efforts to achieve internationally agreed malaria targets for 2015.


It would urge the international community, United Nations agencies and private organizations to support implementation of the Global Malaria Action Plan, including by supporting national programmes.  It would also urge the promotion of coordinated implementation of malaria-related activities and their enhanced quality, including through the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.


Among its specific recommendations, the text would have the Assembly appeal to malaria partners to resolve the financial supply chain and delivery bottlenecks responsible for stock-outs of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapies at the national level, whenever they occurred, including by strengthening malaria programme management at the country level.


Concerned about the increase in resistant strains of malaria in several regions, the Assembly would call on Member States to implement the Global Plan for Artemisinin Resistance Containment and the Global Plan for Insecticide Resistance Management in Malarial Vectors, and upon the World Health Organization to implement surveillance systems for drug and insecticide resistance.


It would call on the international community to, among others, support the strengthening of health systems, national pharmaceutical policies and national drug regulatory authorities, to combat the trade in counterfeit and substandard antimalarial medicines.  It would urge Member States to prohibit the marketing and use of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies and to replace them with oral artemisinin-based combination therapies and to develop the necessary mechanisms to introduce those at affordable prices.


In a related provision, it would call on the international community to support expanded access to affordable, effective and safe products and treatments, including indoor residual spraying and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.  The producers of those nets were encouraged to accelerate technology transfer to developing countries.  The World Bank and regional development funds would be asked to consider supporting malaria-endemic countries in establishing factories to scale up production of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.


Member States, the international community and all relevant actors, including the private sector, would be urged to promote coordinated implementation and enhance the quality of malaria-related activities, including through the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.  Sharing would also be encouraged, across regions, of knowledge, experience and lessons learned with regard to the control and elimination of malaria, particularly between the Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions.


According to the draft resolution entitled, “Follow-up to paragraph 143 on human security of the 2005 World Summit Outcome” (document A/66/L.55/Rev.1), whose main sponsors were Japan and Jordan, the Assembly would agree that human security was an approach to assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people.


Based on that, the text says, a common understanding on the notion of human security would include the right of people to live in freedom and dignity; a call for people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented responses that strengthened the protection and empowerment of all people and all communities; and recognition of the interlinkages between peace, development and human rights, and equally considered civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.


Human security, according to the draft, was “distinct from the responsibility to protect and its implementation”.  Additionally, the concept did not entail the threat or the use of force or coercive measures, and it did not replace State security.  It was based on national ownership, and Governments retained the primary responsibility for ensuring the survival, livelihood and dignity of their citizens.  Human security, finally, must be implemented with full respect of the United Nations Charter.


Among the text’s other provisions was a recognition that, while development, peace and security and human rights were the United Nations pillars, achieving development was a central goal in itself and the advancement of human security should contribute to realizing sustainable development and internationally agreed development goals.  Also, the Assembly would decide to continue the discussion on the matter in accordance with the resolution.


Consideration of Draft Resolutions


“The devastating impact of malaria on Africa cannot be overstated”, said GAIL FARNGALO (Liberia), who introduced a draft resolution on “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, by 2015” (document A/66/L.58) on behalf of the African Group.  In the last 10 years, more than 1 million lives had been saved and more than a quarter mortality reduction achieved globally.  Nonetheless, she stressed, malaria remained a “grim reality” that killed one child in Africa every minute.


Indeed, malaria control remained an emergency globally and even more so for Africa.  The challenge now for the global community was to intensify efforts and commitments to avoid the reversal of the gains made thus far for greater progress in sustainable interventions.  That also included the intensification of resource mobilization.  It was estimated that $3.2 billion was needed in aid through 2015 to overcome the current funding deficit and continue the fight to eliminate malaria.


The resolution before the Assembly maintained the language of last year’s resolution, she continued, with the exception of a few technical updates and new developments.  Among those were:  welcoming the designation by the Secretary-General of malaria as one of his top priorities under his second mandate; the call for increased support for the implementation of international commitments and goals pertaining to the fight to eliminate malaria; the recognition of the need for additional funding; the recognition of the Roll Back Malaria partnership; and the encouraging of sharing, across regions, of knowledge, experience and lessons learned in the field of malaria control and elimination.


The Assembly then adopted, by consensus, the draft resolution on “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Counties, Particularly in Africa, by 2015” (document A/66/L.58).


Introducing the draft resolution entitled “Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit” (document A/66/L.55/Rev.1), Prince ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL HUSSEIN (Jordan), on behalf of the other main co-sponsor, Japan’s delegation and of the Human Security Network, namely Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Mali, Norway, Panama, Switzerland, Thailand, Slovenia, and South Africa as an observer, said the text recognized human security as an approach to assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood, and dignity of their people.  Human security insisted on people’s right to live in freedom and dignity, and free from fear and want; it also required people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented responses, and recognition of the linkages between peace, development and human rights, with equal consideration of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.


Defining human security as distinct from the responsibility to protect, yet a concept entrusting Government’s with the primary role of ensuring the survival, livelihood and dignity of its citizens, he said the draft resolution recognized the role of human security in achieving development.  It also acknowledged the contributions of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and invited Member States’ voluntary contributions.  Having managed to bridge the gaps between different points of view, his delegation, on behalf of Japan’s as well, asked for the Assembly’s support of the text.


Following the Secretariat’s announcement of additional co-sponsors, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution without a vote.


Explaining his position, the representative of Pakistan said the notion of human security was important in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to people’s livelihood and dignity and, accordingly, his delegation supported it.  The resolution clearly distinguished the notion of human security from such controversial ones as responsibility to protect and the use of force and other undue polarizing measures.  It also emphasized the primacy of national ownership and of its implementation in full respect for the United Nations Charter.


However, he said, based on the concept’s origin, Pakistan believed it must have a development-oriented focus in addressing inherent inequalities that led to human rights violations both at national and international levels.  The fourth operative paragraph conveyed the core message that, while development, human rights, and peace and security were the three pillars on which the Organization was based, development was a critical goal in itself, and advancing human security should contribute to that.  He thus regretted that the text did not contain any reference to the right to development.


The representative of Syria said that her delegation had joined the consensus on the resolution based on the importance of defining, clearly and precisely, the concept of human security, as well as on the need to avoid any ambiguity that could lead to the concept’s politicization and unilateral implementation.  In that vein, Syria emphasized that the concept of human security included a commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter, in particular the need not to jeopardize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of States.


“Any assistance on the part of the international community should be given upon the request of the State concerned, with its consent”, she said, adding that the human security of individuals could not replace the security of the State and society, or “govern above it”.  She stressed the right of peoples to self-determination and to exploit their own natural resources.  The concept of human security was based on the right to development, the elimination of poverty and related issues; it was also based on the “eschewing” of policies that ran counter to the needs of developing countries.


There was a need to avoid any duality or selectivity in the way that international crises were approached, she said, while safeguarding the cultural and religious specificities of all countries.  There was also a need to focus on institutional reform worldwide, as some multinational companies followed practices that ran contrary to those goals.  Finally, developed countries must offer assistance to poor countries, and hegemonic powers must stop “fanning internal tensions in States” by providing media and political power, as well as equipment, which exacerbated problems in countries that were having difficulties.


The representative of the Russian Federation said that his delegation was not convinced about the very concept of human security or about the “value added” that it could have for the work of the United Nations.  The delegation worried that the concept could lead to an excessive politicization of situations.  In that vein, the term of “human security” should only be used in the context of human and economic development, and it should always respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal State affairs.  Leaders should identify the challenges that created obstacles and posed challenges to the welfare of their own people, he said.


The representative of Venezuela said he had joined consensus, but while progress had been made towards a common understanding of human security, work must continue to define the concept, its scope and implementation within the United Nations system.  His delegation had been clear and transparent during negotiations, saying that the concept, under no circumstances, should challenge State security, which was the Charter’s cornerstone and whose authors were primarily concerned with putting an end to acts of aggression between States.  That had led to the creation of a system of safeguards, embodying the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, and non-interference.  It should not be the role of human security to weaken State security or to endanger the system of international relations.  To the contrary, its role should compel State security and emphasize development, aimed at promoting human well-being.


The representative of the United States encouraged more thinking about the interconnected nature of security in the twenty-first century, and insisted that the vulnerability and insecurity plaguing too many throughout the world should be on the agenda.  Human security was a sensitive issue, on which there was a wide array of views on what it was and what it was not and, thus, a shared definition remained elusive.  There was a tension between the ideas of freedom from want and freedom from fear.  While she appreciated the text’s adoption, she felt it did not capture the diversity of views and gave insufficient weight to the real fear arising from such threats as human rights abuse, insecurity, and conflict.  While she agreed human security was distinct from that of responsibility to protect, she did not see the reference to the latter as necessary or helpful.  Overall, however, the resolution was prescient, sophisticated and balanced, although her country had strong reservations to selective references to the Charter.


The representative of China said that human security was, in essence, an issue of development.  Promoting the implementation of Millennium Development Goals should be the primary objective of human security, and Governments bore the primary responsibly of ensuring the human security of their people.  In addition, the concept must reflect the basic principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.  Human security should never be used as an excuse for carrying out humanitarian interventions, he stressed.  States still had different interpretations of human security, and it was, therefore, necessary to continue exploring the concept, in order to fully develop it.


The representative of Egypt said that the adoption of the resolution on human security reflected the “level of maturity” that the Assembly’s discussion on the concept had reached since 2005.  Egypt had joined the consensus, he said, as, although a clear definition of human security had not yet been developed, the parameters of the understanding reached in the current resolution set the framework for future work.  The concept was separate from the responsibility to protect and, therefore, did not include the possibility of the use of force.  It was distinct from national security.  It should fully respect the principle that Governments had the primary responsibility for the security and livelihoods of their people, as well as respect the principle of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference of internal affairs.  He further reaffirmed that all future discussions must be held within the General Assembly only, and should be in accordance with the parameters referenced in the resolution just adopted.


The representative of the European Union’s delegation said the Union had engaged actively in reaching agreement on the text, which represented an overall contribution to the concept.  However, what mattered most was the work at the field level and its impact, and future intergovernmental deliberations should be guided by that work.  The elements of a common understanding in the resolution were useful to avoid possible duplication with other approaches.  Throughout future work on the concept, the basic Charter principles must be upheld.  Indeed, human security was precisely about linking the United Nations’ three pillars through the individual’s protection and empowerment.  Thus, the Union welcomed the references in the text to human rights and its relationship to development, among others.  It was not possible to enjoy development without peace and security, or vice versa.  Nor was it possible to enjoy either without respect for human rights.


At the same time, he said, coercive measures must remain part of the toolbox available to the United Nations and other international and regional organizations to ensured States’ compliance with their obligations.  Sanctions, for example, were an instrument of the European Union’s foreign policy.  At the same time, he reaffirmed States’ primary responsibility to fulfil their international human rights and humanitarian law obligations.  Human security must be implemented in full respect of the Charter, and not in a selective manner.  Also, human rights should be mainstreamed into all aspects of the United Nations’ work, and human security was no exception.


Development Dialogue


Under its agenda item “Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit”, the Assembly then held a discussion on macroeconomic policies and sustainable development.


ABDULAZIZ NASSIR Al-NASSER, President of the General Assembly, said that the task at hand was to examine how macroeconomic policymaking could help the world transition to a more sustainable paradigm of development.  The outcome document of the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“ Rio+20”) had, as its goal, the definition of a pathway to a more equitable, cleaner, greener mode of sustainability for all.  Indeed, the document — which had been endorsed by the General Assembly — provided a solid foundation for advancing social, economic and environmental well-being.  It called for a wide range of actions, including a process to define global Sustainable Development Goals, to be agreed by the General Assembly.  It also recognized the importance of adopting forward-looking macroeconomic policy that led to sustainable and equitable economic growth, he said.


The recent global economic downturn had reversed much of the world’s economic growth and had evolved into a jobs crisis, with million of men and women — especially youth — becoming unemployed or underemployed.  Many people around the world were now forced to cope with reduced income in the face of a continuing food and energy crises.  Moreover, he said, current policies had been less than adequate in containing the risks.  There was, therefore, a growing awareness that macroeconomic policy needed to be revisited.  “There is always a cure for every scourge”, he said, stressing his full confidence in the international community’s ability to put forward a strong collective response to the crises.


It would be particularly important to give full consideration to an effective integration of macroeconomic policy in the post-2015 development context, he continued.  Today’s dialogue provided an opportunity to deepen the world’s collective understanding of the impact of macroeconomic policies on development outcomes.  It was in that context that he had convened a high-level thematic debate on the state of the world’s economy, and another on the fluctuation of commodity prices.


JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General, said the economic debate was hovering between two choices.  The first was to provide more fiscal stimulus to get growth back on track, unclog credit channels, and take measures to slash unemployment.  The second was to shift into fiscal austerity to reduce public debts to more sustainable levels.  The decisions facing policymakers in developing countries were particularly difficult, as commodity and financial markets were volatile and policymakers might need to create fiscal and monetary reserve buffers to cope with the next external shock.  But, they knew those precautionary steps could also impact their capacity to invest in development.  The choices they made today were not theoretical; they would have effects on whole societies, on families and especially the poor.  Women and youth were especially vulnerable.


Today’s dialogue, he said, was aimed at establishing a clear connection between macroeconomic policies and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  Working tirelessly to achieve the Goals was “our duty and responsibility”.  Then the formulation of a bold, yet practical, development agenda for the post-2015 period was needed, which embraced economic, social and environmental perspectives.  The international community must not lose sight of that broad and long-term perspective.  The conventional approach to economic development in recent decades had been focused on low inflation and balanced budgets in the short-run and ensuring growth in the long-term.  Those policies, however, did not make full employment an explicit target.  Support at the Rio+20 Conference for forward-looking macroeconomic policies, which promoted sustainable development, was the way ahead.


That meant allocating more resources to the key sectors of employment, education and health, he said.  Also crucial was protecting the environment; the economic, social and political implications of not doing so were far-reaching.  As delegates entered the dialogue, he urged them to have a broad and far-reaching vision, and stressed that short-term gain should never occur at the expense of long-term progress.  More instruments should be added in line with new targets, integrating economic policy decisions with social and environmental, but also industrial and labour-market policies.  “In the end, all our efforts should be aimed at the well-being and a life in dignity for all,” he concluded.


LUIS-ALFONSO DE ALBA ( Mexico), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said that, in order to avoid the risk of collapse during the recent global economic and financial crisis, there had been a need for unprecedented collaboration and bold action by world leaders.  However, there was now an increase in trade protectionism and global uncertainty that threatened the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  The consequences of the present global environmental and food crises had led to weaker trade, and an increase in poverty, hunger, unemployment and social tensions around the world.  Therefore, achieving the Millennium Development Goals also depended on the world’s economic recovery and its support for, and implementation of, economic commitments on the part of developed economies.  More concerted efforts to create quality jobs were needed.  Moreover, he said, “global economic policies require a re-set” from primarily aiming at stimulating demand to instead taking a long-term view of economic growth.


At the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Brazil in June, a process had been started to create Sustainable Development Goals and a related financing strategy.  In that context, development dialogues organized by the General Assembly offered a chance to address those issues and complement the efforts under way to achieve a redefinition of the post-2015 development agenda.  Those efforts should incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals, but should not leave aside efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which “deserve all of our attention in the next three years”.  Moreover, the development of a more sustainable development model, integrating the three pillars of sustainable development in a balanced manner, was the major challenge of the Assembly and of the Economic and Social Council, he said.


The Assembly then suspended it session in order to hold an informal meeting entitled, “Macroeconomic policies for the Future We Want:  Sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals”.


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