|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
2nd & 3rd Meetings (AM & PM)
Inclusive Economic Structure Depends on Effective, Centralized State,
Says Keynote Speaker as Second Committee Opens General Debate
World Economy ‘Teetering’, Says Under-Secretary-General,
Urging Delegates to Tackle Debt, Poor Job Growth, Other ‘Glaring Weaknesses’
An effective centralized State was needed to ensure the existence of an inclusive economic structure, delegates in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) heard today as they opened the first general debate of the sixty-seventh General Assembly session.
Delivering a keynote address to the Committee, James Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University, told delegates how his book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, emphasized the relationship between politics and economic institutions, and how his comparative history of economic development provided an historical perspective on the driving forces of inequality within and among nations. While long-run economic growth was driven by new ways of producing things, including innovation and technical growth, society also needed to be organized in such a way as to harness the talents, energy and skills of its people, he said. “Societies that fail, fail to use these attributes,” he added.
He said that argument formed the central thesis of his book, noting the impact of historical events in shaping the way in which polities in the Americas had developed. Citing the United States, he said it enjoyed inclusive economic institutions that harnessed the talents and skills of its citizens. While many parts of Africa had enjoyed very democratic institutions before colonization, he continued, they had not experienced economic growth because political power had been broadly distributed rather than centralized. In Colombia, where Mr. Robinson said he had lived for many years, the major development problem arose from the central State’s trouble in wielding effective political power.
Also militating against economic growth was discrimination against women, other races or ethnic groups and young people, he continued. Any discriminatory policy was detrimental to economic prospects because of the large scale unemployment that such policies caused, he said, pointing to Apartheid South Africa, where certain jobs had been strictly allocated and reserved for the white minority amid massive and growing inequality among the black majority.
Opening the Committee’s general debate, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the world economy was “teetering on the cliff” and the Committee would play a central role in tackling the world economy’s “glaring weaknesses”, including poor job growth, the fragile financial sector, unsustainable public debt, social inequality and ecosystems in peril. Beyond those crises, he stressed the importance of setting a sustainable development path, noting that three ongoing processes were reshaping United Nations development efforts.
Following the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, he said, the General Assembly would help to promote agreement on sustainable development goals, develop a facilitation mechanism to disseminate eco-friendly technologies and adopt a 10-year framework of programmes to encourage sustainable consumption and production patterns. In addition, it would tackle the challenges of extending the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015 and strengthening global governance, particularly in the international financial system, which needed to be made more “stable, resilient, development-friendly”. To achieve “the future we want,” he said, stronger cooperation was needed among Member States, he said, emphasizing that the entire United Nations system was “counting on the Second Committee for its leadership”.
Reflecting that sentiment, Chairperson George Wilfred Talbot ( Guyana) said the Committee had a full agenda, and needed to show leadership in designing coherent and coordinated approaches in its priority areas of action. “We must provide ideas for the redesign of policies to strengthen the impact on poverty and employment, and on the promotion of structural change for a more sustainable future for all,” he said, adding that the key policy challenge was to create the domestic and international conditions necessary to unlock substantial amounts of new and additional financing for sustainable development.
He said the Rio+20 Conference had mandated the elaboration of targets for the pursuit of coherent action on Sustainable Development Goals to run after the 2015 deadline for the attaining the Millennium Development Goals, and the Committee would work hard to accelerate progress. He added a call for the speedy completion of a development-oriented Doha Round of trade negotiations, expressing hope for an outcome that would enhance global trade prospects and create important new market-access opportunities for developing countries.
Throughout the day, delegates emphasized the need for an urgent response to the global economic and financial crisis, and to the ongoing and in some cases growing challenges they faced as a result. Many also welcomed the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference. Among them was Algeria’s representative, who, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said he was pleased that the outcome reaffirmed the importance of poverty eradication as the greatest global challenge of the day. He called on the General Assembly to launch the follow-up process, while ensuring balanced representation and effective institutional frameworks for sustainable development at all levels.
Taking up the theme of poverty eradication, Benin’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, noted with concern the persistent downward trend in official development assistance (ODA), and called on donors to increase transparency by developing publicly available multi-year spending plans. As well as aid, developed countries needed to act on debt, he stressed, noting that insufficient debt relief remained a major impediment, and calling for transparency in debt management at all levels. Vulture creditors deserved special attention so as to protect least developed countries against misuse of debt-restructuring mechanisms, he said, arguing that while debt restructuring might prove necessary for some States, growth in gross national product (GNP) remained essential for reducing debt ratios and ensuring debt sustainability.
The representative of the Bahamas, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said there was insufficient international recognition of the needs and concerns of middle-income countries. There was a need for greater flexibility in the rules of Washington-based multilateral institutions, which tended to “graduate” middle-income countries on the basis of per capita gross domestic product (GDP), and to assume that they did not require assistance. She echoed the Secretary-General’s call for an ad hoc working group to elaborate in greater detail on an appropriate framework within which to tackle the development challenges of middle-income countries, and urged greater attention to their needs in the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of United Nations operational activities for development.
Nauru’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, reaffirmed that small islands should remain a special case on the sustainable development agenda owing to their unique and particular vulnerabilities. She noted that a 1.2 degree Celsius rise in temperature could lead to the loss of half the world’s coral reefs, as a growing number of studies concluded that the window for limiting temperature rise to even 2 degrees Celsius was rapidly closing. Despite climbing greenhouse gas emissions, there was no corresponding urgency to respond to the crisis, she noted. Instead, there was “a concerted effort within the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to delay additional action until 2020”.
Japan’s representative described how the experience of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami would bolster his country’s commitment to “handing down lessons learned from the disaster to future generations”. As such, Japan hoped to win formal approval to host the Third United Nations Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015, he said. The country aimed to contribute significantly to promoting “human security”, he added, citing a contribution of $10 million to the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.
Also speaking today were representatives of Chile (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Egypt (on behalf of the Arab Group), Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group), Maldives, Peru, India, Russian Federation, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Norway, Nicaragua, United States and Bangladesh. The Head of the European Union delegation also spoke.
The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to continue its general debate.
Meeting this morning to begin its general debate, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) was expected to hear a keynote address by James Robinson, David Florence Professor of Government at Harvard University.
GEORGE WILFRED TALBOT ( Guyana), Chairperson, said the Committee had a full agenda as the global economic and financial system remained in a precarious state of uncertainty. The new session provided an opportunity to discuss such issues as jobs, debt and food security. The Committee must show leadership in designing coherent and coordinated approaches, at both the national and international levels, to address the vicious cycle of low growth, rising unemployment and financial-sector fragility, he emphasized. “We must provide ideas for the redesign of policies to strengthen the impact on poverty and employment, and on the promotion of structural change for a more sustainable future for all.”
Moving towards the goal of sustainable development required the mobilization of significant financial resources, had been recognized at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ( Rio+20), he said. However, the key policy challenge was to create the domestic and international conditions necessary to unlock substantial amounts of new and additional financing. Accelerating progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals was a high priority for the present session, he emphasized, calling for the expansion of trade and a speedy completion of a development-oriented Doha Round of trade negotiations that would enhance global trade prospects and create important new market-access opportunities for developing countries.
The Committee also had the opportunity to make concrete proposals for the establishment of an effective regulatory framework for the international financial sector, he said. The Rio+20 Conference had also mandated the elaboration of targets for the pursuit of coherent action on sustainable development, he said, recalling that world leaders had resolved to establish an inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process on the sustainable development goals that would be open to all stakeholders. Turning that vision into reality required everyone’s cooperation, he stressed. “I invite you to share your experiences on what has worked and what has not in our common quest for development,” he added.
WU HONGBO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the world economy was “teetering on the cliff”. The Committee would play a central role in tackling the world economy’s “glaring weaknesses”, including poor job growth, the fragile financial sector, unsustainable public debt, social inequality and ecosystems in peril. Beyond those crises, he stressed the importance of setting a sustainable development path, noting that three ongoing processes were reshaping United Nations development efforts.
First, in the wake of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, he said, the General Assembly would help to promote agreement on sustainable development goals, develop a facilitation mechanism to disseminate eco-friendly technologies and adopt a 10-year framework of programmes to encourage sustainable consumption and production patterns. Also, it was to be hoped that commitments to small islands would crystallize in the third international conference on small island developing States, scheduled for 2014.
Secondly, there was a need for the United Nations development agenda to extend past 2015, he said, adding that his Department and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) were co-leading the task team charged with planning that extension. Thirdly, a more “stable, resilient, development-friendly globally financial system” was needed, as was strengthened global governance to improve the world economy’s health. Rio+20 had recognized the importance of improving the financial system to help improve efficiency in mobilizing resources for sustainable development, he said.
Emphasizing that stronger cooperation was key in building “the future we want”, he described the quadrennial comprehensive policy review deliberations as an important step forward in that regard. The entire United Nations system was “counting on the Second Committee for its leadership”, particularly on country-specific development challenges, improving the United Nations resident coordinator system and programme performance reviews, and in weaving the concept of “effectiveness” more fully into the development dialogue, the Under-Secretary-General added.
JAMES ROBINSON, David Florence Professor of Government, Harvard University, talked about the motivation and ideas behind his book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, which was about long-run comparative development and provided an historical perspective on the driving forces of inequality within and among nations. Economists knew that in the long run, economic growth was driven by new ways of producing things, including innovation and technical growth. Society was organized in a way that harnessed the talents, energy and skills of all people, he said. “Societies that fail, fail to use these attributes.”
Discussing how colonial societies had formed in the Americas, he said that when the Spanish had landed in Mexico, they had created institutions based on the exploitation of indigenous peoples, a system that restricted their abilities for economic growth. “That talent was wasted,” he said, comparing that system to the English colonization of North America. It had been a different situation compared to the indigenous empire in Mexico because the indigenous situation in Virginia had not been as developed or intricate. For the first decade, the English colonizers had struggled to make a living because it had not been as easy to organize and exploit the indigenous peoples. In 1619, the English colonizers had tried something new, giving people 50 acres of land and political rights, basically allowing adult males the right to vote. That had been an attempt to find a set of rules and institutions that would make society economically profitable, he said, adding that, while the slave economy had made a major contribution, it had not developed until much later.
Noting that historical events had shaped the way in which polities in the Americas had developed in the last 200 and 300 years, he said another factor to shape the political and economic fields was how the frontiers had been allocated. They had been done in a more democratic way in the United States but in South America, Chile, for example, they had been distributed among oligarchs. The book mentioned why the central State had been more effective in the United States, and explained how that was related to how institutions were formed hundreds of years ago. The United States was an inclusive economic institution that harnessed the talents and skills of its citizens, he said. Its patent history, which had served as a record of protected intellectual property over the years, showed that talent was widely distributed between the rich and poor. In Apartheid South Africa, on the other hand, certain jobs had been strictly allocated and reserved for whites while much of the economy had shunned black workers, which had meant poverty for the masses but excessive wealth for the few.
He said his book emphasized the relationship between politics and economic institutions, adding that an effective centralized State was necessary for an inclusive economic structure. Many parts of Africa had enjoyed very democratic institutions before colonization, but that had not encouraged economic growth given the centralized rather than broadly distributed nature of political power. Describing his life in Colombia, he said that country’s major development problem arose from the central State’s trouble being an effective political power. The book also looked at the history of institutional development in sub-Saharan Africa as well as the impact of colonization, the slave trade, and the struggle to create a post-independence political State.
Discrimination against women and young people also hindered economic growth, he continued, emphasizing that discrimination against a particular group in any economic model caused large unemployment numbers within that group. Although development aid was an enormously effective way to provide food and immediate resources, it did not guarantee economic success.
Responding to a question by Morocco’s representative, about his thoughts on the Arab Spring, he said the phenomenon was the process of people moving from extractive institutions to much more inclusive institutions. Success depended largely on the nature of the forces in conflict. In Egypt, for example, it was possible that a society similar to the one previously in place could come into play, but there were also many people pushing for things to become better. In terms of how State power was distributed in society, he said an effective State would have bureaucratic and administrative capabilities.
The representative of Morocco requested a comparison between the Arab Spring and what had happened in Eastern Europe in the late twentieth century during the fall of the Soviet Union.
Mr. Robinson said that although some Eastern European countries, including Poland, Hungary and Romania, had suffered more conflict during their respective transitions, it was challenging to compare their situations to the current one in the Arab world. A struggle for power did not mean there would be a fundamental change in the way in which a country was governed, he cautioned. The forces behind the Arab Spring were different from those in Eastern Europe, yet there were similarities, because both groups were fighting for a more open and free society. There was a similar conflict over institutions, but the details and consequences were very different, which would lead to different outcomes, he predicted.
In response to a question from the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, on the link between innovation and economic growth, he said States could be developmental or anti-developmental depending on how political power was distributed. A State with inclusive political power would be developmental because its citizens had a vested interest in providing innovation.
To a question from Senegal’s representative on why States failed, he said that may be an outcome of having extractive economic and political institutions. It was very appealing to try to control that type of Government and in the process of competing for power, the centralized Government could possibly collapse. He stressed the importance of recreating political structure, authority, and rules in countries that had such extractive economies and Governments and were at risk of failing. The example of South Sudan demonstrated the difficulty of forming structures of authority or power because it was a region in which people were not used to being governed by a centralized Government, he said. Political stability and power was certainly a prerequisite for economic growth, he emphasized.
Replying to a question from the World Tourism Organization about what factors other than discrimination contributed to youth unemployment, he acknowledged that their marginalization was a major factor, citing the examples of Egypt and Sierra Leone, as places where young people felt “very disempowered”.
The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said that, with many of his countrymen and countrywomen suffering, perhaps a more liberalized economic and political model would be more effective. At what level did Government centralization need to occur to have an impact?
Mr. Robinson cited the example of the United States, saying its federal model was a very “bottom-up” one. The Articles of Confederation were very important because following their adoption, the States had conceded greater power to the greater State, he said, pointing out that the before that, the central State had not enjoyed much power. Each state had had its own government, foreign policy and even army. There may be other reasons for federalism, such as social heterogeneity, but the problem in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was to establish order and ensure the distribution of common goods, he stressed, noting that that would be a start. While there might be some kind of contradiction between national and local, the goal was that both levels must complement and benefit from each other.
The representative of Algeria said he would not argue against federalism as there was merit in empowering people by bringing decision-making closer to them. However, was federalism a luxury the world could afford? he asked. While its merits, including bringing more inclusiveness, were to the benefit of people’s empowerment, there was also a need to address its constraints. “One cannot advocate the rule of law at the national level without advocating it at the international level,” he stressed. There were many other players on the economic scene, including transnational corporations whose role must be taken into account, but it was important to ensure that strategic decisions were centralized while spreading power to the people at the same time.
Also taking part in the discussion were representatives of the Republic of Korea, Grenada, Switzerland, Bolivia, and Côte d'Ivoire.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said several common problems, including extreme poverty, food insecurity and high unemployment, not only constrained economic and social growth but also prevented the attainment of internationally agreed development targets such as the Millennium Development Goals. There was an urgent need for an effective response to the current global economic crisis, which should include implementation of existing aid commitments by donor countries irrespective of the current adverse economic conditions. Many development partners had failed to fulfil their official development assistance (ODA) commitments, he noted, stressing the role of aid as an “essential catalyst” for growth and development. South-South cooperation could complement North-South cooperation, but not replace it, he said, welcoming the decision to rename the former Special Unit for South-South Cooperation the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and urging its further strengthening.
He expressed regret that the General Assembly had not addressed the follow-up to the outcome document of the 2009 Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, including the establishment of an ad hoc panel of experts. The world body was best placed to address global economic governance, he said, calling on Member States to commit to United Nations processes and to reform the Bretton Woods institutions. Specifically, the Group of 77 and China called for a greater “voice” in those bodies, as well as greater participation and enhanced voting power for developing countries. Building a post-2015 development framework required analysis of the present Millennium Development Goals agenda, with a focus on assessing what had worked and what had not. Any future development framework should be intergovernmental, and take into account how development had changed since the Millennium Development Goals had first been agreed. The Group of 77 and China looked forward to the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of United Nations operational activities, he said, stressing that it should continue to be underpinned by the principles of universality, neutrality and multilateralism.
Welcoming the outcome for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which reaffirmed the importance of poverty eradication as the greatest global challenge of the day, he called on the General Assembly to launch the follow-up process, ensuring balanced representation and effective institutional frameworks for sustainable development at all levels. Climate change was one of the most serious global challenges facing developing countries, which were subject to its most extreme effects. In that regard, the Group of 77 and China looked forward to a quality legal second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, and a successful conclusion to the work for the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, in line with the Bali Action Plan, as well as substantive progress on the Durban Platform, which was critical for taking the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change forward.
He went on to call for renewed commitment to achieving a land degradation neutral world, and for urgent action to reverse desertification, saying the Group of 77 and China attached great importance to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. It looked forward to a successful outcome to the eleventh Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Hyderabad, India, later this month. He also called for specific and enhanced efforts to help assist small island developing States, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and middle-income countries. The Group of 77 and China also underscored the need to remove obstacles impeding peoples living under foreign occupation from achieving sustainable development and self-determination.
PAULETTE A. BETHEL (Bahamas), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the region’s main trading and economic partners in the developed world continued to struggle and the CARICOM countries’ recovery from the global recession continued to lag. With key sectors like tourism still struggling and foreign direct investment not having returned to pre-crisis levels, she called for enhanced access to grants and concessionary financing from multilateral development banks to assist the region. Citing insufficient recognition by the international community of the needs and concerns of middle-income countries, she said the international community assumed they did not require assistance. There was a need for greater flexibility in the rules of the Washington-based multilateral institutions, which tended to “graduate” middle-income countries on the basis of per capita gross domestic product (GDP).
She went on to express support for the recommendation contained in the Secretary-General’s report on development cooperation with middle-income countries that a high-level panel or ad hoc working group should be formed to elaborate in greater detail on an appropriate framework within which to tackle the development challenges of middle-income countries. Calling for the quadrennial comprehensive policy review to pay greater attention to the concerns of middle-income developing countries, she welcomed the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference, particularly the launch of a programme of work to develop broader measures of progress to complement GDP. She added that many CARICOM countries had signalled their intentions to join bodies established at Rio+20 to undertake work on the sustainable development goals, she said, emphasizing that the region should be incorporated into that process.
Turning to the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled for 2014, she called for a preparatory process that would ensure a robust assessment of gaps in implementation, challenges as well as new and emerging issues. CARICOM called for contributions to the small island developing States trust fund in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and supported the designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States to help mobilize support. She pointed out that the Second Committee would consider a draft resolution on the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea, and noted that CARICOM was the best option for protecting the Caribbean Sea, which would entail an integrated management approach involving all relevant stakeholders. Calling for international support for the draft resolution, particularly the designation of the Caribbean Sea as a special area in the context of sustainable development, she said emphasizing that the upcoming climate change conference in Doha must prioritize the pre-2020 work necessary to ensure that the world was back on track to meet globally agreed climate-change goals.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the responses to the global financial crisis had made clear the vast resources that the international community could mobilize, and it was unfortunate that it had taken a crisis to provoke the mobilization. He said the main systemic problem with United Nations operational activities for development was a marked imbalance between core and non-core resources, which decisively hindered implementation of the Organization’s development agenda, he said, underlining the importance of the 10-year review of the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development as well as the convening of a new conference on financing for development in 2013. The quadrennial comprehensive policy review would allow evaluation of effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and impact of United Nations operational activities for development, he added.
He went on to underline the need to fulfil aid commitments, and expressed “deep and utmost concern” over a 2.7 per cent reduction in ODA in the April report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee. Middle-income countries needed continuing international support due to the importance of consolidating their development gains and preventing backsliding, he said. It was also important to develop new measures of development owing to the difficulty of applying national averages like per capita GDP to faithfully reflect their situations. He noted the positive effects of South-South cooperation, calling it a “cornerstone of solidarity” between the countries of the global South but stressing its complementary relationship with North-South cooperation. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States also attached great importance to the High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development.
Turning to the Rio+20 Conference, he said it had shown the power of consensus-building as a response to major global challenges. Outlining a number of processes that needed to be moved forward, he reiterated the important contribution of local and indigenous communities to sustainable development through their traditional knowledge, and called for their involvement and participation. On climate change, he said that developing countries, despite their smaller contribution to the problem, suffered most from extreme weather events. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States urged respect for the Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, and called upon the international community to fulfil the agreements adopted in Cancun and Durban. After calling for help with capacity-building and technology transfer from developed countries, he underlined the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States’ support for the Convention on Biological Diversity, for the Strategic Plan for 2011-2020 and for the attainment of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, welcomed the successful conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, saying it had given strategic momentum to the goal of advancing a global sustainable development agenda. Despite challenges, several developing countries were driving new international economic and social development, he noted. Describing progress on the Millennium Development Goals as uneven and unbalanced, he called for the urgent acceleration of progress to help least developed countries especially. With three years until the 2015 deadline, it was a timely juncture to consider the future, he said, noting that the post-2015 development agenda would retain a focus on poverty eradication.
He went on to note that the Rio+20 outcome document, “The Future We Want”, would form the basis for addressing future sustainable development challenges, emphasizing that it was imperative to honouring commitments. ASEAN called on all Member States to ensure the integration of the sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda, and that they built upon the successes of the Millennium Development Goals while taking new challenges into account. A finance-mobilization strategy for sustainable development and the establishment of the high-level political forum for sustainable development were priorities, he added. ASEAN underscored the importance of a successful outcome to the Doha Climate Change Conference and called for concrete actions to raise ambitions for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and to underline the need to attach greater importance to mitigating the effects of climate change.
KHAM-INH KHITCHADETH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), speaking for the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted the inflated import and export costs those countries faced, saying they diminished export profits and inflated import prices, thereby discouraging manufacturing and investment while limiting the resources available for building productive capacities. While there had been progress in implementing the Almaty Programme of Action, external global phenomena like rising food costs and volatile energy and commodity prices could worsen the effects of remaining challenges, he warned. A comprehensive 10-year review of the Programme of Action offered a vital opportunity to examine implementation and consider the effects of new challenges and opportunities that had not been visible at the time of the Programme’s formulation.
It was also important to develop a framework for the next decade, based on scaled-up partnerships among landlocked developing countries, with support from development partners. The impact of being landlocked could be alleviated through bilateral, regional and global cooperation, he added. The establishment of the think tank for the landlocked developing countries could enhance their analytical capacity and provide home-grown research to cater for their specific needs, he said, inviting the international community to support the think tank. He also urged the international community to come together in support of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on trade facilitation, which aimed to lower transaction costs for landlocked developing countries.
MOOTAZ AHMADEIN KHALIL (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said all post-Rio+20 processes should converge on the same objective — developing an effective, inclusive, fair, sustainable and pro-development post-2015 framework. Operational activities for development were of great significance as they accounted for nearly two thirds of all system-wide activities of the United Nations, he said. South-South cooperation was another issue that must be followed very closely, given the need to explore ways to strengthen the United Nations system’s support for it. There was an additional need to maximize the developmental impact of international trade, more specifically by continuing the Doha negotiations with the goal of finding new approaches to concluding the round, he said, adding that international support for developing countries in the areas of market access and aid for trade should also be increased.
It was worrisome that in 2011, ODA had decreased for the first time in many years, he said, expressing the Arab Group’s concern at the reluctance of developed countries to adhere to their previously agreed commitments, principles and objectives in the economic, social and environmental fields, as revealed in many recent negotiations. The Arab Group looked forward to the outcome at the eighteenth Conference of Parties to take place next month in Doha, Qatar, and stressed the importance of fully implementing the delicate package endorsed at the seventeenth Conference of Parties in Durban, which included the conclusion of a credible, legally-binding second commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
He emphasized the importance of addressing food security, including the need to address properly the issue of agricultural subsidies that developed countries granted their farmers, currently under negotiation within the framework of the Doha Round. “We urge the international community to increase investment in agriculture, rural development, and food security, and to address the legitimate demands of developing countries, especially those classified as net food importers,” he added. Lastly, he called on the international community to uphold its responsibilities and pay the necessary attention to the dire economic, social and humanitarian situation of peoples living under foreign occupation, especially the Palestinian people suffering under Israeli military occupation. Member States needed to exert efforts to confront and stop Israel’s illegal policies, including the confiscation of land and property, the demolition of houses and economic establishments, the looting of water and the expansion of illegal settlements.
MICHEL TOMMO MONTHE (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the Africa Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, expressed deep concern regarding the ongoing trend whereby previous commitments and agreed objectives in the economic, social and environmental fields were neither honoured nor implemented. The Group was also concerned that until now, there had been a lack of political commitment to the full implementation of previously agreed international commitments relating to Africa’s development needs, he said, emphasizing that those obligations should never be diluted or renegotiated as they were pivotal in bringing the continent into the mainstream of the global economy. Moreover, the United Nations should remain faithful to and respectful of the principles and foundations that had been laid out to govern its operational activities.
Regarding the economy, he said the systematic imbalances created by the world financial and economic crisis limited Africa’s abilities to create jobs, eradicate poverty and meet economic and social development objectives. Calling for concerted efforts to maximize the developmental impact of international trade, he reiterated the developmental mandate of the Doha Round of negotiations to continue with the goal of finding new approaches to concluding the talks. It was important to recognize that developing nations, particularly African ones, continued to suffer the unjust distribution of investment, he said, urging donors and partners to secure new and additional financial support, and to work towards greater transparency and accountability in international development cooperation.
“We continue to feel the negative effects and impacts of sea level rise, unpredictable weather events, unprecedented and prolonged drought waves, floods, heat waves and increased loss of biodiversity and livelihoods,” he continued. Desertification, drought and land degradation were undermining Africa’s development potential, with dry lands covering 65 per cent of the continental land mass and accounting for more than 30 per cent of the world’s dry lands. More than 45 per cent of Africa’s land was affected by desertification and 55 per cent was at very high risk, he noted, warning in addition that more than 650 million people were dependent on rain-fed agriculture in environments affected by water scarcity and land degradation. In fact, two thirds of Africa’s arable land could be lost by 2025, he cautioned, recalling that the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources had recently concluded in its report on Africa that unless desertification, drought and land degradation were addressed fully, the continent may not be able to feed 75 per cent of its population by 2025.
LARA ERAB DANIEL (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, reaffirmed that small island developing States should remain a special case in sustainable development because of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. The third conference on small island developing States would enable Member States to address concerns over the conclusion by the Mauritius Strategy review that small island developing States may have regressed economically. To ensure the meeting’s success, she said, the United Nations should designate 2014 the International Year of Small Island Developing States. As for the challenge of climate change, she noted that a 1.2 degree Celsius temperature rise could lead to the loss of half the world’s coral reefs, as a growing number of studies concluded that the window for limiting temperature rise to even 2 degrees Celsius was rapidly closing.
Greenhouse gas emissions continued to climb nonetheless, she continued. However, rather than greater urgency to respond to the crisis, there was instead “a concerted effort within the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to delay additional action until 2020”. Heads of State and Government of the Alliance had adopted the Alliance’s 2012 Leaders Declaration in response to that development, she said, noting that the Declaration called for an ambitious outcome at Doha. Reprioritizing 2020 mitigation ambitions, adopting a comprehensive work plan, mobilizing finance, technology and capacity-building capabilities and adopting a legally-binding second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol should be part of that outcome. While noting that most small island developing States were dependent on imported oil and other fossil fuels for transport and electricity generation, she said that was a major source of economic vulnerability for them, she said, urging them to develop their vast renewable energy resources to meet present and future needs, provided they received the necessary financial resources, capacity building and technology transfer.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, European Union delegation, said he remained committed to multilateralism and continued to believe that the Second Committee provided an essential venue for discussing and providing helpful inputs on many important issues, especially at a time when poverty remained a major challenge. Deliberations for the present session must take into consideration the debates and outcomes reached in other relevant meetings, including those of the Bretton Woods institutions, and the recent G8 and G20 Summits.
In order to achieve a successful post-2015 development framework, he said, it was important to focus on the preparations for the 2013 special event on the Millennium Development Goals review and the follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. As the largest provider of official development assistance, the European Union and its member States had been the greatest supporters of the Millennium Development Goals, he said, adding that it was also the largest trading partner of developing countries, particularly least developed countries, and the largest economic bloc providing duty- and quota-free access to least developed countries. However, Millennium Development Goals remained “unfinished business”, he said, adding that more needed to be done.
Turning to sustainable development, he said the European Union and its member States were highly committed to implementing all the undertakings adopted at the Rio+20 Conference relating to an inclusive green economy. It would deepen bilateral and regional trade relations with developing countries through economic partnership agreements and free-trade agreements, while at the multilateral level, it would remain committed to the Doha Development Agenda and to a multilateral deal on trade facilitation. Concerning aid, he said effectiveness remained one of the key pillars of development cooperation, to which the European Union and its member States were firmly committed.
He called on all development partners, traditional as well as emerging, to apply their contributions and development-cooperation policies in accordance with the Busan principles. The European Union attached great importance to the “Delivering as One” process and to the United Nations quadrennial comprehensive policy review, he said. “The [quadrennial comprehensive policy review] offers an important opportunity to further enhance the coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations operational activities for development,” he added. At a time of strained national budgets, when all donors needed to make special efforts to make good on their ODA commitments, he called on the international community to adopt a value-for-money approach, using resources in an optimal manner to achieve planned outcomes.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, stressed the need for proactive implementation of actions agreed upon in the report from the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States on implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action. Special attention was needed on migration issues, he said, stressing the need to remove the strict eligibility conditions required for the temporary movement of workers under existing immigration regulations. Migratory workers faced the greatest barriers in offering their services outside their home countries, with current immigration policies favouring professionals, he noted.
He called for a proactive and benevolent approach to the negative impact and trade-distorting effects of non-tariff trade measures so as to allow increased participation in trade by least developed countries and to foster their development. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s “Education First” initiative, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, he called for more measures to help least developed countries cope with economic and natural shocks, including targeted, timely and adequate support from development partners, South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation. Looking forward to deliberations on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, with a view to enhancing the efficiency of development efforts, he said he also hoped for the conclusion of deliberations on financing for development follow-up mechanisms. A special effort to reach consensus was needed to reverse the sharp decline in the political momentum for the treatment of those issues.
Concerned at the persistent downward trend in ODA, particularly with regard to its impact on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he said aid flows remained volatile and called on donors to develop publicly available multi-year spending plans to increase transparency, especially if the remaining Millennium Development Goals were to be met by 2015. As well as aid, developed countries needed to act on debt, he said. Insufficient debt relief remained a major impediment, he said, calling for transparency in debt management at all levels. Vulture creditors deserved special attention to protect least developed countries against misuse of debt-restructuring mechanisms, he stressed, arguing that while debt restructuring might prove necessary for some States, gross national product (GNP) growth remained essential for reducing debt ratios and ensuring debt sustainability.
HASSAN HUSSAIN SHIHAB ( Maldives) stressed the importance of addressing climate change, pointing out that his country had been raising its concerns over frequent storms and rising sea levels long before those issues had captured the world stage. For the Maldives, tackling climate change was not a foreign- or security-policy option, he stressed. “It is a mere necessity for the country’s security and survival.” More than 50 per cent of all the Maldivian islands were experiencing severe coastal erosion, which in turn constantly threatened human health and security, causing severe attacks on biodiversity levels. The Maldives relied heavily on tourism and fisheries as key productive sectors that contributed more than 80 per cent of its GDP, he said, adding that the economic consequences of the deteriorating conditions could be enormous. The country was doing “whatever it takes” to build resilience to the effects of climate change.
He went on to state that the Government was currently spending more than 27 per cent of the national budget for that purpose. “We have already begun implementing an investment plan that converts the energy sector to solar or hybrid sources,” he added. In at least 20 islands, the goal was to switch to renewable energy sources by the end of next year. Recalling the Rio+20 Conference, he said the Maldives was delighted with the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, which supported clean-energy goals for small island developing States. The initiative must be fully implemented with the aim of providing universal access to energy, switching to renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The Maldives was keen to see the early implementation of Rio+20 commitments relevant to the small island developing States, in particular those relating to the sustainable development goals and the oceans.
ENRIQUE ROMAN-MOREY (Peru), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, expressed concern at the fragmentation and increased operational costs resulting from the imbalance between core and non-core resources in United Nations operational activities for development. Emphasizing that more than 70 per cent of the world’s poor lived in middle-income countries, he stressed the need to channel resources for international cooperation and to have a per capita focus. Overall, the United Nations had been adopting a holistic approach to development goals, but given the global economic and financial crisis, it was critical to demonstrate clear political leadership.
It was important to integrate the results of Rio+20, he said, warning, however, that Member States must avoid reopening discussions on subjects already finalized at the Summit. The sustainable development goals were the vision of those who had organized the Conference and reflect the principles set out in 1992, he said. Warning against two parallel paths, he said that was not an ideal scenario but could happen if not enough attention was paid to preventing this from happening. The post-2015 development agenda must promote and implement integration, coherence and effectiveness in order to work in line with the three pillars of sustainable development.
SHRI E. AHAMED (India), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the need to pursue and implement, in a time-bound manner, the key outcomes from the Rio+20 Summit which identified poverty as the greatest challenge of modern times. The development landscape had changed over the years, as new actors, including the private sector, private foundations and civil society, were all now playing a significant role. South-South cooperation had been enhanced and should be allowed to grow within its own space, in accordance with its own principles. However, it could not be a substitute for North-South cooperation, he emphasized.
Describing climate change as one of the most pressing challenges, he said his country looked forward to a comprehensive, equitable and balanced outcome at the upcoming eighteenth Conference of Parties in Doha. However, the “central and essential” issue at Doha would be a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, he said. In spite of spirited efforts, the global economic situation remained one of deep concern, he said, pointing out that unemployment, food and energy concerns were running high. Persisting economic vulnerabilities as well as new and emerging challenges, with the intertwined complexities of globalization, demanded urgent reform of the structures of global governance, he said, stressing that it was imperative that developing countries be granted their due voice and participation in the decision-making structures of the global economic and financial organizations, especially the Bretton Woods institutions.
DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV ( Russian Federation) worried that his country’s economy was not sufficiently diversified, noting that its rating placed it only eighth in the world by investment inflow. The key issue of national policy was developing a favourable and fully competitive investment climate, he said, adding that the Russian Federation aimed to join the 20 countries with the most comfortable business environments by the end of the present decade. The most specific roadmap to that goal had been charted and the tasks included eliminating administrative barriers in such areas as energy, construction, customs, international trade, business registration and tax accounts.
The growing interdependence of the world economy also implied global responsibility, primarily for the world’s leading economies, he said, emphasizing also the need for authentic partnerships between countries in order to respond to common challenges. The G20, which the Russian Federation would host in 2013, must fully assume the burden of efficient leadership and become a platform for working out fair “rules of the game” that would contribute to progressive social and economic development for all countries. The political agreements reached at the Rio+20 Conference offered a comprehensive and concrete programme of measures that would not only consolidate the results of 15 years of efforts by the international community to implement the Millennium Development Goals, but also bring the world to a new level of conformity with the principles of sustainable development. As for sustainable development, preserving the environment required financial resources, which were impossible to mobilize under in conditions of economic stagnation.
IBRAHIM O. A. DABBASHI (Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Arab Group and the African Group, said the issue of sustainable development had attracted great interest this year following the Rio+20 Conference. World leaders on that occasion had emphasized inclusiveness, multilateralism, transparency and the challenges facing development. Some countries had already fully achieved, or would be able to achieve, the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 while others had lagged behind, he said. That was due to structural challenges and a lack of compliance with development partners.
Emphasizing the need to mobilize national economic and financial resources for development and to use them efficiently, he said his country understood that political and economic reform on a global scale was not impossible, but required political support on the international level. Multilateralism within the United Nations was the basis for good governance worldwide, and although there were greater financial flows across borders, the world remained unstable and vulnerable to crisis. “We must address the consequences of the financial and economic crisis and focus particularly on reform with the participation of all,” he said.
Describing climate change as a major issue and a threat to developing countries, he said they needed resources to face it, but those remained insufficient, especially in Africa. Libya suffered from drought and most of its land was desert, he said, adding that the Government had invested tens of millions of dollars in addressing desertification and water shortages. However, all those efforts would be pointless without international support, he said. International policies should favour greater political independence and the multilateral trade system must greatly reduce the unfair obstacles in place, he said, stressing the importance of protecting the national economy. It was also important for the international community to respect a particular country’s social and cultural decisions and choices.
Mr. Al-Sulaim ( Saudi Arabia), associating himself with statements made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the Group of Arab States, emphasized the importance of the United Nations in completing developmental goals. There was a negative impact on the global economy following the economic and financial crisis and the increase in food prices. Developing countries suffered most from those challenges, causing the gap between North and South to widen. Ensuring economic equality in the world could only be achieved by collective efforts, he said, underscoring the importance of international action. His Government wanted to see an inclusive approach in addressing both long- and short-term impacts of the food crisis, as well as its human rights implications.
He said that ODA was an integral part of his Government’s assistance framework. Indeed, Saudi Arabia was one of the world’s leading food providers, having reached 95 countries with such donations in the last few years. In addition, Saudi Arabia had donated over $100 million to education, and long before the deadline for attaining the Millennium Development Goals, it had managed to reach and even exceed some targets. He called for further strengthening a partnership between the developing and developed worlds based on equity and transparency. Avoiding protectionism and subsidies, completing the Doha Round and moving forward towards human development were just some of the international community’s main tasks.
In regards to energy, he said that his country was doing everything possible to open the dialogue between producers and consumers, and to keep prices stable and low. He said there was technology in place that allowed the use of coal in an environmentally safe way. All Member States must strengthen sustainable development through prescribing to the Rio+20 outcome and other sustainable development goals. He hoped that would lead to economic and social development while protecting the environment.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) emphasized that effective, coordinated, and coherent action was needed from all stakeholders in order to address the economic, political and environmental issues the world was facing. He called on Northern States to honour their commitment to cooperate with developing countries in their development efforts. In that regard, Afghanistan underscored the need for continued international support in the form of financial and technical assistance for developing countries.
Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan had begun to rebuild its political, economic, and social structures and work to ensure that its citizens had access to basic services. Afghanistan had made enormous strides in the past decade in the areas of healthcare, education, gender equality, and economic infrastructure. He stressed that issues relating to security and their impact on the development of post-conflict countries should be given substantial consideration by the Second Committee. He welcomed the Rio+20 outcome, saying it was historic in that it had garnered renewed commitment for effective strategies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty, advance social equity and protect our environment.
Regarding agriculture, which remained the primary source of income for the large majority of the Afghan people, he called on international partners to help the sector by providing technical and financial support. Agriculture in Afghanistan was affected by climate change, more specifically desertification and drought. His delegation strongly supported the position of the Group of 77 and China that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol should remain the central multilateral framework for cooperative action to address climate change issues. Afghanistan supported the closer collaboration between developing countries and development partners as well as all other relevant actors to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries and the Almaty Programme of Action. That was necessary in order to ensure enhanced, predictable and targeted support for those nations.
TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) stressed that the involvement of women in the workforce had contributed greatly to her country’s economy. The link between women’s empowerment and economic and social development was clear and Norway was a prime example. “Gender equality is smart economics, and the full and equal participation of women is both a moral and an economic imperative,” she stressed. Women’s full and equal participation in society could only be achieved if they also fully enjoyed all human rights, she said, adding that sexual and reproductive health and rights were particularly important in that regard.
She underscored the need for developing countries to mobilize more of their domestic resources by broadening their tax bases, fighting corruption and increasing transparency and accountability. Norway was working to put the issue of illicit financial flows from developing countries higher on the international agenda, she said, adding that those flows were many times higher than total annual development assistance. That was a drain on important resources for development and illicit financial flows must be stopped.
The Rio+20 outcome document left it up to the General Assembly to agree on a set of Sustainable Development Goals, she said, adding that it stressed the need to coordinate them with the processes of the post-2015 development agenda. It was necessary to avoid ending up with two sets of goals competing for political attention and resources, she emphasized. The “Delivering as One” pilot countries had been a success story in that regard, and, in addition to being self-starter countries, they had demonstrated clear leadership and determination in following up on United Nations reform and promoting system-wide coherence.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said eradicating hunger and poverty meant that the current model must be changed. “Let’s be clear: this economy cannot base itself on the production of profit,” she said. Political will and solitarily were needed to prevent people from dying of hunger while others threw out tons of food. The new Government that Nicaragua was building was based on equitable trade, fishing and energy resources in order to ensure equitable social development for all, she said. “We have direct investment and have undertaken deep-seated changes at the national level.”
Formal employment had grown by 8.9 per cent, she continued, pointing out that her country was the only one in the region to experience such a high rate. She called for new international political and economic structures based on inclusiveness as well as a balanced and harmonized relationship between development and the environment. In addition to ODA, developed countries must fulfil their commitments to the developing world, she said, stressing that it was necessary to ensure that the former were held responsible for the pledges they had made. She called for a conference on financing for development, adding that the issue affected the most vulnerable. The world needed to ensure that the desperate cries of those in need were heard.
ELIZABETH COUSENS ( United States) said that although many strides had been achieved in development worldwide, global development gains had unfortunately not been enjoyed everywhere and by everyone. Progress in reducing maternal mortality was falling short while hunger and nutrition remained a major global challenge. Least developed countries had seen particularly limited improvement, especially low-income conflict-affected States. The global economic recovery also remained incomplete, with persistent high unemployment in much of the world. Concern over sovereign debt and its impact on global growth had dampened trade, while recent fluctuations in the prices of food and fuel had added to the economic uncertainty.
Job creation for youth was also imperative, she continued. “We need to harness their energy, ideas, and talents, and give them the real and sustained economic opportunities that all our children deserve.” The international community could not afford the long-term costs of youth unemployment or disenfranchisement, where the lack of prospects and economic marginalization could fuel radicalism or crime. Moreover, empowering all people to participate meaningfully in an inclusive economy was both a moral obligation and critical to overall economic growth, she said.
Women, girls, youth, the disadvantaged and the marginalized must be at the centre, not the margins of development efforts, she stressed. A growing body of evidence showed that empowering women, in particular, and reducing gender gaps in health, education, labour markets and other areas was associated with lower poverty, higher economic growth, greater agricultural productivity, better nutrition and education of children, and a variety of other positive outcomes. “Our view is that in the twenty-first century, we cannot afford for development not to be ‘sustainable’, and this poses a challenge to us all to better align our economic, social, and environmental policy as well as refine and better use our institutional and operational tools,” she said, underscoring the need to build on Rio+20 to craft a realistic but ambitious post-2015 development agenda.
JUN YAMAZAKI (Japan), recalling the 2011 great east Japan earthquake, said his country was committed to “handing down lessons learned from the disaster to future generations”, adding that, as such, he hoped Japan would win formal approval to host the Third United Nations Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015. The country aimed to contribute significantly to promoting “human security”, he said, pointing out that it had contributed $10 million to the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.
Stressing his country’s continuing commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, he welcomed the establishment of the high-level panel on the global post-2015 development agenda. Japan had already established an informal policy dialogue group, the Post-Millennium Development Goals Contact Group, to contribute on the subject. Any new development agenda framework should be an inclusive process anchored by broad partnerships and drawing on the strengths of the current Millennium Development Goals, he stressed. New goals should be measurable so that achievements could be better evaluated, and should address emerging challenges, including employment, equality and the environment, while retaining a focus on poverty eradication.
Japan would actively participate in the follow-up to Rio+20, he pledged, adding that his country was committed to the green initiative. Concrete efforts were needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said, adding that Japan had proposed the “Vision and Action towards Low-Carbon Growth and a Climate Resilient World”, a document that aimed to advance regional and bilateral efforts in that regard. All policy resources would be mobilized to demonstrate to the world a model underpinned by a good balance between economic growth and the shift towards a green energy. States needed to keep trade flowing, despite increasing pressure to adopt protectionism, he said, urging better integration of developing countries into the multilateral trading system.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said any development framework moving forward must consider how the world had changed since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals. Calling on all development partners to deliver on their official development commitment commitments, in particular the 0.2 per cent of gross national income pledged to least developed countries. With regard to the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of United Nations operational activities for development, Bangladesh wished to see more attention paid to the future of developing countries, particularly the least developed ones, he emphasized.
He went on to touch upon climate change, saying it was one of the most serious challenges humanity had ever faced. “Many of our development goals are swept away in a blink of time from an erratic climate debacle,” he said, calling for action to activate the “Adaptation Fund”, and for its fair and just distribution among the most vulnerable countries. He urged the General Assembly to launch the follow-up processes agreed on at the Rio+20 Conference by ensuring balanced representation of developing countries. The deadlock of international trade negotiations remained a big concern for developing countries, particularly least developed countries, he said, calling on development partners to show greater flexibility and political will to ensure an early conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations, with duty- and quota-free access for goods and products from least developed countries to international markets.
* *** *For information media • not an official record