|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
38th Meeting (AM)
Draft Resolution Approved in Second Committee Stresses Primary Role of Governments
for National Development, Coordinating External Aid
Members Pass Three Other Texts, Draft Programme of Work as Session Concludes
Concluding its session today, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved four draft resolutions, including one by which the General Assembly would stress the primary responsibility of Governments for their countries’ development and for coordinating all external assistance, including that provided by multilateral organizations, on the basis of national strategies and priorities.
By other terms of that text — titled “Quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system” — the Assembly would stress the need to make the Organization’s development system more relevant, coherent, efficient and effective in supporting the efforts of developing countries to achieve the internationally agreed development targets. It would also stress that reform efforts should enhance organizational efficiency, achieve concrete development results and strengthen the system’s accountability and transparency to Member States.
The Assembly would, by further terms, stress the need for the United Nations system to work consistently across its entities, funds, programmes and specialized agencies by enhancing coordination within programme countries, and building strong linkages within them as well as between the national, regional and global levels. By other terms, it would stress the need for adequate quantity and quality of funding for operational activities as well as the need to make funding more predictable, effective and efficient. It would further stress that core resources, because of their untied nature, remained the bedrock of operational activities for development, and note with concern in that regard the declining share of core contributions to United Nations funds and programmes in recent years.
Also by the text, the Assembly would stress that funding for operational activities should be aligned with the national priorities and plans of programme countries as well as the strategic plans, mandates, resource frameworks and priorities of United Nations funds, programs and specialized agencies, and underscore in that regard the need to further strengthen the delivery of results. The Assembly would, by other terms, stress the need to avoid the use of core/regular resources to subsidize non-core/extrabudgetary-financed activities, including the use of core/regular resources to cover costs related to the management and support of non-core/extrabudgetary funds and their programme activities.
Further by the draft, the Assembly would stress the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination among the operational activities for development, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding efforts of the United Nations system, in accordance with their respective mandates and the national priorities of countries in transition from relief to development in support of national efforts. It would also stress that the resident coordinator system, while managed by the United Nations Development Programme, is owned by the United Nations development system as a whole and that its functioning should be participatory, collegial and mutually accountable within that system, and in this context, reaffirms the importance of the implementation of the previous resolutions of the General Assembly regarding the United Nations presence at the country level.
The Committee also approved a draft resolution on the international financial system and development, by which the General Assembly would stress the need to act decisively to tackle challenges confronting the global economy in order to ensure balanced, sustainable, inclusive and equitable global growth with full and productive employment and quality jobs. It would also stress the need for significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, and the need to use them effectively in promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all.
By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would stress the need to strengthen intergovernmental and independent surveillance of national financial policies and their impact on international interest rates, exchange rates and capital flows. Further by the text, the Assembly would stress the need to continuously improve standards of corporate and public sector governance, including those related to accounting, auditing and ensuring transparency, noting the disruptive effects of inadequate policies.
The Assembly would also stress in that regard the need to strengthen intergovernmental and independent surveillance of national financial policies and their impact on international interest rates, exchange rates and capital flows. Further by that text, it would stress the need to continuously improve standards of corporate and public sector governance, including those related to accounting, auditing and measures to ensure transparency, noting the disruptive effects of inadequate policies.
By a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 2 against (Canada, United States), with 46 abstentions, the Committee then approved a draft resolution on international migration and development, by which the General Assembly would decide to hold a two-day High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development on 3 and 4 October 2013, after the general debate of its sixty-eighth session, at United Nations Headquarters. It would invite all relevant entities of the United Nations system and relevant special rapporteurs and representatives, as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other relevant international organizations, having received standing invitations to participate as observers in the Assembly’s work, contribute to the preparation of and participate in the High-level Dialogue.
In other business, the Committee approved its draft programme of work.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to conclude its action on outstanding draft resolutions. It was also expected to address revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and programme planning.
Action on Drafts
Taking up drafts on macroeconomic policy questions, the Committee began with a text titled “International financial system and development” (document A/C.2/67/L.62).
GEORGE TALBOT (Guyana), Committee Chair, said it would be necessary to waive rule 120 of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure — the “24-hour rule” — since the text had only been circulated this morning. “As a general rule, no proposal shall be discussed or put to the vote at any meeting of the Committee unless copies of it have been circulated to all delegations not later than the day preceding the meeting,” he explained.
STEFANO STEFANILE ( Italy) proposed an oral correction and reminded delegations that significant elements of a text titled “Follow-up to the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development” (document A/C.2/67/L.25) was included in the new draft.
The Committee then approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/67/L.24).
Mr. TALBOT ( Guyana), Committee Chair, noted that paragraphs from document A/C.2/67/L.25 were included in the new text and that document A/C.2/67/L.25 would therefore also be withdrawn.
As the Committee then took up the draft titled “International migration and development” (document A/C.2/67/L.15/Rev.1),the Secretary read out a statement on its programme budget implications.
ABDELGHANI MERABET ( Algeria), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said he hoped the text would be approved by consensus.
RAYMOND LANDVELD ( Suriname) proposed an editorial change to the text and made a general statement expressing disappointment that consensus had not been reached.
Mr. MERABET ( Algeria) asked which delegation had requested a recorded vote, calling for a favourable result.
The Chair replied that Cyprus had requested the recorded vote.
COURTNEY R. NEMROFF (United States) stressed that despite the concerns of some Member States about certain potential participants, it was of great importance to include non-governmental organizations and civil society representatives in the negotiations on the High-level Dialogue on Migration. Though the United States had striven for consensus, it would vote against the draft resolution because of its concerns.
MARIA G. ZOUPANIOTIS (Cyprus), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she regretted that she could not join the consensus as well as the omission of her request to prepare a summary of the High-level Dialogue’s proceedings. It would be important to record what would be achieved in what Cyprus expected to be a “rich and fruitful dialogue”, she said, adding that she was also disappointed about the reluctance of some Member States to ensure the participation of civil society organizations in the High-level Dialogue. Open dialogue within the rules and procedures of the General Assembly was essential, she said, emphasizing that transparency was vital to the process of approving or rejecting potential non-governmental participants, as was the need for open and transparent discussion.
WANG QUN (China) referred to the United Nations Charter and a resolution of the Economic and Social Council stating that participation by non-governmental organizations should be decided by Member States. Because of that, China supported the “non-objection” basis for approving participation by non-governmental organizations. That had been the practice in recent high-level dialogues at the General Assembly, he said. Some countries disregarded the Charter and precedents of the Assembly and were trying to make it difficult for non-governmental organizations to participate, and to block the High-level Dialogue’s outcome document, she said, calling on all Member States to vote in favour of the draft.
The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to 2 against ( Canada, United States), with 46 abstentions.
YANERIT MORGAN (Mexico) said she regretted the failure to reach consensus, which had led her delegation to abstain. She reiterated Mexico’s commitment to the broadest possible involvement of civil society in the High-level Dialogue, expressing regret at the draft’s restrictive vision of their participation. Mexico had hoped for greater support for a negotiated document, but the political will was lacking. Though it had appeared that positions were close together, they were not, she said, noting the “intransigence” of the European Union in rejecting compromise proposals.
ALISON HELENA CHARTRES (Australia) said the high-level negotiation should include a robust, transparent and meaningful engagement with civil society, and called for transparency in taking decisions on their participation.
JULIET HAY (New Zealand) said she had abstained because of concerns over the process for accrediting, which did not reflect due process or transparency.
MODEST MERO (United Republic of Tanzania) said he had tried to salvage the negotiations until the very last minute and looked forward to future consensus on the issue.
THOMAS GUERBER (Switzerland) said the text was balanced and many of its paragraphs were the result of compromises during the negotiations. However, Switzerland regretted the absence of consensus on the outcomes of the High-level Dialogue and on the issue of participation by non-governmental organizations lacking consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, despite considerable efforts to achieve it. He said he was unsatisfied with the ambiguity of the term “no objection” that had been suggested as a compromise, saying the views of Member States must be grounded in the principle of transparency. Switzerland had therefore abstained.
KNUT LANGELAND (Norway) also expressed regret over the absence of consensus and said he had abstained over the issue of participation by non-governmental organizations.
LARBI DJACTA (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, thanked the Chair and the facilitators for their work on negotiating the text, and especially those delegations that had voted in favour.
Taking up the operational activities for development, and the sub-item “Quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system”, the Committee had before it an unedited, informal paper, in English because negotiations had only concluded this morning. The Chair said that, on an exceptional basis, the Committee would take action on that version, on the understanding that the text would be processed by the Secretariat in all official languages and be made available to Member States in the General Assembly plenary during consideration of the Committee’s various reports.
The Secretary then read out a statement of programme budget implications arising from the draft
PIO WENNUBST ( Switzerland) said he was happy and proud to have negotiated a robust, pragmatic draft that was oriented to the aims of efficiency, relevance and financial savings in field operations and that represented a true compromise, negotiated in a spirit of openness.
The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.
Mr. MERO (United Republic of Tanzania) said the text would help the efficiency of the United Nations and the implementation of development projects in Member States.
SUSAN ECKEY (Norway) said the substantive resolution would make a real difference in the field and was an excellent present for the Committee as the holidays approached.
Mr. DJACTA (Algeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said he was pleased that consensus had come about through open and transparent negotiations.
TERRI ROBL ( United States) said her delegation supported the goals of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review and saw it as a useful tool going forward. However, the draft did not give the Office of Economic and Social Council Support in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs a new or expanded mandate, and the United States looked forward to budget discussions in the appropriate forums going forward.
OMAR THOMAS AL-AMIN BARGAWI, European Union delegation, said agreement on the draft would help in achieving sustainable development outcomes. Aid effectiveness would be bolstered by the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, but the European Union shared concerns over the programme budget implications, while understanding that the figures presented were only estimates that did not pre-judge future submissions. They should not be perceived as having been endorsed by Member States.
YASUAKI MOMITA (Japan), while thanking delegations for their flexibility during the negotiations, said it was regrettable that the oral statement had been issued during the meeting. Japan had questions and reservations about the oral statement, which, he reiterated, was not binding.
Ms. CHARTRES (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said she had not had time to review the statement of programme budget implications.
The Committee then approved the text without a vote, withdrawing an earlier version (document A/C.2/67/L.14).
The Committee then resumed its consideration of revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly, acting on a text titled “Draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly” (document A/C.2/67/L.65).
Mr. TALBOT, Committee Chair, said the Bureau took note of the various views expressed during a meeting aiming at improving the Committee’s working methods. On the matter of programme planning, he said there were no matters requiring the Committee’s attention or action under that agenda item.
Mr. TALBOT, Committee Chair, closed the meeting and the deliberations of the Second Committee, thanking Vice-Chairs, the Rapporteur, facilitators and the Secretariat for their work in a “challenging yet productive and successful” session. He stressed the “fundamental importance” of the Committee’s deliberations on the heels of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, saying that despite difficulties, delegations had been able to negotiate important draft resolutions that aimed to provide policy direction for the macroeconomic and trade actions of the international community. It was his hope that “our resolutions will help put the current economic context in perspective and inform policies to address the challenges it presents”.
Noting that countries in special situations had been hit hardest by global economic uncertainty, he called on the international community to stay fully engaged in supporting the small island developing States, least developed, landlocked least developed and post-conflict countries. The Committee had taken a significant step to follow up on the Istanbul commitments, including by adopting draft resolutions on smooth transitions, he said.
This year the Second Committee had co-hosted two high-level joint events, he said, one with the Economic and Social Council on the global economic outlook, and the other with the Third Committee and focused on information and communications technology for development. That type of collaboration between the Second Committee, the Economic and Social Council, and other bodies was essential to ensuring that the United Nations system responded coherently to global priorities.
The Second Committee was one of the few forums in which all Member States “sit at the same table to discuss economic and financial challenges”, he said. Ideas emerging from its sessions, having been refined during negotiations, represented the voice of the international community on ways to advance development. “We are transitioning from the traditional view of economic development to one of sustainable development in which economic, social, and environmental issues should be addressed jointly,” he said. The Second Committee’s work was helping pave the way in which development was viewed and understood. It was also shaping the way in which international cooperation was pursued to address current and future challenges, he said, adding that that was why it was of “utmost importance”.
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