|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
18th & 19th Meetings (AM & PM)
New Approach Needed to Address Vulnerabilities of Middle-income Countries,
Delegates Say in Debate on Globalization, Interdependence
Second Committee Concludes Talks on Information and Communications Technologies
Middle-income countries were vulnerable to being caught in a “middle-income trap”, whereby they risked losing their competitiveness to low-income countries while still lacking the technological edge to catch up to high-income ones, the representative of the Bahamas said as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up globalization and interdependence.
Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), he said he remained concerned with the issues of differentiation and graduation, and how they affected middle-income countries’ access to funding. The Caribbean was also disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis due to a significant reduction in tourism income. The region had experienced the illicit side effects of globalization including human trafficking, money laundering, narcotics and the illegal small arms trade.
Echoing that sentiment, the delegate from Belarus said that the global economic crisis exposed the vulnerabilities of middle-income countries and there had yet to be a systematic and progressive approach for assisting them. The increased level of inequality often experienced in their countries was the result of imbalanced globalization. It was common to see some regions of middle-income countries with strong development, as other regions lagged behind. Often the end result was increased poverty.
Argentina’s delegate said that in Latin America, where the majority of countries were in the middle-income classification, inequalities in the production structure resulted in economic distortions and social inequalities. The current classification system used by Member States that relied only on per capita income was an inefficient method of measurement and ignored substantial aspects of human development. Sounding a similar note, Gabon’s delegate said that as a middle-income country, it continued to face the same challenges as many least developed countries and that the classification of middle-income countries hid those challenges and excluded countries with that classification from receiving much-needed aid.
Fiji’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said economies could grow without addressing social problems. The few could gain wealth, while the majority remained poor. Globalization must be shaped to ensure that benefits were shared by everyone. India’s delegate, calling globalization the “defining reality of our times”, emphasized the need to strengthen multilateralism so that global governance could keep pace with globalization. A key aspect of globalization was balancing the needs of nations at different levels of development and ensuring an equitable sharing of resources.
Several delegates emphasized the role of culture in development, with Peru’s representative stressing that culture must be placed at the heart of the post-2015 agenda. Speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Culture and Development, he said culture was an important contributor to the three pillars of sustainable development, to peace and security, and to shaping the future global development agenda. Senegal’s delegate said it was essential to incorporate culture in the development paradigm, as it was part and parcel of all development processes. The United Nations must take a central role in promoting multilingualism and dialogue among cultures.
Earlier, several reports were introduced for the Committee’s consideration by the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Assistant Director-General for Culture of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a representative from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and an Economic Affairs Officer in the Global Monitoring Unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Before taking up globalization and interdependence, the Committee concluded its consideration of information and communications technology, with the representatives of Malaysia and Sri Lanka delivering statements. An official with UNESCO also spoke.
Also delivering statements on globalization and interdependence were representatives of Ethiopia (on behalf of African Group) Cuba (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Mexico, Nigeria, Colombia, Libya, Russian Federation, Brazil, South Africa, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Japan, France, Tonga, Benin, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Singapore, Jordan, Iran, Jamaica, Botswana and Tunisia.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. 24 October to take up macroeconomic policy questions.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to conclude its consideration of information and communications technology for development and begin its discussion on globalization and interdependence. On the second item, it had before it four reports of the Secretary-General, including the “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence” (document A/68/259), “Science and technology for development” (document A/68/227), “Development cooperation with middle-income countries” (document A/68/265) and “Culture and development” (document A/68/266).
Information and Communications Technologies for Development
NOR AZMAN TAIB ( Malaysia) said that information and communications technology were critical enablers of economic development and investment, with consequential benefits for employment and social welfare. For Malaysia, several initiatives, namely the Multimedia Super Corridor, the National Broadband Initiative and Digital Malaysia, were working to ensure that the country would have a high standard of living and be competitively relevant on the global stage. Mobile broadband access was now more affordable for consumers than fixed broadband, he said, highlighting initiatives that reduced broadband access costs. Young people aged 21 to 30 were able to apply for a rebate for selected smartphones. Another initiative focused on distributing one million computers to low-income groups to ensure that they have an opportunity to access the Internet and also increase broadband usage throughout the country. At the regional level, Malaysia would continue to support Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) efforts to guide policy on issues like cross-border information flows.
PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said that the inclusion of information and communications technology in the post-2015 development agenda would bring immense benefit, especially in leap-frogging socioeconomic development in developing countries. The commendable progress of the sector in Sri Lanka was a reflection of the Government’s people-centric policies and its strategy to develop the country as the major information and communications technology and knowledge hub in the region. He outlined many efforts made in that regard, such as increasing access to information and services in remote rural areas, establishing technology laboratories and computer training centres and delivering e-Government services in local languages. Sri Lanka had ambitious targets to advance further, but the recent economic crisis had affected its capacity to mobilize resources and acquire new technologies, he said, calling for the strengthening of South-South Cooperation together with the further enhancement of North-South Cooperation in the information and communications technology field.
SUZANNE BILELLO, a representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that new technologies had created new opportunities for the creation, preservation, dissemination and use of information, but it was human activity that enabled information to be transformed into knowledge, and knowledge to add value to human experience and development. She drew the attention of the Committee to the joint statement by 30 United Nations Group on Information Society members, which stressed the importance of information and communications technology for the post-2015 development agenda. It was important to link the World Summit on the Information Society +10 Review process and outcomes to the post-2015 agenda, as well as to include the lessons learned from technology uses.
Globalization and Interdependence
SHAMSHAD AKHTAR, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report on the “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence”, saying the document explored the role of globalization in sustainable development and the implications for a unified, universal sustainable development agenda for post-2015. Developing countries had reduced hunger and poverty by taking advantage of trade opportunities, although it remained difficult to ensure that all people benefited from the full potential of globalization. Flows of capital and labour had created opportunities for some and negative consequences for others. Globalization was a powerful force, yet it carried risks manifested by imbalances in its benefits and costs, while a broad range of events had changed globalization trends, highlighting the need to review the course of development. The report also offered recommendations, including the need for a long-term repositioning of the United Nations system given the new global paradigm. The international community must place development at the centre of globalization, rather than viewing it as a by-product.
FRANCESCO BANDARIN, Assistant Director-General for Culture of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, introduced the report “Culture and Development”, saying culture was a driver of development, although one size did not fit all. Development policies must respect the diversity of the cultural context to be effective, while culture must be viewed as a key economic enabler, with ties to areas such as education, health and the environment. Culture could drive sustainable development and was a strong and vital economic sector in many emerging economies, as it produced jobs, helped alleviate poverty and constituted a growing part of gross domestic product (GDP) in many countries. In the past few years there had been advancements in the understanding of how cultural heritage linked to economies and there was growing interest in cultural issues across the United Nations system. Given the growing body of evidence available, cultural issues should be built into the post-2015 agenda.
MARISA D. HENDERSON, a representative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), introduced the report “Science and technology for development”, saying the document highlighted the importance of information and communications technology capacities, such as open source software and social networks in developing countries to promote networking and collaborative learning. Urbanization was another key issue area, particularly the role of science, technology and innovation for ensuring sustainable urbanization in developing countries. Looking forward to the post-2015 agenda, the report noted that developing countries would likely find it difficult to raise living standards in a sustained manner, feed their growing populations, keep their children healthy, and protect their environment if they could not find ways to use existing technologies in a cost-effective manner. Persistent obstacles to technology and innovation capacity in developing countries would need to be addressed through a global partnership for development.
MATTHIAS KEMPF, Economic Affairs Officer in the Global Monitoring Unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report on “Development cooperation with middle-income countries”, saying that about 74 per cent of the world’s poor lived in middle-income countries. There was increased South-South cooperation, as well as cooperation between middle-income countries and developing countries, including the least developed countries. Growth performances have become less volatile in relative terms, although there was variance by region and many examples of growth compression. The report highlighted the challenges faced by middle-income countries, including the middle‑income trap and a lack of technological competitiveness, which kept them below more developed countries. Statistics also indicated that many low-income countries experienced significant economic slowdowns after moving into the middle‑income bracket. Policies needed to be developed that promoted economic growth, but that were also inclusive and sustainable. Developed countries and the United Nations system could help in that respect by strengthening national capacities for policy development and supporting training and institution building. The report listed conclusions and recommendations, including the need for a strategic framework for development assistance to middle-income countries and plans for future discussions on the classification process. It was important to note that assistance to middle-income countries should not crowd out aid to other developing countries, particularly those least developed.
Question and Answer
RAYMOND HAROLD LANDVELD (SURINAME) welcomed the prospect of future discussions on the classification of middle-income countries, saying they needed to be considered beyond income issues. Many times those countries were still developing countries and needed support to continue moving along a positive development path.
With regard to the presentation from UNCTAD, Millennium Development Goal 8 had a target on Internet access, so perhaps that target should be reviewed to see how it may fit into the post-2015 agenda.
On the presentation from UNESCO, he questioned how cultural issues could potentially be woven into the post-2015 agenda.
Mr. BANDARIN said culture had a general role in development but could also have a specific role in the future development agenda in areas such as the environment, urban development and management. Since discussions on the post-2015 agenda were still being formulated, there were many opportunities for culture to play a role in those targets.
Ms. AKHTAR said that exploring the role of the Internet in the formulation of the post-2015 was a good suggestion and Member States could bring that issue up when discussions on the future development agenda got underway later that year.
Mr. KEMPF said there was an ongoing discussion on how to promote the issues of the middle-income countries, including how to protect them from external shocks, particularly in the case of resource-based economies. Changing the name of middle-income countries was one possibility, although a more immediate issue was whether it made sense to maintain the classification and introduce other variables that created subgroups on issues like the environment and education. Moving forward, it was important to keep in mind the policymaker’s perspective, as well as the diversity found within the middle-income classification.
NEIL PIERRE, of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the key issue was how development related to issues of definition, classification and the validity of measurement tools. One way to gain a better understanding of those issues was to continue the analytical normative work that was being carried out within many sections of the United Nations.
PETER THOMSON ( Fiji), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that if managed properly, economic integration could provide development opportunities. However, economic globalization must not be based on an outdated model that did not take into account the development agenda. Globalization must be shaped to ensure that benefits were shared by everyone. He called for greater integration between the United Nations, its agencies and various international financial institutions, particularly in the 2015 development era. Recent rapid developments in science and technology played a major role in facilitating efforts to confront global challenges including eradicating poverty, achieving food security, protecting the environment and improving productivity and competitiveness. But many developing countries still lacked affordable access to them.
For the majority of the poor, the promise of technology remained unfulfilled, he said, stressing that technology transfer was an important catalyst to bridge the digital divide. Creation of a technology facilitation mechanism could also be a step in the right direction. Culture was an important factor in social inclusion and a source of human enrichment and development. The 2013 Economic and Social Council session in Geneva highlighted the contribution of culture in the development discourse. Middle-income countries constituted 74 per cent of the world population. Their classification per capital income provided an incomplete picture that masked severe disparities between and within countries. Economies could grow without addressing social problems. The few could gain wealth, while the majority remained poor. Middle-income countries faced serious challenges such as widespread poverty, inequality and public health inadequacies. They urgently needed jobs and international aid.
ELLISTON RAHMING (Bahamas), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said that his region had been bombarded with the illicit side effects of globalization. That included human trafficking, money laundering, narcotics and the illegal small arms trade. CARICOM was extremely concerned with the issues of differentiation and graduation, and how they affected access to funding. Middle-income countries were vulnerable to being caught in a middle-income trap, where they lose competitiveness but still lack the technological edge to compete with developed countries. The Community’s inherent vulnerabilities to increasingly frequent natural disasters threatened its economic growth and sustainable development. The region was also disproportionately impacted by the economic crisis because of its close linkages with the United States and Europe and a significant reduction in tourism income.
The specific vulnerabilities faced by small island developing States were not reflected in the economic classification of countries, he said, emphasizing the need for a post-2015 development agenda to address their challenges. CARICOM called for the immediate review of the criterion used by multilateral financial institutions and some development partners to graduate small highly indebted middle-income countries from access to concessional resources. A fair and equitable trading regime must also address emerging issues of importance to small vulnerable economies and reduce barriers to trade among developing countries. Rum production, which remained one of the region’s last competitive industries, was threatened by trade subsidies.
AMAN HASSEN BAME (Ethiopia), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that technology would be imperative in implementing the future Sustainable Development Goals. However, it seemed that it did not enjoy the attention it deserved among the Rio+20 follow-up processes. He called for the launch of a technology process similar to the process for sustainable development financing. The Group believed it was important to work with partners to develop a global framework that included technology and skills transfer. In the same vein, it must take into account Africa’s specific characteristics.
Technology was at the heart of any development process, especially in the fields of education, health, agriculture and food security, he said. The technology gap between rich and poor countries reinforced inequalities and undermined efforts aimed at eradicating poverty. The international community must help enhance regional and international cooperation for research and technological development, particularly for the setting up of financing mechanisms. Particular attention was required for middle-income countries, which had their own diverse and specific needs. At the same time, African least developed countries required special consideration in the global development framework, he said, emphasizing the need to respect cultural diversity.
Emilio González Soca (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC), underlined the importance of discussions on middle-income countries in relation to the post-2015 development agenda. He expected the “San Jose Declaration”, which was agreed upon by middle-income countries in June 2013, to contribute to those discussions. CELAC acknowledged the huge development challenges, such as high poverty and inequality, which their countries faced. While the post-2015 agenda needed to contain an unequivocal commitment from developed countries to supporting developing countries, their countries were not to be considered “new donors” or be burdened with any undue responsibilities.
He stated his commitment to South-South cooperation as a complement to North-South cooperation and underlined the need for middle-income countries to receive international development cooperation, particularly to address the specific challenges they faced. He called for a comprehensive plan on cooperation with middle-income countries and said activities in that regard could be streamlined if there was a United Nations system coordination mechanism backing the measure. He noted that the entire United Nations system should address the particular needs and goals of middle-income countries, focusing especially on the so-called “upper middle-income countries”.
NORACHIT SINHASENI ( Thailand), speaking on behalf of ASEAN, aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China. He agreed with the Secretariat report that international trade could be a powerful catalyst for reaching socioeconomic objectives. But trade did not always lead to sustainable development and the international community had to implement trade-related policies that ensured equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. These policies included free and fair trade and investment, reducing the use of non-tariff measures and connecting producers to global markets. ASEAN believed a rule-based global trading system would help support efforts to achieve its development goals and the ninth ministerial Conference in Bali in December needed to yield a meaningful outcome that benefited all countries.
Institutional and policy support were needed to complement international trade while science, technology and innovation were essential pieces of the post‑2015 development agenda, he said. Yet many developing countries lacked affordable access to science and technology, especially information and communications technology. International mechanisms were necessary for effective technology transfers between developed and developing countries as well as among developing countries. An overreaching, well-defined strategic framework for development cooperation among middle-income countries and improved coordination within the United Nations system was necessary. Cooperation should zero in on redesigning the development strategies of middle-income countries to avoid the middle-income trap and ensure sustained long-term economic growth. He welcomed the World Culture in Development Forum scheduled for Bali in November. It would enrich the debate on culture’s impact on the three pillars of sustainable development.
SHRUTI CHOUDRY ( India), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that globalization was the “defining reality of our times”. The benefits of globalization had not been shared by all while its costs had been unevenly distributed. A clear manifestation of the negative effects of globalization was the global economic crisis. Developing countries became its primary victims even though they were the least responsible for it. Emphasizing the need to strengthen multilateralism so that global governance could keep pace with globalization, she said the United Nations and international financial institutions must be reformed. A key aspect of globalization was balancing the needs of nations at different levels of development and ensuring an equitable sharing of resources. Indeed, the sprit of globalization rested on the migration of people. Managing globalization so that it benefitted everyone had to be the central objective of the post-2015 development agenda, which must be anchored in a supportive international economic environment that ensured fair trade and the adequate transfer of technology.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that his country had benefitted from liberal trade policies. But with recent developments, it had experienced the negative effects of globalization, for instance when oil prices doubled last summer. If globalization was properly regulated, it could be a means of development among both developed and developing countries. To that end, decision-making at the international level must be more democratic and participatory so that the poor had a greater say. Science, technology and innovation were important to ensuring an advanced society, he said, highlighting Malaysia’s policies aimed at improving the economic, political and social sectors. The national agenda also cut across all sectors with the ultimate goal to transform his country into a scientifically and technologically savvy economy. To that end, capacity-building in the area of training and the technology transfer of affordable resources was imperative. On trade, he urged the conclusion of the Doha Round to create a fair and equitable international trade regime.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that the concept of globalization itself was a manifestation of interdependence, endorsing the view that for long‑term sustainability of development, no country could be left behind. The reality, unfortunately, was different. Highlighting the role of science, innovation and technology in development, he said using technology had helped Bangladesh reduce poverty by more than half. It had also helped his country achieve Millennium Development Goals 3 and 4. As his country was prone to natural hazards, Bangladeshi scientists had innovated crops that were flood resistant and could grow in saline environment. However, that was not the case with many least developed countries, which were disproportionately outdated in the area of science and technology. The international community had a responsibility to help those countries leap-frog in the areas of science and technology and enable them to improve their productive capacity.
VICTOR Muñoz ( Peru), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that culture was a source of social and economic development and could speed up the achievement of the universally-agreed development goals. Culture was a cross-cutting issue and provided specific local content, so it was important to recognize cultural diversity and integrate it into development polices. There was significant progress in including culture into the United Nations development agenda and Peru hoped that going forward, culture would be placed at the heart of the post-2015 agenda. Peru had recently organized a meeting with the Director-General of UNESCO, and the Group of Friends of Culture and Development was established. That group recognized the role of culture in sustainable development, both as a facilitator and driver. It also believed culture was an important contributor to the three pillars of sustainable development, as well as to peace and security.
VADIM PISAREVICH ( Belarus) said his country was gratified to see increased interest in the issue of cooperation between middle-income countries and the United Nations system. Middle-income countries were in need of continued support since the post-2015 agenda would heavily impact the future of these countries. The steady development of the middle-income countries was an indicator of global development as a whole, although domestic inequality was of great concern. The increased level of inequality often experienced in middle-income countries was the result of imbalanced globalization, where some regions of the country developed successfully, while other regions lagged behind. The end result was increased poverty in many middle-income countries. The global economic crisis also hit the middle-income countries hard and showed their vulnerability. There had yet to be a systematic and progressive approach to assisting middle-income countries, which could be resolved through the creation of a comprehensive action plan by the United Nations.
ZHAO XINLI ( China) aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China. He praised the productive recent work of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development and said his country’s pursuit of the “Chinese dream” of national revitalization could also create opportunities for others who believed in “win‑win” cooperation. Scientific and technological innovation was a pillar of China’s national development framework, he said, calling on the international community to prioritize innovation in the post-2015 development agenda because it could push overall progress and help confront the world’s most serious challenges. He supported establishment of the United Nations Mechanism for Scientific and Technological Innovation and proposed leveraging technology and innovation for development, particularly by ensuring its strong role in the post-2015 development goals. In addition, he called for capacity-building efforts to help boost developing countries and urged greater openness and international cooperation, including an end to unnecessary import and export restrictions on technology.
SARAH LUNA ( Mexico), associating herself with CELAC, said that poverty and inequality continued to exist throughout the world. Development was not a linear process. Simply monitoring GDP was not effort to accurately reflect the economic development of countries. In that sense, middle-income countries, despite their classification, remained vulnerable and had serious challenges and structural gaps. Emphasizing that culture, science, technology and innovation were important at all levels of development, she pointed to Mexico’s project on the promotion of efficient lighting technologies. It had designated 2015 as the international year on that matter, with the aim of bringing together all relevant stakeholders and setting up partnerships among policymakers and the scientific community. The post-2015 development agenda must be holistic and focused on bridging the Internet and telephony gap.
ABDOURAHMANE TRAORE ( Senegal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said cultural awareness was needed for integral development. Hence, it was essential to rethink the development paradigm in the area of the promotion of culture. The United Nations must take a central role in promoting multilingualism and dialogue of cultures. Culture was part and parcel to all development processes, he said, emphasizing that in a normal and balanced society, culture promoted development. The nexus between culture and development was clear in the emergence of all civilizations. Senegal was developing two projects in its global heritage sites classified by UNESCO, he said, stressing that culture must be given its true place in the quest for development.
EMMANUEL Okafor( Nigeria), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that while globalization had great potential, it also came with high risks. Given its influence on humanity, Nigeria believed the challenges of globalization should be discussed as part of the post-2015 agenda and that the United Nations had an important role to play in globalization and integration issues. Nigeria urged the international community to address science, technology and innovation challenges in developing countries, while supporting South-South cooperation in that area. Gender considerations were also not being taken into account during science, technology and innovation policy development, which was another concern. Nigeria reaffirmed the need for the global community to support innovation to address the challenges faced by the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. The crucial role of culture in sustainable development and well-being could not be underestimated and diversity should be preserved as a crucial element of human development. Nigeria was also concerned that the increased breakdown of trade barriers resulted in developed countries dumping cheap manufactured goods into developing countries, rendering local sectors ineffective.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ (Colombia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that the elimination of poverty and inequality was a pre-condition for sustainable development, particularly for middle-income countries, which were home to about 70 per cent of the world’s poor. Although those countries had made significant progress, it was not reflected in improved development or the increased well-being of their people. Many of those countries were still in the middle-income trap because of the inadequate criteria for classification due to limits and restrictions that did not reflect obstacles to their development. The concept of development should be seen in a multi-faceted way and not just in terms of income. Development was not only linked to improving living standards, but to achieving progress in sustainable growth which addressed social and economic inequality. To achieve development the international community needed to overcome issues through innovation, investment and human capital in order to achieve the transformation and diversification of economies.
MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina), associated her delegation with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the focus on middle-income countries required resources from the international community and an assistance framework that promoted cooperation for development. Middle-income countries encountered great difficulties in areas such as poverty elimination and required support for the development of policy measures designed to address those difficulties. Inequalities in the production structure resulted in economic distortions and social inequalities, particularly in Latin America, where the majority of countries were in the middle-income classification. Those countries continued to encounter economic, social, and gender inequalities. The current classification system used by Member States that relied only on per capita income was an inefficient method of measurement and ignored substantial aspects of human development.
ABDULMONEM A.H. ESHANTA ( Libya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that although globalization was a major engine of growth, it was impossible to control it through traditional measures. Select countries had made great economic gains as a result of globalization, lifting millions of people from poverty. However, globalization negatively impacted culture and national identity. Developed countries should provide advice and guidance to developing countries on effective responses to the global economic environment. Coherence should be attained between national and international policies in terms of interdependence and development. Further, developing countries needed guidance and assistance in the areas of technology and science, as well as renewed international partnerships, particularly the least developed countries. Developed countries should support technology transfers to help developing countries to bridge digital and technological gaps and obstacles that hinder the acquisition of technology should be removed.
ANTON Y. MOROZOV ( Russian Federation) said that the global economy required a movement towards sustainable development. The international community must maximize knowledge to eliminate disparities in industrial areas and facilitate technology transfer to least developed and developing countries. State and private partnerships, the private sector, youth, women and civil society must participate in efforts toward that end. To boost economic growth, Russian Federation was investing and taking various initiatives to improve education, basic infrastructure and innovation. It had planned to create many new scientific and technological jobs in the areas of aviation, chemistry, space services and toxic waste disposal. State investment had doubled over the past few years to strengthen intellectual property rights. Information was important to the nation in fostering social and economic cooperation. United Nations leadership in science and technology would help improve political discussions on the matter at the highest level.
SERGIO RODRIGUES DOS SANTOS ( Brazil), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, noted the need for sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, and for tailoring the current global governance architecture to better address globalization’s shortcomings. The United Nations Development System, including ECOSOC and the High-Level Political Forum would help achieve that, he said, calling also for stronger institutional voices for developing countries. Science and technology could serve to improve productive capacities and efficiency, and Rio+20 had recognized the need for stepped-up cooperation on technology transfer. He described Brazil’s “Science Without Borders” programme which focused on enhancing research and technological innovation through academic institutions and went on to underscore the importance of development cooperation with middle-income countries. Eighty per cent of the world’s poor lived in such countries and they could help bridge gaps between developed and developing countries. With BRIC partners — including the Russian Federation, India and China — Brazil was founding a bank to promote development cooperation. He also described the contribution of culture to boosting local innovation and creativity and highlighted the link between biological diversity and indigenous traditional knowledge.
THULANI NYEMBE (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that overcoming complex interrelated challenges of the 21st century required multiple and complementary interventions. To that end, deepened partnerships in science, technology and innovation were needed. South Africa was committed to South-South cooperation and the transfer of technology and knowledge to develop human capital. Intellectual property rights frequently excluded the world’s poor from accessing the end products of investments in science, technology and innovation. The United Nations must do more to promote an environment where intellectual property rights did not constitute a barrier to the equitable distribution of the benefits arising from innovation and technology transfer. Creative and cultural industries played a critical role in nation-building and supporting local economic development by creating employment and investment opportunities.
TARIK IZIRAREN (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the post-2015 development agenda must serve as an opportunity to consolidate the contribution of culture and cultural diversity to the achievement of development goals. Culture was an essential aspect of a people-centred development approach. Respect for local heritage, culture and environment was indeed the essence of sustainability and development. Globalization and the information technology revolution that facilitated connections between people across the world represented an important opportunity for promoting cultural diversity. The revolution must be managed in a way that fostered mutual dialogue and respect for all cultures. He also emphasized the need to promote indigenous cultures and traditions in ecotourism policy development and initiatives.
CHITSAKA CHIPAZIWA ( Zimbabwe), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stressed the need to address imbalances and inequities in the global economy and underlined the importance of collaboration and cooperation. The United Nations was the best place to coordinate cooperation efforts. Global governance institutions needed reform to make them more democratic and to ensure louder voices for developing countries so they could play a greater part in globalization. Calling for an equitable global agenda, he said developed countries needed to honour aid commitments, address developing countries’ external debt and conclude the Doha Round. Trade boosted growth and development, he said, calling for fair commodity prices, increased foreign direct investment and an end to unilateral economic sanctions. He supported calls to bridge the technological and digital divides and called on the United Nations and international community to support efforts by developing countries to promote science and technology. He hoped for a review of the intellectual property rights regime and urged action to address the “brain drain”. He also stressed the importance of culture as a development resource.
YASUAKI MOMITA ( Japan) said Japan was committed to developing and sharing its knowledge and technologies with its international partners. The international community should play its part and help developing countries integrate policies regarding science, technology and innovation into their respective national development strategies and help extend science and technology under fair, transparent and mutually agreed terms. Japan had been working more closely with middle-income countries to use their development experience to carry out South-South and triangular cooperation between countries in various stages of development. The increasingly important role of middle-income countries should be woven into the renewed global partnership during the post-2015 development agenda. Yet the poverty and other difficult problems these middle-income countries faced should not be forgotten. Japan supported them with various bilateral assistance schemes, grant aid and Yen-denominated loans.
FRANCOIS GAVE (France) said culture was at the heart of development. It had a role in combating poverty; while science, education, language, and heritage formed the very identify of people and linked them to the rest of humanity. Culture was a value and a treasure. Development policies must include culture, as it was an element of social cohesion and helped build lasting peace. Culture was a factor in building the rule of law and strengthening freedom of expression. It promoted the building of lasting cities and territories and should be part of urban planning. There was also a link between preserving cultural diversity and the environment. Culture represented a tremendous opportunity to promote development. The link between culture and development was one of the main focus areas of France’s international cooperation programme and it should have a place in the post-2015 agenda.
MAHE TUPOUNIUA ( Tonga), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that globalization must benefit the world’s developing countries. United Nations development institutions in particular should be cautious so as not to neglect those countries that could not benefit from growing interdependence and international trade to the extend that other countries could. Globalization was not an evolution that the world passively watched. Rather, it was the product of efforts and choices that were actively and consciously shaped to serve the international community’s principles and needs, and the United Nations was uniquely positioned to lead that effort. While free trade was an important part of development, the unlimited import of unhealthy foods required serious attention. Globalization also carried with it environmental effects, and he joined other small island developing States in calling for the inclusion of climate change as a cross-cutting issue among the Sustainable Development Goals, and for oceans to be a thematic priority in the post-2015 agenda.
FRANCIS R. ZINSOU ( Benin) said development could not be considered without first taking into account culture. Culture was both the container and content of development. Culture could not be separated from development. Development progress that took into account culture could help societies prosper and open up to the outside world by facilitating dialogue between peoples. Despite being a small country geographically, Benin had about 50 different languages, with even more discovered by linguists just recently. Benin’s diversity in terms of language and culture enabled its citizens to live and work together in harmony. Cultural education was an important element in youth programmes so that young people could become not only better citizens of Benin, but also of Africa and the world.
Mr. FARDAN ( Bahrain), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, welcomed the United Nations’ efforts to identify links between culture and development. Thematic discussions on culture and development that focused on experiences allowed the global community to work to overcome poverty, discrimination and unemployment. Integrating culture into the United Nations development agenda, with a focus on human development, was a positive step. Bahrain placed great importance on culture, which was one of the strongest characteristics of the country, particularly with regard to archaeological heritage. Culture must be integrated into sustainable development policies and programmes.
NELSON MESSONE ( Gabon ) said that globalization created true opportunities for developing countries. But unchecked globalization led to multifaceted crises for which poor and developing countries were the main victims. The United Nations must continue to play a central role in promoting and strengthening international cooperation. To that end, new mechanisms established at the Rio+20 Conference must be rapidly put into action. As a middle-income country, Gabon continued to face the same challenges as many least developed countries, including environmental degradation and a lack of infrastructure. The classification of middle-income countries hid those challenges and excluded countries with that classification from receiving much-needed aid. New technologies were imperative for sustainable development as they had paved the way for African countries to make progress in information and communications technology. Closing the digital divide was imperative and must remain a significant priority of the post-2015 development agenda. He noted the significant role of culture in development and emphasized the importance of multilingualism.
SAUL WEISLEDER (Costa Rica), aligning with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that as a middle-income country, Costa Rica called upon the international community to consolidate and build upon its commitments. He remained concerned over the absence of an integrated cooperation framework with middle-income countries within the United Nations system. In order to adequately include the aspirations of middle income countries in the new development agenda, the international community must make concrete progress on sustainable development issues in marginalized and vulnerable societies. Progress must be made in eradicating poverty and combating climate change. For middle-income countries, the international community must support efforts to enhance South-South and Triangular cooperation, technology transfer and sustainable economic growth.
ZHANG KANGMIN ( Singapore), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that exposure to science and technology could not stop outside of school. Rather, those subjects must be integrated into the foundations of society to ensure lifelong learning. Through the Intelligent Nation (iN2015) Masterplan, Singapore had also taken steps to make information and communications technology and services accessible in daily living to all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender or disability. Investing in its people and infrastructure had fuelled other economic activities and had added jobs to the economy. In addition, as a country with close to zero natural water resources, Singapore had innovated and developed new technologies that treated waste water to produce high-grade, ultra-clean reclaimed water.
DIANA ALI NAHAR AL-HADID ( Jordan), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the United Nations had a key role in promoting coordination between national and international organizations. The global community must promote cooperation among the Organization’s funds and programmes to carefully follow trends in globalization and interdependence. This was essential for the post-2015 period. Middle-income countries, due to their place in the international community, were linked to key issues such as climate change, food security, water and trade. These challenges must be dealt with on the global level. Earlier this year, Jordan hosted a regional meeting to discuss development priorities and define the post-2015 development programme. Conference participants highlighted science and technology and the importance of integrating these areas into national sustainable development policies. On a regional level, the use and transfer of technologies was seen as an ideal opportunity for South-South and North-South cooperation.
TAGHI MOHAMMAD POUR FERAMI, ( Iran), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the need to manage globalization was evident, as was the need to effectively tackle key development challenges. The United Nations should have a unique role in supporting national development efforts and ensuring that globalization benefited everyone through an effective multilateral system. The management of globalization should involve everything from solidarity to common, but differentiated responsibilities, to the right of development. Effective monitoring must be one of the key features of globalization management, and it must include an improved statistical measurement system with a robust baseline. Poverty remained a challenge, as did global unemployment. Global commitments must be translated into country-level commitments and national ownership should be fostered, with development financing aligned with national priorities. For the United Nations to enhance its relevance in the area of globalization there must be a long-range strategic repositioning of the Organization.
E. COURTNEY RATTRAY ( Jamaica) aligning himself with the Group of 77, CARICOM and CELAC, discussed the central role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence. Working with the international community, it could help to harness the positive aspects of globalization and reinvigorate the global partnership for development to help implement the post-2015 development agenda. He turned to development cooperation with middle-income countries, praising the contribution of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to broaden and deepen the debate on development cooperation with such countries. The debate was complex, not least because the term “middle-income country” covered a varied group of States facing many different realities. Per capita income was the wrong way to measure development as it obscured the many challenges faced. The post-2015 development agenda needed to be underpinned by better analysis. Noting the important link between culture and development, he said culture was an enabler and driver of sustainable development with a strong potential impact on social development, peace and security and environmental sustainability.
PHOLOGO J. GAUMAKWE (Botswana), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted that the group of middle income countries was very diverse, with the classification masking widespread poverty and varied progress toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Many such countries faced poverty, undernourishment, high unemployment and poor healthcare, education and sanitation. Their diverse needs could be best addressed through the United Nations system. Although some middle-income countries had graduated to high-income status, many others had seen rapid growth followed by stagnation or even economic decline. A comprehensive strategic framework for development cooperation with middle-income countries was needed, as was a refined classification system that went beyond gross domestic product (GDP). He also supported an inter-agency plan of action to improve cooperation with middle-income countries and said the post-2015 agenda should directly address their needs.
AMIRA DALI ( Tunisia) aligned herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stating that a United Nations team had reported that the main challenge of the post-2015 development agenda would be ensuring that globalization was a positive force for all. The team had also called international attention to combat growing poverty. Poverty’s persistence was morally, politically and economically shocking, she said, pointing out its links to conflicts, migratory tension and environmental damage, and calling for poverty eradication to be placed centrally in a human-focused post-2015 agenda. Noting the complexity of the international economic system, she underlined the need for cooperation between the United Nations, its Member States and other bodies to ensure equitable and sustainable development. She described Tunisia’s own employment reforms, its efforts to achieve regional development and its aid to vulnerable groups, conceding that democratic transition was necessarily beset by economic and social challenges and that international solidarity was vital to overcome them.
* *** *For information media • not an official record