6 December 2013
General Assembly
GA/EF/3391

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

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Second Committee

40th Meeting (PM)


Second Committee Approves 16 Draft Resolutions Including Text Urging Banks


to Move Forward on Aid for Developing Countries

 


The General Assembly would urge that multilateral development banks continue to move forward on flexible, concessional, and fast-disbursing aid that would substantially and quickly assist developing countries, by terms of one of 16 draft resolutions the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved today by consensus.


By the terms of that text, titled “International financial system and development”, 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.  It would also stress the need to improve standards of corporate and public sector governance, including those related to accounting and auditing.


The Committee then approved, without vote, a text titled “Commodities”, by which terms the Assembly would stress the importance of developing and strengthening agricultural policies and strategies that recognize and address women’s critical role in food security.  It would also stress that technical assistance and capacity-building aimed at improving the commodity export competitiveness of producers was particularly important, especially in Africa.  It would stress that the Aid for Trade initiative should aim to help least developed countries build the supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure.


Next, the Committee took up sustainable development, approving, without vote, a text titled “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea”.  The Assembly would encourage sharing of information on waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea.  It would also encourage partnerships between Governments, industry and civil society for raising awareness, reporting and monitoring of waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea.


Also under its sustainable development cluster, the Committee approved, without vote, a text on “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa”.  By those terms, the Assembly would stress the importance of the development and implementation of scientifically based, sound and socially inclusive methods.  It would also reiterate the need for cooperation through the sharing of climate and weather information, forecasting and early warning systems.


The Committee also approved a draft resolution on the “Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its first universal session and the implementation of section IV.C, entitled ‘Environmental pillar in the context of sustainable development’, of the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development’”.  The Assembly would reiterate the importance of the Nairobi headquarters location.  It would also urge donors and other stakeholders to increase voluntary funding to the Programme.


By a draft text titled “Harmony with Nature”, the General Assembly would encourage giving appropriate consideration to the issue of Harmony with Nature in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.  It would also call for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development that would guide humanity to live in harmony with nature and lead to efforts to restore the Earth’s ecosystems.


Next, the Committee approved, without vote, a draft titled “Sustainable mountain development”, by which terms, it would stress the special vulnerability of people living in usually remote mountain environments., often with limited access to health, education and economic systems and particularly at risk because of the negative impact of extreme natural phenomena. It would also stress that indigenous peoples’ traditions and knowledge were to be fully considered, respected and promoted in development policy, strategies and programmes.


The Committee then approved, without vote, the draft text titled “Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)”.  It would urge international and bilateral donors, and also the private sector, financial institutions and foundations, to support preparations for Habitat III through voluntary contributions.  It would also invite the international donor community and financial institutions to contribute generously to UN-Habitat through increased voluntary financial contributions.  It would also invite Member States and Habitat Agenda partners to formulate and implement sustainable urban development policies that promote just, resilient and inclusive cities.


Under its agenda item on globalization and interdependence, the Committee approved, without vote, a draft resolution titled “Development cooperation with middle-income countries”, by which terms the General Assembly would express concern that some middle-income countries were highly indebted and faced increased challenges to long-term debt sustainability.  It would also encourage developed countries, and developing countries declaring themselves in a position to do so, to take steps towards the goal of realizing the timely implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all least developed countries.


Next, on its cluster of groups of countries in special situations, the Committee approved, without vote, a text on the “Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries”.  It would express concern that, after a decade of steady economic growth, the least developed countries were facing significant challenges in sustaining their economic growth.  It would stress that least developed countries should receive a special focus throughout the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, with a view to ensuring the realization of the objective of ensuring access to energy for all by 2030.  By other terms, it would stress the need for the international community to remain vigilant in monitoring the debt situation of the least developed countries and to continue to take measures to address the debt problem of those countries.


The Committee then approved a text titled “Specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries: outcome of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation”.  The Assembly would urge those landlocked developing countries that had not yet done so to accede to or to ratify the Multilateral Agreement for the Establishment of an International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries.


The Committee then approved the text on the “Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017), by which terms the General Assembly would stress the importance of public-private partnerships in a wide range of areas, with the aim of eradicating poverty and promoting decent work for all and social integration.  It would also urge Member States to address the challenge of youth unemployment by developing and implementing strategies that give young people a real chance to find decent work.  By other terms it would urge the international community, including the United Nations system, to implement the outcome documents relating to the internationally agreed development goals.


Turning to its next draft, titled “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”, by which terms the Assembly would stress the need to address the root causes of excessive food price volatility.  It would urge Member States and international organizations to pursue policies and strategies that improve the functioning of national, regional and international markets.  It would stress that a universal, open, and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system would promote agriculture and rural development in developing countries.  It would also stress the need to remove food export restrictions or extraordinary taxes on food purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes by the World Food Programme.


The Committee also approved a draft resolution, titled “International Year of Pulses, 2016”, by which terms it would decide to declare 2016 the International Year of Pulses.  It would also stress that the costs of all activities that may arise from the implementation of the present resolution above and beyond activities currently within the mandate of the lead agency should be met with voluntary contributions.


Also under that agriculture cluster, the Committee approved a text entitled “World Soil Day and International Year of Soils”.  It would decide to designate 5 December as World Soil Day and declare 2015 the International Year of Soils.  It would also stress that the cost of all activities that may arise from the present resolution should be met from voluntary contributions.


Under the cluster of towards global partnerships, the Committee approved a draft text entitled “Towards global partnerships: a principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners”.  By its terms, the General Assembly would stress that partnerships were voluntary and collaborative relationships.  It would further stress that partnerships should be consistent with national laws and national development strategies.


The Committee Chair, Abdou Salam Dialou ( Senegal), said that he would write a letter to the General Assembly President to request the Committee an extension until 11 December.  He stressed that all consultations on all draft resolutions to conclude this evening.


Speaking today were the representatives of Uganda, Suriname, Lithuania (on behalf of the European Union), Eritrea, Italy, Bolivia, Peru, Singapore, Fiji (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Sri Lanka, United States, Japan, Canada, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Belarus, Turkey, Benin, Bulgaria, Romania, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Dominican Republic, Switzerland and the European Union Delegation.


The Second Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on 16 draft resolutions addressing issues related to sustainable development, groups of countries in special situations and global partnerships, among others.


Action on Drafts


The Committee took action on several draft resolutions, first noting the text on “International financial system and development” (document A/C.2/68/L.60).  Since the document had been submitted that same morning, the Committee agreed to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules and procedure of the General Assembly.  The Committee then approved the text without a vote, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.4).


The Committee then took up a draft titled “Commodities” (document A/C.2/68/L.71), agreeing to take action on an unedited version available only in English.  The draft resolution was approved without a vote and the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.16) was withdrawn.


Taking up sustainable development, a draft titled “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea” (document A/C.2/68/L.37/Rev.1) was introduced to the Committee.  Since the document was only submitted that same morning, the Committee agreed to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules and procedure of the General Assembly.


The representative of Lithuania, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the draft resolution reflected the concerns of many States about the potential long-term environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea.  The text encouraged outreach efforts to assess and increase awareness, promoting voluntary sharing of information and providing assistance in sharing experience, among others.


The Committee then took note of a text on “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (document A/C.2/68/L.64).  Since the document was only submitted that same morning, the Committee agreed to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules and procedure of the General Assembly.  Approving the text without a vote, the previous version of the draft (document A/C.2/68/L.22) was withdrawn.


The Committee next took up a text on “Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its first universal session and the implementation of section IV.C, entitled ‘Environmental pillar in the context of sustainable development’”, of the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/68/L.63).  As the document was only submitted that morning, the Committee agreed to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules and procedure of the General Assembly.


The representative of Italy, the primary facilitator of the text, took the floor to make an editorial comment on paragraph 19, saying that the quotes in the last line of paragraph 19 should be closed.  She then applauded the consensus found on the draft resolution, despite the difficult negotiations.


Without voting, the Committee approved the draft text, as orally revised, withdrawing its previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.32).


The Committee then took up a text on “Harmony with Nature” (document A/C.2/68/L.59)


The representative of Bolivia, main facilitator of the draft text, made an oral revision in operational paragraph 7.


The Committee adopted the draft, as orally revised, and the main sponsors of its previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.43) withdrew it.


The Committee then took up a text on “Sustainable mountain development” (document A/C.2/68/L.31/Rev.1).


The representative of Peru joined the previous delegates in expressing condolences for the passing of President Mandela of South Africa.


The Committee then took up a text entitled “Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)”.  Since the document was only submitted that morning, the Committee agreed to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules and procedure of the General Assembly.  The Chair then informed of the Programme Budget Implications contained in document A/C.2/68/L.53 and submitted by the Secretary-General in accordance with rule 153 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.


The representative of Singapore welcomed the positive outcome of the lengthy and difficult negotiations of the draft text.


After the Committee adopted the draft text without a vote, the representative of Fiji, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” and China, welcomed the substantive content of the text, as well as the proclamation of the “World Cities Day”.  He then stressed the importance of resources for UN-Habitat so that it could carry out its mandate.  Regarding the inputs and support required for the conference on housing and sustainable urban development, he underscored that they were to be met by voluntary contributions budget and the regular budget.


The representative of Sri Lanka thanked the UN-Habitat, the Secretariat and the facilitator of the draft text.


The representative of the European Union Delegation reaffirmed his commitment to UN-Habitat, to the conference and to the substantial issue of human settlements and sustainable urban development.  He then expressed his disappointment over the programme budget implications of the resolution and over the unclear process that led to it.  Despite the clear affirmation by the draft resolution that the resource needs were to be met by regular budget and voluntary contributions, he could not understand why the programme budget implication omitted the use of voluntary contributions.


The representative of the United States was disappointed over the budget process, stressing that the majority of the resources for the conference on housing and sustainable urban development should come from voluntary contributions.  She also underscored that the figures contained in the draft resolution should be considered only figurate, having no endorsement by Member States.


The representative of Japan welcomed the references within the text of gender equality and women’s empowerment but expressed concern over the budgetary issues.  She said that the information provided to the Member States had been insufficient and that the programme budget implications could have been avoided if relevant information had been given in a timely and clear manner.  In conclusion, she urged that the total amount of the programme budget implication be reduced and that resources be met by voluntary contributions.


The representative of Canada expressed concern over the operative paragraph 4 and questioned a reason for omitting the decision of the UN-Habitat Governing Council.  She also noted that the figures presented were estimates and would be subject to the approval of the Fifth Committee.


The Committee then withdrew the previous version of the draft text (document A/C.2/68/L.14).


The Committee then took up a text on “Development cooperation with middle-income countries” (document A/C.2/68/L.65).


The Chair said that as the document was only circulated this morning, it would be necessary to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.


The representative of Argentina noted some editorial changes in the document and thanked delegations that took part in the negotiations.


The text was then approved without vote.


The representative of Colombia said that middle-income countries’ concerns, needs and aspirations must be addressed especially at a time when the world was deliberating and discussing sustainable development goals.  The text was adopted following an arduous effort, he said.


The representative of Costa Ricasaid it was the first time the United Nations was addressing the development needs of middle-income countries beyond just the variable of income.  The draft recognized the solidarity that had always existed among those countries.  The text was a substantial step forward to addressing poverty.


The representative of Belarus said an extraordinary event had occurred with the approval of the draft.  For the first time, a decision had been taken to develop cooperation among middle-income countries and would be now considered as a special agenda by the General Assembly.  Today’s decision would significantly help with the coordination and cooperation among middle-income countries and must ultimately lead to a better targeted use of resources.  The process of systemizing cooperation of those countries was beneficial to all States.  Least developed countries would now have a clear set of guidelines towards transitioning to a higher category of countries, he added.


The representative of Sri Lanka thanked the facilitator of the resolution.


The representative of the European Union Delegation said he was committed to the balanced and delicate compromises achieved with the text.


The Committee then withdrew the earlier version (document A/C.2/68/L.35).


Continuing with groups of countries in special situations, the Committee took up a text on “Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries” (document A/C.2/68/L.58).


The representative of Turkey thanked Member States and the Secretariat for their efforts bringing consultations to a successful conclusion.


The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.


The representative of Benin, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, thanked the facilitator for the efforts deployed to bringing to a successful conclusion to negotiations.  He emphasized the importance of creating a technology bank, saying it was “more than necessary”.  He called on Member States to respect and comply with commitments made through the Istanbul Programme of Action.


Having approved the draft resolution, the Committee withdrew the earlier version (document A/C.2/68/L.9).


In relation to the comprehensive 10-year review conference on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action, the Committee took up a text on “Specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries: outcome of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation” (document A/C.2/68/L.55).


The representative of Bulgaria thanked colleagues for their hard work and patience.


The Committee then adopted the draft text, withdrawing a previous version of the text (document A/C.2/68/L.55).


Next, the Committee took up a draft text titled “Second United Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)” (document A/C.2/68/L.57).


The representative of Romania made some editorial amendments.


The Committee then approved the draft text.


The representative of Indiastressed that poverty eradication must be central to sustainable development efforts.  He said he was surprised that such a topic would require so much negotiation and discussion.  Ending poverty was the most important challenge in the world today and must underpin the global agenda.  It should not be subject to negotiation.


In light of the approved text, the Committee withdrew an earlier version (document A/C.2/68/L.3).


Turning to Agriculture development, food security and nutrition, the Committee took up a draft on “International Year of Pulses, 2016” (document A/C.2/68/L.20/Rev.1).


The representative of Turkey said that the main objective of the draft text was to raise awareness on the importance of pulses in poverty eradication.


The Committee took also note of a text entitled “World Soil Day and International Year of Soils” (document A/C.2/68/L.52), approving it without a vote, and withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.21).


The representative of the Russian Federation underscored that his delegation would have been pleased to join the co-sponsors of the draft resolution.


The Committee then took up a text on “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition” (document A/C.2/68/L.56).


The representative of the Dominican Republic revised orally the draft text.


The Committed then adopted the text without a vote, as orally revised, and withdrew its previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.28).


The representative of the United States joined consensus on the draft resolution, yet disagreed with the perception that States had extraterritorial obligations, as for instance her country was not a State party of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  She underscored that the draft text had no enforceable obligations, but reiterated her country’s commitment to sustainably reduce hunger worldwide.


Finally, the Committee took note of a text entitled “Towards global partnerships: a principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners” (document A/C.2/68/L.24/Rev.1).


The representative of Lithuania, speaking on behalf of the European Union, underscored that the draft text was tabled to highlight progress made in fostering global partnerships and to improve system-wide handling of partnerships, especially with respect to transparency, accountability and due diligence.


The representative of Switzerland, the facilitator of the draft text, informed that minor editorial changes would have been needed in the Spanish version of the text.


The Committee then approved without a vote the draft text, as orally revised.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record