United Nations
General Assembly
Third Committee



                         STATEMENT BY NITIN DESAI
                             14 OCTOBER 1996
          Madam Chairperson
        I would like to begin by congratulating you and the members of your 
     bureau on your election to these very important positions for guiding 
     the work of the Third Committee.  We who have had the privilege of 
     working with you for the past several years know of your intelligence, 
     your dedication, your knowledge of issues and have great hopes for what 
     can be achieved in the Third Committee, under your very able and 
     distinguished guidance.
        Madam Chairperson, a few minutes ago, I was speaking to the Second 
     Committee.  The thrust of what I said there, was that we in the United 
     Nations have perhaps done a great deal and achieved a great deal in 
     terms of policy development over the past five or six years.  We have 
     done this in the context in which development and development 
     cooperation is being revisited.  There are several elements to this 
     rethinking on development, which I will not go into in detail, but the 
     essence of what I elaborated there was the fact that this rethinking 
     on development involves the integration of economic, social and 
     environmental concerns.  This focus on integration, particularly of 
     economic and social concerns, is very much the contribution of the 
     Third Committee.  I also mentioned that a part of this fresh look at 
     development involves trying to go beyond the North/South rhetoric into 
     identifying a basis for development cooperation, a basis for work on 
     development in the United Nations system which rests on shared goals, 
     shared objectives, shared values, and shared interests.  The Third 
     Committee, in the areas that it handles, has played a crucial role.  
     Your work on social development, on the advancement of women, and on 
     human rights clearly has a strong component of seeking to identify 
     such shared goals, shared values, shared objectives, and shared 
     interests.  A third element of development that I drew to the 
     attention of the Second Committee was the efforts being made to 
     identify a role for public policy in an environment where governments 
     are moving more and more towards a belief in market-based development. 
     Once again the work of your Committee inter alia on social 
     development issues, and on the advancement of women has helped us to 
     do that.  
        In many ways the great global conferences of the past five/six 
     years in the United Nations system have been oriented to what we 
     cannot leave to the market.  It is the Third Committee which has 
     played a crucial role in injecting into the Agenda, of these 
     Conferences, the focus on improving the condition of the world`s women 
     and children, the advancement of women, human rights, poverty 
     eradication, employment protection and social integration.   In the 
     case of two of these conferences processes, the Copenhagen World 
     Summit on Social Development and the Beijing Fourth World Conference 
     on Women, the Third Committee has helped to shape the agenda, the 
     orientation and the innovations in process which accompanied this.
        What I wish to stress here, is that even though our task of policy 
     development are not by any means over, and I am sure there will be 
     many areas where we will continue to require policy development, the 
     key issue now is to shift our focus to implementation.  
        We have over the past five or six years had a process of policy 
     development which has to a certain extent secured the type of 
     integration we were looking for between economic, social and 
     environmental issues, which has been credible in the eyes of not 
     merely those who are directly involved in negotiations, but also in 
     the eyes of those who are to implement these policies at the national 
     level, including actors outside governments, Iike business, trade 
     unions, cooperatives and above all in the eyes of NGOs, who are quite 
     often the people who brought this issue to our attention and who saw 
     to it that they were placed on our agenda.  Our challenge is to retain 
     the credibility of this policy development process by showing  that 
     this political process is also capable of putting equal pressure on 
        What does this require?  It requires, as in the case of 
     Conferences, an integrated view of monitoring and review at the 
     national, regional and the global level.  It requires integration in the 
     monitoring and review process which really means a better architecture. 
     In the functioning of the  intergovernmental process in the United 
     Nations, the Second and Third Committees, Economic and Social Council 
     and its functioning commissions, so that different elements of the 
     monitoring and review process can reinforce one another.  But even more 
     than that, what is strongly required is to ensure that the analytical, 
     normative and the operational work of the United Nations system is 
     increasingly guided, by the outcome, of these great policy development 
     processes; by the objectives of integration and mainstreaming which 
     underlie many of the outcome of these processes.  In this exercise, it 
     seems to me one of the key areas which we need to work on, is to link 
     the normative and the operational part.
        We have taken some steps to this effect.  The ACC has set up 
     certain task forces, a task force on employment and sustainable 
     livelihoods, a task force on basic social services, a task force on 
     the enabling environment.  It has also set up an interagency Committee 
     on Women and Gender Equality.  All of these steps are basically 
     designed to move from the policies as defined in these great 
     conference processes and in the other standing processes of the United 
     Nations, into operational guidelines for implementation at the country 
     level.  But I believe, that what we really also need to do, is to see 
     how the intergovernmental processes can contribute to ensuring a 
     better link between policy development and implementation.  It so 
     happens that the Agenda items that you are discussing now have to a 
     certain extent done that.  A good example of this is the programme on 
     disability, which sought to combine the analytical, the normative and 
     the operational side, where we did not stop at the point at which we 
     negotiated the policy and said that it is somebody else's job to 
     implement it, where we did set up the system of special rapporteur who 
     will report back to the Commission on Social Development and through 
     that, to ECOSOC and this Committee on the implementation of the 
     Standard Rules on Disability which were negotiated here.  This is one 
     example of what I mean by this linkage: I stress this because I 
     believe that the credibility of the policy development processes that 
     we have had over the past five/six years would be eroded if we were 
     not too ensure that these same political processes can be as effective 
     in ensuring effective implementation of the outcome of these 
        In the context of the Third Committee, the two major themes that 
     come up are integration and mainstreaming.  In some ways, in the area 
     of social development the key issue of integration is to treat social 
     progress not as a welfare issue to be added on to development policy, 
     but as something which is written into development policy ab initio.  
     Mainstreaming, perhaps more relevant in the case of gender equality, 
     which really requires us to look at the issue of the advancement of 
     women, not simply in terms of specific action which relate only to 
     women, but ensuring gender sensitivity in the very formulation of 
     development policy.  These two are in some ways the crucial 
     responsibility of the Third Committee.
        Madam Chairperson, I wish to preserve your time discipline and I 
     will not elaborate on this, but I would certainly wish to come back on 
     some of these issues when the specific items come up.  Let me, 
     therefore, end by saying, that we in the Secretariat, look forward to 
     the continued guidance and advice of this Committee on how we move from 
     the policy development phase to the implementation phase and once again 
     recognizing that it is not that policy development is all done and 
     over, but simply that in some ways we have to now devote as much 
     attention to implementation as we have in the past to policy 
     development.  I thank you and look forward to working with you, your 
     bureau and members of your Committee.  Thank you.


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