United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

26 February 1997


Fifty-first session
Agenda item 94 (d)


              [on the report of the Second Committee (A/51/602)]

                         51/169.     Commodities

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolutions 45/200 of 21 December 1990, 47/185 of
22 December 1992, 48/214 of 23 December 1993 and 49/104 of 19 December
1994, and stressing the urgent need to ensure their full

      Recognizing that in many developing countries, in particular
African countries and least developed countries, the commodity sector
remains the principal source of export revenues and of the creation of
employment, income and savings, and a driving force of investments and
contributor to growth and development,

      Also recognizing the need for a better functioning of commodity
markets and the necessity of stable and more predictable commodity
prices, including searching for long-term solutions,

      Mindful of the need for developing countries, especially African
countries and least developed countries, to diversify their economies,
in particular the commodity sector, with a view to modernizing their
production, distribution and marketing systems, enhancing productivity
and stabilizing and increasing their export earnings,

      Concerned about the difficulties experienced by the developing
countries in financing and implementing viable diversification

      1.    Welcomes the outcome of the ninth session of the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, including the Midrand
Declaration and the document entitled "A Partnership for Growth and
Development", 1/ related to the issues of commodities;

      2.    Emphasizes the need for developing countries that are
heavily dependent on primary commodities of continuing to promote a
domestic policy and an institutional environment that encourage
diversification and enhance competitiveness;

      3.    Notes the need expressed by developing countries, in
particular the commodity-dependent developing countries, for stable
and more predictable commodity prices, in the face of instability and
decline in real terms of the prices of many commodities;

      4.    Expresses the urgent need for supportive international
policies to improve the functioning of commodity markets through
efficient and transparent price formation mechanisms, including
commodity exchanges, and through the use of commodity price risk
management instruments;

      5.    Urges developed countries to continue to support the
commodity diversification efforts of developing countries, especially
African countries, in a spirit of common purpose and efficiency, inter
alia, by providing technical and financial assistance for the
preparatory phase of their commodity diversification programmes;

      6.    Reiterates the importance of maximizing the contribution of
the commodity sector to economic growth and sustainable development in
commodity-dependent developing countries and, in this respect,
stresses, inter alia, that:

      (a)   Trade-distorting policies and practices, including tariff
and non-tariff barriers, tariff escalation and obstacles to
competition, have a negative effect on the ability of developing
countries to diversify their exports and to undertake the requisite
restructuring of their commodity sector;

      (b)   Expansion of South-South trade in commodities offers
opportunities for intersectoral linkages within and among exporting

      (c)   In line with Agenda 21 2/ and the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development, 3/ Governments should have as their
objective to ensure that trade and environmental policies are mutually
supportive so as to achieve sustainable development; in so doing,
their environmental policies and measures with a potential trade
impact should not be used for protectionist purposes;

      (d)   The issues related to commodities in the context of
sustainable development should be fully taken into account by all
overall review and appraisal machinery of the implementation of Agenda
21 adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and

      (e)   There is a need to promote research and development, to
provide infrastructure and support services and to encourage
investment, including joint ventures in developing countries engaged
in the commodity and commodity-processing sectors;

      7.    Emphasizes the importance for developing countries to
process a significant part of their commodities, and in that regard
stresses the importance of new market opportunities for their
processed and semi-processed commodities;

      8.    Encourages the Common Fund for Commodities, in cooperation
with the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development and other relevant bodies, to direct its
commodity development programmes more towards commodity sector
diversification projects, as well as to promote commodity market
development in the developing countries, with particular focus on the
needs of least developed countries, and to explore effective ways and
means of using the resources of the First Account of the Common Fund;

      9.    Urges producers and consumers of individual commodities to
intensify their efforts to reinforce mutual cooperation and

      10.   Requests the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations and other relevant international organizations to continue to
provide technical support to the basic food sector of developing
countries, in particular net food importing countries, inter alia, in
meeting their commitments under the Uruguay Round agreements;

      11.   Welcomes the technical cooperation activities that will be
undertaken by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development,
in collaboration with the World Trade Organization and other concerned
international organizations in the field of international commodity

      12.   Requests the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development, within the framework of its programme of cooperation with
the World Trade Organization, to provide analytical information
related to the Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the
Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least Developed
and Net Food-importing Developing Countries, 4/ and encourages it
to continue to assist, in accordance with the outcome of its ninth
session, in vertical and horizontal diversification in commodity-
dependent countries and to promote the use of risk management in
favour of producers and exporters;

      13.   Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development to report to the General Assembly
at its fifty-third session on world commodity trends and prospects,
with particular emphasis on commodity-dependent developing countries
in accordance with the outcome of the ninth session of the Conference;

      14.   Decides to include the question of commodities in the
provisional agenda of its fifty-third session.

                                                          86th plenary meeting
                                                              16 December 1996


1/    See A/51/308.

2/    Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1 (Vol.
I and Vol. I/Corr.1, Vol. II, Vol. III and Vol. III/Corr.1)) (United
Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigenda), vol. I:
Resolutions Adopted by the Conference,  resolution 1, annex II.

3/    Ibid., annex I.

4/    See Legal Instruments Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round
of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, done at Marrakesh on 15 April 1994
(GATT secretariat publication, Sales No. GATT/1994-7).


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