Volume 14, No.10 - October 2010

Global dialogue on development

Debate on economic growth and development

The Economic and Financial Committee – also known as Second Committee – will begin its work in the morning of 4 October

The first meeting of the Second Committee of the 65th session of the General Assembly took place on 17 September 2010 for the purpose of adopting the programme of work (A/C.2/65/L.1). The Committee is chaired by H.E. Ambassador Enkhtsetseg Ochir (Mongolia). The other Bureau members include Vice-Chairpersons, Mr. Erik Lundberg (Finland), Ms. Csilla Wurtz (Hungary) and Mr. Jean Claudy Pierre (Haiti). A Rapporteur remains to be elected from the African Group.

The Bureau also agreed on the following designation of responsibilities for clustered agenda items: (1) Ambassador Ochir (Chair) – General debate; Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly; Programme planning; (2) Mr. Lundberg – Macroeconomic policy questions; agriculture and food security; Financing for development; (3) Ms. Wurtz – Sustainable development; Human settlements; (4) Mr. Pierre – ICT; Globalization and interdependence; Operational activities for development.

The Committee decided to begin its work in the morning of 4 October by discussing its methods of work. In the afternoon of 4 October, the Committee will start its general debate by hearing opening remarks by the Chair and Under Secretary-General Mr. Sha Zukang, followed by a keynote speech by Prof. Robert Shiller of Yale University. The general debate will conclude on 6 October. The Committee has set itself the target date of 23 November for conclusion of its work.

During this session, the Second Committee will deal with issues related to economic growth and development, such as macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system, debt and commodities), financing for development, sustainable development, human settlements, globalization and interdependence, poverty eradication, operational activities for development and agriculture development.

The Second Committee will also consider issues related to Groups of Countries in special situations – such as the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). It will also consider the item on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.

As in previous sessions, there are four side events planned to take place during the course of the Second Committee. They cover the topics of poverty, Rio + 20, climate change with a special focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

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Social development, human rights in the spotlight

The sixty-fith session of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee starts on 4 October in New York and focuses on advancement of women on 11-13 October

The General Assembly allocates to its Third Committee agenda items relating to a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that affect peoples all over the world. An important part of the Committee’s work focuses on the examination of human rights questions, including reports of the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.

The Committee discusses social development, advancement of women, refugees, human rights, promotion and protection of the rights of children, indigenous issues and the elimination of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. The Committee also addresses questions related to the right to self- determination, promotion and protection of human rights, crime prevention and drug control.

Agenda item 28 on Advancement of Women will be taken up on 11-13 October, under the chairmanship of H. E. Mr. Michel Tommo Monthe, Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the United Nations. Three reports were prepared by the Division for the Advancement of Women (now part of UN Women) to facilitate discussions – “Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women” (A/65/208), “Trafficking in women and girls” (A/65/209), and “Measures taken and progress achieved in follow-up to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly” (A/65/204).

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Preparing for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review

DESA in collaboration with the Government of Thailand, UNESCO and ESCAP is organizing on 22-23 October an ECOSOC High-Level Regional Meeting on “Education and the achievement of the MDGs” for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, in preparation for the 2011 Annual Ministerial Review on the theme: “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”.

The Meeting will be held in the context of the UNESCO-APEID conference (21-23 October) on “Education for Human Resource Development”.

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Maximizing the benefits of international migration

The Second Committee of the General Assembly is scheduled to debate international migration and development on 27 October

The Secretary General’s report on international migration and development (A/65/203) highlights that globally the number of international migrants in 2010 is estimated at 214 million, up from 195 million in 2005. Females account for 49 per cent of the total. Six out of every 10 international migrants (128 million) reside in developed countries and the majority (74 million) originated in developing countries. Although the economic crisis has slowed down the increase in the number of international migrants in developed countries, new migrants have continued to arrive: 12.8 million between 2000 and 2005 and 10.5 million between 2005 and 2010.

While the economic crisis has implied rising unemployment for everyone, unemployment rates among foreign-born workers have risen faster than those among native workers in developed countries, partly because the main employment sectors for migrants ─ construction, manufacturing and finance ─ have been particularly affected. Yet, most migrants are staying in their countries of residence and return flows have been moderate.

Despite recent economic difficulties, the international community has continued to pursue strategies that leverage international migration for development, including by lowering the transfer costs of remittances and fostering the involvement of expatriate communities in promoting investment and entrepreneurship in countries of origin.

The report documents the activities of the 14 members of the Global Migration Group (GMG) and other relevant stakeholders to expand their engagement with Member States in order to mainstream international migration into poverty reduction strategies, to protect the rights of all migrants, to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and to build capacities for improving the evidence base for the formulation of policies that maximize the benefits of international migration. The report shows that at least US$ 240 million have been allocated to multilateral activities on international migration and development since 2007.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a State-led, informal consultative process that emerged from the 2006 High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development has met three times since 2007. Of the 114 recommendations produced by the Forum since 2007, 27 have been followed up by one GMG member and 75 by two or more members. The number of follow-up actions per recommendation increased from 2.4 in 2007 to 2.6 in 2008 and further to 3.9 in 2009, a sign of growing GMG engagement.

With the attention that Member States are giving to international migration, efforts to improve the statistics on international migration are gaining momentum. The availability of databases compiling information on the stocks, flows and characteristics of international migrants has increased and there is great potential for using the results of the 2010 round of population censuses to obtain a global characterization of international migrants that would lay the groundwork for assessing the impact of migration during the second High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development that the General Assembly will hold in 2013.

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High-level review of the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation

On 24-25 September, the 192-member United Nations General Assembly came together to review the progress made in addressing the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States in achieving sustainable development through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy

The event was attended by close to twenty heads or deputy heads of State and Government, heads of many UN agencies and regional commissions, and approximately seventy Major Groups.

Highly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters, and the vagaries of international finance and trade, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face unique challenges as they seek to promote economic growth, improve the quality of life, and protect their distinct environments.

The high-level review session provided the international community with an opportunity to discuss the way forward based on the assessment of the progress made, lessons learned and constraints encountered in the implementation of the agenda agreed five years ago in Mauritius.

At the event, countries discussed ways and means of strengthening the resilience of SIDS noting the efforts the small islands have made on their own initiative, while stressing the need for the international community to play an even more critical role in helping the islanders make progress in addressing their vulnerabilities and in supporting their sustainable development efforts through more targeted assistance and partnerships.

The meeting began with a high-level opening session, in the General Assembly Hall, and was followed by two multi-stakeholder roundtables, on “Reducing Vulnerabilities and Strengthening Resilience of SIDS” and “Enhancing International Support for the SIDS”, and thereafter by an interactive dialogue on cross-regional perspectives led by panelists from the three main SIDS’ regions to ensure cross-regional representation. The interactive dialogue addressed common cross-regional issues and priorities for the way forward.

The highlight of the event came during the closing session, when the General Assembly adopted the Political Declaration. The Declaration acknowledges the commitment demonstrated by SIDS to promote sustainable development over the past five years, and also recognizes the important role that the international community has played in this regard.

However, the Declaration also highlights that many challenges that still affect SIDS. Through the Declaration, both SIDS and the international community commit to continue to work together in addressing these constraints, including in priority areas such as climate change, energy, food security, tourism, biodiversity, and conservation of coastal and marine resources.

In closing, the Declaration also requests the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive review and examine ways to enhance the coherence and coordination of the United Nations system’s support for SIDS.

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