DESA News Vol. 11, No. 6 June 2007

Global dialogue on development

High-level meeting in Qatar seeks to finance the Millennium Development Goals

Second informal thematic debate to take place in Doha on 17 and 18 June

Identifying practical mechanisms to finance the Millennium Development Goals is the main objective of a second informal thematic debate on this topic to be held in Doha, Qatar on 17 and 18 June. The conference is especially significant given the proximity of 2015, and the compelling need for concerted international action. The event will bring together representatives of governments, the UN system, the private sector and civil society.

A first informal thematic debate on the issue was held by the General Assembly last November under the title partnerships towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals: taking stock, moving forward. The debate helped capture practical measures for development and implementation of national development strategies that emphasized partnerships of UN system, civil society and private sector actors.

A panel discussion on progress and challenges in the implementation of commitments to finance the Millennium Development Goals will take place in the morning of the first day. In the afternoon, there will be another panel discussion on successful efforts in the areas of agriculture, access to primary education, and to water and sanitation. On 18 June, the debate will focus on practical proposals – the do’s and don’ts – for scaling up, covering the African green revolution, malaria control, water and sanitation and elimination of school fees.

Doha will also be the site of the official Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus to be held in the second half of 2008.

For more information:

Oscar de Rojas, Director of the DESA Financing for Development Office

Oscar de Rojas, Director of the DESA Financing for Development Office, participates in a briefing for NGOs on the Road to Doha: Financing for Development on 17 May. A recording of the briefing is available at


Srgjan Kerim of the FYR of Macedonia elected President of General Assembly

The General Assembly elected on 24 May by acclamation, Srgjan Kerim of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as its President for the 62nd session, scheduled to start in September.  Also elected in separate meetings were the chairpersons and other members of the Bureau of the Assembly’s Main Committees.

Mr. Kerim said he would discharge his duties in a balanced, considered and forthright manner, with utmost respect for the dignity of every single Member State. He also offered his support for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s initiatives to strengthen the Organization’s role in peacekeeping and disarmament, revitalize the Secretariat and improve the coherence and effectiveness of the way the United Nations system was managed.

Stressing the importance of effective multilateralism, he said the Assembly must deal as much as possible with substance.  Revitalization is, in his view, much more than procedural improvements.  He added that in today’s complex and fast-changing world, the work of the United Nations was becoming increasingly indispensable.  The stronger the cooperation between the principal organs of the United Nations, the better the Organization would be able to meet the hopes and expectations of millions of people around the world, “people whom we exist to serve.”  “Our cooperation needs to extend to all the major issues before us – from fighting terrorism to bringing the benefits of globalization to all the world’s people; from promoting and protecting human rights to strengthening the Organization’s overall coherence, and its capacity in peacekeeping operations, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation.”

He also emphasized the importance of the Millennium Development Goals, saying that achieving those targets, particularly in Africa, was not solely a test of the international community’s ability to deliver on commitments, but it was, above all, a test of its moral obligations and the ethical values that were enshrined in the Charter.  “To achieve these and other development goals, we should demand more of ourselves, as well as of this Organization,” he said, stressing the importance of greater system-wide coordination and coherence.

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No agreement on policy decisions at the Commission on Sustainable Development

But delegates achieve near unanimity on industrial development and air pollution

The Commission on Sustainable Development ended its 15th session on 11 May with a deadlock on the outcome document. Member States were unable to agree on policy decisions on key points on energy and climate change. All the major political groupings accepted the Chairman’s proposed decision text, but Germany – on behalf of the European Union – and Switzerland attending as an observer rejected it because agreement could not be reached on time-bound targets for renewable energy, the integration of energy policies into national planning by 2010, a formal review arrangement for energy issues in the UN and an international agreement on energy efficiency.

States widely acknowledged the need to speed up access to sustainable energy services to the poor, including sustainable rural electrification programmes with an emphasis on least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states. It was also recognized the need to adopt incentives to boost investment to provide sustainable and improved energy services and infrastructure for the poor, especially for poor women.

On industrial development, the delegates agreed on actions such as fostering domestic environmental governance, adopting improved environmental management practices and environmentally sound technologies, supporting technological upgrading for sustainable industrial development and, among other things, enhancing efficient and sustainable use by industry of natural resources and energy.

The delegates also agreed that promoting policies to reduce air pollution, the use of ozone depleting substances and improvement of air quality in general is pivotal, in addition to implementing multilateral environmental agreements, ratifying or acceeding the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol, and phasing out the use of leaded gasoline, among other things.

Francis D. Nhema, both minister of Environment and Tourism of Zimbabwe and candidate endorsed by the African States Group to serve as the chairman of the Commission’s next session, was elected to the post by a secret vote of 26 in favour and 21 against, with three abstentions. After the vote, the representatives of Germany (on behalf of the European Union) and Canada (also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand) expressed their displeasure over Mr. Nhema’s election to the post.

The 15th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development met this year from 30 April to 11 May in the second of a two-year cycle (review and policy sessions) devoted to the issues of energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution/atmosphere, and climate change. The Commission was established in 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development also known as the Earth Summit.  It is also responsible for reviewing progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development ; as well as providing policy guidance to follow up the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation at the local, national, regional and international levels.

For more information, including the Chairman’s summary of the session and complete webcast coverage:

Civil society interest in UN affairs remains strong

NGO Committee recommends 89 organizations for consultative status with one, Liberty International, under threat of removal

At its 2007 resumed session from 14 to 18 May 2007, the Committee on Non- Governmental Organizations had before it 138 applications for consultative status, including applications deferred from previous sessions. Of those applications, the Committee recommended eighty-nine applications for consultative status, and deferred forty-four applications for further consideration at a later date. Consideration of three organizations was closed. The Committee chose not to recommend two organizations.

The Committee had also before it two requests of reclassification of consultative status of which it recommended one. In addition, it reviewed sixty-three quadrennial reports, six of which were deferred from previous sessions. In addition, the Committee recommended six organizations for special consultative status: Inner Trip Reiyukai International, National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jamaica Association on Mental Retardation, Microteam Education Apprentissage et Nouvelles Technologies and Maryam Ghasemi Educational Charity Institute. It also granted roster status to European Landowners’ Organization.

Acting on a complaint by China, the Committee stripped Liberty International, a United Kingdom-based organization, of its consultative status on the grounds that the organization had severely abused that status by assisting a ranking official from China’s Province of Taiwan to gain access to a meeting of the Human Rights Council and advocate Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization. The voting was that of 13 in favour to three against (Israel, United Kingdom and United States), with two abstentions (Peru and Romania).

The Committee recommended that consultative status not be granted to either the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights or the Jewish National Fund, and deferred to the next session the applications of Human Rights House Foundation; Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales; Association Sahel Solidarité Action; Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas e Transgêneros; Iranian Society of Engineering Design and Assembly; Hudson Institute, Inc.; TRIAL; Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre Nigeria; Mahabodhi International Meditation Center; and all other remaining new applications and reclassifications.

The report of the Committee, including its recommendations, will be considered by the Economic and Social Council in Geneva in July.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations is a standing committee of the Council with 19 members, whose term of office is four years. Present members are Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Guinea and Sudan (representing African States); China, India, Pakistan and Qatar (from Asian States); Romania and the Russian Federation (from Eastern European States); Dominica, Colombia, Cuba and Peru (in representation of Latin American and Caribbean States), and Israel, Turkey, United States and United Kingdom (representing Western European and other States).

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