DESA News Vol. 13, No. 09 September 2009

Global dialogue on development

Legislative measures to implement the disabilities convention

States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will gather from 2-4 September in New York for the second time

The first meeting of States Parties was held on 31 October and 3 November 2008, where the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was formally established and its members elected. The Conference also considered matters related to the Convention, and held a panel discussion on “The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a human rights instrument and a tool for achieving the Millennium Development Goals”. The Committee’s membership comprises of 12 independent experts tasked to monitor the implementation of the Convention.

The States Parties to the Convention will convene their second conference at United Nations Headquarters from 2-4 September. The participants in the conference will discuss legislative measures to implement the Convention. Non-governmental organizations will participate along with Governments in an informal session on emerging issues related to the global economic crisis, poverty and the implementation of the Convention.

There will be two round tables on the theme, the first one on accessibility and reasonable accommodation (2 September, 3:00-6:00 pm), and the second one on equal recognition before the law, access to justice and supported decision-making (3 September, 10:00 am-1:00 pm). On 4 September (10:00 am- 1:00 pm), there will be an interactive segment to discuss the on-going work of the United Nations system and its support for the implementation of the Convention.

An informal session entitled "Forum on the emerging theme of the global economic crisis, poverty and the implementation of the Convention" will be held on 3 September from 3-5 pm. Additionally, there will be several side events.

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Climate change summit to precede general debate of the General Assembly’s 64th session

General debate, which provides Heads of State and Government the opportunity to express their views on major international issues, gets underway on 23 September in New York

Prior to the general debate, on 22 September there will be an all-day high-level event on climate change for Heads of State and Government, hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Ban underlined that the Summit is not a negotiating forum but is meant to galvanize political will for a successful outcome in Copenhagen this December. The main concern of the Secretary-General is to bring countries closer on issues where they differ.

The opening plenary will feature speakers representing both developed and developing countries, including the most vulnerable countries. In addition, there would be eight parallel interactive roundtables: four in the morning, and four in the afternoon. All roundtables will address the same four broad themes: mitigation commitments; mitigation actions; adaptation; and building trust. The technology and finance issues will cut across these themes. A closing plenary will build upon the inputs from the eight roundtable discussions, resulting in a “seal the deal” commitment from attendees.

There will also be a lunch-time event, organized by the Global Compact Office, for Heads of State and Government, private sector CEOs, and heads of CSOs. The event is planned to be carbon-neutral. Included in the calculation was the transport of each Head of State and Government and an advisor, plus the energy used to hold the summit itself.

The summit will also feature several innovative elements. Among them is an attempt to change the nature of the discussion through active exchanges between participants in the short time available at a one-day event. Therefore, in lieu of live national statements in the plenary, all Heads of State and Government have the opportunity to send in a pre-recorded video statement that will be made available on the Internet, including on the Summit on Climate Change Web site and on YouTube.

64th session of the General Assembly

At its 64th session, the Assembly will address the promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development. This will include macroeconomic policy questions, sustainable development, eradication of poverty, social development as well as advancement of women.

For the topic macroeconomic policy, the Assembly will discuss international trade, financial systems, external debt and development and commodities. There will also be a discussion on the follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference.

For sustainable development issues, the Assembly will focus on the implementation of the Agenda 21, the development of Small Island Developing States, disaster reduction, climate change and desertification. For social development matters, the Assembly will discuss youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family.

Second and Third Committee

The Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) and the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee) will discuss the items on the agenda related to economic questions and social and humanitarian issues, respectively. The Committees seek where possible to harmonize the various approaches of States, and present their recommendations, usually in the form of draft resolutions and decisions, to a plenary meeting of the Assembly for its consideration.

The Assembly’s Second Committee – dealing with the economic and financial aspects of development – will convene starting on 5 October. DESA’s has planned a number of side events including panel discussion. The Assembly’s Third Committee – dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural matters – will also convene on 5 October to discuss items questions relating to advancement of women, youth, ageing, the disabled, humanitarian assistance and related issues.

The Assembly is the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN, a forum for multilateral negotiation. While it is empowered to make only non-binding recommendations to States on international issues within its competence, it has, nevertheless, initiated actions – political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal – which have affected the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The Millennium Declaration, adopted in 2000, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, for example, reflected the commitment of Member States to reach goals to achieve development, poverty eradication, promote the rule of law, meet the special needs of Africa and protect the environment.

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