DESA News Vol. 13, No. 10 October 2009

Global dialogue on development

Debating for economic and financial development

The Economic and Financial Committee of the General Assembly starts on 5 October in New York to deal with issues related to economic growth, development, MDGs, climate change and agriculture

The first meeting of the Economic and Financial Committee - also known as the Second Committee - took place on 17 September 2009, chaired by the H.E. Ambassador Park In-kook of the Republic of Korea. The Committee elected its members of the Bureau and adopted the programme of work. The Bureau members elected comprises of Vice-Chairpersons, Mr. Mohamed Cherif Diallo (Guinea), Mr. Carlos Enrique García González (El Salvador) and Mr. Dragan Mićić (Serbia), and Rapporteur, Ms. Denise McQuade (Ireland).

The General Debate of the Second Committee will begin to tackle its programme of work for the sixty-fourth session on 5 October. 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, poverty eradication, globalization and interdependence, operational activities for development, and information and communication technologies for development.

As in previous sessions, a series of special events are planned to take place during the course of the Second Committee. Nine events will cover the topic of: Millennium Development Goals, climate change, global financial and economic crisis, agriculture and food security, and water. There will be other events organized by Member States on topics such as legal empowerment of the poor; global social protection and the role of the private sector in tackling the global crisis.

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.

In addition, two reports of the Secretary-General on advancement of women were prepared for the Second Committee and will be considered on 22 October under agenda item 58 (b) Eradication of poverty and other development issues: women in development. The reports are “Integrating a gender perspective into national development strategies” (A/64/162 and Corr.1) and “The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development: Women's control over economic resources and access to financial resources, including microfinance” (A/64/93).

DESA’s Division for the Advancement of Women will also launch, on 26 October, the “World Survey on the Role of Women in Development: Women's control over economic resources and access to financial resources, including microfinance.” The World Survey is one of DESA’s flagship publications and provides, at five-yearly intervals, an in-depth analysis of development issues affecting women. As the main report on women in development will be presented to the Second Committee, the publication provides critical input for enhanced attention to gender perspectives in regard to economic and development issues. This report also addresses the impact of the current economic and financial crisis on women’s access to economic and financial resources.

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Working for social and human rights issues

The sixty-fourth session of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee starts on 5 October in New York and focuses on advancement of women on 12-14 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 advancement of women, the protection of children, indigenous issues, the treatment of refugees, the promotion of fundamental freedoms through the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the promotion of the right to self- determination. The Committee also addresses important social development questions such as youth, family, ageing, persons with disabilities, crime prevention, criminal justice, and drug control.

Agenda item 64 on Advancement of Women will be taken up on 12-14 October under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Normans Penke, the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations. Four reports were prepared by DESA’s Division for the Advancement of Women to facilitate discussions - “Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women” (A/64/151), “Violence against women migrant workers” (A/64/152), “Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas” (A/64/190), 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/64/218).

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Roadmap for technology in the context of climate change mitigation

A high level conference on Climate Change will take place on 22-23 October in New Delhi to promote international technology development and transfer

In the context of the Bali Action Plan for enhancement of long term cooperation for implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Government of India and DESA are jointly organizing a High-level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Transfer in New Delhi on 22-23 October.

The conference will bring together governments, experts, industry representatives and civil society to help formulate a roadmap for technology in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation to support the UNFCCC process. The Conference will also seek to advance understanding on key actions needed to accelerate technology development and transfer in all countries in accordance with their national needs. It will also throw light on technology scenarios, institutional and business models of development and deployment, and mechanisms to promote technology transfer to developing countries and to enhance the scope for cooperation on research and development.

The Delhi Conference will advance the discussions initiated at the Beijing High-level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Technology Transfer , co-organized by the Chinese Government and the DESA on 7-8 November 2008.

The Beijing Conference took stock of the clean technologies, the barriers to transfer and the potential for technology collaboration. Participants also presented case studies. The conference clearly recognized the need for new and innovative mechanisms of international co-operation, particularly in research, development, deployment and transfer of climate-related technologies.

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Young people speak out at the General Assembly

At the 64th session of the General Assembly, young people will have the opportunity to debate youth issues

Over twenty UN Member States from all regions will include one or more youth delegates in their official delegations at the 64th session of the General Assembly to give them the opportunity to engage in the General Assembly debate on issues related to youth.

The youth delegates will deliver a statement to the Third Committee on behalf of the young people they represent. Additionally, youth representatives may participate in the general work of their Missions by attending a range of meetings and informal negotiations, in particular those related to youth policies.

This year, youth delegates from several countries are also organizing side events during the General Assembly on Climate Justice and on Youth in Armed Conflicts. These topics are among the greatest concerns of youth in their countries and will therefore be given extra attention in the side events.

Although most youth delegates will only be in New York for a few weeks or months, many of them have been selected for a term of one year. Before attending the General Assembly, many of them traveled around their home countries, interacting with young people from all different parts of society. This not only helped them to gather opinions and concerns from a wide range of young people in their countries on the issues highlighted at the General Assembly, but has also enabled them to spread the word about the work of the United Nations to young people around the world. Upon return to their home countries, the youth delegates will act as a resource to continue the progress on youth policies at the national level and encourage other young people to participate more in their country’s development process.

The need for youth delegates has long been recognized by the Member States of the United Nations since youth bring with them the imagination, energy and ideals that are vital for the continuing development of the societies in which they live. One of the priorities in the World Programme of Action for Youth, adopted by the United Nations in 1995, is to support the participation of youth in decision-making. In particular it invites Governments to strengthen the involvement of young people in international forums by the inclusion of youth delegates in their national delegations to the General Assembly.

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Rights and dignity of persons with disabilities

The second session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was held from 2-4 September in New York

During this year’s session, participants discussed legislative measures to implement the Convention. Two roundtables were held, one on accessibility and reasonable accommodation and the other on equal recognition before the law, access to justice and supported decision-making. The session also included an interactive segment on the on-going work of the United Nations system and its support for the implementation of the Convention.

Non-governmental organizations also participated along with Governments in an informal session on the global economic crisis, poverty and the implementation of the Convention. Among the documents circulated during the Conference was a compilation of legislative measures adopted by Member States to implement the Convention prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD/DESA). During the session, several related side-events were also conducted by Governments, UN system organizations and civil society.

Disability issues will also be discussed this month at the 64th Session of the General Assembly. The Assembly will have before it the recently released Reports of the Secretary-General on the Status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol (A/64/128) and on Realizing the Millennium Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities (A/64/180).

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