DESA News Vol. 13, No. 11 November 2009

Global dialogue on development

Making mutual accountability mechanisms more effective

First High-level Symposium to prepare for the 2010 Development Cooperation Forum will discuss key development cooperation issues from 12-13 November in Vienna

This multi-stakeholder event, as the first of series of multi-stakeholder consultations in the run up to the 2010 Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), will present a timely opportunity for inclusive, balanced and participatory dialogue on key development cooperation issues, notably mutual accountability in development cooperation.

The symposium, organized by DESA together with the Government of Austria is expected to catalyze agreement on what is meant by mutual accountability and on ways to promote balanced mutual accountability mechanisms. The symposium will also provide orientations for the next phase of preparation for the DCF, notably on south-south cooperation and policy coherence.

Around 100 participants, representing national governments, civil society organizations, parliamentarians and international organizations, will participate in the symposium and contribute to the development of a more inclusive framework for accountable and transparent development cooperation. The outcome of the symposium will be used to prepare the report of the Secretary-General to the DCF and to launch further analytical work.

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Implementing the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development

General Assembly will hold the fourth High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development on 23-24 November in New York to take stock of what steps have been taken since the Doha Review Conference a year ago

This year’s Dialogue will focus on the overall theme “The Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration on Financing for Development: status of implementation and tasks ahead” and presents a unique opportunity for Member States and all relevant stakeholders to focus on the steps that have been taken since the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (Doha, Qatar, 29 November - 2 December 2008) and commit to further measures that should be implemented.

The event will consist of a series of plenary and informal meetings and also include three multi-stakeholder round tables.

Plenary meetings

The plenary meetings, chaired by the President of the General Assembly, will be held on Monday, 23 November 2009. At these meetings, ministers and high-level officials attending the Dialogue will be able to make formal statements.

Following the formal opening of the Dialogue by the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the President of the World Bank, the Managing Director of the IMF and the Director-General of the WTO will be invited to make statements. At the beginning of the plenary meeting in the afternoon of the same day, the President of ECOSOC, the Secretary-General of the UNCTAD and the Administrator of the UNDP, will be invited to speak.

Multi-stakeholder round tables

Three multi-stakeholder round tables will be held on the morning of Tuesday, 24 November, and chaired by two chairpersons to be appointed by the President of the General Assembly from among the ministers attending the High-level Dialogue. The themes of the round tables will be as follows:

  • Round table 1: The reform of the international monetary and financial system and its implications for development;
  • Round table 2: The impact of the current financial and economic crisis on foreign direct investment and other private flows, external debt and international trade;
  • Round table 3: The role of financial and technical development cooperation, including innovative sources of development finance, in leveraging the mobilization of domestic and international financial resources for development.

Each round table will be open to participation by representatives of all Member States; observers, relevant entities of the United Nations system and other accredited intergovernmental organizations, as well as representatives of accredited civil society organizations and accredited business sector entities.

Informal interactive dialogue

The informal interactive dialogue, open to all relevant stakeholders and chaired by the President of the General Assembly, will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday, 24 November, in the form of an informal meeting of the Assembly. It will focus on the theme “The link between financing for development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals: the road to the 2010 high-level event”. Pursuant to GA resolution 60/265 on the development follow-up to the 2005 World Summit Outcome, this dialogue provides an opportunity to review the progress towards the attainment of the broader UN Development goals through a pointed discussion of financial means of implementation, particularly within the framework of the holistic financing for development agenda.

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The need for a new financial architecture

Countries expressed concern in the Economic and Financial Committee on the impact of the economic and financial crisis and on the prospects of developing countries to achieve the MDGs

During the plenary of the Second Committee of the General Assembly, which took place from 5-7 October, about 90 delegations dealt with issues on the global economic and financial crisis, along with climate change and food security.

Many considered the upcoming United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2010 as an opportunity to take stock of progress and agree on concrete steps to expedite efforts to achieve the goals.

Delegations expressed a broad range of views about current measures and processes set in place to tackle current crises and to find lasting solutions. Most delegations agreed on the need for a new financial architecture and called on the United Nations to play a leading role in providing a framework for a comprehensive and global solution to the economic and financial crisis.

Many urged to move forward on the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations High-Level Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and welcomed the establishment of the Open-ended Working Group to follow up on issues contained in the Outcome Document.

On climate change, several countries commended the initiative of the Secretary-General to hold a Climate Change Summit in September and called on the Committee to maintain the momentum to promote a new agreement in Copenhagen. Several countries reiterated the principle of common but differentiated responsibility to be maintained in the post-Kyoto regime and stressed the need for the Copenhagen conference to deliver on financial resources, technology and capacity-building for growth and poverty eradication.

Many countries commended the Chair of the Second Committee for adding a new item on food security on the Committee’s agenda as a way to maintain momentum on this issue and to ensure a successful conclusion of the World Summit on Food Security in November.

Countries expressed concern on the slow progress made in the negotiation for the Doha Development Round and called for a timely and equitable outcome. Other key issues raised included Official Development Assistance commitments, debt cancellation, South-South cooperation, and health.

In order to follow up with discussions, the Second Committee will hold two panel discussions in November. The first one, which will take place on 4 November, will discuss issues related to the “Global social protection floor”. The second panel will be on “Enhancing governance on water ” and will be held on 6 November.

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Young people spoke out at the General Assembly

At the 64th session of the General Assembly over twenty UN Member States from all regions included one or more youth delegates in their official delegations

The youth delegates were given the opportunity to engage in the General Assembly debate on issues related to youth, all bringing with them voices from young people in their countries. While in New York, 18 of the youth delegates delivered a statement to the Third Committee of the General Assembly on behalf of young people from their countries. Among the main points that were raised as the greatest concerns for youth from around the world was climate change, in particular its effect on the most vulnerable. The lack of youth participation in decision-making processes, youth unemployment and the importance of education and sport in reaching the MDGs were also highlighted.

Additionally, youth representatives participated in the general work of their Missions by attending a range of meetings and informal consultations on this year’s youth resolution, where they actively contributed with important youth perspectives. The youth delegates also organized side events on topics such as climate justice, youth in armed conflict and youth unemployment. A side event on youth participation, hosted by the European Union delegation, was jointly held with the European Commission and the United Nations Information Centre in Brussels via video link.

Although most youth delegates only where 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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Technology, climate change and national development

DESA organized in October, jointly with the Government of India, a high-level conference to help countries to unlock the full potential of technology in addressing both climate change and national development

The High Level Conference, entitled Climate Change: Technology Development and Transfer, was held from 22 to 23 October in New Delhi, India, to promote international technology development and transfer in context of the Bali Action Plan for enhancement of long term cooperation for implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

To help pave the way for a successful outcome in Copenhagen, the Delhi Conference objective was to advance understanding on key actions needed to accelerate technology development and transfer in all countries in accordance with their national needs. The Conference aimed to throw light on technology scenarios, institutional and business models of development and deployment, mechanisms to promote technology transfer to developing countries, and to enhance the scope for cooperation on research and development.

The main objectives were to evolve mechanisms for international technology cooperation and collaboration; to highlight the progress of discussions on technology transfer in the context of the climate change negotiations and the Bali Road Map; and to define a consensus on the roadmap for enabling technology transfer to developing countries to meet their needs for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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