Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs to the Second Committee
New York, 18 December 2007

Chairperson,
Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to express my appreciation to you and other members of the bureau of the Second Committee for your leadership. Your stewardship played an essential role in reaching agreement on over 30 resolutions adopted this year, covering a broad range of issues. I would also like to congratulate all delegations, particularly facilitators, for the constructive and cooperative spirit in which they conducted the deliberations.

The Committee has once again demonstrated the importance of multilateralism and the role of United Nations in promoting international cooperation for development. Our efforts are geared towards the realization of a comprehensive set of development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, which represents a global consensus on a shared vision for development. With mixed results on achieving the internationally agreed development goals thus far, the Committee’s work should be seen as a significant contribution toward renewed efforts for the implementation of all development commitments.

This session of the Committee is particularly notable for some very important decisions. Building on the momentum generated by the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, the General Assembly adopted a resolution setting out the modalities for the 2008 Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development in Doha. The Committee has set the stage for a Review Conference that will not only assess progress but also reaffirm goals and commitments, leading to further action. Emerging issues could also be addressed, such as South-South and triangular development cooperation and the growing need for strengthened international cooperation in tax matters.

We have reached a critical juncture in the financing for development process. We need to sustain political will for the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. DESA will work closely with the two co-chairs in preparing for the Conference.

The Committee has also adopted an important landmark resolution on the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review. The resolution gives guidance to the United Nations development system in carrying out its operational activities for development, specifically on funding, national capacity development and development effectiveness, improving its functions and follow-up. The Committee has set the stage for the future work of the UN development system. The Economic and Social Council will be instrumental in enhancing the coherence and effectiveness of the system. The Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) is expected to become a principal mechanism for global dialogue and policy review on key development cooperation issues.

Eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today. In this regard, the Committee has taken commendable action. We are confident that he Committee’s decision to proclaim the Second UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty will galvanize our efforts and touch the lives of the weak, the hungry and the poor.

The Committee’s timely resolution calling for urgent global action to address climate change helped the backdrop for the discussions in Bali. Like the Committee, the Conference of the State Parties also acknowledged that efforts to address climate change should be carried out in a manner that contributes to poverty eradication, sustainable development and sustained economic growth of developing countries by promoting the integration of the three components – economic development, social development and environmental protection.

To achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development, it is essential to make globalization a positive force for all. The increasing interdependence of national economies in a globalizing world and the emergence of rule-based regimes for international economic relations have affected the scope for domestic policies, especially in the areas of trade, investment and industrial development. In this regard, the Committee highlighted the need for appropriate balance between national policy space and international obligations.

Against the backdrop of the global financial turmoil, the Committee underscored that global economic growth and a stable international financial system can strengthen the ability of developing countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. To this end, the Committee has rightly stressed the importance of cooperative and coordinated efforts by all countries and institutions to cope with the risks of financial instability. The Committee has also reiterated the need to enhance the voice and participation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions, and encouraged the Bretton Woods institutions to take further and effective measures. It is our hope that the FFD conference in Doha will address these issues.

Chairperson,
Distinguished delegates,

Overall the Committee has contributed to giving new impetus to the implementation of the United Nations Development Agenda. We, in the Secretariat, look forward to continuing to provide support to your work in this area.

There are many working behind the scenes who have contributed to the success of your work. My Department DESA and the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Management and others have facilitated your deliberations and negotiations. I would like to thank all those staff members for their contributions in providing you the substantive and support services, sometimes under trying circumstances.

I wish you all a relaxing and rejuvenating break. You all deserve it. Happy holidays and all the best for 2008.

Thank you.