14 March 2005  


Chairman's Non Paper

Elements to further revitalize the work of the Second Committee

(New York, March 2005)


1.       On July 26, 2004, former Chairman of the Second Committee for the 58th session of the General Assembly, submitted a set of proposals to "ensure a more practical and coherent organization of the Committee's work."  Most recommendations have been implemented during the 59th session, including:  (a) early meeting with the incoming Bureau;  (b) extensive use of question-and-answer sessions;  (c) better use of the Second Committee's website;  (d) early distribution and consultation of the organization of work (L.1);  (e) avoidance of overlapping with plenary sessions;  (f) elaboration and distribution of Chairman's summary of the General Debate;  (g) extensive but rational use of panels, keynote speakers and round tables;  (h) compliance of deadlines for submission of draft resolutions;  (i) early start of negotiations and, in some cases, early adoption of resolutions; and  (j) clustering and better sequencing for the consideration of the Second Committee's agenda.

2.       Nevertheless, much remains to be done.  The suggestions of having extensive consultations with the Bureau of the Third Committee and identifying potential joint debates or meetings have to be implemented.  Likewise, there have been no major advances in perhaps the most far-reaching recommendations, namely:  (a) to appoint facilitators/coordinators to assist from day one with the preparations and negotiations of draft resolutions;  (b) to adopt resolutions in close proximity to the end of the consideration of the agenda item or cluster;  (c) to reduce the number of resolutions;  (d) to improve the nature of resolutions (more concise and action-oriented);  (e) to close in time and according with the programme of work of the Second Committee; and  (f) better structure of the Second Committee's agenda.

3.       We need to build on the achievement reached so far and to implement further measures to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the work of the Second Committee.  Our goal should be to transform this organ into a body that truly allows all countries to collectively analyze and discuss in a balanced way current and pressing challenges as reflected in the agenda of the Second Committee and foster agreements and partnership to overcome them.

4.       The President and all members of the Bureau of the Second Committee for the 59th session of the GA were and are fully committed to improve the organization, programme and methods of work of the Second Committee.  This is the main thrust of past endeavors and it is a calling for a collective and deep assessment of the results achieved after the completion of our work, as well as for the submission of the following measures to further revitalize the work of the Second Committee.


A.   Methods of Work

5.    The primary objective of reaching consensus, which has traditionally been the guiding principle of the work of the Second Committee, should be preserved within the framework of the rules of procedure that allow different courses of action.  In our efforts to reform our methods of work it is important that we preserve the quality of the resolutions that are adopted.  The final outcomes need to be meaningful and add value to the issues under consideration.  Discussions and events which are linked to the work of the Second Committee and which could bring about a broad understanding of new ideas and trends could lead to the injection of such ideas and trends into draft resolutions.  I suggest maintaining the practice of allocating enough time after the formal consideration of each cluster of the programme of work to allow delegations to engage in negotiations in order to approve the draft resolutions on a rolling basis.  Our experience demonstrates that when there is the will, delegations can submit draft proposals on time.  However, they need more time to finish negotiations.  In this spirit it is proposed that:

(a)        Member States should recommit themselves to presenting draft resolutions by the deadlines,

(b)        More time should be allocated to negotiations after the formal consideration of a Cluster, and

(c)        Different dates should be fixed along the session to adopt resolutions.

6.        If the need arises, prior to the adoption of draft resolutions, the Chairman may wish to schedule formal informals.

7.        In order to ensure the timely consideration of the sub-items under the "Macroeconomic policy questions" cluster, and based on the results of prior consultations by the Chairman of the Second Committee with the Representatives of Member States in the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board, the Committee could request the Committee of Conference to advance the timing of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board meeting so that its report is available by the middle in September.

8.         The nomination of all facilitators should continue to be made during the first 2 weeks of the session of the Second Committee.

9.        Member States could continue to assess the feasibility of strengthening the role of the facilitators on a pilot basis on a few resolutions, which in the view of the Bureau warrant early consideration.  The facilitators would be responsible for consulting and writing the first draft of the resolution.  The facilitators could begin their work immediately, collecting views of the delegations and ensuring that the draft reflects the interests of all Member States.  The draft would become a facilitator's draft.

10.     The longstanding practice of inviting key speakers and organizing panels and round tables should be strengthened.  The Secretariat must consult well in advance with the Bureau about the preparation of such events.  While micro management should be avoided and the discretion of the Bureau to organize such events should be preserved, Member States should be informed about such events at the beginning of the session of the Second Committee.  Care must be taken not to overload the programme of work of the Second Committee.  The timing of these activities should be in proximity to the substantive discussion of the relevant agenda items to help inject new ideas for consideration in the negotiating process.  Attention should also be given to the increasing role of side events organized by Member States which are related to the agenda of the Second Committee and which would attract the participation of the members of the Committee.  Member States might consider informing the Secretariat and the Bureau of their intention in this respect so that time can be set aside for these events.

11.     There is a shared view of the need to revitalize the General Debate to serve as a basis to inform the Second Committee and provide a space for policy dialogue among Member States.

12.     It is necessary to ensure that documentation is available in accordance with the six-week rule for the distribution of documents simultaneously in the six official languages of the General Assembly (A/RES/ 55/222).

13.     Delegations should try to benefit in full from the question-and-answer time by having at least 30-45 minutes of discussion with the officials responsible of the preparation and presentation of the reports.  Officials should be well prepared to give answers to the questions posted to them and delegations could use this space to express concerns.

14.     Member States could evaluate using the consideration of agenda items as an opportunity to exchange lessons learned and highlight their own experiences in addition to stating their national positions.  In any case, efforts should be made to deliver brief and concise statements.

15.     All efforts should be made to reach consensus in a timely fashion.  Enough time should be allocated to the drafting of forward-looking resolutions which reflect current trends and realities.

16.     Resolutions should be concise and action oriented and the Committee should observe the provisions of the General Assembly resolutions in this regard, in particular, 57/270 B.

17.     In order to facilitate monitoring implementation of resolutions, reports should focus on implementation by the various actors addressed in the resolutions.  Special emphasis should be placed on the implementation by the UN system.


B.                     Agenda

The General Assembly may wish to reconsider the allocation of the sub-items "Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance:  Special economic assistance to individual countries or regions" and "Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance:  Participation of volunteers, 'White Helmets" in the activities of the United Nations in the field of humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and technical cooperation for development" to the Second Committee.


Indicative programme of work of the Second Committee

 1.        Macroeconomic policy questions:

(a)        International trade and development (annual)

(b)        International financial system and development (annual)

(c)        External debt crisis and development (annual)

[(d)       Commodities (biennial)]


 2.        Follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development:

(a)        Follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (annual)

(b)        High-level dialogue for the implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (biennial)


 3.        Sustainable development:

(a)        Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (annual)

[(b)       Report of the Governing Council of UNEP (annual)  New Item]

(c)        Further implementation of the outcome of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and follow-up to the outcomes of the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (annual)

(d)        International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (annual)

(e)        Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind (annual)

(f)         Sustainable development in mountain regions (biennial)

(g)        Promotion of new and renewable sources of energy, including the implementation of the World Solar Programme 1996-2005 (biennial)

[(h)       Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (biennial)* [1] ]

[(i)        Convention on Biological Diversity (biennial)* ]

(j)         United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (quinquennial)

(k)        Rendering assistance to poor mountain countries to overcome obstacles in socio-economic and ecological areas (60th General Assembly)


 4.        Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (annual)


 5.        Globalization and interdependence:

[(a)       Globalization and interdependence (annual)]

(b)        Industrial development cooperation (biennial)

(c)        International migration and development (biennial)

(d)        Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of funds of illicit origin and returning such assets to the countries of origin (annual)

[(e)       Information and communications technologies for development (biennial)* ]

(f)         Integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (biennial)


 6.        Eradication of poverty and other development issues:

(a)        Implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) (annual)

[(b)       Microcredit and microfinance (annual) New Item]

[(c)       Human resources development (biennial)]

[(d)       Science and technology for development (annual)* ]

(e)        Women in development (biennial)*

[(f)        Culture and development (triennial)* ]


 7.        Groups of countries in special situations:

(a)        Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (annual)

(b)        Specific actions relating to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries:  Outcome of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation (annual)


 8.        Operational activities for development:

(a)        Operational activities for development of the United Nations system (annual)

(b)        Triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system (triennial)

[(c)       South-South cooperation: economic and technical cooperation among developing countries (biennial)]

[(d)       Towards global partnership (biennial)]


 9.        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 (annual)


 10.      Training and research

(a)        United Nations Institute for Training and Research (biennial)*

(b)        United Nations System Staff College in Turin, Italy (biennial)

(c)        United Nations University (biennial)


[1] Items with different periodicity from that in the Provisional programme of work of the Second Committee at the 60th session (A/C.2/59/CRP.1) are marked with an asterisk.


 * * *


 Monday, 14 March 2005

<< Previous page