SECOND COMMITTEE HEARS VIEWS OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, LANDLOCKED COUNTRIES, SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

30 November 2001
GA/EF/2986

SECOND COMMITTEE HEARS VIEWS OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, LANDLOCKED COUNTRIES, SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

30/11/2001
Press ReleaseGA/EF/2986

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

35th Meeting (AM)

SECOND COMMITTEE HEARS VIEWS OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES,

LANDLOCKED COUNTRIES, SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

Delegates Continue to Weigh Follow-up to Brussels LDC Conference

Delegations this morning expressed their support for the proposed establishment of an Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States as a follow-up mechanism for coordinating, monitoring and reviewing implementation of the Programme of Action adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on the LDCs. 

The Conference, held at the Brussels headquarters of the European Parliament from 14 to 20 May 2001, reviewed socio-economic progress in the LDCs in the 1990s as well as progress in international support measures during that decade.  The   159 participating governments adopted a Programme of Action for the LDCs for the Decade 2001-2010.

Speaking on behalf of the LDCs, the representative of Bangladesh said that an important lesson from past arrangements on follow-up and monitoring was that they often lacked adequate and predictable resources, impeding the effectiveness of the follow-up process.  There was, therefore, an important need to ensure that the Office was endowed with adequate resources on a stable and predictable basis, as well as equipped with highly qualified staff. 

While expressing their support, some speakers also highlighted that the establishment of the Office should not be at the expense of the role of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which had over the years developed expertise in areas of trade-related technical assistance for the benefit of those countries.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania noted that the structural changes being proposed would impact UNCTAD in terms of staff disposition and some aspects of its operations.  In recognition of the good work it had done for the development of LDCs, all efforts should aim at strengthening UNCTAD and not weakening it, particularly by giving it adequate resources and the capacity to enable it to function as mandated.  He would appeal for a review of the numbers to be transferred from UNCTAD to the new entity. 

Speaking on behalf of the landlocked developing countries, the representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic felt that the important

programmes developed for those countries by the Office of the Special Coordinator for Landlocked Developing Countries and the resources given to them so far should not be sacrificed during the process of establishing the Office.  The Office should be equipped with adequate and clearly identifiable resources, and well-staffed to carry out effectively its mandate related to landlocked developing countries.  

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), expressed concern at the proposal to have the Office provide support for a coordinated follow-up of the implementation of the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.  Those States, which were ecologically fragile and economically vulnerable, faced particular constraints in achieving sustainable development.  As such, the approach being suggested to address those concerns, while adequate for LDCs and landlocked developing countries, was not particularly suited for small island developing States.

Also this morning, the representatives of Iran, on behalf of the Group of  77 developing countries and China, introduced draft resolutions on:  the twenty-fifth special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II); protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind; strengthening the mandate and status of the Commission on Human Settlements and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat); and public administration and development.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Angola, Thailand, Mexico, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin, Nepal, Ethiopia, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Uganda, Sudan and United States.

The representatives of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) also spoke.

The Committee will meet again on a date to be announced in the Journal.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to conclude its discussion of the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) (Brussels, May 2001).  For background, see press release GA/EF/2985 issued on 29 November. 

The Committee was also expected to hear the introduction of several draft resolutions.  The text on the twenty-fifth special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) (document A/C.2/56/L.39) is sponsored by Iran, on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China.  It would have the Assembly urge the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements to further strengthen its regional programme activity centres, to provide improved technical cooperation services to national governments for implementation of the Habitat Agenda and the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium at the national and local levels. 

The Assembly would emphasize the importance of placing adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world, particularly in developing countries, at the centre of policy-making at the national and international levels.  Further, the Assembly would request the Executive Director to ensure the Centre’s participation in the International Conference on Financing for Development and in the World Summit for Sustainable Development and their preparatory processes.  

Another draft sponsored by Iran is on strengthening the mandate and status of the Commission on Human Settlements and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) (document A/C.2/56/L.40).  It would have the Assembly decide to transform the Commission and its secretariat, the Centre, including its Foundation, with effect from 1 January 2002, into the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, to be known as UN-Habitat, which would have a governing body and a secretariat.  It would also take a number of decisions regarding the status, composition, objectives, functions and responsibilities of the governing body as well as the secretariat.

In the area of financing of human settlements, the Assembly would authorize the Executive Director of the Programme to launch fresh fund-raising appeals and initiatives to substantially increase the Foundation’s resources.  It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to support the Programme through the provision of adequate regular budget resources. 

With regard to policy coordination, the Assembly would decide that the Programme, as a United Nations focal point for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, will participate in the Chief Executives Board for Coordination.  It would also decide that the Programme should maintain linkage with the Commission on Sustainable Development in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda as it relates to sustainable development.

The text on protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind (document A/C.2/56/L.41), is also sponsored by Iran.  By its terms, the Assembly would urge Member States to ratify or to accede to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to ensure its entry into force, preferably by the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in 2002.  Also, the Assembly would approve the continuation of the institutional linkage of the secretariat of the Convention to the United Nations, and related administrative arrangements, for a further five-year period. 

The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to review the functioning of that linkage not later than 31 December 2006, in consultation with the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, to make such modifications as may be considered desirable by both parties, and to report thereon to the Assembly.  

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the LDCs, said he fully supported the recommendation to establish an Office in New York of the High Representative for LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, which would report directly to the Secretary-General.  That was a long sought-after arrangement by the LDCs.  An important lesson from past arrangements on follow-up and monitoring was that those activities often lacked adequate and predictable resources.  That could be a major impediment to the effectiveness of the follow-up process.  There was therefore an important need to ensure that the Office was endowed with adequate resources on a stable and predictable basis.

He added that development partners were encouraged to indicate their support for the Office through the provision of extra-budgetary resources.  The Secretary-General should make sure the Office was equipped with highly qualified staff members.  That was critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of its functioning, particularly in view of the small size of the Office.  Over the years, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had developed capacity in areas of trade-related technical assistance for the benefit of LDCs.  It should therefore maintain close ties with that Office.  Member States should also take care that the ensuing arrangements strengthened the technical and operational delivery capacity of all relevant parts of the United Nations system.

MARGARIDA ROSA DA SILVA IZATA (Angola) said that the Brussels Conference was an important occasion to draw attention to the special problems and needs of LDCs. The Programme of Action adopted provided a strong framework for partnership to ensure their development and integration into the world economy.  Without coordination in the United Nations system, there would be little for the LDCs to achieve.  The Programme of Action stated the necessity of improving existing arrangements so that monitoring and follow-up would be enhanced.

She welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on follow-up, and the Assembly would deliberate on his recommendations without delay.  Today, attention needed to be focused on implementation of the Programme of Action.  Halving the number of those living in poverty by 2015 must be a responsibility of both the developed and developing countries.  The situation of LDCs could not be properly considered without examining the dire situation of African LDCs.  The external debt burden continued to hamper the mobilization of external and domestic resources needed to promote development.  There was no greater challenge at the beginning of the new century than integrating the LDCs into the global economic and trade systems.

Mr. CASADO, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that UNIDO had undertaken a number of efforts to implement the Brussels Declaration and Programme of Action.  Its contributions were oriented towards three major areas:  building productive capacities and enhancing the role of trade; promoting sustainable energy systems; and participating actively in the inter-agency collaborations initiated at the Brussels Conference. 

As UNIDO’s direct response to the first area, a portfolio of “deliverables” had been launched.  That included first and foremost a large-scale programme on “enhancing the LDCs to participate in international trade”, which was formally presented at the Thematic Session on International Trade, Commodities and Services.  The initiative aimed to facilitate LDC trade participation and enhance export competitiveness through the upgrading of quality and accreditation infrastructure.  It focused primarily on sectors of high export potential, such as food products, textiles and leather.

The UNIDO’s second major contribution to the Conference was to chair the Thematic Session on Energy, he said.  That initiative had generated a wealth of projects and follow-up activities in the fields of rural energy supplies and industrial energy efficiency.  In the third area, inter-agency collaboration initiatives to involve other agencies occurred both in the areas of trade facilitation and in the areas of investment promotion. 

APIRATH VIENRAVI (Thailand) said it had been 30 years since the United Nations established the least developed countries (LDCs) as a category of States.  Since then, the number of LDCs had increased from 25 to 49 countries with a combined population of more than 600 million people, approximately 10 per cent of the world population.  That trend should not be allowed to continue.  The LDCs were now in need of assistance more than ever, especially at a time when the high risk of marginalization was commonplace in the globalized world.  If all States worked hard, they could turn globalization into a catalyst to help accelerate the LDCs in reaching their development goals.

The primary responsibility for development in the LDCs rested with those countries themselves, he said.  Each LDC had to translate national policies and measures prescribed in the Brussels Programme of Action into concrete measures within the framework of its national programme of action, taking into account its particular circumstances and priorities.  On the other hand, the international community must render all necessary assistance, especially in the areas of private financial flow, official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and trade. 

JOSÉ RAMÓN LORENZO (Mexico) said that in the Millennium Declaration, States had committed to meeting the needs of the LDCs.  The Brussels Conference reiterated those commitments, stressing in particular the need to halve poverty by 2015.  While the principal responsibility for development of the LDCs rested with those countries, they did need help from the international community, including the United Nations and the private sector.  Mexico was committed to the new spirit of cooperation that emerged from the conference.  That cooperation was based on the principles of shared but differentiated responsibilities.  In that regard, the possibility for greater South-South cooperation should be further explored.  Cooperation among developing countries provided many possibilities for promoting development.

DISMAS N. P. NGUMA (United Republic of Tanzania) welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on follow-up mechanisms and found its recommendations useful.  The scope of the Programme of Action was very wide:  for any follow-up and monitoring mechanism to be effective, efficient and highly visible, it would require the support of all stakeholders.  The United Nations system in particular had a large role to play in that regard.  Its sector-wide coordination and cooperation arrangements undoubtedly provided the necessary tools for attainment of that prerequisite. 

The UNCTAD, he said, had long been the focal point for the review and implementation of the Programme of Action.  The structural changes the Secretary-General was proposing would have an impact on UNCTAD, in terms of staff disposition and some aspects of its operations.  In recognition of its good work done for the development of the LDCs, he supported all efforts aimed at strengthening UNCTAD, especially in its analytical work and backup services to the developing countries.  That should be done by the provision of adequate resources and the capacity to enable it to function as mandated.  Consequently, he would ask for a review of the numbers to be transferred from UNCTAD to the new entity. 

DER KOGDA (Burkina Faso) said that, despite international efforts to help the LDCs, the number of those countries had steadily increased.  The LDCs must be helped to win their bid to reduce poverty by removing the principle obstacles to their development.  Among those obstacles was the lack of security and technical capabilities.  The LDCs alone could not implement the necessary financial development measures.  Hindering their efforts were problems of civil war and epidemics.  In the LDC Programme of Action for the 1990s, States had committed to easing LDC debt and increasing assistance for development.  But many developing counties had not fully lived up to their commitments. 

His country was working to strengthen its partnerships for development, he said.  Among other measures, it had strengthened its capacity for managing aid.  Also, in the interests of better follow-up on its national action programme, it was trying to develop a system for decentralization of information on poverty.  It was also working on a system for the treatment and analysis of data on the poor.  His country supported the establishment of the High Representative’s Office, and he appealed to developed countries to support the Office through financial and other types of resources.

OLUSEGUN AKINSANYA (Nigeria) said that unequivocal support for global partnerships with 49 of the poorest and most marginalized countries in the world economy should be a continuing priority.  It would be practically impossible to achieve international development targets on malnutrition and poverty eradication without improving the lot of the LDCs, which constituted 10 per cent of the world population but accounted for only 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent of world imports and exports, respectively.  The international community must take further bold and decisive action to write off the debt of the LDCs, address their technological development constraints and support their objective of duty-free and quota-free market access of their exports to developed countries.

He believed that the institutional mechanism for follow-up and implementation of the Programme of Action should be strengthened.  However, that should not be at the expense of UNCTAD, either in terms of sapping its strength and relevance or in the allocation of resources.  The proposed Office of the High Representative should be supported with new and extra-budgetary resources.  It should work with UNCTAD and other agencies of the United Nations system involved with implementation of the Programme.  Coherent action by the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organizations (WTO), coupled with the actions of governments should form part of overall policy reform for effective implementation.

JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said there was a need to establish new and effective follow-up machinery for the LDC Programme of Action.  In that regard, he supported the creation of the Office of the High Representative for LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.  He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to staff the Office in New York and to promote its activity within the United Nations system.  The Office should go to work as soon as possible to implement the Programme of Action.  Efforts to support the development of LDCs and implement the goals of the Third United Nations Conference on LDCs were already behind schedule.

JAGANNATH PAUDEL (Nepal) said LDCs must be integrated within the global economy.  Developed countries could help achieve that goal by helping LDCs enlarge their production base, implementing the “everything but arms” market access scheme, and facilitating their membership in the WTO with conditions they could meet without distorting their economies.  His country had taken note of the recent WTO meeting in Doha, and he sincerely hoped the next round of trade negotiations would be a development round both in letter and spirit.

The globalized world had intertwined the challenges and opportunities for the community of nations, he said.  A few oases of prosperity amidst a vast ocean of poverty was simply untenable, and did not ensure durable peace on the planet.  Those who could not make a decent living with the best of their efforts were forced to seek greener pastures, overexploit the environment or resort to undesirable means of livelihood, triggering problems for the regions and the globe as a whole.  Recent events offered ample testimony to the fact that the community of nations could not leave any of its members in the lurch.

He added that he also supported the creation of the Office of the High Representative for LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, which should be sharply focused in its priorities.  It should also have sufficient resources to function effectively. 

ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), speaking on behalf of the group of landlocked developing countries, supported the proposal to establish the Office of the High Representative, particularly the decision not to convert the Office of the Special Coordinator entirely into the Office of the High Representative.  The landlocked developing countries had an interest in the follow-up mechanism, for the obvious reason that the Office of the Special Coordinator for Least Developed, Landlocked and Island Developing Countries of UNCTAD had also been dealing with specific problems related to such countries.

The important programmes for landlocked developing countries undertaken by the Office of the Special Coordinator, and the resources given so far to the landlocked developing countries, should not be sacrificed during the exercise to establish the Office of the High Representative, he said.  Instead, they needed more resources in light of the forthcoming International Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and the Donor Community.  The Office of the High Representative should be equipped with adequate and clearly identifiable resources, and well-staffed to carry out effectively its mandate related to landlocked developing countries.

ABDUL MEJID HUSSEIN (Ethiopia) said his country attached high importance to the establishment of the Office of the High Representative, with a mandate for coordination, advocacy and reporting.  The proposed Office would help bridge the enormous gap that had been observed over the decades between commitments and disbursement and in the implementation of previous programmes of action.  However, he had strong reservations that the Office was being proposed at the cost of the technical and substantive work of UNCTAD’s existing Office of the Special Coordinator for the Least Developed, Landlocked and Island Developing Countries.

There was therefore a need for continuity in UNCTAD's substantive and technical work in favour of LDCs, he added.  A strengthened Office of the Special Coordinator at UNCTAD was required for implementation of the Programme of Action.  Maintaining the Office of the Special Coordinator at UNCTAD was also required to ensure the implementation of existing projects in favour of LDCs.  Moreover, the substantive and technical work at UNCTAD was needed to give States the required political visibility.  The withdrawal of core resources from the substantive work of UNCTAD would severely undermine the important technical and substantive work already being done by the Special Coordinator.

SEVERINO SOARES ALMEIDA (Cape Verde) said that in the Millennium Declaration the heads of State and government had recognized the urgent need to eliminate poverty worldwide and had set the goal of halving those living in poverty by 2015. In May, the international community adopted the Brussels Programme of Action, which represented the spirit of the Millennium Declaration, to assist the poorest of the poor.  The LDCs and their development partners had laid down concrete objectives and deadlines to achieve those objectives.  The preceding programmes of action had not achieved the desired results.  In the face of that failure, it was essential that the major players now played their respective roles effectively. 

The LDCs, which were primarily responsible for their own development, must adopt the measures laid down in the Programme, he said.  Likewise, development partners must fulfil the tasks laid down for them, including increasing assistance and providing an enabling environment.  The international community must ensure that the global economic slowdown did not adversely affect implementation of the Programme.  Follow-up machinery had been lacking in preceding Programmes of Action.  Therefore, he called for strengthening the United Nations system, and especially UNCTAD, so that they could better play their roles with regard to implementation of the Programme.  Also, he supported the establishment of the Office of the High Representative. 

CARLOS DOS SANTOS (Mozambique) welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish in New York the Office of the High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.  That Office would be fundamental in according the high visibility and advocacy that the LDCs’ concerns deserved, as well as coordinating global action.  Close collaboration between the new Office and UNCTAD should be emphasized.  The UNCTAD could and should play an important role in activities related to the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action, including technical assistance and capacity-building. 

As a matter of principle, he would like to see all activities of the United Nations, including the ones related to the Office, funded by the regular United Nations budget, even if that meant increasing the budget.  Assigning resources from UNCTAD to the new Office did not serve the interests of LDCs, as those countries still counted on UNCTAD to provide much-needed support.  Weakening UNCTAD further would definitely undermine the ability of poor countries to implement the Programme of Action, and would likely lead to the failure of both UNCTAD and the outcomes of the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.

EMMANUEL BWOMONO-OLOBO (Uganda) said that for the commitments undertaken in the Programme of Action to be fulfilled, an effective mechanism for implementation, follow-up, monitoring and review at all levels should be put in place.  He, therefore, supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish the Office of the High Representative in New York, whose functions would be coordination, advocacy and monitoring.  It was important that the Office be given all necessary support, including adequate resources to carry out its functions.  Those resources should be additional to the resources already available to the programmes on LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries. 

He acknowledged the Secretary-General’s recommendation to retain the various mandates of the bodies now dealing with LDC issues.  Therefore, he supported the view of the Secretary-General that operational and technical roles should continue to be played by relevant United Nations bodies, such as UNCTAD, while ensuring that their mandates and competency remained. 

RHITU SIDDHARTH, Liaison Officer, International Labour Organization (ILO), said that the ILO contribution to the Third United Nations Conference in Brussels was made within the general framework of achieving decent work, which was work that was productive and carried out in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.  To meet the Millennium Summit goal of halving poverty by 2015, the decent work agenda must be operationalized and integrated into national poverty-reduction strategies.  Therefore, the ILO had elaborated a number of “deliverables” –- specific action proposals to assist the LDCs in their national development.  They were in four groups –- human resources development, social protection, social dialogue and vulnerable groups. 

Those deliverables were currently being implemented at the national level with various partners, including other international organizations, she said.  The ILO was contributing to the Brussels goals through its support for national Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  The ILO aimed to ensure that employment and decent work were addressed as integral components of economic and social policies.  Technical programmes and field units were working together to contribute nationally in various countries, in cooperation with ILO constituents. 

OMER BASHIR MOHAMED MANIS (Sudan) said the failures that accompanied initiatives to help LDCs had manifested themselves clearly in the extreme deterioration in the standards of living and the social conditions of the

600 million people living in LDCs today.  The number of those countries had also increased over the last 30 years.  Their problems were among the major reasons for the political upheavals that had led to internal violence and a threat to international security.  The months following the Brussels Conference had witnessed some positive events.  The European Union had opened its markets with its “everything but arms” initiative.  There had also been a number of important meetings that had made progress, including the LDCs’ Ministers meeting in Tanzania, and the encouraging results of the WTO’s Doha Conference.  The meeting of landlocked least developed countries in New York last August was also a major step forward.

His country had instituted a national programme of action which, among other things, focused on rural development and traditional productive sectors.  It also gave greater importance to women through education and through ownership of the means of production.  The programme also focused on the development of human resources through the establishment of a national structure of information and communications technologies.  It had also established real partnership between the Government, civil society and the private sector. 

While he supported the establishment of the Office of the High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, it should be established without further weakening UNCTAD and its existing efforts.

OROBOLA FASEHUN, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said that development was a continuous process.  It was sustained by innovation and creativity, which were linked to the advancement and protection of intellectual property rights.  Though some countries were classified as least developed, certainly all countries had potential to achieve and sustain development.  Countries classified as least developed had many resources which could be tapped for development.  One such resource was their intellectual property -– genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, and their human resources.  All those had economic value.  WIPO was committed to and had put in place programmes to help LDCs achieve sustainable development through protection, promotion and full use of the intellectual property system.

She said that WIPO’s technical assistance was conducted through nationally focused and subregionally focused action plans.  Among its programmes, WIPO concentrated on: human resources development, modernizing intellectual property systems, and promotion of intellectual property support for traditional knowledge and folklore.  It had also instituted a programme to facilitate access to technological information within the framework of the WIPO’s digital agenda.

OROBOLA FASEHUN, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said that development was a continuous process.  It was sustained by innovation and creativity, which were linked to the advancement and protection of intellectual property rights.  Though some countries were classified as least developed, certainly all countries had potential to achieve and sustain development.  Countries classified as least developed had many resources which could be tapped for development.  One such resource was their intellectual property -– genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, and their human resources.  All those had economic value.  The WIPO was committed to and had put in place programmes to help LDCs achieve sustainable development through protection, promotion and full use of the intellectual property system.

She said that WIPO’s technical assistance was conducted through nationally focused and subregionally focused action plans.  Among its programmes, WIPO concentrated on:  human resources development, modernizing intellectual property systems, and promotion of intellectual property support for traditional knowledge and folklore.  It had also instituted a programme to facilitate access to technological information within the framework of WIPO’s digital agenda.

CLAUDIA SERWER (United States) said her Government was deeply committed to the economic development of the LDCs and actively supported their development efforts in a number of ways, including trade programmes such as the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act and the Caribbean Basin Initiatives.  During the first half of the year, total trade with sub-Saharan Africa rose nearly 17 per cent compared to last year.  United States imports from the region now exceeded $11.5 billion.  Some individual countries had shown staggering increases in trade with the United States.

The United States, she continued, had also demonstrated its commitment to LDCs through the provision of ODA, capacity-building, technical assistance and food programmes.  It would continue to support assistance to all LDCs who were doing their best to create strong democratic structures, promote peace and security, and implement sound market-based and pro-poor economic policies that would help lift their people from poverty.  In that regard, the United States was examining closely the Secretary-General’s recommendations.  She expected that, at the end of the day, delegates would agree to a follow-up mechanism that was both efficient and budget-neutral.

PATRICK LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), expressed great concern over the additional elements of the Secretary-General’s proposals, which, among other things, would have the Office of the High Representative provide support for a coordinated follow-up of the implementation of the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.  Since those States were ecologically fragile and economically vulnerable, they faced particular constraints in their efforts to achieve sustainable development.  Also, their specific physical circumstances often made it difficult for them to benefit from global economic development. 

For those reasons, he said, the approach being suggested to address those concerns -- while adequate for LDCs and landlocked developing countries -- was not particularly suited for small island developing States.  He would prefer it if the institutional arrangements for the follow-up of the Barbados Programme of Action put in place with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as a follow-up to the twenty-second special session of the General Assembly to review that Programme of Action could be given an opportunity to work before any decision was taken to relocate the “coordinated follow-up” of the Programme to another entity or mechanism.  Accordingly, he proposed that the references to the small island developing States Programme of Action be removed from the proposals contained in the Secretary-General’s report on the follow-up mechanism.

Introduction of Drafts

The Committee then heard the introduction of three draft resolutions.

       MOHAMMED REZA SALAMAT (Iran), on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, introduced the draft resolution on protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind.

MEHDI MIRAFZAL (Iran), also on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, introduced the draft on the twenty-fifth special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II).

He also introduced the draft on strengthening the mandate and status of the Commission on Human Settlements and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat).

He then introduced a draft resolution which had not been circulated as an official document.  It was on the topic of public administration and development, and would bear the document number A/C.2/56/L.42.  He said the draft was a purely procedural resolution, which sought recognition of the work being done in that field.  The operative paragraph of the draft, he said, requested the Secretary-General and the United Nations system to continue to assist States in their process of reform by fostering information sharing, institution building and coordination of development assistance.

FELIX MBAYU (Cameroon), Acting Chairman of the Committee, said the draft would be ready in all official languages first thing in the morning on Monday,

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For information media. Not an official record.