SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES 13 DEVELOPMENT-RELATED DRAFT TEXTS

4 December 2001
GA/EF/2987

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES 13 DEVELOPMENT-RELATED DRAFT TEXTS

04/12/2001
Press ReleaseGA/EF/2987

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

36th Meeting (PM)

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES 13 DEVELOPMENT-RELATED DRAFT TEXTS

Drafts on Natural Resources of Palestinian People,

Economic Measures as Means of Coercion Approved by Recorded Vote

Draft resolutions on Palestinian natural resources and on unilateral economic measures were approved by recorded votes and 11 other texts without a vote, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) continued its work this afternoon.

The draft on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources was approved by a vote of 131 in favour to three against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States) and two abstentions (Cameroon and Nicaragua). (See Annex II for voting results.)

By that draft the Assembly would call on Israel not to exploit, to cause loss or depletion of or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.  It would also recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of or danger to their natural resources, and express the hope that the issue will be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Speaking before the vote, the representative of Israel said he regretted that the debate in the Second Committee was being used as a platform from which to level accusations against another Member State, Israel, and to pass a resolution which was completely one-sided, inaccurate and politically motivated.  Issues discussed in the draft were matters that the parties had agreed would be dealt with through direct bilateral negotiations, and therefore had no place in the Committee.  Those references served to prejudge the outcome of negotiations and would do nothing to further the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Also speaking before the vote, the observer of Palestine said the concepts and principles contained in the draft were well established under international law.  That Israel continued to confiscate land, build settlements and impose blockades had grave impact on the living conditions of the Palestinians and fell within the purview of the Committee, particularly with regard to the economic repercussions of the occupation.

The representatives of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union) and Japan spoke after the vote.

In another vote, the Committee approved by 74 in favour, one against (United States) and 47 abstaining, the draft resolution on unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries.  By it, the Assembly would urge the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of such unilateral measures not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations or inconsistent with the principles of international law as set forth in the Charter and in contravention of the basic principles of the multilateral trading system. 

The representative of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union) spoke after the vote.

In other action, the Committee approved without a vote draft resolutions on the following items:

--integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields;

--towards a strengthened and stable international financial architecture responsive to the priorities of growth and development, especially in developing countries, and to the promotion of economic and social equity;

--enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problems of developing countries;

--status of preparations for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003;

--international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon;

--the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence; and

--the International Conference on Financing for Development.

The Committee approved, without a vote, Draft Decisions I and II contained in the report of the Preparatory Committee of the International Conference on Financing for Development on its resumed third session.

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

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on several draft resolutions and decisions. 

The Committee had before it a draft resolution sponsored by Japan on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields (A/C.2/56/L.27).  The text would have the General Assembly decide to examine how best to address reviews of the implementation of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, including their format and periodicity.  It would request the Secretary-General to make available to it the report requested by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for its substantive session of 2002 on the implementation of Council resolution 2001/21.

The draft resolution on unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries (A/C.2/56/L.36) was submitted by Iran on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China.  By it, the Assembly would urge the international community to adopt urgent and effective steps to eliminate the use of such unilateral measures not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations or inconsistent with the principles of international law as set forth in the Charter and in contravention of the basic principles of the multilateral trading system. 

Also by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to monitor the imposition of measures of this nature and to study the impact of such measures on the affected countries, including the impact on trade and development.

The draft resolution entitled towards a strengthened and stable international financial architecture responsive to the priorities of growth and development, especially in developing countries, and to the promotion of economic and social equity (A/C.2/56/L.44) is submitted by Mr. Mbayu, Committee Vice-Chairman, on the basis of consultations on draft resolution L.33.  By its terms, the Assembly would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its next session the sub-item -- international financial system and development -- under the item entitled "Macroeconomic policy questions".  It would also request the Secretary-General to submit to it at its next session a report on international financial systems and development, bearing in mind, among other things, the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March 2002.

Also submitted by Mr. Mbayu is the draft resolution on enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problems of developing countries (A/C.2/56/L.43), based on informals on L.32.  By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it at its next session on external debt crisis and development and, among other things, on the outcome of the Financing for Development Conference. 

The Committee was also expected to act the draft resolution on status of preparations for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003 (A/C.2/56/L.48), submitted by Committee Vice-Chairman Dharmansjah Djumala (Indonesia), on the basis of informal consultations on L.10.  By its terms the Assembly would encourage all Member States, the United Nations system and major groups to take advantage of the Year to raise awareness of the essential importance of freshwater resources for satisfying basic human needs, health and food production, and the preservation of ecosystems as well as for economic and social development in general, and to promote action at the local, national, regional and international levels.  In that context, the Assembly would call for high priority to be given to the serious freshwater problems facing many regions, especially in the developing countries.

Also by that draft, the Assembly would encourage all States, relevant international organizations and major groups to support activities related to the Year, inter alia, through voluntary contributions.

Also submitted by Mr. Djumala is a draft resolution on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon (A/C.2/56/L.46), based on informals on L.12.  It would have the Assembly call on the Secretary-General and the relevant United Nations organs, funds and programmes, in particular those taking part in the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and encourage the international community to adopt the necessary measures to support the establishment of the international centre for the study of the El Niño phenomenon at Guayaquil, Ecuador.  The Assembly would also invite the international community to provide scientific, technical and financial assistance and cooperation for that purpose, as well as to strengthen other centres devoted to studying the El Niño phenomenon.

The Committee is also expected to take action on the draft entitled the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (A/C.2/56/L.29).  The draft would have the Assembly call on Israel not to exploit, to cause loss or depletion of or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.  It would also recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of or danger to their natural resources, and would express the hope that this issue will be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-seventh session on the implementation of the present resolution, and would decide to include the item in the agenda of its fifty-seventh session.

The draft resolution is sponsored by the following countries:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine.

A draft on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (A/C.2/56/L.47) was submitted by Mr. Mbayu on the basis of informal consultations on L.34.  By it, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-seventh session on globalization and interdependence, bearing in mind, inter alia, the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development.

By the text of a draft on the International Conference on Financing for Development (A/C.2/56/L.45), submitted by Mr. Mbayu on the basis of informals on L.31, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-seventh session on the outcome of the Conference.  It would also decide to include in the provisional agenda of its next session the item entitled "High-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development".

In other action this afternoon, the Committee is expected to ask the General Assembly to adopt draft decisions I and II contained in Chapter VII, Section A, of the report of the Preparatory Committee of the International Conference on Financing for Development on its resumed third session (A/56/28).  Draft Decision I deals with the format of the Conference, and Draft Decision II relates to the Conference's provisional rules of procedure.

Action on Texts

FELIX MBAYU (Cameroon), Committee Vice-Chairman, introduced the draft resolution on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, as orally amended.

The Committee approved that text without a vote.

Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries (A/C.2/56/L.36), which had no programme budget implications.

The Committee approved the text by a vote of 74 in favour to 1 against (United States) with 47 abstentions.

The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union had abstained during the vote.  Economic measures should be compatible with the principles of international law and the international multilateral trade system.  Unilateral measures should not be taken against any Member State.  However, he regretted that the text limited that point only to developing countries.

The representative of Pakistan wanted to put on the record that, although he was not present during the vote, he supported the draft resolution.

The representative of the Dominican Republic said that he too would have voted in favour of that resolution.

Following that, Mr. MBAYU introduced the draft resolution entitled towards a strengthened and stable international financial architecture responsive to the priorities of growth and development, especially in developing countries, and to the promotion of economic and social equity, which also had no programme budget implications.

The text was approved by the Committee without a vote.

Mr. MBAYU then introduced the draft resolution on enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problems of developing countries, which had no programme budget implications.

The Committee approved the text without a vote.

Committee Secretary MARGARET KELLY informed the Committee that it was scheduled to take action on draft resolution A/C.2/56/L.49.  While that draft had no programme budget implications, it did have a conference servicing statement. Therefore, consideration of that text would be postponed to the Committee’s next meeting.

DHARMANSJAH DJUMALA (Indonesia), Committee Vice-Chairman, introduced the draft resolution on status of preparations for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003.  [Armenia and Japan had joined as co-sponsors of the text.]

The Committee, without a vote, approved the draft resolution.

Following that, Mr. DJUMALA introduced the draft resolution on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon.  [Tajikistan joined as a co-sponsor of the text.]

That text was also approved without a vote.

Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (A/C.2/56/L.29), which Senegal had also joined as a co-sponsor.  Also, Djibouti should be listed as a co-sponsor in the text, instead of Denmark.  A recorded vote had been requested.

The representative of Israel, speaking before the vote, said he regretted that the debate in the Second Committee was being used as a platform from which to level accusations against another Member State, Israel, and to pass a resolution which was completely one-sided, inaccurate and politically motivated.  Indeed the issues referred to in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report were matters that the parties had agreed would be dealt with through direct bilateral negotiations, and therefore had no place in this forum.  Those references served to prejudge the outcome of negotiations and would do nothing to further the cause of peace in the Middle East.

He added that, as the Committee met today, Israel was still grieving for   26 of its sons and daughters who were slaughtered in the last 72 hours, and for hundreds more who were still nursing their wounds, both physical and emotional.  Israel had repeatedly made clear that its objective was a negotiated peace settlement that would bring calm and security to all the people of the region.  Once calm had been restored, the negotiations could be restarted –- the subject of natural resources would be discussed within that context as the parties had agreed.  The present unbalanced draft resolution lay outside the scope of the pressing matters and urgent problems in the Middle East, which needed the attention of the Committee.  As it had in years past, Israel would vote against the biased and counterproductive resolution.  He urged other delegations to do the same.

The observer of Palestine said he was surprised to hear a general statement before the vote.  He felt provoked by the Israeli representative, who had accused the co-sponsors of the text of politicizing the issue and had then gone on to make a highly political statement himself.  The concepts and principles contained in the draft were well established under international law.  That Israel continued to confiscate land, build settlements and impose blockades had grave impact on the living conditions of the Palestinians, and fell well within the purview of the Committee, particularly with regard to the economic repercussions of the occupation.

The Israeli representative had also said that Israel had been ready to renew efforts to return to dialogue just before the United States sent its representative, General Anthony Zinni.  He noted that General Zinni was received by the extrajudicial assassination of a Palestinian together with the killing of five Palestinian children.

The Committee then approved the text by a vote of 131 in favour to 3 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Nicaragua).

Speaking after the vote on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Belgium said he had voted in favour of the draft resolution because he believed that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying power.  The European Union reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied territories, and also reaffirmed that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to that Convention was illegal.

However, he said, the issues referred to in the resolution were matters which were to be dealt with in the framework of permanent status negotiations of the Middle East peace process, whose resumption the European Union hoped to see as soon as possible.  The resolution adopted today must not therefore be considered as prejudicial to or preemptive of the outcome of those negotiations.  Any action or statement which might be seen as doing so had to be avoided.

Also speaking after the vote, the representative of Japan said his Government was gravely concerned about the ongoing clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians, and deeply saddened at the almost daily loss of lives among the civilian population.  A negotiated peace was the only way to solve all outstanding issues and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.

He added that, taking note of the second part of operative paragraph 4 of the draft resolution, which expressed the hope that the issue discussed in the draft would be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, he would like to emphasize that his support for the draft was not intended to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations.  Also, his acceptance of the words “permanent sovereignty” used in the draft did not imply any changes in his country’s position on the legal status of the “occupied territories”.

The representative of Mozambique said that had he been present during the Committee’s two votes, he would have voted in favour of both texts.

The representative of Myanmar said that if he had been present during the vote on A/C.2/56/L.36, he would have voted in favour.

The representative of Uganda said that had he been present during both votes, he would have voted in favour of both.

The representative of Cape Verde said that had he been present during the vote on A/C.2/56/L.36, he would have voted in favour.

The representative of Gabon said that during the vote on A/C.2/56/L.36, he had voted incorrectly.  His vote should have been in favour.

The representative of Viet Nam said that had she been present during the vote on A/C.2/56/L.36, she would have voted in favour.

Next, Mr. MBAYU introduced the draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence.

The text was approved without a vote.

Following that, Mr. MBAYU introduced the draft resolution on the International Conference on Financing for Development.

The Committee, acting without a vote, approved that text.

Next, the Committee turned to draft decisions I and II contained in Chapter VII, Section A, of the report of the Preparatory Committee of the International Conference on Financing for Development on its resumed third session (A/56/28), which were also introduced by Mr. MBAYU. 

The representative of Japan said that he wanted to put on the record that he joined consensus on A/C.2/56/L.45 on the understanding that the resolution, especially operative paragraph 4, did not prejudge the modality and nature of the follow-up for the upcoming International Conference.

Draft Decision I, dealing with the format of the Conference, and Draft Decision II, on the Conference's provisional rules of procedure, were both approved without a vote.

The representative of the United States requested information on the status of draft resolution A/C.2/56/L.30 regarding the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Mr. MBAYU informed the Committee that everything was being done to ensure that consultations could be held on that text as soon as possible.

The representative of Cambodia said that had he been present during the vote on A/C.2/56/L.36, he would have voted in favour.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that had he been present during the vote on A/C.2/56/L.36, he too would have voted in favour.

The representative of Bangladesh said that had he been present, he would have voted in favour of both resolutions A/C.2/56/L.36 and A/C.2/56/L.29.

(annexes follow)

ANNEX I

Vote on Unilateral Economic Measures as a Means of Political and Economic Coercion Against Developing Countries

The draft resolution on economic measures as a means of coercion (document A/C.2/56/L.36) was adopted by a recorded vote of 74 in favour to 1 against, with 47 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  United States.

Abstaining:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.

The draft resolution on permanent sovereignty over natural resources (document A/C.2/56/L.29) was adopted by a recorded voted of 131 in favour to3 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States.

Abstaining:  Cameroon, Nicaragua.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.