SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT ON PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY OF PALESTINIAN, ARAB SOVEREIGNTY OVER NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

14 November 2002
GA/EF/3025

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT ON PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY OF PALESTINIAN, ARAB SOVEREIGNTY OVER NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

14/11/2002
Press ReleaseGA/EF/3025

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Second Committee

34th & 35th Meetings (AM & PM)

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT ON PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY OF PALESTINIAN,

ARAB SOVEREIGNTY OVER NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

Draft Would Have General Assembly Reaffirm Inalienable

Rights in Recorded Vote of 124 in Favour, 4 Against, 2 Abstentions

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved a draft resolution this afternoon by which the General Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water.

Also by that text, which was approved by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Papua New Guinea), the Assembly would call on Israel not to exploit, cause loss or depletion of or to endanger that natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

By further terms, the Assembly would recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution arising from any exploitation, loss, depletion or damage to their natural resources, and express the hope that the issue would be dealt with in the framework of final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

The draft had previously been introduced by the representative of Venezuela, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.

Speaking in explanation of position before today's vote was the representative of Israel, while the representatives of Denmark (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) and Japan spoke in explanation of position after the vote.

The representatives of Syria and Sri Lank, as well as the Observer for Palestine, made general statements after the action.

In other business this afternoon, the Committee took up the question of protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind.

Addressing that topic, the representative of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that attaining the goals set forth at the 1992

Conference on Environment and Development and in the subsequent 1997 Kyoto Protocol remained a challenge.  Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide had increased in the developed countries, while the adverse effects of climate change were even more acute in developing countries.

She urged the developed countries to step up their financial and technical assistance to the developing nations and to strengthen the Global Environment Facility (GEF).  By doing so, they would enable the Special Fund for Climate Change, the Least Developed Countries’ Fund and the Adaptation Fund to succeed in carrying out their work in the areas of adaptation, technology transfer and energy management.

Echoing that sentiment, the representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, emphasized the need to pay special attention to the needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed countries and the small island developing States.

He said that while almost 100 countries had ratified the Kyoto Protocol, global emissions of greenhouse gases would not be reversed, even with the Protocol in force, since the common goal was to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  The Kyoto Protocol, with its targets for the period 2008 to 2012, was only a first step, and further action would be required after 2012 to achieve the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The Convention and the Kyoto Protocol already contained the basis for a dialogue on mitigation and adaptation, he added.

Prior to considering that agenda item, the Committee took up the issue of business and development.  Addressing that topic, Switzerland’s representative said that market liberalization without corporate social responsibility was not leading to a fair distribution of global resources.  Markets would only become socially responsive if they were regulated by a public sector that was insulated from the corporations under its oversight.

He said the United Nations Global Compact was an excellent initial step towards the gradual adoption of principles and standards by enterprises, since it challenged them to adopt values linked to good corporate citizenship as an investment in sustainable development.  However, governments should ensure that corporate social responsibility was not simply a new attempt by industrialized countries to limit the international competitiveness of enterprises from the developing world in a market-driven economy.

Egypt’s representative stressed that sound regulatory and institutional frameworks were required for the development of small and mid-sized enterprises, environmental protection, employment growth, trade expansion and technology.  He called on governments to show flexibility in allowing the invisible hand of the market play its role in the business sector, and for commerce to establish socially responsible business practices.

Earlier this afternoon, the Committee concluded its discussion on environment and sustainable development.

(page 1b follows)

During this morning’s meeting, the representative of Venezuela, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, introduced a draft resolution on the high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development.

Speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Israel, Ukraine, Iran, Tunisia, Kuwait, Sri Lanka and Samoa.

This morning, the Committee heard from the representatives of Belize (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), United States, New Zealand, Mongolia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Canada, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Zambia and Nepal.

It also heard statements by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Others who addressed the Committee today were the Director of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Liaison Office with the United Nations; the Assistant-Director-General for United Nations Affairs of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). and representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

A representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources also made a statement.

The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to conclude its consideration of protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to conclude consideration of environment and sustainable development.  It also heard introduction of a draft resolution on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development.

Introduction of Draft Resolution

VICENTE VALLENILLA (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced a draft resolution, entitled High-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development (document A/C.2/57/L.36).  He said his Group felt a draft should be submitted reflecting the main mandates of the Monterrey Consensus, so that the international community could take steps to implement that document, as well as others that had been drawn up since.

He said the text requested the Secretary-General to provide a report on the  mobilization of resources for development at the national and international levels, and on international trade, progress achieved in facilitating the efforts of developing countries, external debt and the enhancement of coherence and consistency in the international financial system.  The text aimed to define future action to ensure that the most efficient route was taken in channelling resources for the financing for development.

JOHN DAVISON (United States) said the draft resolution was a repudiation, not a reaffirmation, of Monterrey in terms of financing for development.  He lamented the complete absence of governments’ national role and responsibilities in development and the essential need for good governance at national level.

The Group of 77 was abandoning its commitments to Monterrey, he said, adding that the draft’s tone and overall imbalance were inappropriate.  He suggested that the Group amend the text to reflect the holistic efforts of financing for development.

Mr. VALLENILLA (Venezuela), responding, said the tone of the United States delegate was inappropriate and not in keeping with the Monterrey spirit.  While the draft was not perfect, it was understood that Member States would themselves include elements in their own action plans not included in the text.  He urged the United States not to repudiate the terms of the draft, and affirmed that the Group of 77 would not produce a new text.

Statements

KLAUS TOEPFER, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the environment was no longer a luxury, but rather a vital resource for sustainable development.  It required protection through the use of action-oriented tools, he said, noting that unsustainable consumption and production patterns in the developed world were major contributors to poverty, underdevelopment and environmental degradation.

During its February session in Cartagena, he said, UNEP’s Governing Council had adopted a forward-looking agenda to reduce environmental and health risks from toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes, as well as a fresh and marine water resource policy that would further integrate river basin management with marine and coastal area management.  It had also adopted provisions to strengthen the role of UNEP’s Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) in international environmental policy-making; expand capacity-building programmes; and further develop strategic partnerships with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

Noting that special attention had been given to ensuring stable, adequate and predictable financing of UNEP, he said that, this year, 100 countries were contributing to the Fund, up from 83 last year.  Confidence in UNEP was growing, he said, noting that Eritrea, an economically strapped developing nation, had agreed for the first time to make good on its pledged contribution.  UNEP was aware of the need for increased cooperation with the United Nations system, civil society, and responsible business in sustainable development, through sector initiatives, industry-specific voluntary initiatives and codes of product.

JOKE WALLER-HUNTER, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that the outcome of the eighth session of the Conference of the States parties to the UNFCCC, held two weeks ago in New Delhi, reflected the vital transition from negotiations to implementation in the climate area.  It consisted of two major components:  several decisions to advance implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change Convention; and the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which built on the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit.

The seventh session of the States parties in Marrakech had opened the way to ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, she continued.  The Protocol would enter into force 90 days after being ratified by 55 governments, including developed countries, which represented at least 55 per cent of that category’s 1990 carbon dioxide emissions.  Currently, 96 States parties had ratified the Protocol, including developing countries, which accounted for     37.4 per cent of emissions.  Noting that Poland and the Republic of Korea had announced their ratification at the New Delhi Conference, she said that the Russian Federation and several other countries had indicated at the Johannesburg Summit that they planned to ratify in the near future, pushing the percentage over the threshold.  The Protocol should enter into force next year and the first meeting of the States parties could be held in December 2003.

She noted that the New Delhi meeting had made good progress on several important implementation issues.  For example, the clean development mechanism was now operational and would help channel private-sector investment into emission-reduction projects in developing countries, as well as offer credits to developed countries towards emission reductions.  The first project was likely to be submitted for approval early next year.  The States parties had also agreed to facilitate the designation of operational entities that would validate projects to certify emission reductions.  Among other decisions, they had adopted a five-year programme on education, training and public awareness, and reviewed the effectiveness of the GEF -– the financial mechanism operating under the Convention.

STUART LESLIE (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that several countries in the region had been severely affected by floods, hurricanes and other adverse weather conditions.  Once again, the international community must recognize that the poor, who could least afford it, were most affected.  The Caribbean economies were becoming more fragile and vulnerable to external influences, including man-made and natural disasters.  Calling for a more proactive international approach to such calamities, he said more resources were needed to mitigate the adverse effect of hazards in the region and prevent them from becoming disasters.  Each dollar spent on disaster mitigation saved hundreds in response and rehabilitation, he added.

Noting that trade liberalization had long been touted as an essential engine for growth in developing countries, he pointed out that the benefits of globalization had not helped those countries, and their economies had continued to deteriorate even as they became increasingly open.  For CARICOM, certain key systemic issues must be addressed to ensure that the benefits and costs of globalization were equitably distributed, he said, stressing that decision-making on trade-related issues must be fair, transparent and all-inclusive.  Also, market access should be addressed with a view to removing tariff and non-tariff barriers, and equitable, constructive partnerships between developed and developing countries should be pursued for their mutual benefit.  Sustainable development was achievable, but it required the concerted efforts of all concerned, he said.

HERBERT TRAUB (United States) said that the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation had moved the agenda forward in important areas, including water, sanitation, health, agriculture, fisheries and chemicals.  The United States had announced more than 12 United States-led partnerships in development, and was part of a collective effort to launch more than 200 initiatives.

He emphasized the critical need for the Commission on Sustainable Development to move quickly on specific reforms, like limiting negotiations sessions to every two years; limiting the number of themes addressed at each session; and serving as a focal point for sustainable development partnership, lessons learned, progress made and best practices.  He urged the General Assembly to empower the Commission to move the agenda forward, adding that it should hold an organizational meeting as soon as possible next year.

TIM MCIVOR (New Zealand) said that, although his country would have liked to see a greater focus on new targets and goals in the Johannesburg outcome documents, it was not dissatisfied.  The Summit had raised awareness of sustainable development as a coherent approach to environmental, economic and social policy.  It had also created a mood of inclusiveness and willingness to work constructively towards a programme of implementation.  Concerted global, national and regional efforts would now be required.

While the Commission on Sustainable Development was charged with monitoring the implementation of outcomes, other agencies should also consider their roles, he said.  At the national level, New Zealand was assessing outcomes against national and regional priorities, including implications for its work towards a sustainable development programme.  New Zealand’s overseas development programme was moving forward, including through partnership initiatives.

The World Summit’s decisions on the Commission's future organization and work had laid the basis for making that body more relevant and action-oriented, focussing it on implementation, he said.  That would require a flexible approach, both in terms of outputs and participation.  It was appropriate for the Commission to spend each alternate year monitoring the implementation of sustainable development programmes and important that it provide for greater substantive involvement by international organizations.

He hoped that the clarification and improvement of subsidies disciplines and of fisheries subsidies disciplines under the Doha mandate would realize significant benefits in those areas.  The mandate of the World Trade Organization (WTO) placed it in a unique leadership role and the Commission on Sustainable Development should use each of its alternate years to monitor that organization’s progress until the completion of the Doha Development Agenda and beyond.  He added that the Commission must move towards becoming a body that could consider and offer solutions to the practical problems of sustainable development, without necessarily becoming embroiled in negotiations, “North-South” rhetoric and position-taking.

Ms. BATTUNGALAG (Mongolia) said that her country’s geography made it highly susceptible to natural disasters, including droughts and heavy snowfall.  Its economy was dependent on the environment, as the livestock sector was the backbone of the economy.  Being highly sensitive to fluctuations in the commodities market, and suffering from a series of natural disasters over the past three years, the country had seen thousands of its herdsmen and their families driven into the ranks of the poor.  As a result, Mongolia attached special significance to the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.  With a view to strengthening national capacity-building and improving the disaster management system, she said, disaster mitigation steps being taken in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Luxembourg.

She said that combating desertification was a priority of the national development agenda.  Mongolia had designated more than 13 per cent of its land mass a protected area and planned to expand that ratio and place nearly the entire territory under special environmental protection.  That would help prevent the spread of desertification well beyond Central Asia.  Mongolia’s location on the Central Asian highland -- at the crossroads of wind currents -- meant that Mongolian sand could reach far-away regions of the globe.  As a member of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Mongolia supported the strengthening of its institutional framework for sustainable development at all levels.

RIM SONG CHOL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said global efforts towards environmental protection and sustainable development to ensure an ideal future for the planet were still facing serious obstacles.  The most serious challenges to sustainable development were the widening gaps in wealth between developed and developing countries worldwide, and the increasing marginalization of developing countries in international economic relations.  In recent years, overall development in those countries had been deteriorating with each passing day, because of poverty, the heavy external debt burden and the negative impact of globalization.  Shortages of food, drinking water, energy and shelter, as well as inadequate sanitation, were denying millions of people their fundamental right to survival.

In a few developed countries, he went on, the unsustainable pattern of production -– based on egoistic and unfair competition -– had resulted in surplus wealth that was wasted and squandered for no purpose.  That, in turn, led to the excessive consumption of natural resources and hindered stable and sustainable development.  When millions of people were suffering from food shortages and such diseases a HIV/AIDS in one part of the globe, considerable amounts were spent disposing of surplus products in another part.  Another grave challenge to sustainable development was the state of international peace and security.  The cold war had ended 10 years ago, but conflicts, arms races and unilateral economic sanctions were still occurring in the world, damaging the global ecological environment and threatening the security and survival of humankind.

GARY PRINGLE (Canada) said the world summit in Johannesburg was the last in a remarkable two-year sequence of international forums supporting development.  Differences of approach to issues discussed among developed and developing countries did not stand in the way of a substantive and positive outcome to the Summit.  He attributed its success to its inclusivity, and the key role played by partnerships before and during the summit.  Along with government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector were active participants in the discussions.

With the successful completion of the discussions, he said, the task at hand was implementation.  Canada had begun to do that by doubling its annual funding to UNEP, by increasing its contribution to a wide variety of initiatives across the sustainable development agenda and by committing, at the highest level, to present the Kyoto Accord to Parliament for ratification by year’s end.  Canada had also committed to doubling its official development assistance (ODA) by 2010, and had eliminated tariffs and quotas on almost all products from the 48 least developed countries (LDCs), effective 1 January 2003.  His country was committed to ensuring the full implementation of world summit decisions.

NEHEMIAH ROTICH (Kenya) said that strengthening UNEP’s role, authority and financial base would go a long way in capitalizing fully on the Fund's potential in environmental conservation and development.  He called for an increase in the regular United Nations budget for financing the UNEP secretariat and governing council.

Describing climate change as mankind’s largest environmental challenge, he said it required special attention, noting that unprecedented extreme weather patterns in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, as well as greenhouse gases, were having profound effects on the world’s environment.  Kenya called upon all Member States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and on the international community to provide technical and financial assistance and capacity-building to developing nations as provided for in the UNFCCC.  He added that the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was an essential tool for promoting poverty eradication in poor, isolated rural areas in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

SHIN BOO-NAM (Republic of Korea) stressed that now was the time to develop concrete follow-up plans for each commitment contained in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.  The Commission on Sustainable Development should review and monitor progress on Agenda 21 and consider issues of integrating sustainable development.  Partnerships launched at the Summit were not a substitute for governmental commitments, but a means for bolstering sustainable development initiatives.

He said it was vital to discuss follow-up actions to the Plan of Implementation, but even more crucial that each nation integrate into all its programmes policies to further sustainable development through good governance.  The Republic of Korea planned to host an international seminar in the near future focussing on follow-up actions to Johannesburg.  In addition, the Government had completed all of the domestic procedures for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and had deposited them with the United Nations last week.

MARIA LUISA ESCOREL DE MORAES (Brazil) said a key theme of the work programme of the sustainable development commission was renewable energy and helping developing countries to provide adequate energy services in an economically, socially and environmentally sound manner.  Concerted action should also be taken to address poverty eradication and changes in unsustainable production and consumption patterns. 

Actions were required at all levels to protect, conserve and ensure the quality of water resources for future generations.  She welcomed United Nations initiatives of the International Year of Freshwater to raise awareness of water’s importance to human needs, health, agriculture and ecosystem conservation.  Two years ago, Brazil created the National Agency for Water to regulate and manage river use and to prevent water pollution.  She said Brazil was also committed to global climate protection, and last August had ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

LUKWESA KAEMBA (Zambia) said that, in response to the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit, his country was taking steps to reverse natural resource degradation as part of a national poverty reduction strategy.  A National Environmental Action Plan was being implemented to address air and water pollution, inadequate sanitation, soil degradation, wildlife depletion and deforestation.  Government strategies centred on protecting and expanding the asset base of the poor, as well as co-managing and co-investing resources with them; promoting infrastructure and technology development; prioritizing issues and compensating the poor; and reforming markets and planning.

He said that a National Water Policy was being implemented as a major component of sustainable development.  It centred on a broad-based, collaborative and consultative approach to developing specific strategies for sectors related to water supply and sanitation.  Again, the strategies had a strong pro-poor focus that would significantly address the basic needs of poor communities in both urban and rural areas.  However, comprehensive strategies on water resource management must be formulated under a Water Resources Action Programme, which required the cooperation of development partners.

TAPAS ADHIKARI (Nepal) said the international community must act together in solving environmental problems, which did not respect national boundaries.  Every major local action had regional and global environmental implications, making the environment a global concern and requiring a global response.  The Johannesburg Summit had aroused deep interest in the health of the planet and made possible new partnerships for the sustainable use of finite resources.  Though many would have liked to see more robust and specific benchmarks and targets, the Johannesburg outcome was a sound and forward-looking document.  The foremost concern now was to implement it, he added.

Nepal was a disaster-prone, alpine country, with 83 per cent of its territory covered by the young Himalayan Mountains, he said.  Every year its people suffered from destruction by floods and devastation by landslides.  Nepal lost 240 billion cubic metres of fertile topsoil annually and rivers changing course destroyed thousands of hectares of prime agriculture land, while glacial outbursts threatened life downstream.

That was why Nepal had always given priority to poverty alleviation, environmental preservation and sustainable development, he said.  Most investment was directed towards the rural areas where most of the poor lived.  The deterioration of the environment, due to population pressures and over-exploitation of natural resources in the urban, as well as rural, areas had necessitated measures to preserve its integrity.

When the Second Committee met this afternoon, it took action on a 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 (document A/C.2/57/L.34).

General Statements Before Vote

The representative of Israel said the draft resolution contributed nothing to the objectives of peace in the Middle East.  It would neither advance the peace negotiations nor foster better relations between Israel and the Palestinians.  Israel was committed to peace and to the end of violence, but would vote against the biased and counterproductive draft resolution.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, United States) and 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Papua New Guinea).  (For details, see Annex.)

Explanations of Position After Vote

The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said she had voted in favour of the text, since the Union believed that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying Power.  She reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied territories and also affirmed that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to that Convention was illegal.

However, she said, the issues referred to in the resolution were matters to be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the Middle East peace process.  The European Union remained committed, in close cooperation with its partners in the Quartet and in the Arab world, to assisting the parties in their efforts to find a final settlement to the Middle East conflict.  The resolution must not be considered as prejudicial to or pre-emptive of the outcome of those negotiations.  Any actions or statements which might be seen as doing so must be avoided.

The representative of Japan, noting that there were few signs of any improvement in the situation.  Japan was very concerned with the suffering of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  He urged both sides to end the cycle of violence, calling upon Israel to show restraint in its use of force and upon the Palestinian Authority to end extremist acts.  Japan reasserted its support for the resolution, he added.

General Statements After Vote

The Observer for Palestine said the Palestinian Authority had repeatedly condemned suicide bombings in Israel, but a distinction must be drawn between those and violence taking place in Palestinian territory.  In the latter case, Palestinians had the right to resist occupation and any violent acts must not be confused with acts of terror.  President Arafat had condemned suicide bombings and Israel, in turn, should investigate killings and war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The representative of Syria said that the approval of the resolution had sent a clear message that the occupying Power should not exploit resources, and reaffirmed that the occupation was illegal, messages that Israel had continually ignored.  Settlement of the conflict in the Middle East would not take place in a violent climate.  The history of Israel was replete with acts that went beyond anything seen before.

The representative of Israel said the most useful thing the Palestinian leadership could do would be to end its regime of violence and terrorism and resume peace talks.

The representative of Sri Lanka said his delegation would have voted in support of the resolution if it had been present.

The Committee then resumed its discussion on environment and sustainable development.

AMON NADAI (Israel) said many developing countries were burdened with poverty and overcrowded cities, all of which exacerbated environmental problems.  Only populations whose basic needs had been met would be equipped to take the necessary environmental protection measures.  Sustainable development must lead to better living conditions for the poor, he said, adding that agricultural development was key to poverty eradication in many developing countries.

He said Israel was creating extensive cooperation programmes with many countries to promote agricultural development.  Through its MASHAV programme, it had provided guidance and instruction to many countries, dispatching experts to areas in need of assistance.  It had set up model demonstration farms in many countries and hoped to set up more in the future.  As many as 140 countries had benefited from Israeli programmes, he added.

SERHII SAVCHUK (Ukraine) said the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation had clearly recognized that countries had the primary responsibility for their own development, and that sound economic, social and environmental policies were the basis for sustainable development.  Ukraine had identified, in presidential decrees, economic and social strategies in the transition to sustainable development.  Despite current economic challenges, it was undertaking further efforts to ensure the protection and rehabilitation of the environment with the aim of developing the legal and methodological bases for nature management, environment protection and nuclear safety, as well as ensuring their effective implementation.

Sound and effective environment policy had already yielded some positive results, he said, the most significant of which was the reducation by half, compared to 1990, of greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition, Ukraine had recently ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity.  It was willing to implement the relevant mechanisms to make an important and concrete contribution to technology transfer and to become part of the system of information exchange on living modified organisms.

NASROLLAH KAZEMI KAMYAB (Iran) said the Johannesburg outcome discussed, for the first time, several important sustainable development issues, including mining, mountains and the effects of globalization.  But while the Summit had been successful in promoting sustainable development goals, it was not a substitute for Agenda 21.  It was a renewed commitment to implement it.

He said the creation of a World Solidarity Fund and the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development paved the way for improving the financing and development of projects, particularly in the field of renewable energy and technological advancement.  However, more must be done.  The upcoming meeting of the Commission on Social Development in April should take fully into account the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the institutional frameworks for sustainable development.

FLORENCE CHENOWETH, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Liaison Office with the United Nations, said that the World Summit had adopted a challenging Plan of Implementation detailing actions to fight hunger and poverty and to protect the environment in key priority areas within the agency's mandate.  The Plan recognized that sustainable agriculture and rural development, integrated land and water management, sustainable forest management, mountain development, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity made key contributions to poverty reduction and rural livelihoods.  The FAO played an important role in all those areas.  For instance, it had taken a leading role at the Summit in launching partnership initiatives on sustainable mountain development, agriculture and rural development and education for rural people (in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)).

She said the FAO welcomed the Summit’s call on the GEF to designate land degradation as a focal area and to mobilize financial resources for the effective implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.  With its expertise in the area of land degradation, the FAO stood ready to assist Member States in their efforts.  It would also continue its activities to implement aspects of the Convention on Biodiversity relevant to food and agriculture.  The FAO also had a number of activities relating to climate change mitigation.

IRENE FREUDENSCHUSS-REICHL, Assistant-Director General for United Nations Affairs of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said technology was a powerful tool for bridging the gap between the leading global economies and those currently marginalized from the globalization process.  However, in practice, many developing countries faced major obstacles and significant difficulties in acquiring, absorbing and mastering technologies for sustainable development.

Indigenous technological effort was one of the most important factors for improving industrial performance in industrialized and developing countries.  Yet, developing countries still accounted for only 0.4 per cent of world research and development expenditures, and lagged behind the developed countries in generating and applying intermediate and advanced technologies.  Successful technology transfer required widespread local capacity-building throughout society, particularly at the national, sectoral and enterprise levels of the economy.

Turning to energy for sustainable development, she said UNIDO had presented an initiative on rural energy for productive use at the Johannesburg Summit, aimed at the population sectors in developing countries that lacked access to modern energy services, and which were either too poor or too isolated to attract private sector energy-related investments.

JUANITA CASTANO, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, said her organization would work to ensure that environment and sustainable development remained on the multilateral agenda.  It had been involved in many meetings and activities pertinent to sustainable development.  Of particular concern was the loss of biodiversity.  Maintaining and restoring ecosystems was key to the elimination of poverty and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods.

She pledged to mobilize her organization’s networks and assets in advancing the Millennium Development Goals and implementing the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.  As an active participant in the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Union believed that the Forum could help reposition forests on the broader international political agenda by exploring the links between poverty alleviation, natural resource conservation and biodiversity –- key pillars of the World Summit.  It also supported fully activities promoting the sustainable use of natural resources to ensure that freshwater ecosystems continued to provide the functions and services that were of benefit to all, especially the world’s poorest.

A representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said the agency was working with more than 145 countries in the follow-up to the Johannesburg Summit and was committed to expanding its outreach to others.  While each country must tailor Summit principles to its own needs and strategies, UNDP was holding regional meetings to accommodate initiatives like the New Economic Partnership for Africa (NEPAD), and those created by the small island developing States and the Latin American countries.

He said UNDP had created programmes to address the Secretary-General’s five key priority areas in sustainable development -- water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity -- that included projects in integrated water resource planning and trans-boundary water and shared watershed development.  The Global Village Energy Partnership and the LPG Challenge were aimed at providing adequate energy services, he added.  Projects had also been tailored to the concerns of international climate change, good governance, capacity development and community-level action.

SOUMAIA ZORAI (Tunisia) said half of humankind lived in poverty.  About   900 million people were suffering from malnutrition, and endemic diseases affected millions, particularly in Africa.  The goals of Agenda 21 had a long way to go before they were achieved, and the Johannesburg Summit was a historic opportunity to continue what had begun at Rio.  Despite adopting a more detailed programme of action, it was clear that the outcome fell short of the expectations and hopes of developing countries, particularly with respect to specific timetables.

She said the initial responsibility for sustainable development lay with individual countries themselves, but the difficulties facing developing countries were so vast that they would require cooperation from the developed world, which was primarily responsible for the planet’s degradation.  The leaders of the world’s richest economies had promised to compensate poorer nations by providing them with assistance in the years to come.  That had never been so necessary as it was now, especially in terms of increased aid, particularly for countries that had met their commitments and made substantial efforts to improve their economies.

MOHAMMAD ABULHASAN (Kuwait) said his country had recently created sweeping environmental legislation for environmental protection, research and awareness.  It had set up a working group comprising the federal entities governing the environment, water resources and scientific research; Kuwait University; and the ministries of oil, health and planning, in order to facilitate and monitor progress in applying Agenda 21.

He said a major renewable energy effort to turn gas into electrical energy had transformed a toxic wasteland into a residential housing project.  Modern solutions were being used to clean up pollution generated by the oil and high-tech industries.  Kuwait had also set up an industrial waste processing station and devised a system to detect air and chemical pollution.  A new fisheries law enabled the fish supply to flourish and the country had declared 6 November a world day for prohibiting exploitation of the environment in times of war.

KULATILAKA LENAGALA (Sri Lanka) said he hoped implementation of the Johannesburg Summit outcome would be a priority at both the national and international levels.  Sri Lanka had been enacting national environmental legislation since 1978, and had ratified all of the environmental conventions.  It was working towards an open democratic system built on respect for equality and human rights.  Several national action plans had been developed to reinforce commitments to the international community.

All were responsible for ensuring that the Johannesburg outcome was followed by concrete action, and the United Nations could play a key role in that.  He believed that the Commission on Sustainable Development should be strengthened, as should all other United Nations bodies involved in sustainable development.  All must contribute to the global task of sustainable development.  Neither the most powerful nor the most humble could survive alone.

The Committee then took up a report of the Secretary-General on Business and development (A/57/591), which presents a brief overview of the evolving business and development framework, as well as current international views on the role of business in development, as reflected in the outcomes of recent United Nations conferences.  It includes a synopsis of government actions, the responses of business and specific United Nations activities pertaining to business and development.

JERZY SZEREMETA, Chief, Public Policy Analysis and Development Branch, Division for Public Economics and Public Administration in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report, saying that business must be a willing and engaged partner in linking business growth with human development.  It must also take into account the use of human resources, expertise and finances in business practices.

He said the report summarized the emerging concept of giving an international dimension to the traditional “local-government-local-business” paradigm, and stressed the need for self-regulation by business to promote growth, socially responsible behaviour and democratic governance.

REGIS AZANTHAY (Switzerland), questioning whether maximum competition in business could lead to maximum efficiency, said that liberalization without corporate social responsibility was not currently leading to an efficient allocation of global resources.  To make markets socially responsive, a competitive environment must be effectively regulated at the macro and micro levels by a public sector that was insulated from the corporations it had to supervise.

He said the Global Compact was an excellent initial step in facilitating bridge-building and the gradual adoption of principles and standards by enterprises according to their specific situations and circumstances.  The Compact challenged enterprises to behave in a responsible way and to share values linked to good corporate citizenship as an investment for sustainable development.

The Compact could also support governments in their role of encouraging businesses to adopt Compact principles, he said.  Eventually, they should also ensure that corporate social responsibility, as promoted by the Compact, was not a new attempt by industrialized countries to limit the international competitiveness of developing countries enterprises in a market-driven economy.

AHMED EL-SAID RAGAB (Egypt) said that sound regulatory and institutional frameworks were needed for the development of small and mid-sized enterprises, environmental protection, employment growth, trade expansion and technology.  The Secretary-General’s report highlighted the need for the business sector to develop mid-term strategies in that regard.

He called on governments to show flexibility allowing the invisible hand of the market to play its role in the business sector without restrictions, and in enabling commerce to establish good and socially responsible business practices in the spirit of corporate responsibility and accountability.  Both the public and private sectors should abide by internationally accepted criteria and standards in terms of worker training and environmental protection.

CAROLINE LEWIS, International Labour Organization (ILO), said that one of the reasons that the agency strongly supported the Global Compact was that it was itself a partnership between business and society.  The ILO had been created almost a century ago to provide a platform for governments, employers and workers to seek agreement on issues affecting the world of work.  All ILO decisions were taken on the basis of consensus between those three constituents.

She said that, over the years, that had led to the development and adoption of an important body of international labour standards, covering not only core values as reflected in the principles of the Global Compact, but also employment policy and promotion, vocational training, occupational safety and heath, labour administration and industrial relations.

The ILO had long been active in the area of corporate social responsibility, she said.  In 1977, its governing body had adopted the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, which was more relevant today than ever before.  It outlined different types of initiatives that business, governments and workers could take in such areas as employment, training, working conditions, occupational safety and health and industrial relations.  The Declaration was an ideal complement to the Global Compact, she added.

The Committee then took up a note of the Secretary-General transmitting a report on the Outcome of the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)(document A/57/359), which reviews the seventh session of the States parties, held from 29 October to 10 November 2001 in Marrakech, Morocco.

During that session, the States parties adopted the Marrakech Accords, which outline rules and institutions for implementing the Kyoto Protocol and decisions to advance implementation of the Convention.  They also adopted the Marrakech Ministerial Declaration, as the Conference’s input to the Johannesburg World Summit.

MARISOL BLACK (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that attaining the goals set forth at the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development and in the subsequent 1997 Kyoto Protocol remained a challenge.  She said that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide had increased in developed countries and the adverse effects of climate change were even more acute in developing countries.

She firmly opposed talk of new commitments by developing countries during the Conference of the Parties and called for increased financial and technical assistance for those nations, particularly those vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.  She also urged the strengthening of the GEF so that the Special Fund for Climate Change, the Least Developed Countries’ Fund and the Adaptation Fund could successfully carry out their work on adaptation, technology transfer and energy management in developing countries.

PETER GEBERT (Denmark), speaking for the European Union and associated States, said those countries had hoped the New Delhi Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would have demonstrated greater vision in addressing the urgent challenge of climate change.  Almost 100 countries had ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which was the only existing effective multilateral instrument for combating climate change.  He sincerely hoped that it would enter into force in the near future.  However, even with the Protocol in force, global emissions would not be reversed.  That was out of line with the common goal of achieving stabilization in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  The Kyoto Protocol, with its targets for the period  2008 to 2012 was an important step, but only a first step in reaching that common goal.  Further action was required after 2012 to allow the international community to reach the ultimate objective of the Convention.

The effects of climate change were likely to be felt most severely by developing countries, he said.  Therefore, special attention must be given to the needs of developing countries, particularly least developed countries and small island developing States, with regard to vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.  The climate convention and the Kyoto Protocol already contained the basis for opening a dialogue for further action after 2012, on both mitigation and adaptation.

TUILOMA NERONI SLADE (Samoa), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, said climate change was the key to the success of sustainable development in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  Those countries had been doing their part to reduce emissions, adopting far-reaching renewable energy policies, energy efficiency standards and national energy communications strategies.

Clearly industrialized countries were primarily responsible for climate change mitigation, he said.  It was unacceptable for developed nations to require that developing nations implement climate change protection programmes before major polluters implemented previously agreed emission-reduction goals.  More

in-depth study and understanding were needed as were technical assistance, information and capacity-training for developing countries, in particular the small island nations.  Moreover, communities must have access to adequate and predictable financing.

BEAT NOBS (Switzerland) said the international community must act swiftly and with determination to tackle the monumental challenge of climate change.  The findings of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had shown clearly that climate change endangered the world’s common future well-being and the aspirations of humankind.  It negatively affected ecosystems and could have direct consequences on global economic development, particularly for the least developed countries and small island developing States.

He announced that Switzerland was about to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and had stabilized its emissions to 1990 levels.  It had also enacted national legislation to cut emissions further and to put the country on a path of compliance with its commitments.  Switzerland recognized that developing countries were making important efforts to implement the Convention and were ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.  He emphasized the need to build capacity and transfer modern technology to support developing countries in those efforts.  The international community must also address vulnerability assessment and adaptation in developing countries, he added.

(annex follows)

ANNEX

Vote on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources

The draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian and in the occupied Palestinian territory and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/57/L.34) was approved by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany. Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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

Abstaining: Cameroon, Papua New Guinea.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jamaica, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.

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For information media. Not an official record.