SECOND COMMITTEE PASSES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING ON ISRAEL NOT TO EXPLOIT, DAMAGE OR DEPLETE NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED ARAB LANDS

10 November 2006
GA/EF/3167

SECOND COMMITTEE PASSES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING ON ISRAEL NOT TO EXPLOIT, DAMAGE OR DEPLETE NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED ARAB LANDS

10 November 2006
General Assembly
GA/EF/3167
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

Second Committee

27th & 28th Meetings (AM & PM)

SECOND COMMITTEE PASSES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING ON ISRAEL NOT TO EXPLOIT,

DAMAGE OR DEPLETE NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED ARAB LANDS

 

Delegates Approve ‘Permanent Sovereignty’

Text by 141 Votes in Favour to 6 Against, with 6 Abstentions

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved a draft resolution today which would have the General Assembly call upon Israel not to exploit, damage, cause loss or depletion of, or endanger the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan.

By other terms of the text -- approved by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Uganda) -- the Assembly would recognize the Palestinian people’s right to claim restitution as a result of actions resulting from illegal measures by Israel.  It would express the hope that the issue would be dealt with in the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. (See annex for details of voting.)

The draft, on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian and other peoples of the occupied Arab lands over their natural resources, would also have the Assembly stress the illegality of the wall being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which was seriously depriving the Palestinians of their natural resources.  It would call for Israel’s full compliance with the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15.

By further terms, the Assembly would call on Israel to cease the dumping of waste in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threatened their water and land resources, and posed an environmental hazard and health threat to civilians.  It would call on Israel to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure, including water pipelines and sewage networks, and to comply with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, with respect to altering the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

In another action, the Committee approved, without a vote, a draft resolution by which the General Assembly would decide to hold the follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus in the second half of 2008, and welcome Qatar’s offer to host that event.  It would also decide to hold a High-level Dialogue on that issue in the fourth quarter of 2007, while reaffirming its resolve to make full use of the spring meetings of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to review implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.

During its consideration of the two draft resolutions, the Committee heard statements by the representatives of Egypt, Israel, Finland (on behalf of the European Union), United States, Canada, Republic of Moldova, Kuwait, Qatar and Brunei Darussalam.

The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine also spoke.

Earlier in the day, the Committee held a discussion on poverty eradication and other development issues, in which delegates generally agreed that more must be done to tackle poverty.  However, there was some disagreement as to whether a global effort was needed for its eradication, or if it was best dealt with locally.

Malaysia’s delegate noted that the gross domestic product (GDP) of the poorest 48 nations was less than the combined wealth of the world’s three richest people.  Nearly 3 billion people lived on less than $2 a day, while 640 million survived without adequate shelter and 400 million had no access to drinking water.  While some headway had been made in reducing the absolute number of those living in poverty -- due to a decrease in the number of poor people in East and Southeast Asia, as well as parts of South Asia -- it was still essential to place poverty eradication at the top of the global agenda.

The representative of the United States said poverty eradication was a complicated process, involving the interaction between Government policies in different spheres and the actions and decisions of individuals, households and businesses.  That was at odds with the view that poverty could be eradicated by a “big push” of frontloaded transfers from the public sectors of rich countries to those of poor ones.  While United States did not shy away from using official development assistance (ODA) when appropriate, competitive markets also played an indispensable role in poverty eradication.

India’s delegate pointed out that poverty and internal conflicts were often not only the legacy of a colonial past, or the result of poor governance, but also the consequence of liberalization and the policies of international economic institutions.  The imperative of liberalization and attracting foreign capital was inevitably accompanied by such risks as low tax-to-GDP ratios, which were reinforced by International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustments policies as well as reduced investment in health, education, rural infrastructure and food security.  The problems of sub-Saharan Africa amply demonstrated the systemic impact of such policies, which, in turn, presented a justifiable role for the United Nations in providing direction in reforming the international financial and trade systems.

South Africa’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the General Assembly should proclaim a second international decade for the eradication of poverty from 2007-2016 as that would help developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Finland’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, stressed that each country must take responsibility for its own development by creating a national poverty-reduction strategy that would also cover social rights and job creation, among other things.

Also speaking on that issue were the representatives of Guyana (on behalf of the Rio Group), Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN), Tunisia, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM), Jordan, Russian Federation, Mongolia, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Israel, San Marino, Nepal and Libya.

Representatives of the Permanent Observer Missions of the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta also made statements.

The Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs introduced the Secretary-General’s report relating to poverty eradication for the Committee’s consideration.

Also today, the Committee continued its general discussion of countries in special situations, hearing statements by the representatives of Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Kazakhstan.

The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 14 November to take up training and research, and to conclude its discussion on groups of countries in special situations.

Background

Meeting this morning to begin its consideration of poverty eradication and other development issues, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) was expected later to conclude its general discussion on groups of countries in special situations (for background, please see Press Release GA/EF/3166 of 8November).

The Committee was also expected to take action on a draft resolution relating to the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.  Action was expected also on two draft resolutions concerning the follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development.

Before the Committee was the report of the Secretary-General on observance of the International Year of Microcredit, 2005 (document A/61/307), which recalls that the General Assembly proclaimed 2005 as the year of microcredit to give impetus to microcredit programmes throughout the world.  It invited Governments, the United Nations system, relevant non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other actors to highlight and recognize the role of microcredit in the eradication of poverty and the promotion of social development.  The Year’s main goals were to assess and promote the contributions of microcredit and microfinance towards the Millennium Development Goals; increase public awareness and understanding of microcredit and microfinance; promote inclusive financial systems, especially for poor people; and encourage innovation and partnership.

The report notes that more than 60 Member States established national committees to promote a dialogue on best practices and address the barriers that many poor people face in accessing financial services.  Activities to advance microfinance programmes were also undertaken in more than 100 countries, and the project helped to identify and promote the sharing of experiences and good practices that could build more inclusive financial sectors.  The Global Microentrepreneurship Awards promoted by the programme increased the visibility of microentrepreneurs.

According to the report, a number of meetings were held with global decision makers and financial sector leaders (including the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank, among other development institutions), to draft the Blue Book.  That report outlines the reasons why the world’s poor lack access to basic financial services.  The United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development and South Africa’s FinMark Trust, also addressed current data gaps and identified access indicators.

Urging Member States, the United Nations system and all stakeholders to exploit fully the role of microcredit and microfinance as tools for poverty eradication, the report calls for recognition of the fact that the majority of the world’s poor have no access to financial services, and welcomes the convening of the United Nations Advisers Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors.  That group will examine the success of the Blue Book as a guide for policymakers seeking to build more inclusive financial sectors.

Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (document A/61/308), which summarizes responses to a questionnaire sent to Member States, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations on their observance of the International Day, and discusses the relationship between poverty and human rights.

Describing poverty as more than just a lack of income, the report stresses that it also entails the lack of health care, education, access to political participation, decent work and security.  While rapid progress in poverty reduction was achieved, in many cases, without full respect for civil and political rights, all human rights must be protected so as to empower and support people in their fight against poverty.  Nearly two thirds of the 25 Member States that responded to the questionnaire said they had observed the International Day, and organized many activities to create partnerships and understanding among different social groups.

Also before the Committee was a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on industrial development cooperation (document A/61/305).  (For the introduction of the report by Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO, see press release GA/EF/3161 of 30 October 2006.)

The report highlights the implementation of programmes in the priority areas outlined in its midterm programme framework, its cooperation with other entities of the United Nations system and its contributions to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  UNIDO continues to adapt its responses to the changing environment of industrial development and the requirements of Member States by focusing on three thematic priority areas: poverty reduction through productive activities; trade capacity-building; and energy and environment.

South-South cooperation is given special attention in the report as a way to promote industrial development as well as stimulate the growth of trade and technology diffusion in order to advance towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in Africa and the least developed countries.  Also highlighted is UNIDO’s support for NEPAD and its efforts to strengthen its partnerships with other bodies of the United Nations system and to help coordinate the system’s development activities, including at the field level.

With the rapid economic development of some newly industrializing countries, especially China, the global industrial landscape has taken on a new dimension, the report notes.  It includes the continuing division between North and South, as well as a growing gap within the South as least developed countries face an ever-increasing challenge in trying to integrate into the world economy.  The new industrial realities, in addition to market failures and inadequate capabilities, create an urgent need for accelerated South-South cooperation to supplement North-South cooperation in reducing poverty.  Increased productive capacities in the South are needed to enhance trade, technology and investment flows among developing countries.

The report states that, given the crucial contribution of sustainable industrial development to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, UNIDO will continue to play a vital role in private-sector development, productivity growth, trade capacity-building, corporate social responsibility, environmental protection, energy efficiency and the promotion of renewable energies.  In Africa, the agency will continue to focus on the objectives of NEPAD, under its African Productive Capacity Initiative, and on regional integration and cooperation.  An ever-stronger UNIDO field presence and increasing partnerships with private sector organizations and institutions will strengthen the effectiveness of its interventions, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries.

Introduction of Reports

TIINA INTELMANN ( Estonia), Committee Chairperson, recalled that the report of the Director-General of UNIDO on industrial development cooperation (document A/61/305) had already been introduced on 30 October, and directed the Committee’s attention to the remaining two reports before it today.

JOHAN SCHOLVINCK, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report on observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 2006 (document A/61/308), saying the Day had provided an important opportunity to foster dialogue and was a for supporting national poverty eradication efforts.  Indeed, observance of the Day could become an important rallying point for global and national campaigns to realize the Millennium Development Goals.

He also introduced the report on observance of the International Year of Microcredit, 2005 (document A/61/307) and congratulated Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank for winning the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.  The award justly recognized the role of microcredit and microfinance in improving the lives of the poor, and was an inspiration to all people to build on the achievements of the International Year.

ADRIE DE GROOT, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilization, Group Bureau for Organization Strategy and Learning, UNIDO, apologized for Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella’s unavailability and introduced the report (document A/61/305).   The agency was focusing its efforts on many areas, such as trade capacity-building, energy and environment.  It was also placing great emphasis on joint South-South activities.

Questions and Answers

The representative of the United States said eradicating poverty was a moral imperative, noting that while the challenge was daunting, many countries were succeeding.  Poverty eradication was a complicated process, involving the interaction over time of many Government policies in different spheres with the actions and decisions of individuals, households and businesses.  That was at odds with the view that poverty could be eradicated by a “big push” of frontloaded transfers from the public sectors of rich countries to those of poor ones.

Yet the United States did not shy away from using official development assistance (ODA) when appropriate, he said, pointing out that poverty eradication was about job creation.  Competitive markets played an indispensable role in eradicating poverty and, hopefully, that idea would become commonplace in the General Assembly.

Mr. SCHOLVINCK, agreeing that eradicating poverty was complicated, said it was disturbing that it was discussed in the Second Committee but not the Third Committee.

ANWARUL K. CHOWDHURY, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, stressed the importance of recognizing the increasing awareness of the links between poverty and its impact on global peace.  Now approaching its end, the United Nations-declared International Decade for the Eradication of Poverty had been marked by a strengthening of global partnerships, and although recent summits had addressed the needs of the least developed, landlocked and small island countries, poverty eradication remained the main challenge of today.  With more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty, could the world say progress had truly been achieved?

Acknowledging Amartya Sen’s contribution to a paradigm shift in thinking by refocusing attention on poverty as a multidimensional issue emphasizing individual freedoms and rights, he said that perspective had helped to ensure human security in an increasingly interdependent world.  As poverty eradication was central to global stability, the Secretary-General’s report, with its focus on a human rights approach to poverty reduction, was important as it linked poverty reduction to obligation, rather than welfare or charity.  The report’s idea of using human rights as a tool to eradicate poverty merited close attention.

Noting that poverty was partially determined by access to capital, he stressed the importance of microcredit and welcomed Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s upcoming visit to the United Nations on 27 November.  The High- Level Meeting on the Midterm Review of Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 had recognized that the socio-economic situation in least developed countries remained precarious.  Development had been constrained by economic weakness, limited human and institutional capacities and inadequate infrastructure, among other things, and fighting it called for good governance at the national and international levels.

TARJA FERNÁNDEZ (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union and noting the importance of poverty eradication to its development cooperation, said the regional group’s members as well as the European Commission supported the implementation of poverty reduction strategies at the country level, with priority on the least developed countries.

She recalled that almost 12 years ago at the World Social Summit in Copenhagen, countries had agreed that poverty eradication, full employment and social integration remained the most important challenges to sustainable development.  Since that time, the European Union had systematically focused on poverty, with the central goal of achieving “decent work for all”.  That theme had been chosen for the deliberations of the Economic and Social Council in July and also would be the theme of the next Commission for Social Development.

Although the number of people living in extreme poverty had dropped by more than 100 million between 1997 and 2006, the number living in abject poverty numbered more than 1 billion, she said.  Each country must take responsibility for its own development and create a national poverty-reduction strategy.  The European Union underlined the importance of education and health in poverty- reduction efforts, and called for their inclusion in poverty-reduction strategies.  Such efforts must also cover social rights and job creation, among other things. 

Congratulating Muhammad Yunus on winning the Nobel Peace Prize, she noted that microfinance had enabled millions to chart their own paths out of poverty.  The European Union supported the provision of more inclusive financial services.

GEORGE TALBOT (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said it shared the Secretary-General’s vision that the eradication of poverty was not just a development objective, but also one of human rights.  While some progress had been made since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, much more work remained to be done.  Extreme poverty was a reality for more than 1 billion people subsisting on less than a dollar a day and suffering from hunger and malnutrition.  The socio-economic reality of Rio Group members, the majority of which were middle-income countries, hid great inequalities in the distribution of wealth.

He said achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Latin American and the Caribbean would mean lifting nearly 50 million people out of extreme poverty, freeing 2 million children from malnutrition and ensuring that 13 million Latin American and Caribbean youth completed their primary education.  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) report on the Millennium Development Goals revealed that 18.6 per cent of the region’s total population, or 96 million people, existed in a situation of extreme poverty.  That figure, which was higher in rural areas, represented 42.9 per cent of the region’s population. 

The Rio Group recognized that national efforts required a favourable international environment that would help those countries integrate into the world economy and achieve sustained economic growth, he said.  The international community must make coordinated efforts to eradicate poverty, promote global development through increased and effective use of development aid, identify and support alternative sources of financing, eliminate the digital divide, advance sustainable development and liberalize trade.

PRAYONO ATIYANTO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted that a third of the world’s 6 billion people lived on less than a dollar a day and without access to basic social services, particularly health care and education.  Even the current growth in the world economy would not be sufficient to fuel the efforts of developing countries, particularly the least developed, to attain the Millennium Development Goals.  For that reason the observance of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty around the globe served as an important reminder to help the poor climb up the development ladder.

In order to make poverty history, a global partnership for development must come into full play, he stressed.  In addition, the imbalances of the global economy must be addressed, financial flows for development increased, the external debt burden of developing countries eased, and fair trade and greater market access for developing-world exports enhanced.

Regional entities such as ASEAN had a role to play in complementing the efforts of the global community as it strengthened its own development foundations, he said.  Within the context of the “Jakarta Declaration on Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: The Way Forward 2015”, the Association was continuously promoting the three “pro” policies -- pro-poor, pro-growth and pro-employment.  ASEAN was also in the process of identifying key elements of a regional Millennium Development Compact that would provide a framework for intersectoral collaboration to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the region.

JALEL SNOUSSI ( Tunisia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said increasing world hunger indicated that hunger and poverty were the results of a global economic context.  Therefore, commitments undertaken should be translated into measures to combat poverty through a holistic approach and within a development context.  Without real political will to act, there could be no success, as many developing countries were unable to improve their economic situation.

Recalling that the United Nations Development Programme’s most recent Human Development Report called for international mobilization to deal with the water and hygiene crisis, he said Africa was not meeting its timetable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in that regard.  Further, the recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report called for a new development architecture for Africa.  Poverty had prevented Africa’s economic integration and challenged the continent’s security.

Efforts to combat poverty would be unsuccessful without partnership, and the General Assembly had emphasized the need for common action, he said.  As such, full cooperation was required to address the multilateral trading system and external debt.  Moreover, least developed countries must participate fully in economic and social decision-making.  The first International Decade was coming to an end, but persisting economic disparities demonstrated the need for the United Nations to improve poverty statistics.

A. VIJAYA RAGHAVAN (India) said poverty and internal conflicts were often not only the legacy of a colonial past or the result of poor governance, but also the consequence of liberalization and the policies of international economic institutions.  The imperative of liberalization and attracting foreign capital was inevitably accompanied by risks: low tax to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios, reinforced by IMF-style structural adjustment, reduced investment in health, education, rural infrastructure and food security.  The problems of sub-Saharan Africa amply demonstrated the systemic impact of such policies, which, in turn, presented a justifiable role for the United Nations in providing direction in reforming the international financial and trade systems.

He said India had provided $500 million concessional credit lines to West Africa, more than $200 million to NEPAD, and grants of essential medicines.  It had also cancelled some debt owed by heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC).  In addition, India had a scheme for duty-free access to its markets for least developed country exports, substantial programmes of technical cooperation and capacity-building.  It also took part in the dedicated satellite and fibre optic connectivity mission for Africa.

The international community should make financial resources available, transfer technology and provide support for building human and institutional capacity in developing countries, he said.  While private sector investment was important, the physical and social infrastructure was sometimes too weak to attract any.  For that reason, a commitment to the 0.7 per cent ODA target by developed countries, and innovative sources of financing were crucial.  Operable special safeguard mechanisms were also essential components in ensuring the food security and rural development needs of developing countries.  For its part, India had evolved a national strategy that complemented accelerated economic growth, with a focus on the provision of basic services, employment creation and income generation.  Indeed, poverty had declined from over 38 per cent in 1987 to 26 per cent in 2000.

DOUNG HOAI NAM (Viet Nam), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that, in light of the short time left to achieve internationally agreed poverty reduction targets, developing countries should be helped to improve their export capacity and increase access to financial markets.  They should also be able to enjoy sufficient financial support for development, as well as favourable conditions and procedures for their participation in international cooperation mechanisms like the World Trade Organization.  It was also important to enhance the effectiveness of United Nations organizations, especially those involved in development and poverty reduction.

As for his own country, he said that, in 2004, poverty had been reduced by three fifths compared to 1993, thus meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty 10 years ahead of schedule.  Approximately 88 per cent of Viet Nam’s poor had access to free medical care, and 400,000 new houses had been built to replace temporary ones in 2,000 communes and five provinces.  Viet Nam had also successfully eliminated illiteracy and achieved universal primary education in 2000.  Those important achievements had been made possible due largely to the support of the United Nations, other bilateral and multilateral donors, international non-governmental organizations and foreign individuals, in addition to the country’s own efforts.

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY ( Bangladesh) commended the International Year of Microcredit 2005 as an important tool for fighting poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  It had provided a platform for building partnerships among Governments, the United Nations, microfinance institutions and other relevant actors.  Over the last two decades, microfinance programmes had spread worldwide, with a nearly seven-fold increase in the number of clients with a loan from 13.5 million in 1997 to 113 million in 2005.

He said his country had been a thought-leader in the innovation of microcredit, a free-market development tool that had enabled the poor to participate in their own economies and convince the world that they were innately capable of working their way out of poverty.  Microcredit’s contribution to asset creation, employment generation and economic security had been widely acknowledged.  Microcredit had also caused a shift in values affecting the roles of women in society.  Poor women appeared to have the best credit rating.

Microcredit was seen as an instrument that would help “drain the marshes that produce thoughts and acts of terrorism”, by helping to stabilize conflict-ridden societies, he said, noting that both the General Assembly and Security Council had acknowledged microfinance as an anti-poverty tool.  Bangladesh’s progress had provoked interest, particularly as its rapid socio-economic progress had placed it in the medium category of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index.

PETER LE ROUX ( South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, said that subject was particularly important as it presented a unique opportunity to address poverty eradication seriously.  Eradicating poverty was an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, and there was merit in taking a more fundamental approach to eliminating it among the world’s most vulnerable people, particularly women and children.  It was therefore imperative to tackle poverty comprehensively, by considering such issues as the provision of adequate resources for enterprise development and the promotion of development-friendly trade policies.  The Group of 77 called on developed partners to take the lead.

The International Year of Microcredit, 2005, and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty had been critical to raising awareness of the need for action at all levels in order to advance poverty eradication, he said.  The Group of 77 would therefore table resolutions on both issues so as to maintain momentum generated by the International Year and the International Day.  The General Assembly should proclaim a second decade for the eradication of poverty from 2007-2016 as that would help developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Industrialization remained an essential factor in fostering sustained economic growth in developing countries, he said.  That process was important for generating income and facilitating social integration, both of which were crucial to the development process.  Moreover, capacity-building and industrial development were key elements in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  The Group of 77 called on the international community to lend its support to that objective.

BAI YONGJIE ( China), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said 1 billion of the world’s people lived in abject poverty.  Going at the current pace of poverty reduction, that number could be reduced only to 735 million by 2015, which was short of the agreed target.  A second decade for the eradication of poverty should be declared to maintain the enthusiasm of all parties to achieve practical results.  Economic development should be at the core of poverty eradication efforts and the international community -- developed countries in particular -- should pay more attention to the special difficulties of developing countries in achieving economic development.  Commitments in the area of financial assistance, technology transfer, debt relief and market access should be fulfilled as early as possible.

Poverty eradication should be a system-wide endeavour, carried out in conjunction with the development of science, education and public health, he said.  Governments, in partnership with the private sector and civil society, should make efforts to mobilize more resources, create innovative mechanisms and take all kinds of vigorous measures to instil vitality into the cause of poverty reduction.  China, for example, had set up an International Poverty Reduction Centre in conjunction with UNDP for the purpose of advocating innovative poverty-reduction ideas, strengthening international exchanges and facilitating South-South cooperation.  Industrial development, too, was a strong engine for eradicating poverty, and hopefully UNIDO would continue its partnerships with developing countries.

NIZAN MOHAMAD ( Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said the challenges facing the international community remained formidable.  Nearly 3 billion people lived on less than $2 a day, some 640 million survived without adequate shelter, and 400 million had no access to drinking water.  Moreover, the GDP of the poorest 48 nations was less than the combined wealth of the world’s three richest people.

Despite those figures, however, headway had been made in reducing the absolute number of those living in poverty, he said.  That progress was due to a decrease in the number of poor people in East and Southeast Asia, as well as parts of South Asia.  Globalization had reduced the policy space for developing countries, and greater volatility in the economic system had made it more difficult for them to eradicate poverty.  The Secretary-General’s report should have aimed to capture the complexity of poverty eradication issues, which belonged at the top of the global agenda.

He said his country’s twin policy of export-led economic growth and growth with equity had lifted the national growth rate to an average of 6.2 per cent between 1991 and 2005, from 5.8 per cent in the 1980s.  However, as hardcore poverty persisted, the Government would ensure that more of the rural population benefited from poverty eradication programmes.  Urban poverty had emerged as another complex issue, as had the increasing income gap between rural and urban areas.

SANSANEE SAHUSSARUNGSI ( Thailand), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said increased market access was crucial if developing countries were to generate the revenues to eradicate poverty.  Thailand called for a rapid resumption of the Doha Round.  At the same time, it was important to address supply-side constraints, and for that reason, Thailand supported the “Aid for Trade” initiative and hoped UNIDO’s assistance in the development of renewable energy would continue.  Thailand also commended UNIDO and UNCTAD for their work in strengthening the supply capacities of developing countries.

Stressing that food security was a major dimension of the poverty issue, she said basic food security could only be met if there was sufficient freshwater.  Therefore, securing access to land and freshwater, as well as habitats safe from disasters, must also be top priorities.  For its part, the Thai Government had placed special emphasis on poverty reduction, which had led the incidence of poverty to fall from 17.9 million people in 1988 to 6.2 million people in 2002.  Thailand had also been sharing its expertise with other developing countries, for example, in the Greater Mekong subregion and the Bay of Bengal.

MARGARET HUGHES FERRARI (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that at the conclusion of the first International Decade on the Eradication of Poverty, millions still suffered from hunger and malnutrition, lacked access to drinking water and continued to die from preventable diseases.  The General Assembly’s theme of “Global Partnership for Development” indicated, more than ever, the need for countries to live up to their commitments in the fight to eradicate poverty.  In that regard, CARICOM called for discussions on poverty eradication to include such elements as reform of the international financial regime, a durable and comprehensive solution to the external debt problem, significant ODA increases and market access for developing countries.  Deeply regretting the suspension of the Doha Round, CARICOM expected the international community to gather the necessary political will and commitment to revisit the negotiations.

She said that although economic growth had shown a remarkable capacity to lift vast numbers of people out of poverty, progress was neither automatic, nor inevitable.  While poverty tended to be lower in the Caribbean in comparison to other regions, CARICOM recognized that the rate of economic growth was insufficient to achieve significant progress in development and eradicating poverty.  The regional group’s challenges in poverty eradication were further exacerbated by increasingly frequent natural disasters, whereby hurricanes wiped out years of painstaking human and financial investment in literally a few hours of wind, rain and floods.  CARICOM also recognized gender as an important dimension in the fight against poverty, and its member countries would continue to support the empowerment of women, and enhance economic opportunities for them.

BASHEER F. ZOUBI ( Jordan) spoke of the Group of 11 (G-11) initiative -- involving Croatia, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay and Sri Lanka -- to build a common platform for growth and development and to play a more pivotal role in promoting global peace and stability.  The Group recognized that more than a quarter of the world’s population lived in lower-middle-income countries that were ready to graduate to higher income brackets through prudent economic management.

Recent economic indicators for that group showed GDP growth had been robust, participation in global trade had risen and net foreign direct investment flows were up.  For many countries, debt service as a percentage of exports had dropped and more people had access to technology and skills.  Despite those achievements, however, poverty and unemployment remained the two major challenges, combined with vulnerability to external shocks such as energy prices or regional instability, and debt burdens that drained national budgets of the funds needed for infrastructure and development.

He said that, in order for lower-middle-income countries to graduate to higher income brackets, they needed targeted help to accelerate growth.  Support for the G-11 should be considered an international “public good” in order to achieve global development for all.  A copy of the G-11 final communiqué was being distributed to permanent missions, with hopes that it would be forwarded to their respective capitals.

DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV ( Russian Federation) said his country paid great attention to international cooperation for industrial development and considered cooperation in that area a key prerequisite for effective poverty eradication and addressing underdevelopment.  UNIDO played a particular role in that context, and had a unique capability to help the less developed countries in their efforts to bridge the technological gap and explore their industrial capacity.

UNIDO’s goals and priorities should be based on the decisions adopted by the international community on the issue of development, he said.  The Russian Federation agreed that the agency’s thematic priorities at the current stage gave it “comparative advantages” over other United Nations system entities.  That had much to do with fighting poverty through productive employment and technology transfer, as well as by developing trade and industrial capacities, promoting energy efficiency and protecting the environment.  Russia called for a more adequate level of interaction between UNIDO, the UNDP, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and other international organizations to resolve those issues at the country level.

GANSUKH PUREVJAV, Deputy Director for Multilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, aligned himself with the Group of 77, and expressed regret that despite commitments made during the first Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, there had not been a decisive breakthrough in resolving that issue at either the national, or international, levels.

While the proportion of people in the developing world living in extreme poverty had dropped from 28 per cent in 1990, to 19 per cent in 2002, progress in eradicating poverty had been uneven, he said.  Significant capacity constraints had handicapped the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, which Mongolia was fully committed to achieving by 2015.  Last April, the Government had adopted a resolution that both endorsed national Millennium Development Goals and entrusted State entities with their implementation and monitoring.  Quick-impact measures had also been taken on poverty reduction and income generation, including a 33 per cent increase in public sector salaries, and a 30 per cent increase in the minimum wage.

He said that although national statistics indicated that education, health and gender goals could be achieved by 2015, partnerships among all stakeholders were needed and the Government planned to submit a draft Millennium Development Goals-based development strategy to Parliament shortly.  Mongolia reiterated the importance of national and international cooperation, and drew attention to the Secretary-General’s recommendations on incorporating new commitments into the targets used to follow up on the Millennium Declaration.  There was also a need to improve the quality of aid by tailoring foreign grants to the implementation needs of the Millennium Development Goals.

CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, expressing his pleasure at the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, noted that the link between peace and development appeared quite evident to those on the ground confronting the constraints placed on the poor.  The first International Day for the Eradication of Poverty had stressed the link between poverty and human rights, taking its inspiration from a 1987 meeting of 100,000 people in Paris who had responded to a call by the late Father Joseph Wresinski.

He noted that charity and welfare would always be needed to assist the poorest people.  But since the poor were frequently excluded from society, their capacity to secure rights like justice, decent work, education and health, was often very limited, which was why the new International Day for the Eradication of Poverty could be significant in raising general awareness and influencing policy makers to place that effort at the heart of legal and social agendas.  The right to development was also a contentious issue in some places, but the international community must use all its resources and means to help people climb out of poverty.

U MYINT LWIN (Myanmar), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, and ASEAN, said the yearly observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was a timely reminder that poverty must be reduced, and eventually eradicated, if the international community was to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people whose income was less than one dollar a day.  In its drive to eradicate poverty, Myanmar had designated 24 special development zones throughout the country for equitable and balanced development.  As an agro-based country, it had given priority to development projects aimed at boosting the agricultural sector.  Since infrastructure was essential to upgrading socio-economic life, Myanmar had built 64,000 miles of roads, more than 1,000 miles of railroads and 219 bridges since 1988.

Industrial development was also an important element of Myanmar’s development strategy, and 18 industrial zones had been established throughout the country, he said.  In addition, Myanmar used microcredit and microfinance to support poverty reduction projects.  Government-sponsored programmes provided farmers with small-scale credits to purchase agricultural inputs, such as seeds and farming machinery.  Those programmes helped improve the lives of farmers and increased agriculture production.

PHOMMA KHAMMANICHANH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said the international community must redouble its efforts to purge poverty, primarily in the poorest and most vulnerable countries, if the goals and targets of the Brussels Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals were to be implemented within the established timeframes.  Developed nations should honour fully their ODA and debt relief commitments, open their markets and increase the transfer of technology while bearing in mind those development goals.

As a landlocked developing country, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic had spared no effort to translate its commitment into action.  The Brussels Programme of Action, for example, was integrated into the National Ten-year Socio-economic Strategy (2001-2010), and the country had launched its National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy in 2003.  That strategy gave priority to the 47 poorest districts, with a view to ensuring their progressive integration into the national economy.  The Lao Government had also set up the National Supervisory Committees on the Millennium Development Goals and least developed countries, chaired by the Prime Minister.  Over the past five years, the incidence of poverty had declined from 48 per cent in 1990, to 28.7 per cent in 2005.  The UNDP’s 2005 Human Development Report ranked the country at 131 out of 177.

UZI MANOR (Israel), focusing on the links among training, microcredit and poverty reduction, said that MASHAV, an organization founded in 1958 as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had implemented the country’s development cooperation programme worldwide, with the aim of sharing the knowledge and technology used by Israel in its own development process.  MASHAV had worked in more than 140 countries, contributing to poverty eradication and providing training on socio-economic issues.

He said MASHAV’s Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Centre specialized in gender issues, particularly women in development, and its training activities aimed to eradicate poverty through the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises.  Moreover, the Mount Carmel International Training Centre had developed a gender-sensitive entrepreneurship culture by providing best practices and building networks for women entrepreneurs, thereby breaking the vicious cycle of poverty.

Training programmes acknowledged the importance of such support systems as access to microcredit, he said.  Activities commemorating the United Nations International Year of Microcredit in 2005 had included the hosting of workshops for participants from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.  In 2006, a workshop on “Microcredit and Support Systems for Women” had been organized at the Mount Carmel International Training Centre under the aegis of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia.  Microcredit had become a major component in the development strategies of donor organizations.

DANIELE D. BODINI ( San Marino) said poverty was a sign of the unequal distribution of economic, social and political opportunities, as well as a violation of human rights.  It was difficult for poor people to come by the rights to freedom, housing, social security, education, or the right to vote and take part in the conduct of public affairs.

He said that, while unemployment was a crucial issue in developing countries, it was also a problem in the developed world, where the persistence of temporary or informal contracts with low pay, little or no social protection, minimal training and no voice at work made clear that “having a job” was not the same as having a decent job.  In fact, the unrest in some European countries was concrete evidence that poverty was a serious problem in the North.  The response to it must be guided by a human rights approach that took into account the gender-biased aspects of poverty and the rights of migrants.

TIRTHA RAJ WAGLE ( Nepal) said the eradication of poverty in Nepal was the sole objective of the current national development plan, which gave priority to pro-poor, inclusive economic programmes.  Agriculture was the mainstay of the country’s economy, making up 39 per cent of its GDP and providing jobs for 80 per cent of the working population.

Nepal’s progress report showed that the country was on track to achieving most of its development goals, including that of reducing extreme poverty and hunger by half, he said.  For example, poverty had been reduced from 42 per cent in 1996 to 31 per cent in 2004.  Nepal also recognized the effective role of microcredit in income- and employment-generating activities, and had placed emphasis on introducing micro finance centres in rural areas.

ABDUL MAJID SAAD (Libya), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said poverty was a form of marginalization, as well as an affront to human dignity that threatened people’s political rights.  Poverty was a challenge to the international community and lay at the heart of numerous international summits held over the years.  Yet the level of poverty was actually increasing in many countries, and globalization, which should have brought progress to those countries, had not done so.  Instead, only the rich nations had benefited.

Foreign debt remained a heavy burden for poor countries, draining their resources and leading to economic crises, he said.  An unjust international trade system did not give developing countries any power and the protectionist regimes adopted by rich countries, particularly for agricultural goods, hurt the economies of poor nations.  Natural disasters, like drought and desertification, also had not been addressed sufficiently.

In order to attain the Millennium Development Goals, the international community must assume its responsibility by enhancing economic development and reform, he said.  It must develop services that could provide better health and educational systems, as well as reasonably priced medicines, in poor countries.  Libya remained committed to working with the international community to combat poverty.  The Government called on Libyan investors to invest more in Africa.

BERTRAND DE LOOZ KARAGEORGIADES, Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, said it was under the auspices of the Second Committee some 15 years ago that States had realized that poverty elimination was a question of duty, rather than charity, or assistance.  Poverty was the negation of development and its eradication had been at the heart of the Sovereign Military Order’s activities for 900 years, as its Knights worked with the poor, the ill and the homeless, irrespective of race, religion or country of origin.  Today, the Order remained faithful to that mission through its management of hospitals, and homes for the elderly and those with disabilities.

For 40 years, the Order had allocated most of its resources to treating leprosy, an illness that affected a growing number of regions, he said.  The Order’s financial, logistical and scientific support to Senegal had allowed for considerable progress in treating the illness in Dakar, that country’s capital.  The Order’s work had been carried out by some 12,000 members, 80,000 permanent volunteers and 11,000 salaried personnel.  A network of national organizations and foundations had also provided a diverse base of support.

Emphasizing the need for specific measures, he described a pilot project in western Afghanistan that had built schools for some 20,000 children, while a community-based pilot health insurance system had been developed in Cambodia.  The Order’s neutral and apolitical character allowed it to accomplish work that had proven difficult for other organizations.  It was important for the Order to adapt to current times, and it had an important role to play in humanitarian assistance and development.

The Committee then resumed its consideration of countries in special situations.

O. A. OWOAJE ( Nigeria), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the Brussels Programme remained the essential framework for advancing the goals of least developed countries as determined by those countries themselves.  Although the Secretary-General had reported some modest progress in macroeconomic indicators, governance, human and institutional reforms, development in infrastructure as well as efforts to address environmental challenges, such success stories had not been recorded in all least developed countries.  That, in turn, was not due to any lack of political will or commitment on the part of their Governments; the principal challenge was the failure of their development partners to match their oft-stated support on debt, trade and investment with action.

He said his country welcomed more South-South cooperation, which would not only permit the sharing of experiences but would also assist least developed countries to overcome structural disadvantages in the economy.  Nigeria had stepped up its support for capacity building through its Technical Assistance Cooperation programme, under which qualified Nigerians had been contracted for service, at a cost borne by the Federal Government in preferred areas like medicine, law, nursing and teaching.  Nigeria also cooperated with neighbours in the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Niger River Basin Authority, to the benefit of all people who straddled the country’s borders.  It was also coordinating its efforts in energy, communication and roads with other members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

HUSNIYYA MAMMADOVA ( Azerbaijan) said it was clear that the economic performance of the landlocked developing countries was still weak.  Macroeconomic indices reflected the impact of geographic factors, while transport costs, inadequate infrastructure and non-tariff barriers continued to account for trade-reducing effects.  To address those structural challenges, the international community should support the efforts of those countries to integrate into the global economy.

Effective transit transport cooperation required the continued review of transit operations, and the efficient harmonization of border crossing procedures, among other things, she said.  Intergovernmental dialogue and the expansion of bilateral and subregional agreements could be important in facilitating the movement of traffic and increasing trade gains.  The enhanced accession of landlocked developing countries to the World Trade Organization remained a priority, and Azerbaijan urged the early resumption of the Doha Round.

Azerbaijan’s measures to implement the Almaty Programme of Action included the elaboration of the Transit Strategy, which entailed the improvement of logistics and infrastructure in border crossing areas.  Measures had also been taken to address the technical characteristics of the Baku-Alat-Kurdemir-Yevlakh-Ganja-Georgia border road.  Railways, including the Azerbaijani section of the TRACECA International Transport Corridor, were being rehabilitated, and the installation of fibre-optic cables along the Baku-Yalama railway line was also a priority project.  On regional infrastructure development, the new Kars-Tbilisi-Baku rail link was of paramount importance, and the Government planned to complete the reconstruction of the Baku Maritime Station by year-end.

WIDHYA CHEM ( Cambodia), aligned with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, and the least developed countries, stressed that the resolve of those nations was necessary to overcome formidable development challenges.  While peace and stability were important to sustainable development, peace would not endure without growth and progress.  To this end, the Royal Government of Cambodia had adopted a national poverty reduction strategy in 2002, the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals in 2003, and last year, the National Strategic Development Plan (2006-2010).  The Development Plan was the single overarching document, to guide the country’s development efforts and strategies towards reducing poverty over the next five years.

He noted Cambodia’s economic progress, adding that the country had achieved average annual economic growth of 8.2 per cent from 1994 to 2005, and expected GDP growth of 8 per cent this year.  The Secretary-General’s reports showed that extreme poverty was decreasing in very few of the least developed countries and increasing for many of them.  For this reason, all commitments agreed upon at international conferences and summits must be implemented comprehensively.  This would include market access issues, the removal of substantial agricultural subsidies in developed countries, and the sharing of knowledge and technological know-how, particularly in environmental areas.  He also called on developed countries to honour their ODA commitments.

BARLYBAY SADYKOV ( Kazakhstan), aligned with the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said the role of regional and subregional organizations in monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action, at their respective levels, should be strengthened.  He said stronger cooperation between the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States with these regional and subregional groups would also greatly ease the process of creating efficient transit transport systems.  Kazakhstan expressed its full support for landlocked developing countries emerging from conflicts and needing to rehabilitate their political, social and economic infrastructures, so they would achieve their development priorities in accordance with the goals of the Almaty Programme.

He said that, viewing Afghanistan as an important part of the Greater Central Asia region, Kazakhstan believed that country should participate fully in regional economic projects and programmes.  The decision to extend the special programme of the United Nations for the economies of Central Asia to Afghanistan, and joining Afghanistan to the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Programme, proved the point.  He attached great hope to the practical implementation of the intergovernmental agreement on the Asian highway network and intergovernmental agreement on the trans-Asian railway network, developed within the framework of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).  He believed the ministerial conference on transport taking place this week in Busan, Republic of Korea, would develop a comprehensive strategy to address the region’s growing transport needs.

Introduction and Action on Draft Resolutions

At the invitation of the Committee Chairperson, delegates broke off their discussion on groups of countries in special situations to take action on two draft resolutions.

The Committee first took up the text on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1).

The representative of Egypt introduced the draft, saying minor amendments had been made to the text, including the removal of references to the “razing of agricultural fields” and the addition of the phrase “and of its grave effect on natural resources and economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people” in operational paragraph 13.

He said the timing of the action on that text coincided with a new massacre of the Palestinian people, further emphasizing the need for the United Nations to play its role in ending their suffering, as well as the Israeli occupation.

The representative of Israel said in a general statement before the vote, that his country had a vested interest in improving the Palestinian economy for the benefit of both sides.  There were more than 150,000 Palestinians in Israel’s workforce whose income constituted a significant part of the total income of the Palestinian labour force.

He said the unbalanced draft resolution before the Committee would not contribute in any way to establishing a climate of peace and security, which was essential for economic progress.  Nor would it contribute to the overall peace process in the region.  It ignored the main cause of economic deterioration in Palestine:  terrorist activities by the Hamas Government, which had prevented co-action in many fields, including economic cooperation.

As long as the Hamas policy of terror continued, there would be no economic cooperation, he emphasized.  The organization stood behind the attacks against Israel, and was responsible for the deterioration of the economic situation in Palestine.  Not a single operative paragraph in the ill-conceived resolution would bring the region closer to a solution.

The Committee then went on to approve the text by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Uganda) (see annex).

Explanations of Vote

The representative of Finland, speaking in explanation of position on behalf of the European Union, said he had voted in favour of the draft because 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 also reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied territories, and reaffirmed that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to that Convention was illegal.

However, the issues referred to in the text should be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the Middle East peace process, he said.  The European Union remained committed, in close cooperation with its partners in the Quartet and the Arab world, to assisting the parties in their effort to reach a final settlement.  The resolution approved today, therefore, was not to be considered prejudicial to, or pre-emptive of, the outcome of those negotiations.  Any action or statement that might be seen as doing so must be avoided.  Finally, the position of the European Union regarding the separation barrier and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice remained unchanged.

The representative of the United States said his country had long supported the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.  President George W. Bush supported the vision of two democratic States -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace and security.  However, through its failure to recognize Israel, the Palestinian Authority’s policies continued to create hardships for its people.  President Mahmoud Abbas, by contrast, remained committed to a platform of peace.

The United States could not support the draft resolution because it improperly involved the General Assembly and contained one-sided and imbalanced language, he said.  There was a role for the United Nations in supporting the two parties as the Organization played an important role as a member of the Quartet and must be seen as an honest broker.  The Second Committee should not be used to promote one-sided views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The representative of Canada expressed concern over the humanitarian condition in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, noting that the protection of, and right to, natural resources was critical to any viable State.  However, Canada had abstained from the vote because it believed the draft resolution not to contribute constructively to resolving the Middle East conflict.

He said the reference to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the separation wall should have reflected its non-binding status, or at least been followed by a reference to Israel’s security concerns.  Also, while the term “character” had no known legal meaning, Canada took it to be synonymous with the term “status”.

The representative of the Republic of Moldova aligned her delegation with the European Union’s position on the text.

The representative of Kuwait asked which delegation had asked for a recorded vote, to which Ms. INTELMANN ( Estonia), Committee Chairperson, replied that the request had been made by the United States.

General Statement

The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, offering a general statement, said lone voices had attempted to derail the Committee’s approval of the draft by arguing that it was one-sided and unbalanced.  Since 1972, the Committee had approved resolutions affirming the sovereign right of the Palestinian people over their natural resources and calling on Israel to cease its violations of those rights, only to see them disregarded by Israel.

In fact, he stressed, Israel had intensified its abuses and acted to obstruct efforts to achieve peace through its use of indiscriminate force against the Palestinian people, as it had done in the recent massacre that had taken the lives of 20 Palestinian civilians, including very young children and some women.  Israel had also continued with its illegal building of settlements and its construction of the separation wall, in disregard of international law.

The remarks made earlier by the Israeli delegate were offensive and unacceptable, he said.  Calling the draft resolution “irrelevant” was akin to taking a direct stab at the will of the international community and the very principles that the United Nations stood for.  Indeed, United Nations resolutions represented the will of its Member States, and it could not start tailoring resolutions to the preferences of a minority that had chosen to remove itself from the consensus.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (document A/C.2/61/L.34), which was introduced by Committee Rapporteur VANESSA GOMES ( Portugal).

That resolution was approved, as orally amended and without a vote, and draft resolution A/C.2/61/L.5 was withdrawn.

The representative of Qatar said his delegation had hoped that the first conference on implementation, to be held in Doha in 2008, would be successful, as it had been initiated by the Prince of Qatar in 2005 to give impetus to development efforts and maintain the Monterrey Consensus. The 2005 World Summit had reviewed implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction by 50 per cent by 2005. Developing countries and other partners today found themselves in a situation that required their full participation to achieve those goals.  He hoped that the conference would be successful, with participation of all Member States and other partners, to ensure that it would be a successful follow-up to the Monterrey Conference.

Following those two actions, the representative of Brunei Darussalam said a technical error had prevented her from voting on draft resolution A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1.  She told the Committee she would have liked to have voted in favour of that resolution.

Ms. INTELMANN took note of that statement on behalf of the Committee.

ANNEX

Vote on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources

The draft resolution on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/61/L.13/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 141 in favour to 6 against, with 6 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Uganda.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.