SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT CALLING FOR REVIEW OF ACTION PROGRAMME FOR LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AS IT ACTS ON DRAFT RESOLUTIONS

5 December 2007
GA/EF/3205

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT CALLING FOR REVIEW OF ACTION PROGRAMME FOR LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AS IT ACTS ON DRAFT RESOLUTIONS

5 December 2007
General Assembly
GA/EF/3205
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Committee

31st Meeting (PM)

Second Committee approves text calling for review of action programme

for landlocked developing countries as it acts on draft resolutions

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today approved nine draft resolutions, all without a vote, including a text calling on the General Assembly to hold a midterm high-level plenary session in October 2008 to review the Almaty Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries.

By the terms of that text, which the Committee approved without a vote, as orally corrected, the Assembly would request that the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, in consultation with relevant United Nations bodies, prepare a draft outline of an outcome document for the review.  It would also encourage donor countries as well as multilateral and regional financial and development institutions to provide landlocked and transit developing countries with appropriate technical and financial assistance, such as grants or concessionary loans, to implement the action programme, and to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund set up by the Secretary-General in support of the follow-up to Almaty.

Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved, as orally corrected, a draft on implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa, by which the Assembly would reiterate its call upon Governments, in collaboration with relevant multilateral organizations, including implementation agencies of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to integrate desertification into their sustainable development plans and strategies.  It would invite Governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and other relevant groups to make resources available to desert-affected developing countries for the 10-year strategic plan and framework to implement the Convention.

In its only recorded action, the Committee approved operative paragraph 17 of that text by 161 votes in favour to 2 against ( Japan, United States), with no abstentions.  That paragraph would have the Assembly request that the Secretary-General make provisions for the sessions of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies in his proposed 2008-2009 programme budget.  (See annex for voting details)

The representative of the United States, speaking before that action, said he would vote against the paragraph because he was disappointed by the diversion of resources to support conventions and treaty bodies, which should collect the necessary funds to support their own activities.

Japan’s representative said she would also vote against the paragraph because the Convention was an independent body with its own budget, and because not all Member States had signed the Convention.

Benin’s representative thanked the United Nations Secretariat for supporting the secretariat of the Convention, noting that a meeting in New York last week had spent an entire day and evening to discuss the budget.  That meeting would have been costly for the treaty body.

The Committee also approved a text, as orally corrected, on the promotion of new and renewable sources of energy, by which the Assembly would call upon Governments and relevant stakeholders to combine the use of renewable energy resources and advanced energy technologies with that of traditional energy resources to achieve sustainable development.  It would also call upon Governments to better mobilize financial resources, technology transfer, capacity-building and environmentally sound technologies for developing countries and those with economies in transition.  The Assembly would also stress that the wider use and exploration of renewable energy required technology transfer and diffusion on a global scale, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that text reflected remarkable progress on a highly sensitive topic, but it could have placed greater emphasis on the link between promoting new and renewable sources of energy and climate change.  Energy was still a major economic challenge, particularly for the poor, but that challenge could not be fully addressed without encompassing its environmental implications and its close relation to global climate change.  The European Union supported the possibility of designing national energy policies and regulations that would promote economic growth and poverty reduction while simultaneously addressing climate change.

Aligning themselves with the European Union statement were the representatives of Croatia and Serbia.

The representative of Belarus said the Committee’s approval of the draft reaffirmed that the United Nations was cooperating with the World Bank and other organizations, and playing a key role in new and renewable energy issues.  Next year would see the convening of a number of meetings, including the International Conference on Renewable Energy in Washington, D.C.  Debates with stakeholders, including the World Bank and the private sector, should also be held throughout the year to enhance discussions on the topic.

In another action, the Committee approved, as orally corrected, a draft resolution on the international financial system and development, by which the Assembly would stress the importance of reaching early agreement on a credible and time-bound package of quota and voice reforms in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and reiterate the need to effectively enhance the voice and participation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions.  Further, the Assembly would underscore the importance of promoting international financial stability, sustainable growth and national efforts to bolster developing countries’ resilience to financial risk.

The Committee also approved, as orally corrected, a text on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction that would have the Assembly call upon the international community to step up efforts to implement fully the commitments of the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action.  It would call upon the international community to support the development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities at all levels that could systematically help build resilience to natural hazards.  The Assembly would also stress the importance of disaster risk reduction and subsequent growing demands on the secretariat of the International Strategy, as well as the need to review current methods of financing the secretariat in order to stabilize its financial base.

A text on the Convention on Biological Diversity would have the Assembly urge all Member States to fulfil their commitments to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, while emphasizing the need for an appropriate focus on biodiversity loss in their relevant policies and programmes.  The Assembly would also stress the importance of private sector engagement in the technology transfer, and invite businesses to align their policies and practices more explicitly with the Convention’s objectives.

Also approved, as orally corrected, was a draft on the implementation of the outcome of the United Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), by which the Assembly would call for continued financial support to the Programme through increased voluntary contributions, and invite Governments in a position to do so to provide predictable multi-year funding and increased non-earmarked contributions to support programme implementation.

By other terms, the Assembly would invite the international donor community and financial institutions to contribute generously to UN-Habitat’s Water and Sanitation Trust Fund, Slum Upgrading Facility and its technical cooperation trust funds to enable the Programme to help developing countries mobilize public investment and private capital for slum upgrading, shelter and basic services.  It would also invite the international donor community and financial institutions to support UN-Habitat’s experimental reimbursable seeding operations trust fund and its Human Settlements Foundation.

According to a draft resolution titled “Towards global partnerships”, approved as orally corrected, the Assembly would stress that partnerships should be consistent with national laws and development strategies, and call upon the international community to continue promoting multi-stakeholder approaches to development challenges in the context of globalization.  The Assembly would encourage the United Nations to continue to develop a common systematic approach to partnerships.

Also by the text, the Assembly would encourage the Global Compact, as an innovative public-private partnership, to advance United Nations values and responsible business practices within the Organization and among the global business community.  It would request that the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, promote mechanisms to assess the impact of partnerships, taking into account the best tools available, so as to enable effective management, ensure accountability and facilitate effective learning from both successes and failures.

Action on a draft resolution relating to sustainable mountain development was postponed until Friday.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 7 December to take action on all outstanding draft resolutions.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on nine draft resolutions under its agenda items concerning macroeconomic policy questions; sustainable development; implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); groups of countries in special situations; and global partnerships.

Before the Committee was a draft resolution on the international financial system and development (document A/C.2/62/L.47), by which the General Assembly would emphasize that economic growth should be further strengthened and sustained.  It would stress the importance of reaching early agreement on a credible and time-bound package of quota and voice reforms in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and reiterate the need effectively to enhance the voice and participation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions.

By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would note that developing countries continue to experience a net outflow of financial resources, and reiterate its request to the Secretary-General, in continuing collaboration with international financial institutions and other relevant bodies, to analyze in his report the reasons and consequences for it.  The Assembly would underline the importance of promoting international financial stability, sustainable growth and efforts at the national level to bolster resilience to financial risk, and stress the importance of better assessing a country’s debt burden and ability to service that debt both in crisis prevention and resolution.

Also by that text, the Assembly would underscore the importance of competitive and inclusive private and public financial markets in mobilizing and allocating savings towards productive investment, thus contributing to national development efforts.  It would stress the importance of strong domestic institutions in promoting business activities and financial stability for the achievement of growth and development, and emphasize that it is essential to ensure the effective and equitable participation of developing countries in the formulation of financial standards and codes.

The Assembly would, by further terms, call upon multilateral financial institutions to continue to give policy advice, technical assistance and financial support to Member Countries, to work on the basis of nationally owned reform and development strategies, to pay due regard to the special needs and implementing capacities of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and to minimize the negative impacts of adjustment programmes on vulnerable segments of society.

A draft on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/C.2/62/L.42) would have the Assembly call upon the international community to increase its efforts to fully implement the commitments of the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action.  It would call upon the United Nations system and invite international financial institutions and regional and international organizations to integrate the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action into their strategies and programmes.  The Assembly would also call upon the United Nations and invite international financial institutions, regional banks and other international and regional organizations to support the risk-reduction efforts led by disaster-stricken countries in post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation processes.

Further by that text, the Assembly would stress that continued cooperation and coordination among Governments, the United Nations, other organizations, partners and regional and non-governmental organizations are essential to effectively address the impact of natural disasters.  It would call upon the international community to support the development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities at all levels that can systematically help build resilience to hazards.  The Assembly would also stress the importance of disaster risk reduction and subsequent growing demands on the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and the need to review current methods of financing the secretariat in order to stabilize its financial base.

By a draft on the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/C.2/62/L.48), the Assembly would reaffirm its resolve to support and strengthen implementation of the Convention and reiterate its call upon Governments, in collaboration with relevant multilateral organizations, including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) implementation agencies, to integrate desertification into their sustainable development plans and strategies.

The Assembly would, by other terms, invite developing countries and other Governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and other relevant groups to make resources available to desert-affected developing countries for the 10-year strategic plan and framework to implement the Convention.  Recalling that the fourth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund stresses the importance of fulfilling commitments, the Assembly would emphasize the need to continue to allocate adequate financial resources to the focal area on land degradation.  Further, it would request that the Secretary-General make provisions for the sessions of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies in his proposed 2008-2009 programme budget.

By a draft resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/C.2/62/L.45), the Assembly would encourage developed countries to contribute to the relevant trust funds, and in particular to enhance the full participation of developing countries in all its activities.  It would also urge all Member States to fulfil their commitments to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, and emphasize that that would require an appropriate focus on biodiversity loss in their relevant policies and programmes.  The Assembly would stress the importance of private sector engagement in the implementation of the Convention’s objectives and the achievement of the 2010 target, and invite businesses to align their policies and practices more explicitly with the Convention’s objectives, including through partnerships.

A draft on sustainable mountain development (document A/C.2/62/L.49) would have the Assembly note with concern the remaining key challenges to achieving sustainable development, eradicating poverty in mountain regions and protecting mountain ecosystems.  It would underline the importance of sustainable forest management, the avoidance of deforestation, and the restoration of lost and degraded mountain forest ecosystems to enhance the role of mountains as natural carbon and water regulators.  The Assembly would also express its deep concern at the number and scale of natural disasters in recent years, and their increasing impact, which has resulted in massive loss of life and long-term negative social, economic and environmental consequences for vulnerable societies worldwide.

Also by that text, the Assembly would stress that indigenous cultures, traditions and knowledge, including in the field of medicine, should be fully considered, respected and promoted in development policy and planning in mountain regions.  It would underline the importance of the full involvement of mountain communities in decisions that affect them, and of integrating indigenous knowledge, heritage and values in all development initiatives.  The Assembly would stress the importance of capacity-building, strengthening institutions and promoting educational programmes to foster sustainable mountain development at all levels, and to enhance awareness of challenges to, and best practices in, sustainable development in mountain regions and in the nature of relationships between highland and lowland areas.

According to a draft resolution on the promotion of new and renewable sources of energy, including the implementation of the World Solar Programme (document A/C.2/62/L.44), the Assembly would call upon Governments and relevant stakeholders to combine the increased use of renewable energy resources, more efficient use of energy, greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources, which could meet the growing need for energy services in the longer term to achieve sustainable development.

The Assembly would, by other terms, call upon Governments to take further action to mobilize financial resources, technology transfer, capacity-building and environmentally sound technologies to developing and transition countries.  It would call upon the international community to support efforts by African countries to promote development, production and the use of new and renewable energy sources, and to support least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States with energy resource use and development.  The Assembly would stress that the wider use and exploration of available and additional new and renewable sources of energy requires technology transfer and diffusion on a global scale, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

By a draft on the implementation of the outcome of the United Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (document A/C.2/62/L.43), the Assembly would call for continued financial support to UN-Habitat through increased voluntary contributions, and invite Governments in a position to do so to provide predictable multi-year funding and increased non-earmarked contributions to support programme implementation.  It would invite the international donor community and financial institutions to contribute generously to the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund, the Slum Upgrading Facility and the technical cooperation trust funds to enable UN-Habitat to assist developing countries in mobilizing public investment and private capital for slum upgrading, shelter and basic services.

The Assembly would also invite the international donor community and financial institutions to support the experimental reimbursable seeding operations trust fund of UN-Habitat and the Human Settlements Foundation.  In addition, the Assembly would call upon the Programme to strengthen efforts to coordinate and implement its normative and operational activities through the enhanced normative and operational framework elaborated in the Medium-term Strategic and Institutional Plan. 

Also before the Committee was a draft entitled “Groups of countries in special situations:  specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries:  outcome of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation” (document A/C.2/62/L.46).

By that text, the Assembly would encourage donor countries and multilateral and regional financial and development institutions to provide landlocked and transit developing countries with appropriate technical and financial assistance, such as grants or concessionary loans, to implement the Almaty Programme of Action.  It would also emphasize that landlocked and transit developing countries should include strategies to develop transit transport facilities and services in their overall economic development plans, and that South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation with donors should be strengthened.

Also by that text, the Assembly would decide to hold, from existing resources, on 2 and 3 October 2008, a midterm high-level plenary review of the Almaty Programme of Action.  It would request that the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, in consultation with relevant United Nations bodies, prepare a draft outline of the review’s outcome document, taking into account the outcomes of thematic and regional meetings, and of the Secretary-General’s reports on progress made in implementing the Almaty Programme of Action.  The Assembly would also encourage donors, international financial and development institutions and private entities to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund set up by the Secretary-General to support the activities relating to the follow-up to the implementation of the outcome of the Almaty International Ministerial Conference.

A draft resolution titled “Towards global partnerships” (document A/C.2/62/L.33/Rev.1) would have the Assembly stress the importance of contributions by voluntary partnerships to achieving internationally agreed development goals.  It would further stress that partnerships should be consistent with national laws and development strategies, and call upon the international community to continue to promote multi-stakeholder approaches to address development challenges in the context of globalization.

The Assembly would encourage the United Nations to continue to develop a common systematic approach to partnerships and encourage the Global Compact, as an innovative public-private partnership, to advance United Nations values and responsible business practices within the Organization and among the global business community.  The Assembly would request that the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, promote, within existing resources, mechanisms to assess the impact of partnerships, taking into account the best tools available, to ensure effective management and accountability, and facilitate effective learning from both successes and failures.  It would reiterate its call upon all United Nations bodies engaged in partnerships to ensure the Organization’s integrity and independence.

ANNEX

Vote on Operative Paragraph 17

Operative paragraph 17 of the draft resolution on the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/C.2/62/L.48) was approved by a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 2 against, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Japan, United States.

Absent:  Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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