SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT EXPRESSING SERIOUS CONCERN OVER LACK OF PROGRESS IN DOHA TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

7 December 2007
GA/EF/3206

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT EXPRESSING SERIOUS CONCERN OVER LACK OF PROGRESS IN DOHA TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

7 December 2007
General Assembly
GA/EF/3206
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Committee

32nd & 33rd Meetings (AM & PM)

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT EXPRESSING SERIOUS CONCERN OVER LACK

OF PROGRESS IN DOHA TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

Members Pass 12 Draft Resolutions by Consensus; Hold Recorded Votes in 2 Actions

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this afternoon approved 14 draft resolutions -– all but two of them by consensus -- including a text on international trade and development that would have the General Assembly express serious concern over the lack of progress in the Doha Round trade negotiations and call upon developed countries to demonstrate the flexibility and political will to break the current impasse.

Approved by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to 47 against, with 5 abstentions (Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia), the draft on international trade and development would have the Assembly call upon World Trade Organization members to adhere to the Doha Ministerial Declaration’s development mandate and stress that the Doha talks should conclude with the establishment of rules and disciplines in agriculture, as well as non-agricultural market access.  (See annex I for voting details)

After the vote, the representative of the United States said he had hoped this year’s text would encourage progress on Doha, but it actually ignored the fact that all countries had shared responsibility, and failed to offer constructive, achievable approaches to realization of the Millennium Development Goals.  The United States was very disappointed that there was so little interest in engaging constructively in dialogue.  That did not bode well for achieving the goals set forth in the Monterrey Consensus.  The text was unbalanced and prejudiced the outcome of the Doha Round.  This would mark the fourth year of failure to reach consensus on the text, and the United States hoped the Committee could take a fresh and more constructive view next year.

Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she had abstained last year but voted against the draft this year because she was particularly disappointed over the outcome of the consultation process and could not accept several elements of the text.  Overall, the text submitted by the “Group of 77” developing countries and China was unbalanced and, by repeating the same unbalanced language of last year’s resolution on the Doha Round, did not take into account the progress made in Geneva this year with the tabling of two Chairs’ documents.

She said the text rejected the notion that progress had been made, including in agricultural and non-agricultural market access, to bring the international community closer to concluding the Doha Round.  The United Nations membership should be able to acknowledge the movement that had occurred so far and should be encouraged by progress rather than seeking to be divisive.  Further, the draft contained no reference to a balanced outcome document of the Round, or to the Single Undertaking, which was a key to it.  The reference to the role of the United Nations in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) negotiations also made the text unacceptable.

Australia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Cairns Group (Australia, Canada and New Zealand), expressed disappointment that no consensus had emerged from discussions on the text, which had made no progress in moving Doha forward, nor changes on the ground in Geneva.  The Cairns Group had proposed a number of new, constructive and balanced proposals, none of which had been given adequate consideration in the draft, which understated the role of a global rules-based trading system in contributing to global prosperity, poverty elimination and sustainable development.  Agricultural and non-agricultural market access and services were major issues in the Doha Round, and all World Trade Organization members needed to show flexibility in order to break the current impasse.

Switzerland’s representative said that although he had abstained in previous years, he had voted against the resolution this year.  The Committee must take into account the interests of all Member States and not divide members to align themselves either with the North or the South.

Japan’s representative, noting that he had voted against the draft, expressed regret that the Committee had been unable to reach consensus, and that the draft tabled was the original text, which did not reflect the results of negotiations.  As in previous years, Japan held out hope for more productive consultations in the following year, and for actual progress in the Committee next year.

Benin’s representative –- who voted in favour of the draft -- said now that it had been approved, it must be implemented.

Pakistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said partners should have had no problems showing flexibility on the text and expressed disappointment over the Committee’s failure to reach consensus for four consecutive years.  The draft used language agreed during negotiations in anticipation of reciprocation, but negotiation partners had ignored the agreed language and instead introduced new language and several demands.  The partners had attempted to change the focus of all the development aspects agreed to in the Doha and Hong Kong Ministerial Declarations.

In another action, the Committee approved, by a recorded 153 votes in favour to 7 against ( Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 2 abstentions ( Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire), a draft on the oil slick on Lebanese shores.  By its terms, the Assembly would request that Israel promptly and adequately compensate Lebanon and other countries directly affected for the costs of repairing the environmental damage caused by the destruction, including the restoration of the marine environment.  It would also call for the creation of an eastern Mediterranean oil spill restoration fund to support the integrated, environmentally sound management of the environmental disaster resulting from the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks at Lebanon’s Jiyah electric power plant.  (See annex II)

Later in the meeting, the representative of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said her delegation could not be present, but would have voted in favour of the draft.

After the vote, the representative of the United States said the text was one-sided and unbalanced, and that Hezbollah had provoked the conflict with Israel on 12 July 2006.  The United States supported the Lebanese Government’s reconstruction efforts following the oil spill, but the Committee should not be used to take unbalanced positions.

Israel’s representative said the text painted his country as an unjust aggressor and joined the litany of other one-sided and unbalanced resolutions made in the General Assembly against Israel every year.  The issue at hand could not be appropriately addressed in the Committee, and the draft omitted crucial details concerning the conflict, including the 12 July 2006 provocation by Hezbollah.

He said international agreements relating to spill compensation related only to oil spills from tankers at sea, and not land-based incidents.  Many recent environmental accidents and oil slicks had caused far greater damage than the one in Lebanon last year, and there had been no United Nations resolutions concerning them.  The political motivation behind the current draft resolution was obvious:  it was biased against Israel.

Lebanon’s representative, on the other hand, said the damage caused by the oil spill to the environment and Lebanon’s efforts to achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals was “colossal and irreversible”.  The World Bank had conservatively estimated the cost of that damage at $203 million, excluding the health-related impact of the spill.  The oil spill was a blatant violation of international law, which prohibited countries from employing methods of warfare intended to cause severe or long-term damage to the environment.  The Israeli attack was a clear violation, and the draft sent a strong message of that fact to the polluter.

Speaking now in exercise of the right of reply, he said one delegation believed, and wanted the rest to believe, that diplomacy was about deception, and that democracy was the idea that “you are free to express your opinion as long as it is similar to theirs”.  That delegation wanted the Committee to have a short historical memory and forget about General Assembly resolutions 242, 338 and others that had not been implemented due to the political attitude of the same delegation.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on the environmental assessment of the oil slick clearly classified the Israeli action against Lebanon as a deliberate attack.  The fact that oil slicks had occurred elsewhere was no reason to refrain from taking action on the Lebanese case.

The Committee also approved, as orally corrected, a draft on sustainable mountain development, by which the Assembly would note with concern the 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 forest ecosystems.  Further, the Assembly would express its deep concern over the number and scale of recent disasters, and their increasing impact, particularly in mountain regions, and especially those in developing countries.

Also approved, as orally corrected, was a draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence.  By its terms, the Assembly would underline that, while all countries faced such constraints, developing countries, particularly least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and African countries, had great difficulty in balancing international obligations, processes and rules with their national development strategies.  It would stress the right of all countries to pursue policies based on their social, political, economic and environmental conditions.

Following that action, the representative of the United States said he had trouble understanding the rationale of the agenda item under which the text had been approved.  There was insufficient new material to warrant its inclusion in each Committee session, and delegations should take steps to streamline the agenda item by making it a biennial item.  The United States would seek to do so next year.

In another action, the Committee approved a draft on the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) that would have the Assembly proclaim the Decade; urge all Governments and the international community to continue seriously to pursue poverty eradication; and call upon donor countries to continue giving priority, on a bilateral or multilateral basis, to poverty eradication in assistance programmes and budgets.

Following that action, Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed hope that the Decade would support commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and that, during the Decade, poverty-eradication efforts would be strengthened through the efficient use of available resources.

Japan’s representative expressed the hope that the new Decade would be a catalyst for concerted action.  Other important initiatives were underway that should be pursued in an efficient and coordinated manner.

Croatia’s representative aligned herself with the European Union.

The Committee also approved a draft on women in development, by which the Assembly would call for full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session.  It would urge Member States, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations to increase the number of women in decision-making, and empower them to effectively participate in developing and implementing poverty-eradication policies and programmes.  The Assembly would urge all Member States to work to eliminate discrimination against women, particularly poor, uneducated women, through better and equal access to financial credit, legal assistance, training and education, and by enacting laws ensuring their full and equal rights to own land, housing and other property.  They should also make better efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010.

Following that action, the representative of the United States said the wording in the text did not indicate any right to abortion, which the United States could not endorse.  Operative paragraph 21 reiterated the language in subparagraph 57 (g) of the 2005 World Summit Outcome document, and the international consensus was that the language in operative paragraph 21 did not support or create new targets concerning the Millennium Development Goals.  Respect for that delicate balance must be maintained.

The Committee also approved a draft on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), by which the Assembly would urge the Board of Trustees expeditiously to implement the remaining recommendations made by the Board of Auditors for the 2002-2003 period.  It would renew its appeal to all Governments, particularly those of developed countries, and to private institutions that had not yet contributed financially or otherwise to the Institute, to give it their generous financial and other support.  It would urge States that had interrupted their voluntary contributions to consider resuming them in view of the strategic reforms.

Speaking after that action, Japan’s representative said UNITAR’s future activities should be financed only by voluntary contributions.  The text should not be interpreted as a path to receiving funding from the regular budget of the United Nations.

The Committee then approved a draft on the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries that would have the Assembly reaffirm its commitment to the Istanbul Declaration on the Least Developed Countries: Time for Action.  It would remain concerned about insufficient, uneven progress thus far in implementing the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010.  It would also urge least developed countries to strengthen implementation through their respective national development frameworks, including poverty reduction strategy papers, common country assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).  Development partners would be urged to continue to support the efforts of countries graduating from the list of least developed countries to better promote their further integration into the world economy and sustainable development.

Following that action, Pakistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said paragraph 22 of the text stated that the Assembly had approved the holding of the next conference on least developed countries.  The Group of 77 requested the Secretary-General to include in his note a detail on the modalities of that conference and its preparatory process.

Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed satisfaction with the text, and the strong commitment and flexibility shown by all delegations.  The European Union remained committed to implementing the Brussels Programme of Action, and would continue to be actively engaged in the development efforts of all least developed countries.

The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of least developed countries, aligned himself with the Group of 77 and expressed confidence that leaders would be able to produce the next programme of action without any delay.  Progress had been made on good governance, but more work remained to enable least developed countries to grow and prosper.

Serbia’s representative aligned himself with the European Union.

The Committee also approved, as orally corrected, a draft on the Follow-Up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, by which the Assembly would decide to hold the Conference from 29 November to 2 December 2008 in Doha, Qatar, at the highest possible political level.  It would stress the importance of fully involving all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the Consensus and follow-up process and call upon the regional commissions, with the support of regional development banks and other relevant entities, to hold regional consultations during the first half of 2008 to serve as inputs for the preparation of the Review Conference.

Following that action, Pakistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said she was confident that the conference would provide a platform to meaningfully address global economic imbalances and identify emerging issues.  However, the Group of 77 was disappointed that not enough time had been accorded in the informal discussions to the outcome document to examine the issues and make contributions to the outcome.

Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she was pleased with the consensus reached on the follow-up modalities, and looked forward to the substantive discussions on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus.

The representative of the United States said a successful outcome was critical for the United Nations, developing countries and development partners alike.  The United States looked forward to participating in the implementation process.

The Committee then approved, as orally corrected, a draft on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  By its terms, the General Assembly would condemn corruption in all its forms, including bribery, money-laundering and the transfer of assets of illicit origin.  It would stress the importance of mutual legal assistance; encourage Member States to enhance international cooperation, consistent with the Convention; and urge all Member States to abide by the principles of proper management of public affairs and public property, fairness, responsibility and equality before the law.  They would also be encouraged to safeguard integrity and foster a culture of transparency, accountability and rejection of corruption.

After that action, the representative of the United States said that while the fight against corruption was a shared problem, he was disappointed with the title and portions of the text, including those on laundering and return of assets, which undercut some of the principles of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Canada’s representative stressed her country’s commitment to combating corruption, saying the Convention was an important tool.  Canada looked forward to the forthcoming Conference of Parties that would examine related issues.

The Committee then approved a draft on South-South cooperation, by which the Assembly would stress that South-South cooperation offered viable opportunities for developing countries in their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and sustainable development.  However, South-South cooperation should complement, rather than substitute for, North-South cooperation.  The Assembly would encourage the international community to support the efforts of developing countries through triangular cooperation.  It would invite the High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation and the Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to consider measures to strengthen UNDP’s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, as a separate entity and a focal point for South-South cooperation.

Following that action, Argentina’s representative said his country was prepared to host the United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation. 

Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she was pleased that developing countries were already applying strong programmes in support of South-South cooperation.  Cooperation with emerging economies was of high importance for a more equitable world order in relation to realizing the Millennium Development Goals, as well as regional and global economic development, political development and security.  South-South cooperation was a welcome contribution to the global effort for development and should not be isolated conceptually from that global effort.  The European Union would continue to support South-South initiatives, including through triangular cooperation.

In another action, the Committee approved, as orally corrected, a draft titled “External debt crisis and development:  towards a durable solution to the debt problems of developing countries”.  By its terms the Assembly would emphasize the importance of timely, comprehensive solutions to developing countries’ debt problems, the shared responsibility of creditors and debtors to prevent unsustainable debt situations, and the fact that debt relief did not replace other sources of financing.  It would also note with concern that some countries had reached the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative completion point but had yet to achieve lasting debt sustainability, and that the current debt sustainability framework for middle-income countries inadequately addressed solvency issues.

The Assembly would, by further terms, call upon heavily indebted poor countries to strengthen domestic policies and economic management, and would stress the need to significantly address the debt problems of middle-income countries and the importance of the Paris Club’s Evian approach as a practical way to do so.  It would call upon all Member States and the United Nations, and invite the Bretton Woods institutions and the private sector, to take appropriate steps to implement internationally agreed commitments, particularly those related to developing countries’ external debt problems.

After that action, the representative of the United States said much had been done to address debt problems over the years, with billions granted in debt relief.  The United States had been a leader in providing debt relief beyond the HIPC Debt Initiative framework, and had supported an increase in grant-based financing.  But debt challenges remained, facing both individual countries and the international community.  The United States recognized the critical role played by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in addressing those issues.

In another action, the Committee approved, as orally corrected, a draft on human resources development, which would have the Assembly encourage Member States to make technological knowledge and learning a priority of their human resources development strategies, and would encourage the international community to facilitate an adequate diffusion of scientific and technical knowledge and technology transfer for developing countries, under fair, transparent and mutually agreed terms, and in a manner conducive to human resources development.  It would call upon the international community to support developing countries’ efforts to address the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases on their human resources, as well as stress the importance of investment in research and development in all countries, particularly developing countries, to develop a technological base and create knowledge and innovation relevant to local needs.

The Committee also approved, as orally corrected, a draft resolution on science and technology for development, by which the Assembly would reaffirm its commitment to strengthen mechanisms and initiatives for research and development in addressing developing countries’ special needs.  It would encourage UNCTAD, with relevant partners, to assist developing countries in their efforts to integrate science, technology and innovation policies into national development strategies.

Postponed until Tuesday morning was action on a draft resolution concerning agricultural technology for development because the text was not yet officially available.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 December, to take action on that draft.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to take action on 14 draft resolutions under its agenda items concerning macroeconomic policy questions; follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development; sustainable development; globalization and interdependence; groups of countries in special situations; eradication of poverty and other development issues; operational activities for development; and training and research:  United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Before the Committee was a draft resolution on international trade and development (document A/C.2/62/L.10), by which the General Assembly would express serious concern at the lack of progress on the Doha Round trade negotiations, and call upon developed countries to demonstrate the flexibility and political will to break the current impasse.  It would also call upon World Trade Organization members to adhere to the Doha Ministerial Declaration’s development mandate, among others, that put development at the heart of the multilateral trading system.  The Assembly would stress that the Doha negotiations should conclude with the establishment of rules and disciplines in the agricultural area that adhere to the Doha Ministerial Declaration.  It would also stress that World Trade Organization negotiations in non-agricultural market access should live up to the Doha Ministerial Declaration’s development mandate, the decision of 1 August 2004 by the General Council of the World Trade Organization and the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.

The Assembly would, by other terms of the draft, underline that the increasing interdependence of national economies in a globalizing world and the emergence of rules-based regimes for international economic relations have meant that the space for national economic policy is now often framed by international disciplines, commitments and global market considerations.  It would also express its deep concern over the imposition of laws and other forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries, which undermine international law and World Trade Organization rules, and severely threaten freedom of trade and investment.  The Assembly would call for accelerated work on the development-related mandate concerning the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, contained in the Doha Ministerial Declaration, and call for facilitating the accession of all developing countries applying for World Trade Organization membership, particularly least developed countries.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution titled “External debt crisis and development:  towards a durable solution to the debt problems of developing countries” (document A/C.2/62/L.57), by which the Assembly would emphasize the importance of timely, comprehensive solutions to developing countries’ debt problems, the shared responsibility of creditors and debtors to prevent unsustainable debt situations, and the fact that debt relief does not replace other sources of financing.  It would also urge donors to fulfil their commitments to the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, noting with concern that some countries have reached the HIPC completion point but have yet to achieve lasting debt sustainability, and that the current debt sustainability framework for middle-income countries inadequately addresses solvency issues.

The Assembly would, by further terms, call for transparency in computing country policy and institutional assessments in the context of the Debt Sustainability Framework of low-income countries under review by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  It would call upon heavily indebted poor countries to strengthen domestic policies and economic management, and call for additional measures and initiatives to ensure long-term debt sustainability through increased grant-based financing and full cancellation of the eligible official multilateral and bilateral debt of those countries.  Where appropriate, it would call for significant debt relief or restructuring for non-HIPC, low- and middle-income developing countries with unsustainable debt burdens.

Further by that text, the Assembly would stress the need to significantly address the debt problems of middle-income countries, and the importance of the Paris Club’s Evian approach as a practical way to do so.  It would call upon all Member States and the United Nations, and invite the Bretton Woods institutions and the private sector, to take appropriate steps to implement internationally agreed commitments, particularly those related to developing countries’ external debt problems.

A draft on the follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (document A/C.2/62/L.59) would have Assembly decide that the Conference will be held from 29 November to 2 December 2008 in Doha at the highest possible political level, and will include plenary meetings and six interactive multi-stakeholder round tables on the six major thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus, resulting in an intergovernmentally agreed outcome and summaries of the plenary meetings and round-table discussions.  The Assembly would stress the importance of fully involving all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and stress the importance of their full participation in the Monterrey follow-up process.  The Assembly would call upon the regional commissions, with the support of regional development banks and other relevant entities, to hold regional consultations during the first half of 2008 to serve as inputs to the preparation of the Review Conference.

By a draft on the oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/C.2/62/L.21/Rev.1), the Assembly would request that the Government of Israel assume responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the Government of Lebanon and other countries directly affected by the oil slick for the costs of repairing the environmental damage caused by the destruction, including the restoration of the marine environment.  The Assembly would call for the mobilization of international technical and financial assistance through donor support for the creation of an eastern Mediterranean oil spill restoration fund to support the integrated environmentally sound management -- from clean-up to safe disposal of oily waste -- of the environmental disaster resulting from the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks at the Jiyah electric power plant.

Also before the Committee was a draft on sustainable mountain development (document A/C.2/62/L.18/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would note with concern that key challenges remain to achieving sustainable development, eradicating poverty in mountain regions and protecting mountain ecosystems, and people in mountain regions are frequently among the poorest of a given country.  It would also underline the importance of sustainable forest management, the avoidance of deforestation and the restoration of lost and degraded forest ecosystems.

The Assembly would, by other terms, express its deep concern at the number and scale of disasters, and their increasing impact in recent years, which have resulted in massive loss of life and long-term negative social, economic and environmental consequences for vulnerable societies throughout the world, in particular in mountain regions, especially those in developing countries.  It would also 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.

Also by that text, the Assembly would underline the importance of promoting the full participation by and 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 in order 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.

A draft on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/C.2/62/L.60) would have the Assembly recognize that domestic economies are now interwoven with the global economy, that globalization affects all countries in different ways, and that countries on the one hand have trade and investment opportunities to fight poverty, while on the other hand face constraints in the degree of flexibility they have in pursuing their national development strategies.  The Assembly would underline that, while all countries face such constraints, developing countries, in particular least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and African countries, have great difficulties in balancing international obligations, processes and rules with their national development strategies.  The Assembly would stress that all countries must maintain their right to pursue policies based on their social, political, economic and environmental conditions.

By a draft on science and technology for development (document A/C.2/62/L.52), the Assembly would reaffirm its commitment to strengthen mechanisms and initiatives for research and development to address developing countries’ special needs in health, agriculture, conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and environmental management, energy, forestry, and the impact of climate change; promote technology transfer to developing countries; support renewable energy development; and support developing countries’ efforts to harness new agricultural technologies in order to increase agricultural productivity.

Further by that text, the Assembly would encourage the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with relevant partners, to assist developing countries in their efforts to integrate science, technology and innovation policies into national development strategies.  It would encourage the international community to continue to facilitate an adequate diffusion of scientific and technical knowledge and transfer of, access to, and acquisition of technology for developing countries.  It would also call for continued collaboration between United Nations entities and other international organizations, civil society and the private sector in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.

A draft on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/C.2/62/L.61) would have the Assembly condemn corruption in all its forms, including bribery, money-laundering and the transfer of assets of illicit origin.  It would stress the importance of mutual legal assistance, and encourage Member States to enhance international cooperation, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The Assembly would call on States parties, and encourage other Member States to support the initiatives adopted at the first session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention.

Also by that text, the Assembly would urge all Member States to abide by the principles of proper management of public affairs and public property, fairness, responsibility and equality before the law, and the need to safeguard integrity and foster a culture of transparency, accountability and rejection of corruption.  It would call for further international cooperation, through the United Nations system, to support national, subregional and regional efforts to prevent and combat corrupt practices and the transfer of assets of illicit origin.  The Assembly would also call upon the private sector, at both international and national levels, to remain fully engaged in the fight against corruption.

A draft on the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (document A/C.2/62/L.58) would have the Assembly reaffirm its commitment to the Istanbul Declaration on the Least Developed Countries:  Time for Action, and remain concerned about the insufficient, uneven progress thus far in implementing the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010.  It would stress that the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, can be effectively achieved in the least developed countries through the timely fulfilment of the Programme of Action’s seven commitments.

By other terms, the Assembly would underscore that least developed countries and their development partners must be guided by an integrated approach, a broader genuine partnership, country ownership, market considerations and results-oriented action to further implement the Programme of Action.  It would urge least developed countries to strengthen implementation through their respective national development frameworks, including poverty reduction strategy papers, common country assessments and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).  The Assembly would urge development partners to continue to support the efforts of countries graduating from the list of least developed countries to better promote their further integration into the world economy, sustain their development process and avoid any disruption therein.

By a draft on the proclamation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) (document A/C.2/62/L.55), the Assembly would proclaim the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) to support the internationally agreed development goals related to poverty eradication, including the Millennium Development Goals.  It would urge all Governments and the international community, including the United Nations system and all other actors, to continue to seriously pursue poverty eradication.

Also before the Committee was a draft on women in development (document A/C.2/62/L.50), which would have the Assembly call upon Member States, the United Nations, other international and regional organizations and all sectors of civil society to fully commit to implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as the outcome of the General Assembly’s twenty-third special session.  It would urge Member States, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations to speed up efforts to increase the number of women in decision-making, build their capacity as agents of change, and empower women to actively and effectively participate in developing and implementing poverty eradication policies and programmes.  The Assembly would urge Member States to incorporate a gender perspective into national development strategies, and call upon the United Nations to support national efforts to develop methodologies and tools to promote capacity-building.

By further terms, the Assembly would urge Member States to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women, particularly poor, uneducated women, with regard to their access to financial credit such as bank loans and mortgages.  States would be urged to support women’s access to legal assistance, and encourage the financial sector to mainstream gender perspectives into their policies and programmes.  The Assembly would urge all Governments to ensure women’s equal rights and equal access to education, while also urging Member States to encourage women entrepreneurship through education and training in business, administration and information and communications technology.  It would invite business associations to assist national efforts to promote women’s entrepreneurship.

Also by that text, the Assembly would urge Member States to design and revise laws to ensure that women receive full and equal rights to own land, housing and other property, including through inheritance, and to undertake administrative reforms and other necessary measures to give women the same right as men to credit, capital and appropriate technologies, and access to markets and information.

The Assembly would, by other terms, express its concern that the HIV/AIDS pandemic reinforces gender inequalities, and that women and girls bear a disproportionate share of the burden imposed by the HIV/AIDS crisis, are more easily infected, play a key role in care, and have become more vulnerable to poverty as a result of the crisis.  The Assembly would call upon Governments and the international community to step up efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010.  It would also urge multilateral donors, and invite international financial institutions and regional development banks, to review and implement policies to support national efforts to ensure a higher proportion of resources reach women, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on human resources development (document A/C.2/62/L.51), which would have the Assembly encourage Member States to make technological knowledge and learning a priority of their human resources development strategies.  It would encourage the international community to continue to facilitate, in view of the different levels of development among countries, an adequate diffusion of scientific and technical knowledge and transfer of, access to and acquisition of technology for developing countries, under fair, transparent and mutually agreed terms, in a manner conducive to human resources development.

By that draft, the Assembly would call upon the international community, including United Nations system entities, to support the efforts of developing countries to address the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases on their human resources.  The Assembly would stress that investment of human resources development should be an integral part of national development policies and strategies, and in this regard would call for the adoption of policies to facilitate the investment focused on infrastructure and capacity development.

Also by the text, the Assembly would stress the importance of investment in research and development in all countries, particularly developing countries, to develop a technological base and create knowledge and innovation relevant to local needs, and would encourage Governments, where appropriate, to adopt trade, investment and regulatory regimes that promote private-public investment in research and development.  The Assembly would further stress the need to create strong links between relevant stakeholders in education and industry so as to ensure that educational curricula and programmes meet national science and technological needs.

By further terms, the Assembly would stress the importance of technical and vocational training in increasing technological learning and innovation, and for promoting entrepreneurship for technological development.  It would strongly emphasize the need to build strong links between relevant stakeholders in education and industry to ensure that educational curricula and programmes meet national science and technological needs, as well as call for international support for higher education in developing countries.

A draft on South-South cooperation (document A/C.2/62/L.54) would have the Assembly stress that South-South cooperation offers viable opportunities for developing countries in their individual and collective pursuit of sustained economic growth and sustainable development.  It would also stress that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation.  It would encourage the international community to support the efforts of developing countries through triangular cooperation, and encourage also the initiatives and arrangements, including public-private mechanisms, undertaken to enhance cooperation between developing countries in the areas of the fight against poverty and hunger, access to information and communications technology, science and technology, environment, culture, health, education and human development.

Further, the Assembly would invite the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation and the Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to consider measures to strengthen the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation within UNDP as a separate entity and a focal point for South-South cooperation in the United Nations system, so as to enable it to carry out its full responsibilities, in particular through the mobilization of resources for the advancement of South-South cooperation, including through triangular cooperation.

By a draft on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (document A/C.2/62/L.53), the Assembly would request that the Board of Trustees continue to ensure fair and equitable geographical distribution and transparency in preparing programmes and employing experts, and stress that United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) courses should focus primarily on development issues and international affairs management.  The Assembly would urge the Board to expeditiously implement the remaining recommendations made by the Board of Auditors for the 2002-2003 period and renew its appeal to all Governments -- particularly those of developed countries -- and to private institutions to give UNITAR their generous financial and other support.  It would urge States that have interrupted their voluntary contributions to consider resuming them in view of the strategic reforms.

Also by that text, the Assembly would decide to harmonize the submission of the reports of the Secretary-General and UNITAR’s Executive Director, and to submit the Institute’s report to the Economic and Social Council rather than the General Assembly.  The Assembly would request that the Secretary-General submit to the Economic and Social Council at its 2008 substantive session a report on the implementation of the present text, including its financial implications, and the status of contributions to UNITAR and its financial situation.

ANNEX I

Vote on International Trade

The draft resolution on international trade and development (document A/C.2/62/L.7) was approved by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to 47 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:  Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia.

Absent:  Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

ANNEX II

Vote on Oil Slick

The draft resolution on the oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/C.2/62/L.21/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 7 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, 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, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, 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, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire.

Absent:  Belarus, Benin, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Micronesia (Federated States of), Myanmar, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Slovakia, Somalia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

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