SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT CALLING ON MEMBER STATES, UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM TO STEP UP PROMOTION OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT

11 December 2007
GA/EF/3207/Rev.1

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT CALLING ON MEMBER STATES, UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM TO STEP UP PROMOTION OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT

11 December 2007
General Assembly
GA/EF/3207/Rev.1*
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Committee

34th Meeting (AM)

Second Committee approves text calling on member states, United Nations

system to step up promotion of agricultural technology for development

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved this morning a draft resolution on agricultural technology for development, which would have the General Assembly call upon Member States and relevant United Nations organizations to step up efforts to promote technology development and transfer to developing countries under fair, transparent and mutually agreed terms.

Also by that draft, the Assembly would support the use of local know-how and technology, and the promotion of research and technology to increase agricultural productivity and food security in poor, rural areas.  The Committee approved the text by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to none against, with 29 abstentions.  (See annex for voting details)

Later in the meeting, the representatives of Togo and the Dominican Republic said they had not been present during the action and requested that their respective votes be recorded as being in favour of the draft resolution.

Further by the text, the Assembly would urge relevant United Nations bodies to support the efforts of Member States, particularly developing countries, to take full advantage of agricultural technology, innovation, research and development to eradicate poverty and hunger.  It would call on public and private institutions to further develop improved varieties of crops appropriate for various regions, especially those challenged by climate change and other environmental factors, and to harvest and manage crops in a sustainable manner.  The Assembly would also call for further efforts by all stakeholders to ensure that improved crop varieties were made available and affordable to smallholder farmers, in accordance with national regulations and relevant international agreements.

The representative of Israel introduced the draft resolution on behalf of the group of co-sponsors, saying it marked the culmination of an intensive and constructive process, including informal “informals”, deliberations and discussions where liked-minded delegations had worked together to steward an initiative that would significantly bolster development and, in particular, achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  The strong link between agricultural and sustainable development meant that harnessing the power of agriculture by making knowledge and know-how more accessible would facilitate greater alleviation of poverty and the elimination of hunger.

Speaking in explanation of position before the vote, Tunisia’s representative said, on behalf of the Arab Group, that none of the substantive amendments presented during informal consultations on the draft had been taken satisfactorily into consideration.  The amendments were aimed at strengthening the text and achieving development goals, rather than narrow political goals with which the Arab Group could not agree.

Noting that Israel had recently announced the building of 307 settlement housing units on Palestinian agricultural land in East Jerusalem, he said those units would add to the settlements already established on agricultural lands in the occupied Syrian Golan and Lebanon’s Sheba’a Farms, which remained under continuing Israeli occupation.  The Arab Group was convinced that Israel was neither interested in agriculture nor the peace process.  It pretended to be concerned about agricultural technology and development everywhere but the occupied Arab lands where it continued to adopt policies that undermined all forms of agriculture.

He said that, in order to express the Arab Group’s desire for consensus on the draft, he had asked the Committee Chair to present it after the co-sponsors withdrew their draft.  However, after the refusal by some co-sponsors to withdraw the text, the Arab Group had withdrawn its offered amendments, and requested a recorded vote.  The Arab Group would not vote in favour of the draft.

Indonesia’s representative said the text introduced was unbalanced, and his delegation would abstain from the voting.

Following the vote, Israel’s representative said the draft was in line with a call for action for Agenda 21 and would facilitate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  Affordable and available technology played a crucial role in alleviating hunger, and the approval of the text was important because it reflected Israel’s efforts and commitment to agriculture as well as its work with the United Nations.

Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she was fully committed to the draft’s negotiation and approval.  The European Union would continue to build cooperation among Member States, no matter how small, in the expectation that consensus would be possible.

The representative of the United States said his strong support for the draft was based on core support for helping developing countries foster agricultural development through better technology.  Developing countries with technologically successful agricultural sectors had much to offer other developing countries that were yet to achieve similar success, and the draft resolution would support efforts in that direction.

He expressed disappointment with the request for a recorded vote because that could send a signal that there was no consensus on the issues at stake, which was not the case.  The United States was saddened by the inappropriate injection into the agenda item of irrelevant political considerations, characterized by inflammatory remarks that devalued the importance of the United Nations agenda.

The Committee will meet again on Friday, 14 December to take action on its sole outstanding draft resolution, on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to take action on a draft resolution under its agenda item concerning sustainable development.

Before the Committee was a draft resolution on agricultural technology for development (document A/C.2/62/L.23/Rev.2), by which the General Assembly would call upon Member States and relevant United Nations organizations to make greater efforts to promote the development and transfer of appropriate technologies in and to developing countries under fair, transparent and mutually agreed terms.  It would call on them to support national efforts to foster the effective utilization of local know-how and technology, and promote agricultural research and technologies to enable poor rural men and women to increase agricultural productivity and enhance food security.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would urge the relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support the efforts of Member States, in particular developing countries, to take full advantage of new knowledge in agricultural technology, agricultural innovation, research and development to achieve the relevant Millennium Development Goals, specifically the eradication of poverty and hunger.

By other terms, the Assembly would call on public and private institutions to further develop improved varieties of crops that are appropriate for various regions, especially those challenged by environmental factors, including climate change, and to develop and manage those crops in a sustainable manner.  The Assembly would also call for further efforts by all stakeholders to ensure that improved crop varieties are made available and affordable to smallholder farmers in a manner consistent with national regulations and relevant international agreements.  The Assembly would underscore the importance of supporting agricultural research, and call for continued support to international agricultural research systems.

Also by the text, the Assembly would invite Member States and relevant regional and international organizations to allocate financial and technical resources to support the development of efficient, productive and environmentally sound technologies for sustainable agriculture in developing countries.

ANNEX

Vote on Agricultural Technology

The draft resolution on agricultural technology for development (document A/C.2/62/L.23/Rev.2) was approved by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to none against, with 29 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Absent:  Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kiribati, Maldives, Mali, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu.

* *** *

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*     Reissued to include an additional statement.

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