|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
85th Meeting (AM)
ON RECOMMENDATION OF ITS BUDGETARY COMMITTEE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECIDES TO HOLD
HIGH-LEVEL SESSION IN SEPTEMBER ON AFRICA’S SPECIAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
The United Nations General Assembly today agreed to convene a high-level meeting in September on Africa’s development needs, reaffirming its determination to tackle the troubled continent’s special concerns, particularly since it is the only region not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Convinced that the high-level meeting “will constitute a significant event that will review the implementation of all commitments made to and by Africa in order to comprehensively address the special development needs of the continent”, the Assembly unanimously adopted a new resolution, agreeing to hold the meeting on 22 September, just ahead of the general debate of its sixty-third session.
Calling for participation “at the highest possible political level”, including Heads of State and Government, the Assembly also requested Secretary-General Ban Ki‑moon to submit to the gathering a comprehensive report, with recommendations on “Africa’s development needs: state of implementation of various commitments, challenges and the way forward”, in cooperation with United Nations development agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and other regional and global finance and trade institutions.
The Assembly “strongly urges” all Member States to actively participate in the high-level meeting and decided that the gathering would be chaired by the Assembly President and be composed of an opening plenary meeting, followed by two high-level round tables in the morning and two in the afternoon. Those would address the meeting’s overall theme and be followed by a closing plenary session.
The outcome of the meeting would be a political declaration on Africa’s development needs. The resolution charged the Assembly President with producing a “concise draft text in consultation with Member States and based on their inputs”, and with convening informal consultations on the initial draft text at an appropriate date to allow sufficient discussion.
After adoption of the text today, Ana Sapinho Piers ( Cape Verde), speaking on behalf of the African Group, expressed the hope that the high-level meeting would refocus the international community’s attention on Africa, as well as review and assess the scope and adequacy of global support for it. She reiterated that Africa was the only continent off track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, stressing that, even in African countries that had made important socio-economic progress, large swathes of the population remained trapped in extreme poverty.
Explaining her position on behalf of the European Union, Marteja Vodeb Ghosh ( Slovenia), agreed with the call for the high-level meeting, with the explicit understanding that the resulting political declaration would be a concise text. Negotiations on the declaration should not in any way pre-empt the outcome of the upcoming review of the International Conference on Financing for Development, set for December 2008 in Doha, Qatar. The Union preferred that two co-facilitators lead the negotiating process, which should not take place simultaneously with consultations on the development financing follow-up.
The resolution was introduced by John Ashe ( Antigua and Barbuda), on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.
Also before the Assembly was a report of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), informing the 192-member body that, should it adopt the resolution, additional resources amounting to $86,000 would be required for the 2008-2009 biennium, and that amount should be considered in accordance with procedures for the use and operation of the Contingency Fund.
At the top of the meeting, Assembly President Srgjan Kerim of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia informed delegations that Palau and Papua New Guinea had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.
[Under Article 19, a Member State in arrears in the payment of its dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the General Assembly.]
The Assembly will meet again at a date and time to be announced.
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