|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-third General Assembly
51st & 52nd Meetings (AM & PM)
AILING WORLD ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL SYSTEM MUST BE RESTRUCTURED BY 192 NATIONS,
NOT JUST ‘G-20’, PRESIDENT OF BOLIVIA SAYS IN ADDRESS TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Evo Morales Calls for Cooperation, Grass-Roots Action to Revamp Trade Rules;
Assembly Adopts Text on Aiding Development by Reducing, Preventing Armed Violence
In a sweeping speech, that traced the evolution of an indigenous Bolivian farmers’ movement into a powerful political force that wielded calls for equality to attain national power in 2005, Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma told the General Assembly today that the global financial crisis revealed how the world economic system had to be restructured by 192 countries, not just the richest 20.
Backing a draft resolution, tabled today by Venezuela, to have the United Nations convene a summit to address the current economic turmoil, President Morales said World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and regulations “must end”, and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) were restructured. Meanwhile, as the international community made profound economic and social changes that dealt with current social problems, a new economic mode would emerge. “We have come from poverty, firm in the belief that, through working together, it is possible to change the world,” he declared.
Describing his own experience, he said the Bolivian farmers’ movement had wanted to change economic policies and, as such, had moved from a union struggle to an electoral struggle when it saw agreements adopted, but never implemented. The intellectuals and middle class had joined with the indigenous people, and workers, to ask for change in Bolivia and put an end to the existing political order. More people seeking change had been elected to Parliament over successive elections, he added.
In 2005, the election had been won, and the movement had started from the grass roots up to build a united Bolivia. Those who had come into power had started with far-reaching economic reforms, nationalizing the oil and gas sectors to meet the country’s energy requirements. The Government had a surplus thanks to the nationalization process, he said. Exports were growing. The Government was addressing social problems and heeding people’s demands.
Turning to the current global financial and credit meltdown, he said that 30 times more money had been given to Wall Street banks than had been allocated to development aid to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. That money should go to the victims of the financial crisis and those who had lost their homes and jobs, not to the banks whose policies had sparked the crisis. Unfortunately, the “new Washington Consensus” of the Group of 20 (G-20) continued to base its trust on free trade. In response, the international community had to make changes that dealt with human dignity and social issues.
President Morales spoke at the end of a morning debate in which the representative of Venezuela urged the Assembly to support its proposal to stage a United Nations summit, during the current sixty-third Assembly session, which would debate the current financial crisis in a way that enveloped the needs of all nations. The proposal also called for undertaking a “comprehensive review” of the global financial system and the functioning of its institutions.
Concerned by the profound impact that the financial crisis had on the world economy, developing countries and the internationally agreed development goals, Venezuela’s representative said his country had crafted the draft resolution during extensive consultations. While the text had gained broad support, its co-sponsors had decided to wait to act, in order to achieve a broad consensus.
The crisis that erupted in the United States had spread around the globe with devastating effects, he said. Member States had to assume responsibility to tackle its ramifications, and propose alternatives to ensure an international economic and financial system that was fair and benefited all people.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the outcomes of the upcoming Doha Conference and the recent G-20 Summit in Washington would play key roles in reforming the architecture of the international financial system. He urged the United Nations to use its unifying force to ensure that concrete steps linked reform efforts with common development, and he supported Venezuela’s call for a high-level meeting analyzing the international financial system.
As part of the morning’s joint debate on the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences, the representative of India said that, while the conferences held since the 1990s had generated “unprecedented” global consensus on a shared vision for development, he was concerned at the lack of a similar consensus on carrying out the vision. The vision’s implementation had been hampered by the absence of resources and an enabling global environment. The present global financial crisis was impairing poor countries’ development efforts.
India had repeatedly emphasized the importance of development-oriented economic, financial and trade policies to help developing countries. To ensure such efforts, developing countries’ concerns had to be incorporated as policies were formulated, he said. He was heartened by the nearly global consensus on the need to reform the international financial and economic architecture, which had to enhance developing country participation in decision-making processes.
In other business, the Assembly adopted by consensus a draft resolution on “promoting development through the reduction and prevention of armed violence”, by which it acknowledged the 2006 Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, and reaffirmed that development, peace, security and human rights were interlinked and mutually reinforcing. It stressed the need for a coherent approach to preventing armed violence with a view to achieving sustainable peace and development.
In introducing the draft resolution, the representative of Switzerland said that more than 740,000 people died from armed violence every year, stemming from conflict and criminal violence. In non-conflict settings, the economic cost of armed violence, measured in terms of lost productivity due to violent deaths, totalled $95 billion each year. It could soar to $163 billion, or 0.14 per cent of annual global gross domestic product.
Switzerland had hosted a 2006 summit at which States had adopted the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, and the present draft resolution reflected the core values of that Declaration. It reflected a careful balance of its objectives to reduce armed violence for better development and proposed development strategies that led to reduced armed violence.
In other business, Switzerland’s representative introduced a draft on “legal empowerment of the poor and eradication of poverty”, by which the Assembly would reaffirm the importance of the timely and full realization of development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. The Assembly planned to take action on that resolution on 24 November.
The representative of South Africa introduced a draft resolution, titled “Global health and foreign policy”, by which it urged Member States to consider health issues while shaping foreign policy and stressed the importance of achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Finally, the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania introduced a draft resolution, “International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization”. In that text, the Assembly would note the adoption, at the ninety-seventh session of the International Labour Conference, of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, which offered an integrated strategy to promote decent work. It recognized that with globalization, achieving an improved and fair outcome for all had become even more necessary to meet the universal aspiration for social justice.
Also speaking in general statement were the representatives of Nicaragua and Cuba.
Speaking before adoption in explanation of position were the representatives of France, Argentina, Algeria and the United States.
Speaking after adoption in explanation of position were the representatives of Pakistan and Egypt.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 November, for its joint debate on the question of the equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters. It also plans to consider the report of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) on the follow-up to, and implementation of, the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the preparation of the 2008 Review Conference.
The General Assembly met today for its joint debate on the follow-up to the Millennium Summit, and integrated implementation of the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. It also planned to consider the strengthening of the United Nations system. Also, Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma was expected to address the world body before the end of its work today.
The Assembly had before it several resolutions, including on the world financial and economic crisis and its consequences (document A/63/L.22), by which it would decide to convene a United Nations summit during its sixty-third session to examine the underlying causes of the financial crisis and comprehensively review the international financial system, particularly the Bretton Woods institutions.
By a resolution on legal empowerment of the poor and eradication of poverty (document A/63/L.25), the Assembly would reaffirm the importance of the timely and full realization of development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Recognizing that empowering the poor is essential to effectively eradicating poverty and hunger, and that each country must take primary responsibility for its own development, it would also take note of the final report of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor. Finally by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit a report at its sixty-fourth session containing issues covered by the Commission and appropriate recommendations.
Also before the Assembly is a resolution on promoting development through the reduction and prevention of armed violence (document A/63/L.27), by which it would acknowledge the 2006 Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development and reaffirm that development, peace, security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. It would stress the need for a coherent approach to preventing armed violence with a view to achieving sustainable peace and development.
Further by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to seek the views of States on the interrelation between armed violence and development, and in close consultation with relevant United Nations agencies and the three United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament, submit a report at the sixty-fourth session.
For its consideration of the integrated follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences, the Assembly had before it a resolution on global health and foreign policy (document A/63/L.28), by which it would urge States to consider health issues in the formulation of foreign policy and stress the importance of achieving health-related Millennium Goals. Recognizing that the Economic and Social Council’s 2009 Annual Ministerial Review is to focus on implementing global commitments regarding public health, it would also request the Secretary-General to submit a report, with recommendations on the challenges and activities related to health and foreign policy, at its sixty-fourth session.
By a resolution on the International Labour Organization Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (document A/63/L.29), the Assembly takes note of the adoption, at the ninety-seventh session of the International Labour Conference, of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, which offers an integrated strategy to promote decent work. It recognizes that, in the context of globalization, achieving an improved and fair outcome for all has become even more necessary to meet the universal aspiration for social justice. It supports the Declaration’s call to promote the implementation of an integrated approach to the decent work agenda, and requests United Nations funds and specialized agencies, among others, to continue to mainstream such goals in all their policies. It also requests the Secretary-General to take into account the Declaration when considering related reports in the economic and social fields.
For its consideration of strengthening of the United Nations system, the Assembly has before it the Secretary-General’s report on implementation of General Assembly resolution 61/257 on strengthening the capacity of the Organization to advance the disarmament agenda (document A/63/125), which gives an overview of the progress of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, in strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations’ revitalization of the international disarmament agenda.
The Office’s creation highlights the Secretary-General’s focus for developing a collective response to the deadlock in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and an increase of efforts to abolish small arms and light weapons trafficking, among others. The Secretary-General has also stressed the need to follow up on world leaders’ decision in 2005 of promoting biotechnology benefits to developing countries while mitigating the risks of misuse.
The report notes that the Office organized, conducted, serviced and/or co-sponsored some 40 events that ranged from multilateral disarmament treaty meetings to technical assistance to Member States, among them: the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; and regional workshops aimed at assisting States in addressing the trade of illicit small arms and light weapons. The Office also has provided expert advice on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to interested parties, as well as developing an electronic database of experts and laboratories in response to Member States’ request to update resources and technical guidelines.
The report also documents progress in the participation of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, following the inclusion and adoption of a standardized system for reporting transfers of small arms and light weapons. This, with the United Nations system for the standardized reporting of military expenditures, aims to increase transparency in military matters. Other progress has been observed with the High Representatives for Disarmament Affairs, representing the Secretary-General in more than 38 addresses and statements.
The Office continues to implement the existing mandates from the resolutions and decisions of the Assembly and other United Nations organs, the report states. With additional resources, the Office would be able to strengthen its capacity to deliver its mandates; among them, comprehensive monitoring, effective policy formulation, timely expert and sound advice. The report concludes that the Office’s establishment has been a vital step in the Secretary-General’s commitment to bring to the forefront successful disarmament and non-proliferation strategies, actions and agendas.
Also before the Assembly is the Report of the Joint Inspection Unit on knowledge management in the United Nations system (document A/63/140 and Add.1), which analyses knowledge management in the context of the United Nations system, and finds that there is little understanding of what “knowledge” is, as it is perceived differently by different organizations.
The report notes that knowledge management is a wide concept involving the processes of identifying and collecting relevant information, its classification and storage, timely dissemination and updating. The various and unconnected knowledge management projects within the United Nations are generally the result of ad hoc initiatives, and are not part of a comprehensive knowledge management strategy. A knowledge management strategy should address internal and external client needs; establish tools to be used for gathering, storing, updating and disseminating information; determine resource requirements; and include evaluation tools. With such a strategy, substantial savings could be achieved.
As such, the report makes five broad recommendations, the first of which is that the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination develop a common definition of knowledge management and glossary of common terminology. It should also develop minimum guidelines for each United Nations organization to create its own knowledge management strategy. Second, the executive heads of United Nations organizations should survey the knowledge needs of clients and undertake an in-house knowledge inventory for each, with the goal of developing or revising the knowledge management strategy of their organization.
Further, the report recommends that the Assembly make provisions for establishing dedicated knowledge management units within each organization, and provide those units with the necessary financial and human resources. The United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination should review the possibility of developing a common search engine to facilitate access to knowledge by different organizations. Finally, the executive heads should also establish knowledge-sharing competencies among the criteria to be assessed in the staff performance appraisal system.
The addendum report (document A/63/140/Add.1) presents the consolidated views of United Nations organizations on the above recommendations. Noting the difficulty of covering, in depth, a topic as broad as knowledge management, the organizations stressed that the recommendations did not always convey the complexity involved in developing a comprehensive knowledge management strategy, and further, that some lacked a clear cost-benefits analysis to determine their viability.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
Concerned by the profound impact the financial crisis had on the world economy and on developing countries, and the internationally agreed development objectives, JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO ( Venezuela) said his country had created the draft resolution “The world financial and economic crisis and its consequences” (document A/63/L.22).
The need for a United Nations summit concerning the financial crisis was undeniable, and the draft sought to spark a needed debate that approached, in a way that was inclusive and representative, the unprecedented financial and economic challenges. The text also drew attention to the impact that the crisis was having on the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.
The crisis that began in the United States had spread to each region of the world with devastating effects. The growth of gross national product in developed countries, for example, had stopped or been reduced. The crisis did not respect borders, and the States represented in the United Nations must take responsibility to tackle its implications, and propose alternatives to ensure an international economic and financial system that was fair and humane, and which benefited all people.
The United Nations was the most authoritative and representative world body to consider a crisis of this nature. The draft resolution called for a summit during the Assembly’s sixty-third session, and the process of organizing such a meeting should include a high-level meeting within the Economic and Social Council, he said. Turning to the upcoming Doha Conference on development financing, he said it was uniquely important, and he hoped it brought the international community closer to ensuring a more dignified world. The Doha Conference and proposed summit each were unique, and both initiatives were destined to strengthen the role and authority of the United Nations in an international context.
While extensive consultations affirmed that the draft had broad support and a majority of countries were prepared to back it, some delegations had requested more time to consider the text. In order to achieve a broad consensus, the co-sponsors had decided to wait until a later late to take action. He hoped the Assembly adopted the project by consensus and it became a proposal for all Member countries.
He said the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías had called on the United Nations on 25 October to convene a summit of Presidents on the world financial crisis and its effects on the countries within the region. Within that initiative, President Chávez had also convened countries within the region to examine the measures to be taken to tackle the effects of that crisis. The results of that initiative would enhance the agenda of the world summit Venezuela had proposed, he said.
Introducing the draft resolution on promoting development through the reduction and prevention of armed violence (document A/63/L.27), PETER MAURER ( Switzerland) said that, currently, more than 740,000 people died from armed violence every year, due to both conflict and criminal violence. In non-conflict settings, the economic cost of armed violence, in terms of lost productivity due to violent deaths, was $95 billion annually and could reach some $163 billion, representing 0.14 per cent of annual global gross domestic product.
With that in mind, Switzerland had hosted a 2006 summit at which States had adopted the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development (document A/63/494). The present draft resolution reflected the core values of that Declaration, and had been broadly consulted upon. It reflected a careful balance of its objectives to reduce armed violence for better development, and propose development strategies that led to reduced armed violence.
In its preambular paragraphs, the text referred to United Nations documents, he said, while its first operative paragraph stressed the need for a coherent approach to prevent armed violence. The core group to the draft had organized meetings that were open to all delegations. It was only last week that the group had been informed that some delegations in the Arab Group raised concerns at some of the formulations of the preamble.
In a letter to all co-sponsors on Friday, 14 November, he had informed them of the proposed changes and asked them to agree in silent procedure. None of the co-sponsors objected, and two small amendments had been proposed. Preambular paragraph 4 should read: “Taking note of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development”, while preambular paragraph 5 should read: “Reaffirming that development, peace and security, and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing” (see resolution 60/1).
The challenges of addressing the interrelation of armed violence and development should not be underestimated, he said, and the support of all States for the draft, as orally amended, would be highly appreciated.
Turning next to the draft on the legal empowerment of the poor and eradication of poverty (document A/63/L.25), he said almost all of the nearly 500 million working poor, who earned less than $1 a day, worked in the unofficial economy, with informal work accounting for over half of total employment in developing countries.
Recalling that the 2007 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council had recognized that the empowerment of the poor was essential for eradicating poverty, he said the poor should be empowered to influence the development process. Indeed, secure property rights boosted business investment, while the introduction of effective property rights, managed by functioning institutions, helped developing countries progress. After years of exchange at the regional level, Guatemala, Switzerland and 14 other countries wished to bring such issues to a more formal level by introducing the draft before the Assembly today.
The draft resolution’s preambular paragraphs set the issue squarely within the multilaterally agreed policy framework for development and poverty eradication, including the Millennium Declaration and 2002 Monterrey Consensus. A significant input to the discussion was the report of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, launched in 2005 to study the interaction between the poor and their national institutions. The resolution took note of that report, and requested the Secretary-General to report on the issue and present his findings to the Assembly under the agenda item entitled “Eradication of Poverty”.
The co-sponsors of the resolution would convene, this week, informal consultations with the aim of having the draft adopted by consensus at the next Assembly session under agenda item 107 on 24 November.
DUMISANI SHADRACK KUMALO ( South Africa), speaking also on behalf of Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, and Thailand, introduced a resolution on “Global health and foreign policy” (document A/63/L.28), pointing out that “Investment in health is fundamental to economic growth and development.” He noted that a country’s stability and security was compromised when health crises were not appropriately addressed. In Oslo in March 2007, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries he was representing today had launched an initiative that would use diplomacy to promote global health.
He went on to describe three key areas of policy needed in global health. First, a focus on being prepared and a more equal distribution of well-trained health professionals was essential to strengthen the capacity for global health. Health protection before and after conflict, including responses to HIV/AIDS, and natural disasters and other disasters, was another crucial focal point. Lastly, he reiterated that the health of a country’s citizens was intrinsically linked to that country’s development and ability to combat poverty, build strong trade policies and enhance good governance.
Although great progress on the issue had been made in the Second Committee this year, and next summer’s 2009 Economic and Social Council Annual Ministerial Review promised to continue crucial work on global health issues, the health-related Millennium Development Goals were in jeopardy of not being achieved. He urged the Assembly to join in on co-sponsoring this resolution, and ensure that this issue was given the highest priority, specifically in the two areas of women and children, and sub-Saharan Africa.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania), also speaking on behalf of Norway, introduced the draft resolution “International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization” (document A/63/L.29), which had been unanimously adopted at the ninety-seventh session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva in June 2008. At a time where two billion people earned less than $2 a day, and when, due to the current financial and economic crisis, an additional 100 million people were at risk of earning even less, the Declaration had affirmed the crucial role social justice needed to play in globalization, and offered strategies to implement the Decent Work Agenda at a country level and develop programmes that facilitate full employment and social justice.
The aims and goals of both the Declaration and the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda were clearly supported by the many conferences and summits held by the international community, among them the 2005 United Nations World Summit, where Heads of State affirmed, for the first time, their support for a “fair globalization” that engendered full, productive employment and decent work as a core component in all national and international policies. The draft resolution would continue to build and enrich the decisions made at those meetings, and add to the efforts and work of the United Nations.
He noted that the United Republic of Tanzania had implemented the operative paragraphs from the Decent Work Agenda by utilizing the Toolkit for Mainstreaming Employment, by bringing together its various ministries to address the employment challenge. He called for Member States to expand the use of the Toolkit on a national level as well. Furthermore, because of the Declaration’s inclusive and cross-cutting principles, he requested that the Secretary-General consider the Declaration when reporting on related items in the economic and social fields. He concluded by urging the unanimous adoption of the resolution, and emphasized that, through policy coherence throughout the broader United Nations system, the areas of decent work, fair globalization and social justice would be advocated for and promoted, thus “elevating the Decent Work Agenda to a new and more profound level in this twenty-first century”.
TARIT BARAN TOPDAR (India), noting that United Nations conferences held since the 1990s had generated “unprecedented” global consensus on a shared vision of development, was concerned at the lack of a similar consensus on the implementation of that vision, which had been hampered by a lack of resources and absence of an enabling global environment. The global financial crisis was impairing poor countries’ development efforts. The 2005 World Summit had embraced a broader concept of internationally agreed development goals, which could be reached by implementing commitments undertaken at major United Nations summits.
In that regard, India had repeatedly emphasized the importance of development-oriented economic, financial and trade policies to help developing countries, he said. To ensure such efforts, developing country concerns in the formulation of such policies must be effectively “taken on board”. He was heartened by the near global consensus on the need for urgent reform of the international financial and economic architecture, which must enhance developing country participation in decision-making and norm-setting processes.
An early development-oriented outcome of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of negotiations must not sacrifice the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers. That was of paramount concern, and he called for accelerating implementation of the development mandate of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
On the Economic and Social Council, he highlighted its 2006 mandate to undertake periodic review of global economic and development policies, and urged enhanced capacities to effectively implement that mandate. On the Council’s Annual Ministerial Review, he said that exercise must have an added focus on evaluating the implementation of the “global partnership for development”, while its Development Cooperation Forum should consolidate its role in overseeing international trends in that area.
Turning to the Security Council, he said reform of that body must include expansion in the permanent and non-permanent categories, as well as improvement in its working methods. The continued delay in reforming the Security Council demonstrated the deficiency of implementing adopted decisions. He was happy at the unanimous recognition of the utility of the Open-ended Working Group, and Assembly decision 62/557, adopted on 15 September, which had agreed to begin intergovernmental talks in an informal Assembly plenary, within a defined timeframe. India fully supported the start of those negotiations on 21 November 2008 and looked forward to the negotiating process.
As for the General Assembly, he said strengthening that body must not be simply a technical process, but a political process whereby the Assembly took important political decisions on reforming the Council, notably on issues of peace under certain circumstances. Important to that reform would be the Secretariat’s increased accountability to States. In closing, he urged not perpetuating an “endless cycle of commitments without implementation”.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) said the resolution on the financial crisis provided a unique opportunity for the “G-192” to work towards achieving global participation in decision-making on economic and financial policy. For decades, developing countries had demands imposed upon them, particularly regarding good governance. That was a crisis stemming from the corruption of a few. The cost of the current crisis, however, was estimated at $3 trillion. The chant of the free market, that it should function without Government regulation, had been silenced by massive intervention of Governments to staunch the crisis. Ironically, State intervention was the answer, she added.
The implosion of the capitalistic system at its core was an undeniable reason for the replacement of “this moribund model” on a global scale. For Nicaragua, it was clear that country was among those that did not have a voice or vote on decisions involving economic and trade policy, and were bearing the heavy cost of a crisis that was not of their making. Hundreds of millions of people lived in poverty and paid with their own lives, she said.
The draft resolution proposed what was just, she said, adding that the facts had shown the incapability of systems and institutions set up more than 60 years ago to lead the world in the twenty-first century. Neither could a small group of countries claim to do so, she said. The value of democracy was universal and applicable to all spheres, including the drawing up of economic policies. She appealed to Member States to develop a new world order, particularly in the economic and financial institutions, so the current crisis would not happen again.
VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) stated that the challenges facing the international community -- among them climate change, food shortages, health crises -- were “uncontested priorities of the General Assembly”. He supported those serious issues being addressed in the ambit of sustainable development, which was a necessary condition to confronting threats to global peace and security.
He went on to say that the efforts to implement the Millennium Development Goals had clearly been further developed in recent high-level Assembly meetings, and he called for the United Nations to continue to play a leading political and organizing role. To that end, he requested that the Organization conduct a 2010 summit to ensure that the Millennium Goals were kept at the centre of the international development agenda. At the same time, he continued, today’s joint debate illustrated the variety of issues and strategies that addressed those Goals, and supported the prominent position of global health issues on the agenda.
Having the Economic and Social Council coordinate efforts would ensure these were approached in a logical and coordinated manner, he continued. However, the United Nations needed to take further steps in food security, by a more comprehensive and coordinated collaboration. A thoughtful balance and consensus approach would ensure the minimizing of negative outcomes, and make maximum use for creating long-term solutions and perspectives.
The outcomes of the upcoming Doha Conference and the recent “G-20” Summit in Washington would play key roles in reforming the architecture of the international financial system, he said in conclusion, and called for the United Nations to continue working in its unifying capability to ensure that concrete steps linked reform efforts with common development. To that end, he supported Venezuela’s call for a high-level meeting analyzing the international financial system.
For a successful implementation, such efforts would require the outcomes of the G-20 Summit and the Doha Conference to be considered, as well as all Member States’ participation. In that regard, the Economic and Social Council would also need to play a key responsible role. The myriad of international crises -- among them disarmament, regional conflicts, weapons of mass destruction, and food and fuel shortages -- offered no choice to the global community, but to solve those issues by multilateral diplomacy to promote international peace and security.
ILEANA NÚÑEZ MORDOCHE ( Cuba) said the current world economic and financial crisis was a direct consequence of the current international economic order, ruled by the neo-liberal globalization that had so far favoured the most powerful countries. The principles of deregulation and many of the recent financial innovations were based on the false supposition that markets tended to balance. However, the evident chaotic situation was a clear indication that that theory was not viable, a matter developing countries had been warning about for many years.
The scandalous lack of democracy and transparency in the international system and its main institutions was more evident than ever, she said. A deep reform of the system, with the participation of all nations of the world as equals, was needed. The interest of developing countries should finally be at the core of the new international economic order.
This was why Cuba was honoured to cosponsor the draft resolution, A/63/L.22, which would convene a United Nations summit to review those matters, particularly the work of the “world-discredited Bretton Woods institutions”. Cuba committed itself to work arduously to achieve an inclusive, transparent and democratic process concerning world financial and economic operations. The proposed summit would undoubtedly constitute an unprecedented event in the Organization’s history, and she called upon all nations to join this far-reaching initiative.
Action on Draft
The representative of France, speaking in his national capacity on resolution A/63/L.27, said his country enthusiastically supported statements in 2006, on which the Swiss draft was based. It supported the relevance of those statements, and regretted that a paragraph, which had not figured into those statements on the relationship between disarmament and development, had been added. That link was complex, and he continued to have reservations at the presentation of that issue, which was too simplistic. At the same time, France would associate itself with consensus for adopting the resolution.
The representative of Argentina said his country would firmly support the text on “the world financial and economic crisis and its consequences”, as the initiative called urgently for a world summit to analyse the significance of the current challenges. Developing countries wished to seek alternatives to market based philosophy regarding integration. Recent bailouts were based on the same paradigm, and that gave to the market a monopoly when it came to allocating resources, undermining Governments’ role. He urged at far-reaching action to achieve a new system, based on fair policies that protected production.
The representative of Algeria, a co-sponsor on resolution A/63/L.22, was convinced that it had come at an opportune time, allowing the United Nations to react to the global financial crisis. The nature of the crisis required a global response through inclusive decision-making processes. He noted the conclusions reached by the G-20 Summit on 15-16 November, which had stated that adequate responses could only be collective.
The draft fully met those concerns, he continued, and the United Nations was a legitimate framework to assess the crisis’ impacts. The United Nations’ conduct of a summit to assess the matter would contribute to the in-depth analysis of causes of the crisis, which would allow for the conversion of the financial framework into one that accounted for the interests of all States. It also complimented efforts on financing for development, and the ongoing G-20 process, which would meet again in the spring. He was convinced that the proposed summit would allow for improving relations between the United Nations and financial institutions, and hoped the Assembly would adopt the resolution by consensus given its constructive scope.
Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of the United States said his delegation fully supported implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects. In addition to the United States’ own export control activities, the country assisted other States in fully implementing the Programme in areas such as export controls, brokering regulations and destroying excess weapons.
However, the United States did not believe that additional legally binding instruments on small arms and light weapons, or associated issues, as called for by the Geneva Declaration, were required to make an impact, he said. The United States would prefer to focus on concrete action that addressed underlying problems, rather than expending limited resources on negotiating additional instruments. While the United States supported working with other stakeholders in reducing armed violence and illicit weapons proliferation, it could not support the Geneva Declaration in whole, and thus could not support the present resolution.
The Assembly then adopted by consensus the resolution on promoting development through the reduction and prevention of armed violence (document A/63/L.27) as orally revised.
Also speaking after action, the representative of Pakistan said his country had decided to go along with the consensus. However, that should not be construed as endorsement of the Geneva Declaration. Pakistan had participated in previous consultations and had proposed certain amendments, which had not been accepted. In a meeting in Bangkok in 2008, for example, its views were not accommodated. During informal consultations earlier this month, Pakistan was heartened to see that the sponsors had demonstrated flexibility.
Speaking in explanation of position after action, HOSSAM ELDEEN M. ALY ( Egypt) expressed his country’s conviction that the resolution would promote development and challenge armed violence, and he thanked the sponsors for addressing Egypt’s concerns regarding an earlier draft of the text.
While the resolution affirmed development, peace and security, and human rights as the main pillars of the work of the United Nations, Egypt stressed that any reference to the Charter needed to commence with the principles of the United Nations, particularly those emphasized in the Millennium Declaration -- among them the importance of non-interference in internal affairs of States, right to self determination, the right to self defence, and the promotion of friendly relations among States.
Continuing, he welcomed the reference in the resolution to the United Nations Programme of Action against the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, as the programme represented a balanced basis to address the issue. He concluded with his hope that the report of the Secretary-General, requested in the resolution, would shed “more light on the wide range of views on the interrelation between armed violence and development”.
Address by President of Bolivia
EVO MORALES AYMA, President of Bolivia, said the process of change had begun in Bolivia, with a revolution that sought to achieve equality among men and women. Coming from a background of social struggle, he had worked through the indigenous farmers’ movement, which had carried out many peaceful demonstrations to put an end to inequality and to address the concerns of the people who had been abandoned. For more than 200 years, farmers and indigenous people had been excluded and cast aside, and subjected to discrimination.
The Bolivian farmers’ movement wanted to change economic policies. It had moved from a union struggle to an electoral struggle when the farmers saw agreements adopted, but never implemented. Intellectuals and the middle class had joined with the indigenous people, and workers, to ask for change in Bolivia and an end to the existing political order. More people seeking change had been elected to Parliament over successive elections, he added.
In 2005, the election had been won, and the movement had started from the grass roots up to build a united Bolivia. Those who had come into power had started with far-reaching economic reforms, nationalizing the oil and gas sectors to meet the country’s energy requirements. The Government had a surplus thanks to the nationalization process, he said. Exports were growing. The Government was addressing social problems and heeding people’s demands.
Recently, he continued, some groups had started trying to destabilize the Government by attacking the country’s oil and gas exports, but the Government had been able to resolve those confrontations. As armed forces would not lend support to a coup, those groups had attempted a civil coup earlier this year and had carried out terrorist acts. Those had been acts of “genocide and sedition”. He acknowledged the international community’s adherence to rule of law and defence of truth in Bolivia, but stressed that the United States had not repudiated those acts of terrorism, genocide and sedition.
The new Bolivian Constitution had brought about much change and had granted rights to indigenous people. The State could provide a solution for people, and Government had to be at the service of the people, he said. Former legal and constitutional instruments did not recognize equality among all people, but the new Constitution aimed to ensure that all people moved forward together. Opposition groups had questioned if the new Government would put an end to private property and confiscate that property. That assumption was “quite wrong”, he said, stressing that there was private and state property, and privately-held property would be respected.
On the issue of coca crops, he said coca leaf was being demonized. Bolivia was not defending cocaine and did not agree with coca being turned into cocaine. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency did not acknowledge the traditionalconsumption of coca leaf, which was recognized in Bolivia as a cultural product of the people of the country.
Turning to military matters, he said no country could set up a military base on Bolivian territory, and no foreign or military base would be located on Bolivian soil. War would never be waged with neighbouring countries. He thanked the international community for supporting Bolivia in its process of change, and said it was very important to listen to people’s demands, and to seek equality and justice for everyone.
Referring to the current financial crisis, he said that 30 times more money had been given to the banks of Wall Street than had been allocated to development aid to meet the Millennium Development Goals. That money should go to the victims of the financial crisis and those who had lost their homes and jobs, not to the banks that had caused the international crisis. The “new Washington Consensus” of the G-20 continued to base its trust on free trade, which he questioned. The international community had to make changes that dealt with human dignity and social issues. He would not accept unfair trade schemes imposed on his country, he added.
In order to end the financial crisis, the rules of the WTO must be reformed. The world economic system had to be restructured by 192 countries, not just the G-20. He endorsed the holding of a United Nations summit for restructuring the global finance system, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also advocated for deep-reaching economic and social change that meant changing the economic model. “We have come from poverty, firm in the belief that, through working together, it is possible to change the world,” he declared.
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