MIXED REACTIONS AS SECOND COMMITTEE CONCLUDES SESSION BY APPROVING TEXT CALLING FOR IN-DEPTH CONSIDERATION OF GLOBAL ECONOMIC SITUATION

11 December 2008
GA/EF/3235

MIXED REACTIONS AS SECOND COMMITTEE CONCLUDES SESSION BY APPROVING TEXT CALLING FOR IN-DEPTH CONSIDERATION OF GLOBAL ECONOMIC SITUATION

11 December 2008
General Assembly
GA/EF/3235
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly

Second Committee

31st Meeting (AM)

MIXED REACTIONS AS SECOND COMMITTEE CONCLUDES SESSION BY APPROVING TEXT CALLING

FOR IN-DEPTH CONSIDERATION OF GLOBAL ECONOMIC SITUATION

 

Recorded Vote on New International Order Registers 115 in Favour,

1 against, 49 Abstentions, as Members Pass 13 Other Draft Resolutions by Consensus

Concluding its sixty-third session, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved 14 draft resolutions -– 13 of them by consensus -- on a wide range of issues this morning, including a text by which the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly would hold an in-depth consideration of the international economic situation and its impact on development.

By the terms of that text -– which the Committee approved by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 49 abstentions -- the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to include, in his next report on globalization and interdependence, an overview of the major economic and policy challenges to equitable, inclusive sustained economic growth and sustainable development, and the role of the United Nations in addressing those challenges in accordance with the Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order and the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order.  (See annex for voting details.)

The text would, by other terms, reaffirm the need to work towards a new international economic order based on the principles of equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common interest and cooperation among all States.

Speaking in explanation of position before the Committee’s approval of the text, the representative of the United States said he would vote against the draft, noting that the world faced a difficult financial situation.  Rather than requiring the United Nations to join multilateral efforts to strengthen its coordination, the text would take the Organization backwards and divert scarce Secretariat resources towards a structure with no constructive purpose.

The representatives of Canada and Australia also expressed disappointment that the text had appeared on the agenda, saying it was likely to confuse the Assembly’s plans to hold a conference on the impact of the world economic crisis on development, as called for by the recent Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, held in Doha, Qatar.  It would also send conflicting messages to the United Nations Secretariat.

However, many other delegates felt the opposite was true.  The representatives of the Russian Federation, Cuba and Mexico said the global financial crisis illustrated the undeniable need for a new international economic order, and the discussion proposed in the draft resolution would be helpful in working to achieve a more effective, transparent and open multilateral system.

Some delegates who voted in favour nevertheless expressed reservations.  France’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, dismissed references in the text to resolutions dating back as far as 1974 as irrelevant and potentially divisive.  Peru’s representative agreed, saying the current international economic order was different from that of 1974, and the international community must avoid going down “restrictive roads” that hindered the use of changing factors of development, such as technology, among others.

The Committee also approved three drafts on sustainable development, one of which would have the Assembly encourage developed countries who were parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to contribute to its trust funds, and urge Member States to make good on their pledges to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 by increasing financial and technical resources for developing countries through the Global Environment Fund and other means.

Further by that text, the Assembly would urge parties to the Convention to facilitate technology transfer, in order to effectively implement the instrument, encourage efforts to implement the seven thematic programmes of work, and fully support and participate in activities for the International Year of Biodiversity, 2010, under the auspices of the Convention’s secretariat.

Before the Committee approved that text, the representatives of Australia and the United States expressed concern over the possible holding of a high-level event on that subject, saying it could crowd the already busy United Nations calendar.  Canada’s representative, noting that States had expressed divergent views on the matter, both formally and informally, suggested further consultations to build consensus. 

By a text on implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Assembly would call upon Governments, relevant international and regional organizations, the United Nations system and other major groups to take action to ensure effective implementation of and follow-up to the commitments, programmes and time-bound targets adopted at the 2002 World Summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The Assembly would also emphasize the importance of a consensus outcome and action-oriented policy sessions, and encourage Governments to participate in the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and its Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting.

Brazil’s representative took note of the proposal in that text to hold a World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2012, recalling that the President of that country had offered to host the event in Rio de Janeiro.

By a draft on the report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on its tenth special session, the Assembly would stress the need to further advance and fully implement the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building, and call upon Governments and other stakeholders to provide the necessary funding and technical assistance.  It would emphasize the need for UNEP to contribute further to sustainable development programmes, implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Turning to its agenda item on implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Committee approved a text by which the Assembly would encourage Governments to promote sustainable urbanization to improve the living conditions of vulnerable populations, including slum dwellers and the urban poor, and to help mitigate climate.  The Assembly would reiterate its call for continued financial support to UN-Habitat and encourage Member States to strengthen or set up broad-based national Habitat committees to mainstream sustainable urbanization and urban poverty reduction in their respective national development strategies.

By terms of a draft on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence, the Assembly would express deep concern over the negative impact of the current financial crisis and the attendant global economic slowdown on the ability of developing countries to gain access to the financing necessary to achieve their development objectives.  The Assembly would also stress the need for increased investment in agricultural productivity, particularly in developing countries, so as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and encourage all development partners to help developing countries attain goals and targets in health, nutrition and sanitation.  Further, the Assembly would call upon countries to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, and stress the need for all countries to harness knowledge and technology, in order to improve competitiveness and benefit from trade and investment.

A draft resolution on international migration and development would have the Assembly encourage efforts by Member States and the international community to promote a balanced approach to migration, emphasize the right of migrants to reap its benefits, and urge Member States and relevant international organizations to incorporate a gender perspective in all international migration policies and programmes.  The Assembly would also call on the United Nations system and other relevant multilateral organizations to improve their cooperation in developing methods for collecting and processing data on the subject.

Speaking after the Committee’s approval of that text, France’s representative stressed, on behalf of the European Union, that the Global Forum on International Migration and Development, not the United Nations, was the appropriate international framework to address migration and development issues.  The European Union objected to a second United Nations dialogue on that subject organized in the same year as that of the Global Forum.

By a draft resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, in line with United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Assembly would express concern about the magnitude of corruption and condemn it in all its forms, including bribery, the laundering of proceeds from corruption and other forms of economic crime.  The Assembly would also urge all Governments to combat and penalize corruption, and work for the prompt return of illicitly acquired assets through asset recovery, in line with the Convention’s principles, particularly chapter V.

The Assembly would, by other terms, stress the need for transparency in financial institutions and urge all Member States to abide by the Convention’s principles of proper management of public affairs and public property, fairness, responsibility and equality before the law, and the need to safeguard integrity and to foster a culture of transparency, accountability and rejection of corruption. 

By the terms of a draft on implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, the Assembly would decide to convene, as called for in paragraph 114 of the Brussels Programme, the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries at a high-level meeting in 2011 for no more than five working days.  The mandate of that event would be to conduct a comprehensive implementation appraisal of the Programme, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints, as well as action and initiatives to overcome them.

The Assembly would, by other terms, identify effective international and domestic policies to tackle new and emerging challenges; reaffirm commitments made at major United Nations conferences and summits to address the special needs of the least developed countries, particularly those relating to sustainable development; and mobilize additional international support measures and action to help least developed countries in that regard.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, called for the strengthening of the Least Developed Countries Unit in the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States so it could better carry out its mandate.

By a draft on specific actions relating to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries, the Assembly would call upon those countries to take steps -- as set out in the Declaration of the recent High-Level Meeting of on the Midterm Review of the Almaty Programme of Action -- to accelerate implementation of that Programme.  It would also call upon donors and development institutions to provide those countries with technical and financial assistance, particularly in the form of grants or concessionary loans for the construction, maintenance and improvement of their transport, storage and other transit-related facilities.

The Assembly would, by further terms, call upon development partners to further integrate the Almaty Programme into their work programmes, and encourage the Office of the High Representative to continue to ensure coordinated follow-up and effective monitoring and reporting on the Programme’s implementation.  It would also encourage donors and international financial and development institutions to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund established by the Secretary-General to support follow-up to the outcome of the Almaty International Ministerial Conference.

The Assembly also approved two draft resolutions on poverty eradication.  One text, on the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, would have the Assembly stress the importance of ensuring comprehensive, integrated activities to eradicate poverty in line with the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits.  It would also call upon the international community to continue to give priority to poverty eradication and on donor countries, in a position to do so, to support developing countries’ national efforts to eradicate poverty through adequate, predictable financial resources on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

Further by that text, the Assembly would note with concern the overall decline in official development assistance in 2006 and 2007, and call on developed countries to fulfil their aid commitments.  It would request that the Secretary-General appoint a focal point from within the United Nations system to coordinate implementation of the Second Decade (2008-2017) in close consultation with Member States.

The representative of the United States noted that the text rightly pointed out that broad-based economic growth was critical to erasing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and that it was important that the United Nations remain focused on those goals.

By the second poverty-eradication text, concerning the role of microcredit and microfinance, the Assembly would underline the need for greater access to those tools in developing countries, particularly in order to enable small farmers to increase agricultural productivity and rural development.  It would underline the importance of strengthening domestic financial sectors as a source of capital by making them inclusive, while encouraging Member States to adopt coherent financial regulatory frameworks.  It would recognize that the current financial crisis could adversely impact financial flows to microcredit and microfinance institutions, as well as the services they provided to the poor, and emphasize the need to protect such instruments from potential credit deficiency.

Referring to that text, the representative of Antigua and Barbuda noted, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, that microcredit was a home-grown initiative of the South and that there was still a significant unmet demand for microcredit worldwide.  But while microcredit must be expanded, such programmes should not be overtaken or replaced by the concept of “inclusive financial sectors”.

The representative of the United States said the text was an example of the good work that could be done in the spirit of partnership, and that she looked forward to the upcoming plenary meeting devoted to the outcomes of, and follow-up to, the International Year of Microcredit.

However, France’s representative said, on behalf of the European Union, that he would have preferred the text to focus more on inclusive financial sectors, based on the work of the United Nations Advisers Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors.  Inclusive financial sectors should offer to all segments of the population -- including people living in poverty -- appropriate financial services and products, supported by sound policy, legal and regulatory frameworks.

By a draft resolution on operational activities for development, the Assembly would express concern about the continuing imbalance between core and non-core funding and the limited progress towards greater funding predictability and adequacy.  It would urge donor and other countries, in a position to do so, to increase substantially their voluntary contributions to the United Nations core and regular budgets, underscore the importance of mobilizing more predictable levels of voluntary contributions for core operational programmes, and reiterate its request to the Secretary-General to take measures to promote an adequate and expanding base of development assistance from the Organization, taking into account the development priorities of programme countries.

Further, the Assembly would urge United Nations funds and programmes, and encourage the specialized agencies, to carry out the changes required, if any, to align their planning cycles with the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, and report to the Economic and Social Council regarding adjustments made to fit the new comprehensive review cycles at that organ’s substantive session.

A draft on the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation would have the Assembly request that its President entrust the President of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation with undertaking the necessary consultations with Member States to prepare for the proposed conference, with a view to making a decision during the Assembly’s sixty-third session on the nature, date, budgetary implications, objectives and modalities of the Conference.

In other business, the Committee adopted the draft programme of work for its sixty-fourth session.

Committee Chairperson Uche Joy Ogwu ( Nigeria), in closing remarks, thanked all those involved in working to make the session productive and fruitful.

Nikhil Seth, Director of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, congratulated the Committee on the successful conclusion of its work, on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang.

Other speakers today were the representatives of Chile, Peru, Colombia, Yemen, Japan, Bangladesh (on behalf of the least developed countries), Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take action on draft resolutions relating to sustainable development; implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); globalization and interdependence; groups of countries in special situations; eradication of poverty and other development issues; operational activities for development; and revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.

Action on Draft Resolutions

UCHE JOY OGWU ( Nigeria), Chairperson, opened the meeting by informing members that the Committee would now take action on all outstanding draft resolutions.

Taking up a draft on implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (document A/C.2/63/L.62), the representative of Brazil thanked the facilitator and others who worked to reach consensus on the text, which took note of the proposal to hold a World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2012, a meeting first proposed by the President of Brazil when he offered to host it in Rio de Janeiro.

The Committee then approved that draft by consensus, as orally corrected.

The Committee then took up the draft on the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/C.2/63/L.61), hearing some oral amendments to the text by its main sponsor, the representative of Portugal.

The representative of Canada, taking the floor in explanation of position on the pervious text, said he had joined the consensus because he had been “supportive of the majority of the resolution”.  However, during negotiations, the Canadian delegation had been concerned about mention of a high-level event on sustainable development because the international community had had no time to give the matter the attention it merited.  Moreover, the current multi-year programme of work on the subject already provided for a review during its 2016-2017 cycle, and a high-level event might undermine work towards that end.  Since it was understood that States had expressed divergent views on the subject, both formally and informally, perhaps further consultations might be necessary to build consensus.  Canada looked forward to discussing that issue next year.

Also referring to the previous draft, the representative of the United States said he had agreed to join the consensus in recognition of the progress made since 1972.  Originally, the United States delegation had been concerned about mention of a possible high-level event because States had not had sufficient time to give the issue the attention it merited.  There was still no consensus on that subject, and another summit could detract attention from ongoing efforts, as well as disrupt the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which would end with a review in 2016.  That work was a real success story in the history of the United Nations, and the United States questioned whether a high-level summit would be the best use of resources, given the current financial climate.

The representative of Australia, associating herself with Canada, also expressed concern about a possible high-level event, saying it would crowd an already busy United Nations calendar and that she looked forward to engaging in outcome-oriented discussions on the matter in the remainder of the sixty-third session.

The Chair then called the Committee’s attention back to the text on biological diversity, which members approved without a vote, as orally corrected, withdrawing a previous version (document A/C.2/63/L.17).

The Committee then approved, without a vote, as orally corrected, a draft on implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (document A/C.2/63/L.64).

It then took up a draft titled Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its tenth special session (document A/C.2/63/L.54).

JENNIFER DE LAURENTIS, Committee Secretary, read out a statement on the programme budget implications of the draft resolution.

ANDREI METELITSA ( Belarus), Committee Vice-Chairman, thanked the draft’s facilitator for his work, upon which the Committee approved it by consensus, as orally corrected.

TROY TORRINGTON (Guyana), Committee Vice-Chairman, thanked all delegations that worked to reach consensus on a draft regarding the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/C.2/63/L.66), approving that text without a vote, as orally corrected.

As the Committee took up a draft titled “Towards a new international economic order” (document A/C.2/63/L.34), the representative of Antigua and Barbuda said, in a general statement on behalf of the “Group of 77” and China, that it was disheartening that there had not been more willingness to reach consensus on that text.

Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of the United States said he would vote against the draft, noting that the world faced a difficult financial situation.  Rather than requiring the United Nations to join multilateral efforts to strengthen its coordination, the text would take the Organization backwards and divert scarce Secretariat resources towards a structure with no constructive purpose.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he would vote in favour of the text, as the discussion it proposed was essential and would be useful.  The current financial and economic crisis revealed the need for a more effective, transparent and open multilateral system.

Also speaking in explanation of position, the representative of Mexico said the crisis showed the need for true reform of the international economic order and Mexico would vote in favour of the text.

The representative of Canada, expressing disappointment that the draft had appeared on the agenda, said that, while the United Nations needed to address the impact of the financial crisis on development and the Committee should support that effort, the text did not address current multilateral efforts to address the crisis.  At the recent Doha Review Conference, participants had called on the Organization to hold a meeting on the world economic crisis and its impact on development, and the General Assembly would soon begin negotiations on the modalities to establish that event.  The text before the Committee was likely to confuse those efforts and send conflicting messages to the United Nations Secretariat.  Canada supported the United Nations development agenda, which called for States to work together in a focused manner, unlike the present draft resolution.  For that reason, Canada would abstain from the vote.

The representative of Australia said she would associate herself with Canada’s explanation and thus abstain from the vote.

The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with 49 abstentions (See annex).  

Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of France noted, on behalf of the European Union and associated States, that the draft’s references to resolutions 3201 and 3202 of 1974 were irrelevant because they were outdated.  The Committee should not support attempts to refer to previous damaging and divisive discussions that risked marginalizing the United Nations contribution to solving global problems.

The representative of Chile said he had voted in favour because his country was a member of the Group of 77, which had introduced the text.  However, the text did not leave the Chilean delegation entirely satisfied, and its suggested amendments had not been included in the final draft.  Nevertheless, in the interest of maintaining consensus, the delegation had voted in favour, while noting that agreement on that issue reached in Doha provided for the General Assembly to consider that very issue.

The representative of Peru also said he had voted in favour of the resolution since his country was a member of the Group of 77, but he was disappointed by its references to a bygone time that was different from the current context.  The current international economic order was different from that of 1974.  The international community must avoid going down “restrictive roads” that hindered the use of changing factors of development, such as technology, among others.

The representative of Colombia, who said he had voted in favour, noted that the search for an equitable international economic order was an ongoing objective, but in that search, States should bear changing realities in mind.  The text’s references to the old declaration on a new economic order and its related programme of action were limited to the scope of the general principles contained in those documents.  Macroeconomic conditions and development processes were constantly evolving in line with emerging challenges.  Actions towards an equitable economic order that favoured development should be based on cooperation and the fulfilment of existing international commitments, as States had reaffirmed at Doha.

Cuba’s representative, in a general statement after that vote, said the current financial and economic crisis was not an isolated phenomenon.  It was the logical conclusion of a capitalist, neo-liberal model that had imposed its market ideology on the world.  The current situation showed that deep reform of international financial institutions and a new international economic order was necessary and undeniable.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on international migration and development (document A/C.2/63/L.67).

The Committee Secretary read out an oral statement of programme budget implications for that draft. 

The Committee then approved that draft without a vote.

After that action, Antigua and Barbuda’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it had to show tremendous flexibility and cooperation to reach consensus on that draft.  Though it was pleased with the consensus on the holding of the dialogue in 2013, it would have preferred to hold the event in 2011. 

France’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it supported the draft because it strongly supported the Global Forum on International Migration and Development, which could bring added value, provided that it was informal, voluntary, non-binding, and driven by interested States and participants.  Some wished to have migration and development taken up by the United Nations, such as it did in 2006 at the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.  However, the appropriate international framework to address those issues was the Global Forum.  The European Union did not want to have a second United NationsDialogue organized the same year as the Global Forum.  That was why it had agreed to hold a second High-level Dialogue in 2013.  Despite deep reservations, he did not oppose the holding of a one-day informal thematic debate in 2011 on the issue.   That informal debate should not be structured in the same way as the High-level Dialogue, nor should it overshadow the Forum scheduled in Spain in 2011.  Rather, that debate should be an informal meeting of experts, not resulting in any binding conclusions.

Mexico’s representative said that the resolution’s content did not fully respect the mandate to have a very adequate mechanism to address migration and development in its entirety.  Mexico, however, supported the draft.

Taking up the draft resolution 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.2/63/L.60), the Committee approved it without a vote and withdrew a previous version (document A/C.2/63/L.32).

Prior to that action, the Committee Secretary read a statement on the programme budget implications arising from paragraph 19 of the text, saying more than $36 million had already been allocated for international drug control, crime prevention and criminal justice efforts in 2007.  However, work to be done in 2010-2011 would be considered in the framework of the programme budget for that biennium.

The Committee Vice-Chair thanked delegates who had facilitated negotiations on the text, especially the representative of the Philippines.

The Committee then turned to its agenda item on integration of economies in transition into the world economy, but in the absence of a draft proposal, it took note of a report of the Secretary-General on the integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (document A/63/256).

Turning its attention to the draft on implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (document A/C.2/63/L.57), the Committee heard its Secretary read out a statement on its programme budget implications, which would supersede the statement prepared in document A/C.2/63/L.65.

According to the new statement, any additional costs resulting from a change of venue for meetings mentioned in the text would be borne by the host country, she said.  While the decision to convene various meetings would give rise to servicing costs, it was not possible for the Secretariat to determine the full extent of those costs without more specific information regarding dates and venues.

She said that although a statement of programme budget implications (document A/C.2/63/L.65) had already been submitted for work towards the meetings mentioned, the Secretariat had agreed it would carry out preparatory activities in 2009 within existing resources.  Efforts would be made to mobilize funds from United Nations system partners active in the field.  However, requirements for activities to be implemented in 2010-2011 would be considered within the framework of the programme budget for that biennium.

AWSAN AL-AUD ( Yemen), Rapporteur, then introduced oral amendments to the text, which the Committee then approved without a vote, as orally corrected.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, expressed satisfaction at the text’s approval and noted that the General Assembly had decided, by acclamation, to hold the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in 2011.  That meeting would decide on additional supportive measures for those countries, which deserved the international community’s attention.

Stressing that the United Nations must do all it could to ensure that the Conference brought positive results, she called for the strengthening of the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, particularly its Least Developed Countries Unit, so as to better carry out its mandate.  The General Assembly would shortly begin finalizing organization details, and the Group of 77 looked forward to constructive engagement with all States in that process.

The representative of Canada, speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, thanked Member States for the flexibility shown throughout the negotiations on the text, as well as the Office of the High Representative for its support.  Canada looked forward to discussing the modalities of the Conference and to reviewing progress on the Brussels Programme of Action.

The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed satisfaction at the positive results of negotiations on the text, saying he looked forward to the Conference.  The European Union had recently reaffirmed its member States’ commitment to meet the target of providing 0.15 per cent to 0.20 per cent of their gross national product to the least developed countries.

The representative of Japan thanked all negotiators for their commitment and flexibility, saying he was pleased to see the draft approved by consensus and looked forward to a successful follow-up conference on the least developed countries.

The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the least developed countries, said it was critically important to adopt a framework for that category and called for adequate resources in support of the Least Developed Countries Unit.

As the Committee took up the draft resolution Specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries (document A.C.2/63/L.59), the representative of Yemen, facilitator of the text, thanked all those who worked hard to reach consensus.

The representative of Kazakhstan, noting cuts in official development assistance had affected landlocked developing countries, said the text sought further integration of the Almaty Programme of Action.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

Taking up the draft on the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradiation of Poverty (document A/C.2/63/L.58), the Committee approved it, as orally corrected.

The representative of the United States said lifting people out of poverty and hunger continued to be a top priority, and the text rightly pointed out that broad-based economic growth was critical to erasing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  It was important that the United Nations system remain focused on those goals.

The Committee then turned to the draft titled Role of microcredit and microfinance in the eradication of poverty (document A/C.2/63/L.56), approving it without a vote.

The representative of the United States said she was pleased to have joined the consensus, since her country had been very active in that field for around 25 years through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The United States supported policy reforms that sought to level the field for small firms.  As a result of the Government’s efforts, more than 6 million low-income people now had access to credit and financial products and services.  The draft just approved was an example of the good work that could be done in the spirit of partnership, and the United States looked forward to the upcoming plenary meeting devoted to outcomes of, and the follow-up to, the International Year of Microcredit.

The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed full support for the establishment of the United Nations Advisers Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors in 2006, which had presented recommendations, in June 2008, containing key messages for Governments, regulators, the private sector and development partners for building inclusive financial sectors.  The political declaration adopted by the High-level Meeting on Africa’s Development Needs had further underlined the importance of strengthening domestic financial sectors by expanding access to those services.

He said the European Union would have preferred to have seen the text focus more on inclusive financial sectors, based on the work of the Advisers Group.  Inclusive financial sectors for the poor should offer appropriate financial services and products to all segments of the population, including people living in poverty, supported by sound policy, legal and regulatory frameworks.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, noted that microcredit was a home-grown initiative of the South and that there was still a significant unmet demand for microcredit around the world.  For that reason, it should be expanded.  However, microcredit programmes should not be overtaken or replaced by the concept of “inclusive financial sectors”, but discussed on its own merits.  China looked forward to discussing the subject in the plenary meeting to be held in relation to the International Year of Microcredit.

After hearing the final statement on that item, the Committee duly withdrew the previous version of the text (document A/C.2/63/L.11).

The Committee then approved, without a vote, draft resolutions on operational activities for development (document A/C.2/63/L.48) and the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (document A/C.2/63/L.63) before approving its draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly (document A/C.2/63/L.68), as orally corrected, also without a vote.

It decided that no action was required under its agenda item on programme planning.

Closing Remarks

Chairperson OGWU ( Nigeria) said, in closing remarks, that the Committee had just completed an intense session amid a global financial crisis, an energy crisis and a global food crisis.  Climate change clearly threatened the planet.  The mix of those interconnected forces was threatening livelihoods across the global economy and beyond the poorest communities.  Economic insecurity was on the rise everywhere.  The session had therefore held special meaning to members and all others who clearly saw that the world was facing a development emergency.

Amid those concerns, there had been renewed calls for multilateralism and global solutions to global challenges, as well as an emphatic call for the United Nations to lead the way, she noted.  The Committee had approved more than 40 texts on a wide range of development issues, while broadening the scope of its work to address crucial and relevant issues.  Throughout the year, the Committee had asserted unequivocally that development remained a priority, a sentiment clearly reflected in the outcome of the recent Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development.  That meeting had clearly affirmed the Monterrey Consensus, giving new impetus to the global partnership for development.

NIKHIL SETH, Director, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, offered congratulations to the Committee on the successful conclusion of its work, on behalf of Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noting that the genesis of major multilateral meetings -- such as the recent Doha Conference and the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen -- often emanated from discussions in the Second Committee.  Thus, it had a role to play in strengthening the United Nations and multilateralism in general, and was instrumental in giving the Secretariat the mandate to continue carrying out that important work.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, also expressed appreciation for the work conducted during the session, which had been challenging in light of parallel negotiations taking place on the Doha outcome document.

ANNEX

Vote on New International Economic Order

The draft resolution “Towards a new international economic order” (document A/C.2/63/L.34) was approved by a recorded vote of 115 in favour to 1 against, with 49 abstentions, as follows:

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

Against:  United States.

Abstain:  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, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Absent:  Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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