Deputy Secretary-General Spells Out Organization’s Joint Initiatives in Response to Multiple Crises, as Second Committee Begins Sixty-fourth Session

5 October 2009
GA/EF/3238

Deputy Secretary-General Spells Out Organization’s Joint Initiatives in Response to Multiple Crises, as Second Committee Begins Sixty-fourth Session

5 October 2009
General Assembly
GA/EF/3238
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Second Committee

2nd & 3rd Meetings (AM & PM)

Deputy Secretary-General Spells Out Organization’s Joint Initiatives in Response

to Multiple Crises, as Second Committee Begins Sixty-fourth Session

As the international community struggled to recover from the global financial and economic recession, mitigate climate change, end poverty and stem the spread of the H1N1 virus, the United Nations was carrying out nine joint initiatives to respond to those and other crises, Deputy Secretary-General Asha‑Rose Migiro said today.

As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) began its annual general debate, the Deputy Secretary-General said that, with the world economy recovering only slowly, climate change already happening, global unemployment still high and some countries still struggling just to feed their populations, an estimated 100 million people could fall into poverty by year’s end.  The H1N1 virus, already present in 180 countries, could turn into a severe pandemic.

She said that to counter those ills, the Organization was bolstering aid to those hardest hit by the economic crisis through a mix of funding and operational capacities, tailored to each country’s needs.  Within the framework of the right to food, the Secretary-General’s High-level Task Force on Food Security was leading an initiative to ensure food reached the hungry and malnourished.  The Global Jobs Pact gave decision-makers a range of crisis-response measures aimed at using employment and decent work as the basis for long-term recovery.

Moreover, she continued, in a bid to mobilize and share information to help everyone respond better to economic and financial crises, the Secretary-General had launched the Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System (GIVAS), which gave voice to the poor and most vulnerable.  The United Nations had also set up an Integrated Monitoring and Analytical System for Crisis Response, and was helping countries review how they handled social transfers and developed social protection floors.

National commitments to work towards an ambitious, effective and fair deal at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen were encouraging, and the Organization’s Green Economy Initiative aimed to complement them by demonstrating that investing in green sectors improved the chances for recovery and sustainable growth while preserving the environment.  A stronger, more coherent United Nations system was essential to reaching those and other goals, as was cooperation and involvement with Member States.  “We need better governance, improved funding, and above all, greater results,” she said, emphasizing the importance of fostering a culture of evaluation, reform and simplification, and of responding better to the needs of programme countries.

Echoing the Deputy Secretary-General’s concern about the global crises, Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, pointed out that, in 2009, global trade would fall for the first time in 27 years, global gross domestic product (GDP) would shrink, and gains towards achieving the Millennium targets would be reversed, harming the poor and most vulnerable in particular.  “Despite unprecedented international cooperation to address the crisis and tentative signs of recovery, there is no room for complacency or a rolling back of concerted actions,” he said.

The crisis response must be aligned with long-term investments in clean energy, food security and poverty reduction in developing countries, he said, voicing support for the call for the Group of Twenty (G-20) agreement in Pittsburgh to establish a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, low on emissions and high on growth for developing countries -- commitments that must be incorporated into national legislation.  Donor countries and international organizations should step up debt relief, maintain official development assistance and ensure timely, stable and effective resource flows, he added.

He went on to emphasize that developing countries, long denied a place at the negotiating table, must also be given a greater voice in multilateral financial institutions, which should also be reformed to more adequately and effectively address the potential impact of volatile capital flows and unfettered markets.  Giving in to protectionism would impede global recovery, he warned, stressing that all parties must be serious about concluding the Doha Round of trade negotiations in 2010.  The Round must include a development perspective.

Committee Chairman Park In-kook ( Republic of Korea) opened the session by stressing the importance for all nations of forging common ground, acting together and working in a spirit of multilateralism to tackle the global economic crisis, alleviate suffering and put the world back on a sustainable track.  That was essential to ensuring food security and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  The Committee would also consider climate change -- the most pressing issue of the century, he said, urging members to work for a successful outcome to the Copenhagen Conference.

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka also addressed the Committee.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Sudan (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, and later on behalf of the Group of Arab States), Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Nepal (on behalf of the Least Developed Countries), Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Japan, China, Pakistan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Cuba, Peru, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Qatar, Namibia and Kazakhstan.

The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday 6 October, to continue its general debate.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to begin its general debate for the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.

Opening Statements

Committee Chairman PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) opened the session by stressing the importance for all nations to forge common ground, act together and work in a spirit of multilateralism.  The Committee would consider climate change as the pre-eminent issue of the century, and Committee members were urged to work for a successful outcome to the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.  It would also consider the global economic crisis as well as ways to alleviate global suffering and put the world back on a sustainable track.  Further, the Committee would look at ways to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and mitigate the global food crisis.

SHA ZUKANG, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the implications of the global financial and economic crisis, the worst in 70 years, as well as the energy, food security and climate change crises, were alarming.  Evidence showed that in 2009, global trade would fall for the first time in 27 years.  Unemployment would increase worldwide and GDP would decline.  Up to 100 million more people would be trapped in poverty than expected before the crisis, and more pressure would be placed on already strained natural resources.  Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals would be set back, with a particular impact on the poor and most vulnerable.  “Despite unprecedented international cooperation to address the crisis and tentative signs of recovery, there is no room for complacency or a rolling back of concerted actions,” he said, emphasizing that recovery must be sustainable, green and address the multiple crises through an integrated approach.

He said the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) supported a call for a global green new deal for sustainable development that would enable large-scale transformation investments in energy production and use, provide skills training and transfer, and create millions of green jobs in developed and developing countries.  The crisis response must be aligned with long-term investments in clean energy, food security and poverty reduction in developing countries.  The Under-Secretary-General voiced support for the G‑20 agreement in Pittsburgh to establish a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, low on emissions and high on growth for developing countries.  That growth path was the focus of the Department’s 2009 World Economic and Social Survey titled “Promoting Development, Saving the Planet” and related policy briefs.  DESA also aimed to help Member States reach agreement during the Copenhagen Climate Change negotiations.

Addressing the systemic roots of the crisis was of critical importance, he said, as was redoubling efforts to reform the international financial architecture and strengthening institutional frameworks to address more adequately and effectively the potential impact of volatile capital flows and unfettered markets.  The G-20 had promised important steps, which must be translated into national legislation.  He called for expediting reform of global economic governance to give developing countries a more commensurate voice and participation in multilateral financial institutions, thus ensuring their legitimacy and effectiveness.  Giving in to protectionism would impede global recovery, he warned, stressing that all parties must be serious about concluding the Doha Round of trade negotiations in 2010 and with a development perspective.  It was also important to overcome hurdles to climate change-related technology transfer posed by intellectual property rights.

Underscoring the urgent need to ensure that the poorest countries benefited from global recovery and contributed to it, he said they must be given adequate development finance to do so.  Donor countries and international organizations should step up debt-relief, maintain official development assistance and ensure timely, stable and effective resource flows.  It was important to expand innovative sources of financing, focus on employment and social protection as an essential way to contain the negative impact of the economic crisis, and reduce poverty.  Creating employment and decent work for all -- a theme of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty -- was essential to achieving the Millennium targets, as was protecting and expanding gender-equality and women’s empowerment gain.  The ongoing response to the financial crisis must include gender-sensitive investments in physical and social infrastructure, as well as employment while taking both paid and unpaid work into account.

ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD (SUDAN), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the global economic and financial crisis had revealed serious multidimensional challenges, among them unemployment and falling wage rates.  With millions of people having been thrust into poverty, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimated that 53 million people would fall below the poverty line in 2009.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that the number of hungry people would increase by more than 105 million.

More attention must be paid to development cooperation, especially because developing countries were bearing the brunt of an economic crisis not of their making, he said, calling also for substantial new and additional financial resources to be made available to developing countries.  Developed countries should make all efforts to fulfil their commitments in the areas of debt relief, official development assistance, capacity-building and technology transfer in order to counter the effects of the crisis.  There was a need to reform the economic and financial system, and the Group of 77 and China reiterated its call for an open, inclusive and transparent reform process.

With regard to food security, he underscored the importance of stronger institutions, the elimination of subsidies by developed countries, investment in agricultural production and research and the stabilization of commodity markets.  The Group of 77 and China supported Brazil’s offer to host a summit on sustainable development in 2012.  Concerning climate change, it reiterated its call to developed countries to undertake ambitious commitments under the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012.  Solving the climate crisis was an integral part of achieving overall sustainable development objectives.  “We look forward to a demonstration of a strong spirit of global partnership for development,” he said in conclusion.

PER ÖRNÉUS ( Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the new session offered a timely opportunity to discuss policy options to support the world’s most vulnerable people and avoid a repetition of the global financial and economic crisis, which had been aggravated by climate change.  The Committee should discuss new approaches such as green recovery and new technologies for low‑carbon growth, while building on the discussions and outcomes of recent United Nations events such as the Financing for Development Review Conference held in Doha and the Economic and Social Council’s spring meetings with the Bretton Woods institutions, and the recent Group of Eight (G-8) and G-20 meetings.  The European Union was fully committed to supporting recovery and long-term development in developing countries.  Standing by its official development assistance commitments and its strong commitment to Africa, the European Union reaffirmed that aid effectiveness should guide all development actors.

Emphasizing the European Union’s opposition to protectionism, he said it would continue to press for trade liberalization and further integration of developing countries into the multilateral trading system, including by concluding the upcoming Doha Round in a balanced way.  The European Union called on others to match it in providing duty- and quota-free market access for all products from least developed countries.  He stressed the importance of aid-for-trade in helping the poorest developing countries overcome trade constraints.  The European Union’s public-sector stimulus support in 2009 and 2010 would be a projected to 5 per cent of Members’ combined GDP.  Full attention should be given to creating more inclusive labour markets, active labour-market policies, quality education and training programmes.  The European Union supported the recently adopted International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Jobs Pact and the reform process under way to increase the voice, quota and representation of underrepresented countries in the Bretton Woods institutions.

The European Union also supported the proposal by the Group of 77 and China to hold a high-level event on sustainable development in 2012, he said, adding that the bloc would continue working to mainstream sustainable development policies to improve the environment, foster green economies and reduce poverty.  Renewable energy and energy efficiency were key for sustainable energy and tackling climate change.  The international community must make the commitments needed to limit global warning to under 2° C, adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and to swiftly and adequately support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries in that context, particularly those in Africa and small island developing States.   Negotiations to reach an ambitious, global and comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen must be expedited, he said, adding that the European Union also supported the food security initiative endorsed at the G-8 Summit in July, and welcoming the Committee’s new agenda item on legal empowerment of the poor.

RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that in the present time of “extreme turbulence” the financial and economic crisis was so severe that there was still no consensus on how to address it or how long it would last.  The impact on small island developing States had been severe, and there were real fears of further decimation of their economies.  Tourism revenues had plummeted, remittances had declined, the financial services sector had contracted and a precipitous commodity price fall were among the effects for those States, he said, noting: “For some of us, the worst is yet to come.”

To address the crisis, a fundamental shift from outmoded ways of doing things was urgently needed, and the international community must develop a common strategy, building on consensus among the 192 Member States, he said.  Even during crisis, developing countries continued to be overlooked and CARICOM called on the G-20 actively to seek to accommodate more voices across a wider spectrum, including the CARICOM Subregion.  The United Nations, for its part, must be given a more expanded role in international economic governance.  CARICOM called for the rapid follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis.  Regarding climate change, the region had a particular interest in success at the upcoming Copenhagen Conference, he said, calling on all major emitters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  “Our physical and economic survival is at stake,” he added.

MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA ( Nepal), speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, said they were particularly challenged by the global economic and financial crisis, which threatened the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  Those targets should not be compromised and special attention should be paid to the plight of developing countries.  National and G-20 economic packages were too weak to cover needs and protectionist measures in the packages should be actively discouraged.  The Brussels Programme of Action, the Almaty Programme of Action and the Barbados Programme of Action should all be implemented in full.

With regard to the upcoming Fourth Conference of the Least Developed Countries in Turkey in 2011, he said States must focus on deliverable and tangible goals for the next decade.  Least Developed Countries called for the participation of United Nations Agencies, donors, civil society and the private sector in the Conference, and a spirit of partnership should guide the process.  Concerning the food crisis, he said it was a problem that must be addressed through both short‑term and long-term measures, including increased food supply and sustainable agricultural development.  Distortions in trading practices must also be corrected, he said.

MARTY NATALEGAWA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the Committee must address the current global development challenges -- the financial and economic crisis, climate change, the energy and food crisis and the H1N1 virus -- through meaningful, pragmatic, timely and workable solutions, taking into account the current crisis and the overall global development and economic situation.  The Committee must urgently work to help the global economy break free of the economic crisis and recession.  Recent indicators showed improvements in the global economy, but the underlying root causes of the crisis still lingered and had yet to be fully addressed.

The international community must remain vigilant and committed to addressing the systemic problems that had led to the financial crisis, he emphasized.  It was necessary to ensure that agreed follow-up actions were implemented fully and in a timely fashion, and the Committee’s work must be “in sync” with that follow-up.  It must take into account the severe impact of the crisis on the poor, and help alleviate the hardships facing them through meaningful steps.  Concrete recommendations were needed to create a comprehensive, equitable and inclusive international financial system.  The voices of emerging and developing countries must be taken into account to ensure an inclusive process.  ASEAN supported the move, already endorsed by the G-20, to shift quota shares of up to 7 per cent from over-represented countries to under-represented developing countries by January 2011.

The Committee’s work should also contribute to efforts to create an effective early-warning system so as to avoid another global financial crisis, he said.  Coordinated global action was needed to restore financial stability and the continued functioning of financial markets.  There should be a mechanism in which the views of non-G-20 emerging market economies as a group could be solicited on regulatory standards and issues, since implementation of post-crisis reform would affect most of those economies.  The food security crisis merited continued political attention and commitment, as 1 billion people still suffered from hunger and malnutrition.  The Committee’s agenda item on agricultural development and food security should comprehensively address that challenge as well as reform of the global food and agriculture economy, taking climate change into account.

Recalling that regional leaders at the fourteenth ASEAN Summit had pledged to strengthen cooperation to enhance food security on the production and distribution fronts, he said they had also promised to work on ensuring sufficient resources and technologies to increase food productivity and develop appropriate mechanisms for the elimination of market distortions in the food trade.  In full cooperation with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea -- known as the Plus Three Countries – the regional group would set up an ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve as a permanent regional mechanism, adding to several existing ones.  As part of regional efforts to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, the region would implement the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response at the end of 2009.

HUSSEIN BHAILA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, said the international community had reached a critical juncture in efforts to resolve the numerous crises facing the world, most notably the global financial crisis, the worst economic turmoil since the Great Depression.  Developing countries had experienced added pressures as a result of the crisis while struggling with other insecurities, including climate change and unstable fuel prices, which threatened the Millennium Development Goals.  “This is the time to act,” he said, stressing that it served no purpose to seek stop-gap solutions, such as the rush to generate biofuels, which aggravated the more fundamental food crisis, especially in light of FAO’s estimation that 1.02 billion people, a sixth of the world’s population, were undernourished.

He said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had called for a road map for food security and agricultural development, and such efforts must be complemented by the provision of improved seeds, irrigation water, fertilizer supplies and more investment in research and technology.  With regard to climate change, Sri Lanka had begun a national environmental programme called “Green Sri Lanka”, involving all economic development stakeholders.  The country has also established a National Carbon Fund to facilitate the Clean Development Mechanism, and urged all States and stakeholders to make the upcoming Copenhagen Conference a success.  In conclusion, he said the current financial crisis highlighted the need for reform of the governance structure of the world’s financial institutions.  With regard to the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, Sri Lanka reiterated the call for special and differential treatment for developing countries.

SHIGEKI SUMI ( Japan) said the global financial and economic crisis had had the most severe adverse effects on the most vulnerable, and the June high-level Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development had been timely and useful.  Asia, which had the largest potential for growth in the world, could do much to revive the global economy, and Japan had supported the recovery and growth of the region’s economies by using a broad range of economic and financial tools.  Regarding the Millennium Goals, donor countries should honour existing commitments to protect already achieved progress.  As for food security and agriculture, rising food prices had jeopardized advances made towards eradicating global hunger.  As the largest net importer of food, Japan was particularly interested in food security and supported responsible investment in agriculture.

On the subject of health, he said that, as one of the founders of the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, his country had made it a priority to fight infectious diseases.  The H1N1 influenza virus had taken a growing toll and become the latest challenge to global health.  To combat the pandemic, and in response to a request made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations, Japan would provide approximately 1.1 billion yen in emergency grant aid through WHO to help vaccination against H1N1 in developing countries.  In conclusion, he highlighted the challenge of climate change, saying his country aimed to reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.  Japan was also ready to provide support to developing countries in the form of financial and technical assistance for their adaptation efforts.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said the world’s financial and economic crisis was still unresolved and a comprehensive recovery would be “a slow and tortuous process”.  Beyond the crisis, climate change, food security and energy security were serious challenges, as were growing global poverty and the widening gap between North and South, which threatened to undermine attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

To combat development challenges, the international community must prioritize cooperation, political consensus and partnerships in order to translate their commitments into action, he said.  Developed countries should increase assistance and lower artificial barriers to technology transfers, and developing countries should continue to explore appropriate measures for independent growth.  The international community should also firmly oppose trade protectionism and safeguard free global trade.  Furthermore, a failure of the Doha Round negotiations would counteract the steady development of the world economy.

As for climate change, he recalled that leaders who had gathered at September’s Climate Change Summit had committed themselves to making “vigorous efforts” to address the issue.  The international community should adopt a responsible approach to ensuring that the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was a success and that it adhered to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.  With regard to the food crisis, he said the issue deserved high vigilance and attention.  States should increase agricultural output, develop technologies and strengthen cooperation while resisting market speculation.

ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the world economy was finally stabilizing, but the recovery process was brittle.  Unemployment remained high and prospects for a dramatic improvement were bleak.  An estimated 100 million people could fall into poverty by year’s end.  The world was addressing the financial crisis, but some countries were still struggling just to feed their populations.  The spread of the H1N1 virus, already present in 180 countries, could turn into a severe pandemic.  Climate change remained one of the world’s most pressing issues, and the September United Nations Summit signalled the world’s determination to address it.

She said developed countries had acknowledged that they must lead by taking radical measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expressed their readiness to give financial and technological support to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation.  Developing countries already had ambitious plans for renewable energy and greater energy efficiency.  The most encouraging commitment made was to work towards an ambitious, effective and fair deal in Copenhagen.  She welcomed the G-20 leaders’ decision to play a significant role in mitigating the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, while calling at the same time for a more inclusive decision-making process, which would be critical to ensuring effective implementation and a fair, balanced regulatory framework.

Hence the need to institutionalize collaboration between the United Nations and the G-20, she said, adding that the Organization was carrying out coordinated responses to various crises through nine joint initiatives.  It was giving assistance to those hardest hit by the economic crisis through a mix of funding and operational capacities tailored to each country’s needs.  The Food Security Initiative, led by the Secretary-General’s High-level Task Force on Food Security, had set concrete outcomes required to address the global food crisis and introduce greater food and nutrition security.  That was being carried out within the broader framework of the right to food.

The United Nations Trade Initiative worked to counter protectionism, expedite conclusion of the Doha Round, and promote transparency and the sharing of best practices on trade finance market, she said.  The Green Economy Initiative aimed to demonstrate that investing in green sectors improved the chances for recovery and sustainable growth while preserving the environment.  It also aimed to identify the necessary policy and institutional framework to support green economic growth in all countries.  The Global Jobs Pact aimed to focus the attention of decision-makers on employment and decent work as the basis for long‑term recovery, and gave them a range of crisis-response measures.  The United Nations was also helping countries review how they handled social transfers and how they developed social protection floors.

The Humanitarian Security and Social Stability Initiative helped decision‑makers take a holistic, concerted approach to those issues, she said.  The Technology and Innovation Initiative worked to promote technological innovation investment incentives and strong legal frameworks.  The Secretary‑General, in a bid to mobilize and share information to help everyone to better respond to economic and financial crises, had launched GIVAS, which gave voice to the poor and most vulnerable.  The United Nations had also set up the Integrated Monitoring and Analytical System for Crisis Response as well as the Monitoring Economic and Financial Policies-International Monetary Fund Surveillance.  Everyone must continue their efforts to legally empower the poor.

Noting that the United Nations system was strengthening coherence, she said:  “We need better governance, improved funding, and above all, greater results.”  There was a need to foster a culture of evaluation, reform and simplification, to better respond to the needs of programme countries, and to help the world’s women while enhancing their role in development.  On 14 September, the General Assembly had adopted an important resolution that should improve performance in reaching those goals.  “Your involvement is all the more important as we approach 2010’s United Nations High-level Plenary Meeting,” she said.  “This will be a timely opportunity to revamp our efforts as we head towards 2015.”

ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said the global development emergency had not relented and was expected to persist.  There was no room for complacency; on the contrary, efforts must be redoubled to address daunting challenges.  The sense of urgency and collaboration for a successful conclusion to the United Nations Conference on the Global Financial and Economic Crisis must not be allowed to subside, but expedited to ensure early implementation of the Conference’s decisions on mitigating the short-term impact of the crisis while addressing the systemic and structural weaknesses of the global financial and economic architecture.

He said the breakdown of the Doha trade negotiation had thwarted the prospects for using trade as a vehicle for stimulating consumption and production while promoting employment -- necessary tools for ending the global recession.  Protectionism would have a negative impact on the growth prospects of developing countries and a successful Doha outcome.  A strong effort, involving all stakeholders, was needed to provide the essential political momentum to conclude the Doha Round.  Easy access to technology and the transfer of technology were necessary to help the poor build the capacity to achieve higher standards of living, he said.  He called for collective efforts to ensure their access to technology, including overcoming constraints on the global intellectual property rights regime

As a low-income country, Pakistan faced the daunting challenge of ensuring sustained development in the wake of the global economic crisis while responding effectively to climate change, he said.  Climate change would pose additional challenges to tackling poverty, improving health care, increasing food security and improving access to energy sources.  Developed countries must commit to deep‑emission cuts and transfer technology and financial resources to developing countries, which in turn must introduce low-carbon strategies into their socio‑economic growth plans.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said in respect of the global economic and financial crisis that the G-20 had become a leading platform for international debate, but it was important to develop cooperation between the G-20 and other countries.  The United Nations could help ensure that.  With regard to the Committee’s work, the chief goal was to prepare for the General Assembly High‑level Plenary Meeting in 2010 and the Committee should avoid duplicating the debates in the Ad-Hoc Open-ended Working Group, which had yet to establish an agenda.

Development goals and the challenge of climate change were closely linked, he said, encouraging the Committee to support the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen so that a consensus might be reached.  The Russian Federation had decided on a 10-15 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels.  In conclusion, he said that his country’s national economy had been growing an average of 0.5 per cent, reversing eight months of recession.  In 2009, $19 billion of the federal budget had been allocated to infrastructure and around $17 billion had been earmarked to stimulate construction and housing.  However, State involvement would be reduced gradually to promote private investment and traditional market instruments.  The Committee, for its part, should abandon a debate of theoretical constructs and focus instead on relevant problems of the international social and economic agenda.

NADIA OSMAN (Sudan), speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States, said joint efforts were needed to confront the global challenges of climate change, economic crisis and food security, which were affecting development and threatening the Millennium Development Goals.  During last January’s Arab Economic Summit in Kuwait, Arab countries had addressed those challenges.  The world was experiencing its worst financial crisis in 60 years.  Developing and least developed countries, which had played only a small role in creating the crisis, had limited resources and capacity to deal with it.  The G-20 recommendations and courses of action had been decided without input from developing countries, which would have been advantageous.  The Arab group stressed the need to reform the Bretton Woods institutions in order to foster the participation of developing countries in the decision-making process, as well as the need to reform the quota and voting systems.

Expressing The Arab Group’s concern about the continuing drop in official development assistance, she stressed the need to adhere to the Monterrey Consensus, including by not calculating debt and humanitarian relief as part of aid totals.  Developed nations should adhere, without conditions, to their commitments to allocate 0.7 per cent of GDP to official development assistance, and 0.15 per cent to 0.2 per cent of GDP to least developed countries.  The international community should give particular attention to least developed Arab States with high poverty levels, and fulfil its commitments to enable African countries to integrate into the world economy, with particular focus on the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  There was also a need to cancel or restructure the debt of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.

Underlining the importance of addressing the negative impact of climate change in a balanced way, she said the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol was the most important international instruments in that context.  The Arab Group hoped the political momentum generated during the 22 September Summit on climate change would lead to positive results during the upcoming Copenhagen Conference.  United efforts were needed to address desertification and drought, which affected most Arab countries, and to implement the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.  There was a need to address the economic, social and humanitarian plight of Palestinians and Syrians living under Israeli occupation.  States must not allow Israel to continue its destructive policies, which undermined Palestinian development.  States must take adequate steps, including suspending economic support, to force Israel to respect its obligations under international law.

PHILIP PARHAM (United Kingdom) said that while each agenda item was a priority for the Committee, there were four areas that he wished to highlight:  the Millennium Development Goals; system-wide coherence; climate change; and global poverty.  With regard to the first challenge, he said faster progress towards reaching the Goals remained more important than ever and the United Kingdom reaffirmed its commitment to attaining them.  While the country was on track to meet its aid target, more money was only part of the answer, he said, encouraging States to improve aid effectiveness.

On the subject of system-wide coherence, he commended the resolution adopted at the end of the General Assembly’s sixty-third session, saying he looked forward to its swift implementation.  As for climate change, the Committee must capitalize on the political will and vision exhibited at the recent Summit on Climate Change.  The United Kingdom urged States to ensure that the upcoming Conference in Copenhagen was a success.  In conclusion, he said the poorest had suffered most from the economic and financial crisis and that the United Kingdom supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to track trends and identify vulnerabilities.  It also commended the new Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System, which would produce high-quality analysis and thereby help deliver aid more swiftly and effectively.

RODOLFO BENITEZ ( Cuba) said the Committee’s work this session would be particularly complex because other negotiation processes would be going on simultaneously, among them the upcoming Conference in Copenhagen.  Another important event was the Conference on South-South Cooperation in Nairobi, Kenya.  The economic and financial crisis had made the global outlook especially dispiriting, he said, adding that the number of poor people in the world was expected to number almost a fourth of the global population.  “The number of poor people grows ever more, not less,” he said.

Noting that “absurd” production and consumption patterns threatened the very existence of humankind, he said the international community must find expedient and effective solutions.  On the subject of agriculture and food security, he welcomed the opportunity to discuss the challenges ahead, but warned that the discussions must not prejudge the negotiations in Rome on the upcoming World Summit on Food Security.  In conclusion, he said his country had been directly affected by unilateral economic measures as a means of “political and economic coercion” against developing countries.  However, the United States blockade of Cuba had not impeded significant progress or development.

GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ REINEL ( Peru) said the global economic crisis had confirmed that interdependence was the order of the day, and developing countries must be able to participate to a greater degree in decision-making.  Various international bodies with specific mandates for action must seek a comprehensive vision for development that must go beyond basic banking and financial regulation.  Financial flows should also be more stringently regulated.  In addition to existing commitments, there was a need for new financial resources to help all countries face the crisis, particularly for developing countries.  Continued trade flows were essential, and markets must be urgently opened in order to mitigate the impact of the crisis.  Eliminating protectionism must be a priority for successfully concluding the Doha Round.

Expressing concern about heavy military spending, which absorbed valuable resources and thwarted the ability of countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, he said his country was suffering dramatically from the effects of global warming and an inadequate supply of potable and useable water.  Climate change must be urgently tackled, and countries must adhere to specific binding commitments to reduce emissions and transfer green technology.  Peru had committed itself to far-reaching mitigation measures, including green education and voluntary national standards.  It had started an ambitious forestry conservation programme, among other measures, to reduce 47 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions.  Peru was proposing ambitious global mitigation action, including one to set up a financial mechanism to create a global mitigation fund, which would include a tax on oil production, distribution and sales.  Peru also proposed the creation of integrated adaptation programmes for climate change mitigation, and was also actively promoting the use of renewable energy sources.

SHIN BOONAM ( Republic of Korea) said that, while the international community faced a number of heavy challenges, States must remain optimistic and see the present moment as an opportunity to build a more sustainable future together.  The United Nations Secretary-General was to be commended for making climate change a priority in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and, though the Republic of Korea was not an Annex I country, it was committed to making a contribution and would make a voluntary announcement later this year on an emission reduction target for 2020.  The Republic of Korea had also adopted “Low‑Carbon, Green Growth” as a national strategy and planned to invest about 2 per cent of its GDP in the initiative.

With regard to the Millennium Development Goals, he said attaining the targets required an increase in official development assistance, and the Republic of Korea had already committed to tripling its official development assistance by 2015.  Furthermore, there was a need to improve aid effectiveness.  The United Nations had enhanced cooperation among Member States in the wake of the economic and financial crisis and the Republic of Korea supported the creation of the Open‑ended Working Group.  The Secretary-General’s GIVAS and ILO’s Jobs Pact were also laudable.  Water also remained a pivotal issue, he said, pointing out that his country had allocated one fifth of its green growth budget to improving domestic water management.  He encouraged the exploration of a specialized and unified water management cooperation initiative.

EDUARDO MEÑEZ ( Philippines) said the extreme weather conditions caused by two typhoons in the Philippines in the past few days had caused billions of pesos in property and agricultural losses, claiming the lives of hundreds of people.  Viet Nam and Cambodia had also suffered destruction, death and casualties.  Those and other natural disasters in nearby Indonesia, Samoa and Tonga underscored the increasing risks in the Asia-Pacific Region of earthquakes, tsunamis and other extreme weather events.  The Philippines was a contributor to and recipient of assistance provided by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and flash appeals coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which were vital aid mechanisms.  The Committee’s discussions on sustainable development and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction could help prevent and alleviate the suffering of many people worldwide.

The consequences of the global financial and economic crisis were of major concern and the Committee had much work ahead, particularly concerning reform of the international financial system, he said.  The G-20 had taken the lead in dealing with the financial crisis, amid calls for it to become more transparent and consultative.  In that context, the recent briefing organized by DESA, with the participation of the United States Deputy National Security Adviser, was a step forward.  But many delegations felt consultations should be held before any far-reaching final policy decisions were made, which might have an impact beyond the G-20.  As for climate change, the main objectives of the September Manila Declaration on Green Industry in Asia were for Governments to create policies as well as regulatory and institutional frameworks conducive to shifting to resource‑efficient and low-carbon industries, consistent with the business principle of sustainability.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) said the global economic and financial crisis had deepened existing challenges such as volatile fuel prices, food insecurity, the flu pandemic and climate change.  Collective efforts were needed to face them.  The Committee should focus on sustainable development in the economic, social and environmental spheres.

He said the developing world, especially the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, had been hit hard by the economic and financial crisis, and eradicating poverty remained the premiere challenge for the international community.  Successful negotiations at the Doha Round would be helpful as they would promote integration of the least developed countries into the world economy.

With regard to the United Nations itself, he said the Organization could play a pivotal role in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, but it could be further strengthened by increasing its effectiveness and efficiency.  On the subject of climate change, he said the high-level Summit in September had been timely.  The challenge was urgent and required concrete action, and the Summit had sent a strong signal of the importance of successful negotiations at the upcoming Copenhagen Conference.

MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said the financial and economic crisis had exacerbated the multiple, linked challenges currently facing the international community, among them the energy, food and climate change crises.  The Committee must assume its responsibility with seriousness and respond with appropriate solutions.  Among the priorities before it, were providing political guidance in advance of next year’s Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, and comprehensive and fundamental reform of the international economic and financial system to enhance the participation of developing countries and the United Nations.

With regard to climate change, he urged States to conclude a landmark agreement, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, at the upcoming Copenhagen Conference.  Food security should also be a priority, and Egypt looked forward to discussions through the Group of 77 and China with a view to adopting a substantive resolution.  The energy question also remained high on Egypt’s agenda

He said the United Nations must create an effective mechanism to transfer advanced energy technologies to developing countries, especially renewable energies, for the attainment of the Millennium Goals and to combat climate change.  Other important priorities included reaching an agreement on the Doha Round and implementing agreements reached in the political declaration on Africa’s development needs, adopted during the Assembly’s sixty-third session.  South-South Cooperation and the issue of middle-income countries could not be ignored either, he added.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil), stressing that much more must be done to overcome the global financial and economic crisis, listed several priorities, including the provision of additional resources for developing countries, overhauling financial-market regulation and reforming the governance structures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to give greater representation to developing countries.  On the subject of food security, she said it was necessary to address the underlying dynamics that had distorted agricultural production, and welcomed the FAO World Summit on Food Security, to be held in Rome in November.

Comprehensive and long-lasting solutions would have to include investment in production and infrastructure as well as aid, she said, adding that special attention and support should be given to Africa’s needs.  There was also a need for a new conference on sustainable development, and several countries had expressed support for Brazil’s offer to host such a conference in 2012.  It was of pivotal importance that the United Nations continues to focus on development assistance and poverty eradication, she said, reiterating her country’s commitment to strengthening cooperation among developing countries, which was founded on the principles of solidarity and mutual benefit.

NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said several developing countries had made important strides in reducing poverty and eradicating hunger and epidemics, but the preliminary assessment of their progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals was unsatisfactory.  Some gains had been rolled back due to the economic and financial crisis and food crisis, an assessment that should represent the starting point for the Committee’s discussion as it would greatly impact cooperation for development.  The Millennium commitments must be fulfilled, and innovative ways found to support the development process.

Developing countries less capable of protecting themselves would be most affected by the fallout from the crisis, he said.  It was critically important to restructure the world financial system so as to give sufficient resources to developing countries and not hinder their capacity to develop domestic resources for economic advancement.  More aid and debt cancellation were also important.  Qatar supported South-South Cooperation and the international conference to be held in December in Kenya.

Huge cash flows were needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, he said, stressing the importance of global partnerships in revitalizing efforts to achieve the Millennium targets.  The continued deadlock in the Doha negotiations significantly threatened the multilateral trading system, and Qatar called on developed countries to show good faith and flexibility for a successful conclusion to the Round.  The country also supported the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, particularly the principle of common, but differentiated responsibility.  Effective solutions to climate change could only be addressed through an integrated approach within the sustainable development process.  Qatar would host the Third Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in November to review progress towards ending corruption and practices hampering economic growth.

KAIRE MBUENDE (Namibia) said he wished to focus on two issues of crucial importance:  climate change and the global economic and financial crisis.  “We no longer need awareness campaigns about the danger of climate change.  The question is, what is to be done?” Because it affected everyone in the world, climate change could only be addressed in a meaningful way on the multilateral level, he said.  With respect to the upcoming Copenhagen Conference, he said failure was not an option, adding that there was a need to finance developing countries so they might mitigate the effects of climate change and develop low-carbon economies.

In terms of the economic and financial crisis, he said deregulation had led to anarchy and financial hurricanes.  Meanwhile the WTO’s Doha Round remained deadlocked and free trade was under threat as protectionist tendencies increased, he said, calling on all negotiating groups to make special efforts to reach an agreement that would contribute to development in most countries.  Concluding, he said strategies for economic recovery should seek to restore people to their pre‑0crisis situation or better.  One goal should be the enactment of governance structures to ensure there was no recurrence of the crisis.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said the Committee’s work had become more relevant and important against the backdrop of the economic and financial turmoil, adding that flexible decision-making in the coming months would be crucial.  At a time when the schism between rich and poor continued to widen, the United Nations remained the singular global organization to combat world problems.  The global crisis had impeded attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, which now required “redoubling, if not tripling” of the efforts by both developing and developed countries.

With regard to effective multilateral assistance, she said the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) had become even more relevant.  As a landlocked country in the heart of Eurasia, Kazakhstan relied, to a great extent, on international cooperation and partnership to gain access to world markets that made stable growth possible.  Its development priorities were based on the Almaty Programme of Action.

On national poverty reduction strategies and interventions, she said they should continue to focus on the poor and vulnerable worldwide who had reached the nadir of their capacities.  Such strategies and interventions would benefit from an examination of legal empowerment and expanded access to justice.  The realization of property rights, labour and entrepreneurship were all directly linked to effective poverty reduction, she said, adding in conclusion that all countries should share best national practices so they might benefit from such programmes.

* *** *

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