|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
General Assembly, in Consensus Actions, Adopts 3 Resolutions, 2 Decisions
on Millennium Goals, Small Island States, Year of Biodiversity
Delegates Take Action Ahead of Sixty-fifth Session’s Opening Tomorrow
In a flurry of activity before the opening tomorrow of its sixty-fifth session, the General Assembly adopted three resolutions and two decisions today on issues related to the layout of its upcoming high-level meetings on the Millennium Development Goals, the Mauritius Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, and the International Year of Biodiversity, among others.
By a consensus resolution submitted by its President (document A/64/L.72), the Assembly decided to refer the outcome document — annexed to the text and entitled “Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals” — to its high-level plenary on the Millennium Development Goals, slated for 20-22 September.
Yemen’s representative spoke after that action, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, saying that the Group had been seeking a scaling up of resources devoted to implementation of the Goals, but conscious of global economic difficulties, had gone along with the compromise, on the proviso that the 4.7 per cent commitment would be upheld. It had not been easy, he added, noting serious reservations among some members regarding issues like human security.
Venezuela’s representative said he had joined the consensus but described negotiations on the outcome document as “arduous and complicated”. Venezuela had defended the position of the Group of 77 and helped to build a platform reflecting developing-world views. Some countries had refused to recognize the dire consequences of capitalism’s economic and financial crisis, claiming that the developing world should continue to implement “neoliberal recipes”, he said, emphasizing that South-South cooperation should be free of conditionality and countries should implement their development plans in a sovereign manner.
Moreover, the document did not mention the importance of implementing instruments like [International Monetary Fund (IMF)] Special Drawing Rights, he continued, adding that it treated in an “unambitious” manner the issue of official development assistance (ODA). Insisting that the Secretary-General’s initiatives should not be placed above those of Member States, he proposed that the Secretary-General’s strategy report be open to Member-State feedback. Acceptance of paragraph 63r should not be deemed acceptance or legitimization of practices promoted through the so-called “coalition of the willing”, he added.
Iran’s delegate said he had joined the consensus in hopes that the Summit outcome would send a message of hope to all those suffering from poverty and hunger. Developed-country partners had diverted the focus to so-called cross-cutting issues, among other things, which had made the negotiations cumbersome and harmed the Summit outcome, he said, adding that the Group of 77 had taken a flexible path that, unfortunately, had not been reciprocated. Increasing poverty and inequality on all levels were preventing Governments from making effective policies, and for developing countries, the external environment was not conducive to attainment of the Goals, he said, citing in particular the example of people living under occupation.
Colombia’s representative, citing the document’s reference to human security, pointed out the continuing absence of a consensual definition of that concept. Nor was there clarity on areas where its application might be appropriate. Colombia would interpret the reference to human security as nothing more than a reference to wording, she said, adding that in no way did it signal agreement on the relevance of the concept in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. As for situations included in paragraph 49, it was up to each State to define the situations affecting it and to decide whether they had a bearing on development, she added.
Cuba’s delegate, expressing support for the Group of 77 and China, said that, while his delegation had joined the consensus, the document did not meet its expectations. Many of the Group’s proposals were not reflected, especially those relating to Goal 8 (global partnership), he said, adding that Cuba wished it to reflect developed countries’ lack of fulfilment regarding various aspects of that Goal. The most powerful countries had blocked any language pointing to the need to grant additional resources to help the developing world achieve the Goals. As such, the document lacked critical analysis, he said, adding that he was certain that debate during the high-level Summit would be much richer than its final outcome document.
Following that action, the Assembly decided, again by consensus, to continue dedicating a specific meeting focused on development at each meeting during the debate on the follow-up to the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit Outcome. As for the follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development, the Assembly took note of the progress report of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group (document A/64/884).
By another consensus text (document A/64/L.68), the Assembly decided to refer the draft outcome document annexed to that text to the high-level review meeting on the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. That meeting is to be held on 24 and 25 September. In a related decision (document A/64/L.71), also adopted by consensus, it outlined the modalities for that high-level review meeting, deciding, among other things, that two round-table sessions would focus on, respectively, “reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience of small island developing States”; and enhancing international support for small island developing States.
Taking the floor after that action, Grenada’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said that arriving at consensus, though difficult, had sent a positive signal that the global community remained committed to addressing the vulnerability of small island developing States. “It is now time to translate these words into action,” she said. While the text did not address all small-island concerns, she welcomed the consensus, saying she looked forward to the highest-level of participation in the high-level segment.
Turning its attention to the high-level meeting on the International Year of Biodiversity, slated for 22 September, the Assembly adopted a consensus text (document A/64/L.70) outlining the modalities of that meeting. Among other things, two consecutive panels would be held on the theme “The way forward in achieving the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the internationally agreed biodiversity goals and targets”.
Taking up reform-oriented issues, delegates then adopted a consensus resolution contained in paragraph 64of the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, (document A/64/903), deciding, among other things, to establish at its sixty-fifth session an ad hoc working group to identify ways to enhance the body’s role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency. Reaffirming the Assembly’s role in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General, delegates called for implementation of all relevant resolutions to that effect.
Along similar lines, the Assembly, in an oral decision adopted by consensus, decided to immediately continue intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform in informal plenary at its sixty-fifth session, as mandated by decisions 62/557 (2008) and 63/565 (2009). By other terms, the Assembly decided to convene the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council during the sixty-fifth session, if Member States so decided, and to include an item on that issue in its sixty-fifth session.
In other business, the Assembly decided to defer consideration of various items to its sixty-fifth session and placed them on the draft agenda for that session. They included: “prevention of armed conflict”; “follow-up to the recommendations on administrative and internal oversight of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme; and “Financing of the United Nations Mission in East Timor”.
Among other items to remain on the agenda of the sixty-fifth session, for consideration upon notification by a Member State, were: “the Question of Cyprus”; “armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo”; Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas); “the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti”; “armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security”; and “consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait”.
Finally, the Assembly took note of the progress report of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to follow up on issues in the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference (document A/64/884).
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 14 September, to conclude its sixty-fourth session.
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