Israeli Restrictions Deepen Palestinian Hardships, Second Committee Told as It Considers Arab Sovereignty over Natural Resources in Occupied Lands
Israeli Restrictions Deepen Palestinian Hardships, Second Committee Told as It Considers Arab Sovereignty over Natural Resources in Occupied Lands
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
26th & 27th Meetings (AM & PM)
Israeli Restrictions Deepen Palestinian Hardships, Second Committee Told as It
Considers Arab Sovereignty over Natural Resources in Occupied Lands
Delegates Debate International Trade and Development,
Stressing Importance of Combating Protectionism, Concluding Doha Round
Israel’s continuing restrictions on Palestinian movement and access to natural resources, its expansion of settlements, and its military offensive against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009 had deepened the hardship suffered by the Palestinians, Amr Nour, Director of the United Nations Regional Commissions New York Office, told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.
Israeli settlements on the West Bank, which had stood at 301,200 in September 2009, had grown by 4.9 per cent in that year, while the Israeli population growth rate was just 1.8 per cent, he said as the Committee took up its agenda item on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.
Presenting the report of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian living conditions, he said that as of February 2010, more than half of the Israeli separation barrier had been constructed, and it would isolate about 9.5 per cent of the Palestinian territory, including some of the West Bank’s most agriculturally productive lands. Israel’s blockade of Gaza and its ban on imported building materials had prevented reconstruction of most of the 3,500 homes destroyed and 2,900 severely damaged during the Israeli offensive.
The embargo had also reduced the availability of essential medicines, crippled the private sector, and left the Palestinian economy dependent on goods smuggled through tunnels from Egypt, he said, adding that the Palestinian people depended on the public sector to provide employment and social transfers. “The Palestinian Authority has reached the limits of its ability to act as ‘employer of last resort’, and has had to embark on fiscal reforms that include hiring and wage freezes, and the elimination of utility subsidies.”
Expressing similar concerns, a representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine conveyed “messages” from the usurped water, polluted air and burned harvests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, resulting from Israel’s actions, which aimed to debilitate and evict the Palestinians, and to replace them with illegal Israeli settlers. The latter had devastated the current olive harvest, the main source of income for most Palestinian farmers, by uprooting and burning trees, stealing crops and flooding agricultural land with waste-water, he said.
In Gaza, Israel still denied Palestinian farmers access to their lands in the so-called “buffer zone”, home to the Strip’s most fertile lands, and prevented fishermen from using Gaza’s marine wealth, he said. Cut off from their West Bank water resources, which were diverted to Israeli cities and illegal settlements, Palestinian households had just 70 litres of water daily, which was below the minimum level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), causing dire health risks and losses in agricultural production.
He said those alarming actions had destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Palestinians, he said, calling on the international community to compel Israel to respect international law and conventions, as well as United Nations resolutions affirming the rights of Palestinians and Syrians in their respective occupied territories to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. “We emphasize that the credibility of our international system as a whole will be undermined if Israel, the occupying Power, is allowed to continue these illegal practices with impunity.”
Israel’s representative retorted that her country had expanded the flow of civilian good and materials into Gaza for projects aimed at improving water quality, sewage systems and the natural environment, despite terrorist attacks from Gaza. Although the Hamas terrorist organizations continued to rule in Gaza, Israel had authorized many civilian projects there for the well-being of Palestinian civilians, she said, adding that it continued to seek cooperation with its neighbours through joint capacity-development programmes on agriculture, food security, forestry, desalination and water management.
She went on to say that her country Israel shared the same concerns as its neighbours over preserving and protecting the region’s natural environment, reminding the Committee that the Joint Working Group on Water, Environment and Energy met regularly to address shared challenges. Discussions on such issues should take place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not in the Committee, she said, stressing that today’s debate did not promote the Palestinian cause or better understanding between parties in the region. On the contrary, it politicized an agenda item that singled out and condemned Israel.
Syria’s representative said Israel continued to exploit resources, dump nuclear waste and confiscate land in the occupied Golan, while expanding its own settlements there. In a letter to the Secretary-General, Syria’s Foreign Minister had discussed Israel’s latest violations, including diverting water to an artificial reservoir and selling it back to Syrians at high prices. Such actions were in flagrant violation of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and Security Council resolution 465 (1980), he said, emphasizing that Member States had a moral responsibility to Syrians and other peoples under occupation that they must not evade. Israel must implement the relevant resolutions, end its “heinous” occupation and pay compensation to the occupied peoples, he added.
The Committee later took up international trade and development, with speakers underscoring the need to fight protectionism and conclude the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations by creating a well-functioning trading system that would foster development worldwide while mitigating the effects of the recent economic and financial crisis. They noted that liberalizing agricultural trade would promote food security, and called for improvements to make markets function more effectively. There was also a need for equal market access for goods and products from developed and developing countries alike. A strong, sustained economic recovery was crucial for putting economies on an indispensable development path and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, speakers stressed.
Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), presented the Secretary-General’s report on international trade and development. Luis Manuel Piantini Munnigh ( Dominican Republic), President of the Trade and Development Board, introduced that body’s report.
In other business, the representative of Yemen submitted eight draft resolutions on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, while the representative of Bolivia tabled a text on the International Year of Quinoa.
Other speakers on the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian and Arab peoples over their natural resources were representatives of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Nicaragua, Jordan, Qatar, Libya and Egypt.
Syria’s representative made a statement in exercise of the right of reply, as did a representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine.
On international trade and development, the Committee heard from representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Nepal (on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries), Australia (on behalf of the Cairns Group), Morocco (on behalf of the Arab Group), Paraguay (on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), China, Brazil, Ethiopia, Peru, Belarus, Cuba, Russian Federation, Sudan, India, Ukraine, Qatar and Jordan.
An Observer for the European Union also delivered a statement, as did an official of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m., on Thursday, 11 November, to take action on draft resolutions.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to begin its consideration of the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.
It was expected subsequently to later take up macroeconomic policy questions, including international trade and development, and to hear the introduction of a number of draft resolutions relating to information and communications technology for development, sustainable development, globalization and interdependence, and agriculture development and food security.
Before the Committee was a note by the Secretary-General transmitting an Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report on economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/65/72–E/2010/13).
The report states that the occupation, arbitrary detentions, the use of disproportionate force, property destruction, home demolitions, mobility restrictions, lack of building permits and closure policies continue to intensify the economic and social hardships of the Palestinian residents. Despite those constraints, however, the Palestinian Authority continued to make progress in implementing its reform agenda and security plan, and in building its institution.
According to the report, 67 Palestinians were killed and 145 injured by Israeli military operations between February 2009 and February 2010. Attacks by Palestinian militants and the launching of rockets into Israel from Gaza continued, although to a lesser extent than in previous years. Israeli authorities demolished 220 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, displacing more than 400 Palestinians. In occupied East Jerusalem, authorities demolished about 80 Palestinian-owned structures between February 2009 and March 2010, displacing about 260 Palestinians.
Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which entered its third year as of August 2009, detrimentally affects reconstruction and economic recovery in the enclave and exacerbates humanitarian conditions, the report says. Despite a general relaxation of crossing procedures at most checkpoints east of the barrier in the West Bank, there has been a steady increase in the number of “flying”, or ad hoc, checkpoints erected for short periods since November 2009. Contrary to its obligations under the Road Map, Israel continued to build illegal settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. On 26 November 2009 it announced a 10-month “freeze order” on construction in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem.
The report recalls that in his 12 February message to the United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, the Secretary-General said it was vital for the Palestinian Authority to continue efforts to establish the economic, social and institutional basis of Palestinian statehood while striving to fully meet its other Roadmap obligations. He also expressed profound concern over the protracted suffering of civilians in Gaza, saying the “the continued blockade is unacceptable and counter-productive, destroying legitimate commerce and denying aid organizations and the United Nations itself the means to begin civilian reconstruction”. The Secretary-General condemned the rocket fire from Gaza, which indiscriminately targets Israeli civilians.
According to the report, Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan, in effect since 1967, continues to affect the lives and human rights of the Syrian citizens living there.
Regarding the Syrian Golan, the Committee had before it a letter dated 15 October 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Syria to the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly (document A/65/520).
With respect to international trade and development, the Committee had before it the report of the Trade and Development Board on its forty-eight executive session (document A/65/15 Part I), which the Chair’s summaries of the Report of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget on its fifty-fourth session, and the Progress Report on Enhancing the Functioning of the Working Party.
Additional documentation before the Committee included the report of the Trade and Development Board on its forty-ninth executive session (document A/65/15 (Part II), held in Geneva from 8 to 9 June 2010, containing the Chair’s summary of contributions by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields; the report of the Trade and Development Board on its fiftieth executive session (document A/65/15 (Part III), held in Geneva on 8 July 2010, which contains the Chair’s summary of UNCTAD’s activities in support of Africa; and the report of the Trade and Development Board on its fifty-seventh executive session (document A/65/15 (Part IV) and Corr. 1), held in Geneva from 15 to 28 September 2010, which lists action by the Board on substantive agenda items such as economic development in Africa, evaluation and review of UNCTAD’s implementation of the Accra Accord, and its technical cooperation activities and their financing.
Introduction of Report
AMR NOUR, Director, United Nations Regional Commissions New York Office, introduced the ESCWA report, saying it discussed developments before the end of March 2010. As of February 2010, about 58 per cent of the Israeli separation barrier had been constructed and another 10 per cent was under construction, he noted, adding that, if continued as planned, the barrier would isolate approximately 9.5 per cent of Palestinian territory, including occupied East Jerusalem and some of the West Bank’s most agriculturally productive lands. Meanwhile, Israel continued its settlement activity in the West Bank, where the number of settlements had been estimated at 301,200 in September 2009, a 4.9 per cent increase which was considerably higher than the 1.8 per cent average Israeli population growth rate.
The approximately 550 closure obstacles inside the West Bank as of February 2010 further restricted Palestinian movement, and were just one of several layers of a complex system of restrictions, he said. As for the blockade of Gaza entered, the import-clearance process was still long, unpredictable and lacking in transparency. The shortage of industrial fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant had exacerbated the chronic electricity shortage in the Strip, and the ban on imported building materials had prevented the reconstruction of most of the 3,500 homes destroyed and 2,900 homes severely damaged during Israel’s offensive of December 2008 and January 2009.
He said the blockade had also reduced the availability of medicine, adding that as of December 2009, 24 per cent of the essential-drug list and 18 per cent of essential medical disposables were of out stock. Gaza’s economy was sustained largely by goods smuggled through tunnels from Egypt. The partial destruction of Palestinian productive capacity, loss of land and natural resources to settlements and barriers, in addition to restrictions on access and movement, high political risk and layers of institutional and administrative obstacles had undermined investment. That in turn had reduced the private sector’s ability to create jobs and caused a greater dependence on the public sector to provide employment and social transfers.
“The Palestinian Authority has reached the limits of its ability to act as ‘employer of last resort’ and has had to embark on fiscal reforms that include hiring and wage freezes, and the elimination of utility subsidies,” he continued. Unemployment had stood at 31.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2009, compared to 32.7 per cent in the same period a year earlier, and almost 1.6 million people, or 38 per cent of the population, was food-insecure, due mainly to poverty, the rate of which stood at 57.3 per cent.
Turning to the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan, he said Israel continued its settlement expansion in the region, despite renewed resolutions calling on it to desist. Syrian citizens there suffered from a lack of job opportunities and prospects for economic development. Israeli measures and policies, including discriminatory water quotas and tariff schemes, favoured Israeli settlers and restricted Syrian citizens’ access to land and water. That severely constrained the agricultural activities of Syrian citizens, whose livelihoods traditionally relied on them.
The representative of Syria, reaffirming the importance of the report and the need to discuss it in each General Assembly session, called for a return to the previous practice whereby the Executive Secretary of ESCWA submitted the report in person. It was to be hoped that future reports would reflect practical proposals aimed at complimenting the content of related resolutions.
Associating with those comments, the representative of the Observer Mission of Palestine added that the number of victims in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be listed together rather than separately. He also asked whether ESCWA had any detailed information on Israeli violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and if so, the extent of such violations.
Mr. NOUR responded by saying that Rima Khalaf, the new Executive Secretary, had just assumed her functions this week and had not been able to be present today. He assured delegates that he would convey to her their observations regarding future reports.
RABII AL-HANTOULI, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, conveyed “messages” from the water, air and harvest in the Occupied Palestinian Territory resulting from heinous Israeli crimes. “These messages say that the water is usurped, the environment is polluted, and the air is imprisoned behind the walls, and the harvest is burned and destroyed under the bulldozers of the settlements and the vandalism of the settlers,” he said. Such systematic and deliberate acts aimed to pressure and debilitate the Palestinian population, to evict them forcibly from their homes and to replace them with illegal Israeli settlers. The actions violated international norms and laws and had been committed since 1948 without accountability.
He said cultivation of the land was the pillar of Palestine’s economy and of food security for its people, notably the cultivation of olives, which was integral to Palestinian history and culture. It was the main source of income for most Palestinian farmers, generating revenues in the tens of millions of dollars. During the current olive harvest season, illegal settlers had carried out barbaric raids and attacks on Palestinian farmers, while enjoying the protection of Israeli occupation forces. They had uprooted and burned trees, stolen crops and flooded agricultural land with waste-water in Burin, Beit Ommar and other places. Residents of the illegal colonial settlement of Alon Moreh had sabotaged the Palestinian olive harvest season by polluting 660 trees with waste-water in Deir al-Hatab, east of Nablus, he said, adding that Israel had also dumped and buried toxic industrial waste from factories it had set up on Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Israel continued to confiscate land and raze fields so as to build its own settlements at the expense of the Palestinian population, he said, recalling that in the past 12 years, it had confiscated thousands of dunums of Palestinian land and destroyed more than 2,450 buildings, 80 per cent of them in the so-called “C” area of the West Bank. That was one of the Territory’s poorest areas, in which agriculture and livestock were the main income source. In Gaza, Israel still prevented farmers from entering their lands in the so-called “buffer zone”, which comprised the most fertile lands. Israel’s continued blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza prevented the entry of food and agricultural supplies, deepening the affected population’s food security, he said, adding that the Israelis continued to prevent Palestinian fishermen from using Gaza’s marine wealth. The unjust blockade had completely destroyed the enclave’s fishing sector.
Israel’s racist annexation wall isolated 10 per cent of the most productive agricultural land and obstructed landowners’ access to it, he continued, noting that it also kept many Palestinians from water resources, causing health risks and losses in agricultural production, including more than half the annual olive crop. It cut livestock herders off from grazing land, while more than 500 military checkpoints continued to hinder life in the West Bank, including access to natural resources. Israel’s water policies continued to deprive Palestinians of their right to sovereignty over their water and other natural resources, he said. It exploited 220 million cubic metres of water from the West Bank to give to its cities and illegal settlements, while the water available to the Palestinians amounted to hardly 100 million cubic metres, or a per capita rate of 70 litres per household daily, which was below the minimum level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Those alarming actions had destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Palestinians, he said. He called on Member States and the international community to compel Israel to respect international law and conventions, as well as United Nations resolutions affirming the rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Arab people in the occupied Syrian Golan to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. “We emphasize that the credibility of our international system as a whole will be undermined if Israel, the occupying Power, is allowed to continue these illegal practices with impunity,” he said in conclusion.
MOHAMED ALI ALFAYEZ (Saudi Arabia), calling for a “global view” of the situation in the Middle East, emphasized the great danger arising from Israel’s occupation of Arab lands, which had led to violence, suffering and humanitarian crises for the Palestinian people. Its choking off of the Occupied Palestinian Territory had halted the work of humanitarian agencies and caused a severe dearth of food, water, energy and electricity. Israeli settlements had polluted the environment and impeded development and modernization, he said, stressing that his country stood next to its Arab brothers in their quest for a fair, equitable peace. He stressed that the occupying Power’s separation barrier was not in step with international law and international humanitarian law, and failed to recognize dozens of United Nations resolutions.
KARTIKA HANDARUNINGRUM ( Indonesia) said it was deplorable that, due to foreign occupation, a number of countries and territories had yet to enjoy fully the rewards of development. Today’s meeting was being held against the backdrop of continuing suffering on the part of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples at the hands of the occupying Power, she said, noting that Israel’s failure to extend its moratorium on settlement construction on the West Bank further delayed the prospect of Palestinian development. “We cannot ignore the fact that foreign occupation impedes national development plans,” she stressed, pointing out that the Millennium Goals Summit outcome document called for concerted actions to remove obstacles to the full enjoyment of the rights of peoples under foreign occupation to pursue the Goals.
ABDELAZIZ AL OUMI ( Kuwait) said Israel had total control over most of the water resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, both above and below ground. Further, Israeli authorities and water companies were drawing water from that Territory to supply Israeli cities and selling the surplus to Palestinians. Owing to the destruction of water networks by Israel’s military activities, a Palestinian received only a one fourth of the water received by an Israeli. Turning to the occupied Syrian Golan, he reaffirmed his country’s support for the relevant Security Council resolutions, which deemed the expansion of Israeli jurisdiction, judicial mandate and administration over the region null and void, with no international legal effect. Kuwait was committed to the Arab Peace Initiative issued by the Beirut Arab Summit of 2002, which would help reach a just and comprehensive peace as well as a total withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan.
JABER ALSHEHHI ( United Arab Emirates) noted that 75 per cent of families in the Gaza Strip now lived under the poverty threshold and 38 per cent suffered from food insecurity. Moreover, observers had predicted a spike in poverty levels due to closures and restrictions on movement. Nearly 60 per cent of Gaza’s population now went without electricity, he said, adding that, overall, Palestinians continued to endure physical and psychological damage inflicted by Israeli military forces. The occupying Power’s actions contravened international humanitarian law, yet Israel persisted, despite resolutions aimed at ending its illegal settlements and barrier wall, he said, reaffirming his country’s solidarity with the Palestinian and Arab people. The international community must put pressure on Israel to cease its aggressive behaviour and withdraw completely from the occupied lands. Furthermore, the recommendations of the Goldstone report should be implemented, he stressed.
LIZWI NKOMBELA ( South Africa) emphasized the need for a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, recognizing that the Palestinian people continued to suffer Israel’s brutal actions. The blockade and restrictions were in violation of international humanitarian law and to the Arab Peace Initiative. “One surely cannot expect the occupied people of the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan to suffer quietly,” he said, adding that the international community must strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to provide basic services, stabilize its fiscal situation and work towards economic growth. South Africa called for the provision of sufficient financial resources to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). It also called on Israel to allow essential foodstuffs, medicine and building materials into Gaza, and to create an environment conducive to peaceful negotiations — rather than one that intensified the mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians.
AMAR A. I. DAOUD ( Sudan) noted that Israeli restrictions on the movement of people, goods and materials had extended to humanitarian aid operations heading into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The blockade had further impoverished the Palestinian people, leading to a breakdown in health and water services. The separation wall had locked Palestinians into a sort of “prison”, contrary to international law and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. Moreover, Arab natural resources had not been spared devastation by Israel, he said, pointing out that the Palestinians were only allowed 9 per cent of available resources to meet their needs. Israeli’s redirection of Palestinian water resources contravened the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, while Assembly resolution 61/27 stated that its annexation of the Syrian Golan was illegal. Yet the occupying authorities had expanded their settlements there. Sudan urged the international community to require the occupying Power to comply with international law and human rights law.
RABEE JAWHARA ( Syria) said Israel continued to exploit resources in the occupied Syrian Golan, while expanding its settlements, confiscating land owned by Syrians and dumping nuclear waste in the region. With regard to water, Syria’s Foreign Minister had sent a letter to the Secretary-General, briefing him on the latest Israeli violations, including the diversion of water to an artificial reservoir and the sale of water back to Syrians at high prices. Such actions were in flagrant violation of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and Security Council resolution 465 (1980), he stressed.
When the Committee discussed the issue and approved resolutions on it during every Assembly, it sent a clear-cut message that the policy of occupying the territories of others was against human nature. Several countries within the international community paid lip service to human rights but when it came to foreign occupation — and particularly the case of Israel — most were not up to discussing it. The United Nations had a moral responsibility to peoples under occupation that Member States must not evade, he stressed, adding that Israel must implement the relevant resolutions, end its “heinous” occupation and pay compensation to the occupied peoples, he said.
ELYES LAKHAL ( Tunisia), describing Gaza’s socio-economic indicators as among the world’s worst, said that was due to Israel’s occupation and aggression. Unemployment and poverty were extremely high and food insecurity was also a problem, as indicated by reports of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The international community must shoulder its responsibility to rectify the situation, he said, adding that it should support the construction of infrastructure to end Palestinian dependence on foreign aid and enable the Palestinians to work towards an independent State. The international community must promote justice so that peace could come to the region and in order to create solutions to the Palestinian question in all its aspects while giving the Palestinian people the ability to regain sovereignty over their natural resources.
JASSER JIMÉNEZ ( Nicaragua) noted that Palestinian had suffered over 60 years of struggle under foreign occupation. Their land was illegally occupied, they had no freedom of movement, their infrastructure was being destroyed and their people were being locked up. “Palestinians cannot focus on development if their primary concern is to survive Israeli army bombings,” he stressed, describing the separation wall as a form of mass crime since it locked occupied people in and kept them from moving around. More than 200,000 Palestinian children were in need of schooling, a number that would increase by 9,000 each year, he said, adding that they were entitled to education as a basic human right. Recalling that his country had also suffered occupation, he confirmed the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle. Nicaragua condemned Israeli violations of international law and United Nations resolutions, as well as its “genocidal practices”, urging the Committee to ensure that schools were built. “We cannot accept any more destruction; we need construction,” he added.
DIANA AL-HADID ( Jordan) said Israel was in complete control of Palestinian resources through its economic and trade polices and its blockade of Gaza. Israeli settlements in the West Bank were contaminating the environment and destroying environmental diversity. The settlers were dumping waste-water and allowing it to infiltrate into Palestinian areas while they razed Palestinian land. Israel’s demolition of homes, razing of lands, destruction of olive crops, and economic blockade contravened international law and would endanger peace in the region, in addition to hampering Palestinian prospects for economic growth, she said. It was not possible to improve the socio-economic situation because of the restrictions on the movement of goods and people, she said, calling on Israel to end all measures that would exacerbate living conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
AHMAD MOHAMED AL-HORR ( Qatar) noted that Israel continued to build the “apartheid” wall in “obvious and blatant” violation of humanitarian values and international law, describing the construction as practically an annexation of parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In addition, it was being built on the fertile land that was the Palestinian people’s most important natural resource and their source of water. The United Nations had reaffirmed that Israel’s use of that water, as well as the geographic and demographic changes it was carrying out, were a violation of the Geneva Conventions and other relevant international instruments. The crimes committed by heavily armed Israeli settlers against unarmed Palestinian citizens were particularly savage, he said, emphasizing that the international community must redouble efforts to prevent the continuation of violations and punish the perpetrators. Peace-loving nations, particularly Arab ones, must continue to provide steady economic aid to ensure that the Palestinian people were able to exercise their basic rights to education, health and income.
ALI A. ALI KURER ( Libya) said socio-economic and psychological damage continued to “choke” the Palestinian people in spite of United Nations resolutions and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. There had been calls for the barrier to be torn done as it denied Palestinians the opportunity to return to their lands, while separating Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and keeping Palestinians from their places of work and worship. Libya was also greatly concerned about the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan, he said, stressing that the occupying Power must be held responsible for the damage it had caused in Arab lands.
MOHAMED KHALIL ( Egypt) noted that Israel’s siege against the Gaza Strip was in its fourth year and affected reconstruction and economic recovery. In addition, Israel’ closure policy remained a major cause of poverty and the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, preventing Palestinian access to natural resources, basic social services, employment and markets. As the occupying Power, Israel continued exploiting and depleting those natural resources, confiscating Palestinian land, and building the separation wall, in defiance of General Assembly resolution 10/15, which stressed the incompatibility of the wall with international law. Additionally, the Syrian Golan remained under occupation since 1967, although Security Council resolution 497 (1981) deemed Israel’s decision to impose its own laws and jurisdiction on the region null and void. Those practices were real evidence of Israel’s systematic destruction of the Syrian Golan’s economic life as well as social and environmental conditions, and it was now up to the international community to compel Israel to respect international law. Egypt would submit a draft resolution to emphasize permanent Palestinian sovereignty, he said.
SHULI DAVIDOVICH ( Israel) expressed disappointment that “precious time” that could have been directed at pressing global issues was instead being used to discuss the issue at hand. Members exploited the professional forum of the Committee to politicize an agenda item that singled out and condemned Israel. She stressed that her country shared its neighbours’ concern for preserving and protecting the region’s natural environment, and the only appropriate way to resolve their mutual concerns was through meaningful discussion and cooperation on the ground between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Reminding the Committee that the Joint Working Group on Water, Environment and Energy met regularly to address shared challenges, she called upon the Palestinian Authority to proceed with the numerous projects previously approved in the Joint Working Group as well in other professional working groups. Israel continued to seek ways to cooperate with its neighbours through a variety of efforts, including joint capacity-development programmes on agriculture and food security, forestry, desalination and water management. The Committee should be discussing those issues at the present time, she added.
Despite terrorist attacks launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, she said, Israel had expanded the flow of civilian good and materials into the enclave for projects under the supervision of international organizations, particular those for improving water quality, sewage systems and natural environment. Although the Hamas terrorist organization continued to rule in Gaza, Israel had authorized many civilian projects there and would continue to work with United Nations agencies, Member States and other partners to implement them for the well-being of Palestinian civilians. She reiterated that the present discussion did not belong on the Committee’s agenda and did not promote the Palestinian cause or improve the understanding between the parties.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, responding to the statement by Israel’s delegate, said the daily suffering of the Palestinian people and the systematic destruction of their natural resources deprived them of their sovereignty. The discussion was not about making political points, he stressed, describing the tragic reality of his people. If the issue could not be discussed at the United Nations, where could it be discussed? The only way to discontinue the Committee’s consideration of the agenda item was to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
Many reports by specialized agencies described in detail, and with figures to back them up, the catastrophic economic consequences of Israeli practices, he said, adding that the Palestinians were being deprived of a normal life. Many international reports on Gaza had called for the immediate lifting of Israel’s blockade, he said, emphasizing that the only terrorism one could discuss was the State terrorism perpetrated by Israel, which was depriving the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza of their fundamental human rights.
The representative of Syria said the Israeli delegate’s statement accused some members of politicizing the matter at hand, whereas it was an important item on the Committee’s agenda. Israel had taken an opposing position that totally isolated it from the international community. What the Israeli representative had said was an attempt to mislead the international community and distract attention from the fundamental issue of continuing Israeli occupation of Arab territory, he said, emphasizing that the item under discussion would remain on the agenda as long as the Israeli occupation continued. The statement reflected the Israeli Government’s official political position, which was based on a lack of respect for international law, failure to implement United Nations resolutions and an effort to mislead international public opinion, he said.
The Committee then turned to programme planning.
ERIK LUNDBERG (Finland), Committee Vice-Chairperson, said there were no related matters requiring the Committee’s attention.
The Committee then decided to keep the agenda item open until it concluded its session on 23 November.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
The Committee then heard the introduction of draft resolutions.
MOHAMMED ABDULLAH AL-HADHRAMI (Yemen), on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, introduced draft resolutions on the following agenda items: Information and communication technologies for development (document A/C.2/65/L.22); oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/C.2/65/L.17); 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.2/65/L.18); implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/C.2/65/L.21); Towards a New International Economic Order (document A/C.2/65/L.20); role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/C.2/65/L.15); and preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/C.2/65/L.12).
JAVIER LOAYZA BAREA ( Bolivia) introduced a draft resolution on the International Year of Quinoa, 2010 (document A/C.2/65/L.16).
The Committee then took up international trade and development.
Introduction of Reports
SUPACHAI PANITCHPAKDI, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on international trade and development (document A/65/211). He said the uneven pace of recovery in the past year reflected the diversity of initial economic conditions among countries and the degree of their exposure to the global financial crisis and terms of trade. In developing countries, the crisis had aggravated persistent development challenges, especially in Africa and the least developed countries. The October 2010 estimates of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook projected global growth of 4.8 per cent in 2010, including 2.7 per cent in developed countries and 7.1 per cent in developing countries. However, economic growth would be less pronounced in developing regions other than Asia, he noted.
World trade was expected to expand by an average of 13.5 per cent in 2010, he said, adding that the expansion would reach 16.5 per cent in developing countries, making it the fastest yearly expansion of trade since 1950. Emerging and developing countries, especially in Asia, where the level of merchandise exports already exceeded pre-crisis levels, had played a seminal role in the revival, he said. However, some 29 million people, 60 per cent of them in developed countries, had lost their jobs since onset of the crisis, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). There was an urgent need to address high unemployment, he stressed, noting that global joblessness was expected to decline only marginally from 6.6 per cent in 2009 to 6.5 per cent in 2010. More than 8 million jobs were needed in light of the rapidly expanding population and workforce in developing countries. There was also an urgent need to address the links between trade, development and employment.
Discussing exit strategies, global rebalancing, and ways to improve the global economic governance system, he also stressed the need to refocus development strategies beyond the Millennium Development Goals. A “new generation” of industrial policies were required, in combination with selective trade, labour and macroeconomic policies, to direct investment in strategic sectors in order to promote sustained, cleaner and inclusive growth, he said, pointing to the existence of such strategies in South Africa and Brazil. There was no room for complacency because the recovery was fragile and uneven across countries, he cautioned. Every effort must be made to ensure that the world economy did not tumble into a double-dip recession.
LUIS MANUEL PIANTINI MUNNIGH ( Dominican Republic), President of the Trade and Development Board, presented its report (documents A/65/15 Parts I through IV and A/65/16/PartIV/Corr.1), saying that in light of the still-fragile and uneven economic recovery, the longer-term scenario remained uncertain and there was a need to promote domestic demand. Job creation should be the keystone of policies emerging from the crisis, he said, adding that States must participate more actively in the recovery, with macroeconomic policies playing an important role in such efforts. Furthermore, income policies should adjust wage increases to growth in productivity.
To achieve global economic recovery, there must be more balance between exports and domestic demand, he said. International trade was one of the main engines of growth and development, so it was necessary to strengthen the links between trade, poverty reduction and job creation. The international community must maintain open access to markets, improve production capacity and reduce tariff, as well as non-tariff barriers that hindered developing-world exports. Trade negotiations could contribute to combating climate change by freeing up environmental goods and services, especially those helping developing countries, he said, cautioning that “green protectionism” should be avoided.
The report emphasized the need for a conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations, he said, calling for flexibility in the various agenda items discussed. Investment in low-carbon emission technology was critical to reducing greenhouse gases. Private investment was also necessary in combating climate change, including investment by transnational corporations through the dissemination of low-carbon emission technologies, he said, pointing out that while South-South cooperation could help Africa solve its development problems, it must be geared towards economic change and development of the region’s productive capacity.
Africa’s cooperation with other developing regions was increasingly dependent on commodities, he said, stressing the need for African countries and their development partners to reverse the trend of exporting commodities and importing manufactured goods. He said the report noted the concern of delegates with regard to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially the Gaza Strip, and underscored the need for the complete lifting of the blockade. The report also suggested that the enclave should receive preferential treatment similar to that given to least developed countries.
Turning to the situation in Haiti, he noted that poverty had increased dramatically owing to the devastating 12 January earthquake, and now a new hurricane threatened more destruction in the next couple of days. Policies imposed from the outside which had forced the country to liberalize its trade completely had weakened the economy and left it vulnerable to natural disasters, he noted. Now, Haiti’s success or failure in building a foundation for sustainable development lay in the hands of the international community, he said, adding that it must strive to encourage short-, medium- and long-term investment in Haiti.
RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said it was essential to work together in redressing the imbalances that had put developing countries at a disadvantage in the multilateral trading system. Redress included ensuring that existing World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements addressed the peculiar needs of developing countries, particularly small, vulnerable developing economies, in ways that allowed them to secure an equitable share in international trade. He called for rules that would preserve the policy space those countries needed to implement critical development programmes, and provide facilities for adjusting to the changing international economic environment.
He said CARICOM sought to prioritize the inextricable links between trade and development by ensuring that a development component was incorporated into the bilateral regional agreements it had recently formed with Canada and the European Union. CARICOM would continue to argue in favour of special and differential treatment for small, vulnerable economies, and for agreement on their proposal for a special safeguard mechanism, which was essential for food security, rural development and poverty alleviation, and for retaining the ability to protect sensitive sectors from unfair competition, especially unfairly subsidized imports.
Describing “Aid for Trade” as a vital, promising tool to help meet the development objectives of the CARICOM countries, he said the Community hoped to advance the development of its regional aid-for-trade project during the World Trade Organization’s Caribbean Regional Forum on that subject in January 2011. CARICOM’s participation in the services negotiations was driven mainly by the expectation of improved market access, as well as by modes of supply of strategic export interest. Effective market access under Mode 4 and a balanced outcome in the negotiations on domestic regulation were key development-oriented components of any services outcome, he said.
MANI RATNA SHARMA (Nepal), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that, although least developed countries were quite open to international trade, they had not benefited equitably from it. Furthermore, they remained grossly marginalized in the world economy due to their unique vulnerabilities and structural weaknesses, as well as their limited access to global markets. Even the 97 per cent of product coverage, as agreed in the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting, would have little development impact if exports from least developed countries remained excluded from certain markets due to subsidies, the application of stringent rules of origin and non-tariff measures.
He said the multiple recent global crises had adversely affected the trading capacity of least developed countries, pushing millions of their people into extreme poverty because of reduced income and limited Government support for counter-cyclical measures, among other reasons. Without enhanced access to markets, their national outputs and income would continue to decline, he said, underlining the “high importance” of concluding the Doha Round, which would offer a strong development dividend for all, particularly least developed countries, through developmental aid, duty-free market access, and debt-relief packages. Encouraging and supporting trade in such a manner would generate growth and have an impact on poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia), speaking on behalf of the Cairns Group of agricultural trading countries, said that reverting to protectionism during economic downturns exacerbated rather than managing the problem. It was the Cairns Group’s position that liberalizing agricultural trade would enhance food security through more diversified and reliable sources of supply, and by involving a larger number of farmers, including those from developing countries. It was therefore important to conclude the Doha Round in order to eliminate all forms of export subsidies by 2013, and to improve market access for agricultural products.
Completing the Doha Round, with agriculture reform as a key feature, would also be an important demonstration of the international community’s commitment to continued economic growth, he continued. Although substantive progress had been made, there was room to make further progress, provided the necessary political will was there. He urged that all WTO members to continue to engage fully in negotiations towards a successful conclusion. He also pointed out that 70 per cent of the world’s poor lived in rural areas and derived their income and employment from agriculture. An “ambitious and balanced” Doha Development Road was therefore essential.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, stressed that expanding trade and creating a fair, equitable and competitive trading system in which developed countries opened their markets to developing countries — with full respect for the principle of special and differential treatment — was essential in addressing the economic and financial crisis and improving living conditions. “The Arab Group is concerned about the continued stalemate in the Doha Development Agenda,” he said, noting that, given the excessive vulnerability of least developed countries, developed nations must immediately fulfil their development assistance commitments, ensure duty-free market access, undertake aid-for-trade initiatives, provide debt relief and take other measures to build capacity. It was also necessary to eliminate trade-distorting practices, especially export and farm subsidies provided by developed countries for domestic agricultural products.
Underlining the need for greater coherence between WTO and UNCTAD in order to “restore equilibrium to the multilateral trading system”, he also called for facilitating the accession of developing countries, including Arab countries, to the global trade body and for refraining from the imposition of political impediments or impossible conditions on accession. It was important to address the question of “unilateral economic measures imposed by some developed countries on a number of Arab countries”, he stressed. In that respect, the Arab Group called for the implementation of Assembly resolution 64/189 (2009), which urged the international community to take urgent and effective measures to end the use of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries, in breach of the fundamental principles of the multilateral trading system.
JOSÉ ANTONIO DOS SANTOS (Paraguay), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that while the global economy was still recovering, the most vulnerable countries still faced the effects of the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s. The 13 per cent drop in the volume of international trade, coupled with the falling prices of primary products, had resulted in an uneven and fragile economic performance. However, the moderate growth in commodity prices was still insufficient to ensure a robust recovery of landlocked developing countries, taking into account their particular characteristics that could increase the effects of external shocks. Despite their impressive growth during the past decade, they remained largely marginalized in the global economy, he said, adding that the economic downturn had exposed their structural weaknesses, particularly their low productive capacities and heavy reliance on the export of a few “low-value high-bulk” commodities.
More than ever, there was an urgent need for the full implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action, he said. It was imperative to undertake joint efforts by landlocked and transit developing countries, with the support of the donor community, to revise the regulatory and policy frameworks governing transit trade and to improve trade-related infrastructure. Such measures could accelerate their inclusion in the international trade system, minimizing the effects of the additional cost of transport and customs procedures. However, even with preferential tariff schemes, exporters in landlocked developing countries had shown the lowest rate of preferences utilization, in comparison with other groups of countries. The international community should address their special development needs through sustainable support to help them accelerate their progress towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals.
WANG HONGBO (China), noting the lack of fundamental improvement in the external environment for the trade efforts of developing countries, called on the international community to take more resolute measures to strengthen the free and open global trading system to help least developed countries. Such a system would be a “significant guarantee” for timely attainment of the Millennium Goals, she said, pointing out that a steady growth in international trade could effectively help developing countries achieve and sustain economic recovery. In that light, the international community should give a vigorous push to the Doha Round for substantive progress soon, she said, stressing that the outcome of the negotiations should have a development focus and effectively reflect the needs and special concerns of the developing world. The international community, developed countries in particular, should also handle trade frictions through dialogue and consultations, in line with the principle of “win-win” and common development. It must continuously improve trade financing and increase support for vulnerable groups, such as least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States. China would continue to strengthen “win-win” economic and trade cooperation with other States, she affirmed.
JOÃO ALBERTO QUINTAES ( Brazil) said the global economic and financial crisis had precipitated a 12.2 per cent fall in international trade, which was “unprecedented” in a post-war era that had seen global trade expand faster than global gross domestic product (GDP). While the world economy should see positive growth in 2010, recovery was uneven, fragile and uncertain, he said. As such, it was important to ensure the early conclusion of the Doha Round, which would provide a much-needed impetus for economic recovery and strengthen the foundations of sustained, equitable growth. Brazil was fully committed to a balanced and development-oriented outcome of the Doha Round, he said, adding that eliminating agricultural export subsidies, substantially reducing support measures and increasing market access were the most important contributions that developed countries could make. The persistence of subsidies, high tariff and non-tariff barriers had hampered agricultural trade flows, and impaired the effective allocation of scarce resources in developing nations, he said, stressing the need to address such protectionism. Overcoming deadlock in world trade negotiations required renewed political commitment, and the international community had an ethical duty to eliminate the barriers that kept poor countries from benefiting from their comparative advantages.
GRUM ABAY ( Ethiopia) pointed out that trade liberalization and enhanced market access did not necessarily equal poverty reduction. Developing and least developed countries would be unable to derive much benefit from the multilateral trading system in the absence of special treatment, he said, adding that linking international trade with poverty reduction could help free least developed countries from extreme poverty. Ethiopia was one of five countries currently showing rapid economic growth because it had benefited from the experience and expertise gained from working with institutions and other countries, he said. Noting that poor people in developing countries depended on agriculture and labour-intensive manufacturing for their livelihoods, he said developed countries must be encouraged to remove trade barriers and form partnerships through a combination of avenues, including investment, trade, aid, debt relief and global economic governance reform. Other approaches included the mainstreaming of trade and development concerns into poverty reduction strategies; increasing financial and technical assistance to enhance domestic production and capacities; and promoting a suitable international trade regime.
ANA CECILIA GERVASI ( Peru) said many middle-income countries, like her own, were driving the global economic recovery owing to their healthy and responsible macroeconomic policies. The Government of Peru sought to identify the best possible practices to move development forward. State policies targeted towards small- and medium-sized companies and farms were intended to ensure that full use was made of opportunities for diversification and that they benefited all. As a complement to liberalizing trade in goods and services, Peru had begun developing in the areas of science and technology. There was a need for international cooperation between developed and developing countries, she said, noting that measures to ensure sustained recovery from the crisis offered an opportunity to employ innovative efforts for greater growth.
GALINA BUBNOVSKAYA ( Belarus) said the international community must take coordinated steps in favour of growth in international trade. Developed countries must give developing countries trade preferences, and lift trade tariffs and other barriers to development. She appealed to the United Nations to play an active role in helping middle-income countries that were particularly vulnerable in the face of protectionist measures as they tried to recover from the global financial crisis. She said the United Nations system should analyse in greater detail financial instruments to support economies and influence international trade and development. The research potential of UNCTAD and WTO could play an important role in that context.
ILEIDIS VALIENTE DÍAZ ( Cuba) said trade had deteriorated rapidly since mid-2008 in all Latin American subregions, which showed their vulnerability and promoted underdevelopment. A rapid conclusion of the Doha Round would be the most immediate solution to that situation. However, that would not happen because of the necessary political will was lacking, particularly on the part of the United States. Still, special efforts must be made in the negotiations on agriculture, bearing in mind that tariffs were the only avenue open to developing countries due to WTO restrictions on subsidies, a mechanism that developing countries could not afford. Developed countries spent about $1 billion a day in subsidies for their agricultural products. To address the situation in the short term, WTO must adopt the Special Safeguard Mechanism, she said. It must also reach agreement on special products not subject to liberalization, ensure access for highly sensitive products, such as cotton, address the matter of preference-erosion, and be flexible to enable net food-importing countries to gain access to financing.
ALEXANDER S. ALIMOV ( Russian Federation) said trade was important for restoring the world economy, but efficient stabilization of the trade system and the creation of an acceptable balance of interests had been stymied by the long duration of the Doha negotiations. For that reason, the parts of the Secretary-General’s report devoted to the need for improvement in the negotiating process deserved careful study. The Russian Federation was working to become a full-fledged member of the WTO after a long period of harmonizing its domestic legislation and international agreements with that body’s norms and regulations. Codes relating to intellectual property were now receiving attention, he said. While a green economy could be the means to ensure sustainable development with a focus on reducing carbon emissions and other pollution, he warned that a green growth strategy had the potential to bring about new trade barriers and protectionism, particularly with regard to goods and technologies that did not fall under the “green” category, which had yet to be well defined. The active promotion of green economic initiatives should therefore be preceded by expert assessments of their possible negative consequences by international organizations, including UNCTAD. It was also important to use that agency’s analytical capabilities to help developing countries integrate into the international trade system.
ELHIJAZI KHAIR ( Sudan) said that although developed countries should show solidarity with their developing counterparts, they had failed to meet their commitments and refused to open their markets to the developing world. In effect, many developing countries, particularly those in Africa, had been prevented from meeting their own commitments in pursuit of the Millennium Goals. On climate change, he noted that it was a direct impact on stability and that drought and desertification had led to competition for limited resources. In its efforts to combat poverty and create jobs, Sudan had launched a programme for the rebirth of the agricultural sector, as well as a strategy for a green revolution. It was working to mobilize its oil and mining resources to increase agricultural production and create a multifaceted national economy. Underscoring the importance of honouring debt-alleviation commitments, he said there had been a growing tendency on the part of developed countries not to do so, and they were using new ways to avoid their pledges.
KAKOLI GHOSH DASTIDAR ( India) said countries must pursue an export strategy aimed at the diversification of markets and products in order to offset the negative impact of export-led growth. Developing countries should therefore diversify into the service sector to build economic resilience and reduce their excessive dependence on commodities. Furthermore, the international community must create an equitable and fair international trading regime, she said, adding that common solutions must be found for adding value to goods and products from developing countries rather than perpetuating their role as providers of raw materials. The Doha outcome should be ambitious and aim for the lowering of trade barriers and the elimination of protectionism so as to stimulate global trade, she said. It should also address food insecurity through the Special Safeguard Mechanism and an emphasis on agriculture. She called for implementation of the WTO’s duty- and quota-free scheme for opening market access to developing countries. Finally, she stressed the need for intellectual property rules to reflect the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
HANNA PROROK ( Ukraine) stressed that the principles of the Monterrey Consensus were fundamental to enhancing the development process and achieving the Millennium Goals. While every country had the primary responsibility for its own development, international assistance was crucial in implementing development policies in developing countries — particularly middle-income countries. The mobilization of financial resources for development in those countries still depended on external flows, including foreign direct investment (FDI), she said, welcoming the promotion of innovative financing sources and mechanisms for sustainable development. Debt remained a principal obstacle to sustainable development and it was up to the international community to find a durable solution, she said, calling for measures to prevent debt accumulation. While governance reforms were essential for the continuing effectiveness and credibility of the Bretton Woods institutions, the United Nations, as a universal international organization, should play a leading role in global economic governance.
TARIQ ALI AL-ANSARI ( Qatar) said it was more urgent than ever to devise a two-track process that would address both the current impasse in the Doha Round and the challenges hindering the development efforts of developing countries. The three pillars of sustainable development weighed down their meagre resources, he said, stressing that developed countries could not say they were supporting development, while, at the same time, denying developing countries access to their markets. Furthermore, developing countries should not talk about the appropriateness of liberalization while implementing it only selectively. As for the Doha Round, he expressed regret over the stalemate, noting that developing countries had placed “much hope” equitable access to markets. The negotiations should achieve certain priorities for developing countries, including open, transparent, inclusive and democratic measures for the effective functioning of the international trading system; placing agriculture, food security and anti-desertification measures at “the top of the list”; and reducing all forms of export subsidies in developed countries, with a view to phasing them out.
DIANA AL-HADID ( Jordan), associating with the Group of 77 and the Arab Group, said it was crucial that trade liberalization be accompanied by growth-enhancing policies in both legislative and macroeconomic terms. A successful conclusion of the Doha Round would “convey a strong message of global unity”. Jordan had undertaken an intensive reform process to bring about a modern and conducive regulatory environment for business and investment, she said. Moreover, it had made significant efforts in recent years to implement its WTO commitments and had entered into a number of free trade agreements with major trading partners.
CHRISTOPHE DE BASSOMPIERRE, Observer for the European Union, said that while the global economic recovery remained fragile and uneven, the economic dynamism of the emerging economies was a welcome injection of energy. Recently, the G-20 countries had recognized the need to address development concerns as a way to ensure that the recovery was durable, sustainable and capable of spreading beyond the Group. The European Union was a strong promoter of open trade for least developed countries and had conducted a comprehensive review of its preferential Rules of Origin to ensure access for those countries to the European market. Other regional groups and countries should follow suit in order to provide additional trading opportunities for developing and least developed countries, he said. Other measures to be implemented included the creation of import-friendly environments, aid for trade, and regional integration for trade. He stressed that subsidies and protected markets were not the answer to making faster progress towards development. Rather, closer monitoring by the WTO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UNCTAD would show the way.
QAZI SHAUKAT FAREED, Special Adviser to the Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that on the supply side, the agency continued to support efforts by enterprises to offer competitive, safe, reliable and cost-effective products on world markets. That required, among other things, identifying sectors and products with competitive potential; analysing industrial performance trends and formulating strategies to improve industrial competitiveness, overcome technical barriers to trade, and comply with sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures; helping upgrade manufacturing processes in sectors with high-export potential; and helping diffuse modern and relevant technologies through UNIDO network of technology centres. The agency also helped enterprises comply with international standards and market requirements, and would help countries that had recently acceded to WTO, or were in the accession process to develop the conformity infrastructure needed to meet requirements and obligations under the body’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. UNIDO was working closely with partners to ensure improved coordination and cooperation among providers of trade-related assistance, he said. It had also contributed to the training of resident coordinators on trade issues and joint programme development in Albania, Cape Verde and Viet Nam.
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