Weighing Pros, Cons of Globalization, Second Committee Delegates Caution Growth in Global Trade, Interdependence, Could Exacerbate Inequalities

19 October 2011
GA/EF/3314

Weighing Pros, Cons of Globalization, Second Committee Delegates Caution Growth in Global Trade, Interdependence, Could Exacerbate Inequalities

19 October 2011
General Assembly
GA/EF/3314
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

15th & 16th Meetings (AM & PM)

Weighing Pros, Cons of Globalization, Second Committee Delegates Caution

 

Growth in Global Trade, Interdependence, Could Exacerbate Inequalities

 

While there was no longer any doubt that globalization was impacting every country on the planet, the costs and benefits of this new era of interconnectedness should be more equally shared, delegates in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) said today as they took up their agenda item on globalization and interdependence.

Providing a vivid example of how globalization could exacerbate economic imbalances, the representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said regional Governments had “neither caused nor contributed to the ill-conceived policies that led to the [financial] crisis, yet we suffered tremendous economic and developmental fallout as a result of the regulatory failures and rapacious corporate greed in other countries”.

He said although critical to CARICOM countries, globalization was neither motivated nor responsive to the needs of small populations.  CARICOM members were not responsible for the food, fuel and financial crises, and their contribution to climate change was minimal but they were bearing the brunt of volatile commodity prices and natural disasters.  He urged those States and regions that had benefitted greatly from globalization to now take the lead in crafting global solutions to stave off its negative impacts.  

The representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, echoed that sentiment, saying that the impact of globalization had been uneven and unpredictable, its benefits and costs not shared equitably.  Although globalization could be a powerful force for strengthening cooperation and accelerating growth and development, it presented many risks and challenges, especially to developing countries.  As that was the case, she noted the unique role the United Nations could play in strengthening international cooperation for promoting development in the context of globalization, particularly in integrating developing countries into the globalizing economy. 

While some speakers noted that many middle-income countries had experienced significant economic growth in the past decade, they expressed fears of a “development regression” in the aftermath of successive crises and ongoing fallout from the meltdown in 2008 of major global financial institutions.  Delegates said that aid flow to middle-income countries, which remained very vulnerable, must not be interrupted.

Libya’s representative took a harsher view on the trend, saying that although some believed globalization provided for the sharing of ideas and goods, it was actually a “manifestation of evil and greed” as it increased inequalities between countries.  Globalization had impacted economic instability and as such, he called for a fair and coherent international trade policy that would ensure stability and equity.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, Nepal’s representative said global inequalities and structures pushed those countries to the margins and widened the gap between rich and poor.  He noted that globalization had the potential to become “a potent and vibrant force contributing to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth and sustainable development” in the least developed countries. 

But to do so, poor countries must be mainstreamed into international economic and financial policy-making, and work should be carried out to minimize their risks and vulnerabilities.  He was also among the many speakers to emphasize the enormous potential of science, technology and innovation, if harnessed properly, to change the development landscape of the developing and least developed countries. 

On that subject, many delegates said that access to technology had become a vital component of any viable development strategy.  Science and technology, they stressed, should be made available at an affordable price to developing countries, in order to facilitate economic growth.  However, restraints on access to technology were a major manifestation of inequality between developed and developing countries.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that no society or economy could develop unless human capital was the first priority.  State, business, international and political organizations must recognize that their fundamental social responsibilities were to their citizens.  Otherwise, social issues that had a deep negative impact on economies would flourish, she warned.

Weighing in on another topic on today’s agenda, some speakers highlighted the important role culture played in promoting and sustaining broader development.  Several noted that cultural sectors contributed to job creation, economic development and national pride.  Some delegates also believed it was important to protect cultural sectors and cultural heritage against threats posed by globalization.  Culture’s development potential lay in its diversity, not its standardization.  Special attention should be paid to preserve diversity, which was the principal wealth of human development.  Many speakers welcomed organizing a culture and development conference.

The Committee began its work hearing the introduction of a number of relevant reports.  The Assistant Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), presented the Secretary-General’s report on Culture and Development.  The Chief of the Policy Coordination Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented the report on Globalization and Interdependence.

The Director of the Technology and Logistics Division at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) presented the Secretary-General’s report on Science and Technology for Development, and the Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs presented the report on Development Cooperation with Middle-Income Countries.

Other speakers today were representatives of Indonesia, Sudan, Malaysia, Brazil, Senegal, Belarus, Bangladesh, China, Peru, Israel, Namibia, Nigeria, India, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Gabon, Spain, Mexico, Cameroon, Serbia, Jamaica, Tunisia, Argentina and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The Observer of the Holy See also spoke, as did representatives from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, 20 October, to discuss the groups of countries in special situations.

Background

As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take up its agenda item on Globalization and Interdependence, members had before them four reports of the Secretary-General relating to the sub-items (a) “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence”; (b) “Science and technology for development”; and (c) “Development cooperation with middle-income countries”; in addition to the main report on Culture and development.

The report on Culture and development:  report of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (document A/66/187), prepared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), presents an assessment of the value of organizing a United Nations conference on culture and development.  The report also outlines the value of convening such a conference, assessing the aim, level, format, timing and the budgetary implications.  It includes recommendations for enhancing progress towards further integration of culture into development policies and practices.

The report stresses that this is an opportunity to take stock of actions by United Nations entities that integrate culture, showcasing the culture-sensitive approaches to development across the United Nations system and demonstrating the impact of the culture sector on development at large, and in particular on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  The report notes that General Assembly resolution 65/166 was instrumental in revitalizing the debate on the impact of culture on sustainable development and encouraged the compilation of data, facts, figures and best practices on the linkages between culture and development, in order to demonstrate the impact of culture on the social and economic well-being of peoples and societies.

The report hopes to encourage studies that document the qualitative impact of culture on the well-being of society and showcase the potential of human rights-based cultural approaches to foster sustainable peace.  In this regard, the report recommends, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) could reflect on the qualitative impact of culture on human development and integrate culture-based data into the human development index.

Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report on Globalization and interdependence:  sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth for a fair and more equitable globalization for all, including job creation (document A/66/223), which reviews globalization in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis.  It addresses economic growth and policies to make growth fairer in the broader context of globalization.  The report recommends that promoting a comprehensive international enabling environment for sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, job creation, decent work and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is essential to eliminate the inequities of globalization.

The international community can also provide support to a fair and more equitable globalization through promoting greater policy coherence and coordination, assisting developing countries to increase their capacity to manage their respective development process, and undertaking collective efforts to address the challenges of unemployment.  Other recommendations include adhering to official development assistance commitments, providing debt relief by extending the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative to all low-income countries with debt problems, protecting the rights of migrants, improving the flow of remittances, and others. 

Also before the Committee was the report entitled Science and technology for development (document A/66/208), which provides information on the work of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development in areas such as agriculture, rural development, information and communications technology, and environment management.  It also provides information on the activities carried out by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and other relevant organizations to assist developing countries in their efforts to integrate science, technology and innovation policies in their respective national development plans and strategies.

The approach of the science, technology and innovation policy review programme is based on recognition of the central role of innovation in the process of economic development and of its essentially systemic nature.  For countries at an early stage of development, generating the ability to access, use and diffuse foreign technologies is more important than putting in place a fully fledged national system of innovation, the report concluded.  The needs of emerging innovation systems for absorption and adaptation are not the same as those needed at the frontier of innovation.  A key conclusion is that the success of science, technology and innovation policy review depends critically on the availability and involvement of a strong, credible, high-level counterpart in the process.  The involvement of national academic centres in carrying out the review should be solicited.  Members of legislative bodies could also be invited to take part in national workshops at the beginning and/or at the end of the review.

Lastly before the Committee is the report Development cooperation with middle-income countries (document A/66/220), prepared by the Secretary-General, which discusses how middle-income countries have made remarkable economic and social progress on a broad front over recent decades.  However, progress has been uneven and diverse, and challenges remain as these countries remain highly vulnerable to external shocks and internal crises.  Despite substantial progress in reducing poverty, middle-income countries remain home to about 75 per cent of the world’s poor, who live on less than $1.25 per day.  Income inequality tends to be higher among middle-income countries than low- or high-income countries.  Achieving more sustained and inclusive growth remains challenging for countries that have not managed to diversify their economies and shield them against volatile market conditions.

The United Nations system and the multilateral financial institutions have been important partners and facilitators for international development cooperation with middle-income countries.  While recognizing that no one size fits all, the report says, there is a strongly felt need to develop better international cooperation to support middle-income countries in addressing their development challenges, in particular the support provided by the United Nations system.  While it provides a broad spectrum of development cooperation to these economies, cooperation among agencies and with middle-income countries needs to be strengthened and programme activities must be more closely aligned with the national development strategies and policies of middle-income countries.

The report also states that the use of per capita income to classify countries as a means of guiding development cooperation disregards the multi-dimensional nature of development.  It reiterates that no two economies are the same, even when they may have the same average per capita levels.  The United Nations must develop a more specific policy framework for middle-income countries.

Among other initiatives, the upcoming independent evaluation of the “Delivering as One” initiative, in particular of the five pilot middle-income countries, is an important step in this direction.  Lastly, the report says that as several bilateral donors are downsizing or phasing out development assistance contributions to middle-income countries, it is important that the United Nations strengthen its role in these countries to ensure that their remaining development challenges are addressed effectively and that the achieved gains are preserved.

Introduction of Reports

The Secretary-General’s report on Culture and development was introduced by FRANCESCO BANDARIN, Assistant Director-General for Culture.  The report illustrates how the cultural dimension in development reinforces national ownership of development initiatives, by ensuring context-appropriate policies.  Culture is not only an approach to development, but a key economic sector in itself, he said.  The report is structured in four main parts:  a background to Culture and Development in the context of the United Nations; an explanation of the Interface between Culture and Development; a survey of progress of the implementation by United Nations entities of the Culture and Development resolution; and an assessment of modalities for a United Nations conference on culture and development.

Continuing, he said the report promotes the notion of a conference on culture and development, with hopes that it would considerably strengthen further collaboration in joint United Nations programming exercises at the country level.  Such a conference is necessary to address the nexus between culture and the three pillars of development, he said.  The report states that shared policies and practices would lead to shaping a shared vision in view of the distinctive mandates of United Nations entities.

As for the proposed conference, he said that such an event would be a two-day event, organized around plenary sessions and roundtables, with perhaps some 500 participants comprising high-level Government representatives, heads of United Nations entities, representatives of development banks, non-government organizations, foundations, civil society and the private sector.

Presenting the report on Globalization and Interdependence was NEIL PIERRE, Chief of the Policy Coordination Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, who said globalization had been accompanied by rises in inequality within and among countries.  The transmission of the effects of the global economic and financial crisis was a prime example of the increased interdependence existing between economies.  He pointed to recent trends highlighted in the reports, noting that large strides had been made in tackling poverty, though the onset of the crisis had reversed such progress, causing between 47 and 84 million to fall into or remain trapped by poverty.  The number of vulnerable workers had increased and the proportion of long-term unemployed had increased significantly in developed countries.  In addition, developing countries had failed to integrate into the global trade system, he said.

He said the report found that when there was growth and when its benefits were shared fairly, it was the most effective means for reducing poverty.  Sustained growth alone was insufficient in that regard.  Productive job creation and decent work were integral to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, he said, and the countries most successful in promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable growth had coherence between their social and economic policies. 

A comprehensive international enabling environment for sustained, inclusive and equitable growth, job creation, decent work and achievement of Millennium Development Goals was essential to eliminate the inequities of globalization.  He added that the issue of measuring globalization needed addressing.   The international community needed to agree on tools, measures and indicators.  Globalization had not delivered on its promise, though it still offered many opportunities for fostering more inclusive and sustainable development.  It was the duty of the international community to seize these.

ANNE MIROUX, Director, Technology and Logistics Division at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on Science and Technology for Development, which contains information on the status of implementation of General Assembly resolution 64/212.  The report highlights in particular work carried out by the Commission on Science and Technology for Development in areas such as agriculture, rural development, information and communications technologies, and environmental management.

She said science, technology and innovation are imperative to the achievement of the sustainable economic growth needed to lift millions of people out of poverty.  The global economic crisis provided a unique opportunity, she said, to gain momentum and build consensus in order to mobilize resources and break down barriers to innovation.  However, that would only be possible if the international community moved forward in a sustainable and equitable way and avoided a return to the status quo.

To generate momentum, 2012 had been designated the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.  That was a valuable opportunity to address key issues surrounding moves to low-carbon development pathways, such as how to attract the large-scale investment in green and renewable technologies, how to properly address the issue of technology transfer and how to better support the building of local innovative capabilities, which was vital for any transition to be sustainable.  Looking ahead, she said that the Commission on Science and Technology for Development would address the following substantive themes:  open access; virtual science libraries; geospatial analysis and other complementary information and communications technology and science; technology; engineering and mathematics assets; innovation; and research.

ROB VOS, Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented the report on Development Cooperation with Middle-Income Countries.  He noted that no official United Nations definition recognizing middle-income countries existed.  While least developed countries had access to a defined set of international support measures, the same did not exist for middle-income nations.  Those countries had generally responded better to the financial crisis and had made a large contribution to the global recovery from recession.  However, they remained vulnerable to business cycles in developed countries and to volatile global financial and commodity markets.  Since 1990, growth had driven down poverty in middle-income countries but results had been even better when such growth was more inclusive.  Yet, income inequality remained higher in middle-income countries, hindering growth and limiting its capacity to reduce poverty. 

The United Nations approach to supporting middle-income countries included supporting Governments in designing policies aimed at eliminating disparities and promoting equity.  Governments of middle-income countries generally saw United Nations system contributions in capacity-building and advice areas, he said.  The United Nations also played a pivotal role in donor coordination and adjustment of national priorities.  He was pleased to note that middle-income countries had increased their power within the Bretton Woods Institutions, but he added that while there had been some improvements in quota reforms, the weight of the basic vote had declined greatly, diminishing the influence of all but the largest middle-income countries. 

There were constraints preventing development cooperation reaching its full potential, he said.  There was no strategic framework tailored to middle-income countries’ specific needs.  That could have been due in part to the current emphasis on the Millennium Development Goals and poorer countries.  Operational constraints also existed.  To overcome the limitations, the United Nations needed a more specific policy framework for middle-income countries, with more focus on upstream policy requirements.  It should also take into account the spillover effects of development in middle-income countries on low-income countries. 

He said that the Organization also needed to reorient its planning and coordination processes, including the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and tailor these better to the needs, priorities and decision-making processes of middle-income countries.  That could be achieved if a high-level panel or ad hoc working group was established, he said.

Statements

NATALIA HANDRUJOVICZ (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that the impact of globalization has been uneven and unpredictable, its benefits and costs not shared equitably.  Although globalization could be a powerful and dynamic force for strengthening cooperation and accelerating growth and development, it presented many risks and challenges, especially to developing countries.  She said the United Nations was in a unique position, as a universal forum, to strengthen international cooperation for promoting development in the context of globalization, in particular the integration of developing countries into the globalizing economy.  At the same time, each country had primary responsibility for its own development.  No one country was the same and the international community must enhance its understanding of each country’s unique social, political, economic, cultural and environmental conditions, she said.

While acknowledging the efforts made and successes achieved by many middle-income countries to eradicate poverty, they were still facing significant challenges in their efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including Millennium Development Goals.  On the issue of culture and development, she said that special attention should be paid to preserve diversity, which was the principal wealth of human development.  She welcomed organizing a high-level conference on culture and development.  Regarding the item on Science and technology for development, the Group of 77 and China considered that in an increasingly knowledge-based world economy, access to technology had become a vital component of any viable development strategy.  However, she said that the restraints on access to technology were a major manifestation of inequality between developed and developing countries.

SHANKER BAIRAGI (Nepal), speaking on behalf of the least developed countries and aligning his comments with those made earlier on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said entrenched global inequalities and structures generated the marginalization of least developed countries and widened the gap between rich and poor.  Economic growth in the least developed countries had not reduced unemployment or poverty and many had not reaped the benefits of global trade expansion due to heavy reliance on a few export items and markets.  The gap between official development assistance (ODA) delivery and commitments was growing. 

He noted that globalization had the potential to become “a potent and vibrant force contributing to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth and sustainable development” in the least developed countries.  But to do so, poor countries needed to be mainstreamed into international economic and financial policy-making and work should be carried out to minimize their risks and vulnerabilities.  At the national level, job-oriented macroeconomic policies and strengthened implementation was needed.  At the global level, he said, international assistance was needed to build capacity, tackle unemployment and underemployment, establish social protection measures, fulfil ODA commitments, cancel debt, establish a fairer multilateral trading environment and financial system, provide least developed countries with duty-free and quota-freemarket access, and establish technology transfer on favourable terms. 

He emphasized the enormous potential of science, technology and innovation, if harnessed properly, to change the development landscape of the least developed countries.  He called on developed countries to support the Istanbul Programme of Action, particularly towards enhancing financial and technical support, and he recommended in that regard the establishment of a “technology bank” to help build capacity in the least developed countries.  He commended the Commission on Science and Technology and UNCTAD for their efforts in such matters, and called on the international community to enhance the level of cooperation and coordination, in the role of the United Nations system, to minimize the negative effects of globalization, especially on least developed countries.

YUSRA KHAN ( Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said job creation was the greatest challenge facing that region.  Although the Secretary-General’s report acknowledged that ASEAN countries had seen a dramatic reduction in poverty, major risks and challenges remained.  He said that ASEAN believed that job creation was vital in addressing the persistent inequality and, therefore, it was important to pursue policies that are “pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-poor”.

He said that his delegation considered increasing foreign trade, promoting investment, particularly in agriculture, and rural development and infrastructure would contribute greatly towards job creation.  He urged that the United Nations take a more proactive role in creating an international enabling environment which would assist in job creation and create sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth.  He said the Global Jobs Pact was a coherent framework for shaping and implementing strategies that supports and sustains recovery with jobs.

In regard to the report on science and technology, he said that modern and new technologies, in particular green technologies, should be made available at an affordable price to developing countries, in order to facilitate economic growth.  Lastly, he said that reducing development assistance to middle-income and developing countries will negatively affect their positive track of poverty eradication efforts.  Middle-income countries, he said, were also a part of the developing world.

CAMILLO M. GONSALVES (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said regional Governments had “neither caused nor contributed to the ill-conceived policies that led to the [financial] crisis, yet we suffered tremendous economic and developmental fallout as a result of the regulatory failures and rapacious corporate greed in other countries”.  The General Assembly needed to work robustly to address globalization’s negative effects while helping that phenomenon to fulfil its promises, he said.  The consensus outcome adopted by the 2009 United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development was a good starting point, and failure to follow that up with concerted action could risk ceding the United Nations’ role and authority to more action-oriented organizations, he cautioned.

The influence of exogenous global forces on small and vulnerable Caribbean societies could not be overstated, he said.  Globalization was critical to CARICOM countries’ development, but, unlike Governments, it was neither motivated by nor responsive to the needs of small populations.  CARICOM members were not responsible for the food, fuel and financial crises, and their contribution to climate change was minimal.  Those select States and regions that had benefitted greatly from globalization must now take the lead in crafting global solutions to stave off its negative impacts, he urged.   Equity, he said, demanded that CARICOM not bear the brunt of ill-conceived one-size-fits-all rulemaking.  A fair system should not unduly penalize their comparatively insignificant production, he said. 

He welcomed the report on development cooperation with middle-income countries but was disappointed that it did not refer to the specificities of middle-income Small Island Developing States.  He said it provided a diagnosis but no relief for those small islands on debt relief, a problem that severely constrained their economic space.  He called for recognition and accommodation of their unique particularities.  In a knowledge-based economy, he said, technological inequality was as great an impediment to development as income inequality and access to technology needed to become part of global development policy. 

The cultural sector also contributed to job creation, economic development and national pride and it was important to protect it against threats posed by globalization in this regard.  Culture’s development potential lay in its diversity, not its standardization, he said.  The efficacy and credibility of globalization depended not on the frequency or intensity with which it was discussed at regional and international levels or by the multitude of statistics that were presented by institutions to highlight economic growth.  Instead, the true measure was whether it produced “tangible improvements in quality of life and choices available” to citizens, he said.

EKATERINA FOTINA ( Russian Federation) said that no society or economy could develop unless human capital was the first priority.  State, business, international and political organizations must recognize that their fundamental social responsibilities were to their citizens.  Otherwise, social issues that had a deep negative impact on economies would flourish, she warned.  The focus in the Russian Federation was not only on promoting and creating jobs, but also on enhancing conditions in the workplace.  She said that her Government would host in 2012 an international summit on the practical implementation of the provisions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on decent work.

Some countries in the medium-income category were no long recipients of international assistance but important donors themselves.  At the same time, medium-income countries had serious economic problems and still needed assistance, including from the United Nations.  To overcome the current challenges they faced, she said, financial flows to them must be increased so they could achieve the financial growth required to implement structural changes in diversifying its economy and boosting labour productivity.  Assistance must be provided based on the individual country’s needs.  However, for many countries traditional models of assistance used to assist low-income countries are not applicable.  Regarding the UNESCO report on Culture and Development, she said culture undoubtedly made an impact on development.  She requested more details on the proposed culture and development conference, including its purposes and format.

AMAR A. I. DAOUD ( Sudan) said that although globalization “has made the world one”, the international community must work hard to ensure that the gains of globalization were shared equally by all.  More specifically, he said that an international system based on promoting and achieving the internationally agreed goals and the Millennium Development Goals must create an environment for fairer trade.  Many countries in Africa were hindered by the food and energy crises, and he called on the international trade system, specifically, the World Trade Organization (WTO), to address the dire humanitarian needs.

The Government of Sudan had been making every effort to overcome its challenges, he said.  The national agriculture sector provided 55 per cent of the job opportunities.  Agricultural investment in the Sudan had reached nearly $450 million this year, making it the country’s main sector driving economic development.  He said it is hoped that the investment in agriculture would lead to improvements in other sectors and contribute to broader development.

WIRA HAJI IDRIS BIN HAJI HARON ( Malaysia), associating his delegation’s statement with that made on behalf of the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that globalization had “two contrasting faces”.  By example, he said that on the one hand, globalization of the financial sector had benefited the world financial system, but on the other hand, it had also caused major disruptions in financial markets worldwide when major economies are faced with difficulties.

He said that Malaysia was a medium-size economy that had benefited from the globalization of the world economy.  Its experience had shown that sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth was a pre-condition in facing the negative impact of globalization, to further reduce poverty and to achieve development that would enhance people’s living standards.  Three important elements would enable developing countries to better deal with the negative impact of globalization, he explained.  The first was capacity-building through training and technology transfer.  Developing countries should be able to fully benefit from the advancement in science and technology, especially in information and communication technology and green technology.

Continuing, he said the second element was trade reform, and in that regard called for the immediate conclusion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations in order to create a more balanced trading environment and promote equitable trade among regions.  And third, he said it was urgent to create and enable an international environment for sustained inclusive and equitable growth.  Lastly, he urged that the international community adhere to ODA commitments and aligning overall support, including debt relief pledges.

JOÃO LUCAS QUENTAL ( Brazil) said it was possible to curb the excesses and address the shortcomings of globalization, while preserving its dynamism and vitality.  A fair and equitable globalization process should contribute to the realization of full human potential without exacerbating economic uncertainty or political instability.  The needs of vulnerable and developing countries were key and global interdependence called for collective action against the challenges.  The “G-20” (Group of 20) had an important role in strengthening the recovery and should work with the United Nations to promote political cohesion and policy cohesion.

He said the financial crisis had undermined ideas on one-size-fits-all policies and had contributed to consensus on the need for investment in social protection, which would help mitigate the negative impacts of globalization.  While establishing a social protection floor was a national responsibility, international support remained crucial on implementation.  He noted that ODA had not reached promised levels, and pointed to the specific and extraordinary development challenges faced by middle-income countries.  Despite being likely to provide impetus for global growth in the coming years, middle-income countries remained home to 70 per cent of the world’s poor, he said. 

Those countries were vulnerable to external shocks and crises and required a critical mass of support from the developed world to consolidate gains and address their structural deficiencies.  The long-term legitimacy and efficacy of the United Nations system required long-term field presence in all developing Member States, including middle-income countries, he said.  A well-defined agenda for cooperation with such countries was required.  A key part of ensuring a fair and equitable globalization process was recognition of the importance of culture.  Indeed, culture could play a key role and Brazil welcomed initiatives aimed at raising the profile of the role of culture in development, believing it should be integrated systematically into development policies and international assistance initiatives.

ABDOURAHMANÉ TRAORE( Senegal) aligned his comments with those of the Group of 77 and the least developed countries, and said that the current turmoil had sown despair in many countries.  Global deregulation and dysfunction were a major problem and had prevented the least developed countries in particular from accelerating their progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  Problems had been identified and plausible solutions drawn up through the Secretary-General’s reports.  Those needed implementation to meet the objectives of sustained, inclusive and equitable growth.  International commitments needed to be upheld to deal with the multiple crises the world faced. 

He welcomed the exhaustive and ambitious work carried out on culture and development.  Senegal’s experience showed the positive impetus an emphasis on culture gave to development, job creation and sustainable development, among other issues.  Meeting the Millennium Development Goals remained dependent on accounting for cultural dimensions in policies and strategies, he said, adding that he shared the view that there was a strong link between culture and development.  Those dimensions needed to be taken into account in the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference.  He called for a high-level meeting on the issue of culture and development, with the objectives and modalities to be agreed on at a subsequent date.

TATIANA LESHKOVA ( Belarus) said that although middle-income countries demonstrated the world’s best economic growth rates during the past decade, two-thirds of the world’s poorest populations lived in those countries.  Therefore, the overall success of achieving the Millennium Development Goals would be measured by the degrees of success achieved in middle-income countries.  She said that domestic inequality was a major problem for those countries.  According to the Secretary-General’s report, Belarus had the lowest level of income inequality in that group.

The rising level of inequality in middle-income countries was caused by uneven globalization under which separate regions developed quite successfully while others fell behind, she explained.  The growing inequality, in turn, served to increase poverty.  Middle-income countries remained highly vulnerable and had seen a substantial drop in their exports due to lower demand in developed countries.  In addition, she said that middle-income countries had also seen a considerable drop in foreign investments and credits.  She urged the United Nations to provide assistance to middle-income countries and introduce a systematic and consistent approach to the interaction with middle-income countries, which was currently missing.

MD. TAUHEDUL ISLAM ( Bangladesh), recalling a theory that all members of the international community were “inhabitants of a global village”, stressed that a small event in one corner of the world resulted in a tremendous impact on the farthest corner.  Unfortunately, he pointed out, it was often the developing countries, especially the poorer nations, that were most vulnerable to such events.  Thus, the benefits of globalization were often not equitable, with the costs being borne disproportionately by the poor.  Although globalization was theoretically advantageous to all, in practical terms, only the stronger economies prevailed.  Without coordinated, international help, developing countries, in particularly least developed countries, could not withstand the challenges that came with globalization to “reap its benefit”.  Thus national efforts needed to be supported by intensified international assistance.

Continuing, he said that the United Nations could be the catalyst for such assistance.  Notwithstanding the challenges and obstacles within every region, he also noted that political and business communities of countries would share the commonalities towards improved conditions.  The pivotal role of the Organization should ensure that regional and trade interests of one particular group should not be attained at the cost of others.  To that end, the WTO’s principle of “Most Favourable Nation” status needed to be strictly followed and supervised by the United Nations and prevent the world from becoming a market of commodities and services without “values, norms and humanity”. 

He also underscored that any action taken in that regard needed to include the full respect of national priorities, ownership and leadership of each State.  The “forces of globalization should not compel a nation to refrain from exercising its own rights and privileges,” he stated.  Concluding, he urged that access to technology, a serious issue for developing and least developed countries, could critically address development problems.  The transfer of technology with easy and affordable terms needed to be ensured for the poorer countries of the world, and he called for Member States to amend the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement to bring the private sectors under its auspices in order to spearhead technology transfer and capacity-building to developing and least developed countries.

XIE XIAOWU ( China) said there was consensus in the international community to fully leverage the power of science and technology to eradicate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Regarding the latter, he urged that “full play” was given to the pivotal role of science and technology in addressing major issues affecting lives across the globe.  Leaps forward were often the result of technological breakthroughs and innovation, and the answer to current problems also lay in science and technology, he said.  Developing countries needed technical assistance and the international community should increase assistance and technology transfer to help countries achieve the Goals.  Joint efforts should be made on technological research policies, he urged. 

He pointed to multi-country initiatives such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, which showed the need for strengthened cooperation to achieve common development.  Innovation orientation and leveraging science and technology were part of China’s development strategy, and he noted the strong inroads made by China in fields such as super rice, super computing, manned space flight, genome research, high-speed railways and deep sea exploration.  He added that technology had been a major driver to China’s fast, sustained and steady socio-economic development, with double-digit growth in Chinese information and communications technology for many years.

He noted that China still lagged behind more than 80 countries in terms of gross national product (GNP) per capita and pointed to uneven development and significant development challenges.  Still, China was committed to providing technical assistance to others, with the China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program one such example of this.

ALFREDO CHUQUIHUARA ( Peru), aligning himself with Group of 77 and China, said the role played by middle-income countries was to promote equitable and sustainable growth for the global economy.  However, those countries faced many challenges including poverty, climate change and unemployment.  He said it was urgent that developed countries intensify their support and efforts, by providing technology and capacity-building.

He said that 64 per cent of extremely poor people live in middle-income countries, and that Latin America was characterized by some of the greatest inequality in the world.  Inequality had vast impacts and created serious development setbacks.  It was “unacceptable”, he said, that the United Nations system continues to measure countries’ growth exclusively on per capita GDP.

Regarding the report on culture and development, he said culture is a source of identity and a tool of growth.  He welcomed the proposal to convene a conference on the matter, which he hoped would promote national cultural empowerment and stimulate cooperation to develop culture.  Cultural heritage and cultural heritage sites were very important and he also called for the preservation of local, traditional and indigenous knowledge.

DAVID GOVRIN ( Israel) said that scientific and technological progress had been a key driver of human and social development for centuries, and it had enabled radical transformations in the quality of life enjoyed by millions.  In its short history, Israel had proven the powers and benefits of science and innovation with its innumerable contributions.  In just 63 years, Israel had evolved from a fledgling agricultural society to a high-tech powerhouse, home to more start-up companies, producing more patents, and winning more Nobel Prizes in science per capita than any other country in the world.

In addition, 2011 had proved to be another year of great scientific accomplishments.  In September, Israel officially became a formal associate member of the Centre of European Nuclear Research, known as CERN, lending the country significant prestige in the global academic and research community.  Science and technology were inextricably linked to economic development, he continued.  One of the most effective means of eradicating poverty and spurring economic growth was through the new technologies.  Scientific research conducted in Israel had long served as a model for other countries, and offered great possibilities for cooperation in the developing world.  Israel was small, with a shortage of natural resources, and was forced over the years to confront problems such as water scarcity and desertification by developing sophisticated agricultural techniques.

He said that one example was TIPS:  Techno-Agricultural Innovation for Poverty Alleviation, which relied on simple and low-cost drip irrigation techniques that allowed farmers to produce crops year round.  Israel also made significant advancement in aquaculture over the past few years.  The Israeli private company Grow Fish Anywhere had found a new way to raise fish in the desert by developing an on-land environment where fish could be raised without having to exchange water or treat it chemically.  Experts from anywhere in the world could help apply science and technology.  But, if long-term goals were to be achieved, developing countries needed to build up their own capabilities.  For development cooperation to work, a focus on capacity-building, education and skills transfer was needed.

MARIANNE NUJOMA ( Namibia) said that although globalization offered new opportunities for economic growth and development, particularly in developing countries, the present “socio-economic mosaic” revealed a growing divide among nations and economic disparities among different groups within the same country.  She was of the view that gains from globalization had not been equally shared and were not reaching enough people.  Globalization had therefore contributed to a sense of insecurity in some countries.

Concerning the situation of middle-income countries, she said that for the first time, the General Assembly had recognized that those countries faced significant challenges in their efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals.  Although the Secretary-General’s report had attempted to identify middle-income countries by per capita income, that classification disregarded the diversity among and within them.  In a number of those countries, the high volatility of economic growth was an impediment to development.  Income inequality in middle-income countries also tended to be much higher than in higher-income countries and some low-income countries, she said.  The development cooperation system should therefore adjust and modify aid to meet specific needs at each stage, ensuring that those graduating from low- to middle-income did not regress.  Economic advancement of this middle-income group was an essential ingredient to regional stability.

Speaking of Africa in particular, she noted that a high percentage of those in middle-income countries living on less than $1.25 per day lived on the continent.  Development assistance to Africa should therefore be a priority.  In that respect, aid provided to the poorest countries should not divert attention from middle-income countries.  The effectiveness of aid, she reminded delegations, depended on giving the recipient country ownership of development strategies.  In her opinion, the best way to accelerate development in middle-income countries was to support their technology and research capacities; investments in infrastructure and energy were vital.  Recalling that several bilateral donors were downsizing or phasing out development assistance to middle-income countries, she called on the United Nations to strengthen its role in these places.

ADENIKE OSOBA ( Nigeria) said that while globalization could strengthen cooperation and accelerate growth and development, it also presented many risks and challenges.  National efforts, complemented by intensified international cooperation, were called for to manage the risk of marginalization and its challenges.  Developing countries, specifically, must take action based on unique social, political, economic and environmental conditions.  The United Nations had a critical role to play as well, in removing obstacles to mutual legal assistance, particularly with respect to asset recovery.

The United Nations was also required to promote and strengthen international cooperation and to foster coherence, coordination and implementation of the Internationally Agreed Development Goals.  Expressing support for the “Creative Africa Initiative”, he said globalization should strive to strengthen common values, boost local development and take into account the traditions, culture and identity of the people.  Speaking about the downfalls of globalization, he said that in recent years net capital flows had occurred from developing countries to developed countries as well as intensified financial crises with extreme boom and bust cycles.  With the increasing breakdown of trade barriers in developing countries, industrialized nations had sought to dump cheap manufactured goods, thus rendering the local industries inefficient and resulting in slow growth, low capacity utilization and low output.

On Nigeria’s domestic efforts, he said the country’s privatization policy was a driver of global economic integration.  Market and capital controls had been relaxed, encouraging foreign direct investment.  Nigeria was also participating in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  As a supporter of the Scientific and Technical Exchange Programme, Nigeria had also been a strong advocate of the need to exchange expertise in that field.  Globally, he said the number of middle-income economies had grown over the past decade, reshaping patterns of global production, trade, capital flows, technology and labour conditions.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank should therefore be commended for recognizing the larger weight of developing and transition economies in the world economy.

PRAKASH JAVADEKAR ( India) said that globalization had highlighted, especially through the impact of the financial crisis, that “we live in a world where we act together, succeed together and fail together”.  He said it was time to revisit the concept and its mechanisms for creating more opportunities with equity.  Liberalization needed to be accompanied by purposeful State intervention to empower the weak and enable them to benefit from growth and prosperity.  India had launched a variety of social protection regimes to achieve this at a national level and had achieved equitable as well as sustained growth, he said, adding that with the help of the United Nations, equity could be brought to the global order, too. 

He suggested that other ideas and systems needed rethinking, and wondered how the developing world, the least responsible for the financial crisis, had become its principle victim.  Therefore, the global governance system needed to change to make it democratic, accountable, transparent and legitimate.  Reform of frameworks and institutions of international cooperation was central to paving the way towards more equitable and sustainable growth.  Moreover, “the global economic and financial architecture, so overwhelmingly loaded against the developing world” needed urgent reform. 

He called for early implementation of the two-phase package of World Bank reforms to enhance the voice and participation of developing countries.  Enhanced resource support and policy space could help them to tackle poverty eradication.  He also called for agreement on the Doha Development Round, on climate change, and on the Bretton Woods Institutions.  He called for an end to the massive subsidies that were hampering agricultural policies of developing countries and noted the limitations of the current intellectual property rights regime which was keeping critical technologies in health and climate change inaccessible and unaffordable to developing countries.

JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said that as a so-called middle-income country, Uruguay faced challenges to diversification, innovation and the growth of renewable energy to bring about energy diversification and the implementation of measures to mitigate the effects of climate change.  Tackling the eradication of poverty required ongoing international efforts, especially from the United Nations, and those efforts were crucial to the development of long-term national strategies, he said, and building national institutional capacities in the public sector and combating HIV/AIDS were particularly important to Uruguay.

He underlined the importance of the United Nations to middle-income countries and Uruguay’s commitment to helping with reform.  It was a pilot country in the “Delivering as One” initiative.  It had carefully examined the role of the United Nations in the field and obtained good results, he said.  Graduation from the development programme posed a serious challenge, however, and was based on the use of the income per capita measurement of development which was inaccurate and inexact.  Graduation based only on income per capita could cause setbacks in eradicating poverty, he cautioned, urging the United Nations to take a holistic approach and adopt a new cooperation modality with more depth and which attended to the specific development needs of middle-income countries.

SAUL WEISLEDER ( Costa Rica), aligning his delegation’s statement with that made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the concepts conveyed by the statements made by Uruguay, dealing specifically with the challenges faced by middle-income countries, said the international community must make an effort to eradicate poverty.  That effort must be based on greater aid, more coordination and more harmonization.  The significant changes should go hand in hand to orient assistance in aid resources, which was targeted to poor countries.  Middle-income countries such as Costa Rica had seen a significant decrease in aid assistance and were very vulnerable to shocks because they were dependent on developed countries, he said.

There must be a careful analysis and discussion on the most effective modalities that would meet the most specific needs of middle-income countries, while respecting the leadership, ownership and uniqueness of that country.  The United Nations could provide support to middle-income countries, he said.  However, there was no one-size-fits-all approach; therefore, the need for adapting to the needs of specific countries was necessary.  That was more crucial than “slogans that are often repeated without purpose,” he said.  Although every country was first and foremost responsible for its own development, he called on the international development community to continue its assistance to middle-income countries.

JOSÉPHINE PATRICIA NTYAM-EHYA ( Gabon), aligning her statement with those made on behalf of the Group of 77 and of the Africa Group, said Gabon shared an interest in culture and development.  It was very important to invest in science and technology with the interest of developing the country.  A ministry dedicated to promoting science and technology as development tools has been established.

She said the Government is committed to promoting research in those fields and coming up with new technologies which are hoped to promote development in Gabon.  She said Gabon was committed to promoting awareness of non-communicable diseases through mobile phones.  With respect to gender, Gabon was focusing on science and technology research and education programmes that were open to both men and women.

FERNANDO FERNÁNDEZ-ARIAS MINUESA Spain) said that one of the main aspects of Spain’s development funding was geared towards linking culture and development.  Indeed, culture was fundamental to sustainable human development and therefore essential to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  On cooperation with middle-income countries, he said he was aware of the significant challenges those countries faced and agreed that income levels did not mean there were not pockets of poverty present.  Effective and adequate support was still necessary if they were to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. 

Middle-income countries also played a key role in development, especially through South-South and triangular cooperation, he continued.  They could become engines of growth and should continue to cooperate with other nations of their income level on technical assistance and technology sharing, among other areas.  He said the international community should avoid concentrating aid in any one area, either geographically or in terms of income.  If such resources were concentrated in least developed countries, middle-income countries could become “aid orphans”, with a “perverse incentive” to not develop and not eradicate poverty.

SARA LUNA ( Mexico) agreed with the recommendations in the report on interdependence and globalization.  Middle-income countries might well have been least affected by the financial crisis but their vulnerabilities should not be ignored.  Mexico would work through South-South and triangular cooperation schemes to continue obtaining assistance for middle-income countries.  They would promote national efforts in sustainable development and capacity-building which would be complementary to traditional forms of development aid.  Since United Nations programmes did not always correspond to the specific needs of middle-income countries, it was important to work together on South-South and triangular cooperation to fill the gaps.

JOSEPH MARIE FOUDA NDI ( Cameroon), aligning his statement with that made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the international community had not given middle-income countries the full attention they deserve.  The number of people living in poverty in middle-income countries had increased by 32 million since 1990, currently accounting for 70 per cent of the population worldwide, he said.

With less than five years left to reach the Millennium Development Goals, it looked unlikely that many countries would achieve them.  If nothing was done, he feared, some of those countries would be “downgraded” to low-income countries.  The United Nations must provide resources that were sufficient and predictable.  He said trade and other business transactions must be conducive to the unique economic environment in each country.  Promoting pro-youth programmes was also vital.  He said that Cameroon was promoting policies to make the country an emerging economy by 2035.

He said that measuring poverty by GDP no longer sufficed.  It would be a mistake to see middle-income countries as a homogenous group.  Specific indicators should guide the international community when coming up with ways to approach middle-income countries.  Lastly, he said the sharing of knowledge, experience and technology was very important in South-South cooperation.  This was an area where the United Nations could play a significant role.

MILAN MILANOVIĆ ( Serbia) said the continued upheavals and protests around the world were rooted in underdevelopment, stalled democratic processes, economic and social difficulties, and in the widening gap between the rich and the poor.  He stressed that basing on criteria such as per capita income to measure development did not always reflect the actual particularities and development needs of middle-income countries.  He said Serbia sought to overcome the current economic and financial crisis which threatened to undermine the development results reached so far by promoting regional cooperation.

He said that the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) provided the most important framework of cooperation in this regard.  A full liberalization of trade in industrial goods and, to a large extent, in agricultural products, had been carried out.  However, due to the economic and financial crisis, Serbia, like many countries in the region, was registering a high rate of unemployment.  He said the growth of the country was based on the inflow of direct investments and loans, which accounted for an increase in credit indebtedness.  Lastly, he said that the recent decision of the European Commission to recommend that Serbia be granted status as European Union candidate country was very important.  Serbia also expected to become a member of the WTO, which he said would be another important step towards improving the country’s business environment.

ALI KURER ( Libya) said that although some believed that globalization provided for the sharing of ideas and goods, it was the “manifestation of evil and greed” as it had increased inequalities between countries.  Globalization had impacted economic instability and as such, he called for a fair and coherent international trade policy that would ensure stability and equity.  It was important to enable countries to restructure their economies to establish strong and vigorous institutions and encourage those that depended on just one sector to diversify.  He said that privatization and market policies alone did not address the needs of people.

The international economic and financial system required reform, he continued.  Many developed countries were finding it difficult to serve their markets and live up to their commitments.  It was very important to achieve full security, combat disease and transfer technology to close the technological gap developing countries faced.  Climate change, desertification and access to water were also important issues that needed to be addressed.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica) said the designation of “middle-income country” could be regarded as a double-edged sword; while the classification recognized progress a country had made in drawing closer to achieving some of the internationally agreed development goals, it also masked some real and pressing challenges.  Countries classified as middle-income varied, encompassing those that were realizing rapid economic growth, as well as much smaller economies upended by the confluence of crises occurring over the last three years.  Despite the differences among them, he said, it was imperative to acknowledge that large numbers of the world’s poorest people lived in middle-income countries.  Those countries should not be pushed into the margins of the development agenda.  The United Nations had bolstered the efforts of the Jamaican Government and others in the region to advance their development programmes in the face of great fiscal constraints.

He said CARICOM States were characterized by socio-economic inequalities, persistent poverty and heavy dependence on commodity exports.  Their challenges were compounded by their status as Small Island Developing States, making them acutely vulnerable to environmental challenges and “exogenous shocks unleashed by the global financial crisis”.  Those States’ most pressing challenges were their curtailed access to concessionary financing and debt alleviation; several were the most indebted nations in the world.  That situation had undermined the quality of public services those Governments were able to provide and would constrain their ability to attain development goals.

In that respect, he called for harmonization of the criteria used to classify countries as “middle-income” and to determine resource allocation to them.  He also pressed for a more systematic approach that would provide middle-income developing countries with greater access to concessionary financing.  The international community and international financial institutions in particular should move towards the provision of debt relief and concessionary grants and loans to middle-income countries.  Additionally, those entities should consider the peculiar confluence of vulnerabilities faced by the Caribbean region.

ELYES LAKHAL ( Tunisia) said that economic interdependence had had different impacts around the world.  Some nations had benefited, but some, particularly the least developed countries, had found themselves more vulnerable to shocks and increased inequality.  Youth unemployment in North Africa was high, and in Tunisia was 31 per cent, he said, adding that social injustice had exacerbated its impact, making unemployment one of the main causes of the Tunisian revolution earlier this year.  He called for an international environment geared towards equitable and sustainable growth, with more decision-making placed in the hands of developing countries.  He agreed with the call for strengthened cooperation on migration, particularly on migration and remittances, which affected Tunisia. 

He urged respect of cultural traditions in development, saying that while Tunisia remained attached to its cultural identity, it remained open to other cultures in a complementary spirit.  He supported holding a conference on the qualitative and quantitative benefits of culture, urging the international community to support such an initiative.  Culture needed to be further integrated into programmes, particularly United Nations development frameworks.  He said science and technology played a large role in development, and access for developing countries to technology and expertise was vital.  Sustainable development required mechanisms to bridge the technical and digital divide between countries.  Technical cooperation activities should help develop national innovation, he said.

MARCELO SUÁREZ SALVIA (Argentina), speaking in his national capacity while endorsing the statement made earlier on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, believed that technology was crucial to development.  The report before the Committee on that issue, he said, included aspects that were fundamental to Argentina, all countries in Latin America and all middle-income countries around the world.  The report’s observations were particularly relevant to countries that faced market volatility, poverty and inequality.

He stressed the importance of addressing income inequality, and added that it was difficult to evaluate the situation faced by middle-income countries by one indicator.  He urged the international community find alternatives to diagnose poverty and not just rely on GNI per capita because it did need to take into account each country’s multidimensional nature.  “We should think about reasonable representation that would explain the paradoxical nature currently found in middle-income countries,” he said, adding that such changes must be made sooner rather than later to prevent further development regression.

MOHAMED HAMZA (United Republic of Tanzania) noted that due to the continuing global economic crisis, any development progress made in the past 10 years had been reversed and poor countries were now being pushed into extreme poverty.  In Africa, globalization had not produced anticipated benefits and expectations of new opportunities were “fading”.  Globalization was also threatening internationally agreed development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals.  The impact of the open global economy and the meltdown of major banks, unethical commodity speculation and capital flight, among other ills, would suggest that if “untamed”, globalization would not create success, but rather create havoc in the global economy.

Continuing, he called for a focus on globalization’s “social dimension”, which would encompass jobs, and health and education, not as by-products of the global economy, but, instead, as “key objectives” to be front-loaded in the globalization process.  In Africa, despite debt relief, external debt was still at unsustainable levels and was a symptom of serious problems.  Economies were not growing fast enough to both meet the priority expenditures for poverty reduction and generate the needed surplus to service debt.  In this regard, he said that funding for growth and poverty reduction should be non-debt-creating.  He concluded by saying that every cent generated internally needed to be directed towards growth and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, not to servicing external debt.  The present situation was not particularly supportive of Africa’s desire to develop through trade and that, although, in theory, an open market economy was better than a closed one, the liberal economic model would need to “translate into a better life for our people”.

FRANCIS ASSISI CHULLIKATT, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said economic transactions should be governed by principles of human dignity and justice and that existing disparities could not be allowed to widen even further.  Priority must also be given to providing access to employment, he said, adding that an economic logic underpinned that view, as shown by the Arab Spring, which stemmed from continued inequity and lack of access to opportunities.  He said that global stability could similarly be eroded by acute poverty differences between regions.

He said a tendency towards short-term business perspectives ran the risk of incurring high human costs in the pursuit of profit.  Lowering the level of workers’ rights or abandoning wealth distribution could have detrimental effects on countries’ social fabric.  Continuous attention needed to be paid to the model of development being pursued, he said, in particular to the human impact of the model.  He called for brotherhood and friendship among individuals and peoples, and said economic and commercial relationships needed to be infused with the principle of gratuitousness.

AMBER BARTH, New York Office of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that in a world in which nearly 40 per cent of the labour force and the families they supported were living on less than $2 per day, the advantages of globalization were “too distant and the risks all too real.”  The world needed a more efficient, job-intensive growth model.  Success could no longer be measured in terms of economic growth alone, she said, stressing that a pro-employment macroeconomic framework was needed, which set explicit quantitative employment targets at national and international levels.

Policies that created jobs and produced real growth, real demand, provided basic social protection and generated fiscal income to finance development goals should be pursued.  “We can no longer allow a financial market driven by profits to overshadow the development needs of the real economy,” she said.  Policies such as those contained in the Global Jobs Pact, which targeted productive investments in job-generating sustainable enterprises and which placed people at the centre of development, must be expanded.  She said building a fairer and more inclusive globalization must become a worldwide priority.  The ILO had a wealth of distinctive experience and knowledge in the areas of employment and decent work, and stood ready to partner with Member States, United Nations agencies as well as international and regional organizations in a new area of growth, development and social justice, she concluded.

Next, GEORGE B. ASSAF, Director and Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), introduced the agenda item on Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence saying that globalization was both a major challenge and opportunity.  It had been propelled by major advances in technology and had led to the increasing integration of global markets.  Despite some challenges, that trend had strengthened North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

Access to external markets had become crucial for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.  For countries with small domestic economies, effective integration into regional and global markets held the promise of greatly expanded demand for their manufactured goods.  More importantly, integration into such markets could help job creation and income generation.  He said the report of the Secretary-General on the subject recognized the vital importance of diversification of production and exports and structural change for building up resilient economies.  The clear message was that developing countries must diversify, “move up the value chain” and produce more medium- to high-technology manufactured exports to be competitive and take advantage of trade, he said.

The global challenges of today underscored the need for strengthened international cooperation across a range of issues that could not be adequately addressed unilaterally.  The United Nations system was in a unique position to provide Member States with a global forum for strengthening international cooperation for fairer and more equitable globalization in line with national development priorities.

JOSE DALLO, of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that the agency had recognized the cultural element of development in a 2004 report, recommending multicultural policies that acknowledged differences and diversity, so that multilateral policies could be discussed in the country’s local language.  He said that strategies needed to go beyond incremental changes.  The Millennium Development Goals Fund, which included provisions regarding cultural development, considered the links between culture and development and as such, had contributed to concrete results on the subject in various countries.  He said that the Fund also collected examples of good practices in cultural development.

NEJMA CHEIKH, of the World Bank Office in New York, said that cultural considerations were part of an increasing number of projects in, among others, urban development, promoting rehabilitation of historic cities and sites, local economic development, social development, ensuring social cohesion among diverse social groups, integrating indigenous peoples, minorities and migrants, and sustainable tourism development.  Between 2000 and 2009, the World Bank had invested $4 billion in projects with cultural dimensions, the majority of which were urban development projects.  The Bank had also provided assistance to Governments in developing countries, including analytical work and technical assistance to assess institutional frameworks and improve effectiveness of agencies responsible for management of cultural assets, as well as research work on cultural economics and threats to cultural heritage caused from natural hazards and climate change.

KAZI RAHMAN, Deputy Special Representative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said that tourism was a powerful tool for sustainable development, both in developed and developing countries.  Indeed, it promoted poverty eradication, economic growth and human enrichment.  Tourism had emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors, even in the least developed countries.  Last year alone $919 billion dollars had been generated from the tourism industry, he said.

Tourism would continue to grow in the forthcoming decade but more moderately than compared to the last decade.  An average of 43 million additional tourists would join the tourism market each year.  The growing importance of tourism in national economies underscored the importance of sustainable development.  He said the UNWTO was prepared to fully cooperate in the convening of a culture and development conference, should the United Nations decide to hold one.

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