Second Committee Approves Draft Resolution Urging Coral Reef Protection as Members Take Consensus Action to Pass 12 Texts, Including 7 on Sustainable Development

22 November 2011
GA/EF/3328

Second Committee Approves Draft Resolution Urging Coral Reef Protection as Members Take Consensus Action to Pass 12 Texts, Including 7 on Sustainable Development

22 November 2011
General Assembly
GA/EF/3328
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

36th Meeting (PM)

Second Committee Approves Draft Resolution Urging Coral Reef Protection as Members

Take Consensus Action to Pass 12 Texts, Including 7 on Sustainable Development

The General Assembly would urge States and international organizations to protect coral reefs and related ecosystems while implementing integrated and comprehensive approaches to their management, according to one of 12 texts approved without a vote in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.

By other terms of the draft resolution titled “Protection of coral reefs for sustainable livelihoods and development”, the Assembly would further urge States to identify relevant measures or tools for the national protection of reefs as an urgent sustainable development priority, while integrating those measures and tools into broader sustainable development strategies.  The text would also have the Assembly stress the need for improving understanding of the benefits of coral reefs in order to develop and enhance measures to protect reefs and strengthen the ability of coastal communities to adapt to environmental changes and coral reef degradation.

Following the Committee’s action, Turkey’s representative said he had joined the consensus because the draft resolution addressed important issues relating to the sustainable use of marine life, but the Turkish delegation disassociated itself from parts of the text.

The Committee went on to approve a draft titled “Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind”, by which the Assembly would underscore the importance of an ambitious, substantive, holistic and balanced outcome of ongoing negotiations in the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Following a statement by the Committee Secretary outlining the programme budget implications of the draft, the representative of the United States said that although she had joined the consensus, the United Nations regular budget should not be used to subsidize independent and self‑sustaining treaty bodies and conventions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

By another draft resolution, the Assembly would stress the importance of continued substantive consideration of the issue of biological diversity.  It would note with appreciation the offer by the Government of India to host the eleventh meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Under the terms of a draft resolution on sustainable mountain development, the Assembly would express deep concern at the number and scale of natural disasters and their increasing impact in recent years, which had had particularly negative consequences in mountain regions of developing countries.  It would urge the international community to take concrete steps in support of national and regional efforts to ensure the sustainable development of mountain regions.  By other terms, the Assembly would call on Governments to study the specific concerns of mountain communities, with a view to promoting sustainable mountain development, paying particular attention to the adverse impacts of climate change on mountain environments and to biological diversity.

According to a draft resolution titled “Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its twenty‑sixth session”, the Assembly would stress the importance of continued substantive consideration of that body’s work.

Under its agenda item on globalization and interdependence, the Committee took action on a text titled “Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions”.  By its terms, the General Assembly would encourage Member States and relevant United Nations institutions to continue and intensify their cooperation with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions in order to promote good governance by ensuring efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency through strengthened supreme audit institutions.

A draft resolution titled “Operational activities for development of the United Nations system” would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance of the comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development, through which the Assembly establishes key system‑wide policy orientations for development cooperation and country‑level modalities of the United Nations system.

Further by the text, it would recognize the importance of strengthening strategies for United Nations operational activities for development, in order to contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, especially in least developed and other developing countries lagging behind in meeting those targets.

The Committee also approved two draft resolutions under its agenda item on agriculture development and food security, the first being a text by which the Assembly would decide to declare 2013 the “International Year of Quinoa”.  It would also stress that any activities arising from implementation of the draft resolution should be met through extrabudgetary resources, while also calling upon Governments and relevant organizations to support the Year, including through voluntary contributions.  The second text would have the Assembly decide to proclaim 2014 the “International Year of Family Farming”, and encourage Member States to undertake activities within their respective national development programmes in support of the Year.

By a draft resolution titled “People’s empowerment and a peace‑centric development model”, the Assembly would note the proposal by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh as well as the offer by that country’s Government’s to convene an international conference on people’s empowerment and development during the first half of 2012 with a view to seeking the views of Member States on the subject.

The Committee also approved two draft decisions on “Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development”.  By the first, titled “Contribution of the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development”, the Assembly would endorse the Ministerial Declaration of the High‑level Segment of the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests and transmit it as a contribution of the Forum to the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.  By the second draft decision, the Assembly would decide on arrangements for accreditation and participation in the preparatory process for the Conference by relevant non‑governmental organizations and other major groups.

As the meeting concluded the Chairperson announced that the President of the General Assembly had granted the Second Committee a one‑time extension, meaning that it would need to conclude its work on all outstanding proposals by 2 December.

Others speaking during the meeting were representatives of Argentina (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa and Suriname.

The Second Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 30 November, when it is expected to take action on all outstanding draft resolutions.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on draft resolutions relating to sustainable development, globalization and interdependence, operational activities for development, agriculture development and food security, and people’s empowerment and a peace‑centric development model.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee first took up two draft decisions on the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  It approved, without a vote, the first draft, “Contribution of the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/66/L.52).  It then approved, also without a vote, the second draft decision, on Arrangements for accreditation and participation in the preparatory process and in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development of relevant non‑governmental organizations and other major groups (document A/C.2/66/L.53).

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind, waiving the relevant provision of rule 120 of the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure since the text had been circulated only this morning.

The Committee Secretary then read out a statement in accordance with rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure, saying that the Assembly requested the Secretary‑General to make provisions in his proposal for the programme budget for the Conference of Parties to the Climate Change Convention, to be held for two weeks next year in Bonn, Germany.  She said approval of the text would not entail any additional requirements to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012‑2013, on the understanding that the Secretariat covered the travel costs if meetings were to be held outside Bonn.  Any additional meetings not included in the calendar should be funded through extrabudgetary resources.

The representative of Singapore thanked the Committee for its constructive work to achieve that outcome.

The representative of the United States said that while she was pleased to have joined the consensus, the United Nations regular budget should not be used to subsidize independent and self‑sustaining treaty bodies such as the Climate Change Convention.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution, withdrawing the text contained in document A/C.2/66/L.28.

As the Committee took up the draft resolution Convention on Biological Diversity (documents A/C.2/66/L.55), the representative of Malaysia thanked all Member States for their constructive negotiations, before they approved the text without a vote, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.29.

The Committee then took up the draft Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its twenty‑sixth session (document A/C.2/66/L.57), which, having been circulated only this morning would not be subject to rule 120 of the Rules of Procedure.  The Committee approved that text without a vote, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.45.

Similarly, the draft resolution on Sustainable mountain development (document A/C.2/66/L.33/Rev.1) had only been circulated this morning, the Committee waived rule 120 from the Rules of Procedure, approving the text without a vote.

The representative of Peru thanked the Committee for demonstrating constructive engagement and a spirit of compromise.

As the Committee took up the draft resolution Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions (document A/C.2/66/L.16/Rev.1), the representative of Austria said that building strong institutions played a critical role in helping to promote productive government.  Austria was heartened that so many delegates had supported the draft resolution, he said, as the Committee adopted it without a vote.

Following that action, the representative of South Africa said that supreme audit institutions played a pivotal role in strengthening the public sector and promoting the principles of good governance.  Government auditors must ensure transparency and prevent corruption, in line with United Nations objectives.

As the Committee then took up the draft resolution Operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document A/C.2/66/L.54), the representative of Nigeria said it was a product of consensus and thanked the Group of 77 and China, the European Union and the Secretariat.  The Committee approved the text without a vote, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.6.

The representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that even though he had wished to add some paragraphs to the text, it had been more important to approve it.  He strongly reiterated that while the principles attached to good governance should be universal and voluntary in nature, there was no one‑size‑fits‑all approach.  He also expressed concern about the growing imbalance between core and non‑core activities within the United Nations.

As the Committee took up agriculture development and food security, the representative of Bolivia submitted the draft on the International Day of Quinoa, 2013” (document A/C.2/66/L.19/Rev.1), saying his country had followed United Nations protocol in producing a report that described quinoa as a food staple that was not only of benefit to the producer and consumer, but that could also be a fundamental tool for combating poverty worldwide.

As the Committee waived rule 120, the text having only been circulated this morning, the Committee approved it without a vote.

It then took up the draft resolution International Year of Family Farming, 2014 (document A/C.2/66/L.19/Rev.1.) as the Chair said rule 120 must be waived as the text had only been circulated this morning.

Having submitted the draft, the representative of the Philippines, pointed out a slight error in the Spanish‑language version and requested a revision.

The Committee then approved the text without a vote, saying the necessary change would be made.

It then took up the draft resolution People’s empowerment and development (document A/C.2/66/L.56) as the representative of Luxembourg thanked his counterpart from Indonesia for his involvement in the negotiations.

The Committee then approved the text without a vote, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.40.

Finally, the Committee took up the draft Protection of coral reefs for sustainable livelihoods and development (document A/C.2/66/L.38/Rev.1), approving it without a vote, as the representative of Australia, on behalf of the Pacific Island Developing States Group, thanked the delegations that had been involved in the negotiations, specifically that of the Bahamas.

The representative of Turkey said he had joined the consensus on the draft as it addressed important issues relating to the sustainable use of marine life, but had disassociated his delegation from parts of the text.

* *** *

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