|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
39th Meeting (PM)
Second Committee Approves Six Draft Resolutions by Consensus as Group of 77
‘Profoundly Regrets’ Passage of ‘Procedural’ Middle-Income Countries Text
The General Assembly would stress the importance of continuing to consider the issue of development cooperation with middle-income countries, according to one of six draft resolutions that the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved by consensus today.
However, Argentina’s representative expressed, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, her profound regret that the text was “procedural and not substantive”, saying she was strongly concerned about the message that the international community was sending. “Seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor population live in middle-income countries,” she pointed out, adding that those countries still faced huge challenges, including the high risk of debt distress due to the global economic crisis.
Describing current approaches to diagnosing and reducing poverty as “partial”, she said they emphasized certain dimensions of development to the detriment of others, and stressed that the international community, particularly the United Nations, must continue supporting effort by middle-income countries to realize sustainable development. They were a special category of developing countries that shared unequal income distribution in common, she said.
Mexico’s representative agreed fully, citing the failure to reach consensus on a substantive text and emphasizing that most Latin American countries shared the challenges of inequality — socially, economically and in terms of wealth. Investing in middle-income countries should not be seen as part of a competition for resources, but as an opportunity to build synergies, she said.
Continuing its action on draft resolutions under its “globalization and interdependence” cluster, the Committee then approved a text on culture and development. By its terms, the General Assembly would emphasize the important contribution of culture to realizing sustainable development and national development objectives, as well as internationally agreed targets, including the Millennium Development Goals. It would also recognize that culture contributed to the development of people’s innovative creative capacities and was an important component of modernization and innovations in economic and social life.
The Committee then took up a draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence. By that text, the General Assembly would recognize that the increasing interdependence of national economies in a globalizing world, and the emergence of rule-based regimes in international economic relations, meant that the space for national economic policy was often framed by international disciplines and global markets. It would also reaffirm the need for the United Nations to play a fundamental role in promoting international cooperation for development, and in strengthening coordination within the United Nations system in close cooperation with multilateral financial, trade and development institutions in order to support sustained economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Under its cluster on macroeconomic policy questions, the Committee approved, again without a vote, a draft resolution on international trade and development. By its terms, the General Assembly would emphasize the need to resist protectionist tendencies and to rectify any trade-distorting measures already taken that were inconsistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. It would express serious concern at the lack of progress in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, while reiterating calls for the flexibility and political will to break the current impasse in the talks, and calling for a balanced and development-oriented outcome of the Doha Development Agenda. The Assembly would, by other terms, stress the need to remove restrictions on food exports and extraordinary taxes on food purchased by the WFP for non-commercial, humanitarian purposes, and not to impose them in future.
The Committee then turned to its sustainable development cluster, taking up a draft resolution headed “Harmony with Nature” that would have the General Assembly request its President to convene an interactive dialogue on International Mother Earth Day to discuss scientific findings on how human activities were affecting the Earth’s ecosystem. It would also request the Secretary-General establish a trust fund for the participation of independent experts in that dialogue.
Prior to the approval of that text, Bolivia’s representative said its main objective was to maintain an alternative dialogue on development and the relationship between human beings and nature under the umbrella of sustainable development.
In other business, the Committee approved a resolution on the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). That text would have the General Assembly decide to convene, in 2016, a third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. The Assembly would, by other terms, stress the importance of timely action by UN-Habitat in response to natural and human-made disasters, in particular through its work in addressing post-disaster and post-conflict housing and infrastructure needs.
Also speaking today were representatives of Morocco, Belarus, Senegal, South Africa and Turkey.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Friday, 9 December, when it is expected to take action on all outstanding draft resolutions.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on outstanding draft resolutions relating to macroeconomic policy questions, sustainable development, and globalization and interdependence.
Action on Draft Resolutions
PHILIPPE DONCKEL ( Luxembourg), Committee Vice-Chair, called attention to the macroeconomic policy questions cluster of its agenda, taking up the draft resolution on International trade and development (document A/C.2/66/L.76).
After the representative of Belarus proposed some oral amendments, the Committee approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.39.
The representative of Morocco said he was delighted at the consensus adoption and thanked the Group of 77 and China, as well as the representative of Belarus for their support in bringing about convergence. The constructive engagement had brought about consensus, he said, underlining that protectionism could exacerbate the global economic crisis. Pointing out that World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations remained at an impasse, he said he looked forward to consensus on the Doha Round soon.
Reverting to the draft resolution titled “Addressing excessive food volatility in food and related financial and commodity markets” (document A/C.2/66/L.72), which it had been approved during its last meeting, the Committee heard a statement by its Secretary, confirming that the text had no programme budget implications.
Turning to its sustainable development cluster, the Committee took up the draft resolution on Harmony with nature (document A/C.2/66/L.42/Rev.1), waiving the relevant provision of Rule 120of the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, since the text had only been circulated this morning. The Secretary of the Committee read out a statement saying that no additional programme budget implications would result from the draft resolution.
The representative of Bolivia proposed two amendments and said she was pleased that the negotiations had led to a draft resolution that allowed an alternative dialogue on development. Its most important achievement was enabling the General Assembly to discuss the changes in the earth’s ecosystem with the scientific community, she added.
Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the text, as orally corrected.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution on I mplementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) (document A/C.2/66/L.75).
The Secretary read out a statement of programme budget implications potentially arising in the 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 biennia, saying an answer would be possible once conference-servicing requirements were known, at the end of 2012. She noted that the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was the appropriate body for dealing with such matters.
The representative of Mexico, facilitator of negotiations on the draft, stressed that it provided an opportunity to think about sustainable urbanization ahead of the “ Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and to initiate the process of organizing a Habitat III Conference. The draft sketched the elements of an innovative preparatory process, he added.
The Committee then approved the text without a vote, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.36.
Following that action, the representative of Turkey said he looked forward to hosting Habitat III in 2016 and to working with all Member States on the Conference.
The Committee then turned to its “Globalization and interdependence” cluster, taking up three draft resolutions and waiving the relevant provision of the Rules of Procedure, since all three had only been circulated this morning.
As the Committee took up the first text, on Culture and development (document A/C.2/66/L.77), the representative of Senegal, speaking as facilitator, proposed some oral corrections.
The Committee then approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.13.
Taking up the draft resolution on the Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/C.2/66/L.74), the Committee heard the representative of South Africa thank participants in the negotiations for the positive spirit of the discussions, before the Committee approved the text without a vote, withdrawing the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.23.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution on Development cooperation with middle-income countries (document A/C.2/66/L.78).
The representative of Argentina noted that that tolerance and understanding had been very important in understanding the many differing points of view during the negotiations.
The Committee, acting again without a vote, approved the text and withdrew document the draft contained in document A/C.2/66/L.18.
Following that action, the representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said she profoundly regretted that the draft resolution was procedural and not substantive, and expressed concern about the message that the international community was sending. Pointing out that middle-income countries still faced huge challenges, she and noted with deep concern the high debt and high risk of debt distress that they faced due to the global economic crisis, and stressed that the international community, particularly the United Nations, must continue supporting their efforts to realize sustainable development. Middle-income countries were a special category of developing countries, with which they shared an inequality in income distribution, she said, adding that the consequent creation of social and economic distortions was a very significant characteristic. Current approaches to diagnosing and reducing poverty were currently only “partial”, she said, noting that they emphasized certain dimensions of development to the detriment of others. That resulted in a distorted view of the real situation of middle-income countries, she added.
The representative of Mexico said she agreed fully with her Argentine counterpart and lamented the failure to reach consensus on a substantive resolution. It was essential to underscore that progress in middle-income countries would have important multiplier effects, not least in boosting South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, she emphasized, adding that the criteria for classifying developing countries did not reflect the heterogeneity of middle-income countries. Most Latin American countries shared the challenges of inequality, socially, economically and in terms of wealth distribution, she pointed out, stressing that investment in middle-income countries should not be seen as part of a competition for resources, but as an opportunity to build synergies.
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