Acting Without Votes, Second Committee Approves 3 Draft Resolutions, Programme of Work as Session Concludes

9 December 2011
GA/EF/3332

Acting Without Votes, Second Committee Approves 3 Draft Resolutions, Programme of Work as Session Concludes

9 December 2011
General Assembly
GA/EF/3332
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

40th Meeting (PM)

Acting Without Votes, Second Committee Approves 3 Draft Resolutions,

Programme of Work as Session Concludes

 

Concluding its session today, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved three draft resolutions, including one on information and communications technology for development, by which the General Assembly would stress that the development promise of science and technology remained unfilled for the majority of the poor.

Emphasizing the need to bridge the digital divide, the Assembly would stress the role of Governments in the designing national public policies and providing public services through the effective use of information and communications technology.  It would also recognize the immense potential of information and communications technology in promoting the transfer of technology across a broad spectrum of socio-economic activity.

Speaking after the draft was approved without a vote, the representative of the United States said discussions on Internet governance and policymaking must include the full range of stakeholders.  It was important that the text remain tightly focused on bridging the digital divide in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Poland’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed that it more important than ever to use resources effectively and efficiently, applying the same rigour applied in national budgets to the work of the United Nations.

The Committee also approved a draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development”, which would have the General Assembly stress the essential role of official development assistance (ODA) in complementing, leveraging and sustaining financing for development.  It would also stress the need to strengthen South-South cooperation, while emphasizing that it was not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation.

Poland’s representative, once again speaking on behalf of the European Union, emphasized the bloc’s continued commitment to the Monterrey Consensus, to poverty eradication and to sustainable development.  The European Union remained committed to allocating 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to ODA, she said, underlining the importance of aid effectiveness and improved accountability.  In the current economic uncertainty, it was important to create partnerships with the private sector in order to achieve sustainable development progress, she added.

The Committee also decided that a draft resolution titled “Developmental benefits of biodiversity” would be kept open so that informal consultations on the text could continue during 2012.  By its terms, the General Assembly would have Members States improve their cooperation in the area of technology transfer and capacity-building for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

In other business, the Committee also approved its draft programme of work.

Following that action, New Zealand’s the representative, speaking on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), said she was disappointed that there had been no discussion of the Committee’s working methods, especially since its work had gone two weeks past its scheduled closing.  It was important to have such a discussion, she said, proposing a number of initiatives that the Committee could take to improve and quicken its productivity, including the submission of draft resolutions on time and refraining from leaving items open.

Also speaking today were representatives of Belgium, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Belarus and Cuba.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on outstanding draft resolutions relating to information and communications technology for development, follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference, sustainable development, revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, and programme planning.

Action on Draft Resolutions

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), Committee Chair, called attention to the first draft resolution, on Information and communications technology for development (document A/C.2/66/L.80) and citedthe relevant provision of Rule 120 of the General Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, since the text had only been circulated this morning.

The Committee Secretary then read out a statement outlining the draft resolution’sprogramme budget implications, saying that the support provided for the one-day meeting was estimated at $61,300, for which provision had not been made in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.  She said the Secretary-General would make every effort possible to implement the resolution from within existing resources.

The Committee then approved the text without a vote.

The representative of the United States said she had joined the consensus while continuing to believe that Internet governance discussions and policymaking must include the full range of stakeholders, a position that enjoyed wide consensus.  The Committee’s invitation to the Commission for Science and Technology for Development for a one-day meeting was another opportunity for Member States to engage in enhanced cooperation, as set forth by the Tunis Agenda, she said.  Urging that the draft resolution remain tightly focused on bridging the digital divide as part of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, she expressed concern over its budgetary implications, saying the one-day meeting in Geneva must be financed through existing resources in recognition of the constrained budgetary environment in which United Nations currently operated.

The representative of Poland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, while she had joined the consensus, it was more important than ever to use resources effectively and efficiently, applying the same rigour applied in national budgets to the work of the United Nations.

The Committee then took up a text on Follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development (document A/C.2/66/L.79), which, the Secretary said, had no programme budget implications.

The representatives of Mexico and Ecuador proposed some oral corrections.

The Committee then adopted the draft, as orally corrected.

The representative of Poland spoke in explanation of position, saying on behalf of the European Union that the bloc remained committed to the Monterrey Consensus, to poverty eradication and to sustainable development.  It was the biggest supporter of developing countries in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, and remained committed to donating 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to official development assistance (ODA).  Underlining the importance of aid effectiveness and improved accountability, she said the recent Busan Conference had created new partnerships with the private sector, providing a basis for sustained cooperation for real results.  It had marked a shift from aid effectiveness to aid and development effectiveness, she noted, expressing hope that the debate would move forward to ensure the United Nations remained influential on the subject.

Concluding its consideration of its agenda item on Sustainable Development, the Committee then took up a draft entitled Developmental benefits of biodiversity (document A/C.2/66/L.32) and the Chair said that the representative of Peru had requested the matter be kept open so that informal consultations could continue in 2012.

The Committee then considered Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.  The Chair said the Committee would act on the tentative programme of work for its next session (document A/C.2/66/L.81).  The Secretary then pointed out a correction to the text.

The representative of Cuba thanked the Secretariat for the information and the clarifications, adding that he understood that some resolutions were planned under the sub-item of item 6 on the agenda.

The Secretary then responded, pointingout that the sub-item would be biennialized, but that the item on globalization would continue to be taken up annually.

The representative of the European Union echoed statements made by the Swiss and United States during the General Assembly Plenary last Thursday.  He welcomed the modest improvements to working methods, saying many resolutions remained procedural and hoping that would be replicated in the run-up to future major conferences.

He regretted the failure to adopt decisions under item 121, saying work was needed to improve the Committee’s work.  He also regretted the lack of progress on implementing biennialization, triennialization, clustering and elimination of items.  He said streamlining of the agenda and improvements to the working methods of the Committee still needed consideration.

The Committee then adopted the draft programme of work.

The Chair then spoke on working methods, saying he would address the Ad Hoc Working Group next year when requested to brief them on discussions on working methods.  He said he welcomed the inputs of delegations on the subjects.

The representative of New Zealand then spoke on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), saying she was pleased to finish, but disappointed that there was no discussion of working methods.  There had been time to do so, but it had not happened and she hoped such discussion would take place, especially given the Committee’s work had overrun by two weeks.  She hoped resolutions would be streamlined and that repeatedly used text would be removed from drafts.

She proposed a macroeconomic omnibus resolution and said delegates should submit drafts on time and not leave items open.  She said drafts should also identify any new text contained within them, and identified their sources.  It would be easy to implement this, she said, and it would reduce time spent on introductory meetings and explaining changes.  With the expansion of the Committee’s agenda, some resolutions should be considered for elimination, biennialization, triennialization and clustering.  QuickPlace was useful for disseminating draft proposals, she said, recommending institution of a paperless Second Committee (Economic and Financial) in the next session, particularly given the Committee’s responsibility for sustainable development issues.

The representative of the United States then said he was closely aligned with the European Union and New Zealand.  Biennialization and triennialization were two ways to allow deeper delving into the resolutions before the Committee.  Careful consideration needed to be given to the question of whether resolutions needed to be looked at in both the Economic and Social Council and the Second Committee.  After complaining about duplication, he noted the difficulties faced in booking rooms for informal consultations, saying this had contributed to the failure to meet the deadline, and hoping for an earlier start on matters in the next session.

The Chair then moved to take up item 135, saying that as no actions were required under it, action had been taken on all draft proposals and the work of the Second Committee was complete.

Closing Remarks

Mr. MOMEN ( Bangladesh), Committee Chair, said the Committee’s effectiveness was an important determinant of the fulfilment of the United Nations development agenda.  The Committee held its deliberations in the context of the ongoing impact of the global financial crisis, and in a time when the global economic and financial system was in a precarious phase of uncertainty.  That had created a challenging backdrop to its work, he noted.

He then summarized the various texts approved, saying that under the macroeconomic policy cluster, the Committee had confirmed the resolve to put the global and financial economic crisis in perspective and provided information on policies to address its continuing fallout.  One of the important results this year was the substantially improved and more streamlined draft resolutions on external debt sustainability and development, commodities and financing for development, he said, noting that the Committee had been able to approve a text on trade without a vote, breaking an eight-year streak of recorded votes.

A new item had been added to the Committee’s agenda, “People’s empowerment and a peace-centric development model”, which recognized that development, peace and security, and human rights were interlinked and mutually reinforcing.  Also, for the first time this year, the Committee had co-hosted, with the Economic and Social Council, two high-level joint events, one of which had featured Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz discussing the world economic situation and the sovereign debt crisis.  The Committee had also given a strong signal to the Seventeenth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development through its agreement on a cluster of issues under the sustainable development cluster.  The Committee had approved a total of 46 draft resolutions, he said in conclusion.

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