Ten Draft Resolutions Approved as Second Committee Concludes Its Session

11 December 2013
GA/EF/3392

Ten Draft Resolutions Approved as Second Committee Concludes Its Session

11 December 2013
General Assembly
GA/EF/3392
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Second Committee

41st Meeting (PM)

Ten Draft Resolutions Approved as Second Committee Concludes Its Session

 

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) concluded its work today as it approved 10 draft resolutions that will soon go before the General Assembly.

In today’s proceedings, the Committee approved a draft text titled “Information and communications technologies for development”, by which terms the Assembly would stress that in spite of recent progress, there remained a growing digital divide between countries in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information and communications technologies and access to broadband.  The text would stress the need to close that divide and stressed that for the majority of the poor, the development promise of science and technology, including information and communications technologies, remained unfulfilled.

Under the macroeconomic policy questions agenda item, the Committee approved a draft text titled “External debt sustainability and development”, by which terms the Assembly would stress the need for the international community to remain vigilant in monitoring the debt situation of the least developed countries.  It would stress that debt relief should be directed towards activities consistent with poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, economic development and internationally agreed development goals.  It would also stress the importance of sustainable lending and borrowing, emphasizing that creditors and debtors must share responsibility for preventing unsustainable debt situations.

The Committee also approved, without a vote, a draft titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference”, by which terms the General Assembly would stress that the financial and economic crisis had highlighted the need for reform.  It would also stress the need to strengthen and support South-South cooperation, while stressing that it not be a substitute for, but rather a compliment to, North-South cooperation.

Under its sustainable development cluster, the Committee approved, without a vote, a draft titled “Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development”.  By terms of the text, the Assembly would reaffirm the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled “The future we want” and would stress the need for synergy, coherence and mutual support among all processes that are relevant for the post-2015 development agenda.

Next, the Committee approved, without a vote, the “Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States”, by which the Assembly stressed the need for the participation of civil society, in particular non-governmental organizations and other major groups.

Turning to its next draft, the Committee approved, without a vote, a text titled “International Strategy for Disaster Reduction”, by which terms the Assembly would stress the need to foster better understanding and knowledge of the causes of disasters, as well as to build resilience and strengthen coping capacities.  It would also stress the importance of mainstreaming gender and disability perspectives in disaster risk management.

Moving to the last item under sustainable development, the Committee approved a text titled “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development”, by which the Assembly would stress the importance of engagement of the private sector and other stakeholders in the implementation of the three objectives of the Convention and in achieving biodiversity targets.

Under the globalization and interdependence agenda item, the Committee approved, without a vote, a draft titled “Culture and sustainable development”, by which terms the General Assembly would emphasize the important contribution of culture to the three dimensions of sustainable development and to the achievement of national development objectives and the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

The Committee then approved a draft text titled “Human resources development”, by which terms the General Assembly would stress the need for Member States to emphasize and integrate human resources development into national development strategies, including plans to eradicate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Committee then approved, without vote, a text titled “South-South cooperation”, by which terms the Assembly would stress that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation.  It would also reaffirm the mandate and central role of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation as the focal point for promoting and facilitating South-South and triangular cooperation.

Speaking today were representatives of Bahamas, Pakistan, Japan, United States, European Union, Canada, Israel, Sri Lanka, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, Mexico, Egypt, India, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji (on behalf of the “Group of 77” and China), Samoa, Guyana, Morocco and Spain.

The Director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination also spoke.

In other business, the Committee approved a tentative programme of work for its 2014 session.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to conclude its action on outstanding draft resolutions.  It was also expected to address revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and programme planning.

Action on Drafts

Turning to drafts on information and communications technologies for development, the Committee decided it would not take action on a draft resolution titled “International Day for the Promotion of Telework” (document A/C.2/68/L.18), following a request from Fiji that the matter be kept open so that informal consultations may continue in 2014.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution titled “Information and communications technologies for development” (document A/C.2/68/L.73).

Committee Chair Abdou Salam Diallo ( Senegal) noted that, since the document had only been circulated that morning, it would be necessary to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

The Secretary then read out a statement of programme budget implications arising from the draft.

The representative of the Bahamas proposed several oral amendments to the text.

The representative of Pakistan emphasized that information and communications technologies were enablers of development, empowering people across the globe.  However, some had used such a platform to fan religious intolerance.  The challenge was wide and complex and the resolution had to capture that, especially when information and communications technology directly impacted the sovereignty of nations.  He had no doubt that an international consensus on Internet governance would be beneficial to all countries.

The representative of Japan stressed that a follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society was not necessary for several reasons.  For one, there was no need to modify voices.  Review must be carried out by the General Assembly.  Holding a new summit would not contribute to the agenda outlined in Tunis.

The representative of the United States also said that she did not believe that holding a new summit was necessary.  It was, however, crucial to promote the multi-stakeholder character of the World Summit on the Information Society.  Having said that, the Third Committee would be a better place to address and promote respect of human rights online.

A representative of the European Union Delegation attached great importance to the fundamental aim of improving people’s lives and achieving the Tunis agenda.  He encouraged the use of the World Summit on the Information Society Action Lines and supported the role of the Assembly in the review process.  Moreover, the World Summit review must be carried out in line with the post-2015 development agenda.

The representative of Canada said that human rights issues should not have been included in the resolution as they were more importantly dealt with in the Third Committee.  She further emphasized that all stakeholders must participate in the outcome documents set out in Geneva and Tunis.  It was critical that the focus remained on the challenges that launched the World Summit.

The representative of Israelsaid the past decade demonstrated the importance of information and communications technology.  The resolution recognized the multi-stakeholder approach and character of the review and the need to preserve that.  She also said that a 10-year World Summit review was not necessary to implement its outcome.

The representative of Sri Lankathanked delegates and participants in the negotiating process.

The representative of Australia said the same rights and freedoms must be protected and promoted in the online environment relating to privacy and freedom of expression.  Australia recognized that the Assembly had been conducive to the overall review of the Society.  A multi-stakeholder review was taking place, but a follow-up Summit was neither mandated nor necessary for the effectiveness of the overall review.

The representative of Saudi Arabia said the 10-year review of the Tunis Summit should take place at the highest level, as mentioned in the Tunis agenda.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L/40).

Next, the Committee turned to a draft resolution titled “External debt sustainability and development” (document A/C.2/68/L.70).

The Secretary read out a statement of programme budget implications arising from the draft.

The representative of Suriname proposed several oral amendments in its Spanish version.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.15).

Next, the Committee turned to a draft resolution titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development and the 2008 Review Conference” (document A/C.2/68/L.75).

The Chair said that since the draft was circulated that afternoon, it would be necessary to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

The Secretary then read out a statement of programme budget implications arising from the draft.

The representative of Mexico proposed several oral amendments in the Spanish version.  She also thanked the delegations for carrying out negotiations to reach a consensus.

The Committee then approved the draft text, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.25).

Moving on to its sustainable development cluster, the Committee took up a draft resolution titled “Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (document A/C.2/68/L.62).

The Secretary read out a statement of programme budget implications arising from the draft.

The representative of the United States said that the term “right to development” was used without an international agreement on its meaning.  She outlined several other concerns with the resolution’s language.  Indentifying best practices and overlaps would help the international community limit redundancy and improve effectiveness, she added.

The representative of Egypt said that technology played a pivotal role in food, agriculture, and water.  To help developing countries overcome obstacles, it was imperative to bridge the digital divide.  Developing countries continued to face obstacles and there needed to be a transformative change and breakthrough in the international field of technology transfer.

The representative of India said that at the United Nations technology issues had been discussed for years, but that deliberations had not gone beyond words.  He hoped today’s resolution would help move forward on an outcome and contribute to the dialogue at the current General Assembly.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.33).

Next, the Committee turned to a draft resolution titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States” (document A/C.2/68/L.67).

The representative of the Federated States of Micronesia, thanking delegates and the Secretariat, said that while deliberations were lengthy, they were substantive.  He also made several oral amendments.

The representative of Fiji, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said he was dismayed that so much time had been taken up on the programme and budget implications.

The representative of the United States said she was also disappointed to find out that appropriate budget and funds was not set aside for the small island developing States conference to be held in Samoa.  But it was her understanding that funding would be secured.  She expected the Secretariat to make all efforts in that regard.  It was critical to address the unique challenges and needs of small island developing States, she reiterated.

The representative of the European Union said that he was dismayed and deeply disappointed at the programme budget implications, and at the opaque, confusing and misleading process that led to it.  Only a few days before the end of negotiations the Secretariat delivered surprising and contradictory information about programme budget implications regarding Conference Services for the Preparatory Committee meetings.  The Union failed to understand why no provision was included for Conference Services in the initial proposed budget of the Secretary-General for the 2014-15 biennium.

The representative of Japan said he was disappointed that the resolution triggered programme budgetary implications “in a way that almost every delegation unexpected” due to a lack of communication from the Secretariat.  That could have been avoided had the various offices in the Secretariat communicated with one another.  It was important to continue to work together to address all challenges.

The representative of Samoa expressed appreciation for the constructive manner in which delegations had carried out the process.  Success of the Samoa conference relied heavily on the Secretariat, he reminded.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.41).

Moving on, the Committee took up a draft text titled “International Strategy for Disaster Reduction” (document A/C.2/68/L.66).

The representative of Guyana thanked those who had contributed to the constructive engagement and encouraged a timely conclusion of the Committee’s work.

The Committee approved the draft resolution withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.39).

Next, the Committee took up draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development” (A/C.2/68/L.72).

The representative of Suriname made oral amendments to the text.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.42).

Following that, the Committee took up a draft text titled “Culture and sustainable development” (document A/C.2/68/L.69).

The Chair said that since the document had only been circulated that morning, it would be necessary to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

The Secretary read out a statement of programme budget implications arising from the draft.

The representative of Morocco thanked participating negotiators and proposed oral amendments to the text.

The representative of Guyana requested a clarification about the document.

The Secretary said that the text would be modified so that it reflected that correction.

The representative of Sri Lanka thanked the facilitator and the constructive engagement of all negotiating partners of that resolution.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.34).

Under its cluster of eradication of poverty and other development issues, the Committee took up a draft resolution titled “Human resources development” (document A/C.2/68/L.68).

The representative of Spain thanked the facilitators, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.6).

Under its cluster of operational activities for development, the Committee turned to a draft text titled “South-South cooperation” (document A/C.2/68/L.74).

The Chair noted that since the document was circulated that morning, it would be necessary to waive the relevant provision of rule 120 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

The representative of Sri Lanka thanked the facilitator, the United Nations office for South-South cooperation in helping take prompt action today.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, withdrawing the previous version (document A/C.2/68/L.5).

Lastly, the Committee approved the draft programme of work of the Second Committee for the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly (document A/C.2/68/L.76).

In other matters, it decided that no action would be taken under agenda item 135 entitled “Programme planning”.

Concluding Remarks

NAVID HANIF, Director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, said that the Committee had met at time when the United Nations was going through historic transitions.  The post-2015 development agenda was expected to launch transformational changes in developing and developed countries, all while aiming to eradicate global poverty.  It was expected to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and meet the needs of those most vulnerable.  The United Nations was defragmenting its work in the areas of development, human rights and conflict prevention.

The institutional transition put into place following the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference, including the High-Level Political Forum and the Economic and Social Council, were the key building blocks behind the new unified universal agenda.  The Committee agreed on the follow-up conference on financing for development, which was a central piece of discussion in the post-2015 development agenda.  The Second Committee would play an essential role in shaping the future.  Adopting more than 40 resolutions on a wide range of cross-cutting issues made it clear that the Committee was important and its work was critical.

Mr. DIALLO, Committee Chair, said that Member States collectively outlined in the general debate their standards and expectations regarding the Millennium Development Goals in the remaining period to 2015, and the linkages with the institutional for the follow-up to Rio+20, including the High-Level Political Forum.  As the Committee’s work concluded today, its spirit of consensus remained intact and strong.  In total, the Committee adopted 41 resolutions and 1 decision covering all clusters of its agenda.

The resolutions made very important contributions to the collective efforts to promote sustainable development and the eradication of poverty, he stressed.  Clear and powerful messaging had been sent to the upcoming conference on trade in Bali and the Conference of the Parties in Warsaw.  Those messages attested to the continuing relevance of the Committee in setting global norms and articulating policy.  The Committee also contributed to a number of important conferences.

Highlighting the Committee’s six special events, he emphasized that they were extremely valuable vehicles for bringing new ideas from the outside.  Such input must be preserved and used optimally in order for the Committee’s work to remain grounded in reality.  He also outlined several elements which needed to be examined relating to programme budgetary implications where greater clarity was needed on the role of the Committee.  Also, the use of the “silence procedure”, while useful, should perhaps be exercised with greater discretion.  It was important to find ways to ensure that deadlines were maintained with greater efficiency.

Lastly, he thanked Members of the Bureau, Member States, and facilitators who skilfully and patiently guided informal consultations.  He also thanked the President of the General Assembly, John Ashe, and the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, for their support during the Committee’s deliberations.

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