12 December 2012
General Assembly
GA/EF/3363

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Second Committee

36th Meeting (PM)


Draft Resolution Stresses Need to Increase Investment in Agriculture, Rural

 

Development, as Second Committee Approves Three Texts without Vote

 


The General Assembly would stress the need to increase investment from all sources in agriculture and rural development, including by providing technical and financial assistance to least developed and net food-importing developing countries, according to one of three draft resolutions approved by consensus in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.


By other terms of the draft - titled “International trade and development” — the Assembly would stress the need to identify and develop strategies to expand trade opportunities for women producers and facilitate their active participation in national, regional and global trade decision-making structures and processes, thereby ensuring that women-and men-owned businesses and farms had equal market opportunities.  The Assembly, by further terms, reiterated the important role of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as the focal point within the United Nations system for the integration of trade and development in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development.


The Committee then went on to approve a draft resolution titled “Information and communications technologies for development”, by which the General Assembly would stress that for most of the poor, the development promise of science and technology, including information and communications technologies, remained unfulfilled.  It would also emphasize the need to effectively harness technology, including information and communications technologies, to bridge the digital divide.  The Assembly would stress the important role of Governments in designing national public policies and providing public services responsive to national needs and priorities through the effective use of information and communications technologies.


Also by that text, the Assembly would stress the need for the enhanced participation of all developing countries, in particular least developed ones, in all meetings of the Internet Governance Forum.  It would also urge the international community, in that regard, to make voluntary contributions to the special trust fund established by UNCTAD to support the review and assessment work of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development regarding follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society.


In its final action, the Committee approved a draft resolution titled “Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)”.  By its terms, the General Assembly would urge international and bilateral donors as well as the private sector, financial institutions, foundations and other donors in a position to do so, to support the preparations for the Conference through voluntary contributions to the trust fund, and the participation of developing-world representatives in meetings of the Preparatory Committee and to the Conference itself.


Speaking after the approval, the representative of the United States said she was “dismayed and disappointed” by the last-minute budget estimates presented to the Committee, adding that she was extremely dissatisfied that the oral statement contained extensive and unexpected requests for resources well after the silence procedure had ended.  The extra funds requested were unsubstantiated and bore no relationship to the draft resolution, she said, calling for efficient use of resources in planning processes.


The representative of the European Union delegation said the programme budget implications were estimates based on an overly-extensive interpretation of the rules and procedures, adding that they did not prejudge decisions made in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).


Canada’s representative said the programme budget implications did not accurately reflect the text, adding that she was disappointed with the lack of clarity over the budget during negotiations.


Japan’s representative said it was regrettable that the oral statement had not been issued until the morning of action on the draft.  It should have been circulated earlier, and information on cost implications should have been available during the period of consultations, he added.


Also speaking today were representatives of Poland, Saudi Arabia, India, United Republic of Tanzania, Morocco, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mexico and Turkey.


The Second Committee will meet again tomorrow, 13 December, at a time to be announced, when it is expected to take action on outstanding draft resolutions.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on several draft resolutions.


Action on Drafts


The Committee first took up the draft resolution on information and communications technologies for development (document A/C.2/67/L.61).


GEORGE TALBOT ( Guyana), Committee Chair, said it would be necessary to waive rule 120 - the “24-hour rule” – of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure, since the text had only been circulated this morning.  “As a general rule, no proposal shall be discussed or put to the vote at any meeting of the Committee unless copies of it have been circulated to all delegations not later than the day preceding the meeting,” he explained.


AGNIESZKA KLAUSA ( Poland), the facilitator, proposed some amendments to the text.


The Committee then approved the draft without a vote, as orally amended.


PHILIPPE LATRICHE, European Union delegation, pointed to the new opportunities presented by the Internet, stressing that access was indispensable for development.  Recalling that the Human Rights Council had established that human rights extended to the Internet, he expressed regret that the draft resolution did not contain a similar sentiment.


ABDULLAH KHALID O. TAWLAH ( Saudi Arabia) said that while the draft’s contents were important, that it stipulated the establishment of a working group to ensure strengthened cooperation, which was not appropriate.  He expressed hope that the working group would be created in conjunction with the Tunis Agenda, adding that it should not be limited in its membership and should include all stakeholders.


RANDHIR KUMAR JAISWAL ( India) said the draft could have been more realistic in capturing the role of information and communications technology in development.  India looked forward to discussions on the arrangements for the 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society, he said, adding that the processes already undertaken were of significant value and should contribute to the review.


NOEL KAGANDA (United Republic of Tanzania) said the draft resolution was the fruit of hard work by all the negotiators.


The Committee then withdrew the previous version of the text (document A/C.2/67/L.36).


The Chair then proposed that the Committee take note of a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on “Communication for development programmes in the United Nations system” (document A/67/207).


Turning to Macroeconomic policy questions, the Committee took up a draft resolution titled “International trade and development” (document A/C.2/67/L.60).


Mr. TALBOT ( Guyana), Committee Chair, said it would be necessary to waive the “24-hour rule” since the text had only been circulated this morning.


TRARIK IZIRAREN ( Morocco) proposed some editorial corrections and the Committee then approved the draft, without a vote, as orally corrected.


STEFANO STEFANILE ( Italy) said it had been a difficult text to negotiate, recalling that it had often been decided by a single vote in the past.  That consensus had been reached was impressive, he added.


The Committee then withdrew the previous version of the text (document A/C.2/67/L.23).


It then took up a draft titled “Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)”.


The Committee Secretary then read out a statement of the programme budget implications that would arise should the draft resolution (document A/C.2/67/L.59) be approved, saying that potential additional requirements would amount to $1,063,000 for the 2014-2015 biennium.


AIDA HODŽIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) and JORGE LAGUNA ( Mexico) proposed some editorial changes.


The Committee then approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected.


MELIS KURULTAY ( Turkey) said her country would be honoured to host Habitat III in Istanbul, and would spare no effort to make the Conference and its preparatory process a success.


COURTNEY R. NEMROFF ( United States) said her country looked forward to more efforts to ensure the Conference went well, and was pleased to note the draft’s stance on the ongoing review of UN-Habitat, aimed at improving accountability and transparency.  However, the United States was “dismayed and disappointed” by the last-minute budget estimates presented to the Committee, she said, emphasizing that she was extremely dissatisfied that the oral statement contained extensive and unexpected requests for resources well after the silence procedure had ended.  The extra funds requested were unsubstantiated and bore no relationship to the draft resolution, she said, calling for efficient use of resources in planning processes.  She asked for a rational explanation of the bloated request for significant new resources and a credible budget estimate based on the actual terms of the Conference, as articulated in the text.


Mr. LATRICHE, European Union delegation, said the programme budget implications were estimates based on an overly-extensive interpretation of the rules and procedures, adding that they did not prejudge decisions made in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).  The European Union delegation understood that the estimates should not be perceived as having been endorsed by delegates, and called for greater transparency during the negotiating period.


BRIANNA PETERSON ( Canada) said the draft’s approval was an important step in preparations for the Habitat III Conference, but expressed concern about the statement of programme budget implications, noting that they did not accurately reflect the text.  Canada was disappointed with the lack of clarity over the budget during negotiations, she said, adding that the figures could only be considered estimates that did not prejudge discussions in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).


JUN IMANISHI ( Japan) said it was regrettable that the oral statement had not been issued until the morning of action on the draft.  It should have been circulated earlier, and information on cost implications should have been available during the period of consultations, he said.  The figures mentioned were just estimates and did not prejudge future negotiations on the 2014-2015 programme budget.  The figures had not been endorsed by delegates in the Second Committee and once an actual budget was presented, Japan would carefully consider its content without being bound by the oral statement, he stressed.


The Committee then withdrew the earlier version of the text (document A/C.2/67/L.22).



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