Text Approved in Second Committee Stresses Shared Responsibility of Creditors, Debtors for Preventing Unsustainable Debt Situations

11 December 2012

Text Approved in Second Committee Stresses Shared Responsibility of Creditors, Debtors for Preventing Unsustainable Debt Situations

11 December 2012
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Second Committee

35th Meeting (PM)

Text Approved in Second Committee Stresses Shared Responsibility of Creditors,

Debtors for Preventing Unsustainable Debt Situations


Members Pass Two Other Draft Resolutions by Consensus, Deferring Action on One

The General Assembly would stress the importance of responsible lending and borrowing, while emphasizing the shared responsibility of creditors and debtors for preventing unsustainable debt situations, according to one of three draft resolutions approved without a vote in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.

By other terms of the draft - titled “External debt sustainability and development” — the Assembly would stress that debt relief could play a key role in liberating resources that should be directed towards activities consistent with poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, economic development and attainment of the internationally agreed development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals.

Also by its terms the Assembly would stress the need for the international community to remain vigilant in monitoring the debt situation of least developed countries and to continue to take effective measures to address their debt problem, including by cancelling their multilateral and bilateral debt, both public and private.  The Assembly would, by further terms, stress the need to increase information-sharing and transparency, as well as the use of objective criteria in constructing and evaluating debt scenarios, including an assessment of domestic public and private debt, in order to ensure that development goals were met.

Following the Committee’s approval of that text, the representative of the United States said that while she was pleased to join the consensus, the draft’s tone suggested that current efforts to address debt were inadequate.  Saying she did not agree with that analysis, she cited World Bank research showing better debt-service-to-export ratios and other improvements in debt sustainability that were the result of debt restructuring and initiatives like the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative.  While acknowledging that some debtors still faced difficulties, she emphasized that current mechanisms were fit for the purpose of addressing debt problems.

The Committee then went on to approve a draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development”.  By its terms, the General Assembly would stress the importance of private-sector engagement for the implementation of the three objectives of the Convention — conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

By other terms, the Assembly would urge States parties to the Convention to facilitate the transfer of technology for the treaty’s effective implementation.  It would in that regard, take note of the strategy for practical implementation of the programme of work on technology transfer and scientific and technological cooperation.  The Assembly would also call upon Governments and all stakeholders to take appropriate measures to mainstream consideration of the socio-economic impacts and benefits of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and its components, and of ecosystems providing essential services, into relevant programmes and polices at all levels.

The representative of the United States expressed her commitment to biodiversity conservation, as evidenced by her support for the consensus, but underlined that the “Governments” to which the text referred were only those that were parties to the Convention.  As a non-party, the United States was not in a position to welcome all outcomes, she said, underlining that, while efforts under the Convention could further sustainable development, they were mandated by the Convention itself, not by the terms of the draft resolution.

Bolivia’s representative said his delegation had joined the consensus despite reservations, particularly over the mercantilization of biodiversity.  Bolivia would reiterate the position it had taken at the recent Conference of Parties in Hyderabad, India, he added.

In its final action, the Committee approved a draft resolution titled “South-South cooperation”, by which the General Assembly would call upon the United Nations regional commissions to play a catalytic role in promoting South-South and triangular cooperation, and in strengthening their technical, policy and research support for countries in their respective regions.

Mr. 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 that morning.  “As a general rule, no proposal shall be discussed or put to 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.

As the Committee postponed action on a text 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)”, Mr. Talbot explained that a final statement on the draft’s proposed programme budget implications was not yet available.

Also speaking today were representatives of Suriname, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kenya.

The Second Committee will meet again tomorrow, 12 December, at a time to be announced, when it is expected to take action on outstanding draft resolutions.

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