Members Take Note of Solemn Appeal to Observe Olympic Truce during Rio Games
Taking consensus action on a range of draft resolutions today, the General Assembly, decided to convene a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance, proclaimed the period 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, and approved an agreement institutionalizing the relationship between the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Adopting a draft resolution titled “Scope, modalities, format and organization of the high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance convened by the President of the General Assembly” (document A/70/L.58), the Assembly decided that the meeting — to be held on 21 September 2016 in New York — would consist of an opening segment, two interactive hour-long thematic panels and a plenary segment for general discussions, as well as a closing session.
As part of the preparatory process for the meeting, the Assembly requested that the facilitator of the consultations lead an informal interactive dialogue with relevant civil society and private sector stakeholders with expertise in antimicrobial resistance. It also invited relevant United Nations system entities, intergovernmental organizations with observer status and non-governmental organizations accredited to the Economic and Social Council to attend. It requested that the President of the Assembly draw up a list of other relevant stakeholders with experience in antimicrobial resistance, to be submitted for consideration by Member States on a non-objection basis.
The Assembly also adopted a draft resolution titled “Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (2016-2025)”. By that text (document A/70/L.49/Rev.1), presented by the representative of Thailand on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the Assembly decided to proclaim the period 2016-2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, underlining the need for sustainable industrialization of the continent. It called upon the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Economic Commission for Africa and, specifically, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to develop, operationalize and lead the implementation of the programme for the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, in accordance with its mandate and through voluntary contributions. Among other things, the Assembly encouraged UNIDO’s Director General to mobilize adequate resources for implementation of the Decade, and invited it to scale up its technical assistance to African countries in order to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Adopting a draft resolution titled “Agreement concerning the Relationship between the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration” (document A/70/L.57), the Assembly decided to approve the draft Agreement, annexed to the text. The resolution called upon the Secretary-General to invite the Director General of the IOM to sign the Agreement with him at a one-day high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, to be held in New York on 19 September 2016.
Speaking after that action, the representative of the United States said migrants brought with them much-needed skills and helped to enrich the cultures of the countries to which they moved. Nevertheless, migration forced by conflict and natural disasters produced a number of challenges, she said. Additional cooperation between the two organizations was needed and their structures should be adjusted to better respond to them.
The representative of the Philippines said migration was a multidimensional reality, and expressed her full support for strengthening the relationship between the two organizations.
By a draft resolution titled “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support” (document A/70/L.48/Rev.1), presented by Thailand’s representative on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, the Assembly welcomed the Secretary-General’s thirteenth consolidated progress report on implementation and international support for NEPAD. Reaffirming its full support for the programme, as well as for the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its first 10-year implementation plan (2014-2023), the Assembly expressed concern about the adverse impact of the consequences of the world financial and economic crisis, including on development, and about the uneven, fragile and slow recovery.
The Assembly urged the international community to continue to support measures to address the challenges of eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition, creating jobs and sustainable development in Africa, including, as appropriate, debt relief, improved market access, support for the private sector and entrepreneurship, fulfilment of official development assistance (ODA) commitments and increased flows of foreign direct investment (FDI), and transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms. Calling for a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the external debt problems of African countries, the Assembly reiterated that it remained crucial to fulfil all ODA commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to meet the target of devoting 0.7 per cent of gross national income to ODA and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent to least developed countries.
Urging the international community to continue to give due attention to Africa’s priorities, including the New Partnership, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Assembly welcomed the establishment of a United Nations monitoring mechanism to review commitments relating to Africa’s development.
Speaking after the action, Argentina’s representative emphasized the need to help Africa avoid marginalization. The text stated that implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change was the responsibility of developing countries, without mentioning any groups of countries in particular, she noted, emphasizing the importance of recalling that both the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development recognized the importance of technology transfer, which should be carried out under favourable and preferential conditions.
Presenting a draft resolution on “Interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union” (document A/70/L.59), the representative of Bangladesh stressed that “nothing that the United Nations decides could be implemented at the country level unless the Parliament is on board”. By the text, the Assembly recalled a number of joint efforts between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and welcomed actions undertaken by the latter in pursuit of a more systematic engagement with the Organization. It encouraged the two organizations to continue to work closely in various fields, particularly peace and security, economic and social development, climate change, international law, human rights and gender issues, democracy and good governance.
The Assembly encouraged continuing active involvement by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in mobilizing parliamentary action in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also encouraged Member States to consider applying the practice of joint hearings by the United Nations and the IPU to other parliamentary meetings convened in conjunction with major United Nations conferences and processes. It also encouraged both organizations to develop closer cooperation with parliaments at the national level, and called for a regular exchange between the senior leadership of the United Nations and that of the IPU.
Speaking before the action, the Speaker of Benin’s Parliament said the new agreement facilitated a common commitment to strengthening the rule of law, democracy and development, and to work for the effectiveness of legislative power. The international community had strong tools available to face current global challenges, he said, noting in particular several initiatives undertaken by United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to strengthen the capacity of national parliaments. Placing special emphasis on issues relating to the empowerment of women and youth, as well as the prevention of terrorist recruitment, he stressed that the interaction between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union should honour the commitment to leave no one behind.
Myanmar’s representative said national parliaments contributed greatly to the popular aspirations by delivering democracy and good governance. Strengthening the quality and resources of national parliaments was vital, spotlighting the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s worldwide initiatives in strengthening national parliamentary capacities in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Myanmar’s National Parliament had aligned with the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s strategy of “Better Parliaments — Stronger Democracies”, and had worked to build the capacity of Members of Parliament and staff with the support from IPU, UNDP and donor countries.
Morocco’s representative said parliaments and the United Nations system worked together to spread democratic values and good governance, especially in such areas as health, gender equality and sustainable development. Such collaboration allowed people’s voices to be heard, he said, adding that the IPU helped the United Nations take the views of national populations into account. Parliaments also helped facilitate national-level ownership of United Nations strategies, he said, expressing support for the proposal to hold regular exchanges between the high-level officials of the two organizations.
The representative of Cyprus said that, in an international system based on the principles of rule of law and democratic governance, stronger parliamentary participation on a global scale was needed to identify possible solutions to global problems. From its own experience, Cyprus could testify that cooperation among the United Nations, the IPU and national parliaments also contributed to improving the role of the latter in promoting the rule of law and bringing national legislation in line with international commitments.
The representative of Viet Nam said the IPU was playing an increasingly important role in the international arena, providing a platform for regular interaction between parliamentarians and the United Nations, and helping to share parliamentary inputs to major United Nations processes. Emphasizing the importance of the IPU in supporting implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, she called for strengthened cooperation between the two organizations in the areas of peace and security, economic and social development, financing for development, disaster risk reduction, climate change, international law, human rights, democracy and good governance.
Chile’s representative emphasized that, as political relations became increasingly complex, the relationship between the United Nations and the IPU was needed to help implement international declarations. In particular, progress was needed in addressing climate change.
Saber Chowdhury, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the world today faced multiple challenges, unprecedented in their complexity and gravity. The United Nations stood as the critical cornerstone of multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation among all nations, and the IPU shared those objectives. It brought the perspectives of parliamentarians as the direct voice of “we the peoples”, complementing the work of the United Nations. Much had happened since the Assembly had last considered the agenda item, two years ago, he recalled, citing in particular the adoption of new international agreements on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change. Throughout those processes, the IPU had been working to raise awareness and engage the global parliamentary community, and helping to mobilize parliamentary action in shaping and following up on major international commitments. Members of the IPU had repeatedly underscored the need for democratic governance as an essential enabler for sustainable development, and as a goal in itself, he said.
He said that Sustainable Development Goal 16 — concerning peace, justice, rule of law and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions — was the natural entry point for the work of the IPU, which had been encouraging parliaments to examine and adopt their own resolutions on the Sustainable Development Goals. It had expanded its work with national parliaments to help bridge legislative gaps in meeting international commitments in a variety of areas, including human rights, the elimination of discrimination against women, child and maternal health, climate change and others. The draft resolution expressed strong support for interaction among the United Nations, parliaments and the IPU, and identified key areas of joint efforts ahead, he said, adding that it would provide a valuable framework for taking that strategic partnership even further for the good of the global community.
Before the Assembly could take action, the Russian Federation’s representative spoke in explanation of position, citing a reference in paragraph 6 to the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. He said that his delegation had regrettably been deprived of the opportunity to participate in that event by the actions of the host country, which had demonstrated a selective and discriminatory approach that must be addressed. During negotiations on the present draft resolution, the delegation of the Russian Federation had tried to introduce an amendment referring to that matter, but had been blocked by one delegation. The Russian Federation had decided nevertheless to join the consensus, but hoped that in the future, all delegations would enjoy equal participation in such important meetings.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution.
Also today, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled, “Political Declaration of the Comprehensive High-Level Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020” (document A/70/L.56), by which it endorsed the similarly titled document adopted by Member States in Antalya, Turkey, in May. The full text of the Political Declaration was annexed to the resolution.
Speaking on that item after the action, Thailand’s representative, speaking for the Group of 77 and China, underscored the importance of the principles of universality and inclusiveness, as well as the need to accelerate the capacity of the least developed countries to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda. He expressed hope that at least half of those countries, if not all of them, would meet the criteria necessary to graduate from that category by 2020.
The representative of the European Union delegation stressed that no one should be left behind in the sustainable development process and that special attention should be given to the least developed countries in such areas as trade and development policy. The bloc was determined to facilitate a smooth graduation process, he said, noting that while progress had been slow over the last five years, the Political Declaration adopted in Antalya could help to get the international community “back on track”.
Japan’s representative said his delegation was pleased to see important issues such as the construction of quality infrastructure and support for disaster risk reduction incorporated into the Political Declaration. Noting that Africa would host the sixth Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD) in August — its first time to be held on the continent — he said the meeting would be an important occasion to deepen partnerships in such areas as global health and the prevention of violent extremism.
The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, expressed gratitude to all participants in the High-Level Midterm Review Conference, in particular the co-facilitators and the host country, Turkey.
The representative of the United States said the Istanbul Programme of Action was an ambitious and comprehensive framework. Describing her country’s significant assistance to least developed countries, she emphasized that ODA must be used in a catalytic manner to leverage partnerships.
Turkey’s representative said the robust Political Declaration demonstrated the international community’s shared commitment to eradicating poverty and ensuring sustainable development. It also paved the way for further concrete actions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals over the next five years.
Nicaragua’s representative expressed her delegation’s reservations concerning references to the Paris Agreement on climate change in both the resolution on the Political Declaration and in the text on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. While Nicaragua had joined the consensus in order to demonstrate solidarity with the least developed countries and African nations, such language should not form a precedent for the texts of future agreements.
In other business today, the Assembly took note of a solemn appeal made in connection with the observance of the Olympic Truce (document A/70/983), read out by Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark). Recalling the ancient Greek tradition of ekecheira, or “Olympic Truce”, he said that in 1993, the Assembly had urged Member States to observe that principle from the seventh day before the opening of the Games until the seventh day after the closing. Noting that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledged sport as an important enabler of sustainable development, he appealed to all Member States to demonstrate their commitment to the Olympic Truce during the upcoming XXXI Olympic Summer Games and the XV Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Countries should undertake concrete actions at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Truce, he said, calling upon all warring parties in current armed conflicts around the world to boldly agree to true mutual ceasefires for the duration of the Olympic Truce, which provided an opportunity to settle disputes peacefully.
The Assembly will reconvene in plenary at a date and time to be announced.