Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1719
      25 October 2000
     Speakers in Second Committee Stress Need to Ensure Developing
    Countries Participate in Benefits of Globalization
     
     

    NEW YORK, 24 October (UN Headquarters) -- Globalization was in fact corporate colonialism, the representative of Pakistan told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this morning, as it began its consideration of globalization and interdependence.  

    The beneficiaries of globalization, he continued, were busy extolling its blessings.  For them, it was a panacea for all economic and social ills.  The reality was that globalization was helping the economic elite, but harming a much larger group of people who were not at the pinnacle of income and wealth distributions.  The United Nations should take the lead in harnessing market forces for development, minimizing their negative impact on social development and making them pro-development.

     Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, France’s representative said that the phenomenon of globalization was marked both by an increase in interdependence and a deepening of inequalities.  Rapid technological change and greater opening-up of markets unquestionably offered opportunities for developing economic activities.  However, the benefits of globalization were unequally distributed among countries, among regions and even within individual countries, whether industrialized or developing.  Globalization must take on a human dimension and become beneficial to all. 

    The immense possibilities offered by information and communication technology, noted Norway’s representative, were far from being fully utilized.  The digital divide between developing and industrialized countries reflected the huge inequality of opportunity and power in the global economy.  At least 80 per cent of the world’s population lacked access to the most basic forms of telecommunication.  Africa had 20 per cent of the world’s population but only 2 per cent of its telephone lines, and its access to the Internet remained marginal.

    Globalization, said Ethiopia’s representative, had served to generalize social inequality and marginality, while aggravating poverty and instability in the third world.  Ways and means should be sought to assist developing countries to strengthen their domestic telecommunication infrastructure and service capacity.  The full integration of developing countries, especially those in Africa, into the rapidly globalizing world economy was key to achieving economic growth sufficient to recover ground lost in recent decades. 

    Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the representative of Trinidad and Tobago said that while information and communication technology was an important component in enhancing competitiveness and growth in key sectors of national economies, it must be combined with other factors such as market access, financial and technical assistance, and increased foreign direct assistance.  In the increasingly liberalized and globalized economy, special and differential treatment must be granted to meet new policy demands and obligations. 

     Also this morning, the representative of Tajikistan introduced a draft resolution on the international year of freshwater, 2003.  

     Statements were also made by the representatives of Colombia (on behalf of the Rio Group), Mozambique (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)), Indonesia, Libya, Cuba, Russian Federation, Belarus, India, Yemen and Nigeria (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China).  

    A representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) also spoke, and Patrizio Civili, Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, made an introductory statement. 

     The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its discussion of globalization and interdependence.

    Committee Work Programme

     The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to consider globalization and interdependence.  It had before it the Secretary-General's report on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/55/381), which focuses on the need for the transfer of information and communication technology in the age of globalization, as well as on issues related to such transfer to developing countries.  It also reviews efforts undertaken by the United Nations system to enhance national capacity in the area of information and communication technology.  Finally, it presents a number of action-oriented recommendations on further promoting the role of the United Nations in the transfer of information and communication technology to developing countries.  

     The discussions and outcome of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2000 high-level segment emphasized the crucial and unique role to be played by the United Nations in providing an interface between the information technology community and the development community, the report states.  There was consensus among all stakeholders that information and communication technology could provide a key instrument for accelerating global development and international cooperation, and that the contribution of the United Nations to development would be greatly reinforced if it proves able to adapt to, and use, information and communication technology effectively. 

     As a concrete follow-up to the Ministerial Declaration on Information and Communication Technology adopted at the segment, the Council decided that an information and communication technology task force and trust fund should be created, under the Secretary-General's leadership, to further digital opportunities in developing countries and help formulate strategies for information and communication technology-for-development programmes, among other things.  Among the recommendations, is that they advise developing countries on overall investment codes and other legal and institutional frameworks that would provide the guarantees and incentives offered to foreign investors in the information and communication technology sector.   

     Also before the Committee was a Secretary-General's note transmitting the report of the high-level panel of experts on information and communication technology (document A/55/75-E/2000/55), which met in New York from 17 to 20 April.  It states that the gross disparity in the spread of the Internet and the economic and social benefits derived from it, is a matter of profound concern.  The formidable and urgent challenge before governments and the development community is to bridge the divide and connect the remainder of the world's population, whose livelihoods can be enhanced through information and communication technology.  

     Developing countries have great potential to compete successfully in the new global market, but unless they embrace the information and communication technology revolution promptly and actively, they will face new barriers and the risk of not just being marginalized, but completely bypassed.  The report identifies areas and actions that the international community, in particular the United Nations, should undertake to support national information and communication technology programmes.  

     In general, states the report, the international donor community has not yet implemented a well-coordinated, forward-looking and strategic programme for the use of information and communication technology in development.  Some panellists noted that modest, strategic investments in information and communication technology had yielded large dividends.  Unfortunately, the opportunities for rapid growth of some initiatives continued to be severely hampered by the lack of serious financial support.  The private sector is, and will remain, the principal driving force for the development and use of information and communication technology.  

     According to the report, it is a matter of urgency that the United Nations system adopt a coherent institutional strategy that incorporates the use and application of information and communication technology in its own work.  Failure to do so quickly will result in considerably increased cost in the future and a far greater challenge to catch up.

    The Committee was also expected to hear the introduction of a draft resolution on international year of freshwater, 2003 (document A/C.2/55/L.6), which is sponsored by Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

    The draft would have the Assembly proclaim the year 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater.  It would also invite the Subcommittee on Freshwater Resources of the Administrative Committee on Coordination to serve as the coordinating entity for the Year and to develop preliminary proposals to possible activities that could take place at the national, regional and international levels, in particular in the United Nations system, in preparation for and during the Year, for consideration by the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session. 

    The draft calls upon Member States, national and international organizations, major groups and the private sector to make voluntary contributions in accordance with the guidelines for international years and anniversaries, and to lend other forms of support to the International Year of Freshwater. 

    Introduction of Draft

     ABDUKAKHOR NUROV (Tajikistan) introduced the draft resolution on the International Year of Freshwater, 2003, which he said was co-sponsored by 147 States.  He expressed his appreciation to those delegations who made valuable contributions and recommendations in the early stages of the elaboration of the draft.  The draft’s objective was to proclaim 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater in order to promote the sustainable development of billions of people.  He hoped that it would be adopted by consensus.  

    Statements

     Introducing the reports on globalization and interdependence, PATRIZIO CIVILI, Assistant-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that information and communication technologies were, increasingly, a driving force for globalization.  They provided a tremendous tool for accessing and sharing knowledge, and were a key to competitiveness in the knowledge-based economy.  They offered new and unprecedented opportunities to poor countries and small and medium-sized companies to compete successfully in the global marketplace.  And yet, they had so far bypassed many people and countries, accentuating the divide between the haves and have-nots.  

     The debate should enable the Assembly to further the work of the United Nations in helping bridge the digital divide, he said.  The international community and the Organization, at different levels, had made remarkable progress over the last year in recognizing the potential of information and communication technology in achieving shared development goals.  The digital divide could and must be bridged.  Ensuring more universal access to information and communication technology was possible but required a sustained global effort.  The main ingredients of that effort had been set out in a comprehensive way in the report of the high-level panel of experts convened last spring.

     The Committee’s conclusions could help to ensure that forthcoming debates at the United Nations on mobilizing information and communication technology for development reinforced and built on each other, he added.  The Committee’s discussions and actions at the current session should ensure that the achievements realized by ECOSOC in July were built on and effectively carried forward to 2001.

     JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Iceland, said that the phenomenon of globalization was marked both by an increase in interdependence and a deepening of inequalities.  Rapid technological change and greater opening-up of markets unquestionably offered opportunities for developing economic activities. However, the benefits of globalization were unequally distributed among countries, among regions and even within individual countries, whether industrialized or developing.  Globalization must go hand in hand with measures enabling it to take on a human dimension and to become beneficial to all.
     For the European Union, guaranteeing the integration of all developing countries into a rapidly developing world economy and reducing the risks of marginalization, was a major challenge to be faced by the international community.  In that spirit, the Union believed that international economic policy decision-making must be transparent and accountable.  In the context of an increasingly integrated world economy, the Union also supported further efforts to promote greater consistency, complimentarity and coordination of economic and development issues between the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO).   

     The great progress made in the areas of communication and technology had done much to speed up globalization, he said.  In the Union’s view, the sharing of knowledge was essential for the effective involvement of the developing countries in the world economy.  The Union was determined to ensure that practical and effective measures were taken to move towards greater equality of opportunity for access to information and communication technology.  The United Nations was already doing much to bridge the digital divide.  It needed to do more.  Coordination of the action taken by the United Nations agencies should be stepped up. 

     ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the revolution in information technologies had been closely associated with the phenomenon of globalization.  In fact, it might be said that this phenomenon was the consequence of a sudden leap in communication technology.  The Rio Group was of the view that the characteristics and impact of globalization required the international community to prepare itself adequately to meet the challenges ahead.  The United Nations had a major role to play in preventing the digital gaps between “cyber citizens” and those who were excluded from the benefits of information technology.  The Rio Group welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative known as the Global Compact.

     He stressed the need for the process of globalization to take into account the needs of the weakest.  In the Group’s region, one of the vehicles used to achieve that purpose had been the strengthening of institutions and political structures in order to take advantage of the benefits of globalization, and to contain the risks inherent in the phenomenon.  The Rio Group, as a mechanism for regional political concentration, believed that integration had served as a vehicle for accentuating the positive elements of globalization by strengthening national democratic regimes and facilitating the development of joint strategies and policies for the attainment of common interests.  

     JOSTEIN LEIRO (Norway) said that the immense possibilities offered by information and communication technology were far from being fully utilized.  Connectivity was not universal and applications were not equally available.  The digital divide between developing and industrialized countries reflected the huge inequality of opportunity and power in the global economy.  At least 80 per cent of the world’s population lacked access to the most basic forms of telecommunication.  Africa had 20 per cent of the world’s population, but only 2 per cent of its telephone lines, and its access to the Internet remained marginal.  

     He underlined some of the strategic lessons learned so far, which should guide work to further the role of the United Nations system in the area of information and communication technology.  First was the overriding importance of a national legal and regulatory framework that was conducive to information and communication technology development.  Second, was the need to invest in human resource development and to build national competence and institutional capacity in partnerships between governments, universities, research institutions and the private sector.  

     Third, he continued, programmes that stimulated South-South cooperation were a strategic necessity for the creation of local knowledge and for the use of information and communication technology that could improve people’s lives.  Fourth, neither information nor technology was gender neutral.  Gender aspects must become an integral part of the United Nations follow-up in the area of information and communication technology.

     HIPOLITO PATRICIO (Mozambique), speaking on behalf of Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that the report of the Secretary-General addressed the transfer of information and communication technology to developing countries, which was crucial to reducing the current digital divide between the developed and developing countries.  The SADC welcomed the decision by ECOSOC to create an information and communication technology task force.  That would create concrete opportunities for developing countries to enhance their capacities in the formulation of information and communication technology strategies and policies at national and regional levels. 

     Globalization was shaping the dynamics of the world order and was having widely different and far-reaching effects around the world, he said.  To address the challenges of globalization and widespread poverty, SADC Member States had been undertaking initiatives aimed at fostering peace, stability and greater cooperation.  It was clear that the only way to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization was integrating into the global economy. However, the SADC group needed international cooperation and assistance to embark on a process of steady and sustainable economic growth and development. The region needed adequate flows of official development assistance as well as access to world markets.  It also needed external debt cancellation.  

     CECEP HERAWAN (Indonesia) said that no country was immune from the impact of globalization.  The great challenge facing the international community was to transform globalization into an effective instrument for growth and development.  The importance of information and communication technology to development could not be overstated, as they were critical agents for changing the very way people lived.  That had been well articulated over the past year in numerous meetings, particularly at ECOSOC's high-level segment and in the report of the high-level panel on information and communication technology.  Information and communication technology was critical for facilitating the effective integration of developing countries into the world economy.  

     Nevertheless, he said, 4 billion lives remained untouched by the digital revolution.  For the majority of developing countries, new technologies were a double-edged sword.  The current phase of globalization was characterized by the fact that knowledge had become a competitive advantage.  It was the successful use of technology in the service of development that could make a real difference.  Unless access to, and use of, information and communication technology were broadened, the digital divide would be widened.  The challenge for countries was to overcome the obstacles to development and integrate into a knowledge-based economy.  He looked forward to the successful working of the newly created digital task force.        

     ABDUSSALAM OWN (Libya) said that globalization was a new phenomenon.  It was a tidal wave, which had created facts that were new to the world.  The most important aspect of globalization was economic interdependence of markets, major corporations and the three major financial institutions, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WTO.  Another phenomenon was that financial markets now effected each other beyond national borders.  No State, however large or powerful, could control the financial operations within its borders.

     The World Bank’s development report of September 1999 warned that developing countries could suffer possible chaos and human suffering in coming decades because of the pace of globalization.  The World Bank saw globalization as a global phenomenon with both useful and grave consequences.  Much had been said about the opportunities offered by globalization and the challenges that it brought.  The challenges were real and large.  There had been large costs for many States, developing ones in particular.  As for the least developed countries, the negative consequences were very sharp indeed. 

     Globalization had been built on liberalization of economies without an attempt to reform the world’s financial order, he said.  It also seemed that the social consequences had been fully ignored.  The capabilities of international organizations had shrunk and there had also been a shrinking of contributions by rich States.  While paying tribute to the handful of States that had met the target of the official development assistance, he called on the States that had not, to increase their contributions to reach the target of .07 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP). 

    The negative effects of globalization fell first and foremost on the poor, he said.  It was not an exaggeration to say that the negative consequences of globalization had become the lot of the vast majority of developing countries. It was essential to build an economic order that was based on a clear set of rules.  There was a clear need to build a strong and stable international monetary order. 

     MIRTHA MARIA HORMILLA CASTRO (Cuba) said that countries of the South had not been able to participate in the benefits of globalization and had remained cut off from the opportunities offered by it.  Globalization had further widened the inequity between poor countries and industrialized ones.  It had made it clear that thrusting a neo-liberal model on the world would not make it more equal but rather more asymmetrical.  She reiterated the need for fundamental reform of the international financial architecture and its institutions, in order to make them more democratic and transparent.  The process of globalization and interdependence should not be used to weaken the principles of the United Nations Charter or the full respect of international law.

     The importance and potential of information and communication technology to promote development were evident, but its impact would be limited if its introduction was not accompanied by social programmes in developing countries, she said.  It was impossible to talk of the benefits of software services for more than a billion people who had no electricity or access to basic health care.  Decisive action was needed by international community to ensure that the present gaps were not widened further.  The United Nations was in the best position to be at the heart of global efforts to ensure that developing countries could have access to the benefits of globalization. 

     GEORGY PETROV (Russian Federation) said that his delegation attached great significance to the fact that the United Nations General Assembly was again addressing the issue of globalization in the context of interdependence.  The real evaluation of its consequence was becoming more precisely understood through the prism of its impact on the economic and social situation of different countries.  The wave of financial crises that had swept several regions in the 1990s had revealed the kind of dangers that were inherent in globalization.  Converting globalization into a positive force was a large-scale task for the international community.  It was necessary to utilize the comparative advantages of the United Nations in order to minimize the costs connected with globalization.

     The search for a concerted approach to global issues of development, including the sphere of international trade, financial relations and external debt, should be undertaken in close interaction with the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and other multilateral structures.  The new strategy should take into account the fact that many multilateral structures and management mechanisms were in need of radical transformation.  He was concerned by the growing differences in development of various countries under the influence of the leap in the sphere of information and communication technology. To provide for the equitable access of all countries, it was necessary to make information and communication technology a priority issue within the activities of the United Nations. 

     ANDREI POPOV (Belarus) said that the United Nations, by virtue of its universality, had the right and responsibility to see to it that interdependence promoted the enhancement of international economic systems, making them more predictable, fair and open.  Technological progress had radically changed the structure of contemporary economies.  At the same time, a number of States, for various reasons, were not in a position to enjoy the benefits of information and communication technology, thereby deepening the digital divide.  That situation required immediate action by the international community. 

    At the recent International Conference on Electronic Trade in the Confederation of Independent States and Eastern European Countries in the Twenty-First Century, held in Minsk, the President of Belarus had pointed out that the use of information and communication technology was a key factor in today’s world for the successful economic development of States.  Practical steps taken by States to develop national efforts in information and communication technology demanded complimentary efforts on the part of the international community.  He hoped that agreement would be reached on the mandate of the newly created digital task force.  The achievement of tangible progress in the universalization of the benefits of information and communication technology could create favourable conditions for the effective participation of all States in the global economy.

     SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said it was his hope that the recommendations of the report of the Secretary-General on information and communication technology would be implemented with the sole objective of enhancing the capacities of the developing countries.  The United Nations should provide leadership in harnessing market forces for development, in minimizing their negative impact on social development and in making them “pro-development”.  Development should not be a by-product of private-public partnerships in information and communication technology, but the primary objective. 

     Extensive debates had been held on the burdens and blessings of globalization, he said.  The beneficiaries of the process were busy extolling the blessings of globalization.  For them, it was a panacea for all economic and social ills.  The reality was that globalization had impoverished a large majority of people.  Globalization and rapid mobility of capital in a world of abundant labour was helping the economic elite, but harming a much lager group of people who were not at the pinnacle of income and wealth distribution. Globalization was in fact corporate colonialism.  Humane alternatives that would benefit the majority of people living on the planet should be explored.

     TEKLU HABTE (Ethiopia) said that the reality was that globalization had served to generalize social inequality and marginality, while aggravating poverty and instability in the third world.  Lack of information and communication technology contributed to many developing countries not being able to benefit from the opportunities offered by globalization.  That was true in Africa, where connectivity and access to new technology was very low and its share of world trade was a meager 2 per cent.  Ways and means should be sought to assist developing countries, particularly African countries, to strengthen their domestic telecommunication infrastructures and service capacity through technology transfer and human resource development. 

     As rightly underscored in the Secretary-General’s report, developing countries could effectively participate in the global knowledge-based economy only if the daunting challenge of information and communication technology access and capacity were addressed in a comprehensive manner, he said.  The recently created digital task force could have a pivotal role in forging partnerships between government, the private sector and multilateral agencies to mobilize financial and technical support necessary to address the information and communication technology needs in developing countries.  The full integration of developing countries, especially those in Africa, into the rapidly globalizing world economy was key to achieving economic growth sufficient to recover the ground lost in the past several decades.  

     S.S. PALANIMANICKAM (India) said that what was needed today was globalization done right, meaning that globalization that was supportive of the social and economic development objectives of developing countries.  The choice was not between globalization and isolation.  A discussion was required on the terms on which globalization would progress.  If globalization was to be meaningful, it could not be driven purely by the profit motive, through an increase in international trade or financial flows.  The welfare of people and the full development of their potential must be the cornerstone of globalization.  It must be securely anchored in, and promote the fundamental values essential to international relations in the twenty-first century that had been so clearly outlined in the Millennium Declaration.  

     For it to be successful, information technology must be pro-people and pro-development, which could only happen if it reached out to the masses, he said.  Therefore, India had set the ambitious target of information technology for all by 2008.  Globalization led by information and communication technology must be based on a free flow of ideas that all democracies espoused and should not be reminiscent of the centralized autocratic or oligarchic control regimes, that had hopefully died with the twentieth century.  He strongly urged the United Nations to urgently focus on the critical issue of technology transfer instead of devoting inordinate amounts of precious time to so-called policy advice and advocacy functions outlined in the recommendations put forward in the report.

     ROSLYN KHAN CUMMINGS (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the CARICOM countries had played an active role in the fifty-third session of the General Assembly, during which agreement had been reached to place globalization and interdependence on the agenda.  The pivotal role of information and communication technology was of equal concern.  The report of the Secretary-General accurately noted the critical need for access to information and communication technology by developing countries.  While information and communication technology was an important component in enhancing competitiveness and growth in key sectors of national economies, it must be combined with other factors, such as market access, financial and technical assistance, and increased foreign direct assistance. 

     In this increasingly liberalized and globalized economy, special and differential treatment must be granted to meet new policy demands and obligations.  It was equally relevant to address the social and political impacts of globalization.  There was a need to reshape the financial and trade institutions that guided the process of globalization.  It was also important to strive for greater coherence in international policy-making, because of the interrelatedness of trade and financial policy with social and environmental issues.  The international community must therefore ensure that the political infrastructure to manage this process was based on principles of justice and equity and ensured mutual benefits to all countries.

     AHMED A. AL-HADDAD (Yemen) said the main challenge was to guarantee that globalization would be positive for all people.  This was among the essential challenges faced today at the threshold of the twenty-first century, and prompted the United Nations -- the ideal forum to deal with the topic -- to seek solutions.  Globalization should make it possible to lift barriers and allow the free movement of capital.  It must also accelerate the flow of information.  Today, globalization had been the subject of much concern, since its benefits were limited to industrialized countries and many developing countries were not allowed to equally benefit.  Some developing countries suffered from heavy burdens, which prevented them from obtaining globalization’s benefits.  

    More confidence should be placed in the United Nations as the forum to address the adverse impacts of globalization, he added.  It should embark on a path that would allow all people to recognize their economic, social and political aspirations and to partake in the benefits of globalization.  There must be equity in the establishment of international policy and justice should prevail.  

     J.K. SHINKAIYE (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that globalization would continue to have profound effects on the world.  It was clear that the primary challenge for the international community was to ensure that globalization benefited humanity as a whole, and not just a few industrialized countries.  Efforts should focus on how the main instruments of globalization could help integrate the world economy in such a way that developing countries could take advantage of the opportunities inherent in that phenomenon. 

     The Group shared the view that information and communication technology should play a decisive role in the new global economy, he said. It was important to bridge the digital divide by enhancing the human and institutional capacity of developing countries.  The United Nations was indeed uniquely placed to assume a role in facilitating the flow of technology -- especially information and communication technology and resources -- to developing countries where it was most needed.  Properly coordinated, those activities could help developing countries to leapfrog into the development process.  In an era in which developing countries were grappling with the problems of debt, poverty, unemployment and HIV/AIDS, the Group shared the view that information and communication technology could help in finding solutions. 

     FRANKLYN LISK, Director, International Labour Organization (ILO), said that globalization had brought with it opportunities for trade expansion and consequent economic growth, but it also had posed some serious challenges to the attainment of employment and labour market objectives and targets.  In tandem with globalization, rapid advancement in information and communication technologies had resulted in an increasingly networked global economy.  From a development perspective, the new knowledge-based global economy offered opportunities for new and faster growth patterns at the country level.  The benefits from the new technology in terms of job creation and wealth generation were likely to be skewed and unevenly distributed between and within countries.

     Certain trends were already discernable from the standpoint of the impact of the information and communication technologies on work and employment, he said.  Understanding those trends would be crucial for the formulation of policies and programmes to promote employment and social development in an era of rapid technological change.  The key challenge of the ILO would be to ensure that information and communication technology created new opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.  Coordinated action would be required at the industry and national levels.  The role of the ILO could be crucial in terms of strengthening social dialogue between governments and representatives of business and labour.  

    * * * * *