24 July 2002
Economic and Social Council Considers Issues Critical to Development -- Science, Technology, Global Tax Cooperation, Tourism
Draft Resolution on Gender Mainstreaming Introduced
NEW YORK, 23 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today held a wide-ranging discussion on issues critical to sustainable development, including science and technology for development, global tax cooperation, and gender mainstreaming, on which it heard the introduction of a draft resolution expressing appreciation to ECOSOC'S subsidiary bodies for identifying gender equality as an essential element for the realization of social, people-centred and sustainable development.
An application from the World Tourism Organization to convert its observer status with ECOSOC to that of a specialized agency of the United Nations was postponed until the end of the week, when the Council was expected to consider a draft resolution on the question. Consideration of an application from the International Civil Defence Organization, an intergovernmental organization also holding observer status with ECOSOC, was also deferred.
The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization asserted that tourism, in its economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions, had become one of the dominant activities of the twenty-first century. With $462 billion spent in 2001 alone, tourism was a top category of international trade. As part of the United Nations family for the past 30 years, the global organization's role had not been limited to that of an ECOSOC observer; it had served as a "related agency" under an approved agreement by the General Assembly.
Responding to an a letter dated 5 July from the Permanent Representative of Japan (document E/2002/80), the Council accepted the offer of the Japanese Government to host the Sixteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific in 2003.
In other action today, the Council took note of reports by the following bodies: the Committee for Development Policy on its fourth session; the International Telecommunications Union on the preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society; the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its seventh special session; and of the Secretary-General on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
It also took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. By so doing, it agreed to hold the eleventh meeting of the expert Group in 2003 and accept the provisional agenda contained in the report. Note was also taken of the report on assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions.
Left pending until tomorrow morning were decisions on the sub-items: the Forum on Forests; the Statistical Commission; and the Population Commission. Also postponed was action on the sub-items on science and technology for development and public administration.
Introducing a draft resolution today on mainstreaming a gender perspective at the United Nations, the representative of the United Kingdom drew attention to a key provision, which expressed the Council's appreciation to its subsidiary bodies for the progress made thus far in approaching gender as an issue that cut across all policy areas rather than only addressing women as a social group to be targeted. Action on the text was expected later in the week.
Also today, Chairpersons and Bureau members of several functional commissions of ECOSOC addressed the Council on efforts to coordinate their work programmes. Among them, Kryzsztof Jakubowski, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, said that it was not easy to harmonize the Commission's work with that of the other commissions, owing to its standard agenda of the same 20 items per year, which changed based on current events. Moreover, the diversity of the commissions should be maintained. Sharing experiences and best practices was useful, however.
Contributors were: Vijaya Kumar, Chairperson of the Science and Technology for Development Commission; John Kangai, Chairperson of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; Ole-Henrik Magga, Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Joan Elaine Thomas, Bureau member of the Commission on Population and Development; Alejandra Ayuso, Vice-Chairperson of the Commission on Social Development; Laszlo Molnar, speaking on behalf of Tamas Mallar, Chairman of the Statistical Commission; and Francisco Coimbra, Bureau member of the Commission on the Status of Women.
In other business, Eugenio Figueroa, Vice-Chairman of the Committee for Development Policy, reported on the Committee's fourth session, and Guido Bertucci, Director, Division for Public Economics and Public Administration, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General's report on the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Denmark on behalf of the European Union, Venezuela on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, Iraq, United States, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Suriname, Maldives, Mongolia, Chile, Norway, Libya, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Fiji, El Salvador, Cameroon, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan, Andorra, Cuba, Botswana, Nepal, Iran and Uganda.
Acting Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) New York also spoke, as well as a representative of the World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows (WAFUNIF).
The Economic and Social Council will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to continue its general segment.
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met today to continue its general segment. This annual appraisal of wide-ranging topics under the Council's purview -- including follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, and regional cooperation for development -- aims to fulfil its management role and provide guidance for its functioning commissions and subsidiary bodies.
Over the course of the day, the Council is scheduled to consider, among other things, economic and environmental questions, gender mainstreaming, science and technology for development and assistance to third States affected by sanctions.
Among the documents before the Council is a draft resolution on mainstreaming a gender perspective into all the policies and programmes in the United Nations system (document E/2002/L.14), which calls upon Member States and all other actors of the United Nations to continue to mainstream a gender perspective into all activities at all levels.
Affirming that gender mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality, the Council would also decide to intensify its efforts to ensure such mainstreaming is an integral part of all activities in its work and that of its subsidiary bodies. The draft would also have the Council encourage the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Division for the Advancement of Women to expand their efforts to raise awareness of gender issues across the United Nations system.
The text would also have the Council express appreciation to its subsidiary bodies for the progress made in giving attention to situations that are specific to women and the mainstreaming of gender perspective by, among other things, emphasizing the link between human rights and gender equality by using specific agenda items to focus attention on gender equality issues. It would also appreciate that its subsidiary bodies have continued to identify gender equality as an essential element for the realization of social, people-centred and sustainable development.
Also before the Council is the report of the fourth session of the Committee for Development Policy (document E/2002/33), which highlights that Committee's work during the period 8 to 12 April. It also gives a detailed overview of the Committee's main findings on aid effectiveness and human and social capacities for development in a knowledge-based global society. It further reviews criteria for identification of least developed countries (LDCs).
According to the report, aid to the African region has declined sharply in recent years. Moreover, the region continues to lag behind in human and social capabilities while facing both old and new challenges in the form of persisting poverty, rising inequality and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Committee stresses that the primary goal for aid and assistance should be capacity-building in recipient countries, that is to say, the creation and development of human and social capabilities that would foster autonomous development, innovation and change.
The report also reaffirms the Committee's view that developing countries, especially those in Africa, need to reappropriate their development strategies, including human development, in order to be able to participate fully in the contemporary knowledge-based global society. In order to better face the new challenges posed by globalization and the digital revolution, developing countries must develop and capitalize on synergies between health and education, form local and global partnerships, and harness the opportunities that new tools such as information and communication technologies (ICT) bring about.
On the LDCs, the Committee makes a number of recommendations pertaining to the criteria used in the triennial review of the list of those countries scheduled for 2003, including a re-examination of its proposal to graduate Maldives from the list and the importance of ensuring a smooth transition from LDC status for graduating countries. The Committee recommends that for the sake of clarity and consistency, gross national income (GNI) per capita replace gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in current criteria for graduation. It also recommends that a new country profile for the Maldives be prepared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Another report before the Council is on strengthening the coordination of the role of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (document A/56/96-E/2001/87), which is an analysis on the progress made toward the implementation of relevant General Assembly resolution 55/185 (2000) on promoting complementarity of activities in the area of new and innovative technologies within the United Nations system.
The report contains proposals for strengthening the critical role of the Commission in coordinating the activities of the United Nations system supporting developing countries' efforts to obtain, effectively utilize and benefit from science and technology for their development. According to the report, the issue of such coordination has acquired increasing importance in international negotiations at the level of the Assembly and ECOSOC. The effectiveness of the Commission has been enhanced recently and over the past few years, the UNCTAD Secretariat has taken steps to establish electronic link as part of its dissemination activities.
The Council is also set to consider the Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (document A/57/25), which covers the seventh special session/Global Ministerial Environment Forum held in Cartagena, Colombia from 13 to 15 February. The report includes an overview of the session, including the Forum's organization of work, attendance and the report of the Committee as a whole.
The report also includes an annex detailing the decisions adopted by the Governing Council. Those decisions covered a variety of issues, including international environmental governance, a strategic approach to international chemicals management and the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The report notes that the Cartagena meeting had made a significant contribution to the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Also before the Council is the report of the second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (document E/2002/42), which covers the meetings of the Forum on 22 June 2001 and on 4-5 March 2002. The report highlights a number of matters calling for the Council's action, including the date and venue of its third session -- 26 May to 6 June 2003 in Geneva. It also contains the provisional agenda for that session.
The report also includes resolutions for the Forum brought to the Council's attention, including its Ministerial Declaration to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. In that Declaration, the Ministers reaffirm, among other things, that sustainable forest management of both natural and planted forests is essential to sustainable development.
Among the documents before the Council is a letter dated 5 July from the Permanent Representative of Japan addressed to the Secretary-General (document E/2002/80), which contains a Japan's proposal to host the sixteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific in 2003.
The Council will also consider the report of the thirty-third session of the Statistical Commission (document E/2002/24), which details the Commission's work during its 5 to 8 March session this year. According to the report, the Commission reviewed the ongoing work of groups of countries and international organizations in various fields of demographic, social, economic and environmental statistics and on certain cross-cutting issues in statistics.
According to the report, the Commission approved actions by the United Nations Statistical Division to support population and housing censuses to be undertaken by countries between 2005 and 2014. The Commission also recognized that the World Bank had made considerable progress in developing an overall strategy for the implementation of a global International Comparison Programme (ICP), and reaffirmed the practical guidelines for good practices in technical cooperation statistics.
In the report on coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document E/2002/48), the Secretary-General concludes that the millennium development goal of improving the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020, which is central to the Habitat Agenda adopted in Istanbul in June 1996, poses a major challenge to United Nations Human Settlements Programme ((UN-Habitat) and to the whole United Nations family. One of the central functions of UN-Habitat is to provide advisory services and implement human settlement programmes at the request of Member States.
The report notes that this function has been performed over a period of 20 years through projects and programmes, including the Urban Management Programme, the Disaster Management Programme and the Cities Alliance, and continues to be the most visible and direct evidence of the contribution of UN-Habitat to sustainable development. Efforts should, therefore, be made to enhance the operational role of UN-Habitat for a more productive and effective collaboration with the agencies; to diversify sources of financing for technical cooperation project and programmes; and to identify new avenues for inter-agency collaboration, the report says.
It notes that the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session supported the proposal for revitalization, through partnerships with international development banks and other finance institutions, of the Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation, originally created as a revolving fund to support, among others, selected shelter and human settlements programmes in developing countries and the strengthening of housing finance institutions. Strengthening the Foundation will make the funding and activities of UN-Habitat more predictable and prevent its programmes from experiencing excessive and disruptive volatility.
The Secretary-General makes several recommendations, including promoting recognition of cities and local authorities as partners of the United Nations in the quest for a safer and better world; enhancing dialogue among governments and Habitat Agenda partners on issues related to decentralization and strengthening of local authorities; supporting non-governmental organizations in their advocacy work; and identifying new strategies for involving the private sector in public-private partnerships for slum upgrading and sustainable human settlements development.
Also before the Council are requests from the International Civil Defence Organization and the World Tourism Organization for conversion of an intergovernmental organization in consultative status with the Council to a specialized agency of the United Nations system (documents E/2002/4 and 5, respectively).
The Council also had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (document E/2002/6), which was held in Geneva from 10 to 14 September 2001. It was considered by the Group that although the evidence of the quantitative impact of globalization on public revenues was still limited, there were indications that it may reduce tax revenues due to increased tax competition among jurisdictions to attract foreign direct investment, the exponential growth of electronic commerce, the increased mobility of factors of production and the growing importance of off-shore and non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. The fall in revenues may further aggravate the problem of budgetary deficits of fiscally stretched economies.
With the significant growth of international trade and investment, tax authorities in developing countries and economies in transition face increasing challenges in assessing and collecting the taxes due to them from international transactions, the report states. The Group provides advisory services to the Secretary-General in strengthening the administrative and technical capacities of the tax administrations in developing countries and economies in transition through the organization of interregional workshops on international taxation and through technical cooperation and assistance. A summary of the main discussions is included in the report.
The Council also has before it a note by the Secretary-General on assistance to third parties affected by the application of sanctions (E/2002/65), which states that the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of the provisions of the Charter related to such assistance (A/56/303) will be made available to the Council at its 2002 substantive.
MATTHEW JOHNSON (United Kingdom) introduced the draft resolution on mainstreaming a gender perspective (document E/2002/L.14). He said he had initiated the draft resolution for a number of reasons, including its desire to mark the significant occasion of the new ECOSOC agenda sub-item dedicated to gender mainstreaming. It also sought to maintain momentum towards devoting a coordination segment to review its Agreed Conclusions from 1997 on the subject, and to give the subject substance and direction.
He said the concept was widely accepted throughout the United Nations system and inter-governmental processes. It was readily acknowledged as a critical strategy for achieving gender equality and other key goals, including those of the Millennium Declaration. Unfortunately, gender issues were still viewed in many forums as something that could be "bolted on" to other work, or tackled only by addressing women with targeted interventions. The draft text identified, for the first time, some good examples from the work of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies over the past year. Additional co-sponsors included Spain, Peru, Argentina, Uganda and Ecuador.
EUGENIO FIGUEROA, Vice-Chairman of the Economic and Social Council's Committee for Development Policy (CDP), said the Committee stressed the importance of adopting new approaches to enhance human resources. It also recommended paying more attention to the lower performance in health and education in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and parts of Central Asia.
He said the Committee analysed trends in official development assistance (ODA) and made several policy recommendations to improve effectiveness. It viewed with concern the downward trend of ODA, especially to the African region and to the least developed countries (LDCs). Those countries were not only lagging behind in economic, human and social capabilities, but were also facing new challenges in their fight against persistent poverty, marginalization and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Mr. Figueroa said that under those conditions, the Committee stressed that the primary goal for aid should be capacity-building to foster autonomous development through a holistic and participatory approach, complementing and inducing private investment within an environment of good governance and strong institutions. With regard to the LDCs, the Committee focused its deliberations on three main areas: the criteria to be used for the 2003 triennial review; the need to ensure a smooth transition form least developed country status for graduating countries; and the re-examination of the Committee's proposal to graduate the Maldives from the list.
The Committee had proposed several measures to improve the criteria for the next triennial review, he said. It also recommended that the case of each country that graduated be examined in an ad hoc United Nations round table meeting between development partners and the graduating country with the aim of identifying measures to ensure a smooth transition.
On the proposal to graduate the Maldives from the list of LDCs, the Committee recommended that a new country profile for the Maldives be prepared by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Committee also stressed the importance of considering the likely response from donors to the Maldives' possible graduation from LDC status, he said.
TRINE RASK THYGESEN (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU), said the EU Plan of Action on Aid for Poverty Diseases in Developing Countries aimed at providing a comprehensive package of interventions for reducing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria and tuberculosis -- the three major communicable diseases.
Further, the Union's strong financial support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that the Fund would serve as an effective mechanism for delivery of essential support. The EU attached great importance to the integration of reproductive and sexual health issues into national development plans.
In that regard, Mr. Thygesen, said the EU wished to underline its strong support for the activities of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in building national capacity in that area. Those activities constituted a major contribution to solving the problems raised by population dynamics and reproductive and sexual health issues in developing countries.
He said universal access to reproductive and sexual health services and better delivery of those services was crucial in the fight against poverty, and UNFPA deserved strong support for its activities; which contributed to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. He reaffirmed the Union's commitment to the Cairo Plan of Action and the Key Actions for Further Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development adopted by the twenty-first special session of the General Assembly, and called for the implementation of its recommendations.
DOMINGO BLANCO (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China (G-77), said the Commission of Science and Technology was ECOSOC's only functional commission that had not met annually, although its agenda was at least as relevant as the others. Only through frequent meetings could the Commission keep pace with changes in the field of science and technology. Unless the Commission met more frequently, it would be impossible for it to contribute to relevant, important events.
He said that the value of information and assistance in the scientific and technological fields made that change imperative. The G-77, therefore, had not seen a reason for ECOSOC to delay adoption of the recommendation made by the Commission; it was high time for the Council to take a final position on that matter.
SALAH-ELDEEN N. SULAIMAN (Iraq) said the numerous United Nations conferences since 1992 had resulted with a clear programme on sustainable development. The international community would have to note the difference between commitment and implementation, however. In addition to trade and environmental problems, economic and political obstacles hindered the attainment of sustainable development.
Economic sanctions had tremendous consequences on sustainable development, creating insurmountable obstacles for targeted countries, he said. The military aggression and embargo had resulted in tragic consequences for the Iraqi population, afflicting heavy economic, social and cultural aspects of life. During the military aggression against Iraq, the aggressors had destroyed Iraqi installations, including drinking water, sanitation, hospitals and schools. As a result of continued aggression, international reports had highlighted a sharp deterioration in the economic situation and the living standards of the population.
Repairing the damage would require tremendous economic resources and many years, he continued. The suffering of the Iraqis by the use of some 800 tonnes of depleted uranium during the 1991 aggression had serious consequences for civilian populations who had contracted cancers and other diseases. The situation would continue for years to come. The insistence of the United States and the United Kingdom in the 661 Sanctions Committee to suspend contracts to import machines to rehabilitate the infrastructure had worsened the situation. International environmental management should consider the requirements of developing countries and the obstacles hindering their development. He called upon the Council to end the serious situation facing Iraq and take immediate measures to improve its environmental situation by working to lift the embargo against his country.
SICHAN SIV (United States) said the thirty-fifth session of the Commission on Population and Development had made positive and significant progress towards implementing a more comprehensive approach to reproductive health. The HIV/AIDS epidemic had posed major challenges in the area of health care access. So many young people were living with HIV/AIDS, especially in the developing world. In some African countries, for example, women between the ages of 15 and 19 had rates of infection six times as high as men in the same age group.
He said it was a major concern to all that more than 10 million people between the ages of 15 and 24 were now living with HIV/AIDS. Half of all new infections occurred among young people. The recent session highlighted efforts on prevention as well as the ongoing challenges countries faced in improving awareness campaigns. Abstinence and postponement of initial sexual activity played important roles in promoting adolescent health and well-being, including HIV/AIDS prevention. Other responsible sexual behaviour, including monogamy, fidelity, partner reduction and family planning were increasingly needed to prevent HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.
The United States was disappointed that the reports prepared for the thirty-fifth session had not presented data concerning the objectives set forth in the Commission on Population and Development Programme of Action's chapter on the family, he said. The important value of strong and stable families in preventing risky behaviour among young people had been widely recognized. Unfortunately, the reports contained only scant references to the influence of family stability, the role of fathers and parent-child communication on abstinence, delaying sexual initiation and responsible sexual behaviour.
He said his country remained the largest bilateral donor of HIV/AIDS and population assistance. In fiscal year 2002, it had allocated nearly $1.1 billion for international assistance and more than $2.5 billion for AIDS research. The President recently announced a new $500 million initiative to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection in Africa and the Caribbean. And, it had contributed $300 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The full amount appropriated by Congress for UNFPA should be used for family planning and reproductive health and be applied to USAID's Child Survival Health Program Fund.
OLEG SHAMANOV (Russian Federation) said that in today's globalized world there had been growth in the potential for the use of technology to implement the Millennium Development Goals. He saw the importance of United Nations support for Member States' efforts to produce effective scientific policies. He supported the proposals for a working group to strengthen the United Nations work in the field of technology for development, and he supported the Secretary-General's appeal for resources to carry out that work.
On the environment, he noted that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had made significant contributions to the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. He appreciated UNEP's third global ecological review which would make it possible to fine-tune environmental activities. He noted a stepping up in UNEP activities.
Regarding the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests, he said the Forum's second session in March had been a landmark in the history of international cooperation in the area of forests, in particular its high-level segment. The Forum's declaration and message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development laid down important strategic guidelines and commitments for further activity. It was time to develop the practical activity of the Forum.
OLEKSII HOLUBOV (Ukraine) was convinced that only with political will and commitment to the principles of sustainable development could the international community give impetus to actions required to implement sustainable development policies. Ukraine attached great importance to do its best to implement the policy of sustainable development. His country had signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and was doing its best to join the Cartajena Protocol on Biosaftey in the near future. Ukraine fully realized its responsibility for the protection of natural resources not only at home but also on the continent.
Strengthening commitments undertaken in Rio would be one of the most crucial outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit, he said. The Johannesburg Declaration, when agreed upon, would contain the critical evaluation of the progress made since the Rio Summit, reflect lessons learned and create a practical platform for the activities for sustainable development. Although managing sustainable development mechanisms was difficult, it was possible with Government leadership. The participants in the World Summit on Sustainable Development would agree on a concrete, time-bound plan of action and commitment to progress.
On the issue of assistance to third States affected by sanctions, he believed that the subject should continue to be treated as a priority. Ukraine, whose economy suffered considerable losses as a result of sanctions, strongly believed that every effort should be made to minimise any negative impact on third States from measures taken under Chapter VII of the Charter and to provide appropriate assistance to third States affected by sanctions. He emphasised the importance of proper implementation of relevant General Assembly resolutions as well as previous Council decisions to address the problem of third States. It was time for ECOSOC to take a close look at the relevant reports of the Secretary-General and to provide the Assembly with clear guidance on the issues within its mandate.
IRMA LOEMBAN TOBING-KLEIN (Suriname) said the Council had again heard the reality that more than half of the 6 billion people around the world lived in extreme poverty. Special attention must be given to persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples. The role of the Council towards special groups of peoples was significant. Human rights education as a key to development should be promoted strongly. It was the Council's responsibility to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals became reality, and sustainable human development should be the ultimate goal of all the Council's endeavours. The proposal to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the right to health could play a vital role in that regard and should be strongly supported.
Mainstreaming of information and communications technology into development was necessary, she continued, saying the developing world must benefit from digital opportunities. Regarding tobacco and health, she suggested that the United Nations invite all smokers to cooperate so that all public premises at the United Nations be declared smoke-free.
AHMED SHAHEED (Maldives) said his country had not liked being labelled a least developed country, but that designation had had a number of practical implications affecting development, particularly with respect to development assistance and market access. He appreciated the care with which the relevant bodies were proceeding in assessing its list, as well as the proposed refinement to be used in the next LDC list. He stressed the importance of accurate country profiles in making those assessments and was concerned about the lack of availability of data, especially current data, which could skew certain determinations.
He said that in the case of very small economies, such as that of the Maldives, abstract aggregate indicators might be misleading, despite the proposed refinement of criteria. Despite emphasis by the Committee for Development Policy on structural constraints, the statistical criteria would not capture one of the biggest and most pervasive handicaps faced by the Maldives, namely the geophysical fragmentation of the country. That was accompanied by the widespread dispersal of the population into very tiny communities, exacerbating "diseconomies of scale", intensifying economic and environmental vulnerability, deepening poverty, and increasing aid dependence.
The structural handicap of the Maldives was related to the geophysical fragmentation of the country. That handicap could not be observed by the current criteria or the proposed adjustments to them. While he welcomed the number of proposals that had been made, he also wished to recall the ECOSOC resolution, which endorsed proposals of an expert group that had formulated certain profiling practices. Hopefully, both sets of recommendations could be included.
DASHDORJ ZORIGT (Mongolia) said more time might be needed to consider the recommendations of the Committee for Development Policy, as contained in its report (document E/2002/33). Serious and in-depth consideration should be given to all proposals submitted to the Committee, in particular to the recommendations affecting graduation from the list of least developed countries. At the same time, he appreciated the recommendation to undertake country profiles before the next tri-annual review of least developed countries.
He said he also attached importance to the consideration of human capital aspects to low-income countries in transition. Most of those were landlocked developing countries handicapped by that additional pressure in their development efforts. Landlocked countries paid twice as much as other developing countries for the transfer of goods, and three to four times as much as the rest of the world for the transit. Importance should be given to the country profile studies in that aspect. Efforts by the Committee to examine and incorporate other vulnerability indexes, such as those concerning the environment, were welcome.
CLAUDIO ROJAS (Chile) said it was necessary to integrate the environment into economic and social development as well as the recuperation of ecosystems so as not to jeopardize future generations. It was a mistake to think that sustainable development and environmental protection were antagonistic. Eliminating poverty was one of the best ways to protect the environment. It was not either growth or the environment. They were mutually reinforcing. It was necessary to find the tools to develop positive synergies.
He believed that trade and the environment had entered a new stage after Doha. Multilateral systems of trade had led to negotiations on the relationship between trade and the environment. Chile hoped that just as agreement had been reached in Monterrey, the same constructive spirit of negotiation would be sustained in Johannesburg.
ARMAN AADAL (Norway) said the transformation from UNCHS to the United Nations Human Settlement Programme could be seen as the last major step in the revitalization process as far as institutional arrangements were concerned. A strong UN-Habitat was essential for dealing with the biggest challenges of the new millennium: the accelerating urbanization process in the developing countries. UN-Habitat now had the potential to be a powerful tool in assisting member countries in their struggle for sustainable human settlements development. It was of utmost importance that all member countries that were in a position, respond to new momentum by supporting UN-Habitat financially. Norway had doubled its general, non-earmarked contribution.
UN-Habitat's new status should enable the organization to be an active partner in the United Nations Development Group. Human settlement issues were crosscutting and should not be dealt with separately from other issues that were central to development. The first session of the World Urban Forum showed that the forum had great potential as a global "think tank" on urban issues. Norway was pleased that there had been more focus on the important normative role of UN-Habitat during the past few years. Although it has been strengthened, UN-Habitat had limited resources. Field activities could not be carried out adequately by UN-Habitat alone. Cooperation was key. The Cities Alliance initiative was a good example of cooperation and the emerging new partnerships in the United Nations system.
ABDALLA SHUMAINA (Libya), speaking on the item on the environment, said his country had suffered the effects of a blockade since 1992. The sanctions, which had negatively affected all aspects of life in Libya, were incompatible with the right to development. Although his country had acted favourably on all Security Council resolutions and complied with the "political" prosecution of two Libyan citizens, it was still living under a blockade. Regional organizations had called for lifting it, but the intransigence of one permanent member of the Security Council had made it impossible to do so.
Mr. BLANCO (Venezuela), on behalf of the G-77 and China, spoke about the item on statistics. The Group had examined with interest the report of the Statistical Commission on its thirty-third session, as well as the progress report on basic indicators for integrated implementation to follow-up United Nations conferences and summits. It had noted with interest the reference to development indicators, including good governance. Those two reports deserved particular attention, especially in light of the Monterrey Conference and the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. Thus, ECOSOC should take more time to consider the recommendations contained therein and consider the reports together at the resumed session in October.
OROBOLA FASEHUN, Acting Director, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) New York, said that with available resources to train, teach and manage education and health systems, a society would not only have the capacity to grow out of poverty but to innovate and enhance its creativity. The promotion of innovation and creativity was at the core of WIPO's mandate. The Organization had a vibrant programme of capacity development in developing countries and countries in transition to enable them to develop the capacity needed to manage their intellectual property assets.
He said WIPO's programme of capacity development was conducted through two platforms -- the Nationally Focused Action Plans and the World Wide Academy. The first were aimed at institution-building and modernization of the administrative infrastructure of intellectual property offices, including their automation and automation-related activities covering software development, equipment supply for use in patent, trademark and copyright administrations. WIPO also periodically conducted training for judges, magistrates, prosecutors, police and customs officials in the effective enforcement of intellectual property rights. It was currently engaged in the developing of a regional system of collective management of copyright and related rights for the Caribbean.
WIPO's capacity-building activities in countries in transition were aimed at training personnel and collaborating with those countries in the development of lasting institutions, he said. Towards that end, over 80 officials from industrial property and copyright offices of countries in transition were trained to further enhance their knowledge to effectively deal with piracy and counterfeiting of intellectual property assets. The World Wide Academy conducted professional training and engaged in distance learning.
Opening the panel meeting of the chairpersons of the functional commissions, ECOSOC President IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said attempts were being made to achieve better coordination between the Council and its functional commissions. One way was through more meetings between commission chairpersons and the ECOSOC Bureau, such as the one held earlier today. A way to ensure better coordination between ECOSOC and its functional commissions and the rest of the United Nations system was through the more regular participation of ECOSOC in the General Assembly and Security Council. A closer look at the multi-year programmes of the Commission was also warranted.
VIJAYA KUMAR, Chairperson of the Science and Technology for Development Commission, said the Commission's mandate was to give high quality advice on the subject to the General Assembly and ECOSOC, and serve as a forum on that and related issues. Such sessions took place annually on a central theme in line with the theme for the substantive sessions of ECOSOC. Themes of previous sessions included gender and science and technology, information and communications technology, biotechnology, sustainable and social development, among others. The next theme concerned information technologies, which was first taken up in 1995; biotechnology had been taken up at the last session. He highlighted certain constraints to cooperation, including budgetary.
KRYZSZTOF JAKUBOWSKI, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, said the Commission did not have a formal work programme. Rather, it had an agenda comprised of 20 items, which it considered every year. Each item looked different each year because of what was going on in the world. It was not easy for the Commission to develop the kind of harmonization to which the ECOSOC President had just referred.
He said that most of its cooperation, however, was with the Commission on the Status of Women, whose chairperson always addressed the annual session of the Human Rights Commission. It also had a joint work plan with the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, as well as with certain other Bureau's. But each Commission dealt with a specific area and harmonization would risk overlapping efforts. Thus, diversity should be maintained, while the commissions could share experiences and best practices.
JOHN KANGAI, Chairperson of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, highlighted the links with other commissions. During its last session, for example, the Commission had adopted several resolutions, which covered the scope of other United Nations bodies. One of its themes had been trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. Another had been the rule of law and contributions to development in the context of criminal activities. It had coordinated with ECOSOC in adopting its multi-year programme of work and this year, the thematic discussion was on criminal justice reform. The Commission also cooperated in the area of narcotic drugs. There was also ongoing close cooperation with the Commission on the Status of Women, including on the issue of gender mainstreaming.
OLE-HENRIK MAGGA, Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, said the Forum, which consisted of 15 of its 16 members, sought to create a dialogue between indigenous peoples and United Nations agencies. Its mandate was broad, as it was supposed to work on the concerns of indigenous peoples in the fields of culture, education, health, development, environment and human rights. It had not yet had much experience to share, but its ambitions were high, including the goal to produce a United Nations publication every three years on the state of indigenous peoples throughout the world.
JOAN ELAINE THOMAS, Bureau member of the Commission on Population and Development, drew attention to the challenges and rewards of coordination. Population issues were people centred and impinged on all aspects of development, touching on a range of efforts in areas such as health and education. Demographers and statisticians owed it to society to present vast and substantiated data, devoid of political bias. An integrated approach was required, as well as a coordination of strategies at the intergovernmental levels. The Population Commission looked at demographics in the context of their impact on societies. Rapid population growth, for example, was viewed in the context of the strain that phenomenon had put on governments.
ALEJANDRA AYUSO, Vice Chairperson of the Commission on Social Development, said that since 1995, the work of the Commission had followed up on actions taken to implement the results of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen. The dialogue between ECOSOC and the functional commissions would support governments, international organizations and civil society in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
LASZLO MOLNAR (Hungary), speaking on behalf of Tamas Mallar, Chairman of the Statistical Commission, said that in every session the Commission carefully reviewed the policies and decisions of the Council that were relevant to its work. It also took into account the work of other functional commissions, with which it had sought to strengthen links. In 2003, the Commission intended to review the statistical implications of the Commission on Social Development. There was a need over time for the consistent compilation of data, taking into account emerging issues. A challenge for his Commission was how to deal with continuity needs while being responsive to the new issues being addressed by the other commissions, which used his data for their policy debates.
FRANCISCO COIMBRA, Bureau member of the Commission on the Status of Women, said the Women's Commission had made great efforts to integrate the Council's guidance for better coordination with it and the other commissions. Civil society and the NGO community were a critical part of its work. One good practice was the annual exchange of information between the Women's Commission and the Commission on Human Rights; both chairpersons wrote to each other, providing information on any developments. Hopefully, reciprocal participation would be enjoyed by the two during the substantive sessions. All other Commissions would benefit from such participation and cooperation. With respect to the multi-year work programmes, the Commission had been trying to adapt them to the broader United Nations agenda.
JOHN LANGMORE, International Labour Organization (ILO), said that growth in revenue was an essential requirement for the provision of vital social services, such as health services. Increased revenue was also essential for solving various problems, such as reducing debt. Increasing interdependence -- globalization -- involved the risk of increased competition over tax policies between countries. It also increased the tendency for high-income earners in developed countries to use tax havens. There was a growing imperative to improve arrangements for cooperation between tax authorities. There was also a growing need for tax authorities to reduce opportunities for tax avoidance. The recommendations in the Secretary-General's report included ways to prevent tax avoidance, including the promotion of treaties on that issue. The Secretary-General's report also dealt with the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, which did most valuable work relating to new financial instruments and mutual assistance in tax collection. It was a problem, however, that the Ad Hoc Group met only every two years and that it had a small secretariat.
Since Monterrey, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and others had set up a tax dialogue, he added. The United Nations had been invited to join in the dialogue. Before the Monterrey meeting, the Secretary-General had estimated that the cost of achieving the Millennium Development Goals at some $50 billion. At Monterrey, commitments for some $12 billion had been received. That was only 25 per cent of the funds needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Additional resources must be found to fund the Millennium Development Goals.
RAUL SALAZAR (Peru) said the United Nations had made efforts in recent years to give its work greater impact on the lives of the peoples represented by the Organization. In recent times, valuable initiatives had taken on work procedures. In the last decade a number of special sessions and meetings had taken place on subjects related to human development. A new approach to multilateralism was the ideal instrument to bring about sustainable development. The Rio Conference in 1992 had raised expectations that environmental degradation would be modified gradually. It had the advantage of producing an international environmental agenda. It defined the principle of responsibility as it created environmental conventions. Two of the most important factors causing environmental degradation had been noted, namely wealth and consumption patters.
He said it was important not to undermine the working agenda of Doha. The Council must see that the Monterrey process was successfully completed. The Johannesburg process was further proof of the validity of the multilateral approach to development problems. A larger institutional framework was needed. In that regard, the Council's debate was important. The Council must coordinate all efforts and keep in close contact with the agencies of the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods organizations. The fragmentation of the sustainable development agenda began at the local level and was repeated at the international level.
Ms. CALVO (Mexico) said science and technology constituted one of the fundamental factors affecting the degree of progress in societies. The ability of a country to generate science and technology at the present was essential to its ability to progress. The challenge was finding a way to make science and technology a principle component of development strategies. Efforts must be made to help countries strengthen science and research capacities.
She said the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) was one of the best ways to transfer knowledge and narrow the gap between countries. Information and communication technology was no longer an option but an essential requirement for societies. ICT must play an active role in present economies, and consensus must be achieved on the tools created to narrow the technical gap between developed and developing counties. Access to ICT was needed to create valuable services in all countries.
AMENATAVE YAUVOLI (Fiji) highlighted the importance of addressing vulnerability issues for least developed countries and Small Island Developing States. The proposals before the Council warranted the Council's further attention. Much was at stake in developing countries, and the current work on vulnerability was important to Small Island Developing States. On the vulnerability index, a number of studies concluded that the small island States were more vulnerable than other developing countries. The report had proposed bold recommendations to improve the criteria for the graduation of least developed countries. It was important that the recommendations were given careful consideration and that workable solutions were found. Linking the economic vulnerability index to structural vulnerability was necessary.
He supported the recommendation that country profiles be completed before the end of 2002, but expressed disappointment at the weak reference to environmental vulnerability in the report. Fiji was frequently faced with environmental challenges such as cyclones and drought -- sustainable development was at stake in Fiji. He appealed to the Council to incorporate the environmental vulnerability component in the criteria used to designate countries as least developed countries. Its early completion would play a major role in future sustainable development of least developed countries and Small Island Developing States.
Mr. CHOULKOV (Russian Federation), speaking on international cooperation in the area of taxation, said he had had a very positive response to the report on the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters (document E/2002/6). It had provided an objective presentation of the "bottlenecks" that had persisted in that area. In addition, it defined future tasks and established important guidelines for activities at the national level in the tax sphere. Presently, in the Russian Federation, enormous work was under way to reform the tax system. The first part of the new tax code had already been introduced, and some corrections were being made to the second part.
He said that a priority in the country's economic policy was the development of small businesses. It intended for small businesses to introduce a simplified system of taxation by replacing the five forms of payment to one single tax, thereby reducing the tax burden of small businesses many-fold. Efforts were also under way to promote foreign investment. He supported several recommendations in the report, including the proposal for the United Nations to carry out special research on the taxation of electronic commerce or e-commerce.
SICHAN SIV (United States) said that urbanization was as much an opportunity as a challenge. Throughout human history, cities had been engines of economic, social and cultural development. Within the United Nations system, UN-Habitat was the focal point for strategies on United Nations settlement policies. Its goals flowed from the Habitat Agenda and the Millennium Declaration. The United States expected that UN-Habitat's new status as a full-fledged programme of the General Assembly would enable it to coordinate those goals more effectively.
He said he hoped for the emergence of a synergy in poverty eradication programmes, urban and municipal capacity-building, and the allocation of shelter for the many millions of slum dwellers and other vulnerable groups. The past year for UN-Habitat had been devoted to its successful consolidation. Ways should be sought now to strengthen its funding mechanism, which had so far been insufficient. If the Agency was to move forward by scaling up, the Executive Director should explore creative partnerships with other agencies, foundations and the private sector. Financing would be needed even as core resources grew. In terms of the accelerating world population growth, he looked to UN-Habitat for "keys to the promise of cities".
Mr. JOSEPH, representing the World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows (WAFUNIF), said he believed that the interconnectedness between processes and players on the global scene demanded an integrated approach to issue posing and problem solving. That was especially true in an information and knowledge-based world. The WAFUNIF had participated in the first session of the preparatory process for the World Summit on the Information Society and intended to remain active during the process.
On the issue of public administration, he stressed the importance of capacity-building in the developing countries and economies in transition. The ongoing process of globalization and the increase of international economic and financial interdependence had resulted in a growing recognition of the need for greater international cooperation in tax matters by both governments and civil society. The Monterrey Consensus was a weak version of an earlier proposal suggested by the High-level Panel on Financing for Development. The proposal to create an International Tax Organization had been discarded. Other proposals had also been put forward, and they constituted an implied recognition of the relevance of enhanced tax cooperation for sustainable development of developing countries and economies in transition.
GUIDO BERTUCCI, Director, Division for Public Economics and Public Administration of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General's report on the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. On transfer pricing, multinational enterprises with their head office in developed countries and branches in developing countries and economies in transition, were subject to multiple tax jurisdictions in different countries with widely divergent tax regimes and varying tax rates. To reduce the aggregate tax liabilities of the associated companies, multinational enterprises adopted article transfer pricing mechanisms in their dealings with the associated enterprises. The tenth meeting discussed the latest developments on the subject and appointed a focus group to make recommendations to avert loss of revenues from corporate strategic use of transfer prices.
On new financial instruments, he said derivatives and other innovative financial products posed immense challenges to tax systems. Regarding taxation of electronic commerce, the exponential growth of electronic commerce posed a daunting challenge to taxing authorities' traditional approaches to both direct and indirect taxation. In the area of tax cooperation, the Monterrey Consensus encouraged strengthening of international tax cooperation, through enhanced dialogue among national tax authorities.
On the assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions, he noted that the issue of assistance had been under consideration by the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC, as well as their subsidiary bodies. An important part of deliberations concerned the findings of the Ad Hoc Expert meeting convened in 1998 on the methodologies for assessing the special economic problems of third States. The views provided by governments and other organizations were summarized in the Secretary-General's report for 1999-2001. The Secretary-General would submit a new report to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session. The Council might wish to take note of the document submitted to it under the item.
Action on Documents
In accordance with the sub-item on sustainable development, the Council next took note of the Report of the Committee for Development Policy on its fourth session (document E/2002/33).
Turning to the sub-item on science and technology for development and the draft resolution contained therein, the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union had not dealt with that issue because it felt that its position was well known. The main effect of the resolution would be to increase the frequency of meetings of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development. The Union still had some reservations about that text.
Overall, he said, the Union had some questions about the value of that Commission and wondered whether additional meetings would serve to increase its effectiveness. In addition, a number of seats on that Commission, including those which fell to the Group of Western States, had remained vacant. He also asked why there was such a small participation of NGOs in the work of the Commission. There was also a financial argument. The programme budget implications concluded that the increased frequency of meetings would cost approximately $344,000. Thus, the European Union was not ready to accept the thrust of the draft resolution.
The Council President then proposed that action on the text be deferred.
Members then took note of the report of the International Telecommunications Union on the preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society (document E/2002/52).
Turning to the sub-item on the environment, the Council took note of the report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme on its seventh special session (document A/57/25).
Consideration of draft decisions in the sub-item entitled "United Nations Forum on Forests" was postponed until tomorrow morning.
On the sub-item entitled "Statistics", the Council President suggested postponing consideration of the draft decisions contained in the report (document E/2002/24).
The representative of Denmark, on behalf of the European Union, wondered whether postponing a decision on that report until October would pose a problem for the Commissions in advancing their work.
The President said he would return with an answer tomorrow and leave that matter pending.
Turning to a letter dated 5 July from the Permanent Representative of Japan (document E/2002/80), the Council President told members that the Japanese Government had submitted an application to host the Sixteenth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific in 2003.
The representative of Japan reiterated the offer, which the Council decided today to accept.
Regarding human settlements, the next sub-item, the Council took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document E/2002/48).
It then postponed consideration of the sub-items on population and public administration.
Then, the Council took note of the report of the Secretary-General on the tenth meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in tax matters (document E/2002/6). By doing so, it agreed to hold the eleventh meeting of the expert Group in 2003 as well as the provisional agenda contained in the report.
The Council next took note of the Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report on assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions (document E/2002/65).
Turning to the request for conversion of the International Civil Defence Organization, an intergovernmental organization with observer status with ECOSOC, and the World Tourism Organization, also holding observer status with ECOSOC, to specialized agencies of the United Nations system (respectively, documents E/2002/4 and E/2002/5), the representative of Burkina Faso expressed his support for those conversions.
The representative of the United States said he did not recommend making the International Civil Defence Organization a specialized agency, but he did support the creation of a working group to examine those two applications.
Following careful study of the application of the International Civil Defence Organization, the representative of the Russian Federation said that the many new challenges facing the world today was grounds for "not objecting" to that request, following established procedure.
The representative of Cameroon asked that the two applications be reviewed separately, although he did support the requests.
FRANCESCO FRANGIALLI, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said that tourism, in its economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions, had become one of the dominant activities at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In 2001, in spite of the first crisis to affect the industry, some 693 million visitors travelled from one country to another, spending some $462 billion, making tourism one of the top categories of international trade. That figure did not include air transport. The World Tourism Organization had seen its influence consolidated over the past thirty years as part of the United Nations family. The World Tourism Organization 's role was not limited to that of an observer in ECOSOC. It had the status of "related agency" of the system by virtue of an agreement approved by the General Assembly and the World Tourism Organization in 1977.
A transformation from a "related agency" to a "specialized agency" would in no way constitute a disruptive change, he said. It would, however, be a step forward for the international community. Its material and practical implications would be minimal. Since the World Tourism Organization had its own financing mechanism, such a transformation would not entail any costs for the United Nations. For the international community, a transformation would constitute a remarkable step forward, characterized by three words: recognition, effectiveness and impetus. Recognition, because it acknowledged the fact that travel, leisure and tourism constituted a powerful part of modern society. Effectiveness, because many agencies were involved in its expansion, and impetus, because the World Tourism Organization expected to achieve greater visibility.
The representative of Peru said tourism played a central role in the economies of many counties. Tourism was a primary source. The World Tourism Organization had much to contribute, not only in sectoral terms, but also in terms of sustainable development. It was clear that the application by the World Tourism Organization deserved wider support, perhaps even consensus by ECOSOC. An established machinery existed in the Organization. It was already a part of the system. He was almost completely sure that there was a consensus on a draft resolution that could launch the process. He would be prepared to introduce a draft, the text of which would reflect widespread support for the World Tourism Organization.
The representative of El Salvador said he agreed with the representative of Peru. Tourism was a source income and labour. If it worked with the United Nations, it would be a part of globalization.
The representative of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, supported the proposal that the World Tourism Organization become a specialized agency. For developing countries, tourism was an important source of income and many times the sole source of direct foreign income.
The representative of Cameroon registered his strong support for the application of the World Tourism Organization. The World Tourism Organization would not be a burden on the United Nations. Its books were balanced. The Organization could even teach the United Nations a lesson in that respect.
The representative of China said that since the founding of the World Tourism Organization, it had actively worked to promote the development of world tourism and to increase friendship between countries. Transforming the World Tourism Organization into a specialized agency would not only be beneficial to the World Tourism Organization, but also to the United Nations. He hoped the Council would decide on the matter as soon as possible.
The representative of Pakistan also strongly supported the transformation of World Tourism Organization. Tourism was an important source of income generation. As a specialized agency, the Organization could become the focal point for tourism promotion.
The representative of Fiji also supported the rough draft resolution to facilitate the transformation of the World Tourism Organization into a specialized agency.
Endorsing the statement by Venezuela, the representative of Chile said that the economic value of tourism was such that tourism could be one of the most important sources of investment and income.
The representative of Mexico said that tourism was the third largest source of income in her country. The World Tourism Organization should become a specialzed agency.
The representative of Egypt also voiced strong support for the Organization's application.
The representative of Sudan had no doubt that the World Tourism Organization had contributed to the development of tourism and the environment throughout the world.
The representative of Andorra also supported the request.
The representative of Cuba strongly supported the World Tourism Organization becoming a specialized agency of the United Nations. She hoped ECOSOC would take a decision along that line.
The representative of Botswana expressed his support for the World Tourism Organization. He said the conversion would formalize the marriage between the United Nations and the World Tourism Organization after many years of courtship. The transformation would give the Organization the visibility it needed to fully discharge its mandate.
The representative of Nepal emphasized the importance of tourism to developing countries and strongly supported the request of the World Tourism Organization.
The representative of Iran said his country had strongly supported the conversion of the World Tourism Organization.
The representative of Uganda echoed his support for the application for conversion to specialized agency.
The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation had paid attention to the financial considerations under the request. The organization had broad membership and had developed working relationships with the United Nations. Russia was ready to proceed to substantive consideration of the request.
The representative of Libya also supported the application for conversion.
The Council's Vice-President endorsed the request by Peru and asked the Secretariat to circulate a rough draft for the Council's consideration. The Council would return to the draft resolution tomorrow for consideration during a formal meeting.
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