16 July 2004
Development Cooperation, Progress on Millennium Goals Top Agenda, as Economic and Social Council Takes Stock of Major Conference Outcomes
Plight of Least Developed Countries, Sustainable Development among Key Topics of Discussion in Day-long Session
NEW YORK, 15 July (UN Headquarters) -- Placing international development cooperation and real progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals at the top of the global agenda, the Economic and Social Council took stock today of the implementation of decisions made at major United Nations international summits and conferences, including those on sustainable development, the least developed countries and financing for development.
Speakers in the opening debate of the Councils general segment pointed out that while progress had been achieved in implementing international plans and programmes, it was still uneven and insufficient. Most agreed that the international community was still falling short on the tremendous potential of a fair globalization that would create opportunities for all. International cooperation to achieve it must become a global priority, they stressed.
Most speakers stressed the important role of the Economic and Social Council and its functional commissions in conference follow-up. While full implementation of the Millennium Goals -- including the commitment to halve the number of people living in abject poverty by 2015 -- remained a daunting challenge, the issues addressed by the Council today would be very much in evidence in 2005, when the General Assembly would begin its review of the implementation of the outcome of the Millennium Summit.
The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, noted that the Councils contribution in that regard included a recent high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) to discuss the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus. The Commission on Sustainable Development had conducted its first cycle of follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the Commission on Population and Development had adopted a resolution on the follow-up to the International Conference on Population and Development; and the Statistical Commission had continued its work on developing indicators for the Millennium Goals.
Where do we go from here? asked Patrizio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, who highlighted the need for an integrated approach to the implementation of agreed goals by reviewing sectoral themes common to the outcome of major conferences. It was also important to ensure the continued and systematic involvement of all stakeholders and to review the impact of implementation.
Supporting that position, the representative of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, stressed the need to pursue conference goals, as well as the millennium targets in a mutually reinforcing manner. The full realization of major conference outcomes could only be achieved by providing the necessary means of implementation, including financial resources, the transfer of technology and capacity-building, he added.
Chinas representative highlighted the importance of financing for development in order to realize the Millennium Goals, recommending that the review of progress in their attainment should include an assessment of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. She also advocated the need to draw up a follow-up plan to the Monterrey Consensus, with functional programmes based on different phases and key areas.
Representatives of several of the least developed countries (LDCs), including Benin, Bangladesh, United Republic of Tanzania, Bhutan and Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, focused on the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, by which the worlds 50 poorest countries and their development partners committed themselves to goals relating to the mobilization of financial resources, good governance, trade and sustainable development.
While the LDCs were striving to fulfil their part of those commitments, they needed predictable and reliable external assistance to achieve their development goals, several speakers stressed. Having introduced numerous measures at the national level, Bangladesh, for example, required additional assistance of some $7.5 billion annually, but the current level of disbursement was less than one seventh of that requirement. Bhutan -- which lacked a large domestic market and a strategic trading location -- continued to rely heavily on foreign aid for its development programmes. Thus, while the LDCs bore the primary responsibility for their own development, the role of development partners was also critical.
As it reviewed reports on the long-term programme of support for Haiti and the Councils two Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African countries emerging from conflict, Council members stressed that important lessons could be learned from its decision to establish such groups for Burundi and Guinea-Bissau. They had played a proactive role in mobilizing international cooperation, collaborating with national authorities and clarifying ideas and strategies.
Several speakers also advocated extending the mandates of the two Groups and re-establishing an ad hoc advisory group on Haiti, which could develop, in consultation with that countrys Government, a long-term strategy for its reconstruction and development. Other delegates, however, cautioned against the proliferation of ad hoc bodies and the duplication of efforts among various United Nations structures.
Also today, under its agenda item on coordination, programme and other questions, the Council considered a number of reports in the area of inter-agency cooperation, as well as the work of the Organizations coordination bodies, including the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force and the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination.
The Council heard statements by representatives of Mexico, Jamaica, Russian Federation, United States, Switzerland, Peru, Angola, Congo, Guinea, Japan, Azerbaijan, Mozambique, Haiti, Brazil, Kenya, Guatemala, Namibia, Peru, Belize, Guinea-Bissau and Chile.
Also speaking today was an official of the Common Fund for Commodities.
Documents before the Council were introduced by Anwarul Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; Sarbuland Khan, Director of the Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo (South Africa), Chair of the Ad Hoc Groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau; and Michael Laing, Coordinator, Information and Communication Technologies Board.
The Council will continue its general segment at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, 16 July.
The 2004 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today started its general segment, which will run through 22 July.
Under its agenda item Implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, the Council has before it a report of the Secretary-General on the role of the Economic and Social Council in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits (document E/2004/71), which identifies the steps taken to implement the provisions of the resolutions relevant to the work of the Council and focusing on further action needed on coordinated implementation throughout the United Nations system.
According to the report, the summits and conferences of the last decade generated global consensus on policies and actions to advance poverty eradication and sustainable development, giving relevance to the work of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields. In resolution 57/270B, the General Assembly requested the Council to establish, no later than 2004, a multi-year work programme for the coordination segment of its substantive session, based on a focused and balanced list of cross-sectoral thematic issues common to the outcomes of the conferences and summits, including those of the Millennium Declaration.
The report says that the Councils functional commissions have a key role in implementing the outcomes. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August-4 September 2002), therefore, called on the Commission on Sustainable Development to place more emphasis on actions that enable implementation at all levels. The Commission decided in 2003 to organize its work in a series of two-year action-oriented implementation cycles, focusing during the first year on implementation, and in the second year on practical measures to overcome obstacles to implementation identified in the previous year. The Commission also decided to strengthen implementation at the regional level.
The report recommends that the Commission on Sustainable Development share its experience and lessons learned at the completion of its first cycle, in 2005. The report also recommends that the functional commissions should identify more clearly issues that require a coordinated system-wide response, especially where the Council could provide guidance to United Nations programmes, funds and agencies. Council subsidiary bodies, including the executive boards, should consider ways to strengthen their substantive linkages with the work of the Council, particularly as it relates to conference outcomes.
The report also recommends that the Council should stress the role of the regional commissions as a focal point for monitoring and assessing progress made towards implementation. It should encourage greater cooperation between the regional commissions and its functional commissions, and request the regional commissions to enhance their role in supporting implementation, including through an integrated approach in their work and relevant processes. Regional commissions should also address the regional dimensions of cross-cutting themes emerging from the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits.
The Council might also wish to request the Council President and its Bureau to explore ways to enhance the impact of the deliberations of the special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the work of the respective institutions, according to the report. The Council should also consider focusing its annual high-level policy dialogue on various dimensions of globalization and how to make it work towards realizing development goals.
The report also recommends that the Council consider devoting one of its segments to sustainable development issues, focusing on the role of the United Nations system in the follow-up to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. It should also consider launching a global alliance of partnership initiatives related to the follow-up to the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries 2001-2010, as that would help in promoting coordinated implementation. The Council should further request its subsidiary bodies to promote the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action, adopted during the August 2003 International Ministerial Conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in addressing the special needs of landlocked developing countries.
Also before the Council was a letter from the Permanent Representatives of Finland and the United Republic of Tanzania to the Secretary-General dated 2 June (document A/59/98-E/2004/79), drawing attention to a report entitled A fair globalization: creating opportunities for all. The report, issued in February 2004 by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, focuses on issues of governance and accountability, and recommends, among other things, coordinated measures across a broad front at both the national and international levels in the areas of trade, investment, finance, migration and labour.
The Council also had before it a letter dated 6 April from the Chargé daffaires of the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the Secretary-General, transmitting the Rabat Declaration adopted by the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries, held in Rabat, Morocco, on 24 and 25 June 2003 (document E/2004/52). The Rabat Declaration is attached to document A/58/728.
The Council also considered the Summary by the President of the Economic and Social Council of the special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (New York, 26 April 2004) (document A/59/92-E/2004/73), held on the overall theme of Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. For coverage of that meeting, see Press Release ECOSOC/6107 of 26 April.
Also before the Council was a report of the Secretary-General (document A/59/94-E/2004/77), which evaluates progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 and provides conclusions and recommendations to all stakeholders in order to ensure a coherent approach to the effective implementation of the Programme.
The document identifies lack of country ownership, institutional and human capacity and domestic and external resources as the main challenges to effective implementation of the Programme of Action. It recommends that the least developed countries (LDCs) and their development partners focus on the development of productive capacity in agriculture and agribusiness, small- and medium-sized enterprises, infrastructure, information and communications technology and energy. It underscores the crucial importance of partnership, South-South cooperation, good governance at the national and global levels for poverty eradication and the sustainable development of LDCs.
According to the report, all LDCs that have not yet done so should articulate their strategies and programmes for poverty reduction and sustainable growth, integrating their programmes in all sectors. They should expeditiously set up national forums to guide and monitor the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action. Developed countries should expedite the process of opening up markets for LDC products and take steps to protect those products from the adverse impact of rapid and broad trade liberalization. All development partners, particularly the donors, should endeavour to focus on the LDC category in their official development assistance (ODA) policy and development support.
Regarding the role of international financial institutions, the document calls for expedited completion of the World Banks Rome agenda on harmonization. In deciding on voice and representation in their decision-making processes, the financial institutions should take into account the interests of the LDCs. Civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector, should mobilize their constituencies to enhance the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action at the national and global levels.
A report of the Secretary-General on resources mobilization and enabling environment for poverty eradication in the context of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (document E/2004/54), which calls upon the international community to reinforce its commitment to create a global policy framework that helps in generating resources. All policies and decisions should be made within a coherent framework of mutually supportive objectives, so that ODA does not create dependency, debt-service agreements are sustainable, commodity prices are more stable and exports are not hindered by trade barriers and high subsidies, particularly in developed countries.
Special provisions should be made for LDCs in conflict or emerging from conflict, as 80 per cent of the worlds 20 poorest countries have suffered a major civil war in the past 15 years, the report states. Such instability is a major obstacle to making the business climate attractive to investors. At the same time, the lack of access to resources can undermine the basic mechanisms of governance and contribute to political disintegration and open social conflicts. Also, aid targeted at the poorest countries could contribute towards conflict prevention.
The report recommends that LDCs improve the efficiency and transparency of domestic administration and public spending, increase accountability, promote effective governance and the rule of law, and invest in education and health. They should also promote guaranteed property rights by creating formal property systems for the poor and the landless, and expand and deepen financial intermediation systems, especially microfinance institutions. Avenues for expanding the share of domestic revenue derived from direct taxation of income and profit should be explored, as should the harmonization and modernization of the tax collection system.
It also recommends that the international community accelerate implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative for eligible LDCs and reduce -- and wherever possible cancel -- all multilateral and bilateral debt. The international community should also ensure that economic shocks and commodities-related uncertainties are more realistically factored into HIPC projections, and consider extending the Commodity Hedge Instrument, currently available to all non-concessional borrowers from the World Bank to other borrowers.
According to the report, all countries should provide free market access to the exports of LDCs and improve the implementation of market access preferential schemes like the Everything but Arms initiative [European Union] and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act [United States]. Subsidies and other protectionist measures in developed countries should be eliminated, and the development of trade in LDCs should be promoted through the implementation in the current multilateral trade negotiations of special and differential treatment (SDT) measures that are more contractual, operational and predictable. The potential for South-South cooperation in expanding trade opportunities, capacity-building and debt relief should be explored.
For its item Coordination, programme and other questions, the Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the long-term programme of support for Haiti (document E/2004/80), which elaborates on the impact of the current political transition, the deployment of a Multinational Interim Force (MIF), the creation of a transitional government, and the renewal of international assistance in Haiti.
The report states that in 2004, the United Nations country team has continued to provide support in an increasingly difficult context, including: ensuring food availability; restoring the public health sector; combating HIV/AIDS; assisting in achieving the Millennium Development Goals; supporting education; public security; and the rule of law.
According to the report, international support for Haiti has been limited in past years, because of the growing political crisis. A long-term effort and an international commitment are needed to rebuild economic and social structures, and to support the Government and people in building democratic institutions. While many initiatives are taken by the United Nations system, in the field, a proper follow-up at the intergovernmental level is also important to ensure a comprehensive approach to the situation. The ECOSOC might wish to consider the establishment of an Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti to promote coordination and coherence in the development of a long-term programme of assistance, as it has done for Guinea-Bissau and Burundi.
An oral report is expected on the work of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi.
The Council also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on International cooperation in the field of informatics (document E/2004/78), which summarizes action taken by the Secretariat to implement resolution 2003/48 of 23 July 2003. In that resolution, the Council requested implementation of measures to get uncomplicated and unhindered access to the computerized databases and information systems and services of the United Nations, and to continue its efforts to act as a bridge between the needs of Member States and the actions of the Secretariat.
According to the report, the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics continued to work on a number of projects, including: a booklet on Internet services for delegates; the use of personal digital assistants; availability of wireless fidelity at Headquarters; access to the Official Document System (ODS) Database; blocking spam in mission e-mail accounts; and upgrade of personal computer facilities for delegates. In the coming months, the Working Group proposes to initiate a number of other projects, including: use of electronic mailing lists; updating and publicizing the site dedicated to missions in New York (www.un.int); information security training sessions for Secretariat and mission personnel; and a new edition of the booklet Internet Services for Delegates.
The Council also had before it the Second annual report of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force (document E/2004/62), which details the two-year-old bodys successful efforts as a multi-stakeholder mechanism in facilitating and promoting collaborative initiatives to mobilize new public and private resources to support ICT for development projects.
According to the report, a review of the Task Forces activities over the past two years proves its utility and shows both the potential and limitations of such a mechanism. Although it is constrained by limited resources and its dependency on governments taking the ultimate responsibility for their national ICT and development environments, the Task Force has clearly demonstrated its ability to contribute to the development agenda; to build capacity among policy makers; to identify gaps in programmes or projects; and to stimulate action or coordinate collaboration as appropriate. The challenge will be to build on that successful model for sustained results over the medium and long term.
The ECOSOC also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Task Force on Tobacco Control (document E/2004/55), which stresses that tobacco control should be recognized as a key component in efforts to reduce poverty, improve development and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Having identified five areas of concern -- the impact of tobacco on health, economic growth, poverty, its fiscal impact and the impact of globalization on tobacco use at the country level -- the Task Force recommends that those problems be addressed through a multisectoral approach. Issues of tobacco control should also be included in the forthcoming activities of the United Nations Development Group, as well as in the agendas of the regional economic commissions.
Introducing the Secretary-Generals report, ANWARUL CHOWDHURY, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said that the progress of LDCs towards achieving the Brussels goals varied from country to country and, in some cases, from subregion to subregion. Extreme poverty remained the most overwhelming challenge. Halving global poverty by 2015 would falter if the situation in 50 LDCs was not redressed. HIV/AIDS was further complicating the situation.
He said agriculture was the backbone of most LDC economies and could turn into a real engine for growth and income generation. However, there were indications of decline in that sector. Also, infrastructure continued to be rudimentary, particularly in landlocked countries. While lack of market access, agricultural subsidies and supply-side constraints seriously limited opportunities for LDCs to benefit from exports, enhanced South-South cooperation could create a win-win situation in knowledge sharing, technology transfer and trade between LDCs and other developing countries.
He said the Secretary-Generals report detailed policies and measures undertaken by LDCs and their development partners in order to attain the goals of the Brussels Programme of Action. Since its establishment in 2002, the Office of the High Representative had undertaken a series of activities aimed at mobilizing international support for LDCs, and had contributed positively to its coordination role at the global level. The establishment of an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to ensure a more coherent, focused and collaborative approach to the global implementation of the Programme was being considered.
Regional coordination was being undertaken through the regional commissions, he continued. The Office of the High Representative and that of the Special Adviser on Africa worked closely together for advocacy and synergy in the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD). For national coordination, the High Representatives Office had organized a five-day workshop for the national focal points of the least developed countries, which, among other things, addressed lessons learned and issues of monitoring and reporting.
He said that monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Programme of Action were major challenges faced by his Office. Not all quantifiable goals included in the Programme were specified in a way that could be monitored and data were not available for many LDCs. They lacked the necessary statistical capacity, infrastructure and resources for collecting data. It was also difficult to provide new data on an annual basis.
In conclusion, he said the Brussels Programme envisaged a comprehensive mid-term review at a time to be decided by Member States. It was important now to identify the time frame for such a review. The 2006 ECOSOC review process could be adjusted appropriately to become a self-standing mid-term review.
PATRIZIO CIVILI, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, urged the Council to look at the agenda items introduced today positively, but without complacency. Significant progress had been achieved following major international conferences and summits, and development issues had been brought to the forefront of the international agenda. Now, it was important to focus on implementation, moving from commitments to the realization of agreed goals and objectives. The Economic and Social Council had made continuous efforts to promote a coordinated and coherent approach to follow-up and recent General Assembly resolutions provided a solid framework in that respect.
He said that the Secretary-Generals report provided an update on the implementation and made recommendations on the way ahead, highlighting such broad aspects as the need to advance an integrated approach through review of sectoral themes common to the outcome of various conferences and summits. In particular, efforts had been made to give unity to the Council session this year, linking the themes of various segments. There was a need to coordinate and strengthen the Councils ties with regional commissions, the WTO and financial and trade institutions, NGOs, and representatives of the private and civil sectors.
There was room for further improvement, he continued. It was important to ensure the continued systematic involvement of all stakeholders and to review the impact of implementation. The ECOSOC should also play an important role in preparing for the upcoming high-level review of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals next year. Key elements of efforts to enhance coherence at the intergovernmental level included the articulation of the framework for linking the Millennium Goals to the cross-cutting themes of major conferences and the triennial comprehensive policy review, for which the Council was preparing the ground. It was necessary to determine how policy guidance by the General Assembly had fed back into the work of the regional commissions and the relevant United Nations funds and programmes.
KOEN DAVIDSE (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union, noted that the issues dealt with by the Council would be very much in evidence in 2005, as stock was taken of the effective implementation of the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits, including the Millennium Development Goals. The ministerial segment of the Councils 2005 substantive session should, therefore, focus on conference follow-up and implementation of the Millennium Declaration from the economic and social perspective, while the coordination segment should focus on ways for the United Nations system to help achieve the millennium targets.
The ECOSOC and its functional commissions played an important role in conference follow-up, he continued. For example, it had recently held a special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO to discuss follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus. Among other instances, the Commission on Sustainable Development had taken up its first cycle of follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, identifying obstacles and challenges in the field of water, sanitation and human settlements; the Commission on Population and Development had adopted a resolution on follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development; and the Statistical Commission had done considerable work in developing indicators for the Millennium Development Goals.
SALVADOR DE LARA RANGEL (Mexico) said his country was pleased that the Monterrey spirit had been mainstreamed into the agendas of the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and the United Nations. It was satisfying that civil society and the private sector had also been participating in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. However, there was a need to conduct a self-assessment to improve the Conference follow-up mechanism.
He went on to describe Mexicos efforts at the international and national levels to implement the Monterrey Consensus, including its hosting of a forum on the Reinvention of Government and a conference for the signing of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. At the national level, several legal actions had been undertaken, such as the Federal Law on Transparency and a law guaranteeing access to the civil service on the basis of merit.
At Monterrey, the problems of development had been tackled with an integral approach, he said. That approach must be fully respected and maintained. Implementation of the Doha Programme, particularly on such issues as agricultural subsidies and access for developing countries to the markets of industrialized nations would be key to speeding implementation of the Consensus. Reform of the international financial architecture required increased participation by developing countries in the decision-making processes of the international financial institutions. The follow-up to Monterrey must focus on alliances for the implementation of the commitments that had been undertaken there. The Council should help to define guidelines in the areas of assessment and review, identify problems and priorities, and promote innovative frameworks for cooperation.
LIU HUA (China) said that, while the review of financing for development showed progress in certain areas, it was, on the whole, still uneven and insufficient. In implementing the Monterrey Consensus, national governments should shoulder the primary responsibility of financing for development, building their own capacity. Based on ongoing reforms, countries should continue to accelerate market reform, improve management, revitalize enterprises and mobilize financial resources.
At the same time, she continued, it was necessary to strengthen management at the global level and establish a fair international financial and trading system. Coordination and cooperation should be strengthened, and the United Nations should play a leading role in that regard. All parties involved in the new round of WTO negotiations should draw a lesson from the Cancun Conference and show determination and wisdom in balancing the concerns of different parties, giving special consideration to the needs of developing countries. There was an urgent need for developed countries to fulfil their financing commitments, as well as the quality and quantity of development assistance. Efforts to increase ODA should be conducted side by side with efforts to improve its efficiency. The donor and recipient countries should enjoy an equal partnership.
As financing for development was an important channel for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, she recommended that in establishing an evaluation framework for implementing those targets, supervision on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus could also be conducted by various parties, while evaluation should be conducted primarily within the United Nations system. The comparative advantage in terms of data collection and statistics of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international institutions could be used for comprehensive evaluation. It was necessary to encourage full participation by governments, the private sector and NGOs so as to achieve mutual complementarity and promotion.
Turning to the implementation of the LDC Programme of Action, she said that the international community was duty-bound to provide support and assistance to those countries. Official development assistance was of special significance in that respect. Developed countries should implement their tariff and quota commitments as soon as possible and encourage their national enterprises to invest in LDC economies. The least developed countries should be provided with preferential access to markets and opportunities to participate in the multilateral trade system.
JAMAL NASSER AL-BADER (Qatar), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, noted that the issue of integrated and coordinated follow-up had been on the Council agenda since 1995. The approach developed by focusing on cross-cutting thematic issues had helped in promoting the implementation of the outcomes of conferences and summits. However, the individual follow-up for each conference should maintain its own identity. The high-level plenary meeting to be held in 2005 should follow that approach.
He said that the challenge for that meeting would be to ensure that the goals of the conferences and of the Millennium Development Goals were pursued in a coherent and mutually reinforcing manner. The outcomes and goals could only be achieved through the provision of necessary means of implementation, including financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity-building for developing countries.
Bringing together the outcomes of the development conferences entailed broader system-wide coordination, particularly at the country level for the implementation of the development goals, he said. The Group of 77 and China suggested that that item be considered in the coordination segment instead of the general segment. Also, the agenda item dealing with the implementation of resolutions 50/227 and 52/12 B should be merged with the item on system-wide coordination, as both dealt with the overall work of the United Nations system in the economic, social and related fields.
STAFFORD O. NEIL (Jamaica) agreed that ECOSOC should have an important role in following up major conferences and summits. It should not be a mere channel through which reports were fed, but should give substantive consideration to ways to implement conference outcomes. It was also important for the organ to consider creating specific machinery for monitoring follow-up to conferences and summits.
Throughout the Councils session, he said, the focus of its deliberations should emphasize monitoring the implementation of conference outcomes based on a results-oriented approach. However, within the present context of deliberations, there was a danger of placing too much emphasis on analysis and process. The Council should be able to assess how far the international community had come in achieving internationally agreed objectives.
In terms of specific recommendations contained in the Secretary-Generals report, he expressed wariness about the call for greater thematic coherence by organizing all the Councils segments around the same theme. Such a strategy would detract from a results-oriented approach. Furthermore, in terms of meetings with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO, the Council President should work towards reaching conclusions on which follow-up could be undertaken and ongoing contacts established.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) insisted that LDCs should be affirmatively included and accommodated in the inevitable globalization process. At the same time, they needed to be cushioned against its adverse consequences. The Brussels Programme of Action could not be implemented unless the international community built a fair globalization. The Brussels commitment entailed mobilizing resources to meet an investment rate of 25 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), an annual output growth of 7 per cent, and an ODA target commitment of
0.2 per cent of developed-country gross national product (GNP). Those commitments were far behind schedule.
Least developed country economies had particular structural constraints and vulnerabilities, which required a combination of special remedial measures and policy instruments, he said. A dynamic dialogue was needed among all partners and within the countries involved on such crucial issues as aid, trade, debt sustainability and levels of ODA, as well as financing the Millennium Development Goals and long-term requirements for economic investment.
He said that the Government of United Republic of Tanzania had put in place key institutions, systems and processes for democratic governance and adopted a national framework for aid coordination and effective management of external resources for the implementation of the poverty-reduction strategy objectives. Least developed countries had shown a strong commitment to implementing the Brussels Programme of Action by establishing national focal points, which were working closely with the Office of the High Representative. At the national level, they needed to continue and consolidate macroeconomic reforms to encourage economic growth and institutionalize good governance in all its aspects.
On the international level, he continued, it was important to address the problems of external debt, attaining the agreed ODA levels, improving LDC export capacities and participation in international trade. Equally important was the implementation of agreed obligations within the context of Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg. It was also necessary to set measurable indicators to follow up on the implementation of all the Millennium Development Goals.
FERNANDE A. HOUNGBEDJI (Benin), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that the annual review of progress made in implementing the Brussels Programme of Action should be an effective tool for follow-up. The Council had requested a more analytical and results-focused report. However, the report had not followed the approach that the LDCs had been expecting. The Group of Least Developed Countries had requested that the report look at things from a results-based, quantifiable approach, but the current report made assessment of progress difficult.
She went on to detail instances where general observations had been made, but had neglected to mention specific lessons learned, or specific actions taken by the least developed countries and their developing partners to implement commitments made in the Programme of Action. For instance, they would have liked to see the impact of the Everything but Arms and other trade initiatives.
The report could gain from being more analytical and not just listing what had been done, she said. With a view to drawing annual lessons on implementation of the Programme of Action, it could present concrete results and make comparisons between commitments made and the extent to which they had been carried out. The Secretary-General could negotiate with development partners on the appointment of leaders in key sectors for the global mobilization of financial and technical resources.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that amid unprecedented global prosperity, the worlds poorest remained as vulnerable as ever and the 700 million people in the LDCs were being increasingly marginalized. If the current trend persisted, there would be a 41 per cent increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Such facts should serve as a wake-up call.
The LDCs were striving to fulfil their commitments, he continued. Bangladesh, for example, had made progress in such areas as primary school enrolment, advancing gender parity at the primary and lower secondary school levels, reducing infant mortality and population growth, and improving immunization rates. During the 1990s, the countrys GDP had increased by 60 per cent, and its per capita income had grown three times faster than those of average low-income countries. The countrys successes could be attributed to a prudent mix of socio-economic strategies, sound macroeconomic management and appropriate use of external support. Other ingredients of success included a culture of pluralism, pro-market policies, democratic institutions, a strong and burgeoning middle class and innovative home-grown ideas in the area of microcredit, non-formal education and social forestation.
Development must be domestically owned, designed and driven, he stressed. However, implementation of some of the Millennium Development Goals, including the reduction of poverty, remained contingent on the external environment of aid, trade, debt and remittances. While Bangladesh had introduced such measures as the establishment of an anti-graft commission and expansion of its tax net, it required some $7.5 billion annually in additional assistance. The current level of disbursement was less than one seventh of that requirement. Ninety-two developing countries had received more per capita ODA in 2001 than Bangladesh.
One of the most effective means of assisting the LDCs would be to channel foreign direct investment to them, he said. Bangladesh had the potential to convert its population into resources. It already had a large community of Bangladeshis working abroad and contributing to its economic development.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that the major United Nations conferences and summits of the past decade had provided a strong impetus for strengthening the role of the Organization in responding to global socio-economic challenges. As a key coordinating mechanism, ECOSOC had a particular responsibility to ensure the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of those meetings. However, the work of the Council must be further strengthened, in which regard the proposed multi-year work programme for the coordination segment and efforts to optimize the organs documentation and improve interaction between its bureau and those of its functional commissions were welcome.
A number of the Secretary-Generals recommendations on the role of ECOSOC in implementing the outcomes of major conferences and summits required additional analysis and consideration, he said. In particular, the greater thematic coherence needed during the substantive session was not obvious. That recommendation could lead to an unjustified narrowing of the thematic scope of the Councils work. Moreover, transforming the decisions of the high-level segment into substantive guidelines for the various agencies would be impossible in just a few days and could lead to the duplication of discussions during different segments.
There was also lack of agreement on focusing the organs annual policy dialogue with heads of financial and trade institutions on various dimensions of globalization, he said. As the only forum within the United Nations in which world economic processes and matters of international economic cooperation were considered, it was necessary to keep the existing broad political format of the discussion. However, the functional commissions should enhance their roles in monitoring the progress made in realizing conference outcomes, focusing their activities first and foremost upon the implementation of decisions in global forums. Cross-sectoral and multilateral dialogues should also be organized at the regional level, while the commissions should more actively utilize the capacities of relevant subregional mechanisms.
COURTNEY NEMROFF (United States) said that creating an enabling environment for development was at the heart of the Monterrey Consensus. Poverty alleviation required a strong private sector, which could be a source of employment and income for the poor. The Council must be a guide to the system in helping countries to establish an enabling environment, with the strengthening of the private sector role as part of the agenda.
Addressing the wish expressed by some delegates to increase the monitoring of goals and establishing new mechanisms to do so, she said it would be better to focus on outputs and to measure progress country by country. A results-based approach at country level could tell much more about progress made in development strategies and their impact on the lives of the poor.
NICOLE RUDER (Switzerland) said that it was crucial that the Council and its functional commissions play their roles to ensure a stronger link between policy guidance and implementation activities. A cross-sectoral approach would enable the organ to focus its work and become a stronger partner for other United Nations bodies and relevant stakeholders. However, much work was still required to enhance linkages between policy guidance and coordination, including facilitating the participation of high-level policy makers in the coordination segment in order to strengthen coherence in policy formulation and implementation.
Praising the steps taken to reform the working methods of the Commissions on Sustainable Development and Social Development, she urged each to exchange experiences and learn from each other. The role of the Council in monitoring implementation of the triennial comprehensive policy review must be strengthened, with further thought given to its role and those of joint board meetings of United Nations funds and programmes. Thematic linkages should be built into the agendas and work programmes of United Nations system governing bodies to promote a consistent approach to conference goals.
She stressed that the inclusion of other stakeholders, including advocacy and interest groups, businesses and research and academic institutions, injected dynamism into the intergovernmental process and remained crucial to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals. The Council should play an important role in preparing for the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth General Assembly, as a comprehensive review of progress on the Millennium Development Goals was unthinkable without ECOSOC.
MARCO BALAREZO (Peru) said that in the time remaining before the 2005 review of the Millennium Development Goals, the Economic and Social Council and its functional commissions must work to pinpoint areas of progress and weakness in implementing internationally agreed development goals. Furthermore, the next meeting between the Council, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO should specifically address the commitments undertaken at Monterrey, particularly in regard to financing the Millennium Development Goals.
The Secretary-Generals report should consider the issues of trade, market access, debt, poverty and ODA as part of a system-wide analysis, he said. There was important work to be done through the Council and its functional commissions, in conjunction with United Nations agencies and related institutions such as the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO.
Regarding proposals to reform the Councils programme of work, attention must be paid to avoiding duplication of discussions, he said. Moreover, the regional dimension must be considered in implementing internationally agreed goals. Lessons could be extracted from the experience of regional and subregional organizations, which would contribute to strengthening national capacities. Among other innovations, the regional development banks should be invited to participate in the spring meetings with the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and the private sector.
MARGARIDA ROSA DA SILVA IZATA (Angola), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that there had been only weak implementation of the Programme of Action for the period 2001-2010, due mainly to the lack of financial resources. However, despite that meagre progress, LDCs continued to spare no effort to honour their commitments.
She said that further progress would not be achieved without a renewed engagement and sound commitment by the developed countries. Declining ODA had increasingly worsened the productive capacity, as well as investment and trade conditions, in LDCs, and hindered the task of eradicating poverty, which remained the main obstacle to development. The developed countries should, as soon as possible, reach and maintain the goal of contributing 0.2 per of their GNP in ODA to LDCs.
BASILE IKOUEBE (Republic of Congo) said that while international development had been given new impetus by the Millennium Declaration and subsequent meetings at Brussels, Monterrey and Johannesburg, developing countries, particularly those in Africa, found themselves increasingly far from eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.
Calling upon development partners to become more involved in implementing the Brussels Programme of Action, he stressed that the international community must seek the maximum benefit from ECOSOCs spring meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. The commitments undertaken at Monterrey must be carried through in order effectively to finance sustainable development initiatives. Above all, the development agenda must remain at the core of United Nations activities. Poor countries often felt they were continually being asked to do more. It was time for rich countries to do their share.
He noted that his country had recently emerged from a difficult period in which all sectors of social life had been affected. The Government, with the assistance of the United Nations, had been able to mobilize national resources, fight corruption, improve budgeting and statistics, and invest in education.
CHEICK AHMED TIDIANE CAMARA (Guinea), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that the implementationof the Brussels Programme of Action was a source of hope for LDCs in their struggle against poverty. It was necessary for their development partners to help in alleviating their debt and improving their capacities in order to help them to take possession of the development programme.
Expressing support for the establishment of new assessment mechanisms, he said it was essential for measuring progress.
TORU SHIMIZU (Japan) said it had become increasingly clear that the United Nations must employ a variety of approaches in addressing the wide range of challenges confronting it. As economic and social development remained a goal of utmost importance, the Organization must make effective headway in promoting it or it would lose its credibility. To that end, the activities of ECOSOC must be streamlined and rationalized to ensure the effective implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
The spring meeting between the Council and the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO was a good example to strive for, he said. Better use should be made of the functional commissions, including by ensuring interaction between them and other subsidiary bodies. In order to deal with the challenges confronting the international community, it was essential to adopt an integrated and coordinated approach, not merely for budgetary discipline, but also in order to focus attention on priority issues.
SALEUMXAY KOMMASITH, Deputy Director-General, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, noted that most United Nations bodies had already mainstreamed the Brussels Programme into their work and that many donor countries had adopted policies that supported poverty eradication in LDCs. However, the Secretary-Generals report should include an analytical assessment of the impact of implementation on local communities.
Primary responsibility for the implementation of the Brussels Programme rested with LDCs themselves, he said. In recent years, LDCs had demonstrated strong political commitment and had done the utmost to ensure its full and effective implementation. National focal points had been established at senior levels, while national forums aimed at enhancing coordination and building consensus among stakeholders had been organized. Yet, to achieve the Programmes objectives, that political commitment must be met by genuine political will on the part of their development partners. In particular, the principle of untying aid should be observed and concrete projects and activities must be undertaken.
Nationally, the Lao Government was committed to implementing the Brussels Programme and had established a national committee mandated to monitor, coordinate and report on progress, as well as a national focal point, he said. Most of the goals and targets elaborated at the Brussels and millennium summits had been mainstreamed into the countrys National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy, adopted in September 2003. Yet, to achieve its objectives, that strategy must be accompanied by resource mobilization, nationally and internationally, particularly since, as a landlocked developing country, the country remained vulnerable to the challenges of distance and border crossing that had long posed obstacles to the expansion of trade and investment.
HUSNIYYA MAMMADOVA (Azerbaijan) said that the coordinated follow-up process must cover all conferences, as well as the Millennium Declaration. The Council had a crucial role to play in reviewing implementation. It should also promote wider and more effective interaction in the work of its functional commissions and the governing bodies of United Nations funds and programmes with a view to ensuring that they drew on relevant policy guidance from the commissions.
She said that increased interaction between ECOSOC and the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination would be an important contribution to strengthening the policy guidance role of the Council with positive spillovers on work in the field. Continuity and perseverance in the Councils work were essential for the follow-up process. The Secretary-Generals report contained several suggestions on the role of the Council and its subsidiary machinery in preparation for the 2005 high-level plenary, which Azerbaijan supported fully.
DAW PENJO (Bhutan) said that his country was encouraged by the efforts of the United Nations system to ensure that the LDC-III did not lose its intent and purpose and to mainstream the Brussels Programme of Action within the programmes of various agencies. It was evident, however, that much remained to be done to fulfil the goals and commitments of the Brussels Programme of Action. Capacity constraints posed a major challenge to the LDCs as did impediments that could not be overcome without the financial and technical support of development partners.
Of immediate consequence to the incidence of poverty in LDCs was the lack of resources for the delivery of essential social services, he said. Bhutan continued to rely heavily on ODA for its development programmes. It also lacked a large domestic market and a strategic trading location to attract foreign direct investment and private external inflows. Among the main challenges were trade and transit constraints, limited private sector capacity and shortage of skilled manpower. Thus, while the LDCs had the primary responsibility for their own development, the role of bilateral and multilateral development partners in meeting resource gap in a predictable and timely manner was critical for the successful implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.
CESAR GOUVEIA (Mozambique) reiterated his countrys support for the Brussels Programme of Action, noting that a national focal point for its national implementation had already been appointed. Mozambique urged the development partners of LDCs to pursue the strong implementation of the Programme and was itself committed to implement it.
ROLF W. BOEHNKE, Managing Director, Common Fund for Commodities, said the Fund was an intergovernmental financial institution established under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It cooperated with other multilateral organizations and civil society to support socio-economic development and to reduce poverty. The Fund focused on productivity and quality improvement, marketing, horizontal and vertical diversification, private sector support, price-risk management, and assistance to the effective functioning of a liberalized global economy.
Commodities were still the backbone of economies in a large majority of developing countries, particularly LDCs, he said. More than 50 developing countries depended on three or fewer leading commodities for over half of their export earnings. A decade-long decline in their terms of trade for commodity goods, as well as a generally declining price and sharply fluctuating prices, had aggravated the situation.
Even before the 2001 Brussels Conference, he said, the Fund had given priority to LDCs under its Five-Year Action Plan 1998-2002, continued in its second Five-Year Plan. As of June, the Fund had approved a total of 190 projects, of which 127 were regular projects and 63 fast tracks, at an overall cost of $381 million.
Assistance to Countries Emerging from Conflict
SARBULAND KHAN, Director, Division for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-Generals reports on assistance to Haiti (document E/2004/80) and on the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on African Countries (document E/2004/86).
DUMISANI SHADRACK KUMALO (South Africa) presented the report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau (document E/2004/92) and delivered an oral report on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi. On the latter, he said there had been two significant developments in the involvement of the international community in Burundi since the beginning of this year: the January Forum of development partners organized by the Governments of Burundi and Belgium together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and the Security Council decision of 21 May to authorize the deployment of a peacekeeping operation in Burundi.
He said that in its last report to the Councils organizational session, the Advisory Group on Burundi had stressed the importance of maintaining momentum and consolidating the peace process. The establishment of the peacekeeping mission was an important step in that regard. Following discussions with the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB), the Group had agreed with her that close interaction was needed to facilitate support for development, peace and security in Burundi. The Group had also maintained continuous interaction with a wide range of stakeholders and representatives of the donor community.
At the Forum of Burundis development partners, commitments had been made in the amount of $1.032 billion, he continued. The Group had urged donors to disburse the promised funds as soon as possible. There had also been positive developments in the areas of debt relief, balance-of-payments support and governance. In particular, the authorities in Burundi had agreed with the African Development Bank on a plan to clear outstanding arrears.
Regarding the involvement of United Nations agencies, he said that the Executive Board of the UNDP had approved a country programme for 2005-2007, which included measures to improve good governance, achieve the Millennium Development Goals, fight HIV/AIDS, and ensure a shift from emergency assistance to development. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had adopted its country programme for Burundi and a global indicative budget of $37 million, including $10 million from core resources.
He said in conclusion that, while all those developments showed an improvement in the Burundi situation, they still fell short of what was really needed. The situation on the ground remained precarious. During the period under review, some 52,000 refugees had returned to Burundi, most of them facilitated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The donor community should be more forthcoming in providing support to the country, including contributions to the Multilateral Debt Trust Fund established by the World Bank. Burundi was still at the crossroads. The efforts of Burundis Government and people must be matched by strong international support.
As Chairman of the two Ad Hoc Advisory Groups, he said that one of their major achievements had been their strong advocacy role. Although the Groups were a flexible and non-bureaucratic mechanism, they had provided a platform whereby the relevant national authorities, the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions and other organizations interacted to mobilize support.
He said that another outcome was the improved coordination among United Nations bodies, in particular, between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, which had contributed to a holistic approach that addressed both security and development issues. The Groups had also succeeded in strengthening the relationships between the ECOSOC and the Bretton Woods institutions, especially at the expert and country levels. However, they needed more support from the United Nations system, including operative and substantive support. The ECOSOC should take a definitive decision on those issues.
ROLAND PIERRE, Minister of Haiti, noted that his countrys 8 million inhabitants had an average gross income of only $440 per capita. Haiti was the victim of a long political crisis and the suspension of external aid and foreign investment had further weakened the countrys already-fragile economic infrastructure. Correcting that situation would prove a long road that Haiti could not finish alone. Thus, it had sought collaboration with the international community for social and economic revitalization through the establishment of the United Nations Stabilization Mission.
He said that Haitis Provisional Government was working to create a climate of security conducive to investment for economic and social development, which would create an environment appropriate to the holding of free and fair democratic elections in 2005. Within the next few days, the Government would present its framework for cooperation with the international community. That event offered the opportunity to set a solid, stable and lasting basis for economic, political and social development.
However, the resumption of official international aid could not be considered a long-term strategy for the country, he said. It was crucial to define an additional long-term programme, focused on the next 10 to 15 years, which would work in tandem with the United Nations Mission. In that regard, the Economic and Social Council was requested to coordinate that programme in conjunction with the Security Council. Moreover, the Government suggested that the programme should focus on issues of property rights, education, liberalization of the economy, environment protection and infrastructure. The ECOSOC was requested to bring the Ad Hoc Consultative Committee for Haiti back to life.
SULTAN AL-MAHMOUD (Qatar), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that a long-term effort and renewed international commitment were needed to rebuild the economic and social structure of the country. The existing programme of support for Haiti must be reinvigorated and Security Council resolution 1542 (2004) was a positive step in providing assistance. That resolution emphasized the need for Member States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as international financial institutions and NGOs, to promote Haitis social and economic development.
Calling upon the Council to reinforce the implementation of the long-term programme of support for Haiti, he proposed the reactivation of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group, established in 1999 with a mandate to examine the humanitarian and economic needs, review relevant assistance programmes, and prepare recommendations for a long-term programme based on the countrys development priorities. The composition of the Advisory Group should be limited yet flexible, and it should coordinate with the core group established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1542 (2004) in order to avoid duplication and promote synergy. The Transitional Government of Haiti had requested the establishment of such a Group, and its active involvement with the Haitian authorities was a prerequisite for a successful outcome.
ARJAN HAMBURGER (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups had overcome an institutional vacuum and produced new synergies between the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council. The European Union, therefore, supported the extension of their mandates.
He said it was ineffective to pursue post-conflict peace-building in the absence of economic and social development, or to pursue economic development outside a clear political framework of good governance. The experience of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups demonstrated that security, governance and development were inextricably linked. Moreover, their demand-driven character - both having been established upon requests by the governments concerned - reflected the lesson that effectiveness was greatly enhanced by ownership. The Groups had met particular success in terms of their advocacy work, helping to define and describe economic and political predicaments, and bring them to the attention of the international community, especially the Bretton Woods institutions.
Among areas for improvement, he said, was the need to strengthen interaction between the Ad Hoc Groups and the Economic and Social Council, with more substantive discussion of the Groups reports. Collaboration between the Security Council and ECOSOC could also be further intensified. The Groups should also liaise more directly with the donor community to help overcome problems caused by institutional structures that separated humanitarian and development assistance. Finally, they should develop closer partnerships with the operational agencies involved in post-conflict situations, both in the field and at Headquarters.
Overall, the Groups must remain ad hoc in nature, with limited life spans. They should neither undercut nor duplicate the mandates held by other parts of the United Nations system. The assessment of mission completion should be made on a country-specific basis, precluding the need to develop sunset criteria for them.
Mr. NEIL (Jamaica), endorsing the Group of 77 position, said that the efforts of the Ad Hoc Groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi had borne fruit and would allow the international community to learn important lessons for the future. It was important to ensure the sustainability of their efforts, and Jamaica supported the renewal of their mandates.
Turning to Haiti, he said the country now found itself in a critical situation characterized by instability, lack of sustained assistance and support, severe flooding and macroeconomic problems. Its long-term development needs justified the Councils support. Important elements of the programme would involve institution-building, strengthening the public sector, creating jobs, and meeting food and energy needs. It was important to build the countrys production capacity, which would enable it to move forward. The programme must be based on Haitis realities and ensure the countrys ownership of its own development.
Jamaica supported the re-establishment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, which could play an important role in mobilizing international support. It could also coordinate with other elements within the United Nations system, as well as operational groups on the ground.
KAZUO SUNAGA (Japan) said his country had provided $5.25 million to the Flash Appeal, as well as more than $300,000 after in the floods in May. Japan had been among the top donors to Haiti, with a total of $140 million in ODA. Yet, no reference had been made to Japans ODA in the Secretary-Generals report.
Regarding the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, he said they had been set up to mobilize donor support and coordinate activities among stakeholders and would continue to facilitate the peace processes in those countries. The active involvement of the Burundi Government proved that ownership was key to development. Japan had provided assistance for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration or resettlement in Burundi for refugees. It had also established, within the United Nations, the Human Security Fund.
EVGENY A. STANISLAVOV (Russian Federation) said that the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups for Guinea-Bissau and Burundi had acquired much useful experience and should serve as effective tools for the Economic and Social Council to use in promoting peace-building and preventing the recurrence of violence. They constituted a mechanism through which to develop a strategy for the provision of comprehensive assistance to States as they emerged from crises and when it was difficult to get assistance through regular means.
The groups had held a constructive dialogue with the Bretton Woods institutions, he noted, and had also provided a basis for increased synergy between ECOSOC and the Security Council. It was essential for the Groups to continue their cooperation with the Security Councils Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Settlement in order to coordinate better the work of both organs. Recent experience had also demonstrated that the Groups warranted consideration in the future work of ECOSOC as it tackled the transition from relief to development. However, the Groups must also be recognized as custom-made tools whose unjustified and excessive use could risk needless proliferation and duplication of mandates.
Regarding Haiti, he said his country continued to support the broad-based and multifaceted efforts of the international community, which aimed to provide the assistance necessary to normalize the countrys situation. Haiti continued to need comprehensive and timely economic, humanitarian and technical assistance from the international community. It was hoped that the assistance provided would lay the groundwork for the countrys sustainable recovery and development.
BENEDICTO FONSECA FILHO (Brazil) said that the report of the Secretary-General clearly indicated the need to address the long-term needs in Haiti. Brazil was leading the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and was committed to finding a solution there.
Regarding Guinea-Bissau, he emphasized the need to ensure sustained international support to guarantee that the gains achieved so far could be maintained. As a member of the Group that had participated in the three missions to the country, Brazil was convinced that it was necessary to create conditions for the full engagement of donors, and reiterated the two concrete steps proposed by the Group: the call on the Executive Board of the IMF to resume the programme on Guinea-Bissau, and the call on donors to participate in the round table tentatively scheduled for November. That would be a concrete expression of support that would allow Guinea-Bissau to overcome the current crisis.
GEORGE OLAGO OWUOR (Kenya) commended the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on their work to draw the attention of the international community to the need to support both Guinea-Bissau and Burundi and the Governments of both countries for their commitment to a partnership approach. There was an imperative to ensure that the necessary resources were provided to enable them effectively to carry out their work. It was worrying, however, that in spite of their good work and the countries commitment, the international communitys response had fallen short of expectations.
Both countries should be supported to ensure they did not slip backwards on their march towards peace and sustainable development, he said. As the road to peace and stability was neither easy nor short, the duration of the Groups mandate must remain flexible to ensure the two countries received support until they had achieved a reasonable degree of peace and stability.
LUCY TAMLYN (United States) said that for non-traditional donors, the Advisory Groups had the potential to familiarize Council members with the problems involved. The report had provided a real-life reference point to issues like cooperation and cohesion, which otherwise remained an abstraction to many. While that could assist the Council in its oversight functions, the United States would like to get a more precise sense of how the Groups were working on United Nations coordination systems.
She said that the mandates of the two Groups must be carefully drafted. There seemed to be, for instance, an overlap in the work of core donor groups. One must also be cautious in assigning an advocacy task. The mandate must indicate an exit strategy and provide benchmarks for accomplishments. It was, therefore, premature to establish new ad hoc advisory groups without having resolved issues relating to existing groups.
JOSE ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIERREZ (Guatemala) said that the Groups on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi had been useful as a group of friends of the countries in question, taking on a proactive or advocacy role, with respect to the mobilization of international cooperation, collaboration with national authorities and clarifying the ideas and strategies to be adopted. The success of the exercise was due to their small size, which contributed to their agility. Bringing together donors and developing countries, the bodies were pluralistic in their approach. Above all, their members had been selected in close consultation with each of the countries concerned. Both groups had also had the benefit of strong and lucid leadership.
The Groups had given a new content to the link between the Security Council and ECOSOC, he said. They had also provided a concrete space within which the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions had deepened their cooperation. Clearly, the results obtained thus far would fully warrant providing greater resources, in staff and facilities for mobilization in order to realize fully the potential of the new mechanism.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) expressed concern that donor contributions to the Economic Emergency Management Fund were a mere $4 million, far below the envisaged $18 million. The donor community must respond positively to the donor round table on Guinea-Bissau, scheduled for later this year. Namibia urged the IMF to resume the programme for Guinea-Bissau without further delay.
Regarding Burundi, he said the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) should be provided with the resources commensurate with its mandate. Pledges made at the Forum of Development Partners on Burundi in Brussels in January 2004 had not been fully met. The Council must mobilize and allocate sufficient resources for the work of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and to extend the mandate of the Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau. Namibia also called for enhanced support for the Advisory Group on Burundi, as it continued to monitor closely the humanitarian, social and economic developments in that country.
Concerned that the situation in Haiti had not improved, he urged the Council to take practical steps to assist that country and expressed support for the creation of an Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.
ROLANDO RUIZ-ROSAS (Peru) said that his country had given its support for increased international action for economic and social development in Haiti. Interactions between ECOSOC and the Security Council should be increased to deal effectively with the situation. Peru called for the reactivation of the Advisory Group for Haiti which should contribute to maintaining a long-term perspective for cooperation and assistance programmes.
It was to be hoped that the forthcoming conference at the World Bank in Washington would achieve the best possible results and be fully funded, he said. Regional and subregional bodies, in particular the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community, could play a role in fostering political stability and recovery and promoting human rights. Within Haiti, all social, political and economic actors should work together for national reconstruction. The commitment of society as a whole was a prerequisite for successful action by the intentional community.
STUART W. LESLIE (Belize), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, expressed support for the extension of the mandates of the Ad Hoc Groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau. As for Haiti, the international community must focus on the best interests of Haitians. It was appropriate for ECOSOC to take an active role in that respect, and the reactivation of the Ad Hoc Group for Haiti could foster enhanced coordination and cooperation at both the national and international levels.
MARIA ANTONIETA PINTO LOPES DALVA (Guinea-Bissau), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that conflicts not only destroyed lives and hopes, but also drained away meagre resources, as was the case in her own country. However, the people had the hope that the road to peace would soon be found.
There had been substantial progress in the political and economic field, she said. The first phase of the transition process had been achieved with the parliamentary elections, and the second phase -- the presidential elections -- was scheduled for 2005. The country needed all support possible in the current critical time, and the United Nations, through the Advisory Group, must stay engaged. Guinea-Bissau saw much value in the continued work of the Group, and recommended the extension of its mandate through the second phase of the transition.
CLAUDIO ROJAS (Chile) commended the experience of the Advisory Groups, saying they pointed the way forward for ECOSOC in its work with countries emerging from conflict. On Haiti, he stressed his countrys involvement in humanitarian work there on the basis of multilateral involvement. Chile felt it was important to include the long-term plan to give sustainability to the process in Haiti and would join any initiative seeking such a vision, prioritizing the human dimension, as well as the economic and social sustainability of the Haitian people.
Response by Chairman of Advisory Group on Guinea-Bissau and Burundi
Responding to comments from the floor, Mr. KUMALO (South Africa) said that the agencies on the ground worked under the most difficult conditions, yet they held proudly the flag of the United Nations. As for the need to avoid the creation of numerous bodies, he said that no one would like more than himself to see the Groups on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau remain on an ad hoc basis
Introduction of Reports
Mr. CIVILI then introduced the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2003, contained in document E/2004/67.
Mr. KHAN then introduced the second annual report of the Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (document E/2004/62), noting that the body had been established to mobilize information and communication technologies in the service of development to strengthen the international communitys capacity to achieve the Millennium Goals.
MICHAEL LAING, Coordinator of the Information and Communication Technologies Board, then introduced the Secretary-Generals report (document E/2004/78) on action taken to follow up on the need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems for optimal utilization and accessibility by all States, including the findings of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics and an assessment of its work and mandate.
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