20 December 2005
Second Committee Approves Draft Resolution Underlining Need to Implement Commitments of Monterrey Consensus
Texts on Financing for Development, Poverty Eradication, Women in Development Passed by Consensus
NEW YORK, 19 December (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly would underline the need to implement commitments laid down in the Monterrey Consensus to establish good governance and the rule of law, create enabling environments to mobilize domestic resources, and enhance coherence and consistency in the international monetary, financial and trading systems, according to one of three draft resolutions that the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved by consensus this afternoon.
Also by that draft, on follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, Mexico, 2002), the Assembly would urge developed countries to make concrete efforts in establishing timetables to achieve the target figure of 0.7 per cent of gross national product for official development assistance by 2015, and reach at least 0.5 per cent by 2010, and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent for the least developed countries by 2010. By other terms, it would call on developed countries to facilitate the flow of foreign direct investment, especially through export credits and other lending instruments, risk guarantees and business development services. The Assembly would, by other terms, call on developing and transition countries to create domestic environments that were conducive to such investments.
The Assembly would, by further terms, decide to hold a follow-up international conference on Financing for Development between 2008 and 2009 to review implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, and welcome the offer by the Government of Qatar to host that event. It would also decide that the review conference should assess progress made, reaffirm goals and commitments, share best practices and lessons learned, identify obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them, important measures for further implementation, as well as new challenges and emerging issues.
By another draft, on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), the Assembly would stress that international cooperation was vital in supplementing developing-country efforts to use their domestic resources for development and poverty eradication, together with coherent and consistent domestic policies. Further by that text, it would underline that each country was primarily responsible for its own sustainable development and poverty eradication, that the role of national policies and development strategies could not be overemphasized, and that concerted and concrete measures were needed to enable developing countries to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Also by the text, the Assembly would recognize the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious and contagious diseases on human development, economic growth, food security and poverty reduction, and urge Governments and the international community to give urgent priority to combating those diseases. Further, it would stress the importance of meeting the special needs of Africa, where poverty remained a major challenge, and most countries had failed to benefit fully from globalization. By other terms, the Assembly would call on the Governments of least developed countries and their development partners to fully implement commitments set out in the Brussels Declaration and Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, adopted in Brussels in 2001.
The Assembly would, by further terms of that draft, emphasize that creditors and debtors must share responsibility for preventing unsustainable debt situations, and stress that debt relief could play a key role in liberating resources that should be directed towards activities consistent with poverty eradication, sustained economic growth and sustainable development. Also, it would stress that strategies, programmes and international assistance for reconstruction and rehabilitation in countries emerging from conflict, which were faced with damaged physical and social infrastructure, scarce employment opportunities, reduced foreign investment and increased capital flight, should create employment and eradicate poverty.
A draft on women in development would have the Assembly call on Governments, the United Nations system, international and regional organizations and civil society to commit fully to implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. Also by that text, it would urge Governments to develop strategies to mainstream a gender perspective in economic and development policies, and in monitoring and evaluating related programmes of action.
Also by that text, the Assembly would stress the importance of developing national strategies to promote entrepreneurial activities that generated income among disadvantaged women and those living in poverty. It would urge Governments to ensure women's equal rights with men and their full access to education, training, employment, technology, as well as economic and financial resources, including credit. The Assembly would, by further terms, urge States to design and revise laws to ensure that women were accorded full and equal rights to own land and other property, including through inheritance.
In another consensus action, the Committee approved its draft programme of work for the sixty-first session of the General Assembly.
Committee Vice-Chairman Juraj Koudelka (Czech Republic), noting with relief that the Committee had finally finished its work, said in closing remarks that the Bureau had stopped using the word "deadline" at some point as it did not want to look ridiculous. The current year had demonstrated the difficulty of reaching consensus, as well as the need for thorough discussion of the issues in order to make the process faster and easier.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of the United Kingdom noted that the 2005 World Summit had considered many items on the Committee's agenda, and that commitments to the outcomes of international conferences had been reaffirmed. The Summit had acknowledged that peace, development and human rights were interlinked, and the Committee had been able to reflect on that outcome.
The representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Nigeria (on behalf of Committee Chairman, Aminu Bashir Wali) and Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations) expressed gratitude to the Bureau and all who had made the Committee's work possible.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on draft resolutions relating to financing for development, the eradication of poverty, and women in development. (For details, see Press Release No. GA/EF/3140 of 16 December.)
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Committee first took up a revised draft resolution on follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development (document A/C.2/60/L.72), approving it without a vote and withdrawing a previous text (document A/C.2/60/L.6).
Following that action, the representative of the United States said his country had joined the consensus, but did not believe it took a final decision on the timing or venue of the proposed financing for development review conference. The use of existing institutional mechanisms for that event had been emphasized in the draft.
The representative of Canada, speaking on behalf of the Cairns Group, said it did not want to block the consensus but was disappointed that the text made no reference to remittances. The Monterrey Consensus did not limit financing for development to public funds, but addressed all financing sources. It specifically mentioned remittances, and with good reason. Remittances were estimated to amount to over $165 billion in 2005 and could reach $250 billion when combined with informal unrecorded flows.
He said remittances were private capital that complemented savings and were instrumental to the well-being of their recipients. The draft omitted to call on States to reduce the costs of remittance transfers or to facilitate access to banks and financial institutions. It was a matter of common sense and good policy to treat them as financial flows that could help eradicate poverty and contribute to sustainable growth and development.
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he was happy to join the consensus, building on the Monterrey Consensus. The current session had agreed on some modalities for the follow-up to the conference and had narrowed down the time frame. Regrettably, there were a large number of amendments and it was to be hoped that in the future late amendments could be avoided.
The representative of Mexico welcomed the approval of the text, which, only a few weeks after the 2005 World Summit, showed the dynamic way in which the Monterrey Consensus had been developing. The Committee had begun to fulfil paragraph 73 of the Consensus regarding the follow-up to the Conference, which should be held in 2008 or 2009 and hosted by Qatar.
The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, expressed pleasure in being able to join the consensus after lengthy consultations. There were many issues that the Group would have liked to see resolved differently, but it was pleased with the movement on the modalities of the follow-up Conference in Qatar.
Acting again without a vote, the Committee then approved a draft on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) (document A/C.2/60/L.73), as orally corrected, withdrawing an earlier version (document A/C.2/60/L.41).
The representative of the United States said he understood the term "right to develop" in the text to mean that each individual should enjoy the right to develop his/her intellectual or other capabilities to the maximum extent possible through the exercise of the full range of civil and political rights.
The Committee then approved, as orally corrected, a draft on women in development (document A/C.2/60/L.64), and withdrew a previous text (document A/C.2/60/L.43).
The representative of the United States, drawing attention to a preambular paragraph that reaffirmed the Beijing and Beijing Plus Five conferences, said her delegation understood that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action constituted an important policy framework that did not create international legal rights or legally binding obligations on States under international law. Moreover, there had been an international consensus at the 2005 meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women that the Beijing documents had created no new international rights, including a right to abortion, and that the United States' reaffirmation of the goals and commitments of those documents did not change its position with respect to treaties it had not ratified.
She said the United States fully supported the principle of voluntary choice regarding maternal and child health and family planning, but did not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor did it support abortion in its reproductive health assistance. It understood that there was an international consensus that the terms "reproductive health services", "reproductive rights" and "reproductive health" did not include abortion or constitute support, endorsement, or promotion of abortion or the use of abortifacients. The United States supported the treatment of women who suffered injuries or illnesses caused by legal or illegal abortion, and did not place such treatment among abortion-related services.
Regarding operative paragraph 14 of the draft, which encouraged Governments and others to promote equal pay for equal work or equal value, she said the United States accepted "equal pay for equal work", but had concerns about "work of equal value", since there were no internationally agreed criteria to decide whether a particular form of work was of equal value to another.
The representative of Argentina, noting that the texts considered by the Committee had not been available in all official languages, said that should not be considered as a precedent for future meetings.
Finally, the Committee approved its draft provisional programme of work for the sixty-first session of the General Assembly, as orally corrected (document A/C.2/60/L.66).
JURAJ KOUDELKA ( Czech Republic), Committee Vice-Chairman, said that from a procedural point of view, side events should be organized during those meetings where reports were being considered and not when consultations were taking place. The issue of deadlines should also be considered as the current session had been proof that reaching consensus was not easy.
In conclusion, he thanked Committee Chairman Aminu Bashir Wali ( Nigeria), members of the Bureau, the facilitator, delegates and all those from the Secretariat who had made the work of the Committee possible.
The representatives of the United Kingdom, on behalf of the European Union, noted that the 2005 World Summit had considered many itmes on the Committee's agenda. The Committee had reaffirmed commitment to the outcomes of international conferences; acknowledged that peace, development and human rights were interlinked, which had been a sea change; and been able to reflect the Summit outcomes. Consensus achieved in the Committee was indicative of its commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The European Union remained determined to revitalize the Committee's work.
The representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the Group of 77), Nigeria (on behalf of the Committee Chairman), and Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations) also thanked the Bureau and all who had made the Committee's work possible.
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