96th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 50th Session - Part 2

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20-Dec-1995 01:00:15
Assembly adopts texts on global financial integration, macroeconomic policy, development and aid issues, support for democratization at 96th meeting.

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The General Assembly stressed this morning that global financial integration presents new challenges and opportunities and should constitute a very important element of the dialogue between the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions. It took that position by one of 42 draft proposals adopted -- two by recorded votes -- on the recommendation of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

The Assembly also acted this morning on proposals concerning the United Nations Education and Training Programme for Southern Africa; United Nations support for democratization; and assistance to the Palestinian people, Madagascar and Somalia as well as cooperation to mitigate the Chernobyl disaster.

Adopting its first ever resolution on global financial integration, the Assembly underscored the need for encouraging private flows to all countries, while reducing the risks of volatility. The need for a stronger and central role for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in surveillance of all countries for potential sources of destabilization of financial markets was also recognized.

By another resolution, the Assembly, stressing the need to put development at the centre of United Nations activities, agreed to hold a two-day high-level dialogue at its fifty-first session on "the social and economic impact of globalization and interdependence and their policy implications".

In another text, the Assembly decided to convene the ninth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD IX) in Midrand, Gauteng Province, South Africa, from 27 April to 11 May 1996, to address the unifying theme of "Promoting growth and sustainable development in a globalizing and liberalizing world economy".

In a related text, the Assembly reaffirmed the role of the UNCTAD as the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of development and interrelated issues in the areas of trade, finance, technology, investment, services and sustainable development and stressed that there should be a constructive cooperation between the Conference and the World Trade Organization, based on the complementarity of their functions.

Acting on macroeconomic policy questions, the Assembly invited international financial institutions to examine proposals to tackle the foreign debt problems of developing countries, while preserving the preferred creditor status of the multilateral financial institutions to ensure that they can continue to provide concessional financing to assist those countries in their development. It also decided to consider at its fifty-second session the convening of an international conference on the financing of development.

In addition, the Assembly noted with serious concern the trend of a decrease in overall development assistance, emphasizing that financial commitment to the development of human resources is of critical importance to enhancement of the concept of people-centred sustainable development.

By a resolution on the triennial policy review of operational activities of the Organization for development, the Assembly decided that the United Nations system should use, to the fullest extent possible, available national expertise and indigenous technologies. It called for further work on the development of common guidelines at the field level for the recruitment, training and remuneration of national project personnel.

By other texts related to development activities, the Assembly established a target for voluntary contributions to the World Food Programme (WFP) of $1.3 billion for the period 1997-1998; endorsed the agreement between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to designate Fund resident country directors as Fund representatives; welcomed the decision of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to convene a World Food Summit in 1996 in Rome; and called upon the United Nations system to promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming gender perspective in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all policies and programmes.

By a text on "business and development", the Assembly invited Member States, requested the Secretary-General and called upon the United Nations system to encourage private-sector, cost-effective involvement in the construction, use and maintenance of infrastructure. By another resolution, Member States and the United Nations system were invited to consider the recommendations of the United Nations Panel on Opportunity and Participation on efforts for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries as an effective measure for promoting opportunity and participation in the context of national development.

On environment and sustainable development, the Assembly decided to convene a one-week special session in June 1997 to review and appraise the implementation of Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

In a series of UNCED-related resolutions, the Assembly: called upon governments to implement provisions concerning water supply and sanitation of Agenda 21; called upon the international community to meet all the objectives as reaffirmed in Agenda 21 concerning access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on concessional and preferential terms; and took note of the decision of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Nassau, Bahamas, December 1994) to accept the offer of Canada to host the Convention's secretariat.

The Assembly also recommended that upon the entry into force of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, a session of the Conference of the Parties should be convened in 1997, the exact dates and venue to be determined; welcomed the efforts of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and of the UNDP to strengthen their cooperation in combating desertification; and endorsed the institutional linkage between the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations, as advised by the Secretary-General and adopted by the first session of the Conference of the Parties (Berlin, April). It noted the Conference decision to accept the offer of Germany to host the Convention's secretariat.

The Assembly further asked the Secretary-General to ensure provisions for the development and compilation of a vulnerability index for small island developing States; decided to convene a closing event of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction in order to facilitate the full integration of disaster reduction into the substantive efforts for sustainable development and environmental protection by the year 2000; requested the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Decade to continue to study new scientific and experimental concepts and methodologies for accurate and timely short-term forecasting of earthquakes and natural disasters; and requested the UNEP Governing Council to prepare a report on the role and activities of the Programme in the implementation of Agenda 21 and to submit it to the 1997 special session.

Addressing matters related to South-South cooperation, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to present a biennial report on the state of that cooperation including a comprehensive overview and analysis of South-South economic and technical cooperation worldwide and international support in that regard; welcomed with satisfaction the agreement signed between Dr. Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, of Colombia, and the World Health Organization (WHO), by which he donated the patent rights to the SPf66 anti-malarial vaccine developed by him; and called upon both the land-locked developing countries and their transit neighbours further to strengthen their collaborative efforts in dealing with their transit problems.

In the two Second Committee texts adopted by recorded votes, the Assembly

-- Reaffirmed that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 are illegal and an obstacle to economic and social development -- 126 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 28 abstentions (see Annex II); and

-- Urged the international community to adopt urgent measures to eliminate the use by some developed countries of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries as a means of forcibly imposing the will of one State on another -- 100 in favour to 30 against, with 22 abstentions (see Annex I).

Following up on a recommendation of the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development, the Assembly proclaimed the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) and recommended that all States undertake to elaborate the measurements, criteria and indicators for determining the extent and distribution of absolute poverty.

Acting on upcoming United Nations development-related conferences, the Assembly decided that the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) (Istanbul, 3 to 14 June 1996) would be held at Headquarters from 5 to 16 February 1996. It noted with interest the call by the Secretary-General to give the Conference the dimensions of a "city summit" and reaffirmed that the Conference should be held at the highest possible level of participation.

In a related text, the Assembly endorsed decisions adopted by the Commission on Human Settlements on its fifteenth session (Nairobi, 25 April- 1 May), including the text on the implementation of the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000.

By a series of resolutions concerning the development of Africa, the Assembly

-- Requested the Secretary-General to make concrete proposals on activities, in the context of the 1996 mid-term review of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, to strengthen United Nations system support for science and technology in Africa;

-- Called upon the United Nations to intensify its efforts to assist the Government of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in the rapid implementation of the entire Lusaka Protocol and called upon the international community to continue to extend its support to the people of Mozambique in their efforts to consolidate their newfound peace and democracy based on national reconstruction and development in that country; and

-- Requested the Secretary-General to take into account the implementation of the programme for the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (1993- 2002) when preparing for the 1996 mid-term review of the New Agenda for the Development of Africa.

Addressing another specific group of countries, the Assembly sought a substantial increase in the aggregate level of external support for the least developed countries.

In other actions, the Assembly invited the Committee on Information to consider the issue of communication for development at its forthcoming session; requested the Secretary-General to report to its fifty-first session on possible ways to strengthen the training activities of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and better define its role; requested him to designate a clearly identifiable focal point on international migration and development and to submit a report with proposals on ways of addressing that issue, including the possible convening of a United Nations conference on the subject; endorsed the Economic and Social Council's decision 1995/320 of 12 December by which it enlarged the membership of the Commission on Population and Development from 27 to 47 members; and approved the biennial programme of work of the Second Committee for 1996-1997.

Also this morning, the Assembly, acting without a vote, decided to transfer, no later than 1 May 1996, management of the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa and its funds and decision-making authority to the Administrator of UNDP through its Executive Board, which would be entrusted with the authority to continue the Trust Fund as an identifiable entity for three to five years beyond April 1994; to undertake fundraising for the Programme; and to review the Programme.

Concerning the situation in Central America, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution stressing the importance of negotiations between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca aimed at reaching a peace agreement which would complete the peace process in Central America; calling upon the Government of El Salvador and all political forces involved in the peace process to complete the implementation of all remaining aspects of the Peace Agreement; and emphasizing the importance of the Secretary- General's compliance with Nicaragua's request for observers to be present during its electoral process next year. The Assembly also supported the concern of Central American countries to create a new model of regional security based on a reasonable balance of force and the pre-eminence of civil authority.

Adopting another resolution without a vote, the Assembly encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to improve the Organization's capacity to respond to requests of Member States to achieve democratization, and encouraged States to promote democratization.

Also adopted without votes were three resolutions on humanitarian assistance to individual countries or regions, including a resolution on assistance to Somalia, another on assistance to the Palestinian people and a third on assistance to Madagascar. A resolution on strengthening international cooperation to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster was adopted as well.

The resolution on Somalia called on all parties in the country to respect the security of safety United Nations and other personnel. It appealed to Somali parties concerned to terminate hostilities and engage in national reconciliation to allow for transition from relief to reconstruction.

On assistance to the Palestinian people, the Assembly called on relevant United Nations organs to intensify their response to the urgent needs of the Palestinians according to priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority.

By adopting the resolution on assistance to Madagascar, the Assembly urged the international community to increase support to that country's Government with a view to preventing disasters and mitigating their effects on development.

Adopting the resolution on strengthening cooperation and coordination of efforts to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster without a vote, the Assembly invited members of international community to support ongoing efforts made by Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine to cope with the consequences of the disaster.

The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. tomorrow, 21 December, to take up reports of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

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