119th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 50th Session

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24-May-1996 01:21:52
Assembly adopts resolution setting out measures to revitalize United Nations in economic, social and related fields at 119th meeting.

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The United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions should jointly review their programmes and relationships in the field and at other levels, seek areas to improve their cooperation and recommend ways of complementing each other's efforts in implementing the results of United Nations conferences, according to a resolution adopted without a vote by the General Assembly this morning.

After such a review, the text adds, the Assembly and the institutions' governing bodies should consider how and where to collaborate concretely in development-related activities. Further, the Economic and Social Council, whose substantive session would be held over a period of four weeks instead of five, should schedule periodically a high-level special meeting close to the institutions' semi-annual meetings in order to improve its cooperation with them at the intergovernmental level. The Secretary-General should consult with the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ensure the success of the special meetings.

Those are some of the measures suggested in the first of three annexes of the resolution on restructuring and revitalizing the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields. The other two annexes contain agendas of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) and the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural). Sponsored by Venezuela, the resolution asks the Secretary-General to implement the measures and report to the Assembly at its regular session next year.

In a statement issued following the adoption of the resolution, the Secretary-General said it was first to have emerged from a number of General Assembly working groups examining a wide range of issues relating to the reform and renewal of the Organization. Welcoming the resolution, he said Member States had reached agreement on measures which reconfirmed the validity of the role of the United Nations in operational activities for development, fostered greater harmonization of the work of the Second and Third Committees, strengthened the capacity of the Economic and Social Council to fulfil its Charter responsibilities and aimed to further reinforce cooperation between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions. Furthermore, the resolution launched an important series of reviews to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the subsidiary bodies of the Council.

The nine-part annex I deals with a broad range of issues such as the funding of United Nations operational activities for development; the roles of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council; the functional and regional commissions; and the relationship between the United Nations and international finance and trade institutions.

On the United Nations system's operational activities, the resolution states that they should be carried out to help developing countries at their request, and in allocating scarce resources priority should be accorded to low-income countries, particularly the least developed. Under its terms, the World Food Council would be abolished and its functions absorbed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The governing bodies of programmes and funds coordinated by the Economic and Social Council should set realistic targets for core resources, based on their priorities and decide their own funding arrangements.

The resolution asks the Secretary-General to present innovative ideas for generating funds for operational activities for the Assembly's consideration at its next regular session. His report should consider national, international and private sources.

The issue of establishing a post of deputy secretary-general for international cooperation and development should be considered in the working groups on the strengthening of the United Nations system and on an agenda for development.

Terms ranging from "a significant breakthrough" to "a step forward" in efforts to reform the Organization and make it more effective in the economic, social and related fields were used to describe the text's adoption. Introducing the draft, Venezuela's representative described it as the result of consultations in the last six months and the successful conclusion of arduous work completed after 36 days of meetings, consultations and a great deal of intensive activity.

Statements after the adoption of the resolution were made by the representatives of Costa Rica (also speaking for the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), United States, Italy (also speaking for the European Union), Russian Federation, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Japan and Brazil.

The Director of the General Assembly Affairs Division, Badim Perfiliev, informed the Assembly of the resolution's implications on the Secretariat's workload in terms of quality and timeliness in the production of documents, given the cuts mandated by the Assembly.

Earlier, the Assembly approved the appointment of Evgueni Deineko (Russian Federation) to the Committee on Contributions. Replacing his compatriot, Yuri Chulkov, who resigned, he will serve until the end of the year.

Also this morning, the representative of Bangladesh thanked Member States and the Secretary-General for promptly offering assistance following the devastation of a tornado which struck his country on Monday, 13 May. The tornado had taken 1,000 lives and adversely affected over 80,000 people. About 10,000 others were being treated for serious injuries. His Government had controlled the overall situation, he said.

On behalf of the Assembly, its President, Diogo Freitas do Amaral, extended condolences to Bangladesh and asked the international community to assist that Government.

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