Vol. 104 No. 2
PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE ECOSOC 2005 HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT:
16-17 MARCH 2005
The preparatory meeting for the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) 2005 High-level segment takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, 16-17 March 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. The meeting will focus on achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as implementing the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and Summits. Roundtable discussions will be held on eradication of poverty and hunger, education and literacy, health and mortality, global partnerships and financing development, gender equality and the empowerment of women, environmental sustainability, and implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, at the country level: how to advance recommendations on an MDG-based approach to poverty reduction.
The outcomes of the preparatory meeting will feed into ECOSOC’s High-level and Coordination segments, which will take place as part of the substantive ECOSOC session from 29 June – 27 July 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. The Coordination segment will address the theme, “Towards achieving internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration,” and the High-level segment will address “Achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as implementing the outcomes of the major United Nations Conferences and Summits: progress made, challenges and opportunities.”
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UN CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS AND THEIR FOLLOW-UP
A key element of the United Nations strategy to address global economic, social and environment challenges has been the hosting of UN Conferences and Summits dedicated to developing global plans of action to move the world towards a more sustainable future and addressing a broader development agenda encompassing poverty reduction, social development and environmental sustainability. The Conferences of the early 1990s addressed issues of children (1990), environment and development (1992), human rights (1993), small island developing States (1994), population and development (1994), disaster reduction (1994), social development (1995), women (1995), human settlements (1996), and food security (1996). Many of these Conference and Summits ushered in a period of heightened international commitment to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Among the issues addressed included: a stable macroeconomic policy framework conducive to development; external debt and finance for development; international trade and commodities; science and technology; access to productive occupational opportunities, full employment and family incomes; gender equality, equity and empowerment of women; basic social services for all; environment and natural resources; Africa and other special categories of countries; and participation, democracy, human rights, accountability and partnership with Major Groups and non-governmental organizations.
In 1995, ECOSOC launched a major effort to coordinate the follow-up and implementation of these major UN Conferences and Summits. The ECOSOC process aimed to support the implementation and review of the conferences by providing the basis for their substantive integration in the UN system, as well as maintaining the political visibility and profile of the issues that provided the thematic basis for each conference. The process also stressed that the effective follow-up to conferences is critical for implementing their goals.
In 1996, building on these conferences, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) launched seven international development targets (IDTs), launched a report by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee entitled “Shaping the 21st Century: The Contribution of Development Cooperation.” The IDT’s were designed as a set of aspirational targets for development and represent a donors perspective of helpful measures of progress for effective development cooperation, based on a process of dialogue and global partnership. The IDTs included targets to: reduce by half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015; ensure universal primary education in all countries by 2015; remove gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005; reduce by two-thirds in the mortality rates for infants and children under five and a reduction by three-quarters in maternal mortality by 2015; ensure access through the primary health care system to reproductive health services for all individuals of appropriate ages as soon as possible and no later than 2015; and implement national strategies for sustainable development in all countries by 2005, so as to ensure that current trends in the loss of environmental resources are effectively reversed at both global and national levels by 2015.
Following the first set of major UN Conferences and Summits, several UN General Assembly Special Sessions were held to review implementation after five years, including on: environment and development (1997), small island developing States (1999), population and development (1999), women (2000), and social development (2000). Many of the IDTs were reinforced at the respective UN follow-up conferences. In 2000 the UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the OECD reaffirmed their commitment to the goals in the publication “A Better World for All.” Following the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, these seven targets were succeeded by those outlined in the Millennium Declaration.
The UN Millennium Summit was held from 6-8 September 2000, in New York. At the Summit, world leaders agreed on a far-reaching plan to support global development objectives for the new century, and reaffirmed their commitment to work toward a world of peace and security for all and one in which sustainable development and poverty eradication would have the highest priority. The Millennium Declaration, agreed to at the Summit, outlines a clear set of responses to these challenges, and establishes concrete measures for judging performance through a set of interrelated commitments, goals and targets on development, governance, peace, security and human rights. The Declaration addresses issues relating to: fundamental values and principles; peace, security and disarmament; development and poverty eradication; the protection of the environment; human rights, democracy and good governance; the needs of the most vulnerable; the special needs of Africa; and the strengthening of the UN. The Declaration also made a strong commitment to eradicating poverty and securing sustainable development, and reaffirmed the UN as the accepted multilateral body for realizing the world’s aspirations for peace, cooperation and development.
Regarding development and poverty eradication, governments committed to spare no effort to free men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion are currently subjected. Governments also committed to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want. Governments resolved to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable. In the Declaration, governments further resolved to:
UN CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS SINCE THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT
LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES: The third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) was held from 14-20 May 2001, in Brussels, Belgium. The Conference was mandated to: assess the results of the previous Programme of Action on LDCs at the country level; review the implementation of international support measures, particularly in the areas of official development assistance, debt, investment and trade; and consider the formulation and adoption of appropriate national and international policies and measures for the sustainable development of the LDCs, and their progressive integration into the global economy. Following lengthy negotiations, delegates adopted the Brussels Declaration and the Brussels Programme of Action for the Development of LDCs. The conference resulted in a commitment from all 193 participating governments to lowering trade barriers for exports from LDCs, reducing the debt burden, and increasing official development assistance (ODA).
RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE: The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance was held from 31 August to 8 September 2001, in Durban, South Africa. The Conference adopted a Declaration and Programme of Action that commits member States to undertake a wide range of measures to combat racism and discrimination at the international, regional and national levels. The Conference recognized the need to develop programmes for the social and economic development of those societies and the diaspora within the framework of a new partnership based on the spirit of solidarity and mutual respect in the following areas: debt relief, poverty eradication, building or strengthening democratic institutions, promotion of foreign direct investment and market access.
HOUSING: The 25th Special Session of the UN General Assembly took place from 6-8 June 2001, in New York. The Session engaged in “an overall review and appraisal of progress made in the implementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements.” Delegates adopted a resolution containing a “Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium,” renewing their commitment to the principles of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements. The Declaration called for increased international assistance to developing countries in their efforts to alleviate poverty. The Declaration also considered the provision of shelter and other basic services for post-conflict and post-disaster countries; the need to eradicate legal and social barriers to achieving equitable access to land; actions to address the impact of HIV/AIDS in human settlements; the issues of urban crime and violence; and the need to take concerted action against international terrorism.
HIV/AIDS: The UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS was held from 25-27 June 2001, in New York, with the aim to intensify international action to fight the epidemic and to mobilize resources. The Session adopted a Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS “Global Crisis-Global Action,” in which governments recognized that the global HIV/AIDS epidemic constitutes a global emergency and one of the most formidable challenges to human life and dignity, as well as to the effective enjoyment of human rights. The Declaration contains numerous time-bound targets and goals regarding: leadership; prevention; care, support and treatment; HIV/AIDS and human rights; reducing vulnerability; children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS; alleviating social and economic impact; research and development; HIV/AIDS in conflict and disaster affected regions; and resources. The Declaration urged the international community to ensure that HIV/AIDS issues are included on the agenda of all appropriate UN conferences and meetings.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT: The International Conference on Financing for Development was held from 18-22 March 2002, in Monterrey, Mexico. The Conference adopted the Monterrey Consensus in which both developed and developing countries pledged to undertake important actions in domestic, international and systemic policy matters. In the Monterrey Consensus governments noted with concern current estimates of dramatic shortfalls in resources required to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, and committed to mobilize financial resources and achieve the national and international economic conditions needed to fulfill the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. Governments also recognized that a substantial increase in ODA and other resources is required if developing countries are to meet the internationally agreed development goals and objectives. Governments also called for a follow-up conference to review the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, with the modalities to be agreed no later than 2005.
CHILDREN: The General Assembly’s Special Session on Children was held from 8-10 May 2002, at UN headquarters in New York. The Session was convened to review progress since the 1990 World Summit for Children, and to re-energize countries in making a global commitment to children’s rights. Delegates adopted a Declaration and a Plan of Action, entitled “A World Fit for Children,” which contains a pledge from the international community to act together to put children at the heart of development and to build a better world for children. Governments also established a set of time-bound goals for children and young people, with a particular focus on promoting healthy lives, providing quality education, protecting children against abuse, exploitation and violence, and combating HIV/AIDS. Governments also committed to develop or strengthen national and regional action plans for children, including a set of specific time-bound and measurable goals and targets.
WORLD FOOD SUMMIT+5: The World Food Summit+5 Conference was held from 10-13 June 2002, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. Delegates from 179 countries and the European Commission unanimously adopted a declaration calling on the international community to fulfill pledges made at the 1996 World Food Summit to achieve universal food security, access for all people at all times to sufficient, high-quality, safe food, and a reduction in the number of hungry people to half of its 1996 level by 2015. The World Food Summit+5 resulted in calls for an international alliance to accelerate action to reduce world hunger by 2015. Delegates also called for a reversal in the overall decline of agriculture and rural development in the national budgets of developing countries, as well as increased assistance from developed countries, and additional lending by international financing institutions.
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was held from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD adopted two main docu-ments: the Johannesburg Declara-tion on Sustainable Development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). In the Johannesburg Declaration, governments recognize that eradicating poverty, improving consumption and production patterns, and protecting and managing the natural resource base are all essential for achieving sustainable development. The Declaration also commits governments to building a humane, equitable and caring global society. In the Declaration, Heads of State reaffirmed their global pledge to place a particular focus on, and give priority attention to, the fight against the global conditions that pose severe threats to the sustainable development. These problems include: chronic hunger; malnutrition; foreign occupation; armed conflict; illicit drug problems; organized crime; corruption; natural disasters; illicit arms trafficking; trafficking in persons; terrorism; intolerance and incitement to racial, ethnic, religious and other hatreds; xenophobia; and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
The JPOI is an intergovernmentally-agreed framework for action to implement the commitments adopted at UNCED and at subsequent UN meetings. It includes a reaffirmation of support for the Rio Principles, the full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and international agreements since 1992. The JPOI notes that eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. It notes that peace, security, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as well as respect for cultural diversity, are essential for achieving sustainable development. The JPOI also contains a number of time-bound targets for the implementation of sustainable development in the following areas: basic sanitation; chemicals; integrated water resources management; oceans and fish stocks; alternatives to ozone-depleting substances; reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity; small island developing States; food security in Africa; and energy access in Africa.
LANDLOCKED AND TRANSIT DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: The International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation was held from 25-29 August 2003, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Ministerial Conference adopted the “Almaty Programme of Action: Addressing the Special Needs of Landlocked Developing Countries within a New Global Framework for Transit Transport Cooperation for Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries” and the Almaty Ministerial Declaration. The Almaty Declaration and Programme of Action reflected the strong commitment of the international community to addressing the special needs and problems of landlocked developing countries, as called for in the UN Millennium Declaration.
THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place from 10-12 December 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Summit adopted a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. The second phase of WSIS will take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from 16 to 18 November 2005.
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT: In December 2003, the General Assembly adopted decision 58/529, entitled “Commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development,” in which it decided to devote one day, during its 59th session, to the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. In the Commemoration held on 14 October 2004, the General Assembly marked the progress made and obstacles that remained towards achieving the objectives of the Cairo Programme of Action, which set out a 20-year strategy for promoting sexual and reproductive health, women’s empowerment, human rights and resource mobilization.
SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES: TEN YEAR REVIEW: The International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) convened from 10-14 January 2005, in Port Louis, Mauritius. At the conclusion of the meeting, delegates adopted the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action on the Sustainable Development of SIDS. The Declaration comprises 20 paragraphs, in which governments: reaffirm the continued validity of the Barbados Programme of Action as the blueprint providing the fundamental framework for the sustainable development of SIDS; reiterate that the acknowledged vulnerability of SIDS will grow unless urgent steps are taken; reaffirm that SIDS continue to be a special case for sustainable development; and recognize that international trade is important for building resilience and sustainable development of SIDS, and call upon international institutions to pay appropriate attention to the particular needs and priorities of SIDS. The Declaration also addresses the role of: women and youth, conservation of marine biodiversity, cultural identity, and health, particularly HIV/AIDS.
WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER REDUCTION: The UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) was held from 18-22 January 2005, in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The WCDR aimed to increase the international profile of disaster risk reduction, promote its integration into development planning and practice, and strengthen local and national capacities to address the causes of disasters that hamper development in many countries. Discussions at the WCDR resulted in two negotiated documents: a programme entitled “Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters: Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015,” and the Hyogo Declaration. Delegates also took note of the Review of the 1994 Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World and its Plan of Action and adopted a “Common statement on the Special Session on the Indian Ocean Disaster: Risk Reduction for a Safer Future.” In the Hyogo Declaration, governments express determination to reduce disaster losses, reaffirm the vital role of the UN system in disaster risk reduction, and recognize the intrinsic relationship between disaster reduction, sustainable development and poverty eradication, as well as the importance of involving all stakeholders. The Declaration also recognizes that a culture of disaster prevention must be fostered at all levels and that resilience of nations must be further enhanced through people-centered early warning systems, risks assessments, education and other proactive, integrated, multi-hazard and multi-sectoral approaches.
WORLD SUMMIT ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT+10: The 43rd session of the Commission for Social Development took place from 9-18 February 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. In accordance with ECOSOC resolution 2004/58, the Commission convened High-level plenary meetings on the ten-year review of the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly. The High-level segment concluded with the adoption of a Declaration that underscores the linkages between the Copenhagen commitments and the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, recognizing the implementation of the Copenhagen commitments and the attainment of the international development goals as mutually reinforcing. The Declaration stresses that poverty reduction policies and programmes should include specific measures to foster social integration, and that development strategies should include employment strategies that aim to promote full, freely chosen and productive employment with full respect for fundamental principles and rights.
BEIJING +10: The 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place from 28 February to 11 March 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. The Commission convened a High-level plenary meeting, on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. The Commission adopted a Ministerial Declaration and ten wide-ranging resolutions on improving women’s status, including six new texts. In the Declaration, governments emphasized that the full implementation of the Beijing documents was essential to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration, and stressed the need to ensure the integration of a gender perspective in the High-level plenary meeting on the review of the Millennium Declaration. The Declaration also calls upon the UN system, international and regional organizations, all sectors of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, as well as all women and men, to fully commit themselves and to intensify their contributions to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOLLOW UP TO THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT AND UN CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS
FIFTY-FIFTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: At is fifty-fifth session in 2000, the General Assembly adopted resolution 55/162 on the “Follow up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit,” which calls for an integrated, coordinated, comprehensive and balanced approach in the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration at the national, regional and international levels. The Assembly decided to use existing structures and mechanisms and upcoming events and special sessions of the General Assembly, as well as related conferences and events, to the maximum extent possible in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. The Assembly reiterated its call to assess, on a regular basis, progress towards implementing the Millennium Declaration and requested the Secretary-General to prepare a long-term “road map” towards the implementation of the Millennium Declaration within the UN system. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive report every five years, supplemented by an annual report on progress achieved towards implementing the Millennium Declaration. Finally the General Assembly called for enhanced partnership and cooperation with national parliaments as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as set out in the Millennium Declaration, to ensure their contribution to its implementation.
FIFTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: At is fifty-sixth session in 2001, the Secretary-General presented his report entitled “Road map towards the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration” (56/326). The report contains, in an annex, eight development goals containing 18 targets and 48 indicators, commonly know as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The first seven goals are directed toward eradicating poverty in all its forms: halving extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education and gender equity; reducing the mortality of children under five by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS; halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water; and ensuring environmental sustainability. The final goal outlines measures for building a global partnership for development. The goals, targets and indicators were developed following consultations held among members of the UN Secretariat and representatives of IMF, OECD and the World Bank in order to harmonize reporting on the development goals in the Millennium Declaration and the international development goals.
In resolution 56/95 on the “Follow-up to the Millennium Summit,” the General Assembly takes note of Secretary-General’s report and recommends that the “road map” be considered as a useful guide in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration by the UN system, and invites member States, as well as the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and other interested parties to consider the “road map” when formulating plans for implementing goals related to the Declaration. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to prepare an annual report and a comprehensive report every five years on progress achieved by the UN system and member States towards implementing the Millennium Declaration, and requested that the annual reports focus on cross-cutting and cross-sectoral issues, as well as on the major areas set forth in the “road map,” while the quinquennial comprehensive reports examine progress achieved towards implementing all the commitments made in the Declaration. The Assembly also invited the UN system, in cooperation with member States, to adopt specific measures to give widespread publicity to the Millennium Declaration and to increase the dissemination of information on the Declaration.
FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: At is fifty-seventh session in 2002, the General Assembly adopted resolution 57/144 on the “Follow up to the Millennium Summit.” In the resolution, the Assembly recognized the uneven progress made so far in achieving the objectives agreed upon in the Millennium Declaration and urged member States to continue to undertake with determination appropriate measures towards its implementation. The Assembly also decided to consider, at its fifty-eighth session, convening a High-level plenary meeting at its sixtieth session on the review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and of the quinquennial comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on the progress achieved towards implementing the Millennium Declaration. The Assembly also decided that the review process of the implementation of the development goals contained in the Millennium Declaration will be considered within the framework of the integrated and coordinated follow-up to the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and Summits in the economic and social fields, while taking into account the need to attach more importance, coherence and visibility to the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and its review process.
Open-ended working group: In resolution 57/270A, the Assembly decided to establish an open-ended ad hoc working group to produce concrete recommendations on integrated and coordinated follow-up to the outcomes of the UN Conferences and Summits in the economic, social and related fields. The Assembly also decided that the working group would submit proposals on how best to address the review of the implementation of the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and Summits, including its format and periodicity, bearing in mind the need to recognize the active role of all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the outcomes of UN Conferences and Summits.
Based on the recommendations of the open-ended working group, the Assembly adopted resolution 57/270B in 2003, on the “Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow up to the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and Summits in the economic and social fields.” Bearing in mind the General Assembly’s decisions to review in 2005 the progress achieved in implementing all the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration on the basis of a comprehensive report of the Secretary-General, the resolution stressed the scope for a major event in 2005, possibly a comprehensive review, which could be politically attractive and powerful.
The General Assembly stressed the utmost importance of regular review of the progress made in the implementation of the commitments undertaken at individual major UN Conferences and Summits in the economic, social and related fields. The Assembly decided to include in the annual agenda of the General Assembly an item entitled “Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and Summits in the economic, social and related fields.” The Assembly agreed to consider the assessment of the implementation of the outcomes of the conferences and summits and their impact on the achievement of the goals and targets and to provide the necessary guidance for the further implementation of, and, follow-up to these outcomes. The Assembly also stressed that the review should assess the progress made in the implementation of commitments and provide the occasion to reaffirm the goals and objectives agreed upon at those conferences and summits, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them and important measures for the further implementation of their programmes of action, as well as new challenges and emerging issues.
FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: At is fifty-eighth session in 2004, the General Assembly adopted resolution 58/291 on the “Follow-up to the Millennium Summit,” in which it decided to convene in New York in 2005, at the commencement of its sixtieth session, a High-level plenary meeting of the Assembly with the participation of Heads of State and Government. The Assembly also decided that the High-level plenary meeting would undertake a comprehensive review of the progress made in the fulfillment of all the commitments contained in the UN Millennium Declaration, including the internationally agreed development goals and the global partnership required for their achievement. The Assembly also agreed that the High-level plenary would review progress made in the integrated and coordinated implementation, at the national, regional and international levels, of the outcomes and commitments of the major UN Conferences and Summits in the economic, social and related fields, on the basis of a comprehensive report to be submitted by the Secretary-General.
FIFTY-NINTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: At is fifty-ninth session in 2004, the General Assembly adopted resolution 59/145 on the “Modalities, format and organization of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly.” In this resolution, the General Assembly decided that the High-level plenary meeting would take place on 14-16 September 2005, and would be composed of six plenary meetings, on the basis of two meetings a day, and four interactive round-table sessions. The Assembly decided to hold a High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development on 27 and 28 June 2005, in New York immediately prior to the ECOSOC 2005 High-level segment, and to hold a separate meeting on Financing for Development within the framework of the High-level Plenary Meeting. The Assembly requested the President of the General Assembly, in consultation with representatives of non-governmental organizations, to organize informal interactive hearings in June 2005 in New York as an input to the preparatory process of the High-level plenary meeting. The Assembly also requested the President of the General Assembly to continue to hold consultations with all member States in an open-ended manner, with a view to taking decisions on all outstanding process-related issues of the High-level plenary meeting.
MAJOR MEETINGS LEADING INTO THE MILLENNIUM REVIEW
G7 FINANCE MINISTERS MEETING: The meeting of G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held from 4-5 February 2005, in London. The meeting addressed a wide range of issues, including trade, debt, aid, energy, the MDGs, and new proposals for financing development. At the conclusion of the meeting, ministers issued a Statement and Conclusions on Development.
In their Statement, ministers and Central Bank Governors outlined several priority issues, including the challenges and opportunities of the global economy, trade, medium-term energy issues and the risks of current oil prices, exchange rates, efficient labor markets, and the tsunami disaster. They agreed on the importance to global growth of an ambitious result at the Hong Kong WTO ministerial with a view to concluding the Doha Development Round, including on financial services. The Statement commits ministers to provide support to build the infrastructure and capacity to enable developing countries to benefit from trade opportunities and called on the International Financial Institutions to play a major role in this respect.
Ministers also issued a separate set of “Conclusions on Development” addressing a range of issues related to: aid, trade, debt, Africa, HIV/AIDS and new proposals for development finance. In the conclusions, ministers: reaffirmed their commitment to help developing countries achieve the MDGs by 2015, particularly in Africa; noted the need for particular bilateral and multilateral donors to harmonize their operational procedures, align aid behind country-owned priorities, and provide for measurable results; and stressed that the Doha Round deliver substantial benefits to developing countries. On new proposals for development finance, ministers agreed to a work programme to prepare decisions at the 2005 G8 Summit on: the International Finance Facility (IFF) and its pilot, the IFF for immunization; the US Millennium Challenge Account; and other financing measures. On debt relief, the conclusions note that more needs to be done to provide 100% multilateral debt relief, and request the IMF and the World Bank to look at the issue of debt sustainability in low-income countries that are not part of the HIPC initiative.
TWENTY-THIRD SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/GMEF: The 23rd session of the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) took place from 21-25 February 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya. Ministerial consultations were held on poverty and environment, environmental sustainability, and gender and environment, the outcomes of which are reflected in a President’s summary. The President’s Summary (UNEP/GC.23/L.3/Rev.1) is divided into four parts, an introduction and three substantive sections on: environment and poverty (MDG Goal 1); environmental sustainability in relation to water, sanitation and human settlements (MDG Goal 7); and gender and environment (MDG Goal 3). Each section contains an overview of the issues involved in the goal, and recommendations for countries, the international community and UNEP.
Environment and poverty: Regarding MDG Goal 1, the Summary recommends, inter alia: providing the economic rationale for investments in environmental sustainability; canceling or alleviating debt for least developed countries and Highly Indebted Poor Countries; employing innovative financial mechanisms; increasing efforts to meet 0.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) for ODA; expediting the implementation of the JPOI and other related development goals, including those contained in the Mauritius Strategy; and addressing trade and aid in a mutually supportive manner.
Environmental sustainability: Regarding MDG Goal 7, the Summary recommends, inter alia: quantifying costs of environmentally unsustainable water use; employing smaller scale and environmentally sustainable infrastructure; promoting land-use planning policies to reduce vulnerability of slum-dwellers; increasing financial resources; and improving institutional mechanisms and water governance.
Gender and environment: Regarding MDG Goal 3, the Summary recommends, inter alia: mainstreaming gender equality at all levels in strategies, policies and programmes; empowering women and girls through education and capacity building; including gender equality and environment in school curricula for both men and women; removing barriers for women and girls to access leadership roles, economic activities and land tenure; focusing on international commitments that particularly affect women such as those on chemicals, heavy metals, water, sanitation and human settlements; and strengthening or establishing mechanisms to assess the impact of development and environmental policies on women.
UNEP roundtable dialogue on advancing the millennium development goals through the rule of law: The Roundtable Dialogue on Advancing the Millennium Development Goals through the Rule of Law was held on 16-17 February 2005, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi. The roundtable outcomes affirm that, inter alia: an independent judiciary is one of the key elements of a legal system operating under the rule of law, the judiciary is a crucial partner in achieving the appropriate balance between environmental, social and developmental considerations to achieve sustainable development; and an informed and active judiciary is crucial to achieving the MDGs.
THE PARIS HIGH-LEVEL FORUM ON AID EFFECTIVENESS: The Paris High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness took place from 28 February to 2 March 2005. In the Monterrey Consensus paragraph 43, developed countries undertook to harmonize the operational policies, procedures, and practices of their institutions with those of partner country systems to improve the effectiveness of development assistance, and thereby contribute to meeting the MDGs. At the Paris meeting, ministers of developed and developing countries responsible for promoting development and heads of multilateral and bilateral development institutions adopted the “Paris Declaration on Aid Harmonization,” in which they resolved to take far-reaching and monitorable actions to reform the ways in which aid is delivered and managed ahead of the UN five-year review of the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs. They also recognized that while the volume of aid and other development resources must increase to achieve these goals, aid effectiveness must increase significantly as well to support partner country efforts to strengthen governance and improve development performance. The Declaration contains several actions, including 12 specific indicators, timetables and targets. Ministers also agreed to set targets for the year 2010, which will involve action by both donors and partner countries and are designed to track and encourage progress at the global level among the countries and agencies that have agreed to this Declaration. The five preliminary targets agreed to in Paris will be reviewed before targets against the remaining indicators are established prior to the General Assembly’s High-level plenary meeting in September 2005. Ministers also agreed to meet again in 2008 in a developing country and conduct two rounds of monitoring before then to review progress in implementing the Declaration.
DESA DEVELOPMENT FORUM ON INTEGRATING ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICIES TO ACHIEVE THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Development Forum took place on 14-15 March 2005, in New York. The meeting discussed the major issues facing the world economy and the policy debates that have an important bearing on development prospects and the realization of the MDGs.
MAJOR REPORTS FOR THE MILLENNIUM REVIEW
REPORT OF THE WORLD COMMISSION ON THE SOCIAL ASPECTS OF GLOBALIZATION: The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization released its Report, “A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All,” in February 2004. The report calls for a more effective multilateral system that creates a legitimate and coherent framework for managing globalization and stresses employment creation, the protection of fundamental rights at work, strengthening social protection and broadening social dialogue as key elements of globalization that promotes not just economic reform, but social progress.
On 2 December 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 59/57 recognizing the contribution of the World Commission’s report to achieving a fully inclusive and equitable globalization. The Assembly also decided to consider the wider challenges and opportunities linked to the issue of globalization, including, inter alia, those in the Commission’s report within the framework of the comprehensive review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, and the ten-year review of the further implementation of the World Summit for Social Development by the Commission on Social Development.
REPORT OF THE PANEL OF EMINENT PERSONS ON UNITED NATIONS-CIVIL SOCIETY RELATIONS: Established in February 2003, the Secretary-General’s Panel of Eminent Persons on UN-Civil Society relations was mandated to review existing practices involving civil society at the UN with a view to identifying new and better ways for the UN system to interact, in particular with developing country NGOs and civil society. The Panel’s report, released in June 2004, contained over 30 proposals for enhancing UN-civil society relations (A/58/817 and Corr.1).
In response to the Panel’s report, the Secretary-General provided his own report (59/354), offering comments on the Panel’s recommendations from the perspective of the UN Secretariat and, in some cases, makes specific suggestions regarding their implementation, which the General Assembly may wish to take into account. Building on the Panel’s proposals, the Secretary-General’s report makes a number of concrete suggestions and actions in connection with increasing the participation of non-governmental organizations in intergovernmental bodies, the accreditation process, improving the involvement of non-governmental organizations from developing countries and strengthening of the institutional capacity of the UN for engagement with non-governmental organizations.
REPORT OF SECRETARY-GENERAL’S HIGH-LEVEL PANEL ON THREATS, CHALLENGES AND CHANGE: On 1 December 2004, the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, presented its report, entitled “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility (59/565).” The report contains 101 recommendations addressing a range of issues identified by the Panel as being the greatest threats to worldwide security in the twenty-first century: continued poverty and environmental degradation, terrorism, civil war, conflict between States, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and organized crime. The report also makes recommendations regarding UN reform. The report has been transmitted to the General Assembly for review, and for a possible decision at its 60th session.
REPORT OF THE UN MILLENNIUM PROJECT: Presented to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 17 January 2005, the report of the UN Millennium Project entitled “Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals” underscores the importance of the MDGs, tracks their implementation, and considers various means of supporting their achievement, including through public investment, civil society participation, and private sector contribution. The report outlines ten main recommendations for scaling-up action to meet the MDGs and also identifies the special needs of Africa, highlights strategies for countries affected by conflict, and discusses the need to revamp development aid, calling for targeted investments to address various challenges.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
MILLENNIUM REVIEW MEETING BULLETIN SUMMARY: The Millennium Review Meeting Bulletin’s summary of the ECOSOC Preparatory Meeting will be available on Monday, 21 March 2005, at: