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This page was updated on: 21 September 2004

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ELEMENTS ON THE PROGRAMME OF WORK OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S 59TH SESSION

 

59TH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

Introductory briefing on the 59th session of the GA

 

The UN General Assembly opened its 59th session on 14 September 2004 at UN Headquarters in New York. In his opening address, President of the General Assembly, Jean Ping, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, said under the current international outlook marked by the resurgence of terrorist activity and devastating natural disasters, escalating debt and lagging development assistance, the world was looking increasingly to the UN and particularly its General Assembly, to help find responses to global challenges.

 

Among the highlights of this 59th Assembly will be a presentation by the UN Secretary General’s a High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change on initial recommendations on streamlining the UN to meet the challenges of the future, of which a key feature remains the reform of the Security Council. The Session will address preparations for the UN’s 60th anniversary and the 2005 review of the Millennium Declaration and outcomes of major international conferences. The General Assembly will also consider the “Cardoso Report” of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-Civil Society Relations.

 

For the first time, the Assembly’s agenda is organized under headings corresponding to the priorities of the Organization as contained in the medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005. Those priorities are: 

*maintenance of international peace and security;

*promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development in accordance with the resolutions of the Assembly and recent United Nations conferences;

*development in Africa;

*promotion of human rights;

*effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts;

*promotion of justice and international law; disarmament;

*drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; and

*organizational, administrative and other matters, which also contains cross-cutting issues.

 

The agenda was orally revised in the 58th session of the Assembly’s General Committee’s meeting on Wednesday, 8 September following a proposal by the Netherlands on behalf of the EU, that agenda item 46 (Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields) be considered in a joint debate with item 56 of the draft agenda (Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit).

 

Among the 158 issues on the General Assembly’s agenda are: the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict; prevention of armed conflict; culture of peace; the situation in the Middle East; the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance; the role of the United Nations in promoting a new global human order; 2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa; revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters; cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations; reduction of military budgets; the role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament; general and complete disarmament; the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty; the eradication of poverty and other development issues; international drug control; promotion and protection of the rights of children; programme of activities for the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, 1995-2004; elimination of racism and racial discrimination; human rights questions; review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations; and the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005.

 

General debate: The General Assembly opened its annual general debate on Tuesday, 21 September 2004, providing Member States with the opportunity to express their views on major international issues. Nearly 100 heads of State or government are due to attend the two-week-long annual debate. The opening session of the general debate will start with the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization; and will include statements by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil; George W. Bush, President of the United States of America; his Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar; El Haj Omar Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic; Joseph Deiss, President of the Swiss Confederation; Benjamin William Mkapa, President of the United Republic of Tanzania; Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Abel Pacheco de la Espriella, President of the Republic of Costa Rica; and Janez Drnovšek, President of the Republic of Slovenia.

 

Several important meetings are scheduled to take place on the margins of the general debate, including the Brazilian President’s Action Against Hunger and Poverty meeting of world leaders on 20 September 2004, and the International Labour Organization’s meeting of world leaders to launch a new global discussion on creating a process of “fair globalization”.

 

With the close of the general debate, the Assembly will begin consideration of the substantive items on its agenda. The General Assembly’s 158 agenda items are allocated among its six Main Committees, which discuss them and draft resolutions and decisions for consideration by the plenary for adoption. The six Main Committees of the General Assembly are the: First Committee - Disarmament and International Security Committee; Second Committee - Economic and Financial Committee; Third Committee - Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee; Fourth Committee - Special Political and Decolonization Committee; Fifth Committee - Administrative and Budgetary Committee; and Sixth Committee - Legal Committee.

 

The Assembly will call a recess of its current session on 14 December 2004, and is expected to conclude its work by 14 September 2005.

 

Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization: On Tuesday, 21 September, the Secretary-General will present his report on the work of the Organization (A/59/1). In this report, the Secretary-General recalls that the Charter requires the UN to promote conditions of economic and social progress and development, as well as solutions to international economic, health and related problems. For the majority of the world’s people, the most immediate threats are those of poverty, hunger, unsafe drinking water, environmental degradation and endemic or infectious diseases. The Secretary-General notes that while there have been some successes, progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been mixed, and the gap between increasing demand and limited resources becomes even more evident and urgent when it comes to addressing natural disasters, refugee situations and other humanitarian emergencies. He welcomes the constructive contributions made by non-State actors in achieving progress on issues such as gender, climate change, debt, landmines and HIV/AIDS and notes the challenge for the UN to enrich the unique intergovernmental character of the UN through increased openness to establishing partnerships with global civil society.

 

Regarding sustainable development, the Secretary-General emphasizes that the need to achieve progress in implementing time-bound goals, targets and commitments has propelled the Organization’s work in support of sustainable development, including through support for capacity-building at the country level. The report reiterates, the Secretary-General’s concerns that water and its linkages to health, poverty reduction, gender equality, education, environmental protection and peace are crucial to sustainable development, and calls for greater prominence, both globally and locally to water and its related issues. The report welcomes the entry into force of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Secretary-General addresses the work of the UN Forum on Forests, highlighting its review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests and its expected recommendations to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly on the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. The Secretary-General also reports on the work of: 12th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development; the establishment of the Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, chaired by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan in order to raise awareness and help mobilize resources for water and sanitation programmes; UNDP’s work to promote the integration of environmental resource management with poverty reduction efforts; UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum approaches for expediting the MDGs and the commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); UNIDO’s assistance to address problems of industrial growth, including global warming, water and air pollution, releases of persistent organic pollutants and other toxic substances, land degradation and coastal erosion; UNESCO’s work on drafting an implementation plan for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development; FAO’s support focusing on strengthening regulatory frameworks for sustainable development, fisheries, forestry, mountain regions and other natural resources, and agriculture; and UN-Habitat’s Managing Water for African Cities initiative and its Water for Asian Cities programme.

 

COUNTRY VIEWS ON THE 59TH SESSION

 

The European Union priorities for the 59th session of the General Assembly highlight the need for progress in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis management, peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building, justice and the rule of law, counter-terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, environment and sustainable development, HIV-AIDS and sexual and reproductive health, humanitarian assistance and human rights. A particular focus for the EU will be the preparation of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly that will take place in 2005.

 

The US principal objectives for the session include: combating trafficking in persons; advancing economic freedom; promoting democracy; reducing Middle East resolutions; and banning human cloning. In relation to the Monterrey Consensus, the US position notes that Monterrey’s insight concerning each country’s responsibility are too often eclipsed by debates about reforming the international system, and that UN debates need to give more attention to what countries can do domestically to promote economic growth.

 

The position paper of China for the 59th Session of the UN General Assembly addresses multilateralism and role of the UN, UN reforms, peacekeeping operations, financial issues, economic globalization, implementation of the MDGs, counter-terrorism, Iraq, Middle East, Afghanistan, African Conflicts, Non-proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament, human rights, women, persons with disabilities, and public health security. Regarding the implementation of the MDGs, China’s position paper calls on the international community to: take concrete actions to mobilize funds to promote sustained and steady growth in development aid and meet the 0.7% official development assistance target; facilitate the sound development of international trade; step up international cooperation on sustainable development to implement the consensus and goals of the WSSD; strengthen capacity-building in developing countries; and establish a fair and rational framework to evaluate the progress made towards the MDGs that not only assesses respective domestic progress but also monitors and evaluates the fulfillment of development assistance commitments.

 

Switzerland is expected to focus on three priority areas: the continuation of efforts to strengthen the role of the UN; commitment to sustainable development and the follow-up and implementation of the MDGs; and the promotion of human security. Switzerland will also focus on areas such as the role of civil society and of the private sector; the fight against terrorism; support for the Near East peace process; advocacy of the central role of the UN in Iraq; the social dimension of globalization; examination of development activities; use of the UN’s financial resources; the security of UN personnel and installations; support for the International Criminal Court; the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society; the year of sport in the service of peace and development.

 

The Marshall Islands is expected to call on the US, Australia and other emitters that have not yet ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol to take action to ratify the Protocol to prevent global warming and sea-level rise, and will also raise the Change Circumstances Petition (CCP) in relation to people who suffered from the Nuclear Testing Legacy conducted by the U.S. from 1946 to 1958.

 

South Africa is expected to address issues regarding the importance of multilateralism, promotion of peace and stability in Africa, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

 

India’s priorities during the forthcoming UNGA session include pursuing initiatives and to safeguard its interests in the areas of UN reform, combating terrorism, nuclear disarmament, eradication of poverty, ensuring sustainable development, human rights and social development. India will also focus on the implementation of the outcome of major UN conferences and summits, and in particular on the measures for achieving the MDGs.

 

Indonesia is expected to stress the importance of strengthening multilateralism through UN reform, so that the Organization will have more power in maintaining peace and security around the world and to initiate development cooperation to attain prosperity of the world population.

 

Cuba will introduce several draft resolutions during the session, including those concerning human rights and respect for the principles and purpose of the United Nations Charter, the promotion of a democratic international order, the defense of the right of travel and family reunification, and the promotion of multilateralism in disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.

 

New Zealand is expected to address issues such as peacekeeping and peace-building; the protection of UN staff, and issues of direct concern to the Pacific region - in particular the challenges faced by small islands developing states.

 

Japan will stress that apart from military force, development aid and measures to fight poverty are indispensable in eradicating terrorism.

 

 

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

 

Sustainable development issues are primarily addressed in the General Assembly’s Second Committee. Chaired by Marco Balarezo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Peru to the UN, the Committee’s work for the 59th Session will focus on:

*macroeconomic policy questions, including those directed at the international financial system, debt, international trade and commodities;

*follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development;

*implementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and of the 25th special session of the General Assembly;

*sustainable development; and

*globalization and interdependence.

 

The Committee will begin its general debate on Monday, 4 October 2004. On Tuesday 19 October, the Committee will commence consideration of sustainable development issues, including: the implementation of Agenda 21 and the WSSD; sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS); climate change; desertification; biodiversity; oceans and law of the sea; the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; issues related to UNEP; and the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Informal consultations on these agenda items will take place from Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (25, 26& 28 October); and Thursday, 4 November, 2004. On Tuesday 2 November, the Committee will hold two pledging conferences; one on Development Activities; and the other, jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the World Food Programme. The Committee started consideration of its tasks on Thursday, 16 October 2004, adopting its programme of work (A/C.2/59/L.1). Starting on Wednesday, 17 November, the Committee will discuss action on all draft proposals and from Friday, 19 November through to Tuesday, 7 December time has been allocated for further informal consultations on all outstanding issues, when the Committee is expected to conclude its work.

 

Sustainable development follow-up: Under this agenda item, the Committee will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the outcomes of the WSSD (A/59/220). The report provides an update on actions taken by governments, organizations and bodies of the UN system and major groups to ensure the effective implementation of and follow-up to the commitments and time-bound goals and targets in the area of sustainable development. The report recommends that the General Assembly: urges governments to continue to implement Agenda 21, and the WSSD; calls on governments to continue providing support to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), including through contributions to the CSD trust fund, with a view to enhancing support for regional implementation initiatives and major groups participation in the work of the Commission; requests the UN Chief Executives Board to monitor the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the new or redesigned collaborative mechanisms in the follow-up to the Summit; and calls upon donor governments and international financial institutions to target funding support to developing countries in the priority areas identified during CSD-12, including integrated water resources management and water efficiency plans, and national strategies for sustainable development. Also under this agenda item, the Committee will consider the report of the Secretary-General on activities undertaken during the International Year of Freshwater, 2003, and further efforts to achieve the sustainable development of water resources (A/59/167). The report notes that on World Day for Water 2005, the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”, will be launched, to run from 2005 to 2015. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of major international sustainable development meetings (UNCED, Earth Summit+5, WSSD & the CSD)

 

Climate, Biodiversity and Desertification: Under this agenda item, the Committee will consider reports submitted by the Secretariats of the UNFCCC, CCD, and CBD, and a joint submission on cooperative activities of the three secretariats (A/59/197). The report outlines the major outcomes of UNFCCC COP-9 (Milan, 2003); CCD COP-6 (Havana, 2003); and CBD COP-7 and COP/MOP-1 (Kuala Lumpur, 2004). Regarding desertification, the General Assembly is requested to recognize the CCD as a major international instrument which can contribute to poverty eradication, and that its timely and effective implementation would help in achieving the MDGs. It also recommends that the General Assembly call for more funding from various sources, including the forthcoming fourth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund. Regarding biodiversity, the report recommends that the General Assembly note the interdependence of the 2010 target in the Strategic Plan of the Convention and the MDGs and the relevance of the biodiversity indicators adopted at COP-7 for target 9 (reverse the loss of environmental resources) of MDG-7 (ensure environmental sustainability). It also recommends that the General Assembly urge Parties to the Convention and other governments to take the necessary measures to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to benefit all life on earth. On marine biodiversity, the report recommends that the General Assembly consider any further action needed regarding the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, including marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction and deep seabed genetic resources. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of the UNFCCC, CCD & CBD

 

Oceans and the Law of the Sea: This issue is considered directly by the General Assembly Plenary, which will consider the report of the fifth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (A/59/122). The meeting, held in June 2004, concluded with a list of recommendation for consideration by the General Assembly, including the need to: address inter-agency cooperation and the new Oceans and Coastal Areas Network (UN-Oceans); urgently consider ways to integrate and improve, on a scientific basis and in accordance with international law, the management of risks to the marine biodiversity of seamounts, deep sea coldwater coral reefs and certain other underwater features beyond national jurisdiction; encourage regional fisheries management organizations with a mandate to regulate bottom fisheries to urgently address the impact of deep sea bottom trawling on vulnerable marine ecosystems in accordance with international law; and address concerns that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems and continues to have serious and major implications for the conservation and management of ocean resources. The General Assembly will also consider the Secretary-General’s report on a regular process for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects: Global Marine Assessment International Workshop (A/59/126). The report provides a factual account of the discussions which took place during the Workshop, held in New York from 8 to 11 June 2004. Also under consideration is a subagenda item regarding sustainable fisheries, including through the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments. At its 58th session, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General, to include in his report to the 59th Session, a section outlining current risks to the marine biodiversity of vulnerable marine ecosystems, including: seamounts; coral reefs, including cold water reefs and certain underwater features, related to fishing activities, as well as detailing any conservation and management measures in place at the global, regional, subregional or national levels addressing those issues. Open-ended informal consultations on the draft resolution on this subagenda item where held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 15-17 September 2004. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea and the Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks

 

UN Environment Programme: Under this agenda item, the Committee will consider the report of the Secretary-General (A/59/262) on Universal membership of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF). The report outlines the current thinking on the universal membership, and recommends a more comprehensive examination of the issue be submitted by the Secretary-General to the Assembly before its 60th session. The report also recommends that Member States, the GC and the relevant bodies of the UN system submit to the UNEP Executive Director their comments on the important but complex issue of establishing universal membership of the GC/GMEF, including its legal, political, institutional, financial and system-wide implications. The Committee will also consider the report of the eighth Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council/GMEF, held from 29-31 March 2004, in the Republic of Korea (A/59/25). The issue of UNEP’s Programme of Work and Budget for the Biennium 2006-2007 (A/59/6 (Prog.11)) will also be considered by the General Assembly. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of the UN Environment Programme

 

Small Island Developing States: Under this agenda item, the Committee will address the report of the Secretary-General on promoting an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area in the context of sustainable development (A/59/173). The report addresses efforts to ensure the protection of the Caribbean Sea from degradation as a result of pollution from ships and contains the report of the Working Group of Experts on the Caribbean Sea Initiative of the Association of Caribbean States. The Committee will also host three days of informal consultations (October, 7,8 & 11) on the outcome document for the Mauritius International Meeting on the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. These consultations, facilitated by New Zealand’s Permanent Representative of to the United Nations, Ambassador Don MacKay (who is also the Chair of the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee), will discuss the draft Strategy for the Further Implementation of the BPOA, with the aim of reaching consensus on as much of the paper before delegations before the International Meeting in Mauritius in January 2005. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of the SIDS preparatory process

 

International Strategy for Disaster Reduction: Under this agenda item, the Committee will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon (A/59/228). At its 58th session, the General Assembly decided to convene a World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, from 18 to 22 January 2005, to conclude the review of the Yokohama Strategy and its Plan of Action and identify specific activities aimed at ensuring the relevant provisions of Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management. The General Assembly also decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental preparatory committee to review the organizational and substantive preparations for the Conference, and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its 59th session on the implementation of the resolution. The Secretary-General will also report on the implementation of previous General Assembly resolutions on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction preparatory process

 

Human Settlements: Starting on Thursday, 14 October, the Second Committee will begin consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), the twenty-fifth special session of the General Assembly Implementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), and strengthening of the UN Human Settlements Programme (A/59/198). The report concludes with a set of recommendations, including the need to: increase international cooperation on the links between sustainable urbanization policies and poverty reduction strategies; integrate issues regarding water, sanitation and human settlements in their national development plans and to integrate urban poverty in national poverty reduction strategy documents; and promote the role of cities in sustainable development as the engines of economic growth, including the assessment of social risk and opportunity, as well as their potential assets in relation to rural hinterlands. The General Assembly will also consider Programme of Work and Budget of the UN Human Settlements Programme for the Biennium 2006-2007 (A/59/6 (Prog. 12)). Informal consultations have been scheduled for Friday, 29 October, 2004. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s coverage of human settlements issues

 

International Conference on Financing for Development: The Second Committee will begin consideration of this agenda item on Wednesday, 13 October. Discussion will focus on several reports, including the: Summary by the ECOSOC President of the special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (New York, 26 April 2004) (A/59/92- E/2004/73 and Add.1 and 2); report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development; Note by the Secretary-General on innovative sources of financing for development; Report of the Secretary-General on the results of the analysis on possible innovative sources of financing for development, as called for in paragraph 44 of the Monterrey Consensus; report on the state of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus; and a letter dated 15 July 2004 from the Permanent Representatives of Canada and Mexico to the UN addressed to the Secretary-General (A/59/155- E/2004/96). Informal consultations have been scheduled for Friday, 15 October; Monday, 18 October; Wednesday, 27 October; and Thursday 28 October.

 

Least Developed Countries: The Second Committee will begin discussions on this agenda item on Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, focusing on the report of the Secretary-General and the ECOSOC on the Implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits: review and coordination of the implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA) for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (A/59/94–E/2004/77). The report evaluates the progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action by the least developed countries and their development partners and provides conclusions and recommendations to all stakeholders in order to ensure a coherent approach to the effective implementation of the PoA. The report identifies lack of country ownership, lack of institutional and human capacity, and lack of domestic and external resources as the main challenges to effective implementation of the PoA. It recommends that the least developed countries and their development partners focus on the development of productive capacity: agriculture and agrobusiness, 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 sustainable development of the least developed countries. Informal consultations have been scheduled for Thursday, 11 October and Monday, 15 October 2004.

 

FOLLOW–UP TO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

 

At is 57th Session, the General Assembly decided (A/RES/57/270 B) to include in its annual agenda an item on “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,” and also to consider, under this item, the assessment of the implementation of the outcomes of the conferences and summits and its impact on the achievement of the goals and targets of the conferences and summits and to provide the necessary guidance for the further implementation of and follow-up to these outcomes. The General Assembly also decided to consider the relevant chapters of the annual report of the ECOSOC under this agenda item. In its decision, the General Assembly also noted the emerging practice of holding high-level plenary meetings in the context of the general debate of the General Assembly. On Thursday, 14 October 2004, the General Assembly will devote the day to the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in June 1994. Other conference outcomes and follow-up activities to be discussed include the follow-up to the Millennium Summit, the World Summit on Social Development and the Fourth World Conference on Women. The General Assembly will also consider the follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children, and the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session: implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. The General Assembly will also observe World Food Day on Monday, 18 October, and will launch the International Year of Microcredit on Thursday, 18 November 2004.

 

Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields: Under this agenda item, the General Assembly will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the 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 (A/59/224). The report provides an update on the implementation of ECOSOC resolution 57/270 B, and makes recommendations for further action to promote an integrated and coordinated approach and to strengthen ongoing activities for the implementation of the outcomes of conferences and summits. In the report, the Secretary-General notes that the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the UN Millennium Declaration, and the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits, provide a comprehensive basis for action at the national, regional and international levels with the key objectives of poverty eradication, sustained economic growth and sustainable development. In order to realize the vision of a world in 2015 as set out in the Millennium Declaration, the Secretary-General’s report highlights the importance of bringing together the follow-up processes through a comprehensive framework, and proposes that the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly in 2005 provides an occasion not only to undertake a comprehensive review, but also to reinvigorate the political will to achieve these goals in a timely manner.

 

Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit: At its 58th session, the General Assembly decided to convene at the commencement of its 60th session in New York in 2005, a high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly with the participation of heads of State and Government, to undertake a comprehensive review of the progress made in the fulfilment of all the commitments contained in the UN Millennium Declaration, and of the progress made in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes and commitments of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to the 59th session on the suggested modalities, format and organization of the major event for consideration and a final decision by the Assembly. The Assembly will also, under this agenda item, consider the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration (A/59/282).

 

World Summit on Social Development: This agenda item will be considered by the Third Committee of the General Assembly, starting on Monday, 4 October, 2004. Under this agenda item, the Committee will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (A/59/120). The report concludes that social development requires systematic efforts at all levels of policy-making to place people at the centre of public strategies and public actions, and that people, and the improvement of their living conditions in dignity and freedom, are the ultimate objective of public policies. The report suggests the General Assembly recommends that in the context of the reviews and events that will take place in 2005 within the UN, notably the 10-year review of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development that particular attention be given to the principle of a people-centred approach and its realization in public policies and development strategies. The General Assembly will also consider social development issues under its agenda item on this issue, including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin�s coverage of social development issues

 

Fourth World Conference on Women: This agenda item will be considered by the Third Committee, starting Tuesday 12 October, 2004. The Committee will consider the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled �Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century� Measures taken and progress achieved in follow-up to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (A/59/214). The report reviews steps taken by the Assembly and its Main Committees during its 58th session to promote the achievement of the goal of gender equality through the gender mainstreaming strategy. Particular focus is placed on actions taken in relation to the follow-up to the UN Millennium Declaration and at major events during the past year. The report concludes that despite a quantitative increase in the references to women and gender equality in reports submitted to the various Committees during the period under review, there is still limited qualitative attention to gender perspectives. It notes that many of the resolutions adopted by the Assembly are often limited to brief references to women and/or gender equality, without specific recommendations on action to be taken. The report recommends that the General Assembly consider calling for continuing efforts to include attention to gender equality in reports submitted to it and its subsidiary bodies, to enhance the analysis of gender perspectives and to make concrete recommendations for further action; and taking specific steps to ensure gender mainstreaming in the implementation of and follow-up to major international conferences and summits, in particular in the context of the review of the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration in 2005. Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin�s coverage of the Fourth World Conference on Women

 

KEY PARALLEL MEETINGS

 

Summit of World Leaders for the Action against Hunger and Poverty: Over 50 world leaders attended this high-level meeting that sought to galvanize political support for the implementation of innovative global financing mechanisms to eradicate poverty and hunger. The event was organized by President Luiz In�cio Lula da Silva of Brazil with the support of his fellow members of the �Quintet against Hunger,� namely the Presidents of France, Chile and Spain, as well as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Meeting on 20 September in New York on the eve of the UN General Assembly�s annual debate, the Summit witnessed the commitment of over 110 governments to combat hunger and poverty and increase financing for development through the adoption of the New York Declaration on Action against Hunger and Poverty.

Serving as the basis of deliberations was the final report of a Technical Group on Innovative Financing Mechanisms established by the �Quintet� and released earlier this month, which outlined a number of financing options to increase aid flows, including taxing financial transactions and arm sales. The United States was among the countries that declined to participate in the Summit or endorse the Declaration, stating that the proposals for international taxes were inherently undemocratic and impossible to implement.

 

Links to further information
Action against Hunger and Poverty website
Draft Declaration on Action against Hunger and Poverty
Press briefing, 20 September 2004
UN news centre, 20 September 2004
Reuters news, 21 September 2004

 

Meeting on �A Fair Globalization: Implementing the United Nations Millennium Declaration�: World leaders came together on 20 September in New York to launch a new global discussion on the need for fair globalization in ensuring peace, prosperity and security for all. Convening under the theme �A Fair Globalization: Implementing the United Nations Millennium Declaration,� the meeting, which took place on the eve of the opening the UN General Assembly�s annual general debate, was hosted by the Presidents of Finland and Tanzania and moderated by the Director-General of the International Labour Organization. Over a dozen Heads of State, along with the President of the UN General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General were in attendance.

 

The meeting�s deliberations focused on the conclusions of the report �A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All,� which was released in February 2004 and produced following two years of study by the ILO-established World Commission on the Social Aspects of Globalization. Chaired by the Presidents of Finland and Tanzania, the Commission concluded that action to build a fair and inclusive process of globalization was urgent, and called for a process of globalization with a strong social dimension based on universally-shared values, respect for human rights and individual dignity, fairness, inclusiveness, democratic governance, and opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people. The findings also saw a strengthened UN multilateral system as the instrument for bringing about the necessary reforms and ensuring coherence between international, economic, social and environmental policies.

 

During the meeting, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan highlighted that too many people particularly in developing countries feel excluded and threatened by globalization. Noting that there is no future in globalization that tolerates predatory behavior and the hoarding of its profits by a minority, French President Jacques Chirac underscored the need to boost social dialogue and promote social ethics. Brazil�s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reiterated that poverty is the most devastating weapon of mass destruction and urged harnessing globalization into a positive force for all.

 

Links to further information

ILO press release, 20 September 2004

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/2004/42.htm

UN news centre, 20 September 2004

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=11976&Cr=globalization&Cr1=

World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/fairglobalization/

WCSDG�s report: A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/fairglobalization/report/index.htm