Second Committee Speeches & Interventions

Statement by Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Minister at the Second Committee on Agenda Item 92: “Integrated and Coordinated Implementation of and Follow Up to the Outcomes of the Major United Nations Conferences and Summits in the Economic and Social Fields” (31 October 2002)

Mr. Chairman,

It is a pleasure to see you preside over our debate on this important agenda item.

2. Since 1995, attempts have been made to secure follow-up to and implementation of the commitments and action plans in various areas in an integrated and coordinated way. Like an annual ritual, this agenda item comes up before this Committee as well as the ECOSOC. The Secretary General regularly prepares his reports. The ECOSOC recommends that the General Assembly examine how best to address the reviews. The General Assembly, in turn, requests the ECOSOC to review progress in the implementation of issues common to all conferences. The ping pong goes on. A concrete follow-up and implementation mechanism remains elusive.

3. We thank the Secretary General for his report which analyses how the 3-tiered system for the conference follow-up has functioned and looks into the specific roles of the Assembly, the Council and the functional commissions. In the past seven years, the Secretary General has put forward several options for effective follow-up, including a single 10-year event, clustering of closely related programmes of action at a special session, staggering of conference reviews, 5-yearly reviews by the functional commissions, and so on. We appreciate his inputs, but regret the inability of the Assembly to provide any guidance to him on such a crucially important matter.

4. It was in this backdrop that Pakistan delegation, during the general debate of the Second Committee earlier this month, submitted a concrete proposal to secure adequate follow up to and implementation of the policy commitments and action plans of various conferences and summits in an integrated, comprehensive and balanced manner. We believe that the follow-up must be integrated to ensure coherence and complementarity at the policy and programme levels, at the national and international levels and between actions by various stakeholders. It should be coordinated to avoid duplication and waste of resources and human potential. And above all, the follow-up should be balanced to ensure equitable benefits for all.

5. We have proposed that an Integrated, Comprehensive, and Coordinated Follow-up and Implementation Mechanism be established to review and monitor the implementation of the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits in the economic and social field and to help in making progress in the implementation process. The United Nations, given its universality and overarching responsibilities under the Charter, should be at the center of the proposed Mechanism.

6. We envisage that the proposed Follow-up and Implementation Mechanism should function at three levels – functional commissions, ECOSOC, and the General Assembly. In accordance with the Charter, the overall responsibility for follow-up and implementation should be with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. The substantive review process should be conducted by sectoral Commissions, working under the auspices of ECOSOC. Each Commission should be entrusted with the follow up of one of the major areas and/or conference. In this regard, we envisage three functional commissions to play a key role: a commission on trade and development being proposed for follow-up to the Doha Development Agenda, a commission on finance and development being proposed for follow-up to the Monterrey Conference, and the commission on sustainable development for follow-up to the Johannesburg Summit and the Rio Conference. Other functional commissions will continue to play their primary role within their respective mandates. In our proposal, we have outlined detailed modalities of the proposed Mechanism.

7. Each functional commission, in the course of the follow-up and implementation process, should take into account the commitments and goals adopted at the Millennium Summit relating to its area of work. Each commission will also appropriately consider goals and commitments on cross-cutting issues in the follow-up and implementation process.The functional commissions and other relevant bodies of the UN system would thus play the primary role in reviewing and assessing progress achieved, lesson learnt and problems encountered in the implementation of the outcomes of major UN conferences and submit proposals to the ECOSOC.

8. While there are functional commissions or other relevant bodies of the UN system in almost every field or subject on which the UN conferences have been held, there is a discernible absence of a follow-up mechanism at expert level to pursue commitments made in the fields of trade and finance. The Pakistani proposal has attempted to address this particular shortcoming. We envisaged two functional commissions - one on finance and development to contribute to the follow-up of the Monterrey Conference and the other on trade and development to contribute to the follow-up of Doha commitments relating to trade and development. The two commissions being proposed will provide a more focused discussion in the fields of trade and finance with the participation of other stakeholders. This is not possible in the Second Committee or other existing arrangements.

9. The idea of rotating meetings between Geneva and New York in the case of the proposed Commission on Trade and Development and between New York and Washington in the case of the proposed Commission on Finance and Development is to enhance interactions between the UN and other stakeholders. The functional commission on trade and development will not encroach upon the mandate of UNCTAD but would rather reinforce UNCTAD’s message. The UNCTAD Secretariat will service the meetings of the commission when it meets in Geneva. The proposed commission would be guided, inter-alia, by the decisions of Trade and Development Board.

10 There is a viewpoint that new structures should not be created, mainly because of budgetary implications. Experience shows that for every UN conference, structures were created to ensure effective follow-up. The Commission on Status of Women, Commission for Social Development, Commission for Sustainable Development and so on, but nothing on trade and finance. However, in the interest of consensus, Pakistan delegation is ready to explore with all delegations the other possible cost-effective alternatives - permanent or ad hoc mechanism within ECOSOC, such as ad hoc working groups on finance and development and trade and development.

11. In order not to have any budgetary implications, we could find ways, or ask the Secretariat to explore ways, to meet the expenses involved from within the existing resources. For instance, some of the functional commissions could meet biennially, like Statistics Commission. This will generate enough savings and conference services to meet the cost of these two proposed commissions/working groups, which, in any case, are envisaged to meet only for two weeks per year.

12. The Economic and Social Council should consider at its annual high-level segment, the reports and recommendations of these commissions and adopt appropriate decisions and recommendations for action or implementation. To discharge this responsibility in an impactful manner, the Council may also consider organizing a dedicated session of the Council, and formulate concrete recommendations to facilitate integrated and coordinated follow-up and implementation.

13. The General Assembly should review the reports and recommendations of the ECOSOC and the functional commissions annually and appropriately complement or modify the decisions and recommendations emanating therefrom. The General Assembly could either discuss this question as an agenda item of the plenary or hold a high-level intergovernmental dialogue biennially. This could be done on alternate years - other than the years in which high level dialogue will discuss the Monterrey Follow-up.

Mr. Chairman,

14. This item has been allocated to the Second Committee, which is not the appropriate forum to integrate economic and social issues. If the General Assembly is to play the role expected of it, and in recognition of the importance and wide ranging canvas of this subject, this item should be handled in the plenary of the General Assembly. The President of the General Assembly may consider establishing, for six months or one year, an open-ended working group to examine the modalities of the proposed follow-up and implementation mechanism.

15. Finally, Mr. Chairman, we believe that Pakistan’s proposal is in the larger interest of all Member States and shows a way forward to lead us out of the current logjam blocking any meaningful follow-up and implementation of the great work done during the past decade. We are open to ideas and look forward to participating in discussions with a view to evolving a concrete Integrated and Coordinated Follow-up and Implementation Mechanism.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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