Second Committee Speeches & Interventions

Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, in the General Debate of the Second Committee (October 3, 2005)

Mr. Chairman,

The Pakistan delegation congratulates you warmly on assuming the Chairmanship of this important Committee. We offer similar felicitations to all other members of the Bureau. May I take this opportunity to thank your predecessor, Ambassador Marco Belarezo, for his able stewardship of the Committee last year.

Mr. Chairman,

2. The distinguished Under Secretary General, as well as the Chairman of the Group of 77, have presented a succinct overview of the global macro economic scenario. Clearly, the trends, as witnessed over the past year, are less optimistic and there is foreboding about the future. Political attention is needed to correct global imbalances – the huge deficits in the US, surpluses in Asia and virtual stagnation in Europe. High energy prices threaten a premature slow down. The picture in the developing world too is uneven. The celebrated growth in Asia could be threatened, especially if the global imbalances remain unaddressed. Or, if new conflicts or confrontations arise. And, Africa’s fragile and faltering economies, already suffering from food crisis, conflicts, and the HIV/AIDS epidemics, could be further adversely affected by a deterioration in the world economy.

3. A coherent international approach to development is thus even more vital today than in the past. Despite the dark clouds, the international community has the pre-requisites to achieve the goals of ending poverty and spreading prosperity. There is manifest political support of governments and people both in the South and the North, to promote development. The MDGs are internationally accepted. So are the other internationally agreed development goals, reflected in past international conferences and, most recently, in the final Outcome of the 2005 Summit.

4. The outcome document contains consensus decisions on a broad range of issues: debt, ODA, quick impact initiatives, rural development, sustainable development, migration. The agreed development goals and policies are also contained in previous agreements especially the Millennium Declaration, and the Monterrey, Johannesburg and Doha Conferences. Together, these provisions constitute what are called the Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADGs).

5. At the 2005 Summit, our leaders, in paragraph 17 of the Outcome Document, expressed their “determination to ensure the timely and full realization of the development goals and objectives agreed at the major United Nations conferences and summits, including the MDGs”.

6. The Outcome Document is not the end; it is at best the “end of the beginning”. If the commitments of our leaders are to have meaning, the goals, commitments and policies agreed should be translated into action.

7. The developing countries have undertaken to adopt, during 2006, national strategies that seek to meet the MDGs and other IADGs. They will, we are confident, fulfill this commitment. Likewise, it is our expectation that commitments undertaken by development partners and international institutions – to goals, and policies will be translated into action.

8. The level of agreement so far achieved in different areas is uneven. An important part of the implementation process will be to further enlarge the coverage of agreements and to translate general policy commitments into concrete and specific actions within the framework of the MDGs and the IADGs. In this context, the Chairman of G-77 has identified a number of issues and areas where further work and negotiations are needed. Let me mention some of the issues on which clarity, specificity and greater priorities/political commitment are essential for the realization of the MDGs and the IADGs.

9. First, while a number of welcome steps and commitments on debt write off and enhanced ODA flows have been made further urgent steps are required to secure adequate financing to realize the MDGs. This will have to include means to reverse the net outflow of resources from the developing to the developed countries. Also, apart from the FFD initiative and tax on air travel, still aggressive pursuit of innovative means of financing are essential, at the national as well as international level. These should include revision of IMF quotas, creation of new SDRs, and IMF compensatory financing facility linked to the terms of trade.

10. The 2005 Summit also inadequately addressed measures to promote FDI to more equitably to all developing countries, such as investment guarantee schemes, transparent risk rating arrangements and provision of tax and other incentives.

11. Second, the 2005 Summit has affirmed the goal of promoting the development dimension in the Doha Round and concluding it by 2006. Yet, we cannot ignore the impasse in the Geneva negotiations. We need some political propulsion to create a breakthrough. In this context, we note with satisfaction the bold proposal by President Bush to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers.

12. Opinion is also gaining ground that the Hong Kong Ministerial should achieve an “early harvest” of agreements that respond to the interests of the developing countries. This “early harvest” could include:

i. An agreement on the end date for the agriculture export subsidies, including an early end to cotton subsidies, and a clear commitment to end all other support measures by the developed countries;

ii. Agreement on a tariff-cutting formula for non-agricultural goods that would lead, inter alia, to early elimination of tariff peaks and tariff escalation against the exports of developing countries;

iii. A moratorium on the use of anti-dumping actions against low income countries;

iv. A commitment to liberalization of labour services (Mode IV);

v. An end to arbitrary and abusive use of sanitary and phytosanitary standards and similar measures to restrain exports of low income countries;

vi. Implementation of the Special & Differential provisions of existing WTO agreements.

13. Some other initiatives on trade that need to be pursued urgently are: creation of a trade capacity building fund, the creation of a mechanism, perhaps with private sector participation, for the stabilization of commodity prices, and a review – by both WTO and WIPO – of the development dimension of the global intellectual property regime.

14. Third, the Summit has acknowledged the important nexus between international migration and development. If capital can move freely and markets are liberalized, surely labour, the other factor of production, must have similar freedom. We believe that an agreement on international migration should be a central element of any fair trading system.

15. Fourth, the 2005 Summit has declared full and productive employment and decent work for all, a central objective of our national and international policies. Actions should be considered at the national and international levels to generate opportunities for job creation and “decent work”.

16. Fifth, there is so far inadequate agreement on ways and means to address the systemic inequities in global economic governance. The implementation process should consider how to enhance the voice and participation of the developing countries in the international trade, development and financial institutions.

17. Finally, I should mention that the Summit has made important commitments in the field of science and technology. As decided by the Summit, we should consider initiatives to support research and development and to promote and facilitate access to technology by the developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

18. As the Chairman of the Group of 77 has pointed out, implementation has remained the Achilles heel of the development agenda. The UN must not abdicate its responsibility to secure implementation of the development goals and commitments. The Summit has called upon the United Nations to play a fundamental role in promoting international cooperation for development and in coordination and implementation of development goals and actions agreed by international community. Promoting development must remain a central task and function of the UN – the first pillar of its foundation and raison d’ etre.

19. The UN should, therefore, develop concrete ways and means to promote “full realization” of internationally agreed development goals including those contained in the World 2005 Summit through concerted actions by all concerned “actors” i.e. national governments, development partners, relevant international institutions, civil society and the private sector.

20. One of the first tasks is to agree on a methodology to promote such implementation. My delegation would like to offer today some preliminary ideas for such a methodology.

21. Pakistan strongly believes that the process for the implementation of the Summit decisions should be member-driven, with support, as required, from the Secretariat. It should be balanced and anchored in the General Assembly, not in groups or forums outside the UN.

22. First, implementation can only be promoted systematically once there is an identification, as precisely as possible, of the MDGs and other IADGs, as contained in the Outcome Document and the decisions of the previous international Conferences. The Pakistan delegation has prepared a table identifying the decisions, commitments and goals agreed at the 2005 Summit, together with broad identification of “actors” who are to implement each of these decisions, commitments and goals. A copy of the table is being circulated with this statement.

23. This list of commitments to action and policies obviously needs to be supplemented and elaborated through the inclusion of the relevant decisions, commitments and goals agreed at previous conferences. This will ensure a more comprehensive listing of the MDGs and IADGs. Such an identification of the legislative agenda on development will help to secure its translation into concrete actions at the national, regional and international levels. I would suggest that the UN DESA and UNDP should develop a comprehensive matrix of development goals, targets, indicators and the actors involved in achieving them - i.e. (a) national governments (e.g. to prepare national development strategies; adapt national economic policies; etc); (b) development partners (donor countries, IFIs etc) to meet their commitments (e.g. to enhance ODA, provide trade access, act on debt, etc).

24. Inputs for the preparation of such a matrix would need to be collected from the over 25 agencies involved in the UN system, the BWIs and other organizations. Such a matrix should seek to pursue a result-based approach to the MDGs and the IADGs, listing the level of action or agreement, possible expectations and indicators of achievement, and where possible estimated timeframes. It should be mentioned that a result-based budgeting methodology is already used by the UN system. As the implementation process proceeds, such a matrix could be developed and refined into a computerized model similar to the DAD system that is being utilized to track Tsunami aid. Such a model could serve the expanded reporting requirements in the post 2005 World Summit monitoring, review and implementation framework.

25. Apart from the comprehensive identification and tracking of the MDGs and IADGs, the process of implementation will need to be pursued vigorously and coherently at the intergovernmental level. This could be done through reviews of national reports (peer reviews), sectoral reviews, including by the Functional and Regional Commissions, reviews by ECOSOC and, eventually, adoption of an assessment and policy guidance by an Annual Ministerial session by the General Assembly, perhaps at the start of each UNGA Session.

26. The Pakistan delegation, after consultations with G-77, other delegations and the Secretariat, will elaborate these ideas into a concrete proposal. We hope that the Assembly will adopt concrete measures to promote implementation of the development agenda. This will be a litmus test of the commitment of all concerned to the development commitments undertaken at the 2005 Summit.

Mr. Chairman,

27. On the basis of the proposal developed by Pakistan, Belgium, Germany and Sweden and other ECOSOC members, the 2005 Summit has assigned several responsibilities to ECOSOC in promoting policy dialogue, development cooperation, post conflict development, and coordination within the UN system.

28. The question is how best to organize ECOSOC to discharge the new responsibilities assigned to it by the Summit. This issue was discussed at the ECOSOC Bureau’s Summit held on September 15 on the margin of September 2005 Summit. An informal summary of the discussion will be circulated today to all delegations.

29. Let me briefly express our views on the five areas in which ECOSOC is to assume new responsibilities.

i. Policy Dialogue and Implementation

30. On the basis of the reporting mechanism on implementation of the MDGs and IADGs, to be developed, and reviews at the national, sectoral and regional levels, the ECOSOC should be able to undertake a policy review of the status of implementation of the MDGs and other IADGs. This could be done firstly, at the Ambassadorial level and later at the Annual Ministerial Meeting which the Summit has decided to convene. In such a review process, ECOSOC’s endeavor should be to identify the gaps, shortcomings and successes, both at the national level and development partners level, and to further develop policy recommendations to advance the implementation process.

ii. Development Cooperation Forum

31. A practical approach has to be developed to allow ECOSOC to effectively perform its functions as a biennial Development Cooperation Forum. This should address: one, multilateral cooperation i.e. that involving the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes; BWIs; two, bilateral cooperation i.e. with developed countries partners (OECDs/DAC) and three, South-South Cooperation. The policy issues to be taken up at the Forum can be chosen on the basis of the reports submitted by the Resident Coordinators and the Country Representatives of the Bretton Woods Institutions. A key role as the Development Cooperation Forum should be to look at both the quantity and the quality of assistance for development. Such a review is already conducted by OECD. The review process could be structured on the lines of the multi-stake holder partnership approach adopted by the Commission on Sustainable Development.

iii. Response to Emergencies

32. The Summit has also called upon the ECOSOC to support and complement international efforts to address humanitarian emergencies, including natural disasters. ECOSOC’s capacity to deliver in this area would depend on its ability to convene at short notice. ECOSOC has in the past convened special sessions on an exceptional basis to address emergency situations and crises. This summer, a belated meeting was convened on the Tsunami disaster.

33. Last week, the ECOSOC Bureau decided to convene two special events. The first, scheduled to be held on October 27, will focus on the food crisis in Africa. The second, to be held on November 3, will seek to realistically assess the emerging Avian Flu threat. I believe that, in the near future, ECOSOC may also have to convene a special meeting to address energy supplies and prices and their implications for global economic stability.

iv. Coherence and Coordination Role

34. The Summit has also entrusted ECOSOC with a major role in enhancing overall coordination and coherence. The need for a coordinated and coherent approach to advance the UN development agenda cannot be over emphasized. Apart from policy coherence, ECOSOC’s coordination role can help to realize, in practice, the goal of “one United Nations”; avoid duplication and waste of resources; and allocate tasks to those agencies and organizations that have the best “comparative advantages” to undertake these.

v. Role in Peacebuilding Commission

35. The Summit has also envisaged a role for ECOSOC in the Peacebuilding Commission. Pakistan hopes that the Commission will be created soon by the General Assembly. The Commission should operationally report to both the Security Council and ECOSOC. As soon as the work commences in a particular situation for peace-building and reconstruction, the economic agencies of the UN system as well as the BWIs become involved. ECOSOC will, thus, have to be involved to ensure coherence. It would also ensure a smooth transition from a conflict to a post-conflict phase.

36. In Pakistan’s capacity as ECOSOC President, we propose to convene an informal meeting of the Council soon to exchange ideas and to examine how ECOSOC’s agenda and its methods of work could be adapted to discharge the new roles which ECOSOC has been assigned by the 2005 Summit.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.