Second Committee continues review of development issues in November discussion
In November the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) continued its review of issues related to development and international economic co-operation, operational activities for development, special economic and disaster relief assistance, and training and research.
The Committee discussed a second group of sub-items under the general heading of development and international economic co-operation, the first part of which had been discussed in October (see UN Chronicle, 1985, No. 9).
Trade and development, economic and technical co-operation among developing countries, implementation of the Substantial New Programme of Action for the 1980s for the Least Developed Countries, immediate measures in favour of the developing countries, new and renewable sources of energy, and development of energy resources of developing countries were among the issues addressed in the November discussion.
The issue of external debt of developing countries was raised by most speakers. Peru said that the problem was so important that 94 per cent of the statements by developing countries in the General Debate had dealt with it. Many nations called for an international conference on money and finance for development. Some developed countries wanted international debt issues to be approached on a case-by-case basis due to different circumstances existing in the indebted countries.
Concern was expressed by both developed and developing countries over increasing protectionism. The United States said that all nations must vigorously oppose those measures. The task of his country in resisting pressure for restrictions was made difficult by the continued maintenance of barriers to its exports. Singapore pointed out that there had been a tendency for impediments to increase in markets where developing countries had been particularly successful.
Developing countries deplored the current commodities situation. Ghana said that prospects for countries such as itself, overwhelmingly dependent on primary commodity exports, were bleak.
Some Eastern European and developing countries referred to "coercive economic measures" being taken against them. Imperialistic States, particularly the United States, were more and more resorting to economic "boycotts" and other measures, said Mongolia, citing Nicaragua as a recent target of such measures.
Many countries stressed the need to implement the Substantial New Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries more effectively. Ethiopia, one least developed country, said that implementation had been poor and left much to be desired.
The main document before the Second Committee on the item "Operational activities for development" was the annual report of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation (A/40/698). The report contains comprehensive statistical information on operational activities and information on programming and implementation, including co-operation among organizations of the system, especially at the country level.
The report detailed measures taken to assist Governments to strengthen their aid co-ordination and evaluation and to improve the round-table process in the least developed countries. Information was provided on cooperation with multilateral development banks and on the relationship between programme delivery and administrative and support costs.
Also before the Committee were the reports on the United Nations Development Programme Governing Council (see UN Chronicle 1985, No. 6), United Nations technical cooperation activities (DP/1985/43), the role of qualified national personnel (A/40/549) and the liquidation of the United Nations Emergency Operation Trust Fund (A/40/740).
Jean Ripert, Director-General for Development and International Economic Co-operation, in introducing his annual report on operational activities, said that at the recent Pledging Conference, contributions had increased by 6 per cent for 1986. …