Magazine article UN Chronicle

Questions of Development. (GA 56 - Second Committee (Economic and Financial))

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Questions of Development. (GA 56 - Second Committee (Economic and Financial))

Article excerpt

Francisco Seixas da Costa said he had maintained the tradition of consensus in the Second Committee. As Committee Chairman, he oversaw debates on hotly-contested subjects, among others, on sustainable development, globalization and interdependence, and international migration. When the Committee finally sent its 38 recommendations to the General Assembly, 36 were adopted without a vote.

"This is a tradition that I try to maintain as much as possible in the Second Committee", Ambassador Seixas da Costa said in an interview with the Chronicle, "because this is the only way for the United Nations to go ahead with the full commitment of all its membership."

He said that this commitment was driven by a "trend inside the United Nations", which was "in favour of a global linkage between sustainable development, trade issues and also financing for development". Financing for development, he said, should consider issues of debt and institutional financial architecture, and link it to policies of sustainable development. "If we don't link that to coherent policies in terms of sustainable development, we will not achieve a consensual result", he noted.

In 35 sittings, the Committee forwarded 16 texts to the Assembly for final consideration. These related to the direction and purpose of development, trade liberalization, the multilateral trading regime and globalization. Some other texts related to the Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey in March 2002, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002. Among the important resolutions adopted by the Committee were those on the creation of a special representative for the least developed countries (LDCs) and on a global climate convention.

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in the Chronicle Interview (see page 20), said that one of the key issues of financing for development was mobilizing domestic resources. One area where finances could be generated was within countries themselves. He stressed that the Conference "is not a conference on the context of development. This is a conference on the financing for development. It's about building capacity to develop the financial system domestically".

This was an issue that Paolo Garonna dealt with in Europe. Mr. Garonna, an applied economist who started his career seventeen years ago at the University of Padua in Italy, represented the UN Economic Commission for Europe at the Fourth Preparatory Meeting for the Conference in New York. He told the Chronicle that building domestic capacity involves identifying certain "best" practices. "It involves macroeconomic management and issues of governance having an appropriate regulatory framework and working institutions; for example, an appropriate banking sector which channels savings in an efficient way", he said.

Mr. Garonna stressed that mobilizing domestic resources should begin at the regional level itself. "Two major dimensions can best be dealt with at the regional level: mobilization of domestic resources, and the capability of attracting international capital. That's where the bulk of the financing will come."

Globalization

Globalization was a continuing issue in the work of the Second Committee. Reflecting on its debate on globalization, Ambassador Seixas da Costa said this was one of the key issues that must be looked at "in more detail".

"If we look back a few years ago on this area of development and the way the world looks to the questions of development", he said, "one needs to take into account that there are different readings of the positive effects of certain factors on the international scenario, namely on the question of globalization."

The issues of multilateral trade, the pace of industrial development, desertification, climate change, illicit funds and corrupt practices also figured in the Committee's work. …

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