Second Committee Adopts Sustainable Development, Migration Resolutions
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The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted 14 resolutions by consensus, and one by a recorded vote.

Resolutions approved by consensus addressed topics such as information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development, follow-up to the fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), industrial development cooperation and South-South cooperation for development.

8 December 2016: The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted 15 resolutions on 8 December. All but one were adopted by consensus; a recorded vote was required for the resolution on the implementation of Agenda 21.

The resolution adopted through a recorded vote, titled ‘Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development,’ stresses the importance of overcoming silos in sustainable development. It calls for seeking innovative and coordinated approaches in integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – at the global, regional and national levels. The resolution further requests the UN to mainstream and integrate the three dimensions throughout the UN system. It also affirms the contributions of ongoing efforts and commitments towards the full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI), and the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, and stresses the importance of their continued implementation in the pursuit of sustainable development.

A number of countries expressed concern about the draft resolution on the implementation of Agenda 21, noting that annual consideration of a resolution on Agenda 21 diverted attention and resources away from implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The text was approved by a recorded vote of 113 in favor to 42 against, with eight abstentions (Australia, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland and Turkey). A number of countries, including Slovakia on behalf of the EU, Norway, Japan and the US, expressed concern about the draft resolution, noting that annual consideration of a resolution on Agenda 21 was no longer justified and diverted attention and resources away from implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Canada, also for Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), did not support the resolution and noted concerns regarding the relevance of the text, as well as the attempt to position it as a follow-up mechanism. Thailand, for the Group of the 77 and China (G-77/China), noted the lack of cooperation of some groups, stressing that the issues of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) were left unaddressed.

The Second Committee also approved 14 other draft resolutions on sustainable development by consensus. These resolutions address: information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development; promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development; international trade and development; international financial system and development; effective global response to address the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon; implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its contribution to sustainable development; report of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP or UN Environment); harmony with nature; ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; international migration and development; follow-up to the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); industrial development cooperation; disaster risk reduction (DRR); protection of global climate for present and future generations; and South-South cooperation.

The Committee also took note of the Secretary-General’s transmittal of the draft Charter of the Technology Bank for LDCs.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development,’ urges Member States that have not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto.

The draft resolution titled, ‘International migration and development,’ emphasizes the need to respect and promote international labor standards and to respect the rights of migrants in their workplaces, including appropriate measures for the protection of women migrant workers in all sectors, including those involved in domestic work. The draft resolution also urges Member States to apply or reinforce laws when xenophobic or intolerant acts, manifestations or expressions against migrants occur, and decides to hold the third High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in the first half of 2019.

The draft resolution titled, ‘ICTs for development,’ encourages strengthened cooperation among stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society, through, inter alia, the promotion of national, regional and international multi-stakeholder partnerships, including public-private partnerships. It further requests the Secretary-General to submit to the UNGA at its 72nd session a report on the status of the implementation of and follow-up to the resolution, taking into account the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), the review process of the World Summit on the Information Society, and the summary by the Co-Chairs of the multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation (STI).

The draft resolution titled, ‘International trade and development,’ “strongly” urges States to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the UN Charter that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries. It further invites the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to continue to monitor and assess the evolution of the international trading system and its trends from a development perspective, with particular attention to its potential contribution to the SDGs.

The draft resolution titled, ‘International financial system and development,’ encourages multilateral development banks (MDBs) to continue to move forward on flexible, concessional, fast-disbursing and front-loaded assistance to assist developing countries facing financing gaps in their efforts to achieve the SDGs. It also encourages MDBs to continue to enhance the multiplier effect of their financing, including by mobilizing private investments. The resolution further recommits to the broadening and strengthening of the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision making and norm-setting, and in global economic governance.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Effective global response to address the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon,’ urges the effective implementation of the Sendai Declaration and the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030. It encourages the UN inter-agency task team on STI for the SDGs to consider discussing, at the second and third annual multi-stakeholder fora on STI for the SDGs, recommendations on how to better identify requirements and options for the adequate provision of STI elements to enable countries to address the impacts of the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon. The resolution further encourages the second and third Global Infrastructure Fora to identify and address infrastructure and capacity gaps and needs to enhance preparedness and promote early actions in countries affected by the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Implementation of the CBD and its contribution to sustainable development,’ urges CBD Parties to facilitate the transfer of technology for the effective implementation of the Convention, and promote the mainstreaming of gender considerations, taking into account the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action under the CBD in developing, implementing and revising their national, regional and subnational biodiversity strategies and action plans. The resolution further stresses the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as part of national implementation plans for the SDGs.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Report of the UNEA of UNEP,’ urges all Member States and other stakeholders to increase voluntary funding to the UNEP, including to the Environment Fund. It notes the need for continued efforts to broaden the donor base and mobilize resources from all sources, including stakeholders. The resolution further recognizes the UNEA’s commitment to contributing to the effective implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Harmony with Nature,’ requests the UNGA President to convene, at the UNGA 71st session, a multi-stakeholder interactive dialogue to be held during the commemoration of International Mother Earth Day on 22 April 2017. It encourages all countries to develop and strengthen the quality and quantity of basic national statistical data on the three dimensions of sustainable development. The resolution further invites the international community and the pertinent UN bodies to assist the efforts of developing countries by providing capacity-building and technical support.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,’ calls for national efforts to promote access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. It reaffirms its commitment to support subnational and local efforts, taking advantage of their direct control of local infrastructure and codes to foster uptake in end-use sectors, such as residential, commercial and industrial buildings, industry, transport, waste and sanitation.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Follow-up to the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs,’ urges countries to step up efforts to increase their official development assistance (ODA). It also encourages ODA providers to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20% of ODA to gross national income (GNI) to LDCs; and calls upon developing countries to provide support for the effective implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action in mutually agreed areas of cooperation within the framework of South-South cooperation.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Industrial development cooperation,’ reiterates the policies, actions and objectives outlined in the AAAA to invest in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development to effectively address growth and jobs, resources and energy efficiency, pollution and climate change, knowledge-sharing, innovation and social inclusion. It encourages the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to promote multi-stakeholder partnerships in order to advance the linkages with infrastructure development and innovation for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The draft resolution titled, ‘Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind,’ urges Member States to promote the integration of a gender perspective into environmental and climate change policies, and to strengthen mechanisms and provide adequate resources towards achieving the full and equal participation of women in decision making at all levels on environmental issues.

The draft resolution on DRR calls upon all relevant actors to work towards the achievement of the global targets agreed in the Sendai Framework, and urges States, while implementing the Sendai Framework, to continue working on data collection and the development of baselines on current losses.

The draft resolution titled, ‘South-South cooperation,’ requests the Joint Inspection Unit to present, by the end of UNGA’s 71st session, a progress report on its recommendations to the UN development system on implementing measures to further strengthen the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. It also reiterates the request to the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), as Chair of the UN Development Group (UNDG), to establish a more formalized and strengthened inter-agency mechanism, coordinated by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, for encouraging joint support to South-South and triangular initiatives. [UN Press Release] [Status of UNGA Draft Proposals] [LDCs Resolution, Adopted by UNGA on 21 December 2016]

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