The UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) held its General Debate for the 69th Session, on 7-9 October 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.
Interventions addressed Member States' priorities and views on means of implementation (MOI) for the post-2015 development agenda, issues related to financing for development (FfD), the needs of countries in special situations, and upcoming UN conferences.
The Committee will also consider macroeconomic policy questions, sustainable development, human settlements, globalization, operational activities for development, and technology this session, among other agenda items.
9 October 2014: The UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) held its General Debate for the 69th Session, on 7-9 October 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Interventions addressed Member States’ priorities and views on means of implementation (MOI) for the post-2015 development agenda, issues related to financing for development (FfD), the needs of countries in special situations, and upcoming UN conferences. The Committee will also consider macroeconomic policy questions, sustainable development, human settlements, globalization, operational activities for development, and technology this session, among other agenda items.
The meetings were chaired by Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy and Chair of the Second Committee. On development issues, speakers stressed the need for: achieving the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by December 2015; reaching agreement on a “transformative, ambitious and inclusive” development agenda to succeed the MDGs beginning in 2016; and establishing a new global partnership for development.
On the post-2015 development agenda, several governments, including EU, Guatemala, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and US, stressed the need to avoid duplication in the Second Committee with other intergovernmental negotiation processes, and suggested providing only procedural and technical support for the new agenda. Some delegations said the outcome of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be the basis for the post-2015 development agenda, while others considered it one input among others.
Many countries highlighted the need for strengthening the means of implementation for the new agenda, with a few, such as India, Libya, Republic of Korea, and Viet Nam, stressing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) for implementation.
Many delegations reaffirmed that poverty eradication should be the overarching goal of the new development agenda. Other issues highlighted for mainstreaming in the post-2015 agenda included: sustained economic growth; gender equality and women’s empowerment; peace and security, good governance, and the rule of law; unemployment; inequality; industrialization; infrastructure; concerns of countries in special situations, including least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), small island developing States (SIDS), and middle-income countries (MICs); youth empowerment; and migration. Many stressed the need for an effective accountability framework, with a few highlighting the role of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) in this regard.
On financing, many delegations welcomed the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) and expressed their expectations regarding the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD). The Group of 77 and China stressed the importance of official development assistance (ODA) and called for developed countries to fulfill their commitments. A few countries called for mobilizing private financial flows and taking advantage of the full range of resources for development. Several delegations noted that South-South cooperation should only complement, not replace, North-South cooperation, and India stressed that South-South cooperation should be allowed to take place within its own space and according to its own norms.
Many delegations called for the reform of the international economic system, while several called for the elimination of harmful subsidies, unilateral economic measures, and financial shocks. Several governments emphasized the importance of trade and access to markets for economic growth, while many stressed the need for closing the technological gap through technology transfer. Turkey announced its contribution of US$200,000 to the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Other countries, such as Cuba, Guyana, Norway, Peru, Russia and Switzerland, noted the importance of reforming and strengthening the UN system.
Many delegations welcomed the recently adopted UNGA resolution on a multilateral mechanism for sovereign debt restructuring. The US said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other institutions have made consistent efforts recently and remain the best places to discuss sovereign debt restructuring.
Member States looked forward to a very busy year in the UN calendar. Among the conferences mentioned as important to the work of the Second Committee and the post-2015 development agenda were: the November 2014 Second Conference on LLDCs in Vienna, Austria; the 20th and 21st meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru and Paris, France, respectively; the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Sendai, Japan; and the Third International Conference on FfD in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and others welcomed the outcome of the recent Third International Conference on SIDS in Apia, Samoa, and called for implementation of its decisions.
Many other issues were also mentioned in country statements, including: internet reform; information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development; the Ebola epidemic; ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations; adaptation to climate change; fostering economic growth; and the role of the UN in development. Singapore remarked that, with the ongoing negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, it seemed that the Second Committee had been “perpetually working” in the past year and this burden is unlikely to ease in the coming year. Guatemala remarked on the same issue, calling for the Secretariat to avoid overlap when scheduling meetings. Switzerland called for fewer Committee resolutions in order to avoid duplication.
The Second Committee will continue its work on 13 October 2014, with discussions on macroeconomic policy questions, including external debt sustainability and development, and ICTs for Development. [UNGA Second Committee Webpage] [Webcast of Second Committee Meetings] [IISD RS Sources] [IISD RS Story on Opening of Debate]