Sixty-seventh General Assembly
31st Meeting (AM)
Consideration of Mauritius Strategy on Small Island Developing States
Delegations Pass 4 Other Draft Resolutions on Sustainable Development
The General Assembly would stress the importance of continued substantive consideration of the follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy on the sustainable development of small island developing States, according to one of five draft resolutions that the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved by consensus today.
By its terms, the Assembly would also stress the need for the effective participation of civil society, in particular non-governmental organizations and other major groups, in regional and international preparatory processes for the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. It would, by other terms, invite voluntary contributions to support the participation of major groups from developing countries, in particular small island developing States. The Assembly would urge international and bilateral donors as well as the private sector, financial institutions, foundations and other donors in a position to do so, to support the preparations for the Conference through voluntary contributions to the trust fund in support of preparations for the Conference.
Taking action on texts relating to sustainable development, the Committee then approved a draft resolution titled “Implementation of the International Year of Water Cooperation, 2013”, by which the General Assembly would stress the importance of full involvement by all relevant stakeholders, including women, children, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and local communities, in the implementation of the Year at all levels. By other terms, the Assembly would emphasize that water was critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger, indispensible for human health and well-being, and central to achieving the Millennium Goals and other internationally agreed development targets in the economic, social, and environmental fields.
The Committee then approved a draft resolution entitled “Towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations”. By its terms the General Assembly would call upon Member States to improve, as a matter of priority, their emergency-response capabilities and the containment of environmental damage, particularly in the Caribbean Sea, in the event of disasters, accidents or incidents relating to maritime navigation. Also by the terms of that text, the Assembly would urge the United Nations system and the international community to continue to provide aid and assistance to countries of the Caribbean region in implementation of their long-term programmes of disaster prevention, preparedness, mitigation, management, relief and recovery, on the basis of their development priorities.
Further by that text, the Assembly would call upon the United Nations system and the international community to assist, as appropriate, Caribbean countries and their regional organizations in their efforts to ensure the protection of the Caribbean Sea from degradation as a result of pollution from ships, in particular through the illegal release of oil and other harmful substances, as well as through the illegal dumping or accidental release of hazardous wastes, including radioactive materials, nuclear wastes and dangerous chemicals.
The Committee then approved a draft resolution on the “International Year of Small Island Developing States”, by which the General Assembly would encourage all Member States, the United Nations system and all other stakeholders to take advantage of the Year to promote actions at all levels, including through international, regional and subregional cooperation aimed at achieving the sustainable development of small island developing States. It would also request the Secretary-General, in his annual report on the Mauritius Strategy, to report to the Assembly’s seventieth session on the present resolution’s implementation.
By a text on the protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind, the Committee would have the General Assembly reaffirm that climate change was one of the greatest challenges, and express profound alarm that greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise globally. It would also express its deep concern that all countries, particularly developing ones, were vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and were already experiencing its increased impacts, including persistent drought and extreme weather events, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and ocean acidification. Those phenomena posed further threats to food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Further by that draft, the Assembly would recognize the need to engage a broad range of stakeholders at the global, regional, national and local levels, among them national, sub-national and local governments, private businesses and civil society, including youth and persons with disabilities. It would also recognize the importance of gender equality and the effective participation of women and indigenous peoples for effective action on all aspects of climate change.
Committee Chair George Talbot ( Guyana) said the Committee had been granted an extension until 13 December to conclude its session, and expressed hope that delegations would complete their work well within that deadline.
Also speaking today were representatives of France, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Nauru (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Mexico, United States and the European Union delegation.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 30 November, when it is expected to continue to take action on outstanding draft resolutions.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take action on draft resolutions relating to its agenda item on sustainable development.
Action on Drafts
Under the sub-item “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 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development”, the Committee took up a text titled “Implementation of the International Year of Water Cooperation, 2013 (document A/C.2/67/L.38/Rev.1).
GEORGE TALBOT ( Guyana), Committee Chair, said he wished to consult the Committee with a view to proceeding immediately to action on the draft. Invoking the “24-hour rule”, he added that since the text had only been circulated this morning, it would be necessary to waive rule 120 of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure. “…As a general rule, no proposal shall be discussed or put to the vote at any meeting of the Committee unless copies of it have been circulated to all delegations not later than the day preceding the meeting,” he said, citing the rules of procedure.
The representative of France said she did not object to the waiver but reserved the right to make future changes to the text’s French-language version.
The representative of Tajikistan, noting that several countries had joined as co-sponsors, drew the Committee’s attention to two omissions in the draft.
The Committee then approved the text without a vote, as orally corrected.
The representative of Uzbekistan, welcoming that action and the draft’s recognition of water’s importance to human life, stressed that the proposed Conference on Water Cooperation was not a United Nations meeting and its results would not be legally binding. Not wishing to break the consensus, Uzbekistan had supported the text but would not be bound by its provisions.
The representative of Tajikistan said joint efforts would make a valuable contribution to the achievement of agreed goals on water.
Turning to the sub-item “Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States”, the Committee then took up a draft resolution titled “Towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations” (document A/C.2/67/L.41).
The representative of Turkey said she was pleased to join the consensus and expressed her country’s full support for the efforts of Caribbean States. However, she dissociated herself from the draft’s references to international obligations to which Turkey was not bound, emphasizing that the text did not alter her country’s legal position.
The representative of France said she had not received the French-language version and had reservations about the translation.
Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved draft resolution A/C.2/67/L.41, withdrawing the text previously contained in document A/C.2/67/L.5.
The Committee then took up a draft resolution titled “International Year of Small Island Developing States” (document A/C.2/67/L.42), approving it without a vote and withdrawing document A/C.2/67/L.7.
The representative of Nauru, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said the text would help to raise awareness of the special situation of small island developing States.
The representative of the European Union delegation confirmed his commitment to the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy, but stressed the need for the proclamation of any international year, day or decade to be consistent with the guidelines established by the Economic and Social Council and twice reaffirmed by the General Assembly. Although the European Union delegation would have liked more time to ensure such consistency, it had joined the consensus due to time pressure, he said, stressing that he would continue to defend the Economic and Social Council’s guidelines in support of the revitalization of the General Assembly’s work.
Taking up a draft titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States” (document A/C.2/67/L.40), the Committee heard a statement by its Secretary confirming that, while the text bore no programme budget implications for the 2012-2013 budget, costs were expected to be incurred during the 2014-2015 biennium.
The Rapporteur then made an oral correction to the text before the Committee approved it without a vote, as orally corrected, withdrawing document A/C.2/67/L.19.
Moving on to a draft titled the “Protection of climate for future generations of mankind” (A/C.2/67/L.43), the Committee approved it without a vote, withdrawing document A/C.2/67/L.20.
The representative of Mexico, speaking in explanation of position, expressed regret that the negotiations had not fully reflected his expectations of the text, which should have made a greater contribution to global efforts to tackle climate change. Although it recognized the work carried out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mexico disagreed with selective approaches that prejudged the outcome of other negotiations going ahead within the Convention. He stressed the need for all discussions to be implemented in line with agreed terms and in good faith.
The representative of the United States said she was pleased to join the consensus, noting that her country had done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than ever before, including managing a 9 per cent reduction since 2005. Looking forward to continued progress in Doha, she welcomed the fact that the last Conference of Parties to the Convention had taken a step away from the developed country-developing country paradigm that had previously characterized the Climate Change Convention regime. The new paradigm more faithfully reflected global trends, she said.
Mr. TALBOT ( Guyana), Committee Chair, thanked all delegations for their efforts to reach consensus on draft resolutions, and cited a “completion plan” for the Committee’s work which envisioned the approval of a number of texts along stated timelines. The Committee had been granted an extension until 13 December to conclude its session, and hopefully delegations would conclude their work well within that deadline. Hoping for consensus approval of all outstanding drafts, he called on delegations to reach understandings on issues manifesting themselves in several texts.