|Date||22 October 2003|
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Agenda item 50
Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields
Report of the Secretary-General (A/58/359)
I should like to make the following comments on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The question before us today is indeed important, if not critical, given that the strengthening of multilateralism and the viability of international action for development depends, to a great extent, on the international community's capacity to translate into reality the commitments it undertook in the area of economic and social development at the various conferences and summits held during the past few years under the auspices of the United Nations.
The Group of 77 and China would recall that the commendable -- and considerable -- efforts of the international community have made it possible to achieve results dealing with the problem of development in all of its aspects that are accepted by all.
Indeed, with the commitments contained in the Millennium Declaration, as well as those emanating from the major conferences -- in particular those held at Copenhagen, Monterrey and Johannesburg -- the international community today has at its disposal a clear road map to guide our actions and channel our efforts towards the achievement of conditions conducive to sustainable and harmonious development; the equitable sharing of the benefits of globalization; and a peaceful world reconciled with itself.
However, the achievement of such a far-reaching yet viable objective requires unswerving efforts to fulfil the commitments to which I have just referred, taking into account the specific particularities of each process. It is within that framework that the Group of 77 and China launched the initiative for the establishment of an ad hoc working group to consider ways and means of ensuring the integrated and coordinated follow-up of the outcome of the major conferences and summit meetings held under the auspices of the United Nations in the economic and social spheres.
Today, in the context of the adoption of resolution 57/270 B, we welcome the outcome of the Group's work, in particular since the decision to convene, in 2005, a summit devoted to development and to involve the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the annual meeting of the Economic and Social Council on financing for development represent, inter alia, considerable advances in the area of development.
Moreover, the broad consensus that emerged from the work of that working group is likely to strengthen the conviction of the international community as a whole regarding the vital need to revitalize the spirit of multilateralism and shared responsibility, given the irreversible process of globalization and the interdependence of economies.
In that context, the Group of 77 and China believes that, at a time when the developing countries are continuing to make tremendous efforts towards economic and social reform despite various and overwhelming constraints, it devolves on developed countries to accompany those efforts by fulfilling their commitments in the area of development.
Indeed, based on the principles of solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility, which must guide the international community in its efforts to work for the welfare of all, the developed countries are more than ever before called on fully to contribute to those efforts through a variety of measures. Such measures include market access for products from the developing countries; a stepping up of official development assistance; a reduction in the external debt of developing countries and its cancellation for the least developed countries; the promotion of foreign direct investment for countries of the South; and contributions to the Global Fund to combat major pandemics.
The real threats of marginalization and poverty resulting from the galloping pace of globalization that face so many peoples of the South must further prompt the various elements of the international community -- in particular the developed countries -- immediately to act to realize a global partnership leading to development that benefits all and that will allow us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Resolution 57/270 B, to which I referred earlier, has prepared the ground for a major event -- a summit, to be held in 2005, to take stock of the implementation of commitments to achieve the Development Goals. The Group of 77, which spared no effort to achieve the adoption of that resolution, fervently hopes that the prospect of that global summit will provide an opportunity for all of us once again to give the issue of development top priority on the agenda of the United Nations. As everyone is aware, security questions are global and necessarily include the fight against poverty and destitution. Only hope for a better future can lead to greater stability and security for all.
We must take advantage of this debate to follow up on that resolution, decide on the modalities for the summit and begin preparations for its success. The summit, as provided for by the resolution, should be held within the framework of the integrated and coordinated follow-up of the outcome of the major conferences and summits of the United Nations in the economic and social fields, including the Millennium Declaration.
We believe that such a major event will provide a genuine opportunity to consider the implementation of commitments undertaken by Member States, both developed and developing, and to assess the progress made towards the achievement of the development goals agreed at the international level, including those set out in the Millennium Declaration. That meeting will also enable the international community to reflect on the best ways and means to move forward the implementation process.
Another question that is provided for in resolution 57/270 B deals with the assessment of follow-up mechanisms of the International Conference on Financing for Development. That resolution provides for an assessment during the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly of the Monterrey Consensus follow-up mechanisms, namely the high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions and with the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Assembly high-level dialogue on financing for development. The Group of 77 will be ready to begin that assessment immediately following the high-level dialogue on financing for development, set for 29 and 30 October.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the countries of the Rio Group: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, and my own country, Peru.
The Rio Group has decided to speak in this meeting of the General Assembly, in which we are discussing resolution 57/270B, adopted in June 2003, to reaffirm our firm commitment to fulfilling that resolution's objectives and to stress the importance of its full implementation.
We believe that the negotiating process that guided us to the resolution reflected the concern of us all that the progress made is not sufficient and that greater political impetus is therefore required to ensure the complete and effective fulfilment of the commitments we undertook in the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields.
Those conferences and summits, each with its own thematic unity, offered us an institutional, programmatic and conceptual framework for tackling what we consider to be the major challenges to humanity: eradicating poverty and improving the living standards of the world's entire population. Nevertheless, the need for coordination among the various follow-up mechanisms and for determining the different roles of the various actors involved alerts us to the urgency of preparing a comprehensive framework giving coherence to the follow-up processes.
To tackle that challenge, we recognize, above all, that everyone must be involved in attaining those commitments. Therefore, it is necessary to coordinate and integrate the work of all actors involved in this process, such as States, the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization, civil society and the private sector.
In this regard, the Rio Group takes note of the proposal of the President of the Economic and Social Council to strengthen the role of the Council, which is acting on the requests for it to make its coordination activities more effective, in particular with respect to the work of the Commissions, the impact of the activities of the United Nations funds and programmes, and the Council's relationship with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization. The Rio Group believes the proposal by the President of the Economic and Social Council is a valuable contribution deserving the study and discussion of Member States.
We emphasize the need to examine periodically the progress made towards achieving the agreed goals of the major United Nations conferences and summits. Such a review should respect the follow-up processes of each conference at all levels -- national, regional, international and system-wide -- and identify the obstacles that arise in the course of implementing decisions. Reviewing each follow-up process will also enable us to find the best ways to update their working methods and to enhance the synergies generated among the follow-up processes, with a view to achieving better results.
The Rio Group would like to stress the importance we attach to such a periodic review, which would provide us with an assessment of progress made, maintain the momentum necessary to consolidate that progress and enable us to design a set of measures for overcoming any obstacles encountered. In that regard, we support holding a summit in 2005 to assess comprehensively the progress made. It should coincide with a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration assessing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, including goal 8: building a global partnership for development.
We also agree that we must determine the roles of and coordination among the various organisms and agencies of the United Nations system in the follow-up mechanisms for decisions adopted in order to enhance the effectiveness of measures taken at all levels and to strengthen the role of the United Nations.
In conclusion, we will continue this work in this session of the General Assembly when we consider the indicative programme of work of the Second Committee and when we evaluate the follow-up mechanisms established at the Monterrey Conference in accordance with Chapter III of the Monterrey Consensus. The Rio Group notes the suitability of continuing to explore ways and means of improving the work of the Second and Third Committees. The Rio Group will participate energetically in that work, which is part of the framework of the reform process under way at the United Nations and which aims to improve its action and effectiveness.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The acceding countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the associated countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, and the European Free Trade Association countries Liechtenstein and Norway align themselves with this statement.
The European Union supports a strong and efficient United Nations system and is ready to contribute actively to the goal of building an international order based on effective multilateral institutions within the fundamental framework of the United Nations Charter.
The principal goal of the years ahead will be the effective implementation of the commitments made at the major United Nations conferences and summits of the last ten years, including the Millennium Declaration, which for the European Union represents the overarching policy framework for United Nations economic and social work. The United Nations must play a central role in maintaining the political momentum established through the major conferences and in ensuring a more integrated and coordinated implementation of their targets and commitments.
The positive outcome of the ad hoc working group of the General Assembly on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields culminated in the approval of resolution 57/270B. Its success in capitalizing on the momentum originating in the United Nations conferences and summits of the last decade has given fresh impetus to the work carried out by United Nations bodies. At this point, we have established a clear direction and a working programme that calls on the entire membership to make progress on these issues.
At the end of this month, the General Assembly will hold its first High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development. The European Union is committed to ensuring the successful outcome of that event. It will allow us to make an assessment of the follow-up to the mechanisms established in the Monterrey Consensus. The Monterrey Consensus has been successful because it is based on an innovative partnership among the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Those organizations have demonstrated a great commitment to implementing the Monterrey Consensus and have shown that it is possible to work together, within their respective mandates, to achieve a common objective.
What we have witnessed is just the beginning of a new era of cooperation and synergy in the international community's cohesive and effective action to implement a common agenda for the financing of development. We believe that there is room to improve this relationship further through the development and strengthening, in all the organizations involved, of a sense of ownership of the follow-up mechanisms of the Monterrey Consensus. We should continue to involve the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO in our discussions intended to determine the best ways to ensure that the follow-up mechanisms reflect the spirit of Monterrey and correspond to our common final objectives.
As far as the Second Committee is concerned, we are convinced that in order to maximize the policy relevance and the impact of the Committee's deliberations, we need to address the way it works. In particular, we are bound, according to resolution 57/270 B, to consider the Second Committee programme set forth in the annex to the resolution and take a decision thereon by December 2003. The European Union has already put forward its vision on how it feels the work should be reorganized. We approach this debate with an open mind but with the clear objective of strengthening the role of the United Nations.
General Assembly resolution 57/270 B also indicated the need to strengthen United Nations cohesiveness by fostering stronger interaction and coordination between the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council through a process of greater consultation between the Presidents and the Bureaus of the Assembly and the Council. Furthermore, we need to ensure that the work of the General Assembly and its Second and Third Committees be more focused, coherent, visible and politically relevant to the implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits. In order to achieve this, we need to look at the interaction between the different Committees, guided by political vision.
The broad consensus on the pivotal role of the Economic and Social Council in system-wide coordination and in promoting integrated, coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits has been emphasized in the light of the policy guidance emanating from the Millennium Summit, the Monterrey Consensus and the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. At its session last July, the Economic and Social Council decided to finalize the list of cross-referenced thematic issues and the multi-year work programme before its next substantive session, in 2004.
In its deliberations, the General Assembly has also invited the functional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council to contribute actively to the assessment of cross-sectoral thematic issues. The various commissions have been asked to review their work methods, and we have great expectations for the results. The new path being taken by the Commission on Sustainable Development, for example, shows how innovation can lead to more targeted, productive work that keeps the United Nations in the focus of the initiatives and attention of Governments, civil society and other stakeholders. In this respect we believe that the functional commissions should look at resolution 57/270 B with a different timetable. According to the report of the Secretary-General, it will take at least two years before we can have an understanding of what has been done. We believe that once there is consensus on proceeding in a certain direction, decisions have to be implemented rapidly and efficiently.
Achieving the Millennium Declaration Goals and the objectives of the other major United Nations conferences and summits will take sustained political attention, a strong sense of commitment and unwavering dedication at both the national and international levels. The European Union believes that the major event of 2005 will strengthen our common will to focus on implementation based on a comprehensive review of the progress achieved. As we have already indicated, we look to the Secretary-General to make further proposals to the Assembly next year on the structure of such an event. At the same time, we believe that the Secretariat should begin preparations, in order to provide the membership with a comprehensive evaluation on what has been achieved in terms of the results of the commitments undertaken by the international community in implementing the Millennium Declaration and the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits.
It is with great pleasure that I address this august forum on the important subject of integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.
At the outset, I wish to align our delegation with the statement made by the representative of Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Pakistan's delegation welcomed the adoption of General Assembly resolution 57/270 B on integrated and coordinated conference follow-up. We call for its immediate and full implementation.
Over the years, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council have played an important role by contributing to the evolution of the global economic and social normative framework that emerged from the major United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s. It is now time to move from policy to implementation. To that end, we are happy that the focus of the decisions contained in resolution 57/270 B is on implementation.
We are pleased to note that the Economic and Social Council has been given the primary responsibility to act as the central forum for system-wide coordination and annual review and assessment of progress in the implementation of conference outcomes. Pakistan's delegation looks forward to participating in discussions to develop a multi-year work programme for the coordination segment of the Council, taking into account the thematic issues common to the conference outcomes as well as proposals by Member States. We believe that for the optimal results, the substantive review process must be carried out by the functional commissions. The work of the functional commissions should be analytical and must highlight key coordination issues relating to the theme of the coordination segment. As it is, the theme of the future high-level segment would be related to the theme of the coordination segment, which augers well for greater synergy and effective follow-up.
The monitoring of the implementation of the commitments should be across the board and based on indicators agreed upon through an intergovernmental process. While on this subject, may I emphasize the need to make the mechanisms for reporting by national Governments simplified and harmonized.
Of particular satisfaction to us is the emphasis placed by the General Assembly on the need for regular review of the progress made in the implementation of commitments undertaken in major United Nations conferences. The Assembly has also stressed the need for indicators to assess progress made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, including the Goal concerning a global partnership for development.
In addition, we welcome the decision to hold a major United Nations event in 2005 aimed at a comprehensive review of progress achieved in implementing all commitments made in the Millennium Declaration. We fully endorse the points stressed by the representative of Morocco, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, that such a review should be undertaken in a balanced manner in terms of the respective commitments of developed and developing countries. Indeed, a 2005 summit would be a welcome opportunity to undertake a global review of implementation of conference outcomes, including that of the Millennium Summit. We trust that the presidency of the General Assembly will initiate the preparatory process at an early date to ensure the success of such a summit. We look forward to participating in deliberations on this important subject.
At the outset, I should like to express our support for the statement made earlier by Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Since the 1990s, the United Nations has held a series of major conferences and summits in the development field -- such as the Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development -- with the aim of strengthening international development cooperation and achieving sustainable development and general social progress in all countries, particularly the developing countries. Those summits and conferences set out goals and targets for international development cooperation. Finding ways to integrate and coordinate implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits is essential in attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
We welcomed the fact that last year, the United Nations took an important step forward in its efforts to integrate and coordinate follow-up actions by forming an Ad Hoc Working Group within the General Assembly. In June this year, the General Assembly adopted resolution 57/270 B, on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, which established specific goals and focuses and which defined roles for the United Nations and related institutions. That marked a good starting point for comprehensive and balanced implementation of the outcomes of the relevant conferences and summits. In that context, we have taken note of the report submitted by the Secretary-General (A/58/359) on implementation of resolution 57/270 B. We appreciate the useful suggestions put forward by the Secretary-General.
I wish to make the following points on how to implement the resolution on follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits.
First, being action-oriented and placing priority on implementation are essential for integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the major United Nations conferences and summits. Development -- particularly of developing countries -- has been the common theme of all the major United Nations conferences and summits. At the same time, underdevelopment is the major obstacle to developing countries' efforts to implement those outcomes. The United Nations should commit itself to the development goals, principles and consensuses established by those conferences and summits; fundamentally change the trend towards making peace primary and development secondary; attach equal importance to promoting development and maintaining peace; establish a development culture; strengthen development agencies; and ensure development resources. To that end, we believe that the United Nations, in formulating cross-sectoral themes, should take fully into account the concerns of developing countries -- such as financial assistance, technology transfer, capacity-building, market access and poverty eradication -- so that development goals can be effectively addressed and attained in a comprehensive, concerted and balanced way.
Secondly, strengthening coordination and cooperation between the United Nations and relevant agencies and promoting the coherence and coordination of international development policies will guarantee implementation of the resolution. In implementing international development goals and targets, the United Nations and other development institutions -- such as the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the relevant funds and programmes -- all have important but different roles to play. The United Nations and those institutions need to strengthen the coherence and coordination of their policies to better link development policies and projects and to enhance the coherence and coordination of international development policies. We thus appreciate the regular dialogue with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO in the General Assembly and in the Economic and Social Council.
Thirdly, more comprehensive reform of the Economic and Social Council will lay the foundation for more meaningful development cooperation. In order to better integrate and coordinate United Nations efforts in that regard, resolution 57/207 B has provided the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and their functional bodies with a number of reform measures, such as reviewing follow-up mechanisms for development financing, streamlining the Second Committee's agenda, holding joint meetings of the Second and Third Committees and improving the functional commissions' working methods. Reform leads to efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness.
We welcome and support the proposals concerning United Nations reform in the economic and social fields. Here, I wish to emphasize two points. First, reform of the Second Committee and reform in the economic and social fields are integral parts of the entire United Nations reform process. Coordinated and comprehensive consideration should be given to various reform measures in their entirety. Secondly, the ultimate goal of reform is strengthening, not weakening, the economic development function of the United Nations; strengthening governmental responsibility rather than replacing it with partnership; expanding, not diminishing, the right of developing countries to participate in decision-making; and enabling civil society to join in international cooperation according to relevant rules of procedure, rather than without rules to follow.
Finally, we support the provision of resolution 57/270 B that automatic five-year and 10-year review mechanisms for a number of major United Nations conferences and summits are to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. We also support the United Nations holding a major event in 2005 to comprehensively review integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the major conferences and summits. I should like to reiterate that, as 2005 -- a major year for the United Nations -- will also see a review of the Millennium Summit and a high-level dialogue on financing for development, the United Nations should conduct consultations at an early date to determine the level, form, focus and interrelations of those high-level meetings.
We are prepared to continue to strengthen our cooperation and consultations with various parties in a joint effort for successful, integrated and coordinated United Nations follow-up actions.
My delegation welcomes the decision of the General Assembly to include consideration of this item in the agenda of the current session.
Most conferences and summits are prompted by a desire to discuss important issues of common interest and to explore solutions to problems. We attach great importance to the implementation of the decisions and goals of all United Nations conferences and summits. It is imperative that effective monitoring mechanisms be established to ensure that conferences and summits achieve their desired goals and objectives.
In this connection, we thank the Secretary-General for his report to the General Assembly. It has assisted us in identifying the core elements of the framework that are essential for integrating follow-up processes, as projected in resolution 57/270 B, adopted by this body four months ago. The report also highlights issues that require our immediate attention. For its part, the Economic and Social Council, through its coordination segment, focused on its role in this regard at its 2003 substantive session, bearing in mind its crucial task to promote the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.
The question of the core elements of the framework that are essential for integrating follow-up processes with respect to implementation was discussed comprehensively during the deliberations leading up to the adoption of resolution 57/270 B, as well as during discussions held during the 2003 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council. My delegation intends, therefore, to touch on the issues relating to implementation actions highlighted in the report.
The Secretary-General has identified three kinds of implementation actions: first, ongoing activities that need to be strengthened; secondly, decisions to be adopted in implementing specific provisions of the resolution; and, thirdly, the question of future reviews. On the strengthening of ongoing activities, resolution 57/270 B has emphasized that a stronger link should be established between policy guidance and operational activities. We concur with the observation that the governing body has the responsibility to ensure that relevant policy decisions are integrated into the programme of work of the respective organizations.
In this regard, the respective Executive Boards of the relevant agencies, funds and programmes should undertake a more concerted effort to ensure greater coherence in the activities undertaken by them, in the furtherance of the objectives of their various programmes, culminating ultimately in the implementation of outcomes of conferences and summits in an integrated and coordinated manner. We are also in agreement with the assertion made by the General Assembly that system-wide interagency coordination and cooperation to implement the outcomes of major conferences and summits should be further promoted through the work of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB) for Coordination and the United Nations Development Group.
It is clear to my delegation that the bulk of the follow-up activities would necessarily have to be carried out by the Economic and Social Council through its various functional commissions. These are the bodies that have been entrusted, and even at times specifically mandated, with the primary responsibility for the review and assessment of progress made in implementing the outcomes of United Nations conferences and summits. In this regard, the Economic and Social Council has the responsibility to ensure that its functional commissions work in a coordinated manner, especially when deciding on thematic issues to be considered by its various organs. In this regard, my delegation commends the Economic and Social Council for having begun, even prior to the adoption of resolution 57/270 B, to have joint Bureau meetings between its various functional commissions and between the functional commissions and the Council itself. Such meetings would prove invaluable in allowing the relevant chairpersons to discuss their multi-year programmes of work, in particular when deliberating thematic issues for a new term. As a member of the Economic and Social Council, my delegation reiterates its full support and commitment to work with other members to ensure success in our endeavours.
Through resolution 57/270 B, the Assembly had also requested the Economic and Social Council to establish a multi-year work programme for its coordination segment no later than 2004. The Bureau of the Economic and Social Council is to initiate consultations by January 2004, with the aim of reaching a decision before the start of its substantive session in the same year. However, as most of the functional commissions of ECOSOC had already adopted their multi-year programmes of work well in advance of the adoption of resolution 57/270 B, we are of the view that the Economic and Social Council could begin to play its role in this regard by considering a thematic issue that would involve the widest cross-section of the work of its various organs insofar as it is possible. The Economic and Social Council should continue with the consideration of such thematic issues until its functional commissions have exhausted their current multi-year programmes of work. At such time, the multi-year programmes of work of the Economic and Social Council and its functional commissions could be streamlined so that they would consider particular cross-sectoral thematic issues common to each organ.
Having said this, my delegation would like to stress that such consideration of common cross-sectoral issues should be done in a fair and balanced manner, bearing in mind the tendency to overlook the consideration of social issues, alternatively referred to as soft issues, when juxtaposed with those with an economic or developmental aspect. We must remember that in developing countries, in particular, limited economic development will lead to a situation where social policies could not be effectively carried out, thus preventing the fulfilment of goals set out in the various outcome documents of United Nations summits and conferences. As such, one should not overlook the importance of coherence and the integration of social and economic imperatives.
My delegation reiterates its commitment to fulfil all obligations undertaken at various United Nations summits and conferences, and pledges its full support to both the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and through the Council, its various functional commissions, in the furtherance and achievement of all goals of the major United Nations conferences and summits.
Switzerland took an active part in the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Working Group on the Integrated and Coordinated Implementation of and Follow-up to the Outcomes of the Major United Nations Conferences and Summits in the Economic and Social Fields.
Despite the important work achieved by the Group, it is our opinion that the emphasis placed on the Millennium Development Goals as a reference point for such a coordinated follow-up has fallen short of the expectations expressed at the Millennium Declaration's adoption. Moreover, despite Switzerland's conviction that a coordinated follow-up must cover all the major conferences, it is becoming evident that the issues addressed by these conferences have yet to be integrated in a concrete way in either policies or institutions.
Nevertheless, Switzerland is satisfied with the decisions taken concerning the working methods of the Economic and Social Council and the improvement in the functioning of its subsidiary organs, including the functional commissions, as well as with the suggestions regarding the General Assembly, particularly its Second and Third Committees. Each body is responsible for improving its own effectiveness and better coordinating its work, with a view to fully realizing the action plans elaborated at the major conferences and the Millennium Goals.
To accomplish this, we deem the following points to be of particular importance: more flexibility in the multi-year work programmes of the Council and its functional commissions; more efficacious working methods; greater coordination between the agenda of the Council and those of its functional commissions; reorganization and simplification of the Second Committee's agenda; improved coordination among the various offices of the Secretariat; regular reporting by all the functional commissions on the integrated follow-up of major conferences and summits; and improved coordination at all levels and among all actors, including Governments, international organizations -- in particular, the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization -- civil society and the private sector.
On another level, we recognize the soundness of the Working Group's observations on the importance of the resources necessary to implement the recommendations of conferences and summits. However, there are limits to the resources made available through official development assistance for the realization of the Millennium Declaration's commitments. We must come up with new and innovative solutions. In this respect, Switzerland supports the Secretary-General's efforts to make the United Nations accessible to new actors and partners, who can bring with them new capacities and resources.
Without seeing any need to restructure the very foundations of the current multilateral architecture, Switzerland believes that the Monterrey Consensus -- more specifically its Chapter III -- is a step in the right direction, recognizing the need for collaboration among all the parties concerned in order to achieve the Millennium Goals. In our view, the specific role of the United Nations in the context of the follow-up to Monterrey is to contribute to improved cooperation, transparency and coordination between Governments, civil society and public and private actors, as well as multilateral institutions. Switzerland feels that specific questions raised in the follow-up to Monterrey should be addressed in the Second Committee, and it looks forward to taking part in its debates over the coming weeks.
The Tunisian delegation would first like to associate itself with the statement made by the representative of Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and to acknowledge our colleague Abdellah Benmellouk, who presented that statement.
My country welcomes the discussion today on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. At the general debate of the current session, most Member States stressed the importance they attached to giving practical effect to the undertakings given by the international community at the major conferences and summits that marked the 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium with a view to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development.
Those conferences and summits, including the Millennium Summit, the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development gave rise to a great deal of expectation in the international community, in particular among the developing countries, who were hoping at last to see to the advent of a stable, fair and united socio-economic order. These events have effectively charted a course for us all to follow to combat poverty, promote development and to ensure that peace, security and justice reign. They also provided the opportunity to define the key parameters and undertake commitments for a global partnership in order to achieve these targets.
Despite these commitments, we must acknowledge that many of the development targets set out in the Millennium Declaration will not be achieved by many countries. Instead, we are seeing an increase in the number of people living in poverty, particularly in Africa, a region where achieving these objectives is the greatest challenge. Therefore, we must pay close attention to the fulfilment of commitments undertaken in the framework of an implementation and follow-up process that is energetic, systematic and results-based and that avoids duplication and wasted effort.
In this regard, we welcome the fact that the United Nations system is determined to achieve tangible results. The adoption in June 2003 of General Assembly resolution 57/270 B on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields is particularly important because in our opinion it reflects an awareness of the need to stimulate energetic policies to promote implementation of and follow-up to these commitments. In that resolution the Assembly defined the roles that Member States, the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization, civil society and the private sector would play in implementing these commitments, all within the context of a partnership that requires each party to carry its own weight.
Admittedly, it is the developing countries that bear the primary responsibility for achieving these targets, but it is also clear that, given the interwoven nature of national economies and the world economic system, their efforts require the support of the international community, including the assistance of their developed partners, because most of them will not succeed alone. Success for developing countries also depends on establishing an international economic climate that is favourable to them.
The role of the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in implementing the outcomes of the conferences was broadly emphasized by the General Assembly in the aforementioned resolution, which called for a strengthening of their contribution to implementing the outcomes of the conferences and summits. The high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, held on 14 April 2003, was an important milestone in reviewing the progress achieved and the obstacles encountered in implementing the Monterrey Consensus. We believe that that meeting will effectively contribute to strengthening the Economic and Social Council's cooperation with the key partners in Washington and Geneva. Furthermore, the high-level dialogue on financing for development, to be held on 29 and 30 October, will enable us to think more in depth about ways and means of translating the commitments undertaken at Monterrey into concrete actions.
With regard to the role of the Economic and Social Council, Tunisia welcomes the emphasis placed on the need to strengthen that pivotal body, which is charged with promoting the coordination and coherence of policies and with the implementation and comprehensive and coordinated follow-up of the outcomes of the major international conferences in the economic and social fields. We also attach great importance to the role played by the functional commissions, such as the Commission on Sustainable Development, and we call for a strengthening of the Economic and Social Council's relations with the regional commissions. In addition, we call for support for the development frameworks established at the regional level, such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Moreover, the Tunisian delegation would like to highlight the need to enhance the capacity of national statistical systems, but that must be accompanied by progress in developing international indicators that will enable us to better assess situations and results of national implementation plans.
The scope of the problems and the complexity of the obstacles that must be overcome by developing countries demand that we be more resolute and devote more resources -- at both the national and international levels -- to ensuring economic growth and sustained and lasting development for those countries.
Official development assistance, despite efforts to better utilize it, continues to decline. The donor countries must honour their commitments to increase official development assistance to the level of 0.7 per cent of gross national product. Increasing such aid is also important to provide the United Nations system's operational activities with the maximum of success and effectiveness. In that regard, we highlight the role of United Nations funds and programmes -- particularly the United Nations Development Programme -- in supporting developing countries' efforts, particularly with a view to eliminating poverty, as well as the need to ensure the financing of those funds and programmes in a more certain and predictable way.
Debt relief should be more significant and more rapid. It is also essential to facilitate and improve access to world markets for developing countries' products, which requires a reduction in agricultural subsidies and the elimination of tariff barriers. It is also a question of facilitating active participation by developing countries in decisions taken by major international organizations -- not only the United Nations, but also the WTO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The Tunisian delegation believes that it is of the utmost importance to regularly assess progress achieved in implementing the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits. We welcome the inclusion on the agenda of the current General Assembly session of an item entitled "Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields".
Finally, we should like to stress the importance of organizing a summit in 2005 to review progress in implementing all commitments undertaken in the Millennium Declaration on the basis of a report of the Secretary-General. We believe it is necessary to begin the preparations for that summit as soon as possible.
Implementing commitments undertaken by the international community is the only path that will lead to a better world. Let us work together to meet the challenges of underdevelopment, destitution, disease and malnutrition. Let us do that for the 1.2 billion people painfully surviving on less than one dollar per day, for the 840 million people suffering from hunger and for the 24,000 people -- many of whom are children -- who die of starvation every day.