Press Releases

    15 December 2004

    Second Committee Passes Text Recommending International Support for National, Regional Anti-Corruption Efforts

    Acting without Vote, Delegates Approve Seven Other Draft Resolutions

    NEW YORK, 14 December (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly would call for further international cooperation to support national, subregional and regional efforts to prevent and combat corrupt practices, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption, according to one of eight draft resolutions approved without a vote by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) this afternoon.

    Condemning corruption in all its forms, including bribery, money-laundering and the transfer of assets of illicit origin, the Assembly would reiterate its invitation to all Member States and competent regional economic organizations to sign, ratify and fully implement the Convention against Corruption as soon as possible to ensure its rapid entry into force. The Assembly would, by other terms, reiterate its request to the international community to provide technical assistance in support of national efforts to strengthen human and institutional capacity aimed at preventing and combating corrupt practices and the transfer of assets of illicit origin.

    Further by the text, which was introduced by Committee Vice-Chair Antonio Bernardini (Italy) and approved as orally amended, the Assembly would encourage Member States to provide adequate financial and human resources to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and encourage that Office to give high priority to technical cooperation to promote and facilitate the signing and ratification, acceptance approval or accession and implementation of the Convention against Corruption. It would also encourage Member States that had not yet done so to require financial institutions to properly implement comprehensive due diligence and vigilance programmes, consistent with the principles of the Convention and other applicable instruments.

    Also by that draft -- entitled “Preventing and combating corrupt practices and the transfer of funds of illicit origin and returning such assets to the countries of origin” (document A/C.2/59/L.67) -- the Assembly would urge Member States to abide by the principles of proper management of public affairs and public property, fairness, responsibility and equality before the law and the need to safeguard integrity and foster a culture of transparency, accountability and rejection of corruption. It would also call on the private sector, at both the national and international levels, including small and large companies and transnational corporations, to remain fully engaged in the fight against corruption, and emphasize the need for all stakeholders to continue promoting corporate responsibility and accountability.

    Speaking after the Committee’s approval of the text, the representative of the United States emphasized that good governance remained essential for sustainable development, but noted that her delegation had joined the consensus on the understanding that the right to development remained the right of an individual to develop his or her own intellectual or other capabilities, and thus to participate in development and to exercise the full range of economic, social and cultural rights.

    By a draft resolution on industrial development cooperation (document A/C.2/59/L.66), the Assembly would emphasize the need for favourable international and national measures to industrialize developing countries and urge governments to implement development policies and strategies for productivity growth through private sector development, diffusion of environmentally sound and emerging technologies, investment promotion, enhanced access to markets and effective use of official development assistance, so that developing countries could achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  The Assembly would emphasize the need to promote the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including by training, education and skills enhancement, with a special focus on agro-industry as a provider of livelihoods, as well as in landlocked developing countries.

    Stressing the need for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to promote the development of competitive industries in developing countries, as well as those with economies in transition and landlocked developing countries, the Assembly would underline the importance of industrial development cooperation and of a positive investment and business climate at the international, regional, subregional and national levels to expand, diversify, and modernize their productive capacities.

    The draft, introduced by Committee Vice-Chair Majdi Ramadan (Lebanon), would have the Assembly call upon the UNIDO to actively participate in field coordination through the common country assessment and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework process, as well as sector-wide approaches.  It would also call upon donor and recipient countries to cooperate in achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness of official development assistance resources for industrial development cooperation, and to support developing and transition countries in promoting industrial development cooperation among themselves.  Further, it would underline the importance of mobilizing funds for industrial development at the country level, including private and development finance institutions funding.

    A draft on the role of microcredit in the eradication of poverty (document A/C.2/59/L.64) would have the Assembly emphasize that the International Year of Microcredit would provide a significant opportunity to raise awareness of microcredit’s importance in poverty eradication, sharing of good practices and enhancing pro-poor financial-sector services.

    Also by that text, introduced by Mr. Ramadan and approved as orally amended, the Assembly would reiterate its invitation to Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society to collaborate, including through making voluntary contributions, to raise public awareness and knowledge about microcredit. It would also decide to devote one plenary meeting at its sixty-first session to the outcome and follow-up to the Year, with a view to broadening and deepening discussion on the issue.

    By a draft on international assistance for the economic rehabilitation of Angola (document A/C.2/59/L.37/Rev.1), the Assembly would call on international organizations and others in a position to do so to assist the Angolan Government in efforts to improve governance, transparency and accountability in managing public resources, including through the promotion of responsible business practices.  It would also call on Members States and international, regional and subregional organizations to provide financial and technical support for general elections in that country.

    Also by that text, which was approved as orally amended, the Assembly would call upon Member States, particularly donors, to continue supporting the country’s remaining humanitarian needs, and to assist with the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons. It would also request all international, regional and subregional financial institutions to support the Angolan Government in alleviating poverty, consolidating peace, democracy and economic stability throughout the country, as well as assist in successfully implementing economic development programmes and strategies.

    The Assembly would, by other terms, call upon the Angolan Government, the World Bank and the international community to remain engaged with the country’s poverty reduction strategy paper, with a view to its early endorsement by the World Bank and the Board of the International Monetary Fund, as well as to the continued support of the international community for Government efforts towards its implementation. It would also request the Angolan Government and the United Nations, and invite international financial institutions to prepare and organize an international donors’ conference for long-term development and reconstruction, including special economic assistance.  Further, it would appeal to the international community, United Nations bodies, and governmental and non-governmental organizations to continue to contribute to Angola’s humanitarian mine-action activities.

    Another draft -- entitled “Rendering assistance to the poor mountain countries to overcome obstacles in socio-economic and ecological areas” (document A/C.2/59/L.61/Rev.1) -- would have the Assembly decide to consider the sub-item at its sixtieth session under the agenda item “sustainable development”.  That text was approved as orally amended.

    By a text on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (document A/C.2/59/L.65), the Assembly would underline the need to further develop and expand training programme partnerships with United Nations bodies. It would also request the Institute’s Board of Trustees to ensure fair and equitable geographic distribution and transparency in the preparation of programmes and the employment of experts, and stress that Institute courses should focus primarily on development issues and international affairs management.

    Further by the text, introduced by Committee Rapporteur Azanaw Tadesse Abreha (Ethiopia) and approved as orally amended, the Assembly would encourage the Board of Trustees to diversify event venues to promote greater participation and reduce costs. It would also stress the need to expeditiously resolve issues related to the Institute’s rent, debt, rental rates and maintenance costs.

    Also by that draft, the Assembly would appeal to all governments, in particular those of developed countries, and private institutions to give their generous financial and other support. States that had interrupted their voluntary contributions would be urged to consider resuming them in view of the successful restructuring and revitalization of the Institute. The Assembly would encourage the Board of Trustees to resolve the critical financial situation of the Institute, particularly with a view to broadening its donor base and increasing the contributions to the General Fund.

    The representative of the United States noted that while her country had provided financial support for the Institute, considering its training work to contribute meaningfully to the functioning of the United Nations, it had not taken decisive measures to generate sufficient funds to cover its expenses. The UNITAR should cover its shortfall by charging fees for the courses it offered, or by adjusting other financial arrangements, which had contributed to its indebtedness. The United States would not support another UNITAR bailout, or its standard funding from the regular budget.

    According to a draft on the United Nations University (document A/C.2/59/L.35/Rev.1), the Assembly would encourage that institution to continue its efforts to create a critical mass of viable research, as well as training centres and programmes around the world, focused on the needs and concerns of developing countries in particular.

    Further by that text, the Assembly would encourage the University to continue implementing the Secretary-General’s suggestions on innovative measures to improve interaction and communication between the University and other United Nations entities, and request the Secretary-General to encourage other United Nations bodies more fully to use the University to mobilize a worldwide network of applied policy researchers to assist the United Nations through research and capacity development in resolving pressing global problems. It would also invite the international community to make voluntary contributions to the University, particularly to its Endowment Fund, to consolidate its distinctive identity.

    By a draft on the report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme at its eighth special session (document A/C.2/59/L.62), the Assembly would emphasize the need for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to further contribute to sustainable development programmes, to the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation at all levels, and to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

    Also by that text, introduced by Committee Vice-Chair Ewa Anzorge (Poland) and approved as orally amended, the Assembly would call upon all countries to further engage in negotiations for an intergovernmental strategic plan for technology support and capacity-building with a view to its adoption at the February 2005 session of the UNEP Governing Council. It would also emphasize the need to further enhance coordination and cooperation among relevant United Nations organizations in promoting the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

    By other terms, the Assembly would call upon UNEP to continue contributing to preparations for the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, to be held in Mauritius from 10 to 14 January 2005. Further, it would reiterate the need for stable, adequate and predictable financial resources for UNEP, and underline the need to consider adequate reflection of all administrative and management costs of the Programme in the context of the United Nations regular budget.

    Also today, the Committee approved, without a vote, an oral decision to take note of the report of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on implementation of General Assembly resolution 57/249 (contained in document A/59/202).

    The Second Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday 16 December to act on its remaining draft resolutions and conclude its annual session.

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