Press Releases

    30 May 2005

    General Assembly Elects António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of Portugal As New High Commissioner for Refugees

    Also Adopts Resolution on High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development to Be Held 27 - 28 June

    NEW YORK, 27 May (UN Headquarters) -- Acting on the Secretary-General’s proposal, the General Assembly this afternoon elected António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of Portugal as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees while also adopting, without a vote, a resolution designating the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, taking place on 27-28 June at Headquarters, as an intergovernmental focal point for follow-up to the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico.

    Newly elected High Commissioner Guterres will begin serving a five-year term on 15 June following the Secretary-General’s acceptance of a resignation by the former High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers effective 20 February. Wendy Chamberlin, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, has been serving as Acting High Commissioner in the interim.

    With an extensive background in the political, professional and academic fields, Mr. Gutteres served as both Member of Parliament and Prime Minister for his country. Involvement with numerous non-governmental organizations led to his becoming a founding member of the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991.

    On the forthcoming High-Level Dialogue, the resolution on modalities (document A/59/L.61) also designated the theme for the event as “The Monterrey Consensus, status of implementation and tasks ahead”. Introducing the resolution, Mexico’s representative said the text provided a solid foundation for continued discussions of development goals at the Assembly’s September high-level segment.

    While he was part of the consensus on the Dialogue modalities, Venezuela’s representative said the interactive multi-stakeholder round tables planned for the second day did not reflect the cross-cutting issues intended to be addressed. The ability of developing countries to participate was affected by the policies of international financial institutions.

    Those interactive multi-stakeholder round tables were part of the modalities set out by the resolution adopted today. Other modalities included the decisions that the results of the Dialogue would be input for the preparatory process for the High-Level Plenary Meeting in September, that the Dialogue would be held at the ministerial level and that the formal and informal meetings within the dialogue would constitute a policy dialogue. Each of the six round tables would be devoted to a chapter of the Monterrey Consensus adopted by the Monterrey Conference.

    Round table 1, therefore, would focus on mobilizing domestic resources for development; round table 2, on foreign direct investment and other private flows; round table 3, on international trade as an engine for development; round table 4, on increasing international cooperation for development; round table 5, on external debt; and round table 6, on the international monetary, financial and trading systems to support development.

    Further by the text, governments were invited to enhance coordination among ministries, central banks and other national stakeholders in preparing for the High-Level Dialogue. The Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations system were invited to participate.

    The High-Level Dialogue will be open to non-governmental organizations and to business sector entities in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and the International Conference on Trade and Development, both of which would take part in the interactive round tables and informal meetings. All issues regarding financing for development would also be discussed during informal interactive hearings, to be held on 23 and 24 June, with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector.

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