Cablegate: Ecosoc Launches Annual Ministerial Review,


DE RUEHGV #1803/01 1991150
R 181150Z JUL 07






E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered
strongly-worded remarks at the July 2 opening of the UN
Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) High Level Segment,
stating that "existing trade barriers, agricultural
subsidies and restrictive rules on intellectual property
rights...make a mockery of our tall claims to eliminate
hunger and poverty from our world." Ban also made opening
remarks at the July 5 ceremonial launch of the ECOSOC's
"Development Cooperation Forum" (DCF), where he emphasized
the importance of continuing to improve coordination of
development assistance. However, subsequent interventions
at the DCF largely focused on familiar development policy
issues including national aid targets, monitoring donor
commitments, and the like. The highlights of ECOSOC'S new
flagship Annual Ministerial Review (of progress towards the
Millennium Development Goals) on July 3-4 were voluntary
national presentations by Bangladesh, Barbados, Ethiopia,
Ghana, Cambodia, and Cape Verde on their national
development strategies, with several presenting balanced
reports on their development challenges including the
importance of private sector growth. Protracted
negotiations over a draft Ministerial Declaration for the
High Level Segment bore little resemblance to the
encouraging discussions in the plenary hall, with the EU
and G77 deadlocking over climate change, and the issues of
official development assistance and the establishment of
ECOSOC mechanisms to follow up major UN conferences
requiring lengthy discussions. Nonetheless, the final
Ministerial Declaration, adopted by consensus almost a week
behind schedule on July 10, contains helpful language on
the importance of improving governance and facilitating
private sector led growth, while limiting the Ministers'
pronouncements on climate change to previously agreed
language and a nod to major upcoming meetings. End Summary.

ECOSOC Launches Two New Forums

2. (U) ECOSOC launched two new policy forums at its July 2-
6 High Level Segment intended to strengthen the
Organization's role in the development process--the Annual
Ministerial Review (AMR) and Development Cooperation Forum.
The DCF emerged from the 2005 World Summit, which called on
ECOSOC to convene a biennial high level DCF to review
trends in international development cooperation, promote
greater coherence among development activities of various
development partners, and strengthen the links between the
normative and operational work of the UN. The AMR has its
origins in the World Summit as well as UNGA Resolution
61/16 of 2006, which directed ECOSOC to hold "annual
ministerial-level substantive reviews" as part of its high-
level segment. Although Austria sponsored a preparatory
conference in Vienna in April 2007, the July 5 meeting in
Geneva officially kicked off preparations for the first
full-length DCF planned for New York during the 2008 ECOSOC
(July) substantive session.

3. (U) In his remarks at the July 2 opening of the High
Level Segment, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
complimented ECOSOC for its "bold new initiatives to re-
energize its functions and rejuvenate its mission." As a
result, Ban noted, ECOSOC is well on its way to becoming
"the global hub for devising and overseeing development
policies and practices." Ban noted that, at the midpoint
of the "race to achieve the Millennium Development Goals"
(MDGs), progress has been slow in some of the world's
poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, even
if the the MDGs "remain achievable in most countries...if
political leaders take urgent and concerted action."

4. (U) Ban noted that experience has shown that successful
national development strategies must be aligned with the
MDGs through internal effort, not imposed from outside. He
called on donors to meet the "0.7 percent official
development assistance target", and urged them to "issue
timelines for scaling up aid to reach their target
commitments by 2010 and 2015." As they do so, Ban
continued, "they must also address the disparities in the
global trade regime, which handcuff so many developing
nations...Existing trade barriers, agricultural subsidies
and restrictive rules on intellectual property rights
reinforce global inequities-and they make a mockery of our
tall claims to eliminate hunger and poverty from our

Annual Ministerial Review

5. (U) The highlights of the first-time AMR on July 3-4
were voluntary national presentations by Bangladesh,
Ethiopia, Ghana, Barbados, Cambodia, and Cape Verde on
their national development strategies. In particular, the
presentations by the first three countries were notable for
their balanced approach and the importance they placed on
macroeconomic stability and private sector led growth in
both industry and agriculture.

6. (U) In his statement during the AMR General Debate,
Ambassador Terry Miller congratulated countries for their
voluntary presentations, noted that robust economic growth
and liberalized trade have underpinned much of the recent
decline in poverty rates, and reiterated the U.S.
commitment to the global partnership for development.

Development Cooperation Forum Off to Slow Start
--------------------------------------------- --

7. (U) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon kicked off the
ceremonial launch of ECOSOC's Development Cooperation Forum
on July 5 with a reasonable case for discussion: "Over the
years...development assistance has expanded in a haphazard
fashion...unnecessarily fragmented and complicated...The
number of donors is increasing, and the interface with
partner countries is becoming more demanding and
multifaceted. Donor policies and procedures are
varied...harmonization is proving difficult. National
administrative systems are burdened with responding to
different frameworks and to demands by various stakeholders.
The emergence of new and increasingly specialized funds
makes the system even more complex." However, his
prescription was that "...all stakeholders participate
actively in building a broad consensus on the governance of
international development cooperation." He averred that
the global effort to advance MDGs "...will bear fruit only
if all the stakeholders -- Governments, UN system
organizations, civil society, parliaments, private sector
and academia -- understand that they are accountable to one

8. (SBU) The notion that recipient countries should
evaluate or grade donors and their assistance was an oft
repeated theme of G-77 spokesperson Pakistani Ambassador
Munir Akram during the DCF and ECOSOC's four-day High Level
Segment. Akram's remarks, prepared in response to the
SYG's July 5 statement, criticized ECOSOC for its
perfunctory oversight of bilateral cooperation, poor
cooperation with technical and specialized agencies, and
non-existent review of IFI programs. The G-77, UN
officials, and some European donors asserted repeatedly
that donor targets of 0.7 percent are set in stone and are
open to judgment by all.

Tough Negotiations on Ministerial Declaration

9. (SBU) Negotiations on the Ministerial Declaration for
the High Level Segment proved very difficult and exposed
sensitivities on the part of delegations on several major
issues. Negotiations went nearly a week beyond the initial
allotted time, with ECOSOC finally adopting the declaration
by consensus at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, July 10, well after the
end of the High Level Segment July 5, the traditional
deadline. The main battles on the text pitted the G77
against the EU, with the United States and others in
JUSCANZ occupying a more flexible middle ground.

10. (SBU) Climate change, official development assistance
(ODA), and follow-up monitoring mechanisms proved to be the
thorniest issues. In the end, climate change was by far
the most difficult issue, with debate on this issue taking
up the last two days of negotiations and turning into a
prime example of the widening G77-EU conflict in the UN.
Surprisingly, the EU showed itself to be very flexible;
many were surprised to see how low its bottom-line
positions were, when they finally revealed them after the
protracted negotiations.

11. (SBU) In contrast, the G77 had incredible difficulty
with climate change, taking very rigid positions and
proving unable to engage meaningfully in negotiations due
to a clear split in the group. India and China pushed
narrow agendas focusing on restating at every opportunity
the principle of "common but differentiated
responsibilities", likely in hopes of bolstering their

positions in climate change negotiations next fall. The
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and others,
championed by Barbados, openly showed their anger at the
way Pakistan handled the negotiation. In one side meeting
to hammer out language on climate change, the Chinese
delegate said her government would rather not have the
Ministerial Declaration than concede on key positions,
particularly the reference to common but differentiated

12. (SBU) Given the strong conflict between the EU and G77
on the issue, not surprisingly the final climate change
language in the Ministerial Declaration was very modest.
It recognized the impact of climate change on all countries,
including developing countries; restated agreed language
from the UNFCCC on the global nature of climate change and
the common but differentiated responsibilities and
capabilities of respective countries; restated agreed
language on the need to coordinate responses to climate
change with social and economic development and the
legitimate priority needs of developing countries for
sustained economic growth and eradicating poverty; and gave
a nod to upcoming climate change meetings, including the
December 2007 meetings in Bali, Indonesia and the Secretary
General's September 24 High Level Event.

13. (SBU) After hours of fruitless discussions on ODA,
Ambassador Miller negotiated mutually acceptable language
with Pakistani Permanent Representative Akram which
preserved U.S. interests and indicated clearly that the 0.7
percent ODA target is not universally accepted. The EU and
others eventually accepted the joint U.S. - G77 proposal.
Language on follow-up monitoring mechanisms also appeared
headed for an impasse between the G77 on one side and the
EU, Russians, and Japanese on the other. In the end,
however, the facilitator included in the final "take it or
leave it" text watered down language on the issue omitting
any specific new mandates for ECOSOC. (Note: Stronger
language had actually been agreed in GA resolution 60/265 -
on development follow-up.) While sidestepping the issue of
establishing follow-up monitoring mechanisms under ECOSOC
for the time being, there is a real chance the topic may
come up again in another ECOSOC resolution or in the
General Assembly.


14. (SBU) The July 5 ceremonial launch of the DCF proved
short on specifics while long on homilies and hortatory
admonitions. While no single item rose to the level of a
"red flag," the general tenor of the remarks suggests the
U.S. and other donors will need to maintain continued
vigilance against efforts to impose "global governance" on
donors and aid recipients, including the monitoring of
bilateral contributions, whether they be made bilaterally
or through multilateral institutions. Based on the
ceremonial launch, the DCF has a long way to go to deliver
its promise of a dynamic forum to review trends and
progress in international development cooperation, while
giving member states an opportunity to exchange lessons
learned and share best practices. Although negotiations on
the Ministerial Declaration were tedious, language on ODA
and other issues will be useful in the debate in the run-up
to the Financing for Development follow-up slated for late
2008. We are particularly pleased with the strong
references in the text to good governance and the role of
the private sector in driving growth and reducing poverty.

Ban's Role

15. (SBU) That the relatively positive outcome of the High
Level Segment came despite rather than because of
leadership by the Secretary General is cause for concern.
Ban's introductory statements were politicized and one-
sided, focusing excessively on ODA and what he
characterized as problems with intellectual property rights,
and virtually ignoring the private sector and the importance
of domestic governance. His rhetoric was a throwback to
a North/South dialogue that most members of ECOSOC have
moved beyond. We can only hope that his statements reflect
the views of diehards in the UN Secretariat rather than his
own personal ideas.

© Scoop Media

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