Cablegate: Unga Second Committee Concludes Work by Adopting
DE RUCNDT #1172/01 3502312
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 152312Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5522
UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 001172
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON SENV EFIN UNGA CU
SUBJECT: UNGA SECOND COMMITTEE CONCLUDES WORK BY ADOPTING
REF: STATE 129979
1. SUMMARY: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) Second Committee
concluded its work by adopting 15 draft resolutions - 14 by
consensus and one by vote - on December 11. As instructed,
the United States called for a vote and voted against the
resolution entitled, "Toward a New International Economic
Order." The resolution, a Cuban-led initiative reviving the
34-year-old Declaration on a New International Economic
Order, passed 115-1(U.S.)-49, after which the United States
delivered reftel Explanation of Vote (EOV). Despite not
voting against the resolution, Canada, Australia, France (on
behalf of the EU), Chile, Peru and Colombia asserted that it
includes elements that are not appropriate to today's
economic situation and which threaten to detract from ongoing
multilateral efforts to address the global financial crisis.
WRAPPING UP ITS WORK BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS
2. The UNGA Second Committee (Economic and Financial) adopted
14 resolutions by consensus and approved one by vote during
its final meeting of the 63rd General Assembly on December
11. The Secretariat issued statements to clarify that three
resolutions calling for future meetings and conferences
contain no current Program Budget Implications (PBIs), but
future implications could arise once the details of those
meetings have been agreed. In addition to reftel EOV, the
United States delivered Explanations of Position (EOP) on
draft resolutions covering Implementation of Agenda 21, the
Second UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, and the Role
of Microcredit and Microfinance. U.S. statements are
available at www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/press release.php.
All decisions and resolutions adopted in the Second
Committee this session will undergo final action in the
General Assembly during the week of December 15.
1974 OR 2008? NEW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER DRAFT APPROVED
3. As instructed in reftel, the United States called for a
vote and voted against the draft resolution A/C.2/63/L.34
entitled, "Towards a New International Economic Order,"
submitted under Agenda item 51(a). The resolution, a
Cuban-led redux of the 1974 Declaration on the Establishment
of a New International Economic Order, passed by a vote of
115-1(U.S.)-49. Ambassador T. Vance McMahan delivered reftel
EOV, expressing regret that this resolution was approved
despite failing to contribute constructively to the numerous
multilateral efforts underway to address the financial and
4. Canada, Australia and France (on behalf of the EU)
abstained during the vote, but each delivered a statement
critical of the resolution. Canada echoed the U.S. position
that the resolution does not support ongoing multilateral
efforts to address the global financial crisis. It cautioned
that the resolution threatens to dilute the progress achieved
at the recent Doha Financing for Development (FfD) Conference
by sending conflicting signals to the UN Secretariat and the
international community. France called the resolution's
references to the 1974 Declaration on the Establishment of a
New International Economic Order "irrelevant and outdated,"
and argued that the resolution could marginalize other,
productive UN efforts to respond to the current economic
5. Chile, Peru and Colombia explained that they voted for the
resolution "because they are G77 members," but questioned the
appropriateness of references to the 1974 Declaration in the
context of today's crisis. The Chilean Delegate hinted at
frustration over the G77's decision not to adopt
(unspecified) amendments it offered during informal
consultations, and stressed that the FfD Conference outcome
document should form the framework for the UN's response to
the crisis. Colombia went further by disassociating itself
from references to the old Declaration and affirmed only its
agreement "to the general principles of the resolution."
6. Russia and Mexico, on the other hand, welcomed the
resolution's contribution to the GA's work to address the
crisis. Cuba, as the resolution's sponsor and main driving
force, insisted that the fundamental principles of the 1974
Declaration remain "more relevant today than ever before,"
because "the world has become more chaotic, unfair and
unequal." Cuba referenced the U.S. EOV when railing against
the "senseless theory of market prominence defended by
ideologues," in its statement, and suggested that "even those
ideologues now recognize the need for deep, radical reform of
its economic model and institutions."
FOURTEEN RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY CONSENSUS
7. The Second Committee approved the following 14 draft
resolutions by consensus after the Secretariat clarified that
there are no current PBIs for the resolutions on Least
Developed Countries, International Migration, and Combating
Corruption, although future implications could arise once the
modalities and logistics have been decided for meetings
contained in these resolutions. All other drafts contained
--A/C.2/63/L.62 entitled, "Implementation of Agenda 21, the
Program for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the
outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,"
submitted under Agenda item 49(a).
--A/C.2/63/L.61 entitled, "Convention on Biological
Diversity," submitted under Agenda item 49(f).
--A/C.2/63/L.54 entitled, "Report of the Governing Council of
the United Nations Environment Program on its tenth special
session," submitted under Agenda item 49(g).
--A/C.2/63/L.64 entitled, "Implementation of the Outcome of
the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat
II) and Strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements
Program (UN-Habitat)," submitted under Agenda item 50.
--A/C.2/63/L.66 entitled, "Role of the United Nations in
Promoting Development in the Context of Globalization and
Interdependence," submitted under Agenda item 51(a).
--A/C.2/63/L.67 entitled, "International Migration and
Development," submitted under Agenda item 51(b).
--A/C.2/63/L.60 entitled, "Preventing and Combating Corrupt
Practices and Transfer of Assets of Illicit Origin and
Returning Such Assets, in Particular to the Countries of
Origin, Consistent with the United Nations Convention Against
Corruption," submitted under Agenda item 51(d).
--A/C.2/63/L.57 entitled, "Implementation of the Brussels
Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the
Decade 2001-2010," submitted under Agenda item 52(a).
--A/C.2/63/L.59 entitled, "Groups of Countries in Special
Situations: Specific Actions Related to the Particular Needs
and Problems of Landlocked Developing Countries: Outcome of
the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and
Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and
International Financial and Development Institutions on
Transit Transport Cooperation," submitted under Agenda item
--A/C.2/63/L.58 entitled, "Second United Nations Decade for
the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)," submitted under
Agenda item 53(a).
--A/C.2/63/L.56 entitled, "Role of Microcredit and
Microfinance in the Eradication of Poverty," submitted under
Agenda item 53(a).
--A/C.2/63/L.48 entitled, "Operational Activities for
Development," submitted under Agenda item 54.
--A/C.2/63/L.63 entitled, "High-level United Nations
Conference on South-South Cooperation," submitted under
Agenda item 54.
--A/C.2/63/L.68 entitled, "Draft Program of Work of the
Second Committee for the Sixty-Fourth Session of the General
US STATEMENTS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT,
POVERTY, AND MICROFINANCE
8. Following adoption of the resolution on Implementation of
Agenda 21, the United States, Canada and Australia delivered
EOPs expressing reservations about holding a 2012 high-level
event on sustainable development, as originally proposed in
the resolution, in order to avoid disrupting the ongoing work
of the Commission on Sustainable Development and to prevent
overcrowding an already busy UN calendar. The United States
delivered an EOP on the Second UN Decade for the Eradication
of Poverty to underscore the need for coherence and close
coordination among UN agencies and funds in the fight against
poverty. On Microfinance and Microcredit, the United States
welcomed policy reforms by countries to level the playing
field for small enterprises and noting that it looks forward
to continued international cooperation in this field.