Globalization Widens the Gap Between Rich and Poor – Brief Article
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial), chaired by Roble Olhaye of Djibouti, addressed a large number of sensitive issues concerning globalization and development, such as the diminishing flow of official development assistance (ODA), trade and development, environment and development, foreign debt reduction initiatives, the eradication of poverty, transfer of technology, international cooperation, new international financial architecture and foreign direct investment.
Mr. Olhaye described the session–which successfully completed its work on 22 December when the General Assembly followed its recommendations and adopted 37 resolutions and 10 decisions–as “a wonderful learning process”. The Committee’s debates were largely held against the backdrop of globalization. There was widespread agreement that globalization offered many opportunities for economic growth, but many developing countries felt it widened the gap between rich and poor.
Following the Committee’s recommendations, the Assembly called for increased international cooperation to address the challenges of globalization through the enhanced participation of developing countries in the international economic policy decision-making process; integrated consideration of trade, finance, technology transfer and development issues by the relevant international institutions; and continuation of a wide range of reforms of the international financial system. The Assembly further decided to convene a high-level intergovernmental event in 2001, to address national, international and systemic issues relating to financing for development in the context of globalization and interdependence of the international community.
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Diminishing flows of ODA, together with the international financial crisis of the last two years, led the Assembly to call upon developed countries to achieve the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product for overall ODA. Several delegations stressed the need for adequate and predictable financial resources for implementation of development programmes and for an increase in foreign direct investment.
Trade liberalization was intensely debated, particularly within the context of two major global forums on trade: the World Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting in Seattle; and the tenth United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD X) in Bangkok. Developing countries called for greater access to global markets with preferential treatment. The Assembly deplored any attempt to bypass or undermine multilaterally agreed procedures on the conduct of international trade by unilateral actions inconsistent with the multilateral trade rules and regulations.
The Assembly called for the renewal of national, regional and international efforts to promote the greater involvement of the private sector in the prevention and resolution of financial crises. It also underscored the importance of a more equitable distribution of the cost of adjustments between the public and private sectors, as well as between debtors, creditors and investors.
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Africa’s development was the subject of several resolutions, including on the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa, cooperation between the United Nations and the Southern African Development Community, and conservation and sustainable development of Central African forest ecosystems.
The Assembly adopted 12 resolutions on environment and sustainable development. On international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Nino phenomenon, it called for the establishment of an international research centre on El Nino at Guayaquil, Ecuador. It also urged the Caribbean countries to develop an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area. Member States were further called on to improve their emergency response to natural disasters and for the containment of environmental damage in the Caribbean Sea area.
In one of three contested actions, the Assembly adopted a resolution urging the international community to eliminate the use of unilateral economic measures against developing countries that contravene the principles of the multilateral trading system and that are not authorized by the United Nations or inconsistent with the UN Charter. In another, the Assembly adopted a resolution on establishing a stable international financial system that was responsive to the challenges of development, especially in the developing countries. By recorded vote, it again called on Israel not to exploit or endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.
In addition, the Committee recommended action related to the Economic and Social Council, operational activities for development, training and research, and implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006).