Dissemination of technology essential in achieving equality, poverty eradication: Second Committee discusses globalization, interdependence
Economic stagnation and lacklustre recovery from the global economic crisis had revealed dysfunction in international organizations and the need to reform unequal power structures, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) was told on 15 October as it took up consideration of “Globalization and interdependence”.
The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, spoke of the disparity in development, noting that this morning for breakfast he had a banana from Ecuador, cereal from Canada and milk from the United States. Meanwhile, millions of people found themselves in the difficult situation of needing international assistance to cope with everyday life.
As global people living in a global village, “we feel ashamed of ourselves when we observe people dying from hunger and suffering from economic deprivation,” he said. That challenge would continue to grow as the youth in least developed countries were expected to increase by 34 per cent over the next 15 years.
Mexico’s delegate said that cooperation, in general, and dissemination of technology, in particular, was essential in achieving equality and poverty eradication. Bridging the digital divide required embracing the information society which was plural, transparent, decentralized, democratic and egalitarian.
He said that the 2008 financial crisis had demonstrated the fragility of middle‑income countries as well and expressed concern that indicators based on numerical averages did not accurately reflect the problems of middle‑income countries. Once States graduated from low‑income to middle‑income status they were no longer eligible for aid and that threatened much of their progress.
Poverty in middle‑income countries was multidimensional in nature and should be addressed as such, the representative Costa Rica stressed. The representative of Belarus, pointing out that 70 per cent of the world’s poor lived in middle-income countries, said it was unfortunate that the United Nations did not have a cohesive plan in dealing with those nations but was rather engaging with them on a piecemeal basis.
Also speaking on Thursday, Morocco’s delegate said the financial crisis had revealed dysfunction in international institutions. He urged institutional reform to ensure decision‑making was more equitable, democratic and responsive to the needs of all countries. That included integrating all States into financial markets, reforming the Bretton Woods institutions, and concluding the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations to make trade fairer.
Echoing that sentiment, the representative of India called for the reform of unequal power structures and outdated models. At various international financial institutions, even modest proposals for incremental reform remained buried under selective legal obscuration.
The role of science, technology and innovation in development was also highlighted throughout Thursday’s debate, with the delegate from Ethiopia pointing to how his country’s national policy had exploited science, technology and innovation to enhance production and productivity, as well as competitiveness in agriculture and manufacturing.
Earlier in the morning, reports were introduced to the Committee by the Chief of Science and Technology at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and two officials from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Also speaking today was South Africa (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), the Philippines (on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Ecuador (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Belarus, Singapore, Philippines (in her national capacity), Russian Federation, Brazil, Ukraine, Algeria, Malta, Cuba, Bahrain, Morocco, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Botswana, Libya, Paraguay, Nepal, Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Peru, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Honduras, Azerbaijan, Guatemala and Cameroon.
Introduction of Reports and Statements
DONG WU, Chief of Science and Technology at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), introduced the report of the Secretary-General on “Science and technology for development”. She focused on main areas and recommendations covered in the report. One major challenge common to developing countries, she said, was how to relate science, technology and innovation strategies to national development strategies. The innovative capacities of societies were critical in the transition to inclusive and sustainable pathways of development. Science, technology and innovation strategies were often not well integrated into sectoral development plans. That was often due to weak governance processes and a lack in the clear division of roles. The report also highlighted findings from the Conference’s recent research including innovative policy tools for inclusive development, global value chains, and gender sensitive science and technology policies.
JOOP THEUNISSEN, of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introducing the report of the Secretary-General on the “Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence”, said that successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would depend on the international community’s ability to manage globalization and revitalize the partnership for development. The report also identified economic, social and environmental challenges that could affect the success of the Agenda. Trends in globalization had caused expanding trade, but that growth was “uneven and unpredictable”. Youth unemployment and fragile labour markets must be tackled through a multidimensional approach that included social protection. Further, while globalization was often associated with lifestyle changes, an expanding middle-class increased the burden on the environment.
MATTHIAS KEMPF, Economic Affairs Officer, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introducing the report of the Secretary-General on development coordination with middle-income countries, said that with 104 countries in that category, it was inherently difficult to speak of common trends. Nevertheless, certain features stood out, including the slowing of economic growth. The middle-income countries of Asia featured the strongest performance. The overall weak performance had a ripple effect on different economic areas. The employment situation, after solidly positive trends in the direct aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, had also weakened with fewer jobs being generated. Such cyclical developments came on top of more structural problems such as large gaps in youth unemployment and the prevalence of informal work.
Ms. BALENI (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that although globalization could be a powerful and dynamic force for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, its benefits remained elusive for developing countries. She underscored the importance of North-South, South-South, triangular, regional and international cooperation, as well as access to science and environmentally sound technologies for development. The United Nations must continue to provide strategic leadership and direction for modern science and technology in pursuit of development goals. Only through innovation could humanity address obstacles to sustainable development.
She said that her Group remained committed to promoting principles which underpinned South-South Cooperation. Developing countries needed to support one another in sharing best practices on science, technology and innovation policies. On culture, she said it was essential to human development as it represented a source of “identity innovation” and creativity for the individual and community. The 2030 Agenda stressed the need for international cooperation and relationship-building through inter-cultural understanding, tolerance and mutual respect. The United Nations remained an anchor in promoting such global dialogue.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that this morning, he was privileged to have a banana from Ecuador, cereal from Canada and milk from the United States, but saddened to observe the violence in Palestine and the Middle East. As a global people living in a global village, “we feel ashamed of ourselves when we observe people dying from hunger and suffering from economic deprivation.” Many people in the least developed countries found themselves in the difficult situation of needing international assistance to cope with everyday life.
With stagnation and low progress in poverty reduction observed in 16 of the least developed countries, he continued, it was clear the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals were highly uneven. Stressing the importance of adequate resources and technology transfer, he noted that the youth population in least developed countries would increase by 34 per cent over the next 15 years. That population with its high potential and keen learning spirit should find employment globally for a win-win situation, and the international community must follow the guidelines regarding migration in the 2030 Agenda. It was also important to help those countries merge into the global technology highway.
- Science and technology for development | Report of the Secretary-General, 4 August 2015
- Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence | Report of the Secretary-General, 17 August 2015
- Development coordination with middle-income countries | Report of the Secretary-General, 31 July 2015