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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2013

Second Committee of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly - General debate

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr Jim McLay, Permanent Representative of New Zealand 9 October 2013


New Zealand is pleased to participate in this opening debate of the Second Committee and congratulate the Permanent Representative of Senegal, Ambassador Abdou Salam Diallo, on election as Chair.  You have our full support –support that will be particularly active because of our role as a member of the Committee’s Bureau. 

The official name of Second Committee –the Economic and Financial Committee- no longer accurately reflects the full range of work within its mandate.  Today, the word “development” appears in the name of most agenda items, reflecting a much broader focus than envisaged in 1947. 

This year our work takes place against the backdrop of the approaching deadlines both for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and for elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.  Indeed, the President of the General Assembly, John Ashe, has designated the theme of the 68th session as “setting the stage” for that agenda; and New Zealand welcomes that designation, which reflects that we now need to work together on an agenda focused on creating economic opportunities and the eradication of poverty, as the New Zealand Prime Minister said at the recent General Debate.

In 2012 we began to see references to the post-2015 development agenda in resolutions.  That practice will undoubtedly continue this year because many of the issues proposed for inclusion in the post-2015 agenda and as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also the subject of resolutions in this Committee.  While it is not for this Committee to make decisions on what may or may not be a SDG or be included the post-2015 agenda, the work done here can help to set the scene for the discussions ahead.

New Zealand is pleased to be represented on the Bureau and to have oversight of the sustainable development cluster of resolutions, which like “sustainable development” itself covers a diverse range of issues, not least, this year the modalities for two major conferences. 

New Zealand welcomed the decision to hold the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in our Pacific neighbour, Samoa, in 2014.  Last year’s resolution endorsed the proposed partnerships theme, also likely to be a key aspect of the post-2015 agenda.  Samoa has since said it plans to launch a partnership working with all sectors to create jobs for youth, a challenge in many countries, both developed and developing.  New Zealand is strongly committed to supporting a successful Conference in September; and we look forward to the committee making the remaining decisions for the preparatory process, and for the Conference itself.

Another priority for New Zealand will be decisions on the 2015 conference to review the Hyogo Framework on disaster risk reduction.  Since the 2005 conference, New Zealand has suffered its own natural disasters: a series of earthquakes that devastated our second largest city - and so we know first-hand the importance of preparedness and resilience.  While the 2012 resolution made some decisions about the Conference most aspects were left for this year.  Japan has now offered to hold the conference in Senchai in March 2015, a well-chosen date because its outcome will still be able to feed into the post-2015 agenda. 

As has been our position for other recent major conferences, we consider that development conferences should be inclusive, with full participation by states, including those that are members of specialised agencies, and also with representation for relevant stakeholders including civil society. 

The macro-economic and financing for development agenda items and associated resolutions are an important component of this Committee’s work.  For the last two years a consensus has been reached on all these resolutions, including on trade, and because trade is central to growth and development, we hope that desirable trend will continue this year as well.  It has long been New Zealand’s position that we can advance the position of the world’s most disadvantaged if we create a framework within which they could trade more effectively.  The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December could help intensify efforts to move forward with the Doha Development Agenda process.

Trade is also a relevant component of discussions on Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition.  As a major agricultural producer, New Zealand is acutely aware of both the opportunities and the challenges associated with the sustainable use of natural resources for agricultural development, not least those presented by climate change.  We are taking leadership in areas where we can make a difference, for example through the “Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases”.  We are doing what we can domestically, as well as to support a global solution.  Encouraging the provision of effective outcome-focused climate change finance is part of that.
Technology and innovation is key not only to agricultural development but to development generally.  This year, reflecting our position at UNESCO, New Zealand will be a lead co-sponsor of a new resolution to create the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015.

Last year’s resolution on the quadrennial comprehensive review of the operational activities of the UN development system was significant in many respects.  This year our task turns to ensuring its implementation is on track. 

Finally, New Zealand welcomes our initial discussion on working methods.  We look forward to further discussions on the mandate given in the recent ECOSOC reform resolution about possible rationalisation of issues on the agenda of both this Committee and ECOSOC. 

This Committee has much work ahead in coming weeks.  Both as an active member of the Committee itself, and of its Bureau, New Zealand welcomes the opportunity to continue playing a constructive role and to contribute to a successful session.

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Page last updated: Friday, 11 October 2013 08:45 NZDT