Committee for Development Policy - Report on the fourteenth session (12-16 March 2012) (E/2012/33)
The present report contains the main findings and recommendations of the Committee for Development Policy at its fourteenth session. The Committee addressed the following themes: productive capacity and employment; the international development strategy beyond 2015; the triennial review of the list of least developed countries (including monitoring of the development progress of Equatorial Guinea and Samoa); and strengthening the process of smooth transition of countries graduating from the category of least developed countries.
In its analysis of the theme of the 2012 annual ministerial review (“Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the Millennium Development Goals”), the Committee noted that employment had become a major global concern in view of persistent underemployment and increased unemployment in many parts of the world. It also noted that women continued to face adverse conditions in employment, while youth were particularly hard hit by the recent global economic crisis.
The Committee noted that the employment situation varied according to a country’s level of development. In general, however, macroeconomic policies should be reoriented towards reducing output volatility and promoting growth through the introduction of countercyclical measures, as well as by prudent regulation and financial reform. The Committee offered guiding principles in the selection of the type of productive employment-generating activities to be publicly supported. The Committee stressed the importance for job creation of strengthening the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in the economy. The Committee also emphasized the role public employment programmes could play in offering temporary relief for workers affected by unemployment. Moreover, international cooperation and coordination, including regional arrangements, were required for both macroeconomic and proactive structural transformation policies, not only in manufacturing but also in agriculture and services.
The Committee considered the main principles for the development agenda beyond 2015. It made suggestions on the general contours of strategies to address current and emerging challenges. Despite some flaws, the Millennium Development Goal strategy has had important achievements, representing a global commitment to poverty reduction and development, and this commitment must be continued after 2015. However, a simple extension of the Millennium Development Goals will not suffice. New challenges have emerged, such as climate change and the food security crisis, while older challenges have not been adequately addressed, such as persistent inequalities across and within countries. The new development framework should incorporate the core principles articulated in the Millennium Declaration, including solidarity, respect for the environment and the expansion of people’s freedoms in a sustainable, durable and equitable way. Those principles, however, have not been fully reflected or adequately incorporated in the Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, the formulation and implementation of the global development agenda must accord with the fundamental principle of inclusive participation. The global development agenda should be applicable to all countries and not limited to developing countries. In pursuing these essential principles, there is an urgent need to identify appropriate development strategies, including key elements of policies that should promote dynamic transformation while being adapted to country-specific contexts. Goals should be accompanied by conditions to help achieve them.
The Committee conducted the triennial review of the list of least developed countries. Accordingly, it recommends South Sudan for inclusion in the list, subject to the country’s agreement. Tuvalu and Vanuatu are found eligible for the third consecutive time and are recommended for graduation from the list. Angola and Kiribati meet the eligibility criteria for graduation for the first time and will be considered for graduation in the next triennial review, in 2015. The Committee noted the sustained positive development progress of the graduated countries, Cape Verde and Maldives, as well as of Samoa, which is scheduled for graduation in January 2014, and Equatorial Guinea, the graduation of which was endorsed by the Council in 2009 but has not yet been taken note of by the General Assembly. In that regard, the Committee reiterated its concern that the continuing lack of action by the Assembly was prejudicial to the category.
Lastly, the Committee reviewed the existing smooth transition mechanisms as specified in General Assembly resolution 59/209. It argued that it was necessary to further clarify what support would be provided by development partners after graduation and to adjust that support to the development situation of the graduated country. It suggested actions to strengthen the process of preparing for graduation from the category, including giving greater clarity as to what part of the support countries already receive is specific to least developed countries. The proposals also include improved procedures for phasing out the support measures. The Committee cautioned against the binary application of support (i.e., it is available if a country is a least developed country but not upon graduation). In this regard, it suggests that donors consider the use of least developed country criteria (in particular the economic vulnerability index) in guiding their aid allocations. It also recommends consideration of the establishment of insurance mechanisms against adverse external shocks for countries graduating from the category.