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UN General Assembly urges trading system transparency and debt relief

UN General Assembly urges trading system transparency and debt relief

The United Nations General Assembly, acting on recommendations from its Economic and Financial Committee, today called for the exploration of new mechanisms to reduce the debt load of the poorest countries and for greater transparency in the multilateral trading system.

One resolution among 40 sent by the body, also known as the Second Committee, and adopted by the Assembly without a vote said debt relief could be a vital factor in freeing up resources for poverty eradication and sustainable development.

For the poorest countries, especially those classified as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), the resolution recommended assessing the results of various forms of debt swaps.

In analyzing debt sustainability, the impact of external economic shocks and the circumstances of each country should be taken into account, it said. The Bretton Woods institutions – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- should include in their analyses the fundamental macro-economic changes caused by natural disasters, wars and shifts in global growth or trade.

Developing country producers of commodities should be enabled to insure themselves against risk, including natural disasters, the Assembly said.

The Assembly also called for global cooperation in bridging the “digital divide” which leaves the poor countries unable to build an information society.

Supporting the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption, the Assembly condemned corruption in all its forms, including bribes, graft, money-laundering and the transfers of illicit assets. It called on all corporations, large and small, domestic and transnational, to engage fully in fighting corruption and to continue promoting corporate responsibility and accountability.

The Assembly also appealed for various forms of aid to specific countries, including Angola, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mozambique, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia.

Preceding the 10 to 14 January meeting in Mauritius to review the programme for the sustainable development of small island states, there would be informal consultations on 8 and 9 January, the Assembly noted.

In other environmental texts, the Assembly called for global cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, combat desertification in Africa and elsewhere, protect the global climate for present and future generations of humans and prepare for the international decade from 2005 to 2015 called “Water for Life.”