22 May 2000
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
ANNOTATED PROVISIONAL AGENDA
Agenda item 1
The programme for the opening ceremony and addresses will be announced in due course.
Agenda item 2
Rule 13 of the rules of procedure of the Commission provides as follows: "The Commission shall, at its first meeting of each year, elect from among its representatives a Chairman and two Vice-Chairmen, designated as First and Second Vice-Chairmen, who shall hold office until their successors are elected. They shall be eligible for re-election." If the Plenary so decides, the rule may be modified to enable the Commission to elect more than two Vice-Chairpersons, as has been the case at previous sessions, in which case the Commission may elect a Bureau of officers comprising a Chairperson and several Vice-Chairpersons.
The senior officials' segment may decide to meet in three committees of the whole and a working group on draft resolutions. It would then elect chairpersons and vice-chairpersons for each.
The ministerial segment will elect the Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons of the Commission.
Agenda item 3
The provisional agenda was drawn up by the Executive Secretary in consultation with the Advisory Committee of Permanent Representatives and Other Representatives Designated by Members of the Commission (ACPR). The Commission will be invited to adopt the agenda.
Agenda item 4
The Commission will have before it document E/ESCAP/1156 concerning the admission of Georgia as a member of the Commission. The Commission is expected to endorse a draft resolution as contained in the above document for submission to the Economic and Social Council.
Agenda item 5
5(a) Implications of recent economic and social developments
Under agenda item 5 (a), the Commission will have before it a report on the current economic situation in the region and related policy issues (E/ESCAP/1157). The report will draw on information contained in the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2000. It will review recent macroeconomic developments in the world economy and their implications for the region. It will analyse the trends and patterns of regional economic performance, as well as trade and financial flows and their contribution to the process of economic recovery in the countries hit by the recent crisis and the sustainability of economic growth in other countries. It will also review the main macroeconomic policy responses, including fiscal and monetary measures and institutional reforms to enhance governance, and regional economic prospects.
The severe social consequences of the recent economic and financial crisis have led to considerable renewed interest in the region in social safety nets of various types. The report will contain an analytical review of social security and safety nets. This will focus on the models, modalities and arrangements of programmes in developed countries and in developing countries of the region, as well as the macroeconomic and fiscal implications of various approaches. This analysis will lead to the identification of policy options for the consideration of governments.
The report will also contain a summary of the study mandated in Commission resolution 55/2 of 28 April 1999 on economic and financial monitoring and surveillance in the ESCAP region. This will include a discussion of the rationale for systems of collection and exchange of information, a review of the modalities and usefulness of existing mechanisms, an exploration of ideas on regional mechanisms of various sorts and recommendations for possible future approaches and contributions by ESCAP.
5(b) Development through globalization and partnership in the twenty-first century: an Asia-Pacific perspective for integrating developing countries and economies in transition into the international trading system on a fair and equitable basis
Under agenda item 5 (b), the Commission will have before it a summary of the theme study (E/ESCAP/1158), the full text of which will be available for reference as a publication. The purpose of this study is to develop an Asia-Pacific perspective on how developing countries, including the economies in transition and the least developed, landlocked and island developing countries can be assisted in their efforts to integrate into the world trading system, enhancing their ability to maximize the advantages and minimize the negative effects of globalization and growing interdependence. The study will cover the following aspects: (a) globalization, development and the multilateral trading system; (b) integration into the multilateral trading system: opportunities and challenges; (c) the role of transport in integrating economies into the multilateral trading system; (d) trade facilitation and electronic commerce as a catalyst for integration; (e) partnership, the international trading system and economic integration.
Agenda item 6
ACPR and the Commission's subsidiary intergovernmental bodies have continued to provide guidance and advice to the secretariat on the effectiveness of the revised conference structure adopted as a result of Commission resolution 53/1 of 30 April 1997. Document E/ESCAP/1159 will contain a brief analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of the revised conference structure.
Agenda item 7
7(a) Regional economic cooperation
The Commission will have before it the report of the Steering Group of the Committee on Regional Economic Cooperation on its eleventh meeting (E/ESCAP/1160), which was held at Bangkok from 27 to 29 September 1999. The report contains recommendations, conclusions and decisions on the following issues: economic recovery in the region: policy issues; regional trading arrangements and the integration of developing countries into the international trading system; implications of the economic crisis for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises; draft medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005: Subprogramme 1. Regional economic cooperation.
Document E/ESCAP/1161 will provide a preliminary report on the outcome of the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, held at Seattle, United States of America. It will also dwell on the use of information technology to enhance industrial competitiveness and attract foreign investment. Despite the worst economic downturn of the past half-century and the real temptation that countries might have wanted to turn protectionist, developing countries of the ESCAP region have, by and large, resolutely continued with their multilateral liberalization programmes. Nevertheless, the lessons emerging from the crisis have had significant implications for the multilateral trading system with the result that the run-up to the Ministerial Conference was marked by vigorous debate and intensive preparations by both developing and developed countries. Against this background, the Commission is invited to consider the outcome of the Seattle conference and its development implications.
It is increasingly recognized that information technology (IT) can significantly enhance the competitiveness of industry both at the national and at the international level through improved quality of product, efficiency of production and marketing, particularly in trade. Furthermore, IT has become one of the determining factors in attracting foreign investment. Developing countries, and especially those with traditional disadvantages such as remoteness and small-scale economies, can create sustainable comparative advantage and attract investments in the services sector deliverable digitally by the effective use of information technology, particularly e-commerce. The document will invite the Commission to consider strategic issues for the effective use of IT in developing countries for facilitating trade and investment promotion.
Document E/ESCAP/1162 will report on the actions taken by the secretariat to implement Commission resolution 55/2 of 28 April 1999. It will contain a summary of the study requested in the resolution on possible regional mechanisms for the exchange of information and early warning systems in relation to the financial and economic situation in the countries of the region, as well as recommendations for future action. The study will appear as part two of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2000. The Commission may wish to endorse these recommendations and provide the secretariat with guidance on their implementation.
Document E/ESCAP/1163 will contain a brief review of the major activities undertaken by the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology since the last Commission session, as well as the major recommendations made by the Governing Board of the Centre at its fourteenth session. It will also address responses to those recommendations.
Document E/ESCAP/1164 will contain a review of activities undertaken by the Regional Network for Agricultural Machinery. It will elaborate on the problems and challenges, as well as the prospects, for the Network's continued operation and the report and the recommendations of the Governing Body.
7(b) Environment and natural resources development
The Commission will have before it the report of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development on its second session (E/ESCAP/1165). The Commission may wish to consider and endorse the report and provide guidance on the matters calling for action by the Commission or brought to its attention.
Document E/ESCAP/1166 will contain the report of the Second Ministerial Conference on Space Applications for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, which took place in New Delhi from 15 to 20 November 1999. The Conference was a forum for high-level policy planners and decision makers to exchange perspectives and information, to develop new policy scenarios and map out a blueprint for regional space technology development. Through the adoption of a ministerial declaration, the Conference called for the development of a results-driven, action-oriented second phase of the Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development. The Commission is invited to review the report and provide guidance to the secretariat on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Conference.
The Commission will also have before it document E/ESCAP/1167, which will provide an overview of the preparations for the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, 2000, to be held at Kitakyushu, Japan, from 31 August to 5 September 2000. The agenda and issues that were identified based on the recommendations of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Development at its second session will be reviewed. The policies and actions to protect the environment and promote sustainable development, based on the recommendations of previous regional conferences and the outcome of the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly, held at New York in June 1997, will be assessed. A major outcome of the Conference is expected to be the regional action programme for the period 2001-2005, which will include long-term and short-term priorities and actions that are required at the regional and subregional level. The Commission will be requested to review the preparations for the Conference.
The final document under this agenda item is E/ESCAP/1168 on emerging issues of mineral supply and land use planning for sustainable economic development. Many countries of the region, especially those recovering from the financial and economic crisis, are attempting to broaden their economic bases and in that context have identified mineral resource development as an important engine of economic growth. The sustainable supply of minerals for industrial growth and infrastructure development is affected by increasing regulation under a growing framework of international environmental laws encompassing all stages of mineral access, production, products and by-products. Accordingly, the document will discuss issues that relate to foreign direct investment flows, the impediments to recycling of metals in the context of the unilateral ban by the European Commission (EC), under the Basel Convention, on trade in recycled metals with non-EC members, and possible discriminatory trends by developed countries towards developing countries in the region in minerals trade by placing guidelines on environmental value and life cycle assessment. These impediments to minerals supply/demand scenarios are effects of the globalization of the industry over the past decade and should be effectively addressed by General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization agreements.
The ever-growing world population renders the management of increasingly scarce land resources more and more crucial. This need was foreseen in Agenda 21, which urges member countries to use all available knowledge and information on land and its resources to stop wrong or wasteful types of land use and ensure that its development is sustainable. With land resources, there are both resource and hazard aspects to consider when determining if a particular stretch of land is suitable for a certain type of land use.
To optimize benefits from efforts to enhance the presentation and communication skills of the geoscience community while raising the awareness of decision makers, densely populated (that is, urban areas) are targeted. To this end, the Forum on Urban Geology in Asia and the Pacific was established and proved instrumental not only in raising the awareness of local authorities and geoscience institutions, but also in inducing national and local governments to commit their own staff and financial resources to ensure a regular supply of pertinent geological information for incorporation in the urban planning process.
7(c) Socio-economic measures to alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas
The Commission will have before it document E/ESCAP/1169 containing the report of the Committee on Socio-economic Measures to Alleviate Poverty in Rural and Urban Areas on its second session, which was held at Bangkok from 1 to 3 December 1999. The Commission may wish to discuss matters calling for action or brought to its attention by the Committee, particularly concerning social safety nets, and to decide on or recommend follow-up activities.
Document E/ESCAP/1170 will report on the implementation of resolutions relating to socio-economic measures to alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas. In addition, the document will review the actions relevant to socio-economic measures to alleviate poverty that have been taken by the secretariat to follow up various major decisions of the Commission at its recent sessions. The document will also report on the implementation of the Regional Action Plan on Urbanization, which was adopted by the Commission at its fiftieth session in resolution 50/3 of 13 April 1994 on participatory human settlements development. The Commission may wish to review the progress made in the implementation of the aforementioned resolutions and decisions and provide the secretariat with guidance on enhancing their effective implementation.
Document E/ESCAP/1171 will contain a report on the Regional Coordination Centre for Research and Development of Coarse Grains, Pulses, Roots and Tuber Crops in the Humid Tropics of Asia and the Pacific.
Document E/ESCAP/1172 will analyse the effectiveness and shortcomings of local-level organizations in delivering services adequately to the rural poor. It will examine how the attempts being made in many Asian developing countries to increase the relevance of local institutions and target the poor as partners through decentralization of authority and responsibilities to initiate and implement rural poverty alleviation activities could be further consolidated. The Commission may wish to consider the major conclusions and decisions and provide guidance on the future course of action.
The Commission will have before it document E/ESCAP/1173 containing the report of the Senior Officials' Meeting on the Agenda for Action on Social Development in the ESCAP Region, held in Bangkok from 1 to 5 November 1999. The Commission is invited to consider the report with the view to endorsing the regional perspective and recommendations for the global review of the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development by the General Assembly in 2000, which were adopted at the Senior Officials' Meeting.
The Commission will have before it document E/ESCAP/1174 containing the report on the International Symposium on Planning Attainable Targets for Societies for All Ages, held in Macau from 26 to 29 October 1999. The Commission is invited to consider the guidelines on the implementation of the Macau Plan of Action on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific with a view to endorsing them.
Document E/ESCAP/1175 will contain the report on the Regional Seminar on Support and Protection of Older Persons as Consumers, held in Shanghai from 3 to 6 October 1999. The document will review and discuss issues relating to the support and protection of older persons as a disadvantaged group of consumers. The Commission may wish to discuss matters brought to its attention, particularly in view of the implementation of the Macau Plan of Action on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific.
Document E/ESCAP/1176 will be a report of the Executive Secretary which is submitted to the Commission every two years on progress made in the implementation of Commission resolution 48/3 of 23 April 1992 on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, and resolution 54/1 of 22 April 1998 on strengthening regional support for persons with disabilities into the twenty-first century. The Commission may wish to consider its recommendations concerning action towards raising the visibility of disabled persons as a social group for targeted development efforts, and the inclusion of their participation issues in the mainstream development agenda.
The Commission will have before it document E/ESCAP/1177 containing the report of the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Review Regional Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, which was held at Bangkok from 26 to 29 October 1999. The Commission may wish to endorse the report and provide the secretariat with guidance on its implementation.
7(d) Transport, communications, tourism and infrastructure development
The Commission will have before it the report of the Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure Development on its second session, held at Bangkok in November 1999 (E/ESCAP/1178). The document will highlight the major issues deliberated upon by the Committee, including the implementation of the Asian land transport infrastructure development (ALTID) project for the development of land transport linkages in Asia to facilitate international trade and tourism; interactive policy development for sustainable and safe transport; major issues in the development of infrastructure in the power sector; and HIV/AIDS and the transport sector. The Commission may wish to consider the major conclusions and decisions and endorse the recommendations brought to its attention. The Commission may also wish to provide the secretariat with guidance on the implementation of the recommendations.
Document E/ESCAP/1179 will report on progress in the implementation of Commission resolution 52/9 of 24 April 1996 on intra-Asia and Asia-Europe land bridges in line with the refined (1998) strategy for the implementation of the ALTID project to facilitate international and bilateral trade and tourism, and as a basis for the Asia-Europe land transport system that will eventually be integrated. Accordingly, the document will present the main areas in the implementation of the ALTID project and related tasks. The Commission may wish to review the progress made in the implementation of the resolution, support its continued implementation as delivering results of practical importance for the development of major intraregional and interregional land transport linkages, and provide further guidance on enhancing its implementation.
Document E/ESCAP/1180 will report on progress in the implementation of the New Delhi Action Plan on Infrastructure Development in Asia and the Pacific. The Commission will be updated on preparations for the ministerial conference on infrastructure in 2001, including the ad hoc expert group meeting on the regional action programme of the plan that is scheduled for 2000. The Commission will also be apprised of the services being provided that are of relevance to the conceptual basis of the Asia Infrastructure Development Alliance. The Commission may wish to review the progress made in the implementation of the plan and the preparations being made for the ministerial conference on infrastructure.
Document E/ESCAP/1181 will discuss, among other subjects, topics highlighted at the eleventh session of the Working Group of Statistical Experts in November 1999. The document will cover issues related to the 2000 round of population and housing censuses, the application of information technology to population data, poverty statistics, gender statistics, development indicators, and the possible role of ESCAP in the field of standard classifications. The Commission may wish to comment on the topics raised and also provide advice on the priorities and direction of the Statistics subprogramme in the medium term.
The Governing Board of the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP), which was established by the Commission through resolution 51/1 of 1 May 1995, held its fifth session in October 1999. At that time, it considered, inter alia, reports of the Director of the Institute on a survey of statistical training needs and statistical training activities in the region, an evaluation framework for SIAP training activities, the programme of work for 2000-2001 and the long-term programme of work of the Institute for 2000-2005. Document E/ESCAP/1182 will include the annual report to the Commission of the Governing Board on the implementation of the Institute's programme of work since the fifty-third session of the Commission and will provide other information pertaining to the Institute and its operations. The Commission may wish to comment on the document and provide guidance for the future work of SIAP.
In its resolution 55/3 of 28 April 1999, the Commission requested the Executive Secretary to prepare a report on the progress achieved and the difficulties encountered by members and associate members in addressing the year 2000 (Y2K) problem in computers. Document E/ESCAP/1183 will contain the report.
7(f) Least developed, landlocked and island developing countries
Document E/ESCAP/1184 will contain the report of the Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries on its sixth session. The session will be held in Bangkok on 30 and 31 May 2000. The Special Body will consider (a) transport issues, and (b) children's welfare issues in the Pacific island countries. A report on the Commission's activities in the Pacific island developing countries will be made available to the Special Body. The Commission may wish to endorse the recommendations contained in the report of the Special Body.
An oral report will be made on the ongoing activities for least developed and landlocked developing countries.
Agenda item 8
Document E/ESCAP/1185 will contain the draft medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005, as proposed by the secretariat and incorporating the amendments of various intergovernmental bodies subsidiary to the Commission and the Advisory Committee of Permanent Representatives and Other Representatives Designated by Members of the Commission held during the period September-December 1999, for the consideration and approval of the Commission.
The programme of the Commission, Regional cooperation for development in Asia and the Pacific, comprises seven subprogrammes, following the programme framework determined by the Commission at its fifty-fourth session in 1998. The draft plan was drawn up on the basis of the mandates established by the Commission, keeping in view the validity of these mandates and the ongoing and emerging developmental problems and priorities in the region. It also responds to global mandates of the United Nations and takes into consideration the efforts of other United Nations bodies and agencies with a view to ensuring a coordinated approach such as in following up the global mandates so as to facilitate the attainment of optimum results. The draft plan highlights the broad approach to be followed and the overall results to be accomplished during the plan period. The Commission is invited to advise on and endorse the draft plan which, upon endorsement by the Commission and subsequently by the General Assembly, will serve as a four-year strategic plan for ESCAP and the framework for the biennial programme budgets for the period covered.
8(b) Report on the implementation of the programme of work for the biennium 1998-1999
Document E/ESCAP/1186 will contain the end-of-biennium report on the implementation of the programme of work, 1998-1999. It will highlight the analysis of programme performance of ESCAP and the use of resources allocated to the secretariat for the implementation of the programme of work. The document will also examine the performance of each subprogramme, highlighting the accomplishments and assessing any shortcomings and lessons learned. The secretariat would welcome the comments of the Commission on the report and seeks its guidance for future programme planning.
8(c) Proposed programme changes, 2000-2001
Document E/ESCAP/1187 will contain proposals for changes in the programme of work for the biennium 2000-2001, which was approved by the Commission at its fifty-fifth session in 1999. Proposals for additional activities and outputs or modifications in annex I are based on needs expressed by governments at various United Nations global and regional conferences, including the legislative committees of ESCAP, and at regional ministerial-level and other intergovernmental meetings. Annex II of the document contains the secretariat proposals with regard to activities and outputs which had been authorized in the programme of work, 1998-1999, but which were not implemented or delivered during the biennium. The Commission's endorsement is requested on the disposition of these activities and outputs proposed by the secretariat. The Commission is requested to review and endorse the proposed changes, with a view to ensuring that the programme of work for 2000-2001 reflects the emerging needs of governments of members and associate members of ESCAP.
8(d) Calendar of meetings and training programmes, April 2000-March 2001
Document E/ESCAP/1188 will contain the tentative calendar of meetings and training programmes for the period April 2000-March 2001. The Commission is invited to give its views on any aspect of the calendar.
Agenda item 9
Document E/ESCAP/1189 will comprise two parts: (a) technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) and (b) mobilization of extrabudgetary resources.
(a) Technical cooperation among developing countries
This part will report on progress in the implementation of promotional and operational TCDC activities undertaken by the secretariat since the last session of the Commission, including activities to alleviate the impediments encountered by the least developed, landlocked and island developing countries and the disadvantaged economies in transition in their efforts towards greater participation in TCDC activities. The Commission is invited to provide the secretariat with guidance on further work in this field.
(b) Mobilization of extrabudgetary resources
This part will report on the level of extrabudgetary resources, in cash and in kind, received from members and associate members, donor countries, United Nations system organizations and other organizations, which were allocated for implementation of the programme of work of the Commission and its subsidiary regional institutions in 1999. The document assesses the requirements for extrabudgetary resources from donor countries in 2000 for implementation of the ESCAP technical cooperation programme. The document is submitted to assist members and associate members of the Commission, donor countries and organizations in deciding on the priority programme areas for directing the extrabudgetary resources of the Commission, and the level of their contributions in 2000 to the programme of work of ESCAP, including the ESCAP Pacific Operations Centre and the regional institutions.
Reports on the technical cooperation activities carried out in the ESCAP region in 1999 by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs will be provided for information.
Agenda item 10
The Executive Secretary will transmit the reports for information. The Commission may wish to take note of them.
Agenda item 11
Document E/ESCAP/1195 and Add.1 will contain the report of ACPR covering the period since the fifty-fifth session of the Commission. ACPR has continued to provide the secretariat with guidance and advice on programme planning and implementation of the programme of work. An Open-ended Informal Working Group was convened by ACPR to address the tasks set by the Commission at its fifty-fifth session, namely, appraisal of the mechanism to implement Commission resolutions, improvement of the visibility of the work and activities of the Commission and further strengthening of cooperation with bodies of the United Nations system active in the Asian and Pacific region. The proposed medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005 was reviewed, subsequent to the respective legislative Committee meetings, for endorsement by the Commission. Reviews of the implementation of the programme of work for the biennium 1998-1999 and of proposed revisions to the programme of work for the biennium 2000-2001 were undertaken by ACPR prior to the submission of these documents to the Commission. The Commission may wish to express its views on the activities of ACPR.
Agenda item 12
It is expected that the Commission will decide to hold its fifty-seventh session at Bangkok in April 2001. Under this item, the Commission may also wish to select a theme topic for the session.
Agenda item 13
The Commission may wish to consider any other matter that may be brought to its attention.
The terms of office of the existing Governing Boards of the Regional Coordination Centre for Research and Development of Coarse Grains, Pulses, Roots and Tuber Crops in the Humid Tropics of Asia and the Pacific and the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific will end in 2000. In this connection, the elections of the new Governing Boards of both organizations will be held under this item during the ministerial segment of the session.
Agenda item 14
The Commission will consider and adopt the report and its resolutions.