Annotated Provisional Agenda(Please click here to see Corringendum 1)
1. Opening of the session
The programme for the opening ceremony and addresses will be announced in due course.
2. Election of officers
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.
3. Adoption of the agenda
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.
4. Policy issues for the ESCAP region
4 (a). Implications of recent economic and social developments
Under item 4 (a), the Commission will have before it a report on the current economic situation in the region and related policy issues (E/ESCAP/1232), which will draw on materials contained in the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2002 . The report will review recent macroeconomic developments in the world economy and their implications for the region. It will analyse recent trends in regional economic performance and prospects for the future. The underlying policy initiatives will be examined and options to deal with the emerging economic problems and challenges will be suggested.
The report will examine the nexus between development and the environment, including the extent of damage to the environment caused by economic activities and the policy responses needed to mitigate such damage. It will attempt to analyse the policy responses keeping in mind the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002). The report will also review selected Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and issues related to their measurement and comparability across countries. Some preliminary findings on the implementation status of MDGs in countries of the region will be reported.
Based on the understanding that each country must take primary responsibility for its own programmes of economic growth and poverty reduction, discussions on the role of development assistance, from both developed and developing regional member countries, and various ways of aid delivery are very useful. The report will provide an analysis of how different types of assistance could complement each other more effectively.
4 (b). Sustainable social development in a period of rapid globalization: challenges, opportunities and policy options
The Commission is invited to deliberate on document E/ESCAP/1233, containing the executive summary of the theme study, “Sustainable social development in a period of rapid globalization: challenges, opportunities and policy options”.
The theme study topic was endorsed by the Commission at its fifty-seventh session. The theme study will explore a number of interconnected issues and trends in globalization which are likely to shape the pace and nature of social development in the region. The overall goals of poverty alleviation, employment expansion and social integration have been identified as critical social development goals by Governments in the region. The theme study will address these goals in the light of a fast-changing global environment and socio-economic forces that have increased the challenges in managing social change and transformation in sustainable ways. The study will examine issues of vulnerability and deprivation faced by different social groups, as well as the challenges of social protection provision. It will analyse the impact of employment trends, including labour migration, on social integration and poverty reduction. It will assess the implications of greater flows of knowledge and ideas and the potentialities of new forms of information and communications technologies (ICT) for social empowerment of the rural poor. It will also discuss issues of social inclusion and social mobilization in the light of the emergent civil society and the increased democratization process associated with globalization. In order to mainstream gender issues, each chapter of the theme study will incorporate an appropriate section examining the gender perspectives.
The Commission may wish to pronounce itself on the policy options in rising to the challenges and opportunities addressed in the study and provide guidance to the secretariat on their implications for the work programme of ESCAP.
4 (c). Regional preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Document E/ESCAP/1234 contains the report on the High-level Regional Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (E/ESCAP/1234), held at Phnom Penh from 27 to 29 November 2001. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 55/199, ESCAP organized the High-level Regional Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The purpose of the Meeting was to review the progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 in the region and to identify priorities, issues and initiatives in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held at Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2002. The Meeting adopted the Regional Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific, which will be submitted to the World Summit. The Platform identifies a number of initiatives aimed at operationalizing the programme areas of the Regional Action Programme for Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development, 2001-2005. The Commission may wish to endorse the outcome of the Regional High-level Meeting and call upon countries to ensure the effective implementation of the initiatives adopted.
5. Management issues
5 (a). Implementation of Commission resolution 53/1 on restructuring the conference structure of the Commission
In accordance with Commission resolution 53/1 of 30 April 1997 on restructuring the conference structure of the Commission, the Commission decided to review the conference structure of the Commission, including its thematic priorities and its subsidiary structure, no later than at its fifty-eighth session.
At its fifty-seventh session, the Commission requested the secretariat to consult ACPR on the need to hold an ad hoc intergovernmental meeting late in 2001 or early in 2002 in anticipation of the comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 53/1. ACPR concurred with the secretariat’s proposal to hold such an intergovernmental meeting. In this connection, an Intergovernmental Meeting to Review the Implementation of Commission Resolution 53/1 was convened at Bangkok in early 2002. The recommendations of the Intergovernmental Meeting are contained in its report (E/ESCAP/1235).
5(b). Programme planning
At its fifty-sixth session, the Commission endorsed the draft medium-term plan pertaining to economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific for the period 2002-2005. The plan was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly, in its resolution 55/234 of 23 December 2000, as part of the overall United Nations medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005. In pursuance of Commission resolution 53/1, an Intergovernmental Meeting to review the conference structure of the Commission, including its thematic priorities and its subsidiary structure, was convened at Bangkok in March 2002, prior to the present session of the Commission. Document E/ESCAP/1236 presents proposed revisions to the ESCAP medium-term plan, reflecting the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the future programme orientation and focus. The Commission is invited to review the proposed revisions to the medium-term plan and guide the secretariat on effecting necessary changes arising from the Commission’s deliberations under agenda item 5 (a) at the present session.
Document E/ESCAP/1237 contains a report on the secretariat’s implementation of the programme of work for the biennium 2000-2001. The report contains an assessment of the programme achievements attained through the implementation of the programme of work under seven subprogrammes during the period under review. The members and associate members of the Commission, as direct recipients, are encouraged to provide feedback on the quality of the work and services undertaken during the period under review and how they contributed to the promotion of national capacity-building in any particular area. The Commission is also invited to provide guidance to assist the secretariat in making further improvements in presenting a qualitative assessment of activities implemented.
At its fifty-seventh session, the Commission endorsed the draft programme of work, 2002-2003, on the understanding that the programme of work for that biennium would require further review and adjustment in conjunction with the outcome of the in-depth review of the implementation of resolution 53/1 by the Commission at its present session. The programme of work was subsequently reviewed by the Committee for Programme and Coordination and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions as part of the overall United Nations programme budget for the period 2002-2003 and is under consideration by the General Assembly. Document E/ESCAP/1238 will contain the proposed programme changes, including changes in expected accomplishments, to the programme of work for 2002-2003, to bring the existing programme outputs and services into line with the new programme orientation and focus areas identified in the draft revisions to the medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005. The Commission is invited to review the proposed changes as contained in the document and provide advice on further changes considered necessary as a result of the Commission’s deliberations under agenda item 5 (a) at its present session.
Document E/ESCAP/1239 will contain the tentative calendar of meetings and training programmes for the period April 2002-March 2003. The Commission is invited to give its views on any aspect of the calendar.
6. Emerging issues and developments at the regional level
6 (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 thirteenth meeting (E/ESCAP/1240). The report will contain the Steering Group’s conclusions and recommendations on the following issues: (a) trade and investment in the Greater Mekong Subregion: issues and policies at the national and subregional levels; (b) intra- and inter-subregional cooperation for enhanced trade and investment flows within the context of GMS development; and (c) human resources development and capacity-building for the application and utilization of information technology.
Document E/ESCAP/1241 will deal with the issue of sustaining recovery through export-led growth. Just as recovery from the 1997 financial crisis was gaining momentum, third quarter negative growth figures released for the United States of America suggest that the world may be on the brink of a global economic recession. For the second time in less than five years, ESCAP members and associate members face numerous political and economic uncertainties. In the face of these difficulties, how economic growth is to be sustained and how its reach is to be extended to the poor are the central long-term policy challenges. Much will depend on the region’s ability to create new sources of productivity growth, promote export competitiveness and benefit from future WTO negotiations. The outcome of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference, held at Doha from 9 to 13 November 2001, and China’s entry into WTO on 11 December 2001 are important developments in this respect. In future, the region will also need to look towards its own markets and through strengthened regional economic integration promote intraregional trade and investment flows, while at the same time pursuing WTO-consistent liberalization to enable businesses to take advantage of productivity gains.
In today’s global economy, WTO membership is a necessary condition for enhanced trade and investment flows and sustained economic growth. Yet only about half the members of ESCAP are WTO members. Furthermore, it is ESCAP member countries that have had the most difficulties in acceding to WTO, thus further marginalizing them from global forces and reducing their prospects for long-term economic growth. While the accession process has to be negotiated between each applicant and the rest of the WTO membership, there is scope for countries in the process of accession to enhance cooperation among each other to smoothen their accession process.
These issues are examined in turn in the document. Members and associate members are invited to review these issues and provide guidance to the secretariat on future activities.
Document E/ESCAP/1242 will contain a brief review of the major activities undertaken by the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology since the fifty-seventh session of the Commission, as well as the major recommendations made by the Governing Board of the Centre at its sixteenth session, held in November 2001. It will address responses to those recommendations, including measures required to further strengthen the institutional base of the Centre and its work in areas related to new and emerging technologies.
Document E/ESCAP/1243 will contain a review of activities undertaken by the Regional Network for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery. It will elaborate on the problems and challenges, as well as the prospects, for the Network’s continued operation, and report on the recommendations of the Governing Body. The Government of China has formally indicated that it will host the regional office of the Network and ESCAP is now negotiating the details to finalize the agreement in consultation with the relevant entities of the United Nations.
6(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 third session (E/ESCAP/1244), held at Bangkok from 16 to 18 October 2001. The Commission may wish to consider and endorse the Committee’s recommendations and provide guidance on matters calling for action by the Commission or brought to its attention.
The Commission will also have before it document E/ESCAP/1245 reporting on progress in the implementation of resolution 56/4 on promotion of a sustainable energy future for small island States. The document will present the initiatives taken by the secretariat as well as progress achieved and anticipated in assisting island States in their efforts to promote sustainable energy, in particular renewable energy development. The Commission may wish to review the progress made and consider the recommendations for its further implementation to achieve the desired objectives. It may also wish to call upon concerned countries or areas to actively participate in subregional activities and undertake national efforts including linkage with policies and projects.
6 (c). Socio-economic measures to alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas
Under this item, the Commission is invited to deliberate on documents E/ESCAP/1246, E/ESCAP/1247 and E/ESCAP/1248.
Document E/ESCAP/1246 contains the report of the Committee on Socio-economic Measures to Alleviate Poverty in Rural and Urban Areas on its fourth session, held from 11 to 13 December 2001. The report of the Committee highlights its deliberations and recommendations on (a) accelerating progress made in the regional implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and the Agenda for Action on Social Development in the ESCAP Region, (b) promoting the application of ICT in alleviating rural poverty and growing trends in the urbanization of poverty and (c) the programme of work, 2002-2003, for the subprogrammes pertaining to socio-economic measures to alleviate poverty in rural and urban areas, as well as the future work orientation of ESCAP in the area of poverty reduction. The Commission may wish to decide on matters calling for action or brought to its attention with regard to all the above.
In pursuance of the request for implementation reports by the Commission, document E/ESCAP/1247 reviews the implementation of the following resolutions adopted by the Commission relating to socio-economic measures for alleviating poverty in rural and urban areas, namely, resolutions 54/4, 56/2, 57/1 and 57/3. In reviewing the implementation of resolution 54/4 on mobilization of human and financial resources for further implementation of actions to achieve the population and development goals of the ESCAP region, the Commission may wish to note that the secretariat is undertaking preparations to convene the Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference at Bangkok from 12 to 17 December 2002, with financial support from UNFPA.
Highlights of actions taken by the secretariat and achievements since the adoption of resolution 56/2 on advancing human resources development in Asia and the Pacific are reported. The Commission may wish to provide guidance to the secretariat on further implementation of this resolution.
With respect to resolution 57/1 on a regional call for action to fight HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, the Commission will recall that the United Nations General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS was convened in June 2001. At the special session, a Declaration of Commitment was adopted, setting concrete targets for action to combat the epidemic. The Commission will review the implementation of that Declaration of Commitment in the Asia-Pacific region. The Commission will also review progress made since its adoption of resolution 57/1. The review will further highlight the gravity of the drug epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly among youth. Injecting drug use is the primary mode of transmission of HIV in many countries of the region. The Commission may wish to recommend key policy and programme areas for Governments to focus on in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The document also reviews activities carried out by ESCAP in compliance with resolution 57/3 on follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. It analyses the major contributions of ESCAP in the empowerment of women in poverty, promotion of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and capacity-building for women in ICT.
Document E/ESCAP/1248 contains a report on substantive and organizational issues relating to the programmes and plans 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, a regional institute of ESCAP.
6 (d). Transport, communications, tourism and infrastructure development
The Commission will have before it the report of the Ministerial Conference on Infrastructure, held at Seoul in November 2001 (E/ESCAP/1249). The document will highlight the major issues deliberated upon by the Conference, including globalization and integration of transport, infrastructure financing and private sector participation, and transport and society. The Commission may wish to consider the major conclusions and endorse the recommendations brought to its attention by the Conference. The Commission may also wish to provide the secretariat with guidance on implementing the recommendations.
Document E/ESCAP/1250 will report on progress in the implementation of Commission resolutions 48/11 on road and rail transport modes in relation to facilitation measures and 52/9 on intra-Asia and Asia-Europe land bridges in keeping with the refined strategy for implementation of the Asian land transport infrastructure development project to facilitate international and bilateral trade and tourism and as a basis for the Asia-Europe land transport system which will eventually be integrated. The Commission may wish to review the progress made in the implementation of the resolutions and provide further guidance on enhancing the delivery of related outputs.
Document E/ESCAP/1251 will report on the implementation of the New Delhi Action Plan on Infrastructure Development in Asia and the Pacific. The document will highlight the Regional Action Programme, phase II (2002-2006), adopted at the Ministerial Conference on Infrastructure in 2001. The Commission may wish to provide the secretariat with guidance on the implementation of the Programme as well as resource mobilization.
6 (e). Statistics
Document E/ESCAP/1252 will discuss, among other subjects, topics highlighted at the twelfth session of the Working Group of Statistical Experts in November 2001. The document will cover issues relating to poverty statistics, national accounts, the plans for Asia and the Pacific relating to the International Comparison Programme, price statistics, integrated environmental and economic accounting, measurement of the knowledge-based economy and coordination of development indicators. The Commission may wish to comment on the topics raised and also provide guidance on the priorities and direction of the statistics subprogramme in the light of global statistical programmes and initiatives and the revitalization process embarked on by the Commission.
The Governing Board of the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) held its seventh session in December 2001. Document E/ESCAP/1253 includes the Governing Board’s annual report to the Commission on the implementation of the Institute’s programmes since the fifty-seventh session of the Commission and also provides information pertaining to statistical training, developments in the implementation of the work programme and other activities of the Institute. The Commission may wish to comment on the document and provide guidance for the future work of SIAP.
6 (f). Least developed, landlocked and island developing countries
Document E/ESCAP/1254 will contain the report of the Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries on its seventh session, which will be held at Bangkok on 14 and 15 May 2002. The Special Body will discuss key policy issues that Pacific island Governments need to consider in their pursuit of sustainable tourism development and the support that will be required. It is necessary to ensure that the benefits of tourism are widely shared and that any adverse impacts, especially on the natural environment, are minimized to foster the sound and sustainable development of the tourism industry. The Special Body will also review the status of disability development in Pacific island countries, examine the progress made by those countries in implementing the Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons at the national and regional levels and analyse the challenges and establish priorities for action to strengthen disability initiatives and developments in Pacific island countries. The Special Body will also review the status of the Commission’s activities in Pacific island countries in 2001. The Commission may wish to comment on the document and provide guidance for the future work of the Special Body.
7. Resource mobilization: technical cooperation activities of ESCAP and announcement of intended contributions
Document E/ESCAP/1255 comprises two parts: (a) technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) and (b) mobilization of extrabudgetary resources.
(a) Technical cooperation among developing countries
This part reports on the progress in the implementation of promotional and operational TCDC activities undertaken by the secretariat since the previous session of the Commission, including activities to alleviate the impediments encountered by the least developed, landlocked and island developing countries and the economies in transition in their efforts towards greater participation in TCDC activities. The Commission is invited to provide guidance to the secretariat with regard to further work in this field.
(b) Mobilization of extrabudgetary resources
This part reports 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 2001. The document also sets out the estimated requirements of the secretariat for extrabudgetary resources from donor countries in 2002 for the implementation of the ESCAP technical cooperation programme. The document is submitted to assist members and associate members of the Commission, donor countries and other organizations in deciding on the level of their respective contributions to the programme of work of the secretariat, including the ESCAP Pacific Operations Centre and the regional institutions in 2002.
Reports on the technical cooperation activities carried out in the ESCAP region in 2001 by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs are provided for the information of the Commission.
8. Reports of regional intergovernmental bodies
The Executive Secretary will transmit the above reports for information. The Commission may wish to take note of them.
9. Activities of the Advisory Committee of Permanent Representatives and Other Representatives Designated by Members of the Commission
Document E/ESCAP/1261 and Add.1 contains the report of ACPR covering the period since the fifty-seventh session of the Commission. ACPR has continued to provide guidance and advice to the Executive Secretary on both programme implementation and monitoring. It convened sessions of the Open-ended Informal Working Group and deliberated on important issues relating to a number of important conferences, including the Ministerial Conference on Infrastructure and the High-level Regional Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. It also held a retreat and provided guidance to the secretariat on the formulation of a programme structure aimed at revitalizing ESCAP and the impact of its technical cooperation activities on the members and associate members. In this connection, ACPR also provided guidance on the reform of the conference structure in keeping with resolution 53/1 on restructuring the conference structure of the Commission.
ACPR also reviewed the implementation of the programme of work during the second half of the biennium 2000-2001 and stressed the need to evaluate its technical assistance and advisory services in the Asian and Pacific region with a view to utilizing the findings to further enhance the revitalization process.
10. Date, venue and theme topic for the fifty-ninth session of the Commission
It is expected that the Commission will decide to hold its fifty-ninth session at Bangkok in April 2003. Under this item, the Commission may also wish to select a theme topic for the session.
11. Other matters
The Commission may wish to consider any other matter that may be brought to its attention.
12. Adoption of the report of the Commission
The Commission will consider and adopt the report and its resolutions.