Background

The Vice-Chair introduced the preliminary draft report, entitled “Greener, fairer and more sustainable globalization”, which he had prepared together with the representatives of the current and previous Chairs of the Committee, Angela
Cropper (United Nations Environment Programme) and Raymond Torres (International Labour Organization (ILO)). The report reflected discussions that had taken place in the Committee since 2009, as well as at two technical meetings
convened by Juan Somavía in Santiago and Geneva during the course of 2011.

The report now before the Committee began with a diagnosis of the factors behind unsustainable globalization in section 1, provided in section 2 an approach for integrating and ensuring the coherence of policies, both domestic and international, across the three pillars of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental policy — that would be necessary for making globalization fairer, greener and more sustainable; and set out in section 3 possible reform options of global governance that would help build consensus and foster action towards a policy coherence package.

Discussion

In opening the floor for comments, the Chair thanked the Vice-Chair and colleagues for their solid work and stressed the value of the Committee’s effort in support of the priorities of the United Nations Secretary-General. He underscored
that the report should articulate a vision of the Organization in a changing world and its recommendations should position the United Nations as an integral and effective actor in meeting the needs and aspirations of people around the world.

A number of speakers addressed themselves to the approach taken by the report. Some felt that the text needed to provide more analysis with regard to both the positive and negative aspects of globalization, which would then lend greater credence to the policy prescriptions. The report should also deepen the reflection on what the implications of ongoing structural transformations would be, particularly with a view to ensuring the system’s effective contribution towards engendering a
fairer, greener and more sustainable development. Several stressed that “fairer” globalization needed to be cast in terms of inclusiveness. The value added of the United Nations system should be backed up in the analysis and evidence provided.

A number of participants underscored that the human dimension required greater focus as an element in transformation. Several areas were mentioned: the rule of law, capacity-building, social dialogue and the dissemination of knowledge
for global consensus-building; human rights as the bedrock of all change; and the need for metrics that related more closely to human well-being. There was strong support for the concept of social outlays as an investment in human and productive capacity, which would also lead to more effective development and lessen the ultimate cost of humanitarian assistance. At the same time, it was important to bear in mind those vulnerable populations whose lives and livelihoods needed to be supported by humanitarian organizations. Social protection should be treated as a global public good, underpinned by the notion of social rights. The argument needed to be made more forcefully that building human capital was essential for successful sustainable development. The United Nations had a central normative role to play in
globalizing the acceptability of the obligation of social protection, given that some 80 per cent of the world’s population had little, if any, such protection. It was suggested that more focus needed to be given to the movement of people, including the human rights issues associated with migration.

It was recalled that the trigger for the Committee’s work on moving towards a fairer, greener, sustainable globalization was the “crisis before the crisis” and the limitations of the existing system to respond effectively to pre-existing imbalances
and to the crisis itself. In looking at the policy linkages among the pillars, the report would move the discourse from the notion of policy space to policy integration. An important outcome would be a sense of how the international framework could best support policy integration at the national level.

Action

Committee members agreed to provide further comments in writing by the end of September, for incorporation into the draft that would be presented to CEB at its fall 2011 session. The report would be prefaced by a short note that would set forth its provenance and purpose, as well as the next steps.