12 August 1998


Press Release
GA/COL/2994



SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION CONCLUDES WORK FOR 1998

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The Special Committee on decolonization this morning asked specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and international and regional bodies to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of Non-Self-Governing Territories, as it concluded its work for the year.

Adopting, without a vote, a resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by those bodies, the Special Committee recommended that all States should intensify their efforts in those organizations to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration.

The Special Committee requested the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to provide information on a number of issues, including environmental problems, facing the Non-Self-Governing Territories; the impact of natural disasters; and ways and means to assist the Territories to fight drug trafficking, money laundering and other illegal and criminal activities.

Also this morning, the Special Committee heard a statement by the Representative for External Affairs of the Government of the United States Virgin Islands, Carlyle Corbin, and took note of a number of proposals made by him. They included requests for information from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), as well as from the Pacific Community Organization, a ministerial body that includes Pacific Non-Self-Governing Territories as full members, prior to the consideration of the implementation of the Declaration by the General Assembly's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).

Mr. Corbin also asked the Committee to support a recent initiative by ECLAC to grant Non-Self-Governing Territories observer status in the United Nations special sessions on the implementation of the plans of action adopted by world conferences. The Committee took note of Mr. Corbin's proposals.


In a closing statement, the Acting Chairman of the Special Committee, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla (Cuba), said that it was a privilege for Cuba and for him personally to have been entrusted with the duty of conducting the work of the Committee during the year. In carrying out the Committee's mandate, he had met representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and consulted with representatives of the administering Powers, whose cooperation was necessary. He acknowledged the continued participation of administering Powers such as Portugal and New Zealand in the work of the Special Committee and the presence, for the first time, of France.

Special Committee Work Programme

The Special Committee on decolonization met this morning to act on a draft resolution on the implementation by specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and to conclude its work for the year.

Before the Special Committee are three reports relating to the subject. A report by the Acting Chairman of the Special Committee (document A/AC.109/L.1880) states that he held consultations with the President of the Economic and Social Council on General Assembly resolution 52/73. Paragraph 17 of that resolution requested the Council to continue to consider, in consultation with the Special Committee, appropriate measures for coordination of the policies and activities of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in implementing the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly.

A report of the President of the Economic and Social Council contained in document E/1998/76 states that he was of the view that the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations should continue to strengthen measures of support and formulate additional programmes of assistance to the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The report states that members of the Council and the Special Committee followed closely the work of their respective bodies relating to the subject. It observes that the President of the Council considers it both useful and essential that such contacts and cooperation are maintained and strengthened to mobilize the maximum possible assistance to the peoples of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories. The report states that a number of specialized agencies and organizations have continued to extend assistance to the peoples of those Territories in response to the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Council and the Special Committee.

The report also contains summaries of replies received from specialized agencies and international organizations concerned in response to a letter by the Secretary-General.


Decolonization Committee - 3 - Press Release GA/COL/2994 1500th Meeting (AM) 12 August 1998

A report of the Secretary-General, also on the subject of implementation of the Declaration on decolonization by the specialized agencies and international organizations associated with the United Nations (document A/53/130) states that he had by a letter dated 30 March transmitted the text of General Assembly resolution 52/73 to the executive heads of those bodies.

By the draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on decolonization by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/AC.109/L.1881), the Special Committee would recommend that all States intensify their efforts in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration.

It would request the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, and international and regional organizations to examine and review conditions in each Territory so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in their economic and social sectors.

Also by the draft, the Special Committee would request the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to provide information on the following:

-- environmental problems facing the Non-Self-Governing Territories;

-- the impact of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and volcanoes, and other environmental problems, such as beach and coastal erosion and droughts, on those territories;

-- ways and means to assist the Territories to fight drug trafficking, money laundering and other illegal and criminal activities; and

-- the illegal exploitation of the marine resources of the Territories and the need to utilize those resources for the benefit of the peoples of those Territories.

The draft would also have the Special Committee recommend that all Governments intensify their efforts in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system of which they are members to accord priority to the question of providing assistance to the peoples of the Non- Self-Governing Territories.

Statements

CARLYLE CORBIN, representative for External Affairs of the Government of the United States Virgin Islands, said that his Government was concerned that over the years, the General Assembly resolution on implementation of the Declaration on decolonization had not achieved consensus among Member States.


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The text continued to receive the endorsement of his Government because of its focus on the development process in the Territories, most of which were small island developing countries, and because of its emphasis on the provision of assistance from the wider United Nations system.

He said that, regrettably, the Special Committee had not responded to a number of formal proposals made by its Working Group for potential collaborative activities in search of a more coordinated approach with the relevant General Assembly organizations. An excellent opportunity was missed for the development of collaboration between the Special Committee and other United Nations bodies as well as regional institutions that were undertaking the very work "on the ground" put forth by the resolutions of the Special Committee.

The work of the regional commissions, including of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was crucial to the full implementation of the Declaration, he said. A request for information should be sent to ECLAC and ESCAP in order that their responses could be made available to Member States before consideration of the item by the General Assembly's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization). A request for information should also be sent to the Pacific Community organization, a ministerial body that included Pacific Non-Self-Governing Territories as full members.

He asked the Special Committee to support the ECLAC resolution of 16 May, which promoted the role of observer status for the Territories in the special sessions of the United Nations on the implementation of the plans of action adopted by world conferences. The addition of such language in the Committee's resolution would recognize a major ongoing activity towards implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on the Territories. It would also facilitate the necessary linkages for wider future collaboration.

The representative of Papua New Guinea asked whether some of Mr. Corbin's suggestions could be included in the resolution of the Committee, or whether the Committee could take note of the proposals and consider them at a later stage.

The Committee Chairman agreed that Mr. Corbin had made some highly interesting proposals, but a text was ready for adoption. The Committee could take note of those proposals, and at a later stage, could elaborate a text.

Following expressions of support for Mr. Corbin's proposals by the representatives of Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, and China, the Committee decided to take note of them, and to include them in a paper for future consideration by the Committee.


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Action

The Special Committee adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations.

The Special Committee thus concluded consideration of all the substantive items on its agenda for the year.

Closing Statement

BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA (Cuba), Acting Chairman of the Special Committee, in a closing statement, said that it was a privilege for Cuba and for him personally to have been entrusted with the duty of conducting the work of the Committee during the year. The departure of the substantive Chairman, the Permanent Representative of Papua New Guinea, had left the vacuum of an unmatched experience. In carrying out the Committee's mandate, he had met representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and consulted with representatives of the administering Powers, whose cooperation was necessary. He acknowledged the continued participation of administering Powers, such as Portugal and New Zealand, in the work of the Special Committee and the presence, for the first time, of France.

The outcome of the various activities of the Special Committee, including regional seminars, had been reflected in relevant resolutions and decisions approved by the Special Committee. A resolution on Guam reflected the interests of the Chamorro people. He also referred to the approval of a resolution on Puerto Rico by the Committee, for the first time in seven years.

The Acting Chairman thanked officers of the Special Committee and Committee members, as well as the Secretariat, for their cooperation which, he added, characterized the Committee's work.

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