28 July 1999


Press Release
GA/COL/3020



SPECIAL COMMITTEE, CONCLUDING WORK FOR YEAR, PLEDGES ONGOING EFFORTS TO BRING SPEEDY END TO ALL FORMS OF COLONIALISM

19990728

Chairman Reviews Actions Taken during Session, Notes Initiative To Improve Cooperation with Economic and Social

Council

The Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples this morning concluded its session for the year, approving the text of its future work programme.

According to the programme, the Special Committee intends, during the year 2000, to continue efforts in ensuring a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations. The text, which will form part of the Special Committee's report to the General Assembly, would be submitted through the Assembly's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) later in the year.

In a concluding statement, the Chairman of the Special Committee, Peter Donigi (Papua New Guinea), said that during the session the Committee had adopted one decision and nine resolutions by consensus, and one on Puerto Rico by roll-call vote. It was able to complete its established work programme, he said, as well as to undertake a critical review of its work to improve its effectiveness. He noted that it was also important that the views of Non-Self-Governing Territories be taken into account in the Special Committee's future work.

The Chairman emphasized that during this penultimate year of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the Special Committee's deliberations had focused on the situation in the remaining 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, many of which were small islands. The Special Committee held 16 formal meetings in 1999.

Earlier, the Chairman had informed the Special Committee about his recent meeting in Geneva with the President of the Economic and Social Council, Francesco Paolo Fulci (Italy), on the need to improve and strengthen cooperation between the two bodies.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Indonesia and Portugal.

Draft Text of Committee's Future Work Programme

According to a draft programme on its future work, the Special Committee intends, during the year 2000, to continue efforts in ensuring a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations. It intends to improve and strengthen its dialogue and cooperation with the administering Powers and to review compliance by Member States, particularly those Powers, with the relevant United Nations decisions and resolutions.

The Special Committee will continue to seek the cooperation of the administering Powers on the dispatch of visiting missions. It will recommend that they allow representatives from the Territories concerned to participate in meetings of the General Assembly's Special Political and Decolonization Committee, as well as in the Special Committee discussions of items relating to their respective Territories.

Attention will be paid, as in the past, to the specific problems of small island Territories which constitute the overwhelming majority of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories. The Special Committee will recommend measures to facilitate a sustained and balanced growth of their economies, according to the programme.

Again, as in the past, the Special Committee will review actions taken or envisaged by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations to implement the Declaration on decolonization. It will also maintain close contact with the heads of those agencies to facilitate the effective implementation of the various relevant United Nations decisions.

The Special Committee will recommend that the General Assembly, in approving its future programme of work, make adequate provision to cover the activities it envisages for 2000.

Chairman's Report

PETER DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee, said that he had met the President of the Economic and Social Council, Francesco Paolo Fulci (Italy), in Geneva last week during which he had emphasized the need for constructive cooperation between the Economic and Social Council and the Special Committee. The President of the Council had said he was prepared to formalize the relationship between the two bodies through joint meetings.

Mr. Donigi said he had written to Mr. Fulci offering two options for such cooperation which the Economic and Social Council President said he would discuss with the Council's bureau. The options included the usefulness of discussion between the Council and the Special Committee on joint strategies to promote the implementation of the decolonization Declaration. The other option was for the two bodies to explore means through which the Non-Self- Governing Territories might have better access to information concerning activities of the United Nations.

Mr. Donigi said he had similar discussions with the Vice- President of the Economic and Social Council.

The Chairman of the Special Committee said he understood that a draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration was to be introduced today by the delegation of Cuba at the current summer session of the Council in Geneva, and that it would be discussed and voted upon tomorrow.

Other Matters

The Special Committee approved the text of the future work programme which would form part of its report to the General Assembly later this year.

Statements

JOHANES KRISTIARTO (Indonesia) said his delegation had been consistent in its rejection of discussion of the question of East Timor in the Special Committee. He noted that East Timor would remain a part of Indonesia until the decision of the East Timorese people in elections scheduled under the 5 May agreement was known. His delegation would, therefore, reject any reference to the question in the Special Committee's report.

CARMEN BAGULHO SILVESTRE (Portugal) said that until the question of East Timor had been legitimately dealt with, her delegation would favour the inclusion of the East Timor question in the report.

The CHAIRMAN said the report would be incomplete without any reference to the issue. He recalled that the Special Committee had decided at a previous meeting to include that question in its report, and he noted that the Indonesian delegation had not been present.

Concluding Statement

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee, in a concluding statement, said that during this session the Committee had been able to complete its established work programme, as well as to undertake a critical review of its work so that it could improve its effectiveness. He noted that it was important that the views of Non-Self-Governing Territories be taken into account in future work of the Committee.

The Chairman emphasized that during this penultimate year of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the Special Committee's deliberations had focused on the situation in the remaining 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, many of which were small islands. Pointing to the Caribbean Regional Seminar, held in Saint Lucia earlier this year, he said the Special Committee had been able to adopt the report as a result of the substantive conclusions and recommendations made at that forum.

During the session, the Committee had also reviewed the information provided by administering Powers under Article 73 e of the United Nations Charter. The Committee had adopted one decision and nine resolutions by consensus, and one on Puerto Rico by roll-call vote, he added.

He said one consequence of the Committee's work during the year had been to refocus efforts to advance the implementation of the Declaration and to make progress in the remainder of the International Decade. He noted that the administering Powers had indicated interest, and the Committee intended to continue the dialogue. He stressed that the cooperation of the Non-Self- Governing Territories was needed for progress to be realized.

The Chairman said that although the session was concluding, its work was not yet done. However, there was an opportunity to make progress in engaging the administering Powers in the fulfilment of the Committee's mandate.

* *** *