14/12/2000
Press Release
GA/9846



Fifty-fifth General Assembly

Plenary

85th Meeting (AM)


ASSEMBLY ADOPTS 11 DRAFT RESOLUTIONS WITHOUT VOTE


Nine Texts Cover Economic Assistance to Individual Countries, Regions


As it considered the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, the General Assembly this morning adopted, without a vote, 11 resolutions, nine of them geared towards special economic assistance to individual countries or regions.


By the terms of a resolution on international cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural disasters from relief to development, the Assembly invited Member States to consider developing a framework for international humanitarian assistance in the wake of such disasters, outlining the responsibilities of countries receiving and providing support.


Further to the text, the Secretary-General was requested to continue to consider innovative mechanisms to improve the international response to natural disasters, through addressing any geographical and sectoral imbalances in such a response where they exist, as well as more effective use of national emergency response agencies.


According to another resolution, on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, the Assembly invited the Economic and Social Council to continue to consider ways to further enhance the humanitarian affairs segment of future sessions of the Council.  It would call upon relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other relevant international organizations, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to cooperate with the Secretary-General and the Emergency Relief Coordinator to ensure timely implementation of and follow-up to Economic and Social Council agreed conclusions.


In the field of special economic assistance to individual countries or regions, the Assembly adopted resolutions on Somalia, Belize, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Eastern European States affected by the developments in the Balkans, and East Timor, as well as a resolution on the closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and a resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people.


On the agenda item "follow-up to the Millennium Summit", the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution submitted by the President.  By the text, the Assembly called for an integrated, coordinated, comprehensive and balanced approach in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration at the national, regional and international levels.  It called upon the United Nations system to assist Member States in every way possible in the implementation of the Declaration, and decided to use existing structures and mechanisms and upcoming events to the maximum extent possible in implementation of the Declaration.


In other action, the Assembly decided to defer to its fifty-sixth session the following agenda items:  “Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity on the aerial and naval military attack against the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by the present United States Administration in April 1986”;  “armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security”; “the consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait”; “implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations”; and “launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development.”


The Assembly President, Harri Holkeri (Finland), paid tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Ionatana Ionatana, conveying his condolences to Tuvalu’s Government, its people and the family of the deceased.  The Assembly observed a minute of silence.


The representatives of France (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Nigeria (on behalf of the Group of 77 plus China and Mexico), Sweden, Antigua and Barbuda (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Madagascar, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Egypt and Brazil introduced the draft resolutions.


The representatives of the Czech Republic and Israel spoke in explanation of their vote.


The Assembly will meet again on Tuesday 19 December at 10 a.m., to consider the situation in Afghanistan, the situation in East Timor during its transition to independence and other matters.


Assembly Work Programme


The General Assembly met this morning to continue deliberation of the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance, and follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit.  [For more background information, see Press Release GA/9831 of 27 November.]


The Assembly would also take up consideration of:  the Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on the aerial and naval military attack against the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by the present United States Administration in April 1986; armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security; consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait; implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations; and launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development.


Strengthening of Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance


Before the Assembly was a note by the Secretary-General on enhancing the functioning and utilization of the Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF) (document A/55/649).  The Secretary-General established the Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF) pursuant to General Assembly resolution 46/182 of

19 December 1991, as a cash-flow mechanism to ensure the rapid and coordinated response of the organizations of the United Nations system to humanitarian emergencies.  Since CERF is a revolving fund and not a trust fund, its resources are advanced to operational agencies on a reimbursable basis.  The Revolving Fund, managed by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, has disbursed $185.7 million since its inception in 1992, of which $155.7 million has been reimbursed.  In addition, some of the $8.8 million interest that CERF has accrued has been used to enhance rapid response coordination where insufficient capacity existed at the field level.


While donor funding has generally been available for the initial phases of major emergencies, contributions for protracted humanitarian emergencies have been more difficult to secure, the Secretary-General notes.  These crisis situations often required immediate use of newly pledged contributions, whereby the availability of CERF would allow agencies to implement emergency activities immediately.  Another constraint faced by operational organizations in providing humanitarian assistance has been the low levels of funding of consolidated appeals for under-publicized emergencies, notably in Africa.  For instance, the consolidated appeals for 1999 for the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda received contributions of 17, 19 and 13 per cent, respectively, of the total amount requested; similarly, funding for the crisis in Sierra Leone was only 41 per cent of the amount needed.  Further, the problem of security of United Nations personnel required urgent attention.  It was imperative that adequate security arrangements should be put in place for humanitarian workers, and CERF was expected to play an important role in advancing funds for immediate emergency security measures.


In conclusion, the CERF has been an important source of funding for timely, prompt and effective response by operational organizations.  Given the uneven pattern of its utilization in recent years, and taking into consideration the increased availability of emergency funds within operational organizations, the Secretary-General proposes that the level of CERF be reduced from

$50 million to $40 million.  At the same time, the note urges that the use of CERF be expanded, which would be in compliance with the intention and spirit of Assembly resolution 46/182.  To ensure more efficient utilization of CERF, funding should be expanded to include humanitarian assistance for natural disasters; humanitarian assistance for protracted emergencies; and security arrangements for United Nations and associated personnel.  The Secretary-General called for the transfer of $10 million to a trust fund for lifesaving assistance needs, particularly in Africa, if the proposal to reduce the level of CERF to $40 million were approved.


The Assembly has before it a draft resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel.  By the text, the Assembly would urge all States to take necessary measures to ensure full implementation of the relevant principles and rules of international law related to humanitarian personnel and United Nations personnel, and to respect the inviolability of United Nations premises.  It would call upon governments and parties in complex humanitarian emergencies to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel in order to allow them to perform their tasks efficiently.  The Assembly would strongly condemn any act or failure to act which obstructs or prevents humanitarian personnel from discharging their humanitarian functions, or which entails them being subjected to threats or physical attack, and would affirm the need to hold accountable those who commit such acts.  Any such threats or aggression should be fully investigated in accordance with international law and national legislation.


By the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full respect for the human rights, privileges and immunities of United Nations and other personnel and to continue to consider ways and means by which to strengthen the protection of such personnel.  It would call upon all States to provide adequate and prompt information in the event of detention of humanitarian personnel, to afford them the necessary medical assistance, and to take action to ensure the speedy release of United Nations and other personnel carrying out activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation who had been arrested or detained in violation of their immunity.


The Assembly would call upon all other parties involved in armed conflicts, in compliance with their obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto, to ensure the safety and protection of humanitarian personnel, to refrain from abducting or detaining them in violation of their immunity, and to speedily release any abductee or detainee without harm.


Further to the draft, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure that security matters are an integral part of the planning for existing and newly mandated United Nations operations, and that such precautions extended to all United Nations and its associated personnel.  It would also request the Secretary-General to ensure that personnel carrying out activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation are properly informed about the conditions under which they were called to operate, and the standards that they are required to meet, and that adequate training in security, human rights and humanitarian law is provided to enhance their security and effectiveness in accomplishing their functions.  It would stress that all United Nations staff members receive adequate security training prior to their deployment in the field, and would emphasize the need to improve stress-counseling services.  The Assembly would call upon all States to consider becoming parties to and respect fully their obligations under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies.


The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.


Before the General Assembly was a resolution (document A/55/L.54) on the strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations.


By the text, the General Assembly would invite the Economic and Social Council to continue to consider ways to further enhance the humanitarian affairs segment of future sessions of the Council.  It would call upon relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other relevant international organizations, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to cooperate with the Secretary-General and the Emergency Relief Coordinator to ensure timely implementation of and follow-up to Economic and Social Council agreed conclusions 1998/1 and 1999/1.  Further to the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session, through the 2001 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council, on progress made in strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, including the implementation of and follow-up to agreed conclusions 1998/1 and 1999/1.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.


Before the Assembly was a resolution on assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia (document A/55/L.66), whereby the Assembly would call upon all States and intergovernmental organizations to provide assistance to facilitate the implementation of Liberia's National Reconstruction Programme. 


The Assembly would urge the Government of Liberia to provide an enabling environment for the promotion of socio-economic development and a culture of sustained peace in the country, including a commitment to upholding the rule of law, national reconciliation and human rights, and to implementing ways and means of reducing tension and promoting a sustainable and peaceful political development in the subregion. 


The Assembly would urge the United Nations system and all States, in working towards the reconstruction and development of Liberia, to direct their assistance to or through intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. 


The Assembly would also call upon all parties to respect fully the provisions of international humanitarian law, and, in that regard, to ensure safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all affected populations throughout the territory of Liberia as well as the safety of United Nations and humanitarian personnel.  It would request the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session on the implementation of the present resolution. 


The draft resolution was sponsored by Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.


The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for East Timor (document A/55/L.65).  By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would urge the United Nations organizations, the international community and NGOs to continue their efforts aimed at “Timorization” in East Timor -- that is, the enhanced East Timorese ownership of, and participation in, the social, economic and administrative infrastructure.  It would stress the need for capacity-building in areas such as education, health, agriculture and rural development, the judiciary, governance and public administration, security, and law and order.


The Assembly would recommend that outstanding infrastructure needs remain an essential focus of international assistance in such areas as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of public buildings, education facilities, roads and public services.  It would also stress the urgent need for sustained and enhanced efforts by the Government of Indonesia, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the international community to resolve the question of the East Timorese refugees by the repatriation or resettlement of all those refugees in conditions of safety and security at all stages, and based on their voluntary decisions, through the efforts of the Government of Indonesia to guarantee effective security in the West Timor camps, by the promotion of a credible and internationally observed registration process, and by the promotion and support of reconciliation among all East Timorese. 


Further to the text, the Assembly would reaffirm the need to ensure safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel and assistance to all those in need and to ensure the safety and security of all humanitarian personnel in West Timor.  It would urge the United Nations to continue to address the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development needs of East Timor.


The draft resolution was co-sponsored by Angola, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.


Also before the Assembly was a draft resolution on assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia (document A/55/L.55/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would urge all States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned to continue to implement resolution 47/160 in order to assist the Somali people.  It would strongly urge all political groups in Somalia, in particular, those that had remained outside the Arta peace process, to participate in the ongoing process and to establish a constructive dialogue with the new transitional Government in order to achieve national reconciliation.


Further to the text, the Assembly would call upon all parties to respect fully the security and safety of personnel of the United Nations, specialized agencies and NGOs, and to guarantee their freedom of movement and safety within Somalia.  It would call upon the Secretary-General to continue to mobilize international assistance to Somalia and, in a similar fashion, call upon the international community to provide continuing and increased assistance in response to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeals for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance for Somalia, covering the period from October 2000 to December 2001.


The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, China, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Before the Assembly was a resolution on international cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural disasters from relief to development (document A/55/L.38/Rev.1).

By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would stress that humanitarian assistance for natural disasters should be provided in accordance with and with due respect for the guiding principles contained in the annex to resolution 46/182, and should be determined on the basis of the human dimension and needs arising out of the particular natural disasters, and would also stress the importance of strengthening international cooperation in the provision of humanitarian assistance for all phases from relief to development, including through the provision of adequate resources.


The Assembly would also invite Member States to consider developing a framework for international humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural disasters, outlining the responsibilities of countries receiving and providing support.


Further to the draft resolution, the Assembly would stress the need for partnership among governments of the affected countries, relevant humanitarian organizations and specialized companies to promote the transfer and use of technologies to strengthen the preparedness and response to natural disasters, and would call for the transfer of required technologies to developing countries on concessional and preferential terms. 


The Assembly would encourage governments in natural disaster-prone countries to establish, with the support of the donor community, national spatial information infrastructure relating to natural disaster preparedness, response and mitigation, including the necessary training of personnel.


The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to prepare recommendations on how to improve the United Nations potential to mitigate natural disasters, including through the development of an inventory of existing capacities at the national, regional and international levels. 


The Secretary-General would also be requested to continue to consider innovative mechanisms to improve the international response to natural disasters, through addressing any geographical and sectoral imbalances in such a response where they exist, as well as more effective use of national emergency response agencies, taking into account their comparative advantages and specializations, as well as existing arrangements.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Argentina, Belize, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Gambia, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


The General Assembly had before it a draft resolution (document A/55/L.35/Rev.1) on emergency assistance to Belize, by which the Assembly would urge Member States, as a matter of urgency, to contribute generously to the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of Belize.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the international financial institutions, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, to assist the Government of Belize in identifying medium-term and long-term needs and in mobilizing resources, as well as to help with the efforts of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Libya, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.


The General Assembly had before it a draft resolution (document A/55/L.36) on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  By the draft, the General Assembly would urge all parties concerned in the region to cease all military activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which breaches the ceasefire provided for in the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the Kampala disengagement plan, and to fully implement those agreements and create the conditions necessary for the speedy and peaceful resolution of the crisis.  It would urge all parties to engage in a process of political dialogue and negotiation, and would renew its invitation to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cooperate with the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other organizations in addressing the need for rehabilitation and reconstruction, and stress the need for the Government to assist and protect the civilian population, including refugees and internally displaced persons, regardless of their origin.


By the text, the Assembly would urge all parties to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all affected populations throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the safety of United Nations personnel.  It would request the Secretary-General to consult urgently with regional leaders, in coordination with the Secretary-General of the OAU, about ways to bring about a peaceful and durable solution to the conflict and convene, when appropriate, an international conference on peace, security and development in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region.  It would urge the Secretary-General to keep under review the economic situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a view to promoting participation in and support for a programme of financial and material assistance to enable the Democratic Republic of the Congo to meet its urgent needs for recovery and reconstruction.


The draft is sponsored by the Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Madagascar, Mauritania, Namibia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


The General Assembly has before it a draft resolution (document A/55/L.59) on economic assistance to the Eastern European States affected by the developments in the Balkans.


By the terms of the text, the Assembly would stress the importance of the effective implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, and of a well coordinated and timely donor response to the external funding requirements of the process for economic reconstruction, stabilization, reform and development in the Balkans, as well as financial support to other affected countries of Eastern Europe.  The General Assembly would encourage the affected States of the region to continue and enhance the process of multilateral regional cooperation in the fields of transport and infrastructure development, as well as to foster conditions favourable to trade, investment and private sector development.


The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United States and Yugoslavia.


Before the General Assembly was a draft resolution (document A/55/L.61) on special emergency economic assistance to the Comoros.


By its terms, the General Assembly would request the Economic and Social Council to consider General Assembly resolution 53/1 F with a view to initiating a reconstruction and rehabilitation programme so as to lay the groundwork for national economic recovery on a sound basis.  The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it at its fifty-seventh session on the implementation of the present resolution in the Economic and Social Council.


The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


Before the Assembly was a draft resolution (document A/55/L.53) on assistance to Mozambique, by which it would request the Secretary-General to make all necessary arrangements to continue to mobilize and coordinate, with a view to supporting the efforts of the Government of Mozambique, humanitarian assistance from the specialized agencies, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, and international assistance for the national reconstruction and development of Mozambique.


The draft resolution is sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Before the Assembly was draft resolution A/55/L.57 on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly would call upon all States, regional organizations, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and other relevant bodies to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the affected population in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  The above-mentioned actors would also be called upon to offer support to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in its efforts to ensure the transition from relief to the longer-term goals of rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the country.


The Assembly would call upon the Secretary-General to continue to mobilize the timely provision of international humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would request the United Nations and the specialized agencies to continue their efforts to assess -- in cooperation with the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, relevant international and regional organizations, bodies and interested States -- the humanitarian needs of the country, with a view to ensuring effective links between relief and longer-term assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  


The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia.


Before the Assembly was a resolution (document A/55/L.60) on the closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.  By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly would welcome the decision of Ukraine to close the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 15 December. 


The Assembly would also call upon the international community to continue to assist the Government of Ukraine in coping with the range of newly emerging economic and social problems arising as a result of the closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.


By the terms of the text, the Assembly would invite all States and the relevant international and non-governmental organizations to continue to provide support to Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine, as the most affected countries, in mitigating and minimizing the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.


The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the United States.


Before the Assembly was a resolution (document A/55/L.63) on assistance to the Palestinian people, by whose terms the Assembly would urge Member States, international financial institutions of the United Nations system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and regional and interregional organizations to extend, as rapidly and as generously as possible, economic and social [assistance] to the Palestinian people, in close cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and through official Palestinian institutions.

The Assembly would urge Member States to open their markets to exports of Palestinian products on the most favourable terms, consistent with appropriate trading rules, and to implement fully existing trade and cooperation agreements.  It would further call upon the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people to meet their urgent needs.


By the text of the draft, the Assembly would stress the need to implement the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations of 29 April 1994 and the fifth annex to the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, signed in Washington, D.C. on 28 September 1995, in particular, with regard to the full and prompt clearance of Palestinian indirect tax revenues. 


The Assembly would also suggest the convening in 2001 of a United Nations-sponsored seminar on assistance to the Palestinian people. 


By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit a report to it at its fifty-sixth session, through the Economic and Social Council, on the implementation of the present resolution, the report to contain an assessment of the assistance actually received by the Palestinian people; an assessment of the needs still unmet and specific proposals for responding effectively to them.


The draft was sponsored by Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Togo, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.


Follow-up to the Millennium Summit


Before the Assembly was a draft resolution on the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit (document A/55/56/Rev.1), submitted by the Assembly's President.  By the text of the resolution, the Assembly would call for an integrated, coordinated, comprehensive and balanced approach in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration at the national, regional and international levels.


The Assembly would call upon the United Nations system to assist Member States, in every way possible, in the implementation of the Declaration.  It would decide to use existing structures and mechanisms, upcoming events and special sessions of the General Assembly, as well as related conferences and events, to the maximum extent possible in the implementation of the Declaration.  It would request the President of the General Assembly to follow up on these processes. 


The Assembly would also request the Main Committees of the General Assembly to ensure that the outcome of the Summit was taken into account in their work.  The Assembly would also invite regional commissions, in cooperation with regional intergovernmental organizations and regional development banks, to review progress made towards implementing the Declaration. 

Further to the text, the Assembly would request the United Nations system to take action to meet the special needs of Africa and to strengthen the broad range of its engagements in Africa, with a view to intensifying support for poverty eradication and sustainable development, for combating diseases and pandemics, and for the process of conflict prevention and the consolidation of democracy.  Appropriate bodies would also be requested to consider urgently how the implementation of the Declaration should relate to the biennial budget process and the medium-term plan. 


By the terms of the text, the Secretary-General would be requested to ensure system-wide coordination to assist with the implementation, and would be invited to identify, within the framework of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, innovative ways of enhancing cooperation and coherence throughout the United Nations system. 


Further to the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to prepare a long-term “road map” towards the implementation of the Declaration within the United Nations system and to submit it to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.  The Secretary-General would also be requested to prepare a comprehensive report every five years, supplemented by an annual report on progress achieved towards implementing the Declaration.  The annual reports should reflect the broad array of specific goals and commitments enunciated in the Declaration.  All reports should focus on the results and benchmarks achieved, identify gaps in implementation and strategies for reducing them, and highlight, in particular, cross-sectoral issues and cross-cutting themes on development and peace and security.  Reports should also draw on the work of the entire United Nations, including the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the reporting system should be appraised with a view to strengthening its coherence and integration.


Other matters


The Assembly item on the Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU on the aerial and naval military attack against the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by the present United States Administration in April 1986, and the item on armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security, have not been considered since the Assembly’s forty-first session.


The consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait was included at the forty-fifth session but never considered.


The item on implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations was included at the thirty-seventh session but never considered.


The item on launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development has not been considered since the fortieth session.


Statement by Assembly President


The General Assembly President, Harri Holkeri (Finland), paid tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Ionatana Ionatana.  Only in September this year, the Assembly had heard his statement on the occasion of Tuvalu’s admission to the United Nations.  On behalf of the Assembly he conveyed his condolences to Tuvalu’s Government, its people and the family of the deceased.


The Assembly then observed a minute of silence.


Follow-up to Outcome of Millennium Summit


The representative of the Secretariat informed the Assembly that, should it adopt the draft resolution contained in document A/55/L.56/Rev.1 on follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, no additional resources were currently anticipated in the biennium budget.  If additional resources were required, the question would be taken up at the fifty-sixth session of the Assembly.


The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.


The Assembly President noted that the consensus would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of all delegates.  He believed that the Millennium Summit had created a momentum and new spirit of political will to achieve the goals set out in its Declaration.  He thanked all members for their cooperation. 


The Assembly concluded its consideration of the item.


The President informed the Assembly that on Tuesday morning, in addition to the items earlier announced, it would also consider item 49, the situation in East Timor during its transition to independence.  On Wednesday, the Assembly would consider the reports of the Second Committee.


Strengthening of Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of United Nations, Including Special Economic Assistance:  Introduction of Resolutions


JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, introduced draft resolution A/55/L.64 on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel.  He said that the European Union and the co-sponsors of the text welcomed the spirit of cooperation and understanding shown by all delegations throughout.  He expressed condemnation of any actions directed against United Nations personnel, and stressed that it was the responsibility of the States concerned to prevent such actions and to bring the authors of such violence to justice.  He evoked all those who had lost their lives in humanitarian service, and hoped that the resolution would allow security to be strengthened.  The appeal to all States to promote a climate of respect for humanitarian personnel was important.  Adequate training should also be provided for all personnel before going into the field, and there should be a coordinator on matters of security.  Those intentions should rapidly be put into effect.


AUSTIN PETER ETANOMARE OSIO (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries plus China and Mexico, introduced draft resolution A/55/L.38/Rev.1 entitled “international cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural disasters from relief to development”.  He said the negotiations had been frank and flexibility had been mutual.  Natural disasters were neither people-friendly nor country-specific.  They happened in developing countries, and the primary responsibility for humanitarian assistance organization rested with each developing country.  The need for international cooperation could not be over-emphasized, however.  In the face of declining official development assistance flows and an increasing debt burden, all factors working against efforts to mitigate disasters had to be considered in order to augment the efforts of developing countries affected by such disasters.  Natural disasters were a factor that brought humanity into common agreement.  They were the “biggest information of need”, he said.  On that basis, there must at least be cooperation between and partnership with governments and organizations to enhance the transfer of current technologies on concessional and preferential terms.  The draft had spelled out what needed to be done.  He thanked all who had taken part in the negotiations for their cooperation and flexibility.


PER NORSTROM (Sweden) then introduced draft resolution A/55/L.54 on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations


PATRICK LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda) speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, introduced draft resolution A/55/L.35/Rev.1 on emergency assistance to Belize.  He said that his region was subject to a number of natural disasters, which affected the ability of all the region’s States to maintain their standard of living and quality of life.  In addition, whereas one could once speak about countries that were within a certain hurricane belt, that was no longer true.  For example, this year a hurricane had gone as far as Suriname.  Even though Belize had experienced hurricanes in the past, it was not expecting anything of the magnitude that it actually experienced.  That was why it was important that the United Nations should understand the problems of the entire Caribbean region in terms of natural disasters.  The countries of the region had endeavoured to help themselves in such disastrous situations.  Along with the Caribbean disaster emergency relief association, there was a spirit of togetherness that caused them to act when one of their countries was affected.  That was why he was asking the international community to show equal togetherness by adopting the current resolution by consensus.


JEAN DELACROIX BAKONIARIVO (Madagascar), introduced draft resolutions A/55/L.36, on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, A/55/L.53, on assistance to Mozambique, A/55/L.55/Rev.1, on assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia, and A/55/L.66, on assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia.  Regarding the draft on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said that the issue had been on the agenda since 1997.  The United Nations had responded favourably to the needs of the country through the creation of a Trust Fund.  Notwithstanding the efforts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Government, the people continued to suffer through the ups and downs of a lengthy transition and armed conflicts which had exacerbated the problems of reconstruction and rebuilding a social infrastructure.  He thanked the United Nations, the OAU and regional leaders for their tireless efforts for peace and development in that country.


In regard to Mozambique, he said that since 1996, the Assembly had adopted a resolution on assistance to the country as part of the international community’s efforts to aid in reconstruction and development.  Those resolutions had provided the framework for multilateral and bilateral assistance.  With the backing of the international community, the country had been in a position to achieve economic growth and sustainable development.  This year, Mozambique had been once again devastated by storms and floods, at a high cost in lives and material damage.  The Government asked for international assistance to help it get a grip on the humanitarian disaster and its consequences.  The impact of the floods would be felt for several years to come and would compromise progress made.  The disaster was sapping the development programme in the long run, notwithstanding the best effort of the Government.


Regarding the draft on Somalia, he said it was similar to previous resolutions, but that it contained new paragraphs concerning the latest political developments.  They included adoption of a transitional charter to establish a transitional government -- although some groups in the country had stayed out of the process.  He thanked all States and bodies of the Organization, regional organizations and NGOs that had helped Somalia.  The adverse fallout of the crisis could not be resolved in a short time.  The draft was designed to support the transitional Somali Government in achieving national reconciliation.  Peace regained would be the only way for the country to achieve reconstruction after establishment of civilian institutions within a democratic framework.


Regarding Liberia, he said that given the cooperative peace-making efforts of the community of West African States, the people of Liberia had emerged from war to hold democratic elections in 1997.  Liberia continued to face daunting challenges in trying to bring new life to its economy.  The pace of development had been less than satisfactory.  He agreed with the Secretary-General when he appealed in his report (document A/55/410) to the international community and the chief donors to become more aware of the problems Liberia faced.  The people of Liberia needed stability on a subregional basis, which would be the context for sustainable efforts on behalf of the international community to help Liberia rebuild.  He appealed to all countries and organizations to provide assistance to implement peace efforts in post war Liberia.


He asked that all four resolutions be adopted without a vote.


YURI ISAKOV (Russian Federation), introducing draft resolution A/55/L.57 on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, said that in the past year the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had undergone radical changes, but the humanitarian problems were no less acute.  In the near future, Yugoslavia would face many such problems.  Yugoslavia was a stopping-off point for an unprecedented number of refugees and internally displaced persons, was going through democratic changes, and was suffering a catastrophic economic situation.  The situation was particularly dire in terms of energy, food supplies and finance.  He called for the continuation and even increase of humanitarian aid to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, especially in the upcoming winter months.


The United Nations had a special role to play here, in particular by improving the mechanism of the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal.  An important element in the draft was its call to the international community to help the Government in its transition from emergency assistance to long-term development.  His delegation felt sure that the adoption of the resolution would truly help the recovery and development of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


VALERI KUCHYNSKI (Ukraine) expressed appreciation to the President of the General Assembly for his positive evaluation of Ukraine's decision to close the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.  He then introduced the draft resolution entitled "economic assistance to the Eastern European States affected by the developments in the Balkans" (document A/55/L.59).  The purpose of the resolution was to help Eastern European States solve their special economic problems, specifically in the sphere of regional trade and economic relations, and particularly related to the navigation on the Danube.  It invited all States and relevant international organizations to assist the affected States in their efforts for economic recovery, development and economic cooperation in the region and beyond, emphasizing the importance of a well-coordinated and timely donor response.


He then introduced a draft resolution of special significance for his country, entitled "closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant" (document A/55/L.60).  On 15 December 2000, Ukraine would close the Chernobyl plant, fulfilling its commitments under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Ottawa in 1995 by the Group of Seven highly industrialized countries, the Commission of the European Communities and the Government of Ukraine.  That substantial contribution to global nuclear safety was nonetheless a difficult decision because of the condition of Ukraine's national economy, especially in the energy sector, and the social consequences for the plant's personnel and people.  Ukraine called upon the international community to support the draft resolution and, at the same time, to address the problems arising from the plant’s closure.  His country underlined the need for continued international assistance to Ukraine to cope with the newly emerging economic and social problems stemming from the closure.  In closing, he noted that the closure of the power plant was not the conclusion of the Chernobyl item but "rather the beginning of a qualitatively new stage" of addressing Chernobyl-related problems.


HARRI HOLKERI, President of the General Assembly, said that the tragedy at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant nearly 15 years ago had affected almost the entire territory of Europe, most of all Ukraine and the neighbouring areas of Belarus and the Russian Federation, and had caused long-lasting, complex problems.  The human suffering caused by the accident could not be measured, and its environmental impact was partly irreversible.  The draft resolution, he said, invited the international community to continue to provide support to the Government and people of the Ukraine and other affected states.  It was his sincere hope that adoption of the resolution would give new impetus to the concerted efforts by the United Nations system to mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.


HOSSAM ZAKI (Egypt), introducing draft resolution A/55/L.61 entitled “special emergency economic assistance to the Comoros”, said Madagascar, Senegal and Burkina Faso had joined as co-sponsors.  He said he looked forward to adoption of the draft without a vote.


MARIA LUIZA VIOTTI (Brazil) introduced draft resolution A/55/L.65 entitled “assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for East Timor”.


YVES DOUTRIAUX (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union and other co-authors of the text, introduced the draft resolution entitled "assistance to the Palestinian people" (document A/55/L.63).  He expressed appreciation to the Secretary-General, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Member States, United Nations bodies, intergovernmental, regional and non-governmental organizations for their efforts and continuous assistance to the Palestinian people.  The European Union supported the Assembly's call for an intensification of assistance to meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian people, and exhorted the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance.  In addition, the resolution requested Member States to open their markets to exports of Palestinian products on the most favourable terms, he added.


It was essential that assistance should reach its destination without obstacles.  Moreover, the free movement of persons and goods had to be secured.  The Union felt it was also important to implement the bilateral Paris Protocol on Economic Relations, specifically the full clearance of tax revenues of the Palestinian Authority.  Despite the tragic events in the region, he hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus, which would represent "a positive gesture".  Moreover, such a gesture would advance the resumption of the dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.


Action on Draft Resolutions


Explanation of Vote before Action on Drafts


JAN KARA (Czech Republic), in explanation of vote before the vote, said his country would join as co-sponsor of draft resolution A/55/L.64, entitled “safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel”.


Action


The Assembly then adopted the following draft resolutions, without a vote:  A/55/L.38/Rev.1 on “international cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural disasters from relief to development”; A/55/L.54 on “strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations”; A/55/L.35/Rev.1 on “emergency assistance to Belize”; A/55/L.36 on “special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo”; A/55/L.53 on “assistance to Mozambique”; A/55/L.55/Rev.1 on “assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia”; A/55/L.57 on “humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia”; A/55/L.59 on “economic assistance to the Eastern European States affected by the developments in the Balkans”; A/55/L.60 on “closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant”; A/55/L.65 on “assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for East Timor”, as orally revised; and

A/55/L.63 on “assistance to the Palestinian people”.


Explanation of Vote after Action


CHAIM SHACHAM (Israel) said his country had joined the consensus on the draft resolution entitled “assistance to the Palestinian people” because it was committed to the goal of enhancing the economic growth and welfare of the Palestinian people.  His Government welcomed the concerted efforts of Member States, international financial institutions, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to aid in the development efforts.  Further, Israel shared the hope that the United Nations Special Coordinator could assist in the crucial sphere of economic growth, enrichment and investment in the future, and was ready to cooperate with the Special Coordinator in that regard.


However, Israel's support for the resolution should not be construed as implying any position regarding the present status of “occupied territories”, which must be negotiated between his country and the Palestinians.  Israel took note of changes in the text of the resolution regarding the free passage of aid and the free movement of persons and goods.  Despite the current crisis, his Government had continued and even expanded the free flow of humanitarian assistance and food to the areas under Palestinian Authority administration.  In closing, he reaffirmed the need to continue implementation of the provisions of the interim agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians.


Other Matters


The Assembly decided to defer to its fifty-sixth session the items entitled:  “declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity on the aerial and naval military attack against the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by the present United States Administration in April 1986”;  “armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security”; “the consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait”; “implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations”; and “launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development”.


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