07/09/2001
Press Release
GA/9901



Resumed Fifty-fifth General Assembly

Plenary

111th Meeting (AM)


WITH CONCLUSION OF FIFTY-FIFTH SESSION IMPENDING, GENERAL ASSEMBLY


ACTS ON REMAINING AGENDA ITEMS


Texts Adopted Include Issue of Chemical Weapons,

Culture of Peace, Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Africa


The General Assembly this morning, nearing the end of its fifty-fifth session, concluded or deferred consideration of several remaining agenda items and adopted texts on such topics as chemical weapons, the culture of peace, and the decade to roll back malaria in Africa.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted four draft resolutions on the following: the International Day of Peace; Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; the decade to roll back malaria in Africa; and revitalization of its work.  Also by consensus, it adopted a draft decision on the meaning of the terms "takes note of" and "notes" in its Rules of Procedure.


Also today, the Assembly decided to conclude its consideration of the item on financing the Military Observer Group of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala [item 151].


At the same time, it deferred consideration of agenda items on:  the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti [48]; restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields [63]; question of Cyprus [64]; improving the financial situation of the United Nations [119]; and an additional item recommended by the General Committee on observer status for Partners in Population and Development in the Assembly.


Also postponed until the next session was a text on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, to allow time to assess its programme budget implications [86].


Consideration of the items on financing the following United Nations operations was also deferred:  East Timor [131]; Somalia [141]; Mozambique [142]; Haiti [145]; Liberia [146]; Rwanda [147]; Eastern Slovenia, Baranja and Western Sirmium and the Civilian Police Support Group [149].  Also deferred was consideration of the item on the financing and liquidation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia [139].


The Assembly also decided to defer to the fifty-sixth session consideration of the item on armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo [178].


The General Assembly was expected to meet again on Monday 10 September to conclude its fifty-fifth session.


Background


When the General Assembly meets this morning it will adopt its agenda and organization of work, take action on the outstanding items on the agenda of its fifty-fifth session and the seventh report of its General Committee, as well as consider a request for the inclusion of a new item on the agenda of the fifty-sixth session.


Seventh Report of the General Committee


The seventh report of the General Committee (document A/55/250/Add.6) states that on 6 September, the Committee considered a request submitted by Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Egypt, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe for the inclusion of an item entitled "Observer status for Partners in Population and Development" in the agenda of the fifty-fifth session of the Assembly.


In that connection, the Committee decided to recommend to the Assembly that the item be included in the draft agenda of the fifty-sixth session of the Assembly.


Draft Decision Submitted by President of the Assembly


A draft decision submitted by the General Assembly President (document A/55/L.94) would have the Assembly decide to reiterate, in the context of paragraph 28 of annex VI of its Rules of Procedure, that the terms "takes notes of" and "notes" are neutral terms that constitute neither approval nor disapproval. 


Draft Resolution:  Culture of Peace


According to another draft resolution (document A/55/L.95), the Assembly, reaffirming the contribution that the observance and celebration of the International Day of Peace make in strengthening the ideals of peace and alleviating tensions and causes of conflict, would decide that, beginning with its fifty-seventh session, the Day should be observed on 21 September each year, with this date to be brought to the attention of all people for the celebration and observance of peace.


The Assembly would also declare that the International Day of Peace will henceforth be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day.


The draft text is sponsored by Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Monaco, Norway, Oman, Panama, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.


Draft Resolution:  Cooperation between the United Nations and the OPCW


A draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) (document A/55/L.92) would have the Assembly approve the Agreement concerning the relationship between the United Nations and the OPCW.


The operative portion of the text of the Agreement, which is annexed to the present draft, contains 16 Articles that concern the following:  general parameters of the relationship between the United Nations and the OPCW; cooperation between them; coordination; reporting; reciprocal representation; agenda items; International Court of Justice; United Nations resolutions; United Nations laissez-passer; personnel arrangements; budgetary and financial matters; expenses; protection of confidentiality; implementation of the Agreement; amendments; and entry into force of the Agreement.


According to the Agreement, the United Nations would recognize the OPCW as the organization responsible for activities to achieve the comprehensive prohibition of chemical weapons, in accordance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention). 


It would also recognize that the OPCW should function as an independent, autonomous international organization.  In turn, the OPCW would recognize the responsibilities of the United Nations, in accordance with its Charter, and undertake to conduct its activities in accordance with the Charter to promote peace, disarmament and international cooperation and with due regard to the policies of the United Nations furthering safeguarded worldwide disarmament.


In terms of cooperation, the United Nations and the OPCW would agree to cooperate closely within their respective mandates and to consult on matters of mutual interest and concern.  For example, cases of particular gravity and urgency, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, will be brought directly to the attention of the General Assembly and the Security Council by the Executive Council, through the Secretary-General, in accordance with the existing United Nations procedures. 


The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, and Luxembourg.


Also, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Yugoslavia.


Draft Resolution:  2001-2010; Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa


By the terms of a 70-Power draft (document A/55/L.84/Rev.1), the Assembly would proclaim the period 2001-2010 the Decade to Roll Back Malaria in the Developing Countries, Particularly Africa.  It would stress that the proclamation of the Decade would stimulate the efforts of African countries and the international community not only to roll back malaria worldwide, but also to prevent its spread to previously malaria-free areas.  The Assembly would appeal to the international community, the United Nations, international and regional organizations as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to allocate substantial new and additional resources to enable them to fully implement the Plan of action adopted in Abuja for the "Roll Back Malaria" initiative.


The draft would also call for joint comprehensive efforts between Africa and the international community to ensure that the following targets are achieved by 2005:


-- that at least 60 per cent of those at risk of malaria benefit from the most suitable combination of personal and community protective measures and other interventions that are accessible and affordable;


-- that at least 60 per cent of all pregnant women who are at risk of malaria have access to chemoprophylaxis of intermittent treatment;


-- that at least 60 per cent of those suffering from malaria have prompt access to and are able to use correct, affordable and appropriate treatment within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.


By the terms of the text, the Assembly would also ask the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), developing countries and regional organizations to conduct an evaluation in

2005 of the measures taken and the progress made in achieving the mid-term targets, the means of implementation provided by the international community as well as the overall goals of the decade.


The draft is co-sponsored by:  Algeria, Angola, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and India.


Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also co-sponsoring the text.


Draft Resolution:  Revitalizing of the General Assembly; Improving the Efficiency of the General Assembly


By the terms of a draft resolution submitted by its President (document A/55/L.93), the Assembly would decide to adopt the text contained in the annex to the present implementing resolution.  It would also decide to continue its consideration of the items entitled "Strengthening of the United Nations System" and "Revitalizing of the General Assembly" at its fifty-sixth session.

The annex to the resolution addresses issues such as the purpose of revitalizing the Assembly; the agenda of that body; clustering and biennialization of items; items for consideration by a main committee; consideration of reports by the Assembly; organization of work; the General Committee; role of the Assembly President; and enhancing the use of modern technology.


Outstanding Items on the Agenda of the Fifty-fifth Session


The Assembly is also expected to take action on the following items before it:  the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti; restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic and social as well as related fields; question of Cyprus; comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects; improving the financial situation of the United Nations; financing of the United Nations Operations in East Timor; and financing and liquidation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia;


Other items before the Assembly for action are:  Financing of the United Nations Operation in Somalia; Financing of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique; Financing of the United Nations Mission in Haiti; Financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia; Financing of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda; Financing of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium and the Civilian Police Support Group; Financing of the Military Observer Group of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala; and armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Additional Agenda Item


On the recommendation of its General Committee, the General Assembly decided to include an additional item, on observer status for Partners in Population and Development, in the draft agenda of its fifty-sixth session.


Action on Texts


The General Assembly adopted the draft decision on the meaning of the terms “takes note of” and “notes” (document A/55/L.94), as they appear in the Assembly Rules of Procedure.


JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said the following co-sponsors had been added to the draft resolution on the International Day of Peace (document A/55/L.95):  Belarus, Gambia, Japan, San Marino, Paraguay, Luxembourg, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Lithuania.  He said that the meaning and impact of the Day of Peace should be strengthened to allow the global community to understand and honour that Day in a fuller, more practical and significant way.


He noted the draft’s recommendation that, henceforth, the Day would be observed as a global ceasefire day.  That would serve as the foundation for a wide-scale and hopefully unanimous cessation of violence and conflict throughout the world for the duration of that day.  The text further recommended that the Day become fixed on the calendar, in order to allow for better planning and publicity, and thus encourage broader observance throughout the world. 


Costa Rica and the United Kingdom jointly commended the text to Member States as a step both symbolic and concrete towards the collective ambition to make peace a reality throughout the world 365 days a year. 


MARIA ELENA CHASSOUL (Costa Rica) said that the world had always known war, destruction and death.  Hate and violence reigned in people’s hearts; lives had been lost and hopes had been dashed.  Mankind must take hold of the reins of its destiny and march to a better future.  The United Nations was a lighthouse, illuminating the road ahead.  The advancement of peace called for a sustained effort, so that a mutually respectful environment could be charted in the name of ending violence. 


She said that building a genuine culture of peace called for efforts in all fields, although peace could not be built in a day.  One day a year should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace among all nations.  The draft provided for a consolidation of that commemoration, and would enable peoples worldwide to have a truce.


The Assembly President announced the following co-sponsors to the draft: Georgia, Liechtenstein, France, Greece and Kuwait. 


The Assembly then adopted the draft on the International Day of Peace without a vote.


DIRK JAN VAN DEN BERG (Netherlands) introduced the draft resolution on the relationship between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW) (document A/55/L.92).  The text would enable the Assembly to approve the Agreement concerning that relationship, and cooperation between the two Organizations would then be a factor in all future Assembly sessions.  It would also facilitate the operation of the OPCW, begun in 1997. 


He added the following co-sponsors:  Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Thailand, India, Spain, Georgia and Ukraine.  


The Assembly President announced that France had also become a co-sponsor of that text.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OPCW. 


Next the Assembly turned to the item on rolling back malaria in Africa, and the related draft text (document A/55/L.84/Rev.1).


The representative of Ethiopia said his delegation wished to co-sponsor the draft.


HARRI HOLKERRI (Finland), Assembly President, announced that the following countries had become co-sponsors of the text on malaria:  Belarus, Cuba, Morocco, Syria, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Costa, Rica, Egypt, Greece, Monaco, United States, China, Spain, Ethiopia and Libya. 


ROBERTA LAJOUS (Mexico) said that action was necessary to promote national, regional, and international efforts to combat malaria.  The illness had stood in the way of development and poverty mitigation in developing countries.  That illness was present in various regions of the world, but 90 per cent was present in sub-Saharan Africa.  Despite the strong negative impact of the illness in various countries the problem was reversible -- and Mexico was proof of that.


She said that combatting malaria was a challenging task, but African countries had committed themselves to it.  For its part, the international community must allocate substantial resources to enable vaccinations to be administered and promote other anti-malaria technologies.  Adoption of the text would promote such action.


The Assembly adopted the draft resolution on rolling back malaria in Africa without a vote. 


Strengthening of the United Nations System; Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly


Introduction of Draft Resolution


GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) introduced the draft resolution entitled "Revitalization of the General Assembly: improving the efficiency of the General Assembly" (document A/55/L.93).  He said that although the resolution and its annex were a limited result, it was still one step further in the direction of highlighting the critical political role that the Assembly played in the work of the United Nations.  The text represented the heartfelt needs of the international community.


He said various Assembly resolutions in the past had promoted the objective of strengthening the United Nations system and enhancing the Assembly's methods of carrying out its mandate.  The resolution and the annex given to the President now suggested that only urgent items should be dealt with by the Assembly.  They further suggested reducing the agenda so that that body could perform more effectively.


He said that obviously difficulties arose regarding the agenda and the need to deal with the legitimate aspirations of Member States.  The Assembly needed to move forward in that respect and consider even more initiatives to revitalize its work.


STÉPHANE DE LOECKER (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said he hoped the revitalization exercise would continue in the sessions of the Assembly's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).


JIAN CHEN, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services, said that should the Assembly adopt A/55/L.93, paragraphs 22, 23 and 14 of its annex called for a number of measures for strengthening the Office of the Assembly President and for enhancing the use of modern technology in the intergovernmental process of the Organization.


He said that regarding the strengthening of the Office of the President, specified in paragraph 22 of the annex to the draft, additional measures to do that would be identified in consultations with the Office.  The impact of those measures on the proposed budget for the biennium 2002-2003 would be assessed on the basis of the experience of the current biennium.

That assessment, he continued, would also take into account the observations and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the issue contained in its report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 (A/56/7) and reported to the Assembly during the main part of its fifty-sixth session, as requested by that body in paragraph 22 of the annex.  With that understanding, the proposals contained in paragraph 22 of the annex would have no programme budget implications for the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.


Regarding the need to enhance the use of modern technology and information within the United Nations, including in the intergovernmental process of the Organization, he said the scope of the proposals for such enhancing, as detailed in paragraph 24 of the annex, required specific technical evaluation to estimate the related requirements.  Such an evaluation would be undertaken by the Secretariat during the remainder of 2001.  The results of the evaluation and related requirements would be reported to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session. With that understanding, the proposals in paragraphs 23 and 24 of the annex would also have no programme budget implications on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.


Action on Draft


Draft resolution A/55/L.93 was then adopted without a vote.


ANDRAS VÁMOS-GOLDMAN (Canada) said his delegation strongly supported the resolution just adopted and hoped biennialization would lead the Assembly towards more efficiency.  He urged other delegations to seriously consider allowing items to be biennialized for the sake of efficiency.


Action on Outstanding Items


The Assembly then deferred consideration of the following items and decided to include them on the agenda of its fifty-sixth session:  the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti; Restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic and social as well as related fields; Question of Cyprus.


Regarding the item entitled "Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects", Member States were informed that a second report of the Fourth Committee had been issued as document A/55/572/Add.1.  In order to allow time for the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to consider the programme budget implications of the draft resolution in the report, it was necessary to forward it to the fifty-sixth session of the Assembly.  It was therefore decided to include the item on the draft agenda of the fifty-sixth session.


The Assembly also deferred consideration of the following items and decided to include them on the agenda of its fifty-sixth session:  Improving the financial situation of the United Nations; Financing of the United Nations Operations in East Timor; Financing and liquidation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia; Financing of the United Nations Operation in Somalia II; Financing of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique; Financing of the United Nations Mission in Haiti; Financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia; Financing of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda; and Financing of

the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium and the Civilian Police Support Group.


The Assembly also decided to conclude consideration of the item entitled Financing of the Military Observer Group of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala, deferred consideration of the item entitled Armed Aggression Against the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and also decided to include it on the draft agenda of the fifty-sixth session.


The President also informed Member States that the closing session of the fifty-fifth session of the Assembly would take place on Monday 10 September at 3:00 p.m.


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