20/12/2002
Press Release
GA/10125



Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

78th Meeting (AM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY CALLS ON ISRAEL NOT TO EXPLOIT NATURAL RESOURCES


IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AS IT ADOPTS SECOND COMMITTEE TEXTS


Also Adopts Headquarters Renovation Plan, with $1.05 Billion Budget,

October 2004 Start Date, One of 48 Texts Recommended by Fifth Committee


Taking action this morning on 43 draft resolutions and 10 draft decisions recommended by its Second Committee (Economic and Financial), the General Assembly called on Israel not to exploit, cause loss or depletion of or to endanger natural resources in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian Golan territories.


Also by that resolution, the Assembly recognized the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution arising from any exploitation, loss, depletion or damage to their natural resources.  In the only recorded action, it adopted the text by 155 votes in favour to four against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States) with 4 abstentions (Madagascar, Nauru, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea).  (See Annex for voting details.)


The Assembly also took action on recommendations by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), adopting 48 texts without a vote, including one authorizing the implementation of the Capital Master Plan for a refurbishment of United Nations Headquarters in New York.  Construction is estimated to begin in October 2004 with a projected budget of some $1.05 billion, plus or minus

10 per cent, depending on the exact timing of the project.


Expressing concern over the hazards and deficiencies of the current United Nations complex, the Assembly endorsed construction and lease purchase of a new United Nations building south of 42nd Street.  In doing so, it welcomed with appreciation the offer of support from the City and State of New York and acknowledged their efforts to make the plan possible.


Acting earlier on the Second Committee recommendations, the Assembly adopted a resolution on enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problem of developing countries.  By that text, it called for the implementation of the enhanced debt-relief programme for heavily indebted poor countries without further delay and for the cancellation of their official bilateral debt.  In return, those countries would demonstrably commit themselves to poverty reduction.


By further terms of that text, the Assembly stressed the importance of continued flexibility on eligibility criteria for the enhanced debt relief initiative, particularly for countries in post-conflict situations, and emphasized the need to assist with initial recovery in heavily indebted poor post-conflict

countries, to help clear those countries' arrears vis-à-vis international financial institutions. 


Adopting a text on international trade and development, the Assembly expressed concern that several unilateral actions inconsistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules would harm developing-country exports and have considerable bearing on ongoing WTO negotiations and development.  The Assembly would work to ensure that the concerns of developing countries, particularly those regarding implementation and special and differential treatment, were properly and effectively addressed, according to last year's Doha Ministerial Declaration.


Emphasizing the importance of the Doha mandate for non-agricultural product market-access negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs, tariff peaks, tariff escalations and non-tariff barriers, particularly those that negatively impacted exports from developing countries, the Assembly stressed the importance of facilitating WTO accession for all developing nations, as well as clarifying and improving procedures under existing WTO provisions for regional trade agreements.


In adopting a text on commodities, the Assembly stressed the importance of international support for developing countries in industrially transforming their commodities to increase export revenues and improve competitiveness.  It also emphasized the importance, in the area of agriculture, of fulfilling commitment for comprehensive negotiations aimed at substantial improvements in market access; reductions of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support.


The Assembly also stressed the need for national and international actions to improve market access, address supply-side constraints and support capacity-building.  It urged governments and invited international financial institutions to continue assessing systems for the compensatory financing of export-earnings shortfalls, and stressed the importance of empowering developing commodity producers to insure themselves against risk, including natural disasters.


By a resolution on the international financial system and development, the Assembly underlined the importance of promoting financial stability, diminishing the effect of excessive volatility in short-term capital flows and improving the transparency of financial flows.  Moreover, it stressed the need for multilateral financial institutions to provide policy advice and financial support to developing countries and those with economies in transition, based on sound, nationally owned paths of reform.


The Assembly stressed, by other terms, the need for structural reforms to strengthen corporate governance, accounting and auditing and underscored that it was essential that developing countries participate equitably and effectively in creating financial standards and codes.


Adopting a resolution on protection of global climate, the Assembly urged all parties to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, stressing the importance of providing technical and financial assistance to countries requiring it.  It also emphasized the need to strengthen technology transfer, including through concrete projects and capacity-building in all sectors, from energy through biodiversity to waste management.


Other environment-related texts focused on implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa; activities in preparation for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003; international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon; the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; the International Year of Mountains, 2002; the Convention on Biological Diversity; and the report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on its seventh special session.


Several texts provided decisions and details about upcoming international meetings.  By a text on further implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Assembly decided to convene an international meeting in 2004, and welcomed the offer by the Government of Mauritius to host it.


By another draft, the Assembly decided to convene the International Ministerial Conference on Transit Transport Cooperation at Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 28 and 29 August 2003.  It decided also that the preparatory committee for that meeting would hold two sessions -- the first in New York from 23 to 27 June 2003 and the second at Almaty from 25 to 27 August.


Other texts on international meetings related to the twenty-fifth special session of the General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and the strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the World Summit on the Information Society; the high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership; the World Climate Change Conference; and the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.


The Assembly also adopted drafts on the creation of a global culture of cybersecurity; the Human Development Report; implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006); the United Nations Institute for Training and Research; globalization and interdependence; economic and technical cooperation among developing countries; science and technology for development; industrial development cooperation; and preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of funds of illicit origin and returning such funds to their countries of origin.


Other texts included implementation of the Declaration on International Economic cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries, and implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade; integration of the economies in transition into the world economy; experiences and prospects of the United Nations system; United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development; and establishment of the World Solidarity Fund.


The Assembly also adopted texts on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development; ensuring effective secretariat support for sustained follow-up to the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development; public administration and development; integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields;

the World Food Summit: five years later; Year of Kyrgyz Statehood; United Nations University; culture and development; and promoting an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area in the context of sustainable development.


In addition, the Assembly adopted draft decisions on natural disasters and vulnerability; United Nations pledging mechanisms and resource mobilization for operational development activities; United Nations conferences and summits; follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children; and biennial work programme of the Second Committee for 2003-2004.  It also adopted several texts relating to various reports.


Acting on other Fifth Committee texts, the Assembly took a decision on a preliminary outline of the Organization’s requirements for the next biennium, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare the budget proposals for 2004-2005 on the basis of an estimated $2.88 billion, providing resource levels commensurate with the United Nations mandates for their full, efficient and effective implementation.


In the next budget, the Secretary-General was further requested to make appropriate provisions for special peace and security missions, expected to be extended or approved in the course of the biennium, and to minimize adverse budgetary impacts on the conference and related services.  An additional amount of $29.8 million would be considered for information technology and common services infrastructure.  For that purpose, the Secretary-General was requested to resubmit his information technology strategy during the resumed fifty-seventh session, as decreed by resolution 56/239.


On programme planning, the Assembly adopted revisions to the current medium-term plan (2002-2005), which serves as the Organization’s principal policy directive.  Taking account of recent decisions by intergovernmental bodies and international conferences, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit at the next session his programme revisions to reflect the Assembly’s review of the outcome of the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development and the Johannesburg Sustainable Development Summit, as well as the final review of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF) and any other legislative mandates.


By another text, taking note of the first performance report on the 2002-2003 budget, the Assembly approved a net increase of some $176.86 million in the appropriation and some $2.81 million in the estimates of income for 2002-2003.  Identifying adjustments for additional mandates approved after the adoption of the budget, the Assembly decided to appropriate, in particular, some $6.89 million to support the meeting requirements of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for January 2002 through March 2003, and approve some $9.9 million for 2002 realized vacancy rates. 


To improve procurement practices within the United Nations system, the Assembly accepted Fifth Committee’s recommendations to simplify vendor registration through the use of the Internet and place particular agencies’ procurement information on their respective Web sites.


By a four-part resolution on the means of strengthening the United Nations common system and improving the conditions of service of international staff, the Assembly, among others, approved, as of 1 January 2003, a revised scale of salaries for professional and higher categories of staff, bringing their net

remuneration margin to 112.2.  The Assembly noted that the margin, which measures the relationship between the salaries of the United Nations staff and United States federal employees (the comparator), was almost 6 per cent below the desired midpoint of 115 this year.


The Assembly also acted on the Fifth Committee’s recommendations on the United Nations pension system, including actuarial matters, investments of the Pension Fund, its financial statements and administrative arrangements term objectives.


By two resolutions on the International Tribunals, the Assembly increased the budget of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for 2002-2003 by $13.73 million (an amount resulting from the recosting and the establishment of one additional trial team) for a total amount of some $262.65 million gross.  The budget of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was adjusted by some $4.66 million gross to provide for ad litem judges, bringing the total to $210.78 million.


The Assembly also adopted three texts addressing the work of the United Nations oversight bodies, including the Board of Auditors (BOA), the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU). 


To improve the implementation of the auditors’ recommendations, it requested the Secretary-General and the executive heads of various funds and programmes to examine the governance structures, principles and accountability throughout the system.  The Secretary-General was also requested to ensure that the BOA recommendations were fully taken into account in elaborating the Organization’s revised strategy for information and communications technology.


Among the provisions related to the activities of the OIOS was a request for a further audit of the policies and procedures for recruiting staff for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  On the internal oversight mechanisms in operational funds and programmes, the Assembly reaffirmed the prerogatives of those bodies to decide their own oversight mechanisms and their relationship with the OIOS.


Regarding the JIU, the Assembly reiterated its request to executive heads of participating organizations to observe the time frame for submitting their comments, and identify concrete managerial, administrative and programming questions aimed at providing the General Assembly and legislative organs of participating organizations with practical and action-oriented recommendations.


By another text, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to proceed with his proposal to strengthen the United Nations Web site through redeployment of resources, giving priority to the language posts required, and to report on the status of its implementation at the Assembly's fifty-eighth session.


Also this morning, the Assembly made decisions on the assessment of new Member States -- Switzerland and Timor-Leste –- under the Organization’s two budget scales, for regular budget and peacekeeping operations.  As an ad hoc adjustment in response to the difficult situation of Argentina and Afghanistan, the Assembly lowered the 2003 rates of assessment for those two countries.


In other action, the Assembly:


-- requested the Secretary-General to report at the next session on the financial viability of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR);


-- adopted, effective from 1 January 2003, the Organization’s revised Financial Regulations;


-- approved a subvention of $227,600 to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research for 2003;


-- appropriated an additional amount of $90 million for the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for the period from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003, subject to a Council decision to extend the Mission beyond 31 March 2003;


-- approved, as a charge against the contingency fund, an amount of $230,900 to strengthen the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the Secretariat;


-- approved the revised 2003 calendar of United Nations conferences and meetings;


-- authorized an additional appropriation of $60.04 million for 19 special political missions;


-- approved the donation to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina of assets of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), which is expected to complete its mandate on 31 December 2002;


-- and noted that a balance of $31,200 remained in the Organization’s contingency fund. 


Also this morning, the Assembly approved the Fifth Committee’s programme of work for 2003 and 2004 and decided to defer consideration of some of its agenda items until its resumed session..


The Assembly took note with appreciation of the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), as well as various reports related to the implementation of projects financed from the Development Account; video-conferencing; delivery of advisory services; and accountability framework for the field security management system.  Urging the Secretary-General to increase the regular budget component of the United Nations Office in Nairobi in future bienniums, the Assembly also took note of several reports on that issue.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to consider the reports of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) and those of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).


Reports of Second Committee


The Committee's report on "Macroeconomic policy questions" (document A/57/529) is submitted in seven parts.  Part II (document A/57/529/Add.1) contains one draft resolution and one draft decision.


By the terms of the draft resolution, on international trade and development, which the Committee approved without a vote on 12 December, the Assembly would consider reinforcing the multilateral trading system through concrete shaping of the development-related provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) work programme, in favour of WTO members, particularly developing countries.  It would also work to ensure that the concerns of developing countries, particularly implementation issues and special and differential treatment, are properly and effectively addressed according to the Doha Ministerial Declaration, and reiterate the need for adherence to the Doha negotiation deadlines.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would recognize that trade rules and issues in the post-Doha framework should have a clear development content.  It would stress the importance of facilitating WTO accession for all developing nations, particularly the least developed countries and those with economies in transition, and the importance of clarifying and improving procedures under existing WTO provisions for regional trade agreements.


By the draft decision, on reports of the Trade and Development Board, approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would take note of the Board's reports on its twenty-eighth executive session, its nineteenth special session and its forty-ninth session.


Part III of the report (document A/57/529/Add.2) contains one draft resolution on commodities, approved without a vote on 11 December.  That text would have the Assembly stress the need for national and international actions to improve market access, address supply-side constraints and support capacity-building, including in areas that actively involve women.  It would also urge governments and invite international financial institutions to continue assessing systems for the compensatory financing of export-earnings shortfalls, and stress the importance of empowering developing commodity producers to insure themselves against risk, including natural disasters.


By other terms, the Assembly would stress the importance of international support for developing countries in industrially transforming their commodities to increase export revenues and improve competitiveness; the importance, in the area of agriculture, of fulfilling the commitment for comprehensive negotiations aimed at substantial improvements in market access; of reducing export subsidies; of substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support; and of pursuing negotiations on market access for non-agricultural products aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs, particularly on products of export interest to developing countries.


Under the same terms, the Assembly would stress that mutual supportiveness between the multilateral trading system and multilateral environmental agreements should be promoted, in line with the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.  It would also stress that timely and effective financial cooperation should be pursued to help commodity-dependent countries manage excessive fluctuations in commodity export earnings, and emphasize the importance of seeking diversification as part of a long-term solution.


Part IV of the report (document A/57/529/Add.3) contains three draft resolutions and one draft decision.  Approved without a vote on 9 December, draft resolution I, on the global biotechnology forum:  Chile 2003, would have the Assembly take note of the Chilean Government's proposal to host a global biotechnology forum in December 2003, under the auspices of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and to take adequate measures for its successful organization.  Also, the Assembly would encourage Member States to work with UNIDO through regional preparatory meetings and discussions with the Secretariat to ensure that the forum would have realistic objectives and produce useful outcomes.


Draft resolution II, on the World Summit on the Information Society, was approved without a vote on 20 November.  It would have the Assembly reiterate its call to the international community to make voluntary contributions to the special trust fund established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to support Summit preparations, and the participation of developing countries in the regional and preparatory meetings to be held in 2003, as well as in the Summit itself.


Further, the Assembly would request the ITU, as the leading manager in Summit preparations, to cooperate with the Department of Public Information in launching a public information campaign to raise global awareness.  It would invite countries to send representation at the highest political level to the Summit, to be held at Geneva from 10 to 12 December 2003 and at Tunis in 2005.


By the terms of draft resolution III, on creation of a global culture of cybersecurity, which the Second Committee approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would invite Member States and relevant international organizations to consider the need for a global culture of cybersecurity in their preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society.


The draft decision, on documents relating to science and technology for development, which was approved without a vote on 11 December, would have the Assembly take note of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on United Nations system support for science and technology in Latin American and the Caribbean; and of the comments of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the report of the JIU on United Nations system support for science and technology in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Part V of the report (document A/57/529/Add.4) contains a draft resolution on enhancing international cooperation towards a durable solution to the external debt problem of developing countries, which the Committee approved without a vote on 11 December.  By that text, the General Assembly would reiterate the call for industrialized countries to implement the enhanced programme of debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries without further delay, and agree to cancel all official bilateral debts of those countries in return for their making demonstrable commitments to poverty reduction, including through poverty reduction strategy papers.


Also by the text, the Assembly would call upon the heavily indebted poor countries to take the policy measures necessary to become eligible for the enhanced debt-relief programme.  By other terms, the Assembly would stress the importance of continued flexibility with regard to the eligibility criteria for the enhanced heavily indebted poor countries initiative, particularly for countries in post-conflict situations.  It would emphasize the need to help bring about initial recovery in heavily indebted poor post-conflict countries, in coordination with international financial institutions, to help clear those countries' arrears vis-à-vis those institutions.


Further, the Assembly would stress that sustainable debt financing is an important element for mobilizing resources for public and private investment, and that debt relief can play a key role in liberating resources that should be directed towards attaining sustainable growth and development, including poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.


Part VI of the report (document A/57/529/Add.5) contains a draft resolution on the international financial system and development.  Approved without a vote on 10 December, the draft would have the General Assembly express concern over the present world economic situation, stress the importance of confronting it through strong cooperative efforts by all countries and institutions, underline the importance of continued efforts to improve global economic governance and strengthen the United Nations leadership role in promoting development.


Also by that draft, the Assembly would underline the importance of promoting financial stability and measures to mitigate the impact of excessive volatility of short-term capital flows as well as to improve transparency of and information about financial flows.  Moreover, it would stress the need for multilateral financial institutions to provide policy advice and financial support based on sound, nationally owned paths of reform that take into account the needs of the poor and pay due regard to the special needs and implementing capacities of developing countries and transition economies for economic growth and sustainable development.


Welcoming the steps taken by international financial institutions to take into account the social aspects and borrowing costs of developing countries, the Assembly would underscore that the effective and equitable participation of developing countries in creating financial standards and codes is essential.  It would note that important efforts are under way to reform the international financial architecture and emphasize the need to sustain those efforts with greater transparency and effective participation by developing and transition countries, with the objective of enhancing financing for development and poverty eradication.


Part VII of the report (document A/57/529/Add.6) contains a draft resolution on preparations for the International Ministerial Conference on Transit Transport Cooperation, which the Committee approved without a vote on 20 November.  It would have the Assembly decide to convene the Conference at Almaty, Kazakhstan, on

28 and 29 August 2003 and that the preparatory committee for that Conference would hold two sessions -- in New York from 23 to 27 June 2003 and in Almaty from 25 to 27 August.


Also by that text, the Assembly would designate the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States as the Secretary-General of the Conference.  It would request him, in close cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank, to organize all sessions of the intergovernmental preparatory committee, and decide that regional and subregional meetings finalize their work by April 2003.


Sectoral Policy Questions


The Committee's report on "Sectoral policy questions" (document A/57/530) contains two draft resolutions and one draft decision.  By draft resolution I, on industrial development cooperation, which was approved without a vote on

27 November, the Assembly would call for the continuing use of official development assistance (ODA) for industrial development in developing countries and those with economies in transition.  By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would call on UNIDO to participate actively in coordinating field activities through common country assessment/United Nations Development Assistance Framework processes and sector-wide approaches, and encourage UNIDO to implement projects funded through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), particularly those involving technology transfer.


Draft resolution II, on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of funds of illicit origin and returning such funds to their countries of origin, was approved without a vote on 20 November.  By its terms, the Assembly would call for efforts to promote good public and corporate governance in ensuring sustained economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development worldwide.  The Assembly would call for further international cooperation in supporting governments to prevent and address such transfer, and to return such funds and assets.


By the terms of the draft decision, on the report on business and development, which the Committee approved without a vote on 27 November, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on business and development.


Sustainable Development and International Economic Cooperation


The Committee's report on "Sustainable development and international economic cooperation" (document A/57/531) is submitted in six parts.


Part VI of the report (document A/57/531/Add.5) contains a draft resolution that the Committee approved without a vote on 10 December.  The draft, on the International Year of Mountains, 2002, would have the Assembly decide to designate 11 December as International Mountain Day as from 11 December 2003, and encourage the international community to organize events on that day at all levels to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development.  It would also encourage all relevant United Nations bodies to continue constructive collaboration in following up the Year, consistent with mandates specified in the Bishkek Mountain Platform.


Part II of the report (document A/57/531/Add.1) contains a draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on International Economic cooperation, in particular the Revitalization of Economic Growth and Development of the Developing Countries, and implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade.  Approved without a vote on 10 December, it would have the Assembly make a final decision on the need for an international development strategy for the first decade of the new millennium at its fifty-eighth session.  That decision would be based on the outcome of the ad hoc working group on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.


The report’s part III (document A/57/531/Add.2) contains a draft resolution on integration of the economies in transition into the world economy.  By the text, approved without a vote on 27 November, the Assembly would call on United Nations bodies to collaborate with relevant non-United Nations multilateral and regional institutions in analysing and providing policy advice as well as technical assistance to governments of countries with transition economies to strengthen their social, legal and political frameworks for completing market-oriented reforms.


Part IV of the report (document A/57/531/Add.3) contains two draft resolutions.  By the first text, on the Year of Kyrgyz Statehood and approved without a vote on 1 November, the Assembly would welcome Kyrgyzstan’s decision to declare 2003 the Year of Kyrgyz Statehood and organize activities to celebrate it.  It would also invite the United Nations and its agencies, as well as regional and non-governmental organizations and foundations, to take part in the events to celebrate the Year.


Draft resolution II, on culture and development, was approved without a vote on 10 December.  It would have the Assembly proclaim 21 May as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.  Also by that text, the Assembly would invite Member States, intergovernmental bodies, United Nations bodies and relevant non-governmental organizations to ensure the implementation of the Action Plan of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity; to implement the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace; the Programme of the Global Agenda for Dialogue among Civilizations; and the relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development.


Part V of the report (document A/57/531/Add.4) contains two texts.  By a draft resolution on high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership, approved without a vote on

11 December, the Assembly would decide to reconstitute its current High-level Dialogue on strengthening international cooperation for development through partnership as the High-level Dialogue on financing for development, so that it may become the intergovernmental focal point for general follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development.


By further terms, the Assembly would agree to hold the dialogue at the end of October 2003, and thereafter biennially at the ministerial level.  It would decide that the overall theme of the Dialogue will be "The Monterrey Consensus: status of implementation and tasks ahead", and that it will consist of two days of plenary and informal meetings, as well as interactive round tables.


The second text, a draft decision on the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the involvement of civil society organizations other than non-governmental organizations and the private sector in technical cooperation activities: experiences and prospects of the United Nations system, was approved without a vote on 11 December.  By its terms, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the involvement of civil society organizations other than non-governmental organizations and the private sector in technical cooperation activities:  experiences and prospects of the United Nations system.


Environment and Sustainable Development


The Committee's report on "Environment and sustainable development" is submitted in eight parts.


Part VIII (document A/57/532/Add.7) contains two draft resolutions. 

Draft I, on the report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on its seventh special session, was approved without a vote on

11 December.  It would have the Assembly stress the need to implement recommendations to strengthen the role of UNEP in providing capacity-building and technology transfer for developing countries.  It would also request UNEP to continue contributing to sustainable development programmes and the implementation of Agenda 21, and ask the Secretary-General to increase support for the United Nations Office at Nairobi to the levels of the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna.


The second draft, on activities in preparation for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003, was approved without a vote on 11 December.  By its terms, the General Assembly would encourage Member States, international organizations and other groups to support activities related to the Year through voluntary contributions, and to link their activities to the International Year.  It would also encourage the international community to take advantage of the Year for raising awareness about the importance of freshwater resources in satisfying basic needs, preserving ecosystems and promoting economic and social development.


Part II of the report (document A/57/532/Add.1) contains two draft resolutions, the first on the World Summit on Sustainable Development.  Approved without a vote on 11 December, it would have the General Assembly endorse the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and decide to adopt sustainable development as a key element of the overarching framework for United Nations activities.  The Assembly would urge governments, relevant international and regional organizations, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), United Nations bodies, international financial institutions, the GEF and intergovernmental organizations to ensure the effective and timely follow-up and implementation of the Declaration and Plan of Implementation.


By the terms of draft resolution II, on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, which was approved without a vote on

10 December, the Assembly would decide to proclaim the 10-year period beginning on 1 January 2005 the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.  It would designate the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the lead agency for promoting the Decade and ask it to develop a draft international implementation scheme, clarifying its relationship with the existing educational processes, particularly the Dakar Framework for Action.


Part III of the report (A/57/532/Add.2) contains three texts.  By draft resolution I, on international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, approved without a vote on 4 December, the Assembly would call upon the United Nations to support the creation and planned opening next month of the International Centre for the Study of the El Niño Phenomenon at Guayaquil, Ecuador.  By the same terms, the Assembly would call upon the Secretary-General and relevant United Nations bodies to support the Centre, and invite the international community to provide it with scientific, technical and financial assistance. 


The Assembly would, by other terms, encourage the new Centre to strengthen its links with national meteorological and hydrological services in Latin America as well as those of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, and the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction.  It would also urge stronger links with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development, the Drought Monitoring Centre and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research.


By draft resolution II, on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, which the Second Committee approved without a vote on 10 December, the Assembly would welcome the memorandum of understanding between the inter-agency secretariat for the Strategy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  It would also request that the Secretary-General provide, during its fifty-eighth session, specific proposals to Member States for implementing relevant actions of the Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.


Also by that text, the Assembly would decide on how to conclude, during its fifty-eighth session, the review of the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World: Guidelines for Natural Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation and its Plan of Action.  It would also request that the Strategy’s inter-agency secretariat coordinate and report on the Yokohama Strategy’s progress, and request that the Secretary-General allocate adequate financial and administrative resources for the effective functioning of the inter-agency secretariat.


According to the third text, a draft decision on natural disasters and vulnerability approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to its fifty-eighth session on the negative impacts of extreme weather events and associated natural disasters on vulnerable countries, particularly developing countries.


Part IV of the report (document A/57/532/Add.3) contains two draft resolutions, the first on protection of global climate for present and future generations.  Approved without a vote on 11 December, it would have the Assembly urge all parties to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, stressing the importance of providing technical and financial assistance to countries needing it.  The Assembly would also emphasize the need to strengthen technology transfer, including through concrete projects and capacity-building, in all sectors from energy through biodiversity and waste management.  Further, the Assembly would emphasize that adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is a high priority for all countries, requiring urgent action by all.


By draft resolution II, on the World Climate Change Conference, approved without a vote on 11 December, would have the Assembly welcome the Russian Federation's initiative to convene the conference in Moscow from 29 September to

3 October 2003 as a forum of exchange.  Participants would include members of the scientific community, governments, parliaments, international and national organizations, the private sector and other civil society representatives.  The conference would aim to facilitate the implementation of existing policies related to climate change.


Part V of the report (document A/57/532/Add.4) contains a draft resolution on implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa.  By that text, approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would call upon the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to ask the GEF to become a financial mechanism of the Convention and make arrangements in that regard at its November 2003 meeting.


Further, the Assembly would encourage the Conference of the Parties and the GEF to continue collaborating to facilitate the GEF's financing of full implementation of the Convention to achieve its aims in land degradation, particularly desertification and deforestation.  It would also invite the GEF to adopt the Operational Programme for the Prevention and Control of Desertification through Sustainable Land Management at its May 2003 meeting.


Part VI of the report (document A/57/532/Add.5) contains a draft resolution on the Convention on Biological Diversity that the Second Committee approved without a vote on 10 December.  By that text, the Assembly would reiterate the importance of the decision of the fourth WTO Ministerial Meeting to examine, through the WTO Council on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the relationship between the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the Convention, as well as the protection of traditional knowledge.


Calling on the Convention secretariat to work closely with the GEF and other institutions to help developing countries build national capacities, the Assembly would welcome the Facility's replenishment, and emphasize the need for a substantial increase in financial and technical resources for developing countries and economies in transition to implement the Convention and its Protocol.


Part VII of the report (document A/57/532/Add.6) contains two draft resolutions.  By the first, on promoting an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area in the context of sustainable development, which was approved without a vote on 10 December, the General Assembly would call on States to continue to prioritize action on marine pollution from land-based sources as part of their national sustainable development strategies.  It would also call upon them to implement further the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, and the Montreal Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based activities.


By other terms, the Assembly would call further upon all relevant States to take the necessary steps to bring into force the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment for the Wider Caribbean Region.  The Assembly would, further, call upon the United Nations system and the international community to help Caribbean countries and regional organizations to protect the Caribbean Sea from ship pollution, particularly the illegal release of oil and other harmful substances, including radioactive materials, nuclear waste and dangerous chemicals and pollution from land-based activities. 


Also by the text, the Assembly would support Caribbean countries in implementing sustainable fisheries management programmes by strengthening the recently established Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism.  It would also call on States to develop programmes for halting the loss of marine biodiversity in the Caribbean Sea, particularly fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs.  In addition, it would call on Member States to urgently improve their emergency response capabilities and the containment of environmental damage, particularly in the Caribbean Sea, in the event of natural disasters or of an accident or incident relating to maritime navigation.


Draft resolution II, on further implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, was approved without a vote on 10 December.  It would have the Assembly decide to convene an international meeting in 2004, which will include a high-level segment to undertake a full and comprehensive review of the implementation of the Programme of Action, and welcome the offer by the Government of Mauritius to host the meeting.


By other terms, the Assembly would decide that the comprehensive review should seek a renewed political commitment by all countries towards, and should focus on, practical and pragmatic actions for the further implementation of the Programme of Action, including through the mobilization of resources and assistance for small island developing States.  It would also decide to establish a voluntary fund for the purpose of assisting small island developing States to participate in the international meeting and its preparatory processes.


Operational Activities for Development


The Committee's report on "Operational activities for development" (document A/57/533) contains two draft resolutions and two draft decisions.  Approved without a vote on 4 December, draft resolution I, on economic and technical cooperation among developing countries, would have the Assembly recommend that the High-level Committee on the Review of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries review all development aspects of South-South cooperation.


By other terms, the Assembly would call upon all relevant United Nations groups and multilateral institutions to step up efforts to incorporate South-South cooperation policies and goals into their own development programmes and increase human, technical and financial resources for such programmes.  It would also invite all countries, particularly developed countries, to contribute to the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund for Economic and Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries and the Voluntary Trust Fund for the Promotion of South-South Cooperation.  The Voluntary Fund would be permanently included in the United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities.


By draft resolution II, on the Human Development Report, approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would affirm that the report is a separate and distinct exercise, which is not an official document of the United Nations, and that policies governing operational activities for development to the United Nations system continue to be set by Member States.  It would also invite the Executive Board to include in its annual work plan from 2003 a separate agenda item on the report to improve the consultation process with Member States on the report, with a view to improving its quality and accuracy without compromising its editorial independence.


Draft decision I, on pledging mechanism and resource mobilization for operational activities for development of the United Nations system, was approved without a vote on 11 December.  It would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report on pledging mechanisms to fund operational activities for development of the United Nations.  It would also decide to further review, at its fifty-ninth session, pledging mechanisms and resource mobilization for operational activities for development of the United Nations system.


Draft decision II, on documents relating to operational activities for development, which was approved without a vote on 4 December, would have the Assembly take note of the report on the activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, as well as the report of the Secretary-General on measures to promote and facilitate South-South cooperation.


Implementation of First United Nations Decade for Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006)


The Committee's report on "Implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006)" (document A/57/534) contains two draft resolutions.  The first, on establishment of the World Solidarity Fund, was approved without a vote on 27 November and would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to entrust the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in taking measures for the immediate operationalization of the World Solidarity Fund.  It would also decide that the Fund would support requests from governments of developing countries to finance poverty alleviation projects, and encourage Member States, international organizations, the private sector, relevant institutions, foundations and individuals to contribute to the Fund.


By draft resolution II, on implementation of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), which was approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would stress that the Decade should contribute to achieving the targets of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than $1 a day and the proportion of those who suffer from hunger, through decisive national action and strengthened international cooperation.  It would also stress the importance of increasing access to and control over resources, including land, skills, knowledge, capital and social connections for the poor, particularly women, and of improving access for all to basic social services.


Training and Research


The Committee's report on "Training and research" (document A/57/535) contains two draft resolutions.  Draft resolution I, on the United Nations University, was approved without a vote on 27 November.  It would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to encourage other United Nations bodies to use the University more fully in mobilizing a worldwide network of applied policy researchers to assist the Organization -- through research and capacity development -- in resolving pressing global problems.  It would also invite the international community to make voluntary contributions to the University's Endowment Fund.


By draft resolution II, on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), which the Committee approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would underline the need to develop and expand the scope of training partnerships between the Institute and other United Nations bodies, particularly at the country level.  It would also urge States that had interrupted voluntary contributions to consider resuming them, and stress the need to ensure the Institute's long-term financial viability as relates to its debt as well as rent and maintenance costs.


The Committee's report on "Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources" (document A/57/536) contains a related draft resolution that was approved on 14 November by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Papua New Guinea).


By that text, the Assembly would call on Israel not to exploit, cause loss or depletion of or endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.  By other terms, it would recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution arising from any exploitation, loss, depletion or damage to their natural resources, and express the hope that the issue would be dealt with in the framework of final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.


The Committee's report on "Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields" (document A/57/537) contains two draft resolutions and one draft decision.


Draft resolution I, on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, was approved without a vote on 10 December.  It would have the Assembly set up an open-ended ad hoc working group, which would produce concrete recommendations to ensure the integrated and coordinated follow-up of United Nations conferences and summits.  The Assembly would also consider how to ensure that conference outcomes are integrated into the United Nations, and fully considered for the operational work and country frameworks of United Nations bodies.  Further, it would decide that the working group would begin its work no later than January 2003 and submit a report for the Assembly’s consideration before Friday, 27 June 2003.


By the terms of draft resolution II, on the World Food Summit:  five years later, which the Second Committee approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would urge Member States to cooperate closely with United Nations bodies as well as international and regional financial institutions in implementing the Declaration of the Summit -- International Alliance against Hunger. 


According to a draft decision on the report of the Secretary-General on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcome of the major United Nations conferences and summits, including the Millennium Summit, which was approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcome of the major United Nations conferences and summits, including the Millennium Summit.


The Committee's report on "High-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development" (document A/57/538) contains two draft resolutions, the first of which was approved without a vote on 11 December.  It would have the Assembly call for the integrated consideration of trade, finance, investment, technology transfer and development, and stress the urgency of coherent action by the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and governments to promote equitable and broad sharing in the benefits of globalization, taking into account the needs of developing countries.


Further, the Assembly would encourage all governments to combat corruption, bribery, money-laundering, the transfer of illicitly acquired funds and assets and to work for their return to the countries of origin.  It would also stress the need for structural reforms to strengthen corporate governance, accounting and auditing.  In addition, it would stress the importance of strong domestic institutions to promote business activities and financial stability for the achievement of growth and development, including through sound macroeconomic policies and those aimed at strengthening the regulatory systems of the corporate, financial and banking sectors.


The Assembly would, by other terms, encourage international financial institutions to continue taking into account social aspects and borrowing costs for developing countries.  It would also underline the need to ensure that the international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have a suitable array of financial facilities and resources to respond in a timely and appropriate way to financial crisis or risk of contagion for developing countries or countries with transition economies.


Approved on 11 December, draft resolution II, on ensuring effective secretariat support for sustained follow-up to the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development, would have the Assembly request that the Secretary-General create, as soon as possible, appropriate secretarial support for sustained follow-up, within the United Nations, to conference agreements and commitments.  The Assembly would decide that the new secretariat support structure be integrated, cross-cutting and holistic, and serve as a focal point in the Secretariat for overall conference follow-up.


By its report on the programme budget implications of the draft on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development, the Fifth Committee would inform the General Assembly that, should it adopt the text, $203,200 would be required for several posts to ensure effective secretarial support for the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development.


Globalization and Interdependence


The Committee's report on "Globalization and interdependence" (document A/57/539) contains a draft resolution that was approved without a vote on

11 December.  By that text, on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence, the Assembly would underline the necessity of investment in basic economic and social infrastructure, social services and social protection, including education, health, nutrition, shelter and social security programmes geared towards children, the elderly, and rural and disadvantaged communities, in making globalization beneficial for all.


Also, the Assembly would stress the need for continued attention to globalization's social dimension and express concern about the adoption of several multilateral actions that are inconsistent with WTO rules, harmful to exports, particularly those from developing countries, and have a considerable bearing on ongoing WTO negotiations and their development dimension.  It would stress the importance of creating an enabling international economic environment, through strong cooperative efforts by all countries and institutions, to promote equitable world economic development.


Further, the Assembly would stress the need to promote corporate responsibility and accountability and continuous improvements in corporate practices.  It would also stress the role of the United Nations in addressing the digital divide and promoting coherence and synergies between various regional and international initiatives, including the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force and the Digital Opportunities Task Force.  The Assembly would strongly urge the international community to take all necessary and appropriate measures to help African nations, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States in their quest for sustainable development and greater participation in the global economy.


The Committee's report (document A/57/539) on "Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and the strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)" contains a related draft resolution on the twenty-fifth special session of the General Assembly, which was approved without a vote on 9 December.  By its terms, the Assembly would underline the commitments made by governments to implement the Habitat Agenda and the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements, to the goal of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2002, as contained in the Millennium Declaration.


Further by that draft, the Assembly would underline commitments made at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, including the commitment to halve, by 2015, the number of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water and the proportion of those without access to basic sanitation.  The Assembly would also emphasize, at all policy-making levels and in the context of sustainable development, the importance of giving high priority to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda and the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements, including achieving the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world, particularly in developing countries.


Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries


The Committee's report on the "Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries" (document A/57/541) contains a draft resolution that was approved without a vote on 9 December.  By that text, the Assembly would call for adequate resources for the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.  Welcoming the Secretary-General's decision to set up a trust fund to support the Office of the High Representative, it would call on Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as the private sector to contribute voluntarily to the fund.


Also by that text, the Assembly would invite least developed countries to translate the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 into specific measures in their national development frameworks and poverty eradication strategies.  It would also stress the need for efficient and strengthened coordination, monitoring and follow-up of the Programme's implementation.


Follow-up to Outcome of Special Session on Children


The Committee's report on "Follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children" (document A/57/542) contains a draft decision approved without a vote on 18 November.  By that text, the General Assembly would decide that the item should be considered at its fifty-eighth session.


Report of Economic and Social Council


The Committee's report on "Report of the Economic and Social Council" (document A/57/543) contains one draft resolution and two draft decisions.  By the draft resolution, on public administration and development, approved without a vote on 9 December, the General Assembly would designate 23 June as United Nations Public Service Day, and encourage Member States to organize special events on that day to highlight the contribution of public service to development.  It would also express its appreciation to Morocco for offering to host the fourth Global Forum in Marrakesh in December 2002, and welcome the Secretariat's substantive support for that event.


Draft decision I, on documents relating to the report of the Economic and Social Council, which was approved without a vote on 11 December, would have the Assembly take note of the report of the Economic and Social Council, and the report of the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund on the United Nations Population Award.


By draft decision II, on the biennial work programme of work of the Second Committee for 2003-2004, which was approved without a vote on 11 December, the Assembly would approve the draft biennial programme of work of the Second Committee for 2003-2004.


Action on Second Committee Reports


WALID AL-HADID (Jordan), Rapporteur of the Second Committee, introduced the Committee’s reports.


The Assembly first took up the Committee's report on macroeconomic policy questions (document A/57/529, Adds.1-6), which contains eight draft resolutions and two draft decisions.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on international trade and development; a draft decision on reports of the Trade and Development Board; draft resolutions on commodities, the global biotechnology forum, the World Summit on the Information Society and cybersecurity; a draft decision on science and technology; as well as draft resolutions on external debt, the international financial system and the International Ministerial Conference on Transit Transport Cooperation.


The Assembly then took up the Committee's report on sectoral policy questions (document A/57/530), containing two draft resolutions and a draft decision.


Again without a vote, it adopted draft resolutions on industrial development cooperation; corrupt practices and the transfer of illicit funds; and a draft decision on the report on business and development.


The Assembly then turned to the Committee's report on sustainable development and international economic cooperation (document A/57/531),adopting six draft resolutions and one draft decision without a vote.  Those texts related to the International Year of Mountains, 2002; the Declaration on International Economic Cooperation; economies in transition; the Year of Kyrgyz Statehood; culture and development; high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership; and a report of the Joint Inspection Unit.


Proceeding to take up the Committee's report on environment and sustainable development (document A/57/532), containing 12 draft resolutions and one draft decision, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, draft resolutions on the United Nations Environment Programme; the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development; the El Niño phenomenon; the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and a draft decision on natural disasters.  It also adopted draft resolutions on protection of global climate; the World Climate Change Conference; the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; the Convention on Biological Diversity; the Caribbean Sea area; the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States; and the International Year of Freshwater, 2003.


Next, the Assembly took up the Committee's report on operational activities for development (document A/57/533), which contains two draft resolutions and two draft decisions.


Acting without a vote, it adopted draft resolutions on economic and technical cooperation among developing countries and on human development report.  It then adopted, again without a vote, draft decisions on pledging mechanisms and resource mobilization for operational activities, as well as documents relating to operational activities for development.


The Assembly then took up the Committee's report on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) (document A/57/534), which contained two draft resolutions.


Again without a vote, it adopted a draft resolution on the World Solidarity Fund.


NOUREDDINE MEJDOUBA (Tunisia) expressing his pleasure at the adoption of that resolution, said that the Assembly’s action confirmed the decision made by heads of State and government at Johannesburg on the occasion of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to put that new instrument into action in the fight against poverty, the elimination of which was the greatest challenge facing the world today.


Noting that the Fund would complement current operations rather than take their place, he said it looked to create synergies with a variety of operations and other pre-existing programmes and funds.  The Fund’s operations should bring, among other results, the improvement of living conditions, particularly access to drinking water, education and health services.  He appealed to the international community, governments, the private sector, foundations, international organizations and civil society to contribute generously to the Fund so that it could become operational in the shortest possible time and to translate its universal values into reality.


The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006).


Taking up the Committee's report on training and research (document A/57/535), which contained two draft resolutions, it then adopted, again without a vote, a text on the United Nations University, and another on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).


The Assembly then turned to the Committee's report on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/57/536), adopting a related draft resolution by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, United States) with 4 abstentions (Madagascar, Nauru, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea).


The representative of Syria said he had voted in favour of the resolution but the vote had not been properly reflected.


Next, the Assembly took up the Committee's report on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major united nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields (document A/57/537), which contained two draft resolutions and one draft decision.


Acting without a vote, it adopted the draft resolutions on major United Nations conferences and summits and the World Food Summit, as well as the draft decision on United Nations conferences and summits.


Turning to the Committee's report on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development (document A/57/538), the Assembly adopted, without a vote, two draft resolutions relating to financing for development, and secretariat support for follow-up to International Conference on Financing for Development respectively.


Taking up the Committee's report on globalization and interdependence (document A/57/539), the Assembly adopted, again without a vote, a draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence.


The Assembly then took up the Committee's report on implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and the strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).  The report (document A/57/540) contained one draft resolution, which was adopted without a vote.


Next, the Assembly turned to the Committee's report on the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (document A/57/541) and adopted a related draft resolution without a vote.


Taking up the Committee's report on follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children (document A/57/542), it then adopted a related draft decision without a vote.


Next, the Assembly adopted three texts relating to the report of the Economic and Social Council, which were contained in the Committee's report on that subject (document A/57/543).  Acting without a vote, it adopted a draft resolution on public administration, and two draft decisions on documents relating respectively to the report of the Economic and Social Council, and the biennial work programme of the Second Committee for 2003-2004.


Action on Fifth Committee Texts


HAILE SELASSIE GETACHEW (Ethiopia), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee, introduced the Committee’s reports.


The first text before the Assembly was a draft resolution on the financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (BOA) (document A/57/639), by which the Assembly would accept the financial reports and audited financial statements, as well as audit opinions and recommendations of the Boards of Auditors.  The BOA would be commended for the quality of its reports, particularly with respect to its comments on the management of resources, but the Assembly would note with concern the late issuance of those documents and request the Secretary-General to ensure priority in completing their editing and translation to submit them to the Assembly in accordance with the six-week rule.


Further by the text, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of the auditors’ recommendations and request him and the executive heads of United Nations funds and programmes to examine the governance structures, principles and accountability throughout the system, making proposals on the future format and consideration of the BOA reports.  The Secretary-General would also be requested to ensure that the BOA observations and recommendations were fully taken into account in the revised strategy for the United Nations information and communications technology before such a strategy was taken up by the Assembly.


The Assembly adopted the text without a vote.


The Fifth Committee report on review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/57/648) contained two draft resolutions and three draft decisions.


By draft resolution I, on the issue of procurement reform, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to encourage the organizations of the United Nations system to improve their procurement practices.  That could be done by simplifying the registration process for vendors already registered with another body of the United Nations system, utilizing, among other things, the Internet, and by placing procurement information on their respective Web sites.


Further to the draft, the Secretary-General would be requested to encourage procurement opportunities for vendors from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and to ensure that air-safety standards were met for all United Nations air-transport operations and, where feasible, for freight forwarding.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to continue to ensure that the United Nations Secretariat and affiliated funds and programmes fully implement all recommendations of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the Board of Auditors regarding procurement.


Draft resolution II contained a proposed programme budget outline for the next biennium (2004-2005).  By the text, the Assembly would invite the Secretary-General to prepare his budget proposals on the basis of a preliminary estimate of some $2.88 billion at revised 2002-2003 rates, reflecting resource levels commensurate with mandates for their full, efficient and effective implementation.  In the next budget, the Secretary-General would be requested to make appropriate provisions for special peace and security missions, which could be expected to be extended or approved in the course of the biennium, and make appropriate provisions to minimize adverse impacts on conference and related services, while also drawing on the improvements in the management of conference services.


The Assembly would also reaffirm that the budget outline should provide a greater level of predictability of resources and promote greater involvement of Member States in the budgetary process.  In addition to the preliminary estimate, the Assembly would decide to consider provisions for information technology and common services facilities infrastructure in the amount of $29.8 million.  The Secretary-General would be requested to resubmit the proposed information technology strategy in accordance with resolution 56/239 during the resumed fifty-seventh session.  Also to be included in the proposed budget are provisions for recosting on the basis of existing methodology.  The contingency fund would be set at the level of 0.75 per cent of the preliminary estimate of $21.6 million.


By the terms of draft decision I, the Assembly would decide to take note of the Secretary-General’s report on common services.


By draft decision II on the biennial programme of work of the Fifth Committee, the Assembly would decide to address in 2003 such issues as the Organization’s programme budget for the next biennium (2004-2005).  The programme of work for 2004 includes human resources management and programme planning.  Some items, such as improving the Organization’s financial situation, review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, pattern of conferences, and financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, are to be considered by the Fifth Committee both in 2003 and in 2004.


By draft decision III, the Assembly would decide to defer consideration of some of its agenda items to its resumed fifty-seventh session.  Among those are pattern of conferences, human resources management, administration of justice at the United Nations and financing of various peacekeeping missions.


The Assembly approved the two draft resolutions and three draft decisions without a vote.


The Assembly then adopted, also without a vote, a draft decision on the activities of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)(document A/56/623), by which it took note with appreciation of the first report of the ACABQ on its activities during the Assembly's fifty-sixth session.  It requested the Secretary-General to bring the report to the attention of the executive heads of the specialized agencies, funds and programmes concerned.


A draft resolution on gratis personnel(document A/57/603) would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's annual report on gratis personnel provided by governments and other entities from

1 January to 31 December 2001.

The Assembly adopted the draft without a vote.


On programme planning, the Assembly had before it a draft resolution (document A/57/650), by which it would reaffirm the role of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) as the main subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for planning, programming and coordination and encourage the CPC to continue its discussions on improving its working methods with a view to further enhancing its effectiveness and continued relevance.  On the programme performance of the Organization for the biennium 2000-2001, the Assembly would take note of the relevant report and endorse the conclusions and recommendations of the CPC on that document.


The Assembly would further adopt the revisions to the Organization’s medium-term plan for 2002-2005 to reflect new decisions by intergovernmental bodies and international conferences.  While doing so, however, the Assembly would reaffirm the medium-term plan as the principal policy directive of the United Nations, which would serve as the framework for the next programme budget.  The Secretary-General would be requested to submit, through the CPC, at its fifty-eighth session the proposals for programme revisions to reflect the Assembly's review of the outcome of this year’s International Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as the final review of the implementation of UN-NADAF and any other legislative mandates.


Further by the text, the Assembly would approve a schedule of in-depth evaluations to be submitted to the CPC in the field of law of the sea and ocean affairs; public administration, finance and development; and human settlements.  At the same time, it would endorse the CPC conclusions regarding previous evaluations, including those of the subprogrammes of the Assembly and ECOSOC; legal affairs; and disarmament programme.


Endorsing the CPC conclusions on the Joint Inspection Unit report entitled “Strengthening the investigations functions of the United Nations system organizations”, the Assembly would further note the JIU recommendation that managers involved in investigations have sufficient training in conducting investigations and request the Secretary-General to ensure that programme managers involved in incidents, crimes or irregularities are not involved, in any way, in conducting investigations.  The Secretary-General would be requested further to review the practice of involving managers in investigative processes to ensure their independence and report on that matter no later than the Assembly's fifty-eighth session.


By other terms of the text, the Assembly would endorse the conclusions of the CPC regarding the annual overview report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination for 2001, as well as its recommendations regarding the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations System-wide Special Initiative on Africa.  It would also request the Secretary-General to submit a report to the CPC at its next session on the future engagement of the United Nations system with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and stress the need to further strengthen inter-agency coordination in the field of management.


The text was adopted without a vote.


The Assembly, also without a vote, adopted a draft decision

(document A/57/602) taking note of the Secretary-General's note transmitting the statistical report of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the budgetary and financial situation of the organizations of the United Nations system.


Also before the Assembly was a draft resolution on the pattern of conferences (document A/57/651), by which it would approve the revised 2003 calendar of United Nations conferences and meetings.  It would authorize the Committee on Conferences to make any adjustments to that calendar that may become necessary as a result of actions and decisions taken by the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.


By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to ensure that any modification to the calendar be implemented strictly in accordance with the mandate of the Committee on Conferences.  It would also decide to continue consideration of the pattern of conferences at the first resumed fifty-seventh session and to resume consideration of the related reports of the Secretary-General in order to act on them.  The Assembly would also decide to continue consideration of the pattern of conferences item, as a matter of priority, during the first part of its resumed fifty-seventh session.


The Assembly adopted the text without a vote.


On the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations, the Assembly then took up a draft resolution (document A/57/429/Add.1), by which all Member States would be urged to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without imposing conditions.  Further by the text, it would decide to fix the rates of assessment for Afghanistan in 2003 at 0.001 per cent and for Argentina at 0.969 per cent, as ad hoc adjustments.  It would also request the Committee on Contributions to elaborate further on the criteria regarding ad hoc adjustments of the rates of assessment for the Assembly's consideration and approval, so as to facilitate further the consideration of such adjustments.


The Assembly would decide that the rate of assessment for Switzerland should be 1.274 per cent for 2002 and 2003, and 0.001 per cent for Timor-Leste.  It would further decide that the contributions of those two new Member States to the regular budget and the two International Criminal Tribunals for 2002 should be calculated on the basis of one-twelfth of their relevant rates of assessment for the year, per full calendar month of membership.  Also determined by the draft would be Timor-Leste and Switzerland’s advances to the Working Capital Fund.  By other terms of that text, the Assembly would decide to consider further the question of the outstanding assessed contributions of the former Yugoslavia at its fifty-eighth session and endorse the recommendation of the Committee on Contributions contained in paragraph 125 of its report concerning the financing of the final budget appropriations for the biennium 2000-2001.


The text was adopted without a vote.


Speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, the representative of Denmark said that with the resolution just adopted, the Assembly had decided, as an ad hoc adjustment, to make adjustments in the assessments of Argentina and Afghanistan to the Organization’s regular budget.  The decision was only possible because of the new contributions to the Organization by two new Member States, which the Assembly had decided to accept in the same resolution.


Against that background, he continued, the Union welcomed the decision to request the Committee on Contributions to develop criteria for consideration of ad hoc adjustments of the rates of assessment.  Such criteria needed to be in place before the Committee could submit possible recommendations regarding appeals for adjustments by Member States.  When developing those criteria, the Committee should take into full account that the decision contained in paragraph 3 of the resolution was not a precedent and that future applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis and on their own merits, on the understanding that an application could not have adverse effects on the scale of assessments.


The Assembly also approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the Joint Inspection Unit (document A/57/640), taking note of the JIU report for 2001 and the Secretary-General’s notes transmitting the Unit’s programme of work for 2002, as well as the list of the JIU’s potential reports for 2003 and beyond.  It also took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Unit’s recommendations and reiterated its request to executive heads of participating organizations to observe fully the time frame for submitting their comments, and identify concrete managerial, administrative and programming questions aimed at providing the Assembly and legislative organs of participating organizations with practical recommendations.


Addressing a proposed new procedure for handling comments of the participating organizations on the findings and recommendations of the Unit, the Assembly invited the Unit to provide detailed information on the new procedure, together with the comments of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, for consideration during the fifty-eighth session.


The Assembly then turned to a four-part draft resolution on the United Nations Common System (document A/57/652).  By its terms, the Assembly would address the conditions of service of United Nations staff and means of strengthening the international civil service.


Having considered the 2002 report of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), the Assembly would take note with appreciation of the concrete progress made by the Commission in the review of the pay and benefits system, and note that it would also examine the issue of contractual arrangements.  During its review of the pay and benefits system, the ICSC would be requested to conduct a review of grade equivalency between the United Nations and the United States federal civil service, in accordance with a new master standard and to report thereon at the Assembly’s fifty-ninth session.


With effect from 1 January 2003, the Assembly would approve a revised scale of gross and net salaries for staff in the Professional and higher categories, noting that the net remuneration margin, which measures the relationship between the United Nations and United States federal civil service employees, stood at 109.3 for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2002 -– below the desired midpoint of 115.  The Assembly would reaffirm that the 110 to 120 margin range should continue to apply, on the understanding that it would be maintained at the desirable midpoint of 115 over a period of time.  The ICSC would be requested to keep the matter under review to eventually restore the margin to its midpoint and report on the matter at the Assembly’s sixty-second session.


Regarding the proposed creation of a Senior Management Service, the Assembly would request the Commission to review its decision contained in paragraph 80 of its report, including the question of whether such a Service should be dealt with in the framework of the review of the pay and benefits system, in view of the intention of the Assembly to consider it during its next session.  It would also note that the proposed Service would not require a special pay and benefits package.  The text also addresses the issues of staff mobility, the level of education grants, hazard pay, dependency allowances and means of strengthening the international civil service.


The draft resolution was adopted without a vote.


Regarding the United Nations pension system, the Assembly had before it a ten-part resolution (document A/57/653) containing sections on actuarial matters, pension adjustment system, financial statements of the Pension Fund and report of the Board of Auditors, administrative arrangements and longer-term objectives of the Pension Fund, Survivors’ benefits, activities relating to former participants from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, size and composition of the Pension Board and the Standing Committee, other matters, investments of the Pension Fund, and the diversification of investments of the Pension Fund.


By the terms of that draft, the Assembly would approve several changes in the pension adjustment system to apply cost-of-living adjustments to deferred retirement benefits as from age 50, and to apply cost-of-living differential factors to deferred retirement benefits as from the date of separation.  It would also approve the increase in resources under administrative costs for the biennium 2002-2003, from $29.94 million to $30.01 million.


Further, the Assembly would stress the need to ensure that the importance of the Secretary-General's fiduciary responsibility to take decisions on investment of the assets of the Fund should under no circumstances be compromised.  It would note the concern expressed by the Board over the reduction in the market value of the Fund’s investments and take note of the intention of the Board of Auditors and Pension Board to follow-up on the audit recommendations, review the procedures of the Investment Management Service and to review the terms of reference for an independent external performance review of the Fund's investments.


The draft resolution was adopted without a vote.


The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (document A/57/604), by which it took note of a series of reports by that office and requested the Secretary-General to conduct a further audit of the policies and procedures for recruiting staff for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and to report to the General Assembly for consideration at its resumed fifty-eighth session.


Further by the draft, the Assembly reaffirmed the prerogatives of the funds and programmes of the United Nations to decide their own oversight mechanisms and their relationship with the OIOS and requested the Secretary-General to submit the OIOS recommendations that require the Assembly’s approval prior to their implementation.


By a draft resolution on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) (document A/57/654) the Assembly would resolve that, for the Tribunal's 2002-2003 budget, a gross amount of some $248.93 million approved by resolution 56/247B would be increased by $13.73 million (an amount resulting from the recosting and the establishment of one additional trial team) for a total gross amount of some $262.65 million.  The additional amount would be drawn from the unencumbered balance available in the Tribunal’s special account, as of 31 December 2001.

Also by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to prepare for the main part of its fifty-eighth session a comprehensive report on the Tribunal's progress in reforming its legal aid system, particularly with regard to rationalizing the costs of defence counsel and establishing indigence.  The Tribunal's judges would be invited to give due consideration to implementing fully a system of designating defence counsel at random from a list of available lawyers established by the Registrar’s Office.  The Assembly would also note with concern that the posts approved for on-site audit and investigative services at the ICTY have not been filled, and call upon the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to fill those positions without further delay.


The Assembly also addresses the preparation of the Tribunal’s budget for the next biennium.  In particular, the Secretary-General would be requested to include detailed reference as to how the requested resources would support the implementation of a sound and realistic completion strategy and the status of implementation of the Board of Auditors’ recommendations.  The budget should also be presented in a results-based format, linking objectives and inputs to expected accomplishments.  The proposed post structure for 2004-2005 should reflect reductions and shifts in requirements owing to the expected completion of investigations by 2004, and where appropriate, any requirements for established posts should be addressed through redeployment.


The Assembly approved the text without a vote.


Also before the Assembly was a draft resolution on the financing of the ICTR (document A/57/655), by which it would resolve that for the biennium 2002-2003, the gross amount of $197.13 million, approved in its resolution 56/248 B for the Tribunal’s budget, shall be adjusted by some $4.66 million gross for ad litem judges in respect of Security Council resolution 1431 (2002), for a total amount of $210.78 million.  The Assembly would also authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments, in an amount not to exceed $2.18 million gross for the resource requirements of the Tribunal to support the re-costing of resources for the biennium 2002-2003, and request the Secretary-General to report on the impact thereof in the context of the second performance report for the biennium.


By further terms, the Assembly would note with concern that the vacancy rate at the Tribunal remained unacceptably high and that by the end of 2002, the posts of Chief of Prosecution and Deputy Prosecutor will have been vacant for more than two years and 19 months.  It would request the Registrar of the Tribunal to ensure that those posts are filled without further delay, and urge the Secretary-General to request OIOS to conduct a management review of the Office of the Prosecutor, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-eighth session.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to present to it at its fifty-eight session the proposed budget for the Tribunal for the biennium 2004-2005, which should include detailed reference as to how the resources requested for the biennium will support the development of a sound and realistic completion strategy and the status of implementation of Board of Auditors recommendations, and revised arrangements for preventing over-expenditures of defence counsel.


The Assembly approved the draft without a vote.


The Assembly then adopted, also without a vote, a draft resolution on the administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/57/656) by which it decided that, in accordance with the criteria established by its resolution 55/235, Switzerland would be assigned to level B under the system of adjustments used for establishing rates of assessment for peacekeeping operations.  It also decided that, in accordance with the same criteria, Timor-Leste would be assigned to level I.


The Assembly then turned to a text on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (document A/57/657), by which it would decide, taking into account the amount of $532.47 million apportioned under the terms of Assembly resolution 56/251 B, to apportion among Member States the additional amount of $90 million at a monthly rate of $7.5 million for the period from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003, comprising $67.5 million for the period 1 July 2002 to 31 March 2003, and $22.5 million for the period 1 April to 30 June 2003.


The Assembly would also decide that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of $326,400 for the period from 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003, at a monthly rate of $27,200, comprising $244,800 for the period from 1 July 2003 to 31 March 2003, and $81,600 for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2003, in addition to the estimated staff assessment income in the amount of $9.004 million previously approved under the terms of Assembly resolution 56/251 B.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the text.

A draft decision on the proposed donation of assets to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (document A/57/643) was also adopted without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly took note of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ and approved the donation of assets to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina as proposed by the Secretary-General.


Document A/C.5/57/L.49 presented to the Assembly two draft resolutions and 25 draft decisions related to the programme budget for the current biennium.


Draft resolution I has seven parts:


Part I, on plans to increase the regular budget component of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, the Assembly would take note of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ, and urge the Secretary-General to increase the regular budget component of the Office in future bienniums.


Part II deals with the capital master plan for the refurbishment of the United Nations complex.  By this text, the Assembly would take note with concern of the hazards, risks and deficiencies of the current condition of the United Nations Headquarters complex and endorse the Secretary-General’s proposal to complete the negotiations with the City of New York for the construction and lease purchase of a new United Nations building on a section of the Robert Moses Playground.


Welcoming with appreciation the offer of support from the City and State of New York, the Assembly would decide to implement the Capital Master Plan, with a projected construction budget of $1.05 billion, with a variance of plus or minus 10 per cent, assuming a construction start date of October 2004, with the project’s duration of five years.  That way, the cost of construction could range from $944.1 million to $1.16 billion.  Should the Assembly approve certain security and contingency design options at its fifty-eighth session, the projected budget should be increased by up to $144 million.

The draft also determines management and oversight procedures for the project.  To ensure proper funding for the plan, the Assembly would establish a special account for the Capital Master Plan and appropriate $25.5 million for the current biennium.  For 2004-2005, the Secretary-General would enter into commitments of up to $26 million.  The Assembly would also reaffirm the importance of continuing efforts to secure financial resources from the public and private sectors for upgrading facilities and equipment, including the participation of private companies in infrastructural improvements.


Part III, on estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized, the Assembly would take note of the related report of the Secretary-General.  It would also approve an additional appropriation of $60.04 million for the 19 special political missions presented in the report of the Secretary-General under section 3, Political Affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003.


By part IV, the Assembly would approve, as a charge against the contingency fund, an amount of $230,900 for several posts to strengthen the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the Secretariat.


Part V on the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Assembly would emphasize the need to find a viable financial solution to ensure the Institute's future effective functioning.  Noting with concern that the Institute has accumulated a debt due to lack of payment of rent and maintenance for its liaison offices in New York and Geneva, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report at its next session on the Institute's financial viability.


Part VI on the first performance report on the 2002-2003 programme budget, the Assembly would decide to appropriate some $6.89 million to support the meeting requirements of the Counter-Terrorism Committee for the period 1 January 2002 through March 2003.  It would also note the continued unpredictability of the service requirements for the Counter-Terrorism Committee's activity and the scope of absorption of some or all of the costs for servicing the Committee.  It would decide to further consider the 2003 conference and support servicing in light of the Security Council's review of the Committee.


By further terms of the text, the Assembly would decide to approve some $9.9 million for 2002 realized vacancy rates and to consider the actual realized vacancy rates for 2003 in the context of the second performance report.  Also by that text, the Assembly would note with deep concern the serious deterioration in the business of the United Nations Postal Administration, requesting the Secretary-General to ensure, as a matter of priority, that the continuing downward trend in the business of that Administration is reversed.  By further terms, the Assembly would approve a net increase of some $176.86 million in the appropriation approved for the 2002-2003 biennium and a net increase of some $2.81 million in the estimates of income for the biennium, to be apportioned among expenditure and income sections.


Part VII, the Assembly would note that a balance of $31,200 remains in the contingency fund.


Draft resolution II entitled “Programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003”, is divided into three sections.  Acting on section A, the Fifth Committee recommended, among others, that the Assembly adjust the amount of some $2.7 billion appropriated for the biennium by $191.55 million to take account of new decisions, changes in mandates and other factors.  Under section B, on revised income estimates, the Assembly would resolve that the estimates of income would be increased by $4.39 million.  Section C contains provisions relating to financing of the appropriations for 2003.


By the terms of draft decision I contained in the document, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on the construction of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.


By draft decision II, it would take note of the report of the Secretary-General on video-conferencing at the United Nations.


By the terms of draft decision III, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on decentralized budgetary and financial arrangements for central services and concur with the Advisory Committee's recommendations thereon.


Draft decision IV would have the Assembly take note of the conclusions contained in paragraphs 32 to 37 of the Secretary-General's report on the delivery of advisory services.


By draft decision V the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on trends in extrabudgetary resources at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the impact on its capacity to carry out the programme of work.


According to draft decision VI, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's note on cooperation between headquarters departments and regional commissions and of the ACABQ's related report.


Draft decision VII would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships and concur with the Advisory Committee's observations thereon.


Draft decision VIII would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report on inter-organizational security measures: framework for accountability for the United Nations field security management system.  It would also concur with the ACABQ's recommendations thereon.


By the terms of draft decision IX, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the conversion into established posts of some temporary assistance posts financed under section 2 of the programme budget -- General Assembly affairs and conference services.  It would also concur with the ACABQ's related recommendations.


By the terms of draft decision X, it would take note of the Secretary-General's report on cases in which incumbents of posts are being paid at a level other than the one provided for the post and that of the ACABQ.  It would also reiterate paragraph 7 of resolution 56/253, which reaffirms the role of the General Assembly in carrying out a thorough analysis and approval of posts and financial resources, as well as of human resources policies, with a view to ensuring the full implementation of all mandated programmes and activities and the implementation of policies in that regard.


Draft decision XI would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report on the presentation of estimates of staff assessment.


Draft decision XII would have the Assembly take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of projects financed from the Development Account, and request the Secretary-General to indicate clearly the role of projects funded from section 21 (regular programme of technical cooperation).


By draft decision XIII, on experience in applying the revised administrative arrangements approved by the General Assembly for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO in its decision 53/411 B (document A/C.5/57/L.21), the Assembly would take note of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ.


Draft decision XIV, on proposed revisions to the Financial Regulations of the United Nations, would have the Assembly take note of the related report of the Secretary-General and adopt the revised Financial Regulations therein.  It would also decide that the Revised regulations shall become effective on 1 January 2003.


By the terms of draft decision XV, on the comprehensive review of the post structure of the United Nations Secretariat, the Assembly would take note of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ, and decide to continue consideration of the question of the comprehensive review of the post structure during its fifty-eighth session under the items “Human resources management” and “Proposed programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005”.


Draft decision XVI, on results-based budgeting, would have the Assembly take note of the related reports of the Secretary-General, the ACABQ and the OIOS.


Draft decision XVII, on additional expenditures deriving from inflation and currency fluctuations, would have it take note of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ.  The Assembly would also decide to continue the consideration of the question at the main part of its fifty-eighth session, in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005.


By draft decision XVIII, on a request for a subvention to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, the Assembly approved the request for a subvention of $227,600 from the regular budget of the United Nations to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research for 2003.


By draft decision XIX the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the construction of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and concur with the ACABQ's recommendations in paragraph 7 of its report thereon.


Draft decision XX, on enhancing the United Nations Web site in all official languages would have the Assembly express concern that the Department was not able to identify at this stage any resources, including through redeployment, for that priority activity.  It would also request the Secretary-General to proceed with the implementation of his proposal on strengthening the Web site through the redeployment of resources, giving priority to the language posts required, and to report on the status of its implementation at its fifty-eighth session.  The Secretary-General would also be requested to keep the question of the equality between six official languages on the Web site under review, and to submit proposals aimed at achieving full equality between the languages.


Draft decision XXI, on the future of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, would have the Assembly note that the adoption of draft resolution A/C.3/57/L.16/Rev.1 would give rise to additional requirements of $500,000 under section 9 of the 2002-2003 programme budget, Economic and social affairs.  It would note that under General Assembly-established procedures, the provision would represent a charge against the contingency fund.


The Assembly would also approve, in the context of the consolidated statement of programme budget implications, a charge of some $250,000 against the contingency fund to finance the Institute's core activities, defined as salaries and common staff costs of the four Professional posts currently in the staffing table.  It would decide that $250,000 would be set aside in the contingency fund for the current biennium as an additional provision to the Institute for core activities in 2003, bringing the total amount to $500,000 pending firm pledges and/or payments of voluntary contributions necessary for the Institute's viable operations.


By further terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to it, through the Fifth Committee, before the end of the resumed fifty-seventh session, on the Institute's financial situation, including the status of voluntary contributions to meet the resource requirements to ensure its viability and to consider the additional charge against the contingency fund.


Draft decision XXII, on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, would have the Assembly note that the adoption of draft resolution A/C.3/57/L.7 would give rise to additional requirements of some $316,600 under section 9, Economic and social affairs, $96,000 under section 27, Management and central support services, and a related $43,000 under section 32, staff assessment, offset by some $43,000 under section 1, income from staff assessment.


By draft decision XXIII, on Khmer Rouge trials, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General, if necessary, to send a team of experts to Cambodia as may be required for the preparation of a report.  Should the Assembly adopt the draft, requirements would be met from within existing resources under section 8, Legal affairs, of the 2002-2003 programme budget.


Draft decision XXIV the Assembly would note that should it adopt draft resolution A/C.2/57/L.62 on ensuring effective secretariat support for the sustained follow-up to the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development, there would be financial implications arising for the regular budget in the current biennium of up to $95,500 under section 9, Economic and social affairs, $85,700 under section 27, Management and central support services, and a related amount of $22,000 under section 32, Staff assessment, offset by the same amount under Income from staff assessment.


By the terms of draft decision XXV, on revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 2002, the Assembly would endorse the Secretary-General's recommendations to approve the provision of $44,700 in additional appropriations under section 22, Human rights, as a charge against the contingency fund for financing activities in respect of ECOSOC decision 2002/285 of 25 July 2002.  ECOSOC would be invited to review its decision 2002/281 of 25 July with a view to ensuring that additional meetings of the Commission on Human Rights are not required in connection with its fifty-ninth session. 

The Secretary-General would be requested to provide such conference services as might be required consequent to ECOSOC decisions 2002/257 and 2002/281, as reviewed, and report to the Assembly at its next session on the related expenditures in the context of the second performance report for the current biennium.


The representative of Venezuela, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, made several oral amendments to the Fifth Committee reports.


The Assembly then adopted the resolutions and decisions concerning the programme budget (document A/C.5.57/L.49).


(Annex follows)


ANNEX


Vote on Permanent sovereignty over natural resources


The draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the Occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/57/537) was adopted by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 4 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Palau, United States.


Abstaining:  Madagascar, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu.


Absent:  Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Niger, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.


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