12/10/2004
Press Release
GA/SPD/290


Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Fourth Committee

8th Meeting (AM)


FOURTH COMMITTEE SEEKS CASE-BY-CASE PROGRAMME, BY END OF 2005,


TOWARDS IMPLEMENTATION OF UN DECOLONIZATION RESOLUTION


Series of Related Texts Approved; Debate is Resumed

On International Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Outer Space


The General Assembly would reaffirm its determination to bring about the complete and speedy eradication of colonialism through a text approved this morning by the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), as it took action on eight draft resolutions and one draft decision on the topic, deferring three other drafts.


Also this morning, the Committee continued its debate on International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.


Through the draft on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the Assembly would call upon the administering Powers to take all necessary steps to enable the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to exercise fully, as soon as possible, their right to self-determination, which would include the option of independence.  In that effort, it would call on the Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee on Decolonization to finalize before the end of 2005 a case-by-case programme of work, towards the implementation all relevant resolutions.  The draft was adopted with 133 in favour to 2 against (United Kingdom, United States) and 5 abstentions (Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel) (see Annex V).


Among texts approved without a vote this morning was a consolidated text on small-island Territories, which would have the Assembly reaffirm that there was no alternative to the principle of self-determination in the process of decolonization.  It would call upon the administering Powers, in cooperation with the territorial Governments, to facilitate the political process in the Territories through education and other means.  In part B of that draft, concerning individual territories, the Assembly would welcome the constitutional review process undertaken by the Governments of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Saint Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands, in cooperation with the administering Power.


Again without a vote, the Committee approved a draft on Tokelau by which the Assembly would welcome the substantial progress made in the past year towards the devolution of power to village councils.  The Assembly would acknowledge the continuing assistance that New Zealand, the administering Power, had committed to promoting Tokelau’s self-government.


The Committee approved a draft resolution on economic and other activities that affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom) (See Annex II).  By the terms of that draft, the Assembly would  urge the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard the inalienable right of the peoples of the Territories to their natural resources.


The Committee also approved, by a recorded vote of 84 in favour to none against with 47 abstentions, a draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (Annex III).  The Assembly would request those bodies to review conditions in each Territory and take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in their economic and social sectors.


In another action, the Committee approved a draft resolution on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the United Nations Charter.  By that text, the Assembly would request the administering Powers concerned to transmit to the Secretary-General under Article 73 e, the fullest possible information on political and constitutional developments in the Territories concerned.  The text was approved by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (Israel, United Kingdom, United States) (Annex I).  A draft on dissemination of information on decolonization was approved by a vote of 136 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), and 1 abstention (France) (Annex IV).


Acting without a vote, the Committee also approved a draft on offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  It adopted a draft decision on Gibraltar as well.


Consideration of the drafts pertaining to the questions of Western Sahara and New Caledonia was postponed for 48 hours.  Action on the increase in membership of the Special Committee was also postponed, pending revision of the text.


Following those actions, the Committee continued its debate on the peaceful uses of outer space.  Speakers continued to emphasize the benefits that could be obtained through international cooperation, particularly in the areas of sustainable development, disaster management and dissemination of information.


In addition, the representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed that the growing number of private entities involved in “spacefaring”, along with the increasing commercialization of outer space, demanded an appropriate legal framework and appropriate national space law.  Also, special attention should be focused on the increasing pollution of outer space caused by space debris.


The representatives of Nigeria, Algeria, Canada, Senegal, the Russian Federation and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic spoke this morning on decolonization issues.


The representatives of the United Kingdom, Argentina, the Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) and Spain spoke in explanation of their vote.


During the debate on the peaceful uses of outer space there were statements from the representatives of India, Colombia, Syria, Pakistan and Austria also spoke.


The Fourth Committee will meet again tomorrow, Wednesday 13 October, at 10 a.m. to continue its consideration of the peaceful uses of outer space.


Background


The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to take action on draft resolutions and a draft decision related to decolonization items.  It was also expected to conclude its debate on International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.


Among those texts, the Committee had before it a draft on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document A/C.4/59/L.3), which would reaffirm the General Assembly’s determination to bring about the complete and speedy eradication of colonialism.  Toward that end, it would call upon the administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee to finalize before the end of 2005 a programme of work -- on a case-by-case basis for each of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories -- to facilitate the implementation of all relevant resolutions, as well as to fulfil the full mandate of the Special Committee on Decolonization. 
It would also call upon all other States, as well as the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, to assist in that effort.


By the text, the Assembly would urge the administering Powers to take measures to guarantee the right of the peoples of those Territories to their land and natural resources.  It would also urge all States to provide moral and material assistance to the people of the Territories, while requesting the administering Powers to make effective use of all such assistance toward the strengthening of the economies of the Territories.  It would also call on all administering Powers that had not participated formally in the work of the Special Committee to do so at its session in 2005.


By a resolution on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations (document A/59/23, chap. XII – Draft Resolution I), the Assembly would request the administering Powers concerned to transmit to the Secretary-General the information prescribed in Article 73 e of the Charter, as well as the fullest possible information on political and constitutional developments in the Territories concerned.  It would also request the Secretary-General to ensure that adequate information be drawn from all available sources in connection with the preparation of working papers related to the Territories.


By the terms of a draft resolution on economic and other activities that affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/59/23, chap. XII - Draft Resolution II), the Assembly would reiterate that the damaging exploitation and plundering of the marine and other natural resources of the Territories, in violation of United Nations resolutions, are a threat to the integrity and prosperity of those Territories.  It would also invite all governments and United Nations organizations to take all possible measures to ensure that the permanent sovereignty of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories over their natural resources is fully respected and safeguarded.


The Assembly would also, according to the draft, urge the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable right of the peoples of the Territories to their natural resources and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources.  Administering Powers would also be requested to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples of those Territories in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.


Further, according to the text, the Assembly would call upon the administering Powers concerned to ensure that no discriminatory working conditions prevail in the Territories under their administration, and to promote in each Territory a fair system of wages applicable to all the inhabitants without any discrimination.


The Secretary-General would be requested to inform world public opinion, through all means at his disposal, of any activity that affected the exercise of the right of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to self-determination in conformity with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).  The Assembly would appeal to the mass media, trade unions and non-governmental organizations, as well as to individuals, to continue their efforts to promote the economic well-being of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.


Also by the terms of the draft, the Assembly would decide to follow the situation in the Non-Self-Governing Territories so as to ensure that all economic activities in the Territories are aimed at strengthening and diversifying their economies in the interests of the peoples, including indigenous populations, and at promoting their economic and financial viability.


A draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/59/23, chap. XII – Draft Resolution III) would have the Assembly request those bodies to review conditions in each Territory so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in their socio-economic sectors.  Specialized agencies and other United Nations system organizations and institutions would also be requested to strengthen existing support measures and formulate appropriate assistance programmes to the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories.


Further, according to the draft, the Assembly would recommend that the executive heads of the specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations formulate, with the active cooperation of the regional organizations concerned, concrete proposals for the full implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions and submit the proposals to their governing and legislative organs.


The Assembly would also request the administering Powers concerned to facilitate, when appropriate, the participation of appointed and elected representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories in meetings and conferences of the specialized agencies and United Nations organizations.  It would request the Secretary-General to assist the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in working out appropriate measures for implementing relevant United Nations resolutions, and to prepare for submission to the relevant bodies a report on the action taken in implementation of the relevant resolutions.


By a draft resolution on the question of Western Sahara (document A/C.4/59/L.4), the Assembly reaffirmed the responsibility of the United Nations towards the people of Western Sahara, underlining, in that regard, the validity of the settlement plan, while noting the fundamental differences between the parties in its implementation.


The Assembly would continue to strongly support the efforts of the Secretary-General, according to the text, in order to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution to the dispute over Western Sahara, calling upon all parties and States of the region to cooperate fully with him.


By other terms, the Assembly would call upon the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of the people unaccounted for, and call on the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release, without further delay, all those held since the start of the conflict.


By the terms of a draft decision on the question of Gibraltar (document A/C.4/59/L.6) the Assembly would urge the Governments of Spain and United Kingdom, while listening to the interests and aspirations of Gibraltar, to reach in the spirit of the Brussels agreement a definitive solution to the question of that Territory, in the light of relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Charter of the United Nations.


A draft resolution on the question of New Caledonia (document A/59/23, chap. XII –- Draft Resolution IV) would have the Assembly urge all the parties involved, in the interest of all the people of New Caledonia, to maintain, in the framework of the Noumea Accord, their dialogue in a spirit of harmony.  [The Noumea Accord was signed on 5 May 1998 by representatives of New Caledonia and the French Government.]


In addition, the Assembly would invite all the parties to continue promoting a framework for the peaceful progress of the Territory towards an act of self-determination, in which all options are open and which would safeguard the rights of all New Caledonians according to the letter and spirit of the Noumea Accord, which is based on the principle that it is for the populations of New Caledonia to choose how to control their destiny.


Further, the Assembly would note positive initiatives aimed at protecting the natural environment of New Caledonia, notably the "Zoneco" operation, designed to map and evaluate marine resources within the economic zone of New Caledonia.  Acknowledging the close links between New Caledonia and the peoples of the South Pacific, the Assembly would welcome the accession by New Caledonia to observer status in the Pacific Islands Forum.


In that regard, the text continues, the Assembly would welcome the accession by New Caledonia to observer status in the Pacific Islands Forum, continuing high-level visits to New Caledonia by delegations of countries of the Pacific region and high-level visits by delegations from New Caledonia to such countries.


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the question of Tokelau (document A/59/23, chap. XII – Draft Resolution V), by which the Assembly would welcome the substantial progress made in the past year towards the devolution of power to village councils in that Territory.  In that context, it would note in particular the decision of the national parliament, known as the General Fono, to formally explore the option of self-government in free association, and extend its endorsement of a series of recommendations of the constitutional workshop of October 2003 related to the functioning of the legislative and judicial systems and international human rights conventions.


The Assembly would acknowledge the continuing assistance that New Zealand, the administering Power, has committed to promoting Tokelau’s self-government, as well as the continuing cooperation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  The Assembly would urge all memberStates and international agencies to contribute to a development trust fund for Tokelau to assist this emerging country in overcoming the problems of smallness, isolation, and lack of resources.  The Assembly would call upon the administering Power and the United Nations agencies to continue to provide assistance to Tokelau, as it further develops its economy and governance structures in the context of its ongoing constitutional evolution.


The Committee also had before it a consolidated text concerning American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands (document A/59/23 chap. XIII –- Draft Resolution VI).  By Part A of that draft, the Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable right of the peoples of the Territories to self-determination in conformity with the United Nations Charter and General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).  It would also reaffirm that in the process of decolonization, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination, and, in that connection, call upon the administering Powers, in cooperation with the territorial governments, to facilitate political education programmes in the Territories to foster awareness among the people of their right to self-determination.


It would also reaffirm the responsibility of the administering Powers to promote the socio-economic development and the cultural identity of the Territories, and request the Territories and administering Powers to protect the environment of the Territories under their administration against environmental degradation.


The Assembly would also, by the terms of the draft, call upon the administering Powers to take all necessary measures to counter problems related to drug trafficking, money laundering and other offences.  Urging Member States to contribute to United Nations efforts to usher in a world free of colonialism within the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, it would also call upon them to give their full support to the Special Committee in that endeavour.


Also by the text, the Assembly would note that some Non-Self-Governing Territories have expressed concern at the procedure followed by one administering Power, contrary to the wishes of the Territories themselves, namely of amending or enacting legislation for the Territories through Orders of Council, in order to apply to the Territories the international treaty obligations of the administering Power.  It would also take note of the constitutional reviews in the Territories administered by the United Kingdom, led by the territorial governments.


Part B of the consolidated draft resolution deals with the individual Territories.  Regarding American Samoa, the General Assembly would call upon the administering Power to continue to assist the territorial Government in the economic and social development of the Territory, including measures to rebuild financial management capabilities and strengthen other governmental functions of the territorial Government.  The Assembly would also welcome the assistance from the administering Power to the Territory in its recovery efforts following the recent floods.


By the text on Anguilla, the Assembly would welcome the constitutional review process led by the Government of Anguilla in cooperation with the administering Power.  It would also note that the successful regional seminar held in Anguilla in 2003 represented the first time that the seminar had been held in a Non-Self-Governing Territory.


By the draft of Bermuda, the Assembly would welcome the agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and the Territory in June 2002 formally transferring the former military base lands to the territorial Government and the provision of financial resources to address some of the environmental problems.  The Assembly would also decide to closely follow the territorial consultations on the future status of Bermuda and to facilitate assistance to a public educational programme, if requested, as well as to make arrangements for a visiting mission to the Territory.


The text on the British Virgin Islands would welcome the constitutional review process led by the Government of that Territory in cooperation with the administering Power.


By the terms of a draft on the Cayman Islands, the Assembly would welcome the completion of the report of the Constitutional Review Commission, which conducted an extensive review of the current Constitution, and the recommended changes, following public discussions with community groups and individuals, pursuant to the recommendations of the administering Power as stated in its White Paper entitled “Partnership for Progress and Prosperity:  Britain and the Overseas Territories”.


The Assembly would request the administering Power, the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to continue to provide the territorial Government with all required expertise to enable it to achieve its socio-economic aims.  It would also request that the administering Power, in consultation with the territorial Government, continue to facilitate the expansion of the current programme of securing employment for the local population, in particular at the decision-making level.


Under the provisions of the text relating to Guam, the Assembly would call upon the administering Power to take into consideration the expressed will of the Chamorro people, as supported by Guam voters in the plebiscite of 1987 and as provided for in Guam law, and to encourage the administering Power and the territorial Government of Guam to enter into negotiations on the matter.  It would request the administering Power to inform the Secretary-General of progress to that end.


By further terms of the text, the Assembly would request the administering Power to continue to assist the elected territorial Government in achieving its political, economic and social goals.  It would also request the administering Power, in cooperation with the territorial Government, to continue to transfer land to the original landowners of the Territory.


The Assembly would further request the administering Power to continue to recognize and respect the political rights and the cultural and ethnic identity of the Chamorro people of Guam, and to take all necessary measure to respond to the concerns of the territorial Government with regard to the question of immigration.  In addition, it would request the administering Power to cooperate in establishing programmes specifically intended to promote the sustainable development of economic activities and enterprises, noting the special role of the Chamorro people in the development of Guam.


The Assembly would also request the administering Power to continue to support appropriate measures by the territorial Government aimed at promoting growth in commercial fishing and agricultural and other viable activities.


The text on Montserrat would have the Assembly call upon the administering Power, the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, as well as regional and other organizations, to continue to provide urgent emergency assistance to the Territory in alleviating the consequences of the volcanic eruption.  The Assembly would also welcome the constitutional review process led by the Government of Montserrat in cooperation with the administering power.


By the text on Pitcairn, the Assembly would request the administering Power to continue its assistance for the improvement of the economic, social, educational and other conditions of the population of the Territory and to continue its discussions with the representatives of Pitcairn on how best to support their economic security.


Through a draft on Saint Helena, the Assembly would welcome the continuing constitutional review process led by the Government of the Territory in cooperation with the administering Power.  It would request the administering Power and relevant international organizations to continue to support the efforts of the territorial Government to address the socio-economic development challenges, including unemployment, and limited transport and communications.


According to the text on the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Assembly would welcome the continuing constitutional review process led by the territorial Government in cooperation with the administering Power.


By the draft text on the United States Virgin Islands, the Assembly would request the administering Power to continue to assist the territorial Government in achieving its political, economic and social goals.  Once again, it would request the administering Power to facilitate the participation of the Territory, as appropriate, in various organizations, in particular the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community and the Association of Caribbean States.  It would call for the inclusion of the Territory in regional programmes of the United Nations Development Programme, consistent with the participation of other Non-Self-Governing Territories.


The Assembly would also note the economic difficulties being experienced by the territorial Government and the fiscal austerity measure being implemented, and others proposed, to relieve the Territory’s cash flow shortage, and would call upon the administering Power to continue to provide every assistance required by the Territory to further alleviate the difficult economic situation, including, inter alia, the provision of debt relief and loans.


Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/C.4/59/L.5), by the terms of which the Assembly would invite all States to continue to make generous offers of study and training facilities to the inhabitants of the Territories that have not yet attained self-government or independence, including, wherever possible, the provision of travel funds.  It would also urge the administering Powers to take effective measures to ensure the widespread dissemination in the Territories under their administration of information relating to offers of study and training facilities, and to provide all necessary facilities to enable students to avail themselves of such offers.


Finally, through a draft decision on the Increase in the membership of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document A/C.4/59/L.2), the General Assembly would decide to increase that membership from 25 to 26 by admitting Dominica.


Action on Decolonization Issues


The Committee proceeded with taking action on draft texts contained in the Report of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples for 2004 (document A/59/23).


The Committee was informed that there were no financial implications on Draft Resolution I, entitled “Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations”.


In a recorded vote of 128 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions (Israel, United Kingdom and United States), the Committee recommended that the General Assembly adopt Draft Resolution I contained in the report.  (ANNEX I)


Explanation of Vote


The representative of the United Kingdom said he had abstained because in his country’s opinion a decision whether a Non-Self-Governing Territory had reached a sufficient level of government to submit information under Article 73 e of the Charter was ultimately for the government of the territory and the administrating Power concerned and not the Assembly.


The Committee then turned to Draft Resolution II, entitled “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories”, contained in the report, and was informed that there were no financial implications.


The Committee then recommended, in a recorded vote of in 128 favour, 2 against (Israel and United States) and 2 abstentions (France and United Kingdom), that the Assembly adopt the draft.  (ANNEX II)


Explanation of Vote


The representative of Argentina said the text should be interpreted as being in accordance with Assembly resolutions 2065 and 3149, including with respect to the Malvinas (Falkland Islands).


The Committee then turned to Draft Resolution III, entitled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document A/C.4/59/L3) as orally amended.


The draft (ANNEX III) was approved by a vote of 84 in favour to none against, with 47 abstentions.


The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, in explanation of his vote after the vote, expressed renewed support for the specialized agencies in their efforts to offer assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories in their respective fields.  The statute of those agencies must be carefully protected, however; that is why the Union abstained.


The Committee then turned to “Offers by Member States of Study and Training Facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories” (A/C.4/59/L.5), approving the draft resolution without a vote.


The Committee then turned its attention to a draft resolution on “The question of Western Sahara” as contained in document A/C.4/59/L.4.


CHARLES ONAYE (Nigeria) introduced the draft.


The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, proposed postponement of action for 48 hours so that consensus could be reached.


That proposal was supported by the representatives of Algeria, Canada, Senegal, the Russian Federation and Nigeria.


The representative of Morocco expressed thanks for all efforts the Chair had made to reach consensus, since the draft on the subject had always been approved by consensus.  The objective was to achieve a peaceful political and mutually acceptable solution to a dispute in the Maghreb region between fraternal countries.  He remarked, however, that the text of the letter of the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council of 11 June, in which he wrote that his new Special Representative Alvaro de Soto had the mandate to continue with the parties and neighbouring countries to pursue an mutually acceptable, political and lasting solution, should be included in the draft text.


On a point of order, the representative of Algeria said discussion was on the proposal for postponement, not on the substance of the issues.


The representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic noted that, contrary to what had been announced, his country was not a co-sponsor of the draft text.


Action on the draft was for 48 hours.


The Committee then turned to Draft Decision IV on the “question of Gibraltar” (document A/C.4/59/L.6).  The decision was approved without a vote.


The Committee then turned to Draft Resolution IV on the “Question of New Caledonia” (document A/59/23).  The representative of the Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, proposed that since there was as yet no agreement between the parties, the vote should be postponed for 48 hours.  There being no objection, this was agreed.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the “Question of Tokelau” (document A/59/23), which was adopted without a vote.


The Committee then turned its attention to Draft Resolution VI, entitled “Questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands”, contained in document A/59/23.


Without a vote, the Committee recommended that the Assembly adopt the draft.


Explanation of Vote


The representative of Spain said his country supported self-determination of Non-Self-Governing Territories, but that principle was not the only relevant factor.  In Gibraltar, the principle of territorial integrity should also be implemented.


The representative of Argentina said that despite what the preambular paragraph 20 of the draft said, seminars could only be held in United Nations Headquarters or in the Caribbean or Pacific region.  The paragraph had been incorrect.  His country supported the principle of self-determination, but noted that the draft was limited to the Non-Self-Governing Territories it referred to.  The Committee had recognized that there were territories, in which the resolution could not be implemented because there were disputes on territorial integrity, such as in the Malvinas (Falkland Islands).


The representative of United Kingdom said his country supported the consensus on the draft text, as it reflected support for the right of self- determination as set out in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Millennium Declaration.


The Committee then took up consideration of Draft Resolution VII entitled “Dissemination of information on decolonization”, contained in document A/59/23.


In a recorded vote of 136 in favour, 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom and United States), and 1 abstention (France), the Committee decided to recommend to the Assembly adoption of the draft text.  (ANNEX IV)


The Committee then turned to a draft decision entitled “Increase in the membership of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (A/C.4/59/L.2).


Action on the draft was postponed, awaiting a revision of the text.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution entitled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/C.4/59/L.3).  The Chairman noted that the Russian Federation was not a co-sponsor of the resolution.


The draft was adopted by 133 votes in favour, to 2 against (United Kingdom, United States) and 5 abstentions (Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel).  (Annex V)


Peaceful Uses of Outer Space


The Committee then resumed its consideration of international cooperation on the peaceful uses of outer space.


NILOTPAL BASU (India) supported the recommendation that Libya and Thailand should become members of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.  He also highly appreciated the efforts of the Committee in the implementation of UNISPACE III recommendations, and hoped that implementation would have quantifiable benefits for developing countries.  He said the objective of India’s space programme continued to be the development and utilization of space technology for addressing the challenges of national development, and it was applications-oriented.


Regarding the work of the Legal Subcommittee, he said he endorsed the recommendation on the application of the concept of the “launching State”.  The subject of a draft Protocol on Space Assets to the Convention of International Interest in Mobile Equipment, a private legal initiative, was important, not only from the point of encouraging private legal initiatives in outer space matters, but also from the perspective of setting precedents for United Nations involvement in non-governmental private initiatives.


He outlined achievements of the Indian space programme during the past year, including the launch of a remote sensing satellite and the launch of a communications satellite exclusively meant for educational networks.  He said international cooperation, in particular South-South cooperation, had been an important component of India’s space programme and described a number of activities in that area, including the launching of a connectivity mission between India and the nations of Africa.  The Centre of Space Science and Technology Education in the Asia/Pacific region, affiliated to the United Nations and operating from Dehradun, continued to make substantial progress.


ALVARO JOSÉ LONDOÑO (Colombia) expressed its satisfaction over efforts of the international community to implement the outcomes of the UNISPACE conferences.  Those recommendations recognized the contributions of developing countries in the peaceful uses of outer space.  He outlined plans for future conferences, including those planned for the Americas.


LOUAY FALLOUH (Syria) said it was essential to assure the developing countries that they would share the benefits of space activities.  He noted progress in the definition of the “launching State” and in other areas.  Such progress held extreme promise that future advances could benefit humanity, particularly in the economic area for developing countries.  The preservation of peace, however, required sincere commitment from the international community, as well as a legal framework.  He noted progress made in that area, as well as in the area of communications and natural resource management.  He said supported the expansion of the Committee.


LEX GERTS (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the peaceful use of outer space was of great interest for the benefit of humankind.  Among great challenges faced today were controlling or even stopping climate change, stimulating sustainable development and creating acceptable living conditions for everyone.  Implementation of the policies in those fields could be increasingly supported by the possibility of deploying space technology and applications.  In a wider context, space science and technology contributed to the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  The European Commission would organize an international conference next February to explore possible cooperation scenarios, not only with space powers but also with developing countries.


He said the European Union appreciated the method of establishing priorities in the 33 recommendations of UNISPACE III, and the establishment of 12 action teams to prepare implementation.  It was important to maintain progress of implementation.  He noted subjects regarding the peaceful use of outer space, which merited particular attention.  One was the fact that the number of private entities involved in spacefaring, and the increasing commercialization of outer space, demanded an appropriate legal framework and appropriate national space law; there was great interest in that subject, both in developing and developed countries.  Also, he said, special attention should be focused on the increasing pollution of outer space caused by space debris.  Further measures would be taken, both international and national in that regard.


He said recommendations arising from the work of the working group on the concept of the “launching State” would have positive effects on the application of the legal concept of the “launching State”, in particular for the focus on national space legislation as a key to cope with the rise of private space activities.  Continued international cooperation in the field of space science and technology was essential to make progress.  European involvement in international cooperation was, among other things, related to the field of Earth observation, through the European initiative “Global Monitoring for Environment and Security”.  The European Union also recognized the great importance of space technologies for navigation, location and determination of time, in which the Global Positioning System of the United States and the European Galileo system cooperated.


He stressed the important role the European space Agency (ESA) played.  It had been responsible for the development of many European space activities.  Its role was not restricted to Europe, but manifested itself worldwide, for example in connection with UNISPACE III, the World Summit on sustainable Development and the International Space Station.  It was impossible to imagine life today without space science and technology.  Space increasingly affected society and the welfare of humanity.  The European Union would make every effort to ensure that the peaceful uses of outer space would be for the benefit of life on Earth.


MOUHIM KHAN BALOCH (Pakistan) noting that his country had chaired the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space since 1990, said Pakistan supported all efforts to promote ways and means of furthering those peaceful uses.  Militarization of outer space should be avoided at all costs and, if possible, reversed.  Calling on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent weaponization of outer space, he said that it was necessary to explore ways of establishing a comprehensive and effective legal mechanism to that end.


On the principles relating to the remote sensing of the Earth from space, which were adopted by the Assembly in its resolution 41/56, he said he supported the incorporation of those principles in a more binding legal instrument.  It was also important for developing countries to have easy and low-cost access to remote sensing data, which could provide them with a wide range of useful applications.


Turning to disaster mitigation, he said that his country had established a national space agency, a Mission Control Centre and a local user terminal for an international search and rescue programme.  With emerging technologies, outer space could be utilized for the establishment of communications infrastructures for early warning systems, which could mitigate the effects of natural disasters.


He said the benefits of space science and technology should be shared by all countries, he added.  Efforts to increase such benefits should include dissemination of satellite-based data, as well as teaching assistance and training in institutional capabilities.  In that regard, he stressed the need to ensure greater voluntary contributions for the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.  He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to effective implementation of the Vienna Declaration in promoting cooperation in space science and technology and sharing the benefits of peaceful research without any discrimination.


WALTER LICHEM (Austria) said he fully endorsed the statement of the Netherlands and also an earlier statement underscoring that the “constellation” of States interested in outer space activities was no longer limited to countries with special capabilities in space technology, but included practically all nations, since the application of these technologies was relevant to multiple aspects of the management of national and global affairs.


He said the field of water resources management was a case in point, which would be greatly helped by the operational use of space-based data.  He cited activities by the European Space Agency (ESA) and others which had resulted in a first Plan of Action for applying space technology to water resources management in Africa.  The conclusions of the workshop, which prepared the plan, were widely shared with policy-makers and administrators.  He referred to this year’s Graz Symposium, organized with European Space Agency and the United Nations, which had added an important dimension to the process of bringing space technology to the natural and environmental resources agenda.


ANNEX I


Vote on Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories


Draft Resolution I on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/59/23) was approved by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  None.


AbstainingIsrael, United Kingdom, United States.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen.


ANNEX II


Vote on Economic Activities Affecting Non-Self-Governing Territories


Draft Resolution II on economic and other activities affecting the interests of Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/59/23) was approved by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 2 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


AgainstIsrael, United States.


AbstainFrance, United Kingdom.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen.


ANNEX III


Vote on Implementation of Decolonization Declaration


Draft Resolution III on implementation by the United Nations specialized agencies and related international institutions of the Declaration on the granting of independence of colonial countries and peoples (document A/59/23) was approved by a recorded vote of 84 in favour to none against, with 47 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  None.


Abstain:  Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen.


ANNEX IV


Vote on Dissemination of Decolonization Information


Draft Resolution VII on the dissemination of information on decolonisation (document A/59/23) was approved by a recorded vote of 136 in favour to 3 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, United Kingdom, United States.


AbstainFrance.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.


ANNEX V


Vote on Implementation of Decolonization Declaration


The draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the granting of independence of colonial countries and peoples (document A/C.4/59/L.3) was approved by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 2 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gabon, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


AgainstUnited Kingdom, United States.


AbstainBelgium, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.


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