29 March 2006
General Assembly
GA/COL/3130

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Special Committee on

Decolonization

2nd Meeting (PM)


Decolonization committee adjusts plans for special mission,

 

Pacific regional seminar to reflect reduced budget

 


Taking several decisions in connection with two forthcoming events, the Special Committee on Decolonization this afternoon reassessed its plans for the Special Mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Pacific Regional Seminar in light of reduced resources.


At the beginning of the meeting, the Committee’s Chairman, Julian R. Hunte ( Saint Lucia), said that the adoption of a six-month budget of the United Nations last December had affected all the Organization’s programmes and activities across the board.  However, he had worked to ensure that the decolonization agenda was not unduly affected by the Organization’s budgetary constraints.  He emphasized the importance of carrying out the activities of the Special Committee, even under current extraordinary budgetary circumstances and “amid certain bureaucratic hesitance in moving forward”.


Thus, instead of abandoning those activities, the Bureau had been working to reassess the costs, and revisit the composition and duration of the Special Mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands, which had initially been scheduled for 2-9 April this year.  Work had also been done to reassess the arrangements for the Pacific Regional Seminar, to be held in Dili, Timor-Leste, from 23 to 25 May.


After reviewing the tentative programme of work and available resources, the Special Committee decided that its delegation to the Non-Self-Governing Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands would consist of three members of the Committee –- Saint Lucia, Fiji and Tunisia.  It also adopted the Mission’s programme of work and reduced the length of the visit by two days, “cutting it to the bone” -- to take place from 2 to 7 April.  The Special Mission will examine the political, economic and social development in the Territory and provide information about the role of the United Nations and the Special Committee’s mandate to the Government and people of Turks and Caicos.


The importance of the Special Mission was emphasized by representatives of the Congo and Papua New Guinea, who made short statements on the matter.


The Special Committee also approved Saint Lucia, Congo, Syria, Cuba and the Russian Federation as participants in the Committee’s official delegation to the Pacific Regional Seminar in May.  The list will be finalized following consultations in the regional groups.  The United Nations will bear the cost of travel for the members of the delegation.  The Chairman was also authorized to finalize the list of invitations for other participants in the event.  Due to budgetary constraints, the Special Committee can only fund two experts and two non-governmental organizations from the region.


The Chairman -– supported by the representatives of Cuba, Iran and the Congo -– stressed the importance of ensuring that the quality of the Seminar was not compromised in view of reduced resources.   Iran and the Congo stressed that the Special Committee should be treated equally with other bodies in budgetary matters.


Mr. Hunte said that he had made several budgetary proposals to reduce expenses for the Seminar, which had been submitted for cost analysis.  However, he would be remiss not to mention the generosity of the host Government that had agreed to provide all required logistics, equipment and transportation free of charge.  In this regard, Timor-Leste’s representative said that she did not foresee any problems and that there would be no budgetary constraints on the part of her Government in making arrangements for the Seminar.


With “extraordinary circumstances often requiring extraordinary measures”, the Chairman announced that, as a statement of his commitment to the success of the Special Committee’s work, he would decline the daily subsistence allowance for both the Special Mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Pacific Seminar.


Formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the General Assembly’s subsidiary body holds an annual seminar to assess the situation in Non-Self-Governing Territories, in particular their constitutional evolution towards self-government and self-determination.  Apart from the Committee’s delegation, others, including representatives of Member States, of administering Powers and of Non-Self-Governing Territories, may participate in the seminars.


This year, the Seminar will review the progress achieved in the implementation of the plan of action of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001-2010) and define priorities for follow-up and intensified action in the remaining years of the Decade.  It will also identify areas in which the United Nations system and the international community at large could enhance the programmes of assistance to the Territories.  More information, including the Seminar’s guidelines, agenda and rules and procedure, are contained in document A/AC.109/2006/1, which was approved by the Special Committee today.


In other business, the Special Committee elected, by acclamation, Luc Joseph Okio of the Congo as one of its Vice-Chairmen.


The Special Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.


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For information media • not an official record