20 June 2008
General Assembly
GA/10724

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

Sixty-second General Assembly

Plenary

109th Meeting (PM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES $7 BILLION IN FINANCING FOR 15 PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS,


ADOPTS TEXT ON SUPPORT ACCOUNT, PROCUREMENT REFORM

 


Resolution on Global Forum on Migration and Development Also Adopted


Acting on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the General Assembly today approved an appropriation of almost $7.08 billion for the financing of United Nations peacekeeping for the financial period running from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


That amount includes $1.24 billion for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), $1.57 billion for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and $858.77 million for the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) -- three of the Organization’s largest peacekeeping operations.


The budgets for United Nations 15 active missions also included prorated shares for the peacekeeping support account, which provides for peacekeeping backstopping at Headquarters, and the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy.  The provisions for those two entities total $273.92 million and $45.77 million, respectively.


By the resolution on the support account, the Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to ensure a clear chain of command, accountability, coordination and an adequate system of checks and balances, while also emphasizing the importance of interaction with troop-contributing countries.


In relation to the ongoing reform of United Nations peacekeeping, it requested detailed information on mechanisms and measures to address the management challenges in connection with the new organizational structure of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and newly established Department of Field Support, and the improvement that the new structure has brought about.  The Assembly also emphasized that ongoing management reforms must be fully taken into account when presenting additional proposals for reform and reaffirmed that the support account funds shall be used for the sole purpose of backstopping and supporting peacekeeping operations at Headquarters.


By a separate draft, the Assembly also addressed the issues of procurement reform, including procurement governance, internal controls, accountability, ethics, vendors, procurement opportunities for vendors from developing countries, ensuring best value for money, awarding of contracts, competitive bidding process, sustainable procurement, delegation of authority, outsourcing, human resources management, enterprise resource planning and other matters.


All but two of today’s drafts were adopted without a vote.


Consensus could not be reached on a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which was adopted by a vote of 142 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Australia).  (See annex II)


Prior to the vote on the draft as a whole, the Assembly decided to retain several paragraphs referring to and reiterating its previous resolutions that called for Israel to pay some $1.12 million for the damage resulting from a 1996 incident at UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.  That decision was taken by a vote of 90 in favour to 4 against ( Australia, Canada, Israel, United States), with 45 abstentions. (See annex I)


The Assembly also adopted, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 2 against ( Canada, United States), with 54 abstentions, a draft resolution on the Global Forum on Migration and Development.  (See annex III)


Stressing the need to promote a comprehensive and coherent discussion on all aspects of migration and taking into account its importance on the global agenda, the Assembly recognized the possible positive impact of exchanges of information and closer cooperation between the United Nations and the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which currently functions as a State-led initiative.  It also asked for an evaluation of existing cooperation mechanisms on migration and development, which would be made available to the second meeting of the Global Forum, to be held in Manila in October 2008.


The Assembly encouraged Member States and organizations that are members of the Global Migration Group to participate and contribute to the work of the Forum and to provide technical support to it.  It took note with interest of the agenda prepared for the discussions of the Forum on Migration and Development, as well as the title of its second meeting, “Protecting and empowering migrants for development”, particularly welcoming the inclusion of the topic of the human rights of migrants.


The draft was introduced by the representative of Mexico, who said that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants was essential for taking advantage of the positive aspects of international migration.  The draft stressed the need to promote a comprehensive and coherent discussion on all the aspects of migration and recalled that Member States that had taken part in the 2006 High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development had expressed interest in continuing the dialogue.  There was widespread support for the proposal of the Secretary-General to create a global forum to address all topics related to international migration and development.  In that sense, the draft recognized that the Global Forum on Migration and Development should be strengthened, with the aim of addressing the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development with a comprehensive approach.


In other action, the Assembly:


-- accepted the audited financial statements of United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007 and requested the Secretary-General to ensure full implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) in that regard;

-- took note of several reports on the reformed procedures for determining reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment, including the report of the 2008 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, and invited the Working Group to reconsider its recommendation that the ceiling of overstock of major equipment be increased from 10 to 20 per cent; and


-- decided to continue to suspend the application of the four-year maximum limit for appointments of limited duration in the field until 31 December 2008, authorizing the Secretary-General to reappoint those mission staff whose service has reached that limit, provided that their functions have been found necessary and their performance has been fully satisfactory.


Finally, informed that consultations were still ongoing among the regional groups on the election of five members of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Assembly extended, as an interim measure, the terms of office of the following members of the Organizational Committee: Burundi, Chile, Egypt, El Salvador and Fiji, until 11 July 2008.


Statements on the Global Forum draft text were also made by Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Chile.


Statements in explanation of position on the Global Forum on Migration and Development were made by representatives of the United States, Canada, Indonesia, Cuba, Malaysia, Slovenia (on behalf of European Union) and the Philippines.  Syria spoke in explanation of position on the UNIFIL resolution.


The Assembly will meet again at a time to be announced.


Action on Drafts


The Assembly began its action on the drafts before it by taking up the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), which were introduced by the Rapporteur of the Committee, STEVEN SSENABULYA NKAYIVU ( Uganda).


The Assembly first adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the report of the Board of Auditors on the United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/62/534/Add.1), by the terms of which it accepted the audited financial statements of the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007, and endorsed the recommendations of the Board and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the matter.  It also reiterated that the issue of outstanding assessments is a policy matter of the Assembly, and urged all Member States to make every possible effort to ensure the payment of their dues in full.


The Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure full implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Auditors, as well as related recommendations of ACABQ in a prompt and timely manner.  The Secretary-General was to be requested to continue to indicate an expected time frame and priorities for the implementation of the Board’s recommendations, and provide a full explanation for delays in the implementation in his future reports on the matter.


The Assembly then took up drafts contained in the Fifth Committee report on administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping (document A/62/600/Add.1).


The Assembly first adopted, without a vote, draft resolution I on the support account for peacekeeping operations.  By its terms, it stressed that proposals to amend the overall departmental structure, the format of the budgets and the biennial programme plan are subject to its review and approval.  The Assembly also reaffirmed its role in carrying out a thorough analysis and approval of human and financial resources and policies to ensure full and efficient implementation of all mandated programmes and policies.


Further to the text, the Assembly emphasized that ongoing management reforms must be fully taken into account when presenting additional proposals for reform and reaffirmed that the support account funds shall be used for the sole purpose of backstopping and supporting peacekeeping operations at Headquarters.  Reaffirming the need for adequate funding for the backstopping of peacekeeping, as well as the need for justification for that funding, it requested the Secretary-General to ensure a clear chain of command, accountability, coordination and maintenance of an adequate system of checks and balances, while also emphasizing the importance of interaction with troop-contributing countries.


In the context of the comprehensive report to be submitted at the second part of its resumed sixty-third session, the Assembly requested detailed information on mechanisms in place and measures taken to address the management challenges in connection with the new organizational structure of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support, and the improvement that the new structure has brought in support for peacekeeping operations and special political missions, as well as to the coordination among relevant bodies.


Stressing the importance of complementarity of efforts and avoiding duplication between integrated operational teams and substantive components of the Secretariat, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report thereon, and to provide a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of the integrated operational teams, in the comprehensive report to be submitted at the second part of its resumed sixty-third session.  In connection with the Office of Military Affairs, the Assembly decided to establish a number of posts within its current structure and requested a comprehensive report on the implementation of the strengthening of the Office and its impact.


Taking note of the support account’s performance for the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007, the Assembly decided not to transfer some $2.01 million, which represents the excess of the authorized level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund for 2007/08 and apply it to the support account requirements for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008.  The total amount of about $13.8 million (the unencumbered balance and other income for the period ended 30 June 2007, the support account fund balance in respect of several previous financial periods and the excess of the authorized level of the Peacekeeping Reserve Fund for 2006/07) would be applied to the support account requirements for 2006/07.


For the 2008/09 financial period, the Assembly approved the support account requirements in the amount of $273.92 million, including 1,122 continuing and 98 new temporary posts and their related post and non-post requirements.


Turning to draft resolution II on the financing of the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, the Assembly adopted it without a vote.  By the text, the Assembly took note of the Base’s financial performance report for the period from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007 and approved its cost estimates for 2008/09 in the amount of $45.77 million.


Adopting without a vote draft resolution III on the reformed procedures for determining reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment, the Assembly took note of several reports on the matter, including the report of the 2008 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, and invited the Working Group to reconsider its recommendation that the ceiling of overstock of major equipment be increased from 10 to 20 per cent.  In that connection, it took note of the comments of ACABQ, which -- while agreeing with the recommendation -- had stated that, while providing additional reserves, the proposed increase in overstock capacity might result in significant financial implications for the Organization.


Also contained in document A/62/600/Add.1 was a draft decision on the use of 300-series and 100-series appointments.  Adopting it without a vote, the Assembly decided to continue to suspend the application of the four-year maximum limit for appointments of limited duration until 31 December 2008 and authorized the Secretary-General to reappoint, under the 100 series of the staff rules, those mission staff members whose service under 300-series contracts has reached the four-year limit by 31 December, provided that their functions have been reviewed and found necessary and their performance has been confirmed as fully satisfactory.


Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) (document A/62/866), by which, with regard to the mission’s financial performance report for 2006/07, it decided that Member States that have fulfilled their financial obligations to the Operation would receive their respective share of the unencumbered balance and other income of about $30.73 million.  The share of the States that have not fulfilled their financial obligations would be set off against their outstanding dues.  The decrease of $378,700 in the estimated staff assessment income would be set off against the credits from the unencumbered balance and income.


The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/62/867), by which it decided to appropriate to the Operation’s special account an amount of $475 million for the maintenance of the Operation for the period 2008/09.


A draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/62/868) would have the Assembly decide to appropriate $2.5 million for the maintenance of the Force for the period 2006/07, in addition to the $46.77 million already appropriated for the Force for the same period under the terms of its resolution 60/270.  It would further decide to appropriate $3.65 million to the special account for the period 2007/08, in addition to the $48.85 million already appropriated for the same period under the terms of its resolution 61/280.  In addition, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $54.85 million for the maintenance of the Force in 2008/09.


The Assembly adopted that draft without a vote.


The Assembly went on to adopt, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document A/62/869) by which it would appropriate $1.19 billion for the maintenance of the Mission for the period 2008/09.


In connection with the financing of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), the Assembly adopted a draft resolution (document A/62/870), by the terms of which it decided that Member States that have fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission would be credited their respective share of the net cash available in the Mission’s account in the amount of $3.85 million as at 30 April 2008, from the unencumbered balance and other income in the amount of about $31.84 million in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2006.  Those States would be encouraged to apply those credits to any account where they have outstanding assessments.  The credits of those Member States that have not fulfilled their financial obligations to the Mission would be set off against their outstanding dues.


Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (document A/62/871), by which it decided to appropriate $16.44 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period 2007/08, in addition to the $160.6 million already appropriated for the same period under the terms of its resolution 61/249 C.  The Assembly decided to appropriate $172.84 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period 2008/09.


Also adopted without a vote was a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) (document A/62/872), by which the Assembly decided to appropriate the amount of $100.38 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


The Assembly also adopted without a vote a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (document A/62/873), by which it authorized the appropriation of $34.48 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


By a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/62/874), which was adopted without a vote, the Assembly decided to appropriate $574.9 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


The Assembly then adopted, also without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/62/875), by which it decided to appropriate an amount of $9.8 million for the maintenance of the Mission in 2007/08, in addition to the amount of $220.9 million already appropriated by resolution 61/285.  The Assembly further decided to appropriate the amount of $198 million for the Mission’s maintenance for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


Another text adopted without a vote was a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/62/876).  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate the amount of $603.7 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


Turning to the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, the Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/62/877), by which it decided to appropriate $45.73 million for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.


The Assembly then took up the draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/62/878), by which it would take note of the status of contributions to UNIFIL as at 31 March 2008, including the outstanding dues in the amount of some $145 million, noting with concern that only 74 Member States have paid their assessments in full.


Noting significant projected underexpenditure for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to take measures to improve budget forecasting with respect to the Force, bearing in mind the unpredictable nature of peacekeeping.


The Assembly would also stress once again that Israel should strictly abide by relevant resolutions and pay about $1.12 million for the damage resulting from a 1996 incident at UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.


The Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Force’s special account an amount of $650.76 million for the Force’s maintenance for the period 2008/09.


A recorded vote was requested on separate paragraphs of the draft referring to the incident in Qana, as well as on the draft as a whole.


The Assembly decided to retain preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 21 by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to 4 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, United States), with 45 abstentions. (See annex I)


Slovenia’s representative said her country had intended to abstain in the vote on the paragraphs.


The Assembly then adopted the draft text as a whole, by a recorded vote of 142 in favour to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with 1 abstention ( Australia). (See annex II)


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Syria’s representative said his delegation had joined the consensus on the text.  The responsibility for the financing of UNDOF and UNIFIL must be borne by Israel, because both missions had been established as a result of its aggression.


The Assembly then took up a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (document A/62/879), adopting it without a vote.  By the text, the Assembly took note of the status of contributions to the Mission as at 31 March 2008, including credits in the amount of $89.5 million.


In connection with the disposition of assets of the Mission, the Assembly encouraged Member States that are owed credits for closed peacekeeping accounts to apply those credits to any accounts where the Member State concerned has outstanding assessments.


The Assembly, also without a vote, adopted a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) (document A/62/880), by which it decided to appropriate $820.72 million for the Mission’s maintenance for the period 2008/09 to the special account of the Mission.


A draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/62/881) was also adopted without a vote.  By the text’s terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate $1.75 million to the Mission’s special account for its maintenance for the period 2007/08, in addition to the $46.47 million already appropriated for the same period under the terms of General Assembly resolution 61/290.  The Assembly further decided to appropriate $45.6 million for the maintenance of the Mission for the period 2008/09.


The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/62/601/Add.1), by which it decided to appropriate $1.5 billion for the maintenance of the mission for the period 2008/09.


The Assembly then took up a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) (document A/62/602/Add.1), by the terms of which, for the financial period 2008/09, it would appropriate some $301.12 million for the maintenance of the Mission.


The draft was adopted without a vote.


Turning to the Fifth Committee report on the review of efficiency of administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/62/604/Add.2), the Assembly first took up a resolution on procurement reform that is contained in that document.


By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the need for the procurement system to be transparent, open, impartial and cost-effective, based on competitive bidding and fully reflecting the international character of the United Nations, and note ongoing improvements made by the Secretary-General in procurement reform at Headquarters and in the field missions.  It would also recall its previous resolutions regarding the need to ensure that specifications are not deliberately tailored to predetermine the choice of supplier and that the principle of separation of responsibilities of the requisitioning and approving officers is maintained.


The Assembly would urge the Secretary-General, as a matter of priority, to submit a report on procurement governance and other issues, and note with concern possible weaknesses in the internal control environment, owing to the splitting of procurement responsibilities between the Department of Management, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support.  The Secretary-General would be requested to take concrete steps in that regard.  He would also be encouraged to strengthen further the internal control framework within the Procurement Division by developing a more robust regime for oversight of vendors, including subcontractors, as well as effectively addressing vendor misconduct and suspension.


The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue to ensure proper accountability and training of all those involved in procurement and to consider a proper mechanism for monitoring compliance with ethical behaviour norms.  It would also request that ethics guidelines for procurement staff be issued, as a matter of priority, and reiterate its request for proposals on possible amendments to the existing regulations to address the issues of potential conflict of interest. The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to launch the pilot project for the independent bid protest system and to report on the experience gained as part of the comprehensive proposal concerning the implementation of the system, which shall be subject to prior approval of the Assembly.


Among other issues addressed by the draft are the questions of procurement opportunities for vendors from developing countries, ensuring best value for money, awarding of contracts, competitive bidding process, sustainable procurement, delegation of authority, outsourcing, human resources management, enterprise resource planning and other matters.


The draft was adopted without a vote.


Also contained in the report was a draft decision, by the terms of which the Assembly would defer consideration of several documents to its next session, including those on an overview of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations; a comprehensive report on conduct and discipline; and a report on peacekeeping best practices.


The draft decision was adopted without a vote.


As it proceeded to the election of five members of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Assembly was informed that consultations were still ongoing among the regional groups on that matter.  As an interim measure, and with the hope that a solution could be found soon, the President of the Assembly had proposed to extend, until 11 July, the term of office of the current members of the Assembly on the Committee, which was due to expire on 22 June 2008.  By a letter dated today, the terms of the current members who are drawn from troop-contributing countries were also extended to 11 July.  The Economic and Social Council was also expected to take similar action concerning the current members of the Organizational Committee.  (See Press Release ECOSOC/6343)


The Assembly then extended, as an interim measure, the terms of office of the following members of the Organizational Committee: Burundi, Chile, Egypt, El Salvador and Fiji, until 11 July 2008.


The representative of the Bahamas, speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, while welcoming the interim measure just adopted, said that the decision did not address fundamental concerns of the Group regarding the distribution criteria in the Peacebuilding Commission.  The new body created by the United Nations did not respond to the principle of equitable geographic distribution.  It would be in the best interest of the Organization to continue to review the composition of the Commission, with a view to addressing the imbalances and reflect the reality that the experience and contribution of all regions were valuable.  The principle of equitable geographic representation was fundamental to universal multilateralism.  From the time of the Commission’s establishment, the Group had been promoting balanced representation of all regional groups, which was fundamental to the legitimacy of the body.  In that context, the Member States of the Group intended to pursue a solid and long-term solution to the challenge.  In particular, that could be done by the election of members from within the larger General Assembly.  That continued to be the Group’s interpretation of the relevant paragraphs of resolution 60/180.


The Assembly then turned to a draft resolution on the Global Forum on Migration and Development (document A/62/L.25/Rev.2), which had been tabled by Belarus, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Guatemala, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Venezuela.


Stressing the need to promote a comprehensive and coherent discussion on all aspects of the phenomenon of migration, taking into account its importance on the global agenda, the Assembly, by the terms of the text, would recognize the possible positive impact of exchanges of information and closer cooperation between the United Nations and the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which currently functions as a State-led initiative.  The first meeting of the Global Forum was held in Brussels in July 2007, under the auspices of the Government of Belgium.


Further to the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to include in his report, called for in its resolution 61/208 of 20 December 2006, an evaluation of the existing cooperation mechanisms on migration and development, and to make it available to the second meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, to be held in Manila in October 2008.


The Assembly would encourage Member States and organizations that are members of the Global Migration Group to participate and contribute to the work of the Forum and to provide technical support to it.  It would take note with interest of the agenda prepared for the discussions of the Forum on Migration and Development, as well as the title of its second meeting, “Protecting and empowering migrants for development”, particularly welcoming the inclusion of the topic of the human rights of migrants.


Introducing the draft on behalf of the co-sponsoring countries, SOCORRO ROVIROSA ( Mexico), said that the draft took into consideration, among other elements, that the summary of the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, held in 2006, had underlined the close link among migration, development and human rights.  Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants was essential for taking advantage of the positive aspects of international migration.  The draft stressed the need to promote a comprehensive and coherent discussion on all aspects of the phenomenon of migration, taking into account its importance on the global agenda.  It also recalled that Member States that had taken part in the 2006 Dialogue had expressed interest in continuing the dialogue on migration and that there was widespread support for the proposal of the Secretary-General to create a global forum to address all topics related to international migration and development.  In that sense, it recognized that the Global Forum on Migration and Development should be strengthened, with the aim of addressing the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development with a comprehensive approach.


She invited all delegations to support that draft.


Speaking in her national capacity, she said that migration was of unquestionable historical relevance and, furthermore, had become a topic of major importance within the context of globalization.  Migration enriched societies, rendering them more diverse and pluralistic, encouraged the exchange of ideas and their evolution.  In conjunction with the implementation of adequate policies, it was possible to advance towards creating more tolerant, open, universal and, above all, more humane communities.  As a co-sponsor of the draft, she believed in the capacity of the United Nations to reach that objective.


The receiving countries benefited from migratory flows that complemented their need for skilled and unskilled labour forces, she said.  That was particularly relevant to societies whose demographic structure did not guarantee either economic growth or the maintenance of their current economic standards.  On the other hand, in the emitting countries, diaspora communities generally played a relevant role within the economic structure.


It was important to recognize that the migration phenomenon posed an important series of challenges, she said.  There were concerns regarding security, as well as economic consequences, such as the loss of human capital for developing countries, and social consequences, such as family disintegration.  In the immense majority of cases, the only intention of migrants was to secure a better future for themselves and their families, even at the cost of risking their lives, leaving their homes, cultures and language, only to encounter environments that were strange to them and, in some cases, hostile.  In that sense, the tendencies to criminalize the most vulnerable populations were particularly alarming.  Cooperation and dialogue among all actors involved in migration was essential, in order to take full advantage of the potential benefits of migration.


That approach should consider, above all, that the migration phenomenon was not about the flow of goods or resources, but about human beings, who could not be handled or managed in a mechanical way, she said. It was indispensable, therefore, to maintain the human being, as well as the need to decisively guarantee protection of human rights and dignity, at the core of international considerations.  The fight against racism and xenophobia, as well as the defence of the rights of migrants, particularly when they constituted a vulnerable population, were essential.  That went in line with the Charter and the agreements reached within the Organization.   Mexico was fully conscious of the way in which the topic of migration had been addressed within the framework of the United Nations in recent years and embraced that accumulated knowledge.


Explaining the factors that had motivated the presentation of the draft, she mentioned the co-sponsors’ commitment to multilateralism and trust in the United Nations as the most democratic and representative international organization, which promoted an open and honest dialogue among Member States as partners for development, as well as their commitment to universal and non-selective protection of human rights.  The Global Forum proposed by the Secretary-General could provide a privileged space for a full and coherent discussion of all the topics relating to international migration and development.  That the resolution recognized that a closer cooperation between the United Nations and the Forum, even though they were of different natures, could have a positive impact in addressing migration.


Prior to action on the draft, the Assembly was reminded that the programme budget implications statement on the draft had been issued in December 2007.  The Fifth Committee had decided to inform the General Assembly that, should it adopt draft resolution A/62/L.25, additional requirements of $110,000 would be met within the overall appropriations of the Organization’s regular budget for 2008-2009. However, the Assembly had not adopted draft resolution A/62/L.25 in December 2007.


The request in paragraph 1(b) of the draft resolution before the Assembly provides for a change from a stand-alone report on the evaluation of existing cooperation mechanisms on migration and development to a part of the regular Secretary-General’s report to be submitted to the Assembly, in accordance with its resolution 61/208.  That change would also result in an amendment to the programme budget implications.  The report requested in resolution 61/208 was to be ready by the end of July 2008.  Given the short lead time, the evaluation would not be as detailed as originally envisioned.  Therefore, the consultant to carry out the evaluation would be hired for one work-month maximum, at $10,000.  That amount would be met from within existing resources.  Additional translation, editing and printing costs would be accommodated within the resources allocated for the preparation of the Secretary-General’s report.  Accordingly, the adoption of draft resolution A/62/L.25/Rev.2 would not lead to any additional resource requirements.


Explanation of Position before Action


Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of United States said he would vote against the resolution, because it sought to link the Global Forum with the United Nations.  The Forum was an independent, intergovernmental process outside the United Nations system and the separation should be maintained.  There did not need to be closer cooperation between the Forum and the Organization, nor did the Secretary-General need to prepare reports for the Forum.  The High-Level Dialogue should be addressed in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), which had a biennial agenda item on the topic of migration and development.


His country valued international migration and was proud of its strong immigrant tradition, he added, saying statistics of the United Nations showed that the United States was home to 20 per cent of the world’s migrants.  Over 6 million migrants had become legal permanent residents between 2000 and 2006.  Immigrant policy focused on promoting respect for human rights of migrants, providing protections and managed migration that benefited countries of both origin and destination, as well as migrants themselves.


Canada’s representative said she would vote against the resolution because she had serious reservations about both its objective and elements of its text.  She also regretted that the co-sponsors had not been willing to continue informal negotiations on the text to address concerns expressed by a large number of delegations since the draft had first been tabled in December.


However, her position was not a reflection of the importance she attached to constructive dialogue, she said.  It was also not a reflection of the importance Canada attached to human rights.  It stemmed from the fact that, less than two years ago, the Global Forum had been established by the High-Level Dialogue as an independent, State-led Forum and the appropriate mechanism for States to consider direction on issues to be discussed on the agenda determined by the Friends of the Forum.  Given that arrangement, the Assembly resolution on the Forum was inappropriate.


Further, it had been agreed that the follow-up to the High-Level Dialogue would take place during the sixty-third session, she said.  The Assembly had a dedicated agenda item on international migration and development.  The present resolution should not become an annual occurrence that would result in unnecessary duplication of work and reporting.  Finally, there was no consensus on making international migration the subject of formal, norm-setting negotiations.  Those who wanted a constructive a dialogue rather than a divisive one should focus efforts on the Forum.


The representative of Indonesia said that, as a country of origin, destination and transit, Indonesia treated migration as a top priority.  It was important to have a common and global framework on the issue, which could capture opportunities and tackle challenges in connection with migration.  At the same time, it was important to maintain consensus on the important issues before the United Nations.  She did not believe that voting was appropriate to resolve the issue.  It would only diminish the international framework on international migration.   Indonesia would abstain on the draft, which should be adopted by consensus.  At the same time, she supported all positive measures, such as the Global Forum.  It played an important role in discussing the issues of migration and development in a systematic and comprehensive way.


The Assembly then adopted draft resolution A/62/L.62/Rev.2, as orally amended, by a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 2 against ( Canada, United States), with 54 abstentions.  (See annex III)


Explanation of Position after Action


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Cuba’s representative said his delegation was grateful to the authors of the resolution for the efforts to find grounds of understanding.  He was struck by the double standard with which forums outside the United Nations were handled.  Some were favoured, while others were rejected, when they were not to the liking of some of the most powerful countries of the world.  Migration was directly connected to the unsustainable world order, in which the poor were left on the sidelines by the markets of the new liberal globalization.


It was important to respond to the structural causes behind migration, he said.  To criminalize migrants and adopt laws allowing long detention without legal guarantees, or to politicize the issue of migration, did nothing to help the genuine cooperation that was needed.  Piecemeal approaches only fuelled xenophobia, racism and prejudices against migrants and fuelled trafficking.  He hoped the draft would contribute to the solution that would change the structural causes of migration.  The beneficiaries of the present world order should reflect and act with intelligence and common sense, if they did not wish to act with generosity.


Malaysia’s representative said that the resolution did not convey the actual nuances on how the rights of migrants should be addressed at the second meeting of the Global Forum and regretted that it did not treat all the issues before the Forum in an equal manner.  She was also concerned that it might create a precedent of involving the United Nations in a State-led initiative.  The relationship between the Forum and the United Nations was to be discussed at the sixty-third session and, at this point, the draft was premature.  Its contents should not prejudge the negotiations at the next session.  For those reasons, his delegation had abstained.


Slovenia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said the Union had asked for a postponement on 6 June because the dialogue on the subject of migration had become more important than ever and there should be consensus on a resolution regarding the subject.  The importance of the Global Forum was based on the fact that it offered opportunities for exchange on how to address issues of migration and development.  It was informal, nonbinding and driven by the interests expressed by Member States.  A Special Representative had been named to demonstrate its independent nature and the consultative nature of the Forum should be appreciated.  The resolution did not address all the concerns that had been raised.  The follow-up to the High-Level Dialogue should be dealt with in the Second Committee.


The representative of the Philippines said he had abstained on the vote in order to demonstrate neutrality on the contentious issue.


Statements


Ecuador’s representative aligned herself with Mexico’s statement.  She said all analysis conducted on migration should include a human rights perspective.  The Forum should systematically examine all aspects of migration and there was no body within the United Nations system that did so in a comprehensive and holistic manner.  Migration, development and human rights should be considered by the Assembly, both systematically and consistently.  By co-sponsoring the draft, Ecuador was being consistent at the national, regional and international levels with regard to being both a receiving and source country.  It was of concern that the European Union had adopted a policy of return that allowed for persons with an erratic migration record to be imprisoned.  Penalization of irregular migration was a violation of human rights.  It was regrettable that consensus had not been reached and that some States did not want to approach the question of migration from the human rights perspective.


The representative of Nicaragua said that, as a co-sponsor of the draft, her delegation associated itself with Mexico and welcomed the adoption of the resolution.  At the same time, she regretted that some delegations did not support the initiative and had not been flexible in the negotiations, in which co-sponsors had given clear indications of flexibility, in view of the enormous need for dialogue at various levels to consider the problems and opportunities presented by migration and measures to protect migrants.  The Dialogue in 2006 had emphasized the close relation between migration and development, and any initiatives for the discussion of those issues were welcome.  She was pleased that the initial proposal of the Secretary-General to create a global forum had become concrete in convening the Forum in Brussels in 2007 and in the Philippines on 2008.  She hoped the adoption of the resolution would be the beginning of a close and constructive relationship between the United Nations and the Forum, where subjects would be approached in terms of equality and solidarity.


She added that dealing with the subject with the agendas imposed by receiving countries only exacerbated the problem.  In that connection, she expressed concern at a recently adopted directive of return by the European Parliament, which demonstrated the contradictions of the free-market model imposed on countries.  That violated the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which established that all persons had a right to circulate freely and chose a place of residence.  She wondered if those who had come to Latin America, “arrived in our lands to acquire our wealth”, had been subjected to similar restrictions.  Migration made a great contribution to the prosperity of the European Union.


Today, more than ever, it was important to reactivate the dialogue between countries of destination and origin, she said.   Nicaragua appealed to other countries to join in the initiatives of all fraternal countries in defence of human rights of migrants.


The representative of Bolivia emphasized that the resolution adopted today was yet another significant step in defence of the rights of millions of migrants, who often found themselves obliged to live in subhuman conditions and in a clandestine manner.  Those countries that benefited from the contribution of those people were precisely the countries that did not understand that humanity was moving forward.  That was one more step in defence of human rights of those millions of migrants.  He was delighted that only two countries had voted against, because that meant great hope that even countries of the European Union that did not exactly understand the contribution of migrants, had not voted against the draft.  He hoped that, despite the decisions taken by Union, it would become increasingly involved and work in favour of the human rights of migrants.


The representative of Chile said his country’s population was very heterogeneous and proud of that characteristic.  In his country, migration was respected as a vital element that added to the country’s strength.  Because of its open acceptance of migration as a policy and of migrants as dignified human beings, Chile had grown to become a receiving country.  Migration was becoming an increasingly important contribution to societies all over the world.  At the heart of the migration issue was the reaffirmation of the human dignity of every person.  The backdrop for the current debate was a consideration of the dignity of the flesh and blood human being.


Mexico’s representative thanked the delegations who had supported the resolution and said it was regrettable and “profoundly disappointing” that some delegations had felt the need to put the resolution to a vote.  Migration was a subject that was current and vital to many States.  It was unfortunate that some States did not want the United Nations to deal with the issue at the appropriately comprehensive level.


ANNEX I


Vote on Separate Paragraphs/ UNIFIL


The fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 21 of the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/62/878) was retained by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to 4 against, with 45 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, United States.


Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.


Absent:  Azerbaijan, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.


ANNEX II


Vote on UNIFIL Financing


The draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/62/878) was adopted by a recorded vote of 142 in favour to 2 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, United States.


Abstain:  Australia.


Absent:  Azerbaijan, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.


ANNEX III


Vote on Global Forum on migration and Development


The draft resolution on the global Forum on Migration and Development (document A/62/L.25/Rev.2) was adopted by a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 2 against, with 54 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Canada, United States.


Abstain:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.


Absent:  Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Iran, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montenegro, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.


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For information media • not an official record