23 December 2009
General Assembly
GA/10909

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

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Plenary

68th Meeting (PM & Night)


General Assembly Adopts $5.16 Billion Budget for 2010-2011, Maintains Current Scale


of Assessments for Regular Budget, Peacekeeping, Concluding Main Part of Session


Also Adopts Texts on 2012 United Nations Sustainable Development Conference,

Human Rights in Myanmar, Corruption Convention, Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy


The General Assembly concluded the main part of its substantive session early this morning with the adoption a $5.16 billion budget for the United Nations 2010‑2011 biennium, and importantly, a resolution that maintains the current scale by which States are assessed dues to the Organization, reflecting a compromise between the need to review that formula and maintain a balanced approach to assessments.


The Assembly took action on a range of resolutions contained in the reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), among them, five draft texts contained in the report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.


Turning to draft resolution III in that report on “special subjects relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011”, the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 1 against(Israel), with 3 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), adopted Part V of that draft, which pertained to revised estimates resulting from resolution S-9/1 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its ninth special session and from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its tenth and eleventh sessions in 2009.  (For vote details, see Annex II)


That special session pertained to human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, out of which the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict emerged.


In addition to considering the scale of assessments for the regular budget, the Assembly also considered the report on “scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations”, adopting, without a vote, a resolution contained therein.  By that text, the Assembly took note of updates to assessment levels, as suggested by the Secretary-General.  It then endorsed those updates, with the understanding that, as an exception, the Bahamas and Bahrain should be treated as “Level C” for the scale of assessments for the 2010-2012 period.


Texts recommended by the Budget Committee also touched on, among others, financing for the Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia Tribunals, the Department of Safety and Security, and for 27 political missions, as well as the financial security of the Joint Staff Pension Fund.


Also today, the Assembly took action on various recommendations in the reports of its Third (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) and Second (Economic and Financial) Committees.


Among them, the Assembly adopted, by a vote of 86 in favour to 23 against, with 39 abstentions, draft resolution II -- on the human rights situation in Myanmar -- contained in the Third Committee report on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.  (See Annex I)


Following that action, the representative of Myanmar said his delegation was greatly disappointed by the continuing adoption of a country-specific resolution dealing with the situation in his nation.  Indeed, the fact that double standards and selectivity persisted was a sad commentary on the Assembly’s work.  Experience had shown that human rights could only be effectively promoted and protected through international cooperation based on impartiality and non-selectivity.


On the recommendation of its Second Committee, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution by which it decided, among other things, “to organize, in 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives, and in this regard accepts with gratitude the generous offer of the Government of Brazil to host the Conference”.  The text was contained in a Second Committee report of the same name.


The Assembly also adopted without a vote a plenary-generated resolution on the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, requesting the Secretary-General to provide the necessary resources to finalize the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force without delay in order to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system.


Earlier in the meeting, the Assembly took action on a series of measures involving the United Nations war crimes Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.


Regarding the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Assembly had before it a letter from the Secretary-General (document A/64/513) transmitting two letters from Judge Dennis Byron, the Tribunal’s President, requesting, respectively, that the court be permitted to exceed temporarily the maximum number of ad hoc judges allowed by its statute, and requesting that Judge Erik Møse (Norway) be authorized to serve at the Tribunal beyond the expiry of his term of office, so that he may complete the Setako case.  Judge Møse’s term of office will expire on 31 December 2009.


The Assembly, therefore, underlined its intention to extend, by 30 June 2010, the terms of office of all trial judges at the Rwanda Tribunal, based on the court’s projected trial schedule and the terms of office of all appeals judges, until 31 December 2012, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned, if sooner.


By that decision, the Assembly also underlined that, if the Tribunal was to complete its existing cases or conduct additional trials, the total number of ad hoc judges might, from time to time, have to exceed the statutory-mandated 9, up to a maximum of 12 at any one time, and then returning to 9 by 31 December 2010.  Finally, the Assembly agreed that Judge Møse would complete the Setako case, and took note of the Tribunal’s intention to complete that case by the end of February 2010.


As for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Assembly had before it a letter from the Secretary-General (document A/64/510) transmitting a request from that court’s President, Judge Patrick Robinson, that the terms of office of two ad litem judges, Judge Kimberly Prost (Canada) and Judge Ole Bjørn Støle (Norway), be extended until the end of March 2010, in order that they may complete the judgment in the case of the Prosecutor v. Popović et al.  According to Security Council resolution 1837 (2008), the current terms of office of Judge Prost and Judge Støle will expire on 31 December 2009.


The Assembly therefore underlined its intention extend, by 30 June 2010, the terms of office of all trial judges at the Yugoslav Tribunal, based on the court’s projected trial schedule and the terms of office of all appeals judges, until 31 December 2012, or until the completion of the cases to which they are assigned if sooner.  It also underlined that Judges Prost and Støle would complete the Popovic case, and took note of the Tribunal’s intention to wrap up that case before the end of March 2010.


By that decision, the Assembly also underlined that the total number of ad hoc judges might exceed the statutory-mandated 12, up to a maximum of 13 at any one time, and then returning to 12 by 31 March 2010. Finally, the Assembly agreed that Judges Prost and Støle would serve at the Yugoslav Tribunal beyond the cumulative period provided for under court’s statute.


Speaking in explanation of position after action on the Counter-Terrorism resolution were the representatives of Venezuela and Cuba.


Also speaking after action on the text relating to Myanmar were the representatives of the Solomon Islands and Norway.


Speaking in explanation of position before action on a Fifth Committee text on questions relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 was Syria’s representative.


Speaking after action on that text was Mexico’s representative.


The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.


Background


The General Assembly met today to take action on recommendations from its Second, Third and Fifth Committees.  For background and more complete summaries of the Fifth Committee reports, see Press Release GA/AB/3939.


Action on Recommendations in Reports of the Third and Second Committees


Beginning its work, the Assembly considered a draft resolution on the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (document A/64/L.27), along with a relevant report of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) (document A/64/598).  By that resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to provide the necessary resources to finalize the institutionalization of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force without delay in order to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the counter-terrorism efforts of the United Nations system.


The Assembly adopted that resolution without a vote.


Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Venezuela said that her delegation was firmly committed to the fight against terrorism and that her Government adhered to its international obligations, including those regarding the protection and promotion of human rights.  Venezuela especially supported the tenets of those international instruments regarding the extradition of those suspected of heinous crimes.  Sadly, that was not the case for some Member States, especially those that claimed to be the guardians of human rights worldwide, but which continued to allow impunity for those working for their Governments abroad.


So today, as Member States adopted the current resolution, Venezuela would urge one State to set aside its double standards and fulfil its obligations in the fight against terrorism.  That State had openly protected and allowed to be free Luis Posada Carriles, mastermind of a terrorist plot that had killed nearly 100 people.  Contrary to that country’s obligations, it had refused to extradite that criminal, so that he could be tried for the crimes that he had committed.  Despite being one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, that country did not abide by Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), which urged all States, among other things, to not provide refuge to terrorists and not support or carry out politically motivated denial of extradition.  He called upon the President of that country, who had recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, to immediately free the “five Cuban heroes” and extradite Posada Carriles.


Next, the representative of Cuba said that, while his delegation had joined the consensus on the text -- due to its long-standing support of all international efforts to combat terrorism, as well as its wish to see the institutionalization of the Task Force -- it would nevertheless denounce the fact that the main sponsors of the resolution were not standing by their obligations and would not extradite a known criminal who had committed terrorist acts against Cuba.  That person remained in the territory of the United States.  However, five Cuban heroes had just completed 11 years of unjust imprisonment in the United States for merely trying to prevent the perpetration of terrorist acts against Cuba.  He hoped that other countries would support the international struggle against terrorism, over and above their words.


Also before the Assembly was a report of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) (document A/64/420/Add.1), on Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as a relevant report of its Fifth Committee (document A/64/600).


By a draft text in paragraph 20 in that report, the Assembly would decide, among other things, “to organize, in 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives, and in this regard accepts with gratitude the generous offer of the Government of Brazil to host the Conference”.


The Assembly adopted the resolution without a vote.


Next, the Assembly took up another Second Committee report, on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/64/422/Add.2), and the relevant report of its Fifth Committee (document A/64/599).


The resolution in paragraph 8 of that report was adopted without a vote.


Turning to another report of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (document A/64/439/Add.3), and a relevant report of the Fifth Committee (document A/64/597).


The resolution in paragraph 18 of that report, on the human rights situation in Myanmar, was adopted by a vote of 86 favour to 23 against, with 39 abstentions.  (For voting details, see Annex I)


Following that action, the representative of Myanmar said his delegation was greatly disappointed by the continuing adoption of a country-specific resolution dealing with the situation in his nation.  Indeed, the fact that double standards and selectivity persisted was a sad commentary on the Assembly’s work.  Experience had shown that human rights could only be effectively promoted and protected through international cooperation based on impartiality and non-selectivity.


He said it was worth noting that Myanmar was on track towards a smooth transition to democracy and was determined to proceed with its seven-step political road map.  The Myanmar Government was actively preparing for multi-party elections next year.  Myanmar believed that the exploitation of human rights for political purposes was unacceptable.  Furthermore, it could not accept nor allow interference in its national political processes.  Myanmar had voted against the “highly politicized and country-specific resolution”, rejected and would not be bound by it.  He expressed deep appreciation to those Member States that had continued to stand shoulder to shoulder with Myanmar.


Next, the representative of Solomon Islands said his delegation upheld human rights principles, it had expressed its position on the current text in the Third Committee.  In the meantime, however, due to pressure, her country had been forced to change its vote.  Such heavy handedness made taking decisions on such issues even more difficult.  Solomon Islands would “leave to history” how the Assembly was addressing human rights issues globally.


Norway’s representative said that her delegation had intended to vote in favour of the resolution.


Action on Fifth Committee Texts


The Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee, YULIANA ZHIVOKOVA GEORGIEVA ( Bulgaria) introduced the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).


The Assembly then considered the report on Financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994 (document A/64/592), deciding to appropriate $245.29 million through a draft resolution on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/C.5/64/L.13).


Also acting without a vote, it decided to appropriate $277.50 million for financing of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (document A/C.5/64/L.14), through a resolution contained in the Fifth Committee report (document A/64/593).


The Assembly then turned to the report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009 (document A/64/594), which contained two draft resolutions.


It first took up a text on after-service health insurance (document A/C.5/64/L.15), adopting it without a vote.  In it, the Secretary-General is requested to submit a report, at the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session, on managing after-service health insurance liabilities.


Next, the Assembly took up a two-part draft resolution on the Organization’s budget for 2008-2009 (document A/C.5/64/L.16), also adopting it without a vote.  By its provisions, the Assembly takes note of the second performance report of the Secretary-General on the programme budget for the biennium, with a reduction in the final revised appropriations for expenditure and estimates of income. 


The Assembly next took up the report on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011, (document A/64/548/Add.1), which contained five draft resolutions.


The Assembly first turned to draft resolutionIon Questions relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.18), which comprised 13 parts.


Explaining his position before adoption, Syria’s delegate said his Government had concerns on the budget vis-à-vis the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004).  The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General continued to exceed his mandate.  He was blatantly biased in favour of Israel, which had not carried out its obligations with regard to the resolution, including its withdrawal from Lebanese territories.  The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General sought to promote conflict and continue occupation in the name of international legitimacy.  The Special Envoy did not comply with his standards and Syria, thus, had reservations on the entitlement of resources for his office.


The Assembly then adopted resolution I on questions relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 without a vote.


The Assembly then turned to draft resolution II entitled proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.19), adopting it without a vote.  Among other things, it would note with concern that resource allocation in the proposed budget did not precisely track the Organization’s priorities.  Stressing the need to correct those imbalances, the Assembly would request that the Secretary-General, for all future budgets, take the necessary steps to ensure the fullest possible picture of the Organization’s requirements for the biennium.


Next, the Assembly turned to draft resolution III on special subjects relating to the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.20).  Among the special subjects addressed in the text, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s reports on revised estimates resulting from resolution S-9/1 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its ninth special session, at which the Council had taken up the issue of human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  That section was labelled “Part V”.


By a vote of 134 in favour to 1 against ( Israel), with 3 abstentions ( Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), the Assembly adopted Part V of that draft.  (See Annex II)


The Assembly then adopted resolution III as a whole without a vote.


Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, draft resolution IV entitled unforeseen extraordinary expenses for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.21), by which the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General, with prior concurrence of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and subject to the financial regulations and rules of the United Nations, to enter into commitments to meet unforeseen and extraordinary expenses arising during or subsequent to the biennium.


Also without a vote, the Assembly decided to establish a Working Capital Fund for the biennium 2010-2011 (document A/C.5/64/L.22), amounting to $150 million.


Speaking after action, Mexico’s representative welcomed adoption of the programme budget contained in resolution I, saying that the achievement of the Organization’s goals was a high priority for his country, and that the assignment of necessary resources for achieving mandates was of particular importance.  A culture of austerity in expenditure was congruent with the position of a majority of Member States and would strengthen the Organization’s credibility.


Next, the Assembly considered the report entitled scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations (document A/64/482/Add.1), adopting the resolution contained in paragraph 6 and referred to, for the time being, as A/C.5/64/L.24, without a vote.  By that text, the Assembly maintains the current scale, but also decides to review all the elements of the scale methodology, aiming for a decision that would take effect, if agreed, for the 2013-2015 scale period.


The Assembly then took up the report on scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/64/595), adopting without a vote an eponymous resolution contained therein (document A/C.5/64/L.25).  It was the Assembly’s understanding that, by adopting the text, as an exception, the Bahamas and Bahrain should be treated as “Level C” for the scale of assessments for the 2010-2012 period.


Finally, the Assembly had before it the report on review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/64/596), containing a draft decision entitled questions deferred for future consideration (document A/C.5/64/L.26), which it adopted without a vote.  Those included the issue of a review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, and of human resources management.


ANNEX I


Vote on Human Rights in Myanmar


The draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/64/439/Add.3) was adopted by a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 23 against, with 39 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay.


Against:  Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.


Abstain:  Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.


Absent:  Angola, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iran, Kiribati, Lesotho, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Suriname, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.


ANNEX II


Vote on Part V, Special Subjects


The draft resolution on Part V, special subjects related to the programme budget (document A/C.5/64/L.20) was adopted by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 1 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.


Against:  Israel.


Abstain:  Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


Absent:  Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


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For information media • not an official record