United Nations

A/53/142


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

6 July 1998

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH





                                                        A/53/142
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-third session


       REQUEST FOR THE INCLUSION OF AN ITEM IN THE PROVISIONAL AGENDA
                         OF THE FIFTY-THIRD SESSION

                      WORLD SOLAR PROGRAMME 1996-2005

           Letter dated 5 June 1998 from the representatives of
         China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,
         Malaysia, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia
            and Zimbabwe to the United Nations addressed to the 
                              Secretary-General


     In accordance with rule 14 of the rules of procedure of the
General Assembly, we have the honour to request the inclusion in the
agenda of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly an item
entitled "World Solar Programme 1996-2005".

     The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, adopted a programme entitled
Agenda 21, which drew international attention, inter alia, to the
unsustainable pattern of energy production and consumption and to the
need for humankind to rely increasingly on environmentally sound
energy systems, particularly new and renewable sources of energy.

     As a follow-up to UNCED, the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), together with several
partners within and outside the United Nations system, initiated a
process for the promotion, development and dissemination of the Solar
Programme covering the decade 1996-2005.  This Programme was approved
in June 1997 by the World Solar Commission, a body composed of 18
heads of State and Government, chaired by His Excellency Robert
Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

     The General Assembly of the United Nations, at its nineteenth
special session, held in June 1997, reviewed the progress made over
the five years that have passed since the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development, and adopted a Programme for the Further
Implementation of Agenda 21 (document A/S-19/29 of 27 June 1997).  In
the section on energy of this Programme, the need for promoting
efforts in research on and development and use of renewable energy
technologies at the international and national levels is expressly
recognized.  This is precisely the overall objective of the World
Solar Programme 1996-2005, which is an instrument at the service of
the world community for the promotion, development and deployment of
renewable energy technologies as a major contribution to sustainable
development.  Consequently, the full involvement of all actors
concerned - national Governments, international organizations,
academic and research institutions, banks and other financial
entities, non-governmental organizations, industries, etc. - is
essential in order to ensure the successful implementation of the
World Solar Programme 1996-2005.

     The General Conference of UNESCO adopted at its twenty-ninth
session (November 1997) a resolution calling, inter alia, upon all
UNESCO member States to contribute to the success of the
implementation of the World Solar Programme 1996-2005.

     We believe that the time has now come for the United Nations
General Assembly to adopt a similar resolution in support of the World
Solar Programme 1996-2005 and propose that consideration of the new
agenda item and the related draft resolution take place in plenary
meetings of the fifty-third session.

     An explanatory memorandum is annexed to the present letter, in
accordance with rule 20 of the rules of procedure of the General
Assembly (see annex).


(Signed)  Mr. Qin HUASUN                   (Signed)  Dr. Makarim WIBISONO     
  Permanent Representative of the            Permanent Representative of the  
  People's Republic of China                 Republic of Indonesia            
  to the United Nations                      to the United Nations            

(Signed)  Dr. Dore GOLD                    (Signed)  Ms. M. Patricia DURRANT  
  Permanent Representative                   Permanent Representative         
  of Israel to the United Nations            of Jamaica to the United Nations 

(Signed)  Mr. HASMY Agam                   (Signed)  Mr. Joseph DIATTA        
  Permanent Representative                   Permanent Representative         
  of Malaysia to the United Nations          of Niger to the United Nations   

(Signed)  Mr. Ahmad KAMAL                  (Signed)  M. Ibra Deguene KA       
  Permanent Representative                   Permanent Representative         
  of Pakistan to the United Nations          of Senegal to the United Nations 

(Signed)  Mr. Khiphusizi J. JELE           (Signed)  M. Ali HACHANI           
  Permanent Representative                   Permanent Representative         
  of South Africa to the United Nations      of Tunisia to the United Nations 

(Signed) Mr. Machivenyika Tobias MAPURANGA(Signed)  Mr. Peter P. CHKHEIDZE   
  Permanent Representative                   Permanent Representative         
  of Zimbabwe to the United Nations          of Georgia to the United Nations 

(Signed)  Mr. Kamalesh SHARMA              (Signed)  Mr. Francesco Paolo FULCI
  Permanent Representative                   Permanent Representative         
  of India to the United Nations             of Italy to the United Nations   


                                     ANNEX

                            Explanatory memorandum


     Following the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, a high-level
expert meeting "The Sun in the Service of Mankind" was held in Paris,
at the initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in broad partnership with major
relevant institutions, among which were the European Commission and
the International Atomic Energy Agency.  This meeting recommended
that, in order to give a strong political impulse to the development
of renewable energies, a three-year campaign entitled "World Solar
Summit Process" should be undertaken, leading to the organization of a
World Solar Summit at the highest possible level.  A World Solar
Commission, chaired by His Excellency President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe and composed of 17 heads of State and Government was
established in 1994 to oversee and guide this preparatory process.

     The World Solar Summit was held in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 16 and
17 September 1996, with the following results:

     (a) Adoption of the Harare Declaration on Solar Energy and
Sustainable Development;

     (b) Approval of the outline of a 10-year programme for the
promotion of renewable energies;

     (c) Launching of the preparation of a World Solar Programme
1996-2005, to be completed within a nine-month period.

     The World Solar Programme 1996-2005 was approved by the World
Solar Commission at its second session held in New York on
23 June 1997, on the occasion of the nineteenth special session of the
General Assembly devoted to the overall review and appraisal of the
implementation of Agenda 21 five years after UNCED.

     During the preparatory process leading to the Summit, the
Director-General of UNESCO systematically reported to the Secretary-
General and to the Executive Heads of the United Nations specialized
agencies and programmes concerned on the progress made, calling upon
their partnership.  On 7 September 1995, in reply to a letter from the
Director-General of UNESCO, the Secretary-General noted the pursuit of
this UNESCO initiative as an integral part of the follow-up to
Agenda 21, which emphasized the crucial role of energy in economic and
social development, and welcomed the development and implementation of
the programme as a joint, system-wide effort.  The Secretary-General
ended his letter with the following words:  "By focusing on the
transfer and sharing of knowledge in the development of renewable
energy technologies, the World Solar Summit process can make a
distinct contribution to the work of the United Nations and the system
as a whole in support of sustainable development".  Following the
successful conclusion of the World Solar Summit, the Director-General
of UNESCO officially informed the Secretary-General and the executive
heads of the concerned agencies and programmes of the United Nations
system, of the results of the Summit.  In his reply of 21 November
1996, the Secretary-General stated that "The Harare Declaration on
Solar Energy and Sustainable Development, as well as the outline of
the World Solar Programme 1996-2005 approved by the Summit, represent
a high degree of political commitment, which is an essential
requirement to address the difficult issue of energy supplies in a
manner consistent with sustainable development".

     In October 1996, a representative of the Director-General of
UNESCO briefed delegations attending the fifty-first session of the
General Assembly on the results of the World Solar Summit and reported
officially thereon to the Second Committee of the General Assembly
during its examination of the item on sustainable development.  The
Harare Declaration on Solar Energy and Sustainable Development, the
outline of the World Solar Programme 1996-2005 and the text of the
World Solar Programme itself were distributed as information documents
during the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly.

     The World Solar Programme 1996-2005 (see A/C.2/51/5) was prepared,
taking as a basis the outline approved by the World Solar Summit and
the commitments made in the Harare Declaration on Solar Energy and
Sustainable Development.  It contains a series of recommendations for
actions to be taken at the national and international levels in order
to attain the objectives resulting from the above-mentioned
commitments.  The Programme also includes global, regional and
national renewable energy projects to be implemented as a joint effort
of the organizations and programmes concerned of the United Nations
system, other international organizations, both governmental and
non-governmental, academic and research institutions, financing
entities, industries and the private sector.  Implementation of a
number of the 300-odd high-priority national projects is already under
way; as of 30 April 1998, the projects being implemented with
international financial assistance amounted to a total of
$400 million.  In addition to that, a number of other national
projects are being implemented with national funding only, both public
and private.  This indicates clearly that the World Solar Programme
1996-2005 functions as it was conceived, namely, as an action-oriented
instrument at the service of the international community for the
promotion of renewable, environmentally friendly energies, in the
interests of industrialized and developing countries alike.  Following
the resolution adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO,
endorsement of the World Solar Programme 1996-2005 by the General
Assembly would constitute a major contribution to its successful
implementation and a recognition of the work of the World Solar
Commission for the promotion of renewable energies.


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