United Nations

A/RES/51/211


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

23 January 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 118


                  RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

               [on the report of the Fifth Committee (A/51/742)]


            51/211.  Pattern of conferences

                                       A

      The General Assembly,

      Having considered the report of the Committee on Conferences, 1/

      Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 40/243
of 18 December 1985, 43/222 B of 21 December 1988, 47/202 A to D of
22 December 1992, 48/222 A and B of 23 December 1993, 49/221 A to D of
23 December 1994 and 50/206 A to F of 23 December 1995,

      1.    Notes with appreciation the work of the Committee on
Conferences, and takes note of its report;

      2.    Approves the draft revised calendar of conferences and
meetings of the United Nations for 1997 as submitted 2/ and amended 3/
by the Committee on Conferences, subject to the provisions of the
present resolution;

      3.    Authorizes the Committee on Conferences to make adjustments
in the calendar of conferences and meetings for 1997 that may become
necessary as a result of actions and decisions taken by the General
Assembly at its fifty-first session;

      4.    Requests the Secretary-General to provide all the conference
services required as a result of decisions taken by the General
Assembly at its fifty-first session, taking into account, as
necessary, the procedures established in Assembly resolutions 41/213
of 19 December 1986 and 42/211 of 21 December 1987;

      5.    Also requests the Secretary-General to include in the list
of official holidays of the United Nations Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha;

      6.    Decides that no United Nations meetings shall be held on Id
al-Fitr and Id al-Adha, which occur in 1997 on 10 February and 17
April, respectively, and requests the Secretary-General to make the
necessary arrangements to ensure strict implementation of this
decision when preparing all future draft calendars of conferences and
meetings of the United Nations; 

      7.    Decides also that requests for waivers to the headquarters
rule contained in General Assembly resolution 40/243 shall be reviewed
by the Committee on Conferences prior to consideration by the
Assembly;

      8.    Invites all its subsidiary bodies that are authorized to
meet away from their established headquarters to review, in the
interest of improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the exception
to the headquarters rule in the light of the current situation of
their work and to make recommendations thereon, through the Committee
on Conferences, to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session;

      9.    Invites the Economic and Social Council to request all its
subsidiary bodies to carry out the review referred to in paragraph 8
above;

      10.   Requests the bodies that have not fully utilized their
meeting entitlements, including the duration of their sessions, to
review their entitlements and to report the results of their review to
the General Assembly through the Committee on Conferences;

      11.   Expresses concern that the overall and average factors for
the utilization of conference services have fallen further and were
below the established benchmark figure of 80 per cent in 1995;

      12.   Reiterates its request to the Committee on Conferences, in
consultation with the organs concerned, to examine the cases where the
utilization factor is lower than the established benchmark figure for
at least three sessions, with a view to reporting on problems and
factors that have given rise to such a situation, and to make
appropriate recommendations in order to achieve the optimum
utilization of conference-servicing resources;

      13.   Expresses concern about the underutilization of conference
facilities at duty stations outside Headquarters, and emphasizes the
need to make the most effective use possible of such facilities;

      14.   Endorses the initiatives taken by the Chairman of the
Committee on Conferences with a view to assisting bodies to achieve
the optimum utilization of conference-servicing resources and, to that
effect, to assess realistically their need for such resources;

      15.   Requests the Secretary-General to ensure closer cooperation
between Headquarters, the United Nations Office at Geneva, the United
Nations Office at Vienna and the United Nations Office at Nairobi in
order to improve the coordination of conference services;

      16.   Requests the Secretariat to engage on a regular basis in an
active dialogue with Member States as a permanent feature at
Headquarters, as well as at the United Nations Office at Geneva, the
United Nations Office at Vienna and the United Nations Office at
Nairobi, in order to improve the coordination of conference services;

      17.   Expresses concern that 35 per cent of requests were denied
for interpretation services for meetings of regional and other major
groupings of Member States, in view of the importance of these
meetings for the smooth functioning of sessional bodies, while
recognizing that meetings of Charter and mandated bodies must be
serviced as a priority;

      18.   Urges intergovernmental bodies to spare no effort at the
planning stage to take into account meetings of regional and other
major groupings of Member States, to make provision for such meetings
in their programme of work and to notify Conference Services well in
advance of any cancellations so that unutilized conference-servicing
resources may, to the extent possible, be reassigned to meetings of
regional and other major groupings of States;

      19.   Reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to provide,
within the resources requested for conference services for the
biennium 1998-1999, interpretation services for meetings of regional
and other major groupings of Member States upon request by those
groupings, taking into account the priority due to meetings included
in the calendar of conferences and meetings, and to submit a report on
the implementation of this decision to the General Assembly at its
fifty-second session through the Committee on Conferences;

      20.   Reaffirms that, in the use of conference rooms, priority
should be given to meetings of Member States;

      21.   Decides that bodies which accept invitations to convene
conferences and meetings in host countries should be kept informed, as
appropriate, of the progress made in negotiating the host country
agreement in the course of preparations for such a conference or
meeting, with a view to encouraging the timely conclusion of such an
agreement before the conference or meeting takes place.


                                                          89th plenary meeting
                                                              18 December 1996


                                       B

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolutions on the control and limitation of
documentation, including resolutions 47/202 B of 22 December 1992,
48/222 B of 23 December 1993, 49/221 B of 23 December 1994 and 50/206
B and C of 23 December 1995,

      1.    Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General; 4/
 
      2.    Requests the Secretary-General to continue to invite Member
States to review their document requirements in order to identify and,
where possible, reduce the number and types of documents requested;

      3.    Also requests the Secretary-General to review the internal
requirements of the Secretariat in order to avoid a surplus of
documents provided in the Secretariat;

      4.    Notes that only two intergovernmental bodies have taken
positive action in response to paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 of resolution
50/206 C;

      5.    Reiterates its recommendations on the control and limitation
of documentation made to intergovernmental bodies in its resolution
50/206 C, and requests these bodies to report to it, through the
Committee on Conferences, on measures taken to implement that
resolution;

      6.    Requests the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
to continue to keep it informed, through the Committee on Conferences,
of its experience with the use of unedited transcripts;

      7.    Takes note of the decision of the Committee on Conferences
contained in paragraph 89 of its report, 5/ and requests the Committee
to report on the implementation of that decision to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session;

      8.    Stresses once again the need for strict compliance with the
existing limits of twenty-four pages for documents originating in the
Secretariat and thirty-two pages for reports of subsidiary bodies;

      9.    Requests the Secretary-General to submit every two years,
through the Committee on Conferences, updated information on the
number and length of documents; 

      10.   Also requests the Secretary-General, to the extent possible,
to inform bodies, at the time they request reports, whether the
documents can be produced within established page limits;

      11.   Further requests the Secretary-General to pursue his efforts
to improve the quality in the substance and presentation of
documentation, applying new publishing techniques to enhance
readability and reduce consumption of paper;

      12.   Reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to ensure
that documentation is available in accordance with the six-week rule
for the distribution of documents, simultaneously in each of the six
official languages of the United Nations;

      13.   Reaffirms its decision that, should a report be issued late,
the reasons for the delay should be indicated when the report is
introduced;

      14.   Reiterates its request to the Joint Inspection Unit to
conduct a comprehensive survey of the role publications play in
implementing mandates of intergovernmental bodies and the extent to
which recurrent publications could be made more cost-effective in this
regard, and to submit a report on this matter no later than the end of
the fifty-first session.


                                                          89th plenary meeting
                                                              18 December 1996


                                       C

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolution 50/206 D of 23 December 1995,

      Stressing the need to provide Member States and United Nations
bodies with more comprehensive and accurate information on the costs
of meetings and documentation,

      Noting that the introduction of new technologies enhances the
quality, cost-effectiveness and efficiency of conference services,

      Stressing the importance of equal access to, and benefit from,
the optical disk system and other new technologies in all six official
languages by all Member States and the need to overcome the
difficulties faced by some Member States, in particular developing
countries, in acquiring the technology to access the optical disk
system, as well as other available technologies,

      Welcoming the actions taken by the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working
Group on Informatics of the Economic and Social Council to expand and
improve connectivity between United Nations databases and those of
Member States, including through their permanent missions, and the
training programmes initiated to that end,

      Appreciating the relevance of these actions as part of the effort
to increase efficiency and to decrease costs,

      1.    Strongly urges the Secretary-General, as a matter of
priority, having recourse to voluntary and internal expertise within
the United Nations system, to develop the cost-accounting system for
conference services no later than the next substantive session of the
Committee on Conferences;

      2.    Requests the Secretary-General to report, through the
Committee on Conferences, to each subsidiary organ of the General
Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on the cost of conference
services it utilized in the year concluded in order to enable those
organs to plan more effectively;

      3.    Decides that, in the absence of a General Assembly decision
to the contrary, the use of such technologies as the optical disk
system and the Internet shall not constitute an alternative to
traditional documents;

      4.    Strongly urges the Secretary-General, as a matter of
priority, to provide proposals to the Fifth Committee at the first
part of the resumed fifty-first session, in accordance with paragraph
3 of General Assembly resolution 50/206 D, on facilitating access by
developing countries to the optical disk system in all six official
languages, taking into account the possible savings from reduced
reproduction and distribution costs;

      5.    Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the texts of
all new public documents, in all six official languages, and
information materials of the United Nations are made available through
the United Nations Web site daily and are accessible to Member States
without delay;

      6.    Also requests the Secretary-General to complete the task of
uploading all important older United Nations documents on the United
Nations Web site on a priority basis, so that these archives are also
available to Member States through that medium.

                                                          89th plenary meeting
                                                              18 December 1996


                                       D

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolutions 49/221 C of 23 December 1994 and 50/206
E of 23 December 1995,

      1.    Notes the efforts made by the translation services to
improve the quality of translation of documents in all six official
languages of the United Nations, and encourages those services to
continue to spare no effort to that end and to continue to report to
the Committee on Conferences on additional efforts made in this
regard;

      2.    Requests the Secretary-General to pay due attention to the
rules of management in translation-related matters. 


                                                          89th plenary meeting
                                                              18 December 1996


                                       E

      The General Assembly,

      Reaffirming its resolutions 49/221 D of 23 December 1994 and
50/206 F of 23 December 1995,

      Expresses its appreciation once again to the Secretary-General
and the Secretariat for the proper and timely implementation of
resolutions 49/221 D and 50/206 F.


                                                          89th plenary meeting
                                                              18 December 1996


                                     Notes

1/    Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 32 and corrigendum and addendum (A/51/32 and Corr.1 and
Add.1).

2/    Ibid., Supplement No. 32 and corrigendum (A/51/32 and Corr.1), annex.

3/    Ibid., Supplement No. 32, addendum (A/51/32/Add.1).

4/    A/51/268.

5/    Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 32 and corrigendum (A/51/32 and Corr.1).

 

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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:55:20
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