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Sixty-fourth session

Observer status in the General Assembly for the Council of Presidents of the General Assembly
(agenda item 171)

Summary of work

Background

The item was included in the agenda at the request of Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

Consideration at the sixty-fourth session

At the 26th meeting, on 9 December, the representative of Saint Lucia, on behalf of Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Observer status in the General Assembly for the Council of Presidents of the General Assembly” (A/C.6/64/L.20).

Statements were made by the representatives of Iran (Islamic Republic of), Republic of Korea, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, China, Greece, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, India, South Africa, Argentina, Panama, Ukraine, Ghana and Saint Lucia. The Chairman of the Committee also spoke.

Some delegations expressed their support for the granting of observer status in the General Assembly to the Council of Presidents of the General Assembly.

Some other delegations did not view the Council of Presidents as an intergovernmental organization and considered, in this connection, that it could not meet the criteria for the granting of observer status in the General Assembly established in the Assembly decision 49/426 of 9 December 1994. The view was expressed that there was no urgency in considering this request at the current session of the Assembly and that  this issue required further consideration by the Committee at the next session of the Assembly for finding a proper solution.

It was suggested that, taking into account the nature of the Council of Presidents, other ways to utilize its expertise and institutional memory should be explored.  The need to address various technical legal issues relating to the request was also highlighted and a suggestion was made to study a possibility of granting of an ad hoc observer status to the Council of Presidents.

A suggestion was also made to reconsider decision 49/426 and the process of granting of observer status in the General Assembly to various organizations and institutions.

It was emphasized that the Sixth Committee should improve its working methods and strictly follow the criteria for the granting of observer status in the General Assembly established in the Assembly decision 49/426 of 9 December 1994 and relevant provisions of the Assembly resolution 54/195 of 17 December 1999. It was pointed out that, in the future, the Committee should be able to conduct a legal analysis of the requests for observer status, based on the adequate information regarding relevant organizations, so as to avoid granting observer status to entities of a non-governmental nature. The need to conduct consultations in order to find a proper solution to this issue in accordance with decision 49/426 was stressed.

At the 27th meeting, on 14 December, the representative of Saudi Arabia, on behalf of Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine, withdrew the draft resolution. The Chair of the Committee read out the text of the letter to be sent, with the consent of the Committee,  by him to the President of the General Assembly informing the President that the sponsors of the draft resolution withdrew the draft resolution and that, during the debate, several delegations expressed appreciation of the important contribution of the former Presidents of the General Assembly to the work of the Organization and suggested that appropriate ways of making the unique expertise and institutional memory of the former Presidents of the General Assembly be identified, during the 64th session, in order to assist the Organization in meeting new challenges facing the international community. At the same meeting, the Sixth Committee concluded its consideration of the item without taking action.