ASSEMBLY ACTS ON REPORTS ON CREDENTIALS, COOPERATION WITH REGIONAL GROUPS, NEW MEMBERS OF UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL, COMMITTEE ON CONFERENCES
ASSEMBLY ACTS ON REPORTS ON CREDENTIALS, COOPERATION WITH REGIONAL GROUPS, NEW MEMBERS OF UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL, COMMITTEE ON CONFERENCES
ASSEMBLY ACTS ON REPORTS ON CREDENTIALS, COOPERATION WITH REGIONAL GROUPS, NEW MEMBERS OF UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL, COMMITTEE ON CONFERENCES19991025
The General Assembly this morning requested the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to continue to cooperate in their common search for solutions to global problems, such as international peace and security, disarmament, self-determination, decolonization, fundamental human rights, socioeconomic development and technical cooperation.
As the Assembly met to consider the cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC it took that action by adopting without a vote a draft introduced by the representative of Burkina Faso. That text also urged the United Nations system and its lead agencies to provide increased technical and other forms of assistance to the OIC and its subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions in order to serve the mutual interests of the two organizations in the political, socioeconomic and cultural fields.
Also, by the terms of the text, the Assembly recommended that, in order to enhance cooperation and for the purpose of review and appraisal of progress, a general meeting of representatives of the secretariats of the United Nations and the OIC should be held in 2000. The Assembly further recommended that coordination meetings of focal points of the United Nations system and OIC subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions should be held concurrently with the general meeting in 2000.
Also this morning the Assembly urged the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean to continue deepening its coordination and mutual support activities with the Latin American Economic System (SELA). Again acting without a vote, it took that action as it adopted a draft, introduced by the representative of Peru, on cooperation between the United Nations and SELA. By that text it further urged the United Nations Development Programme to renew its financial and technical cooperation with SELAs programmes and urged that the specialized agencies and other organizations, funds and programmes of the Organization continue to intensify their support and cooperation in its activities.General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9641 38th Meeting (AM) 25 October 1999
Also this morning, the Assembly, once more acting without vote, elected the following 29 States as members of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme for a four-year term beginning 1 January 2000: Bahamas, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, India, Iran, Italy, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Suriname, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda and the United Kingdom. Those countries, representing the African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, Western European and other States, will replace those members whose terms of office expire on 31 December 1999.
The Assembly was also informed that after 1 January 2000, the following States would still be members of the Governing Council: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, China, the Comoros, Cuba, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazkhstan, Malawi, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, United States, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
In other action this morning the Assembly approved the report of the Credentials Committee. It took that action by adopting without a vote, a resolution contained in the report.
Also this morning the Assembly took note of the appointment of Chile, Equatorial Guinea, France, Japan, Namibia, Philippines and the Russian Federation as members of the Committee on Conferences effective 1 January 2000.
In further action this morning, the Assembly took note of the notification provided by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the United Nations Charter on matters relating to international peace and security being dealt with by the Security Council and those issues with which it had ceased to deal.
A statement on the report of the Credentials Committee was made by the representative of Iran. The representatives of Bangladesh, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Senegal, Norway (on behalf of the European Union), Tunisia, Egypt and the Permanent Observer of the OIC spoke on the cooperation with the OIC. Statements on the cooperation with SELA were made by Suriname, Venezuela and Finland (on behalf of the European Union).
The Assembly will meet again tomorrow at 10 a.m. to begin its consideration of: the report of the International Court of Justice; cooperation between the United nations and the League of Arab States; and observer status for the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries in the Assembly.Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to begin its consideration of: the report of the Credentials Committee; Notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter; Appointment of members of the Committee on Conferences (document A/54/107); Cooperation between the United nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference(OIC) (document A/54/308); Cooperation between the United Nations and the Latin American Economic System (SELA); and election of 29 members of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The report of the Credentials Committee
The Assembly had before it the first report of the Credentials Committee (document A/53/475). During its meeting on 15 October, the Committee had before it the Secretary-General's memorandum stating that, as of 14 October, credentials had been submitted by 133 States. The Secretary-General would report to the Committee at a later date regarding the credentials of representatives participating in the fifty-fourth session whose formal credentials had not been received at the time of the Committee's first meeting.
Two sets of credentials for two different delegations to represent Afghanistan at the current session had been received, the Secretary-General reported. The Committee decided to defer a decision on that matter on the same basis as that of the decision taken at the fifty-third session(paragraph 9).
The Committee also approved a draft resolution by the terms of which it accepted, subject to the decision contained in paragraph 9 of its report, the credentials of the representatives of the Member States concerned.
By the terms of the draft resolution, recommended by the Committee, on the credentials of representatives to the fifty-fourth session, the Assembly would, having considered the Committee's report and the recommendations contained therein, approve the report of the Credentials Committee. The members of the Committee for the fifty-forth session are: Austria, Bolivia, China, Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.
Notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter
Regarding matters relating to international peace and security being dealt with by the Security Council, the Assembly had before it a note by the Secretary- General (document A/54/398) presented in accordance with provisions under Article 12 of the Charter. The note also lists matters that, as of 1 January, have not been considered during the preceding five-year period (1994-1998).
Appointment of members of the Committee on Conferences
According to a note by the Secretary-General, the Committee on Conferences should be composed of 21 members to be appointed by the Assembly President, after consultations with the Chairmen of regional groups, for a period of three years, on the basis of the following geographical distribution of members: six from African States; five from Asian States; four from Latin American and Caribbean States; two from Eastern European States; and four from Western European and other States. The Assembly decided that one third of the Committee's membership should retire annually and that retiring members would be eligible for re-appointment.
Following January 1, 2000, the following States will still be members of the Committee: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Benin, Georgia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Nepal and the United States
Since the terms of Office of Chile, Fiji, France, Gabon, Japan, Namibia and the Russian Federation will expire on 31 December 1999, it will be necessary for the President of the Assembly to appoint seven members to fill the resulting vacancies. The members appointed will serve for a period of three years, beginning on 1 January 2000.
Cooperation with the OIC
The report of the Secretary-General (document A/54/308) states that during the period under review, the United Nations and the OIC continued their consultations on political matters, especially those concerning ongoing peacemaking efforts, which have become new and very important dimensions in the cooperation between the two organizations. Both Secretaries-General had a number of bilateral meetings during the period. Among other things they discussed the situations in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Kosovo. Both organizations continue to hold regular consultations, in particular at the level of the Department of Political Affairs and the Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the United Nations, on the conflict situations in Afghanistan, Somalia and Tajikistan.
With regard to the Afghan conflict, both the United Nations and the OIC remained in very close contact and exchanged views on issues such as joint initiatives and missions and the peacemaking efforts by the Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi. Regarding Tajikistan, the OIC had remained a member of the Contact Group established as part of the implementation phase of the Tajik peace process. The report also details follow-up actions on the recommendation of meetings between the United Nations system and the OIC, including cooperation in the field of socioeconomic development.
Draft resolution on cooperation with the OIC
By the terms of a text (document A/54/L.12)) sponsored by Burkina Faso, the Assembly would request the United Nations and the OIC to continued to cooperate in their common search for solutions to global problems, such as questions relating to international peace and security, disarmament, self-determination, decolonization, fundamental human rights, socioeconomic development and technical cooperation. It would recommend that, in order to enhance cooperation and for the purpose of review and appraisal of progress, a general meeting of representatives of the Secretariats of the United Nations system and the OIC should be held in 2000. The Assembly would also recommend that, coordination meetings of focal points of the United nations system and the OIC subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions should be held concurrently with the general meeting in 2000. The Assembly would urge the United Nations system and especially its lead agencies to provide increased technical and other forms of assistance to the OIC and its subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions to serve the mutual interests of the two organizations in the political, socioeconomic and cultural fields.
Cooperation with the Latin American Economic System (SELA)
The report of the Secretary-General (document A/53/420) is based on information received from a number of organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The report states that since the establishment of the Latin American Economic System (SELA), considerable cooperation had taken place between United Nations organizations, agencies and programmes, particularly the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and SELA.
It further outlines examples of the kinds of cooperation that had taken place between those bodies and SELA. Some of those are the provision by ECLAC of technical assistance in reconstructing the permanent secretariat of SELA in formation systems following a fire at its premises in 1998. The UNDP had helped finance that venture. Also, it indicates that the FAO had maintained close cooperation through reciprocal attendance at meetings, exchange of information, experience and implementation of joint activities. The IMF had continued its cooperation in areas of common interest in the field of its competence and jurisdiction. The report also noted that UNESCOs contribution had been given particularly in programmes relating to integrated economic and social policies, growth and employment, globalization and cultural undertakings, among others.
Draft resolution on cooperation with SELA
By the terms of the text (document A/54/L.13) the Assembly would urge ECLAC to continue deepening its coordination and mutual support activities with SELA. It would further urge that the UNDP renew its financial and technical cooperation with SELAs programmes and that the specialized agencies and other organizations, funds and programmes of the Organization continue to intensify their support for and cooperation in its activities.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Report of the Credentials Committee
Explanation of vote
ALI MAHMOUDI (Iran) speaking in explanation of vote said he wanted to express his reservation on the part of the report relating to the credentials of Israel.
Action on report
The Assembly, acting without a vote then approved the report of the Committee. It took that action by adopting a resolution contained in the document.
Notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter
The Assembly took note of the notification by the Secretary-General.
Election of the 29 members of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The Assembly then proceeded to the election of the 29 members of the Governing Council of UNEP, to replace those members whose terms of office would expire on 31 December 1999.
The 29 outgoing members were: Algeria, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Iran, Kenya, Italy, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Samoa, Slovakia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and United Kingdom. Those States were eligible for immediate re-election.
The Assembly was also informed that after 1 January 2000, the following States would still be members of the Governing Council: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, China, the Comoros, Cuba, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, United States, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Those 29 States were therefore not eligible in the current election.
The Vice-President of the Assembly, Thorsteinn Ingolfsson (Iceland), said that in accordance with rule 92 of the Assembly's rules of procedure, "all elections shall be held by secret ballot" and "there shall be no nominations". However, he recalled paragraph 16 of Assembly decision 34/401, which dispensed with the secret ballot for elections when the number of candidates corresponded to the number of seats to be filled, unless a delegation specifically requested a voted on the given election. The Assembly then decided to proceed to the election on that basis.
The endorsed candidates for the eight seats from the African States were Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Libya, Senegal and Uganda. The endorsed candidates for the seven seats from the Asian States were India, Iran, Marshall Islands, Pakistan, Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. The endorsed candidates for the three seats from the Eastern European States were Poland, the Republic of Moldova and Slovakia. The endorsed candidates for the five Latin American and Caribbean States were Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Suriname. For the six seats from the Western European and other States, the six candidates were Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, new Zealand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The Assembly, acting without a vote, then elected those countries as members of the Governing Council of UNEP for a four-year term beginning 1 January 2000.
Appointment of the members of the Committee on Conferences
The Vice-President then informed the Assembly that after consultations with the Chairmen of groups of African, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean and well as Western European and other States, Chile, Equatorial Guinea, France, Japan, Namibia, Philippines and the Russian Federation had been appointed as members of the Committee on conferences effective 1 January 2000. The Assembly took note of those appointments.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (A/54/L.12). He said that by its preamble, the General Assembly would recall the links between the United Nations and the OIC in achieving shared objectives, such as the quest for peace and for a better world, the promotion of development, and the call for a true collective security.
The draft would have the General Assembly recall that the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference should encourage summit meetings to strengthen their relationship. Also, he said, the Assembly would recommend taking into account all kinds of support that the United Nations could provide to help that organization. The OIC had proved that it was mature and credible and had demonstrated that it was an instrument for peace. Therefore, the United Nations should use that tool to achieve peace and security.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said his delegation believed that increasing cooperation between the United Nations and the Islamic Conference contributed to promoting the purposes and principles of the Organization. However, while they welcomed strengthening that cooperation, it must be pointed out that harnessing the actual mechanism for that cooperation had not been successful as yet.
From the Secretary-Generals report, it had been noted that the Organization and concerned OIC institutions had worked closely during the past year in different fields through the exchange of information and other activities, he added. In recent years, the international community had prioritized cooperation in peacebuilding, peacekeeping, preventive deployment and preventive diplomacy and the OIC had been active contributors to those programmes. Bangladesh was pleased to note the increased cooperation between the OIC and the United Nations in those areas. He stated that Bangladesh was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution on that subject and urged Member States to adopt the draft resolution unanimously as a mark of solidarity with the Islamic world.
VOLKAN VURAL (Turkey) stated that Turkey believed the OIC had the potential to play a more influential role in global issues. Interaction between the United Nations and that organization could address issues ranging from peacemaking to cultural development, environmental protection, terrorism and illicit drug trafficking. The OIC had also inherited an historical and political experience that enabled it to be an important instrument of peace and stability in the world. His delegation called for the continuation of the deepening of relations between the OIC and the United Nations, he added.
The prospects of cooperation between the two organizations were encouraging, he said, particularly with regard to the ongoing consultations on Afghanistan. Priority issues on the agenda of the OIC, such as the Middle East, Palestine, Tajikistan, Cyprus, Somalia, Jammu and Kashmir, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nagorno Karabk and Kosovo, among others coincided with those of the United Nations. The intensification of institutional cooperation would complement political coordination and prove mutually beneficial. Also, as recommended in the report, a general meeting, as well as the holding of other coordination sessions, between representatives of both organizations to be organized in 2000 would help consolidate efforts at cooperation.
INAM UL HAQUE (Pakistan) said that the report of the Secretary-General summarized progress achieved during the past year by the United Nations system and the OIC in promoting shared goals such as international peace, security and development. Those organizations had maintained consultations on many current political issues and their determination to promote negotiations to resolve existing conflicts had received wide international support. However, it would be useful to expand their cooperation and to include situations in which no progress had been registered, as in the case of Jammu and Kashmir.
He welcomed the fact that the United Nations and the OIC were increasing cooperation in economic and social issues. However, the two organizations should examine ways of further expanding and diversifying that cooperation by identifying new areas.
He said that the Permanent Observer Mission of the Islamic Conference, which had been functioning in New York for more than two decades, continued to be denied the privileges and immunities which were essential for its effective functioning. The Government of Switzerland had extended the necessary privilege to the Observer Mission in Geneva, and similar facilities should be extended to the OIC in New York.
HADI NEJAD-HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the continued cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC demonstrated that regional organizations and the world organization could work together to promote peace and security across the globe. Their shared concerns on those matters had resulted in joint efforts to resolve the continued crisis in Afghanistan and end the agony and suffering of the Afghan people. The OIC had also been involved in finding a solution to the Kosovo crisis and participated in the Group of Friends of the United Nations Secretary-General for Kosovo.
The OIC is composed of more than 50 member states representing one fifth of the world population and reflecting a rich diversity of cultures and political systems. It was therefore in a position to contribute considerably to the promotion and enrichment of dialogue among civilisations. It had already played an active role in promoting that idea by organizing an Islamic Symposium on Dialogue among Civilizations in Tehran in May 1999. Similarly, in a joint effort with the Commissioner for Human Rights, the OIC had organized a seminar entitled Enriching the Universality of Human Rights: an Islamic Perspective on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Geneva in November 1998.
He noted that the cooperation between the two organizations should not be limited, as there were many areas of common interest which needed to be developed. The new situation at the international level required closer cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations, and the OIC was ready to engage in more meaningful and direct activities.
FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said efforts of the United Nations, and the OIC had focused on issues that had led to positive results, particularly with regard to peacemaking and resolving conflicts. Out of a deep commitment to the United Nations and the OIC, Saudi Arabia had always contributed financial and other resources toward the success of the OIC. It could be considered a moderate body in the carrying out of its mandate and it focused on the tenets of the Islamic religion.
Since its inception, the organization had contained many political conflicts, he noted. Also, in the economic and social fields, it had been maintaining contact with larger Powers in multilateral efforts. In the cultural and social areas, it had served as an enabler to its people. The OIC was keen on linking its religion to its peoples way of life, but those efforts had been regarded as terrorism. He said that at the moment, the organization did not enjoy the privileges that had been agreed on by the United Nations. His delegation hoped that situation would change soon. In addition, Saudi Arabia wished to express support for the resolution and hoped it could be adopted by consensus.
JASMI MD YUSOFF (Malaysia) noted that both the United Nations and the OIC had shown a strong commitment to finding appropriate solutions to political and economic issues of common interest and concern. Cooperation between the two organizations had also proven to be indispensable to international relations. The Muslim countries must launch a concerted effort to play an active role in international affairs and the global economy. There must be a mental revolution in their thinking to avoid being shut out from the pace of globalization. Cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC was essential to ensure that the Muslim community had an equitable share of the world economy and development.
Malaysia welcomed the various joint initiatives and missions undertaken in Afghanistan, he stated. The OIC continued to play a role in the Tajikistan peace process, he added. Joint efforts had also led to the suspension of sanctions in Libya, and his delegation regretted that the final lifting of those sanctions had not been the result, and hoped that would be possible in the near future. Malaysia concurred with the views of the OIC with regard to an expeditious resolution of the current crisis between Iraq and the Organization so that the plight of the long- suffering Iraqi people could end.
However, the majority of countries of the OIC had not benefited fully from the fruits of cooperation between the two organizations - many of them still remained poor and underdeveloped, he pointed out. New strategies of cooperation should be geared towards encouraging enhanced trade and investment flows between the countries of the OIC, as well as toward early reform of the international financial structure.
IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) welcomed the fact that the question of Palestine, [origin of the OIC] occupied a special place in the consultations between the United Nations and that organization. That cooperation should also be extended to other countries whose situations were threats to peace and security. In that context, the OIC members had provided humanitarian assistance on many occasions.
He said that the cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC should embrace vast areas, such as economic and social development, environment and the problem of refugees.
He also stressed the importance of the dialogue between civilizations and, in that regard, he said that following a decision of the General Assembly at its last session, the year 2001 would be the United Nations year for dialogue between civilizations. Therefore, Senegal hoped to work together with the Organization to give that great inititiative its full significance.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said regional organizations constituted important tools for promoting the principles of the United Nations and the OIC was a vital partner because of its broad regional influence, which went far beyond the Islamic world. He noted the positive developments in the Maghreb as a result of cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC, and requested that the two organizations renew their efforts to find a negotiated solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The joint missions to Afghanistan undertaken by the United Nations and the OIC were commendable initiatives, as was their coordinated peacemaking efforts in the conflict in Tajikistan. He encouraged cooperation between the two bodies in countries, such as Somalia and the Balkans.
Turning to social issues, he stressed the importance of freedom of religion and belief, and highlighted the role that religious communities could play in seeking solutions to conflicts. He also drew attention to womens rights and the right to education, noting with satisfaction that the education of girls and women was now included in the cooperation programmes between a large number of United Nations and OIC institutions and agencies.
MOKHTAR CHAOUACHI (Tunisia) said cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC included consultations on all international issues, particularly those of concern to the Islamic world. That was very important as it was a clear indication that the objectives of the Charter were being carried out in all fields. As could be seen from the Secretary-Generals report, cooperation had been carried out in political, social, and other spheres. Recently, those efforts had extended to peacekeeping operations, particularly in Afghanistan, to trade and agriculture, and to the development of training, among others. Tunisia wished to support the draft resolution, he concluded.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) welcomed the consultations between the United Nations and the OIC on political questions. The questions of Palestine, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan were related to peace and security and efforts should be made to find fair solutions in those countries. The cooperation between the United Nations and OIC was giving growing importance to prevention of conflicts and to economic and social development. However, that cooperation should be expanded to other areas, including the transfer of technical assistance to the Islamic world.
The United Nations and OIC should also strenghten cooperation in the cultural field. He welcomed the collaboration between United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and OIC on the subjects of education, science and culture. He suggested that cooperation in that area should be carried out through international seminars.
MOKHTAR LAMANI (Permanent Observer of the Organization of Islamic Conference) said the United Nations and the OIC shared a commitment to intensify cooperation and coordination and seek solutions to issues of common concern, such as peace, security, disarmament, self-determination, basic human rights, economic and social development and technical cooperation.
He looked forward to the general meeting between representatives of the secretariats of the United Nations and the OIC scheduled for the year 2000 in Geneva, where cooperation and joint activities, as well as future plans to enhance and strengthen the link between the two organizations would be reviewed. He reaffirmed the OICs concern and interest in United Nations reform and expansion of the Security Council.
Turning from political issues to matters of economic and social development, he informed the General Assembly that a memorandum of understanding between the OIC and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was signed in 1998 to enhance cooperation in such areas as family and social education and reproductive health; and that another memorandum of understanding between the OIC and World Food Programme would be signed this month (October). The OIC was also negotiating with the United Nations to find ways to protect children in armed conflict.
Action on Draft Resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC.
The assembly then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.
Consideration of Draft Resolution on the Cooperation between the United Nations and the Latin American Economic System (SELA) (A/54/L.13).
MANUEL PICASSO (Peru), introducing the draft resolution, said the consideration of that item by the Assembly had made it possible for the Latin American and Caribbean region, through SELA, to promote economic and social improvement. The various actors had been able gradually to gain unhindered control of their development programmes. The exchange of experiences had run smoothly, he noted, because of the participation of the United Nations. The SELA had developed technical cooperation in terms of small and medium-sized businesses. Peru hoped that the draft resolution would receive support so the development objectives of the region could be enhanced.
MICHEL ORLANDO KERPENS (Suriname) welcomed the cooperation between United Nations agencies and SELA. The consequences of globalization, in particular in the economic and financial area, could marginalize countries which were not able to adapt to those changes. SELA could help those countries to achieve integration at a global level in a less costly and less painful manner. It could also recommend policies between regions.
SELA would concentrate mainly on external, intra-regional and regional cooperation to better fulfil its mandate and he called upon the donor countries to continue financial contributions to that body. To face the challenges of the new millennium, it was important to develop a relationship between SELA and all the other states, and to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations.
CARLOS BIVERO (Venezuela) welcomed United Nations efforts to strengthen SELA and the increasing cooperation between the two organizations. He also stressed the important role played by UNESCO, in particular in the field of communication, and the International Labour Organization in their cooperation with SELA.
In addition, he called upon the United Nations to continue its financial and technical support to SELA.
The President announced that the following countries had become co-sponsors of the text: Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Action on draft resolution (A/54/L.13)
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution without a vote. SANI SILVENNOINEN (Finland), on behalf of the European Union, said that by operative paragraphs 3 and 4, the resolution urged UNDP, the specialized agencies and other entities of the United Nations system to renew their contributions and intensify their support and cooperation with SELA. The Union understood that decisions and agreements on such activities should be done by the executive board of UNDP and in the governing bodies of the respective specialized agencies, other organizations, funds and programmes, in accordance with their respective agreed priorities and budget. The Union supported the request in operative paragraph 5 that a review should be done at an appropriate time to assess the implementation of the agreement between the United Nations and SELA, and also to evaluate expediency.
He said the Union wished to place on record, its concern, that for the second successive time, Member States had not been given sufficient opportunity to informally consult one another on the resolution and requested that, in the interests of transparency and the smooth running of the Assembly, Member States be given such an opportunity in the future through the early distribution of drafts in advance of their consideration at the plenary.
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