FOURTH COMMITTEE ELECTS THREE OFFICERS BY ACCLAMATION, DEFERS ELECTION OF THIRD VICE-CHAIRPERSON TO LATER DATE

29 September 2003
GA/SPD/258

FOURTH COMMITTEE ELECTS THREE OFFICERS BY ACCLAMATION, DEFERS ELECTION OF THIRD VICE-CHAIRPERSON TO LATER DATE

29/09/2003
Press ReleaseGA/SPD/258

Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Fourth Committee

1st Meeting (PM)

FOURTH COMMITTEE ELECTS THREE OFFICERS BY ACCLAMATION, DEFERS ELECTION

OF THIRD VICE-CHAIRPERSON TO LATER DATE

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) elected two Vice-Chairpersons and a Rapporteur this afternoon during its organizational meeting for the fifty-eighth General Assembly session.

Elected by acclamation were:  Jasna Ognjavovac (Croatia), from the Group of Eastern European States, and Ibrahim Assaf (Lebanon), from the Group of Asian States.  Damien Cole (Ireland), from the Group of Western European and Other States, was elected Rapporteur, also by acclamation.

The committee deferred the election of a third Vice-Chairperson to a later date.

At the outset of the meeting, Committee Chairman Enrique Loedel (Uruguay) paid tribute to his predecessor, Graham Maitland of South Africa, and members of the previous Bureau.

According to the work programme approved this afternoon (document A/C.4/58/L.1), the Committee will consider issues relating to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (item 19) from 6 to 10 October.

Those issues include information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the United Nations Charter (item 87); and economic and other activities that affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (item 88).  Others are implementation of the decolonization Declaration by United Nations specialized agencies and associated international institutions (item 89); the report of the Economic and Social Council (item 12); and offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories (item 90).

The Committee is also expected to consider the effects of atomic radiation (item 81) from 13 to 14 October, and the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects from 15 to 17 October.  From 20 to 23 October, the Committee is expected to take up the issue of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space (item 82) and, from 27 to 29 October, questions relating to information (item 86). 

From 30 October to 3 November, the Committee will consider the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) (item 83).  On 4 November, the Committee will begin its consideration of the Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (item 84).  The Committee expects to conclude its work for the current session on 7 November.

At the end of the meeting, delegates discussed the role of the Fourth Committee, stressing the importance of its work and calling for its strengthening.  The representative of Lebanon said that, within the framework of the discussion on the revitalization of the General Assembly, a number of recommendations had been made calling upon the Committee to reallocate its items to other committees.  While he supported the reallocation of some items, he did not agree that the Fourth Committee should be abolished.  The problem of agenda items was not just a Fourth Committee issue, but was a general problem of all the Assembly’s committees, he added.

Revitalization of the General Assembly did not mean abolishing committees, but rather giving them real life, the representative of South Africa said.  There were views and special issues that had no particular home apart from the General Assembly plenary.  Those issues required in-depth analysis by Member States, and the Fourth Committee could be the forum for that.

      Also participating in the discussion were the representatives of Zambia, Mexico and Cuba.

The Chairman suggested that the Committee convene in informal meetings to discuss the issue.

The Fourth Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 6 October, to begin its debate on the question of decolonization.

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For information media. Not an official record.