FOURTH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS ADOPTION BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF EIGHT RESOLUTIONS, TWO DECISIONS ON DECOLONIZATION; ‘OMNIBUS’, WESTERN SAHARA DRAFTS PENDING

13 October 2008
GA/SPD/401

FOURTH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS ADOPTION BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF EIGHT RESOLUTIONS, TWO DECISIONS ON DECOLONIZATION; ‘OMNIBUS’, WESTERN SAHARA DRAFTS PENDING

13 October 2008
General Assembly
GA/SPD/401
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly

Fourth Committee

7th Meeting (AM)

FOURTH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS ADOPTION BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF EIGHT RESOLUTIONS,

TWO DECISIONS ON DECOLONIZATION; ‘OMNIBUS’, WESTERN SAHARA DRAFTS PENDING

As Committee Takes Up Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Panellist Says Space

Data Identifies Man-Made Activities Affecting Climate, Ways to Mitigate Effects

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) would have the General Assembly affirm its support for the aspirations of peoples under colonial rule to exercise their right to self-determination, while also reaffirming that the existence of colonialism in any form, including economic exploitation, was incompatible with the United Nations Charter, by one of eight draft resolutions approved today.

Approving five resolutions by recorded vote, the Committee also recommended adoption by the General Assembly of three resolutions and two decisions by consensus.  In addition, it began its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space with a panel discussion on “Space Applications and Food Security”.

By a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (Belgium, France), the Committee approved the draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, as it capped its five-day consideration of decolonization issues.  (For details of the vote, see Annex V).

By the text’s further provisions, the Assembly would ask the Special Committee on Decolonization to finalize, before the end of the Second International Decade to Eradicate Colonialism (2001-2010), a constructive programme of work to implement the decolonization mandate on a case-by-case basis for the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories.  Towards that goal, it would call on the administering Powers to cooperate fully with the Special Committee.

By another draft resolution, approved by a vote of 105 in favour to none against with 54 abstentions, the Assembly would reaffirm that the recognition by the General Assembly, Security Council and other United Nations organs of the right of the peoples of the Territories to exercise self-determination entailed, as a corollary, the extension of all appropriate assistance to those peoples.

That text would have the Assembly request the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to take measures to accelerate progress in the Territories’ economic and social sectors.  (See Annex III).

The three other draft texts approved by recorded votes concerned information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of Charter of the United Nations; economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories; and dissemination of information on decolonization.

Draft resolutions relating to two of the 16 remaining Territories were approved by consensus, namely on New Caledonia and Tokelau.  A draft decision on the question of Gibraltar was also approved without a vote.  Action was postponed on the omnibus resolution on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. (Action was also pending on the draft resolution on Western Sahara).

According to the second of the two draft decisions approved by the Committee, the Assembly would increase the membership of the Special Committee from 27 to 28, with the addition of Ecuador.

Making introductory remarks to the panel discussion on space technology and food security, the Chairman of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space said that space technology provided a wide array of tools to identify the man-made activities currently affecting climate and to mitigate their effects.  That was especially true in the area of agricultural production and food security since data obtained from space allowed oversight and monitoring of crops and offered timely information on such things as vegetation cover and weather patterns.  Such data could provide precision information that would allow for greater risk assessment and, as a result, better policy formulation.

A representative of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, who spoke during the panel representation, emphasized, however, that such remote-sensing data had to be supplied to decision makers in timeframes that ensured that reasonable action could be taken.  Over the long term, policy innovations covering property rights, subsidies and tariffs, and trade bans would also be needed.

Towards that goal, a representative of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs stressed that investment by donors should be increased to meet growing demands, and the policy and institutional support that were vital to small farmers should be enhanced.

A representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization highlighted how his Organization had already used a real-time environmental monitoring system to monitor rainfall, harvest conditions, drought, locust swarms and food aid requirements, among other things, particularly in Africa.  That experience had shown that combining satellite data with land-based information could help planners in the developing world make a wide range of decisions and provide assistance in the face of the current food crisis.

The Committee Chairman made an introductory statement before the panel discussion.

During consideration of the various draft texts, the representatives of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Kingdom, France (on behalf of the European Union) and Argentina spoke in explanation of position.  The representative of Pakistan sought more time to consider the omnibus resolution.

The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 14 October to take action on a draft resolution relating to Western Sahara and to continue its general debate on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

Background

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to take action on nine draft resolutions related to decolonization issues and two draft decisions relating to the question of Gibraltar and the expansion of the membership of the Special Committee on Decolonization by one.  (Draft texts before the Committee are summarized in Friday’s press release GA/SPD/400.)

As it began its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, the Committee was also expected to hold a panel discussion on “Space Applications and Food Security”, for which it had before it the Report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (document A/62/20).  The report summarized the outcome of its fifty-first session, held in Vienna from 11 to 20 June, during which the Committee discussed ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes; implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III); spin-off benefits of space technology; space and society; space and water; and international cooperation in promoting the use of space-derived geospatial data for sustainable development.

The Committee also discussed the report of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on its forty-fifth session and of the Legal Subcommittee on its forty-seventh session.  The Committee expressed satisfaction that the General Assembly had agreed on the Committee’s continued consideration of ways to promote regional and interregional cooperation based on experiences stemming from the Space Conference of the Americas, the African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development and the role that space technology could play in the implementation of the recommendations of the World Summit on sustainable development.

The report also says that through its work in the scientific, technical and legal fields, the Committee had a fundamental role to play in ensuring that outer space was maintained for peaceful purposes.  That role could be strengthened by new initiatives, as well as by continued progress in implementing the recommendations of UNISPACE III.  The Committee noted the important role played by conferences and initiatives in promoting regional and international partnerships among States, such as the 2008 International Air and Space Fair in Santiago, which included a conference on space technology and climate change in relation to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The view was also expressed that, in order to achieve sustainability in space cooperation, building the capacity of countries--particularly developing countries--in space technology and its applications should be a priority.  Additionally, in order to further the objective of promoting the peaceful uses of outer space, the limited resources of outer space, such as geostationary orbital positions, should be shared equitably among countries.

The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee reported the results of its forty-fourth session, during which it considered the activities of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications.  Other areas it had addressed included:  international space information services; regional and interregional cooperation; international satellite system for search and rescue; space-system-based disaster management support; recent developments in global navigation satellite systems; matters relating to the remote sensing of the Earth by satellite; space debris; use of nuclear power sources in outer space; issues relating to near-Earth objects; examination of the geostationary orbit; and International Geophysical and Heliophysical Year 2007 as a single agenda item at its forty-sixth session, in 2009.

Turning to the Legal Subcommittee, the report said that it reviewed the status and application of the five United Nations Treaties on outer space during its forty-seventh session.  It also considered information on the activities of international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations relating to space law; matters regarding the definition and delimitation of outer space and the character of the geostationary orbit; the possible revision of the Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space; the preliminary draft protocol on matters specific to space assets to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment; and the practice of States and international organizations in registering space objects, among other topics.

In other matters discussed in the report, the Committee agreed that spin-offs of space technology should be promoted because they advanced economies through the production of new innovative technologies, and contributed to the quality of human life.  It was further noted that space technologies were successfully utilized for the development of national communications infrastructures and other projects aimed at reaching sustainable development.

In its consideration of the item on space and society, the Committee agreed to develop specific action plans for incorporating outer space into education; expanding space tools for education; and ensuring that space-based services contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals on access to education.  The view was expressed that consideration should be given to specific means of overcoming, including through the role of education, the potential shortage of scientists, mathematicians and engineers facing both developed and developing countries in the coming decade.

The report recalled that the Committee also took up the issue of space and water, and noted that space applications could significantly contribute to cost-effective water resources management and the prediction and mitigation of water-related emergencies.  The Committee also noted that space technology could be used in combination with non-space technologies to contribute to monitoring and mitigating the effects of flood disasters.  For example, space technology had played a significant role in helping to control the “quake lakes” that had resulted from the earthquake in the Sichuan Province of China in May and threatened the lives of millions of people.

Finally, the Committee turned to the role of international cooperation in promoting the use of space-derived geospatial data for sustainable development, which would be considered under a multi-year work plan.

Action on Drafts

The Committee took up all decolonization draft texts, except for the resolution on the question of Western Sahara (document A/C.4/63/L.5), which was issued on Friday.  That draft would be considered on Tuesday.

When the Committee took up draft resolution I, on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of Charter of the United Nations (document A/63/23, p. 51), the representative of Democratic Republic of the Congo, explaining his position before the vote, noted that on Friday numerous African delegations had dissociated themselves from the statement delivered on behalf of the African Group by Kenya.  His delegation wished to dissociate itself from that statement as well.

The Committee then approved the resolution by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions ( France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States).  (For details of the vote, see Annex I).

Explaining his position after the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom said that, as in previous years, his delegation had abstained.  The Government did not take issue with the resolution’s main objective; it continued to uphold its obligations with respect to transmitting information on its Overseas Territories.  But it believed that the issue of whether a Non-Self-Governing Territory had achieved sufficient governance to relieve the administering Power from that duty was ultimately for the Territorial Government and the administering Power concerned to decide and not up to the General Assembly.

The representative of Belarus said that her delegation had intended to vote in favour of the text.

Taking up draft resolution II, on economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/63/23, p. 52), the Committee approved the text by a recorded vote of 149 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom) (Annex II).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Argentina said the applicability of the resolution in a given Territory depended on whether the right to self-determination was applicable.  Thus, it was relevant to bear in mind that certain General Assembly resolutions noted that, in cases in which there was a sovereignty dispute, such as in the Malvinas Islands, a negotiated solution was the only path to resolving the dispute.  The resolution, therefore, was not applicable to the Malvinas Islands and the surrounding archipelagic areas.  Currently, the United Kingdom was unilaterally exploiting the natural resources of the Malvinas Islands and surrounding marine areas.

The representative of Cape Verde saidthat she had voted in favour of the text although her vote had not been reflected on the board.  The representatives of the Central African Republic and El Salvador also took the floor to clarify that they too had voted in favour of the text.

The representative of Argentina drew the Secretariat’s attention to the fact that, in the results just distributed, his country was not even on the list.

Singapore’s representative noted that his delegation’s vote in favour of the text had also not been recorded on the voting sheet.

[The Secretariat explained that the voting record that had been distributed had been incorrect and it would soon distribute a corrected version.]

The representative of Malta asked if a record of the vote for item 33 would be distributed, in addition to the sheet on item 34.  The Chairman said that both sheets would be distributed.

The representative of Montenegro said his delegation would have voted in favour of both texts if he had been in the room.

The representative of Kuwait said his delegation had supported draft resolution I, but his vote had not been recorded on the board.

Uganda’s representative said his delegation would have voted in favour of draft resolution I if he had been in the room.

Malta’s representative again took the floor to ask if the delegation would also not feature in the future votes.  The Chairman said Malta’s votes would be reflected in future votes.

The Committee then took up draft resolution III, on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/63/23, p. 54), approving that resolution by a vote of 105 in favour to none against, with 54 abstentions (Annex III).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote on behalf of the European Union, France’s representative reaffirmed support for the specialized agencies of the United Nations, particularly those in the technical and educational fields.  Yet, the European Union considered that the mandates of those agencies should be scrupulously complied with and it had therefore abstained from the vote.

The representative of Argentina stressed that the resolution should be in line with the previous resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee on decolonization.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution on offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/C.4/63/L.3).

It then approved without a vote the draft decision on the question of Gibraltar (document A/C.4/63/L.4).

Again acting without a vote, the Committee then approved draft resolution IV, on the question of New Caledonia (document A/63/23, p. 59).

Taking the floor, the representative of Kuwait said that his delegation had voted in favour of draft resolution I under item 33, yet the corrected voting sheet that had been redistributed still did not reflect that vote.

Next, the Committee took up draft resolution V, on the question of Tokelau (document A/63/23, p. 62), approving it without a vote.

Following that, the Committee took up draft resolution VI, on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands (document A/63/23, p. 64).

Making a general statement before the vote, the representative of Pakistan said that additional language had been added to operative paragraph 2 of the resolution, which referred to cases “where there is no dispute over sovereignty.  That language had not been included in previous versions of the resolution, and, in view of the importance it attached to the resolution and to decolonization as a whole, his delegation had tried to informally find out why that language had been included and how it affected operative paragraph 2.  His delegation had been unable to trace that language from the guiding decolonization resolutions and had been unable to seek a clarification on it.  It would, therefore, like to postpone the vote on the text.

The Chairman asked to clarify that Pakistan’s delegation wished to postpone the vote and was assured that yes, that was indeed the case.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that he was unsure how the Chair was planning to handle the current proposal for a delay, but if it moved ahead, he asked that it be debated in the Committee.

Saying he could only bring the proposal before the Committee, the Chair then asked the Committee if there were objections to the Pakistani delegation’s proposal.  When there was no motion for a debate, the Chair then considered that the Committee had peacefully decided to postpone the vote.

Asked by the chair how long he proposed the vote be delayed, the representative of Pakistan said he was open to any time frame, but felt that a delay of two to three days would be reasonable for his delegation to seek informal clarification from the text’s sponsors.  That would in turn enable delegations to seek guidance from their capitals.

Action on draft resolution VI was then postponed.

The Committee next took up draft resolution VII, on dissemination of information on decolonization (document A/63/23, p. 78), which was approved by a vote of 153 in favour to 3 against ( Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 1 abstention (France) (Annex IV).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Argentina’s representative said his delegation wished to express support for the right of people who were still subjected to colonization.  But the text should be interpreted and implemented in keeping with pertinent resolutions of the General Assembly and the various resolutions and statements of the Special Committee on Decolonization, which recognized the existence of a sovereignty dispute between his country and the United Kingdom over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and which stated that the only solution to the dispute would be a negotiated one.

The representative of the United Kingdom said her delegation had voted against the text because it remained of the view that the obligation it placed on the Secretariat to disseminate information represented an unacceptable drain on the Organization’s resources.

The representative of Andorra said his delegation had voted in favour of the text, but that that vote had not been reflected on the board.

Turning to draft resolution VIII, on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document A/63/23, p. 80), the Committee approved the text by a vote of 156 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (Belgium, France) (Annex V).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Argentina stressed that, in regards to operative paragraph 7 of the text, visiting missions proceeded only in cases where self-determination was applicable–-in other words, in Territories where there were no sovereignty disputes.

The representative of the United Kingdom said her delegation had voted “no” because it continued to find some parts of the text unacceptable.  Nevertheless, the Government of the United Kingdom remained committed to modernizing its relationship with its Overseas Territories.

The representative of Jordan said the chart did not reflect his delegation’s vote in favour of the draft text on dissemination of information.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft decision on an increase in the membership of the Special Committee (document A/63/23/Add.1).

Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Committee Chairman JORGE ARGUELLO opened the discussion on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space by noting that a panel discussion would take place today on space technology and food security.  Introductory remarks would be made by Ciro Arévalo Yepes, Chairman of Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.  The panellists included David O’Connor, Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Sten Nilsson, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); and Toshihiko Murata, Executive Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Liaison Office with the United Nations.

He said that the panel discussion would target a topic of major concern to all, namely, the ongoing global food crisis and climate change, which the Secretary-General has referred to as “two of the key challenges of our and future generations”.  Indeed, United Nations data suggested that 75 million people had slid into hunger, owing to the food crisis, bringing the total figure to well over 900 million, and those numbers would worsen as the world’s population grew by one-third in the next 40 years.  As world food demand doubled, water insecurity and the effects of land degradation and climate change would increase.

There were inter-linkages between food security and other areas of major concern, such as climate change, health, energy, water and disaster management, he said, adding that those areas must be addressed in a holistic manner.  Tools for solutions must be investigated, such as space technology application, which was of increasing importance in decision-making processes at all levels.  The panel’s discussion today on space applications and food security contributed to World Food Day, which would focus on aspects of science and technology as viable tools for sustainable, long-term food security.

Panel Discussion

Mr. YEPES, noting that the United Nations was ever more dependent on cooperation rather than confrontation, stressed that the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space played a relevant role along those lines.  The fruit of institutional collaboration, dating back many decades, was currently working to apply space technology, such as geo-spatial data, for the benefit of sustainable development.  It had established UNISPACE III, United Nations Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), and the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems.  It had also contributed to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development across its annual thematic areas, which this year included agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.

He said that since the Outer Space Committee sought to use space technology in the resolution of humanity’s general and shared challenges, it was of utmost importance to identify and understand the man-made activities currently affecting climate and to mitigate their effects.  Space technology provided a wide array of tools through which to do that, particularly in the area of agricultural production and food security.  The data obtained from space not only allowed oversight and monitoring of crops, but it also offered timely information on such things as vegetation cover and weather patterns.  Satellite data could also complement data gathered on the ground and shed light on livestock illness trajectories.

He also emphasized the role data could play in enhancing the policy response to climate change and lower agricultural production.  Data collated from the global navigation satellite systems could provide precision information that would allow for greater risk assessment and, as a result, better policy formulation.  For example, expensive infrastructure on the ground was not required to create the kinds of maps showing land use and vegetation cover that were often essential to addressing rural development policy, if space technology was used.

Mr. O’CONNOR said that food security was once more on the international radar screen.  Despite food prices falling slightly since their peak in May, it was no signal for complacency as prices remained twice as high as normal.  Nearly 1 billion people currently suffered from malnutrition, and that number had increased by tens of millions in the last few years as a result of the current food crisis.

He said that some 560 countries were still very vulnerable to the recent fuel and food price rise, particularly in parts of the world where currency reserves did not cover more than three months of imports.  To cushion rising prices, some countries had increased food and fuel subsidies or reduced tariffs or domestic taxes, which further drained their budgets.  The urban poor and other net food buyers were worse affected, while for the landless rural poor it was a “mixed picture” since growing demand for agricultural labour had caused nominal wages to increase in some places.  Poor populations had coped in a number of ways detrimental to long-term development, such as consuming a less nutritious diet and selling assets like livestock to pay for immediate consumption.  Meat consumption had also greatly increased demand for grains.

Incentives to invest in agriculture in developing countries were undermined by trade and support policies in developed countries, he said.  Farmers should be provided with their basic needs for the planting season, and Governments should ensure that farmers had a secure market and minimum prices for their produce.  The declining trend in donor support for agriculture must be reversed and agriculture made less dependent on fossil fuel.  As land became increasingly valuable, it was crucial to secure the land tenure rights of small holders.  A recent proposal was put forward by the International Food Policy Institute to restore confidence and supply international and regional buffer stock to reassure the abilities of countries faced with crisis to meet their short-term food needs.

In closing, he said that food and agriculture would remain high on the international agenda for years to come, as prices would not return to previous historic lows.  It was crucial to increase investment by donors in order to meet growing demands, and policy and institutional support were also vital to small farmers.  Climate change greatly complicated the food shortage challenge, and space technology played a crucial role in responding to that.

Mr. NILSSON said that for several years there had been a decline in agricultural productivity around the world, particularly in developing countries.  As food stocks went down, prices rose.  Current trends indicated that about 220,000 people were added to the world’s population each day.  As populations rose, more food was needed.  The increase in meat consumption in East Asia and Latin America, resulting from rising socio-economic conditions, would further pressure food production needs.  If agricultural production did not rise, the world risked seeing more of the kind of social instability created by recent food riots.

He underlined how other factors had contributed to the lower agricultural rates.  Investments in the agricultural sector, including donor expenditures, had declined in the past few decades.  Incompetent or unclear property rights had led to land degradation in many parts of the world.  Additional problems were caused by agricultural price policies, imperfect markets and Government interventions.  Given that landscape, there was a lack of access to land, insufficient infrastructure and financing, and a lack of access to technologies and international markets.  Biofuel production also affected food prices, albeit, with less direct impact.

But large areas of the world, if property managed, could be used for higher productivity, he said.  While significant investments were needed in the developing world, that need was complicated now by the current financial crisis and by the fact that no one knew how long it would last.  But while cracks that were increasingly visible in the system might change the short-term impact on food security, the long-term picture painted by Mr. O’Connor seemed likely.

In that scenario, he said the critical question was which populations were facing food insecurity and for how long.  What were the best ways to mitigate adverse trends and what early-warning systems were in place, which could be used to prevent or dull the impact of food insecurity?

Unfortunately, remote-sensing infrastructure did not exist for most areas where such technology was needed, he said.  Also important was to get remote-sensing data into the hands of decision-makers in timeframes that ensured that reasonable action could be taken.  High-resolution imaging provided many opportunities in that regard.  Concerns about funding for future remote-sensing missions with emphasis on agriculture should be investigated.  Over the long-term, policy innovations covering property rights, farm holding size, subsidies and tariffs and trade bans were also needed.  Environmental change required monitoring by multiple types of remote-sensing systems, including optical, radar and microwave systems.  It was not enough to concentrate on agriculture.  Bioenergy, forestry and biochemicals had to be covered as they were interrelated.

Mr. MURATA said that modern remote sensing was based on picking up electromagnetic energy and could provide a real-time environmental monitoring system.  FAO had used those systems to monitor rainfall, harvest conditions, drought, locust swarms and food aid requirements, among other things, particularly in Africa.  Satellite information should be combined with land-based information, for which indigenous people had provided very useful data.

He said that a planner trying to find suitable sites for growing a particular crop must get information on rainfall, labour availability, and distance from markets, among other factors.  Previously, a project like that would have involved reconciling different maps.  That laborious process, achieved by overlaying transparencies on light tables and reconciling global soil maps had required the work of 150 people for one year, but that was now accomplished in a far simpler manner.  He reiterated that combining satellite data with land-based information could help planners in the developing world make a wide range of decisions and provide assistance in the face of the current food crisis.

Discussion

When the floor was opened to questions, the representative of Chile said there were a number of legal concepts that were important in this realm.  As solidarity became the rule, obligatory binding standards were being called for to help tackle some of the human and food insecurities.  The notion of cooperation had evolved over time and, as the Millennium Declaration showed, there had been a shift from national to global action.  Within that context, the focus was increasing on the notion of sustainable human development.

He stressed that sustainability was paramount in that framework, noting Columbia University’s recent launch of the Hearst Institute, which aimed to make sustainable development technology available to developing countries so they could harness technology for future development at low cast.  While the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space had some strong methods that would allow the food and human insecurities to be tackled, a great deal had changed since the remote-sensing principles were first adopted.  The principles needed to be updated and should also be addressed in terms of climate change.  They should specifically be addressed with the terms of UNISPACE III and a stronger effort should be made to ensure that developing countries, which made up a majority of countries, could assume their responsibilities.  Towards that goal, juridical systems that made space technology as effective as possible were needed.

Noting that many important proposals had been made in the Latin American region, he stressed that interregional dialogue should be a key part of dealing with food and human insecurity.  He hoped such a dialogue could be launched soon to tackle, for example, codes of conduct and “soft law”, so that customary law could be generated around those scientific ideas, giving them the necessary juridical backing.  That was of particular importance for his delegation, and he offered to make his delegation’s work available to all other delegations.

The representative of Colombia underscored the importance of the topic at hand, saying that the information gained from the observation satellites in the area of food security allowed the international community to conclude that the use of technology in and of itself did not solve the problem.  Yet it was clear that technology had to be combined with policy decisions.  To that end, she asked what national and regional instruments could be harnessed so information was shared more effectively and better leveraged to generate policy.

The representative of Austria, stressing that the global agenda should not be addressed in a fragmented manner, said that the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space should, as a general practice, invite other agencies to consider how space-based technology might be incorporated into their mandates.

Noting that the West African region had experienced severe flooding that had undermined development, the representative of Togo asked if it was possible to determine the origin of the floods and how long the region would continue to suffer from them.  She also asked if there was a short, medium, and long-term solution to that problem.

Mr. YEPES said that cooperation would be necessary to establish mechanisms to enhance the use of spaced-based technology in confronting climate change and food insecurity.  Yet those mechanisms were almost impossible for developing countries to create on their own.  In some cases, regional cooperation had allowed for their establishment, such as what had transpired in the Latin American region.  Such initiatives were under way for Africa and there were also efforts within the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to enhance information-sharing across those regional initiatives.  The foundation for that effort should be cooperation, and not competitiveness.

In response to Austria’s comment, he said that the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space wanted a new vision for a new space policy within the United Nations to be employed across the Organization.

Acknowledging that he was not a climatologist and, therefore, was not qualified to define the transitory or long-term nature of the flooding patterns in West Africa, Mr. O’CONNOR referred the representative of Togo to a book by Mark Lynas entitled “Six Degrees”.  The book, which had been published by National Geographic Press, described scenarios in which climate patterns were affected by various changes, from 1 to 6 degrees, in the global average temperature.

Mr. NILSSON said that the current trend in West Africa seemed to be long-lasting.  Linking that to remote-sensing aspects, he said there was some experience of using the data from those systems to predict flooding.  Yet it remained a problem that even as natural flood areas of rivers became clear, building in those areas continued, thereby raising the risk of flood-related disasters.

ANNEX I

Vote on Non-Self-Governing Territories

The draft resolution on information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of Charter of the United Nations (document A/63/23 draft resolution I) was adopted by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  France, Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Palau, REP OF Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

ANNEX II

Vote on Economics of Non-Self-Governing Territories

The draft resolution on economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/63/23 draft resolution II) was adopted by a recorded vote of 149 in favour to 2 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstain:  France, United Kingdom.

Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Palau, REP OF Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zambia.

ANNEX III

Vote on Decolonization Declaration

The draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/63/23   (draft resolution III) was adopted by a recorded vote of 105 in favour to none against, with 54 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, REP OF Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

ANNEX IV

Vote on Dissemination of Information on Decolonization

The draft resolution on dissemination of information on decolonization (document A/63/23 draft resolution VII) was adopted by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 3 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, REP OF Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:  France.

Absent:  Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

ANNEX V

Vote on Independence and Non-Self-Governing Territories

The draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (document A/63/23 draft resolution VIII) was adopted by a recorded vote of 156 in favour to 3 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, REP OF Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:  Belgium, France.

Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.