General Assembly Seeks to Boost Global Cooperation, from Relief to Development, to Aid States, United Nations with Humanitarian Fallout from Natural Disasters

28 January 2011
GA/11047

General Assembly Seeks to Boost Global Cooperation, from Relief to Development, to Aid States, United Nations with Humanitarian Fallout from Natural Disasters

28 January 2011
General Assembly
GA/11047
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly                               

Plenary                                                    

75th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Seeks to Boost Global Cooperation, from Relief to Development,

to Aid States, United Nations with Humanitarian Fallout from Natural Disasters

Text Urges Updated Early Warning, Disaster Preparedness, Risk Reduction Measures;

Two Rounds of Voting Elects Judge from Ireland to United Nations Appeals Tribunal

Expressing deep concern at the challenges to Member States and the United Nations humanitarian response capacity to deal with the consequences of natural disasters, General Assembly delegates today urged updating early warning systems, disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures at all levels to fulfil pledges made in the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, a global blueprint to reduce social, economic and environmental losses caused by such emergencies.

Those terms were outlined in a consensus text, submitted by Yemen on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, which aimed at improving the international humanitarian response to natural disasters (document A/65/L.59).  By the terms of the wide-ranging text, the Assembly stressed that to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance, particular international cooperation efforts should be taken to broaden the use of national and local capacities and regional and subregional capacities for disaster preparedness and response.

Further, States were encouraged to facilitate the transit of emergency humanitarian assistance, provided in the context of international efforts, in full respect of the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, as well as their obligations under international law.  In the design of disaster risk reduction, preparedness and humanitarian assistance, both States and the United Nations were urged to give special emphasis to the needs of those living in rural and urban poor areas prone to natural disasters.

“Humanitarian assistance should not only provide relief but also contribute to rebuild the social fabric of affected populations,” said Argentina’s delegate, who introduced the text.  The massive losses of life and property in poor nations caused by natural disasters made clear the need to support their efforts to build capacity.  More coordination among United Nations agencies and Governments would help achieve a more efficient response.  Strengthening United Nations and non-United Nations funding and ensuring timely, predictable and flexible funding for natural disaster emergencies were also critical. 

Speaking before action, the United States’ delegate said he was pleased to join consensus.  However, while supporting the intent of operative paragraph 6, he had concerns about language stating that global climate change, among other factors, contributed to the increased intensity and frequency of natural disasters.  The United States interpreted the text in question to be intended to reflect the actual state of climate science, including that climate change might contribute to future increases in the frequency and/or intensity of weather-related hazards.  He would have preferred more technically accurate language.

Also today, the Assembly elected in two rounds of secret balloting Marie Faherty (Ireland) as a judge to the United Nations Appeals Tribunal for a term of office beginning on 28 January 2011 and ending on 30 June 2016.  She filled the remainder of the seven-year term of office of Judge Rose Boyko (Canada), who resigned on 15 January, having begun her term on 1 July 2009.

The Appeals Tribunal is an appellate court established by the General Assembly to review appeals against judgments rendered by the United Nations Dispute Tribunal.  Both became operational in 2009 under the Organization’s new system of justice administration.  Based in New York, the Appeals Tribunal holds sessions in New York, Geneva or Nairobi, as required by caseload.  It held its first session in Geneva in 2010.

Voting

Number of ballot papers:

135

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

135

Abstentions:

1

Number of members present and voting:

134

Required majority:

68

Marie Faherty (Ireland):

52

Brian Tamberlin (Australia):

48

Roy Lewis (United Kingdom):

34

Since no candidate had attained a required majority, the Assembly proceeded to a second round of restricted voting.

Number of ballot papers:

134

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

134

Abstentions:

2

Number of members present and voting:

132

Required majority:

67

Marie Faherty (Ireland):

75

Brian Tamberlin (Australia):

57

The Assembly elected Ms. Faherty, having obtained the required majority.

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