Sixth Committee (Legal) — 71st session

Observer status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly (Agenda item 173)

Summary of work

Background

By a letter dated 10 August 2012 (A/67/191), the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations requested the inclusion of this item in the provisional agenda of the sixty-seventh session.

At its sixty-seventh and sixty-eighth sessions, the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Sixth Committee, decided to defer a decision on the request for observer status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly to the following sessions (decisions 67/527 and 68/530).

At the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, the sponsors of the draft resolution decided not to pursue their request for observer status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the Assembly at the session, while reserving the right to present it at a future session.

By a letter dated 9 September 2016 (A/71/232), the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations requested the inclusion of this item in the agenda of the seventy-first session.

Consideration at the seventy-first session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 13th and 33rd meetings, on 11 October and 11 November 2016 (see A/C.6/71/SR.13 and A/C.6/71/SR.33).

Statements were made by the representatives of Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Turkey, Kenya, the Russian Federation, Croatia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Algeria, Morocco, Belgium and Romania.

Several delegations supported the request for the grant of observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly. It was noted that the business sector was currently not represented among the permanent observers to the United Nations and that the International Chamber of Commerce represented the national committees on commerce of a large number of Member States. It was emphasized that the active participation of the private sector was important in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It was also recalled that the International Chamber of Commerce had advisory capacity in relation to the Economic and Social Council, a partnership with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and that it cooperated with other bodies of the United Nations.

A number of delegations, while noting their appreciation for the work of the International Chamber of Commerce, expressed the view that it did not comply with the criteria stipulated in General Assembly decision 49/426. While it was noted that the activities of the International Chamber of Commerce were of interest to the General Assembly, the International Chamber of Commerce did not, in their view, meet the criterion of having an intergovernmental nature. Some delegations expressed opposition to granting observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   13th meeting (11 October 2016, 3:00pm – 6:00pm)

Video   33rd meeting (11 November 2016, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 13th meeting, on 11 October, the representative of France, on behalf of Albania, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, France, Gabon, Guatemala, Madagascar, Morocco, the Netherlands, Romania, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Observer status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly” (A/C.6/71/L.7). Subsequently, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Kenya, Luxembourg and Palau joined in sponsoring the draft resolution.

At its 33rd meeting, on 11 November, the representative of France, on behalf of the co-sponsors, orally revised the draft resolution by adding four preambular paragraphs which read as follows:

“Reaffirming its decision 49/426 of 9 December 1994,

Considering the unique importance of the International Chamber of Commerce, created in 1919, due to its historical specificities and its special role and authority as a representative of the business community in more than 120 countries,

Stressing the need, frequently noted by the United Nations, to give greater opportunities to the business community to contribute to the realization of the goals and programmes of the Organization,

Emphasizing that this resolution does not change the criteria established in the decision 49/426”.

At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/71/L.7, as orally revised, without a vote.

After the adoption of the draft resolution, the representatives of Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and the Russian Federation spoke in explanation of their positions after the adoption of the draft resolution (see A/C.6/71/SR.33).

Under this draft resolution, the General Assembly would decide to invite the International Chamber of Commerce to participate in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly in the capacity of observer; and request the Secretary-General to take the necessary action to implement the resolution.

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