Sixth Committee (Legal) — 72nd session

Observer status for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat in the General Assembly (Agenda item 173)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/72/200)

In a note verbale dated 11 August 2017 (A/72/194), the Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations requested, on behalf of Australia, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America and Uruguay, the inclusion of this item in the provisional agenda of the seventy-second session.

Consideration at the seventy-second session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 11th and 28th meetings, on 9 October and 3 November 2017 (see A/C.6/72/SR.11 and A/C.6/72/SR.28). For its consideration of the item, the Committee had before it the above-mentioned letter dated 11 August 2017 from the Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/72/194).

Statements were made by the representatives of the United States of America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay.

While some delegations supported the request for observer status of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat, others expressed their reservations with regard to the criteria for granting observer status stipulated in General Assembly resolution 49/426 of 9 December 1994. It was recognized that the activities of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat covered matters of interest to the General Assembly, but noted that a treaty secretariat did not qualify as an intergovernmental organization. Given its important field of work, it was suggested to find other modalities for the Ramsar Convention Secretariat to participate in the relevant discussions at the United Nations.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   11th meeting (9 October 2017, 3:00pm – 6:00pm)

Video   28th meeting (3 November 2017, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At its 11th meeting, on 9 October, the representative of Uruguay, on behalf of Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Viet Nam introduced a draft resolution entitled “Observer status for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat in the General Assembly” (A/C.6/72/L.6) and announced that Ecuador had joined as sponsor of the draft resolution.

At the 28th meeting, on 3 November, the Chair of the Committee announced that the Bureau had been informed that the delegation of Uruguay, on behalf of the sponsors, had requested that the Committee defer a decision on the request for observer status for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat in the General Assembly to the seventy-third session of the Assembly.

At the same meeting, the Committee adopted, without a vote, a draft decision under which the General Assembly would decide to defer a decision on the request for observer status for the for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat in the General Assembly to the seventy-third session of the Assembly.

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