ASSEMBLY AUTHORIZES SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ENTER INTO COMMITMENTS NOT EXCEEDING $200 MILLION TO FINANCE UN MISSION IN KOSOVO19990728
Assembly Pays Tribute to Memory of King Hassan II of Morocco; Adopts Texts Requesting Strengthening of United Nations Office at Nairobi
The General Assembly this afternoon authorized the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in an amount not exceeding $200 million, inclusive of $50 million authorized by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), for the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), with $125 million of that total to be apportioned among Member States, as an ad hoc arrangement.
The Assembly took that action by adopting, without a vote, a resolution contained in one of three reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) before it this afternoon.
Also this afternoon, the Assembly paid tribute to the memory of the late King Hassan II of Morocco -- who passed away on 23 July -- by observing a minute of silence. Speaking at the tribute, the Secretary-General said King Hassan's devotion to peace, both in his country and within the wider region, was known all over the world. He was a wise man, a refined politician and a remarkable diplomat.
Also under the terms of the Fifth Committee's text on UNMIK, the Assembly urged all Member States to make every effort to ensure payment of assessed contributions to the Mission in full and on time. It emphasized that all future peacekeeping missions shall be given equal and non-discriminatory treatment in respect of financial and administrative arrangements. It also emphasized that all peacekeeping missions shall be provided with adequate resources for the effective and efficient discharge of their respective mandates.
Also acting on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee, the Assembly decided that the failure of the Republic of Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Comoros and Tajikistan to pay the amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 of the United Nations Charter was due to conditions beyond their control.
Article 19 of the Charter states that a Member of the United Nations, which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization, shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of itsGeneral Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9579 105th Meeting (PM) 28 July 1999
arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the Member's
By further terms of the text, the Assembly permitted the Republic of Moldova to vote in the Assembly until 31 December 1999, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Comoros and Tajikistan would be permitted to retain their voting rights until 30 June 2000.
By the provisions of another resolution, Georgia was granted temporary exemption under Article 19 of the Charter so that it is permitted to vote, until a final decision on the matter is taken by the General Assembly. The Assembly further decided that the procedural arrangements in the current resolution would not set a precedent for the future.
Further this afternoon, again acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution submitted by its President under the item on "United Nations reforms; measures and proposals", by which it requested the Secretary-General to strengthen the United Nations Office at Nairobi in its capacity as the Organization's only headquarters in a developing country, through the provision of requisite support and stable, adequate and predictable financial resources, including proposing additional budget resources for the consideration of the Assembly.
Further by that text, the Assembly reiterated the importance of strengthening the capacity and capability of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), within the framework of their existing mandates, in the areas of information, the monitoring and assessments of global and regional environmental and human settlements trends and early-warning information on threats, so as to catalyse and promote international cooperation and action. In that context, it emphasized the importance of strengthening the system-wide Earthwatch as an effective, accessible and strictly non-political science-based system.
Statements in tribute to King Hassan II were also made by the Assembly President, Didier Opertti (Uruguay), and the representatives of Zimbabwe (on behalf of the African States), Syria (on behalf of the Asian States), Azerbaijan (on behalf of the Eastern European States), Mexico (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Greece (on behalf of the Western European and Other States), United States (on behalf of the host country), South Africa (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) and Israel. The representative of Morocco also spoke.
Explanations of position were made by the representatives of Finland (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Philippines, United States, Venezuela, Guatemala, Bolivia, Guyana (on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), Russian Federation, Republic of Korea and Iran.
The Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to take action on three reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on the following: outline of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 for the International Trade Centre (ITC) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)/World Trade Organization (WTO); scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations; and the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It was also scheduled to take action on a draft resolution under the agenda item on "United Nations reform: measures and proposals", concerning a report of the Secretary- General on environment and human settlements.
Fifth Committee Reports
A report of the Fifth Committee (document A/53/485/Add.6) under the agenda item on the programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999, contains a draft decision, approved without a vote on 13 July, concerning the outline of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 for the International Trade Centre. By that text, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Secretary-General on the outline of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO (document A/54/127) and of the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) (document A/53/7/Add.15) on the matter.
The report of the Fifth Committee (document A/53/464/Add.5) on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations contains two draft resolutions approved without a vote on 13 July.
By the terms of draft resolution I, the Assembly would decide that the failure of the Republic of Moldova to pay the amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 of the Organization's Charter was attributable to conditions beyond its control, and that, accordingly, it would be permitted to vote until 31 December.
[Article 19 states that any Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years. The Assembly may nevertheless permit such a member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond its control.]
Also by the text, the Assembly would decide that the failure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Comoros and Tajikistan to pay the amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 is attributable to conditions beyond their control and that, accordingly, they are permitted to vote until 30 June 2000.
Draft resolution II, would have the Assembly request the Committee on Contributions to consider the request of Georgia, under Article 19, on the subject of its arrears, as a matter of priority, taking into account the views expressed by Member States, and to transmit its views, also as a matter of priority, to the Assembly, to the extent possible, before the end of its fifty-third session. It would also decide to grant Georgia temporary exemption under Article 19 so that it may be permitted to vote until a final decision on the matter is taken by the Assembly. The Assembly would also decide that the procedural arrangements in the present resolution will not set a precedent for the future.
The report of the Fifth Committee (document A/53/1025) on the financing of UNMIK contains one draft resolution.
By the terms of the text, the Assembly would express concern about the financial situation with regard to peacekeeping activities, in particular the reimbursement of troop contributors, which bear additional burdens owing to overdue payments by Member States of their assessments. Member States would be urged to make every possible effort to ensure payment of their assessed contributions to the Mission in full and on time. It would be emphasized that all future peacekeeping missions shall be given equal and non-discriminatory treatment in respect of financial and administrative arrangements; and that all peacekeeping missions shall be provided with adequate resources for the effective and efficient discharge of their respective mandates. The Assembly would also deeply regret that the report of the Secretary-General does not contain adequate and precise information to substantiate fully the request submitted.
Further by the text, the Assembly would decide to authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments in an amount not exceeding $200 million, inclusive of the amount of $50 million authorized by the ACABQ, for the operation of UNMIK under the terms of section IV of Assembly resolution 49/233 A of 23 December. It would also request the Secretary-General to establish a special account for the Mission.
The Assembly would also decide, as an ad hoc arrangement, to apportion the amount of $125 million among Member States in accordance with the composition of groups set out in previous texts and taking into account the scale of assessments for the year 1999, as set out in its resolution 52/215 A of 22 December.
Moreover, the Assembly would emphasize that no peacekeeping mission shall be financed by borrowing money from funds from other active peacekeeping missions. It would encourage the Secretary-General to continue to take additional measures to ensure the safety and security of all personnel under the auspices of the United Nations participating in the Mission. It would invite voluntary contributions to the Mission in cash and in the form of services and supplies acceptable to the Secretary- General, to be administered, as appropriate, in accordance with the procedures and practices established by the Assembly. Moreover, the Secretary-General would be requested to submit to the Assembly, as a matter of priority, a comprehensive report on the financing of the Mission, including full budget estimates and information on the utilization of resources until the time of submission of the report, to enable the Assembly to take action on it at the earliest opportunity. It would also note the Secretary-General's intention to submit the full budget to the Assembly by the end of September/early October. Finally, the Assembly would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fourth session.
Text on Environment and Human Settlements
By the terms of a draft submitted by its President (document A/53/L.78), the Assembly would reiterate the importance of strengthening the capacity and capability of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), within the framework of their existing mandates, in the areas of information, the monitoring and assessments of global and regional environmental and human settlements trends and early-warning information on threats, so as to catalyse and promote international cooperation and action. In that context, it would emphasize the importance of strengthening the system-wide Earthwatch as an effective, accessible and strictly non-political science-based system.
Also by the text, the Assembly would stress the need to ensure that capacity-building and technical assistance, in particular with respect to institutional strengthening in developing countries, as well as research and scientific studies in the field of environment and human settlements, must remain important components of the work programmes of both UNEP and Habitat, within their existing mandates. The need for adequate financial resources, as well as the need to avoid duplication of efforts, would be stressed. Also stressed would be the need to further enhance the role of UNEP as an implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), consistent with its role as defined in the instrument for the establishment of the restructured GEF.
The Secretary-General would be requested to strengthen the United Nations Office at Nairobi, in its capacity as the only United Nations headquarters located in a developing country, through the provision of requisite support and stable, adequate and predictable financial resources, including by proposing additional regular budget resources, as envisaged in General Assembly resolution 52/220, for the consideration of the Assembly, with due regard for proper United Nations budgetary procedures.
The Assembly would reaffirm that, in accordance with its mandate, UNEP should not become involved in conflict identification, prevention or resolution. By further terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the role of the Commission on Human Settlements in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, emphasize the need for it to take steps to prepare for the review of its implementation in 2001, and welcome the proposals that Habitat should strengthen its core activities and develop into a centre for excellence in human settlements.
The Assembly would call upon UNEP and Habitat to increase cooperation in and strengthen coordination of their activities, within the framework of their respective mandates and separate programmatic and organizational identities, as well as their separate Executive Directors.
By further terms, the Assembly would support the proposals of the Secretary-General regarding the establishment of an environmental management group for the purpose of enhancing inter-agency coordination in the field of environment and human settlements, and request him to develop, in consultation with Member States and members of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), the mandate, terms of reference, appropriate criteria for membership and flexible, cost-effective working methods of the proposed environmental management group, and to submit them to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session for consideration.
Further, the Assembly would support the proposals for the facilitation of and support for enhancing linkages and coordination within and among environmental and environment- related conventions, including by UNEP, with full respect for the status of the respective convention secretaries and the autonomous decision-making prerogatives of the conferences of the parties of the conventions concerned, and emphasize in that regard the need to provide UNEP with adequate resources to perform that task.
The Assembly would encourage the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi to take steps to increase the level of utilization of the Office, and in that regard encourage other agencies, funds and programmes to consider increasing their utilization of its facilities for their activities.
Tribute to Memory of King Hassan II of Morocco
DIDIER OPERTTI (Uruguay), President of the General Assembly, said it was his sad duty to pay tribute to the memory of the late King Hassan II of Morocco, who passed away on 23 July. Morocco had lost a leader who consolidated the independence of his country, ensured the political stability of his reign and established the basis for Morocco's economic and social development. The world and the region was in sorrow at the loss of a statesman, who through tireless efforts, had helped to create conditions conducive to peace and harmony in the Middle East region. On behalf of the General Assembly, he requested the Permanent Representative of Morocco to convey condolences to the Government and People of Morocco and to the bereaved family of the late King.
The Assembly then stood and observed a moment of silence.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said King Hassan's devotion to peace both in his country and within the wider region was known all over the world. He was one Arab leader who had never lost the esteem of his Jewish subjects. In an age when many people identified Muslims with anger and violence, King Hassan had showed the world the true face of Islam. He was a wise man, a refined politician and a remarkable diplomat. "I am proud to remember him as a personal friend." King Hassan had died at a moment when there was hope for change in the region. He said he had worked very closely with the King on the issue of Western Sahara. Unfortunately the King had died before completion of that work. He hoped he would be able to continue that work with his successor, King Mohammed VI.
MISHECK MUCHETWA (Zimbabwe), on behalf of the African States, said that on 23 July, the people of Africa had received the news of the death of King Hassan II of Morocco. As Africa remembered the King's life as that of a distinguished statesman, and a man of honour and courage, the continent expressed heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Morocco. Africa would remember the King as a founding father of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Africa would miss King Hassan forever.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria), on behalf of the Asian States, said words could not be found to describe the late King's qualities. The Asian Group expressed heartfelt condolences to King Mohammed VI, the late King's family and to the people of Morocco. The late King had been a great man who had participated in his people's struggle for independence. He had sought education both in his country and abroad and had become a great jurist.
Under the late King's leadership, Morocco had enjoyed great international prestige and had hosted many Arab and other international summit conferences, he said. The late King Hassan had had relations with many countries in Asia and all over the world, and particularly with the United Nations. The United Nations would always remember that he stood on the side of right and against racism, discrimination and apartheid.
He said the late King had always insisted that Israel must withdraw from the Syrian Golan and from Lebanon and had supported the struggle to restore the rights of the Palestinian people. At his death he was the Chairman of the Committee on Jerusalem, which had defended the identity of Jerusalem and sought to restore it to the Palestinian people. He had challenged backwardness and injustice and achieved independence and sovereignty for Morocco.
ELDAR KOULIEV (Azerbaijan), on behalf of the Eastern European States, said King Hassan II was a great man and a wise leader. He was both a far sighted politician and an outstanding statesman in his responsibilities to the people of his country and the region. King Hassan had turned Morocco into a bridge of mutual cooperation between Europe and Africa. His active work on the international scene and his authority made it possible to deal with many important problems not only in the Middle East but in the entire world. His contribution to peace-building constituted an integral part of his priceless legacy.
MANUEL TELLO (Mexico), on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, noted that five years after the independence of Morocco, King Hassan II had been faced with the difficult task of consolidating the social and economic challenges of his country. He had done it successfully. During a 38-year reign, with integrity, tenacity and vision, King Hassan had brought Morocco to occupy a privileged place in the concert of nations. The late King had spared no efforts to formulate initiatives and to serve as a mediator in the most acute crises. His insistence on dialogue was instrumental in the long and bitter path to peace in the Middle East region. His leadership had also made it possible to modernize his country politically while combining the rich legacy and traditions of those who had gone before. The Group of Latin American and Caribbean States were now offering dialogue, cooperation and friendship to King Mohammed VI.
VASSILIS KASKARELIS (Greece), on behalf of the Western European and Other States, expressed condolences to King Mohammed VI, the late King's family and the people of Morocco. The Arab world was mourning the death of one of its wisest and most experienced leaders. During his long reign he had tried his utmost to bridge the gap between the Arab world and other countries. The Arab world would always remember him as a discreet but key mediator who had fought fervently for just and lasting solutions. His low-profile mediation had played a key role in achieving the Camp David peace agreement.
He said the late King had facilitated the basis of the Euro- Mediterranean dialogue. He had been a man of warmth and a distinguished jurist. Having had a traditional and a modern education, the late King had given particular emphasis to developing dialogue between peoples of different religions. He had ruled for almost four decades, and his enlightened policies had played a critical role in bringing about a modern Morocco. His country was playing a dynamic and constructive role in regional and international organizations. Morocco had lost a great and subtle statesman who, with skilled adroitness, had prepared Morocco to face a new millennium.
PETER BURLEIGH (United States), speaking on behalf of the host country, expressed deep regret at the passing of a visionary leader and a noble life. The late King Hassan's support and wise counsel would long be remembered by the Government of the United States. The United States stood with its Moroccan friends in their time of mourning. The people of the United States offered their thoughts and prayers to the late King's family, friends and to the people of Morocco and dedicated themselves to the path of peace he had sought all his life.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Countries, said King Hassan was a person who loved freedom, not only for his own people but for all who were in need of freedom. The late King was a catalyst for change and the midwife of what came to be known as the Camp David Agreements. In South Africa King Hassan would always be remembered as the one who remembered them during the depths of apartheid. King Hassan was well respected in both the Muslim and Christian world. The dawn of new millennium demanded women and men of courage and incorruptible leadership. In that respect King Hassan was a sad loss. The Non-Aligned Movement was honoured to have counted King Hassan as one of its own.
RON ADAM (Israel) said the people and Government of his country had received the news of King Hassan's death with deep sorrow. The late King was a man of peace, honour and respect. He had contributed endless efforts to peace in the Middle East. King Hassan had treated Israeli leaders with respect and had always cherished the Moroccan Jewry. His death was being mourned in all the Israeli cities.
ELHASSANE ZAHID (Morocco) said his delegation had heard the moving tributes paid by the international community. The sincere and profound condolences to the late King, the royal family, the people and the Government, were evidence of the great prestige, respect and admiration for King Hassan II, who had devoted his entire reign to the socio-economic development of Morocco, to building democratic institutions and to finding peace and rapprochement in the Middle East. The Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had said that King Hassan's death had been a great loss to humanity, he concluded.
Action on Fifth Committee Reports
Mr. OPERTTI (Uruguay), Assembly President, drew attention to a draft decision in document A/53/485/Add.6 entitled "Outline of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO".
The draft decision was adopted without a vote.
The Assembly then took up two draft resolutions under the item on scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations (document A/53/464/Add.5).
Both draft resolutions were adopted without a vote.
Speaking after action, MARJATTA RASI (Finland) -- on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland and Norway -- said that the European Union had joined the consensus on the second of those drafts very reluctantly. It did not measure up to resolution A/53/36/A, in which the General Assembly had previously dealt with requests for exemption under Article 19 not duly considered by the Committee on Contributions. At that time, after long and arduous negotiations, the Assembly had decided to call a special session of the Committee to consider representations from a number of Member States.
That decision reflected a delicate balance of opinion in the Fifth Committee, she said. Its strength was adherence -- also in practice -- to the principle laid down in rule 160 of the rules of procedure. The European Union reiterated its strong commitment to procedures which allowed the Assembly to come to well-founded and well-substantiated decisions. Rule 160 must be applied in a consistent manner -- not the least being the equal treatment of Member States. The European Union had joined the consensus because the resolution had, albeit imperfectly, kept the Committee on Contributions on aboard in the consideration of Georgia's request. The European Union expected that the Committee would transmit its views on the matter to the General Assembly's fifty-third session. In any case, the fifty-fourth General Assembly would have to reconsider Georgia's case. The European Union regarded this temporary exemption as an extraordinary, ad hoc measure and as establishing no new precedent.
The Assembly then took up the report on the financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/53/1025), containing one draft resolution, which was adopted without a vote.
After action, Ms. RASI (Finland) spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
She said the Union now expected that the Secretariat would press ahead and make best use of the initial $200 million authority. It deeply regretted that the Assembly was unable to make a decision on fully assessing the $200 million that was requested by the Secretary-General. "We have serious concerns about how this might affect the ability of the Mission to properly carry out its mandate." The Union was also concerned about the possible adverse effects of the decision on the start-up and initial running of new and expanded peacekeeping missions, as it might lead to a shortage of funds available in the peacekeeping reserve fund in the near future. Furthermore, the decision would most probably lead to a further and very unfortunate suspension of reimbursements to troop- contributing countries.
In the Fifth Committee, the Union had advocated the only sound and fair solution -- the full assessment of the amount requested by the Secretary-General, she said. It noted time and time again that in light of the Mission's mandate, its size and sui generis nature, and because of time pressure, the Secretariat had really no choice but to present their best estimate for the resources needed. The Union had, however, accepted the lower figure of $125 million for assessment merely to preserve the consensus on the financing of a very important mission. It was not based on substance, nor on thorough consideration of UNMIK's needs. It was a political figure, pure and simple. Should UNMIK experience difficulties in fulfilling its mandate pending the adoption of the budget and the next assessment, the Assembly would bear the responsibility.
MARY JO B. ARAGON (Philippines) said her delegation reaffirmed its support for UNMIK and expressed its solidarity with the people of Kosovo in their efforts to rebuild a society devastated in the recent past. She regretted that detailed information and justification for the resources requested by the Secretary- General was not presented in his report. That lack of information made it difficult for the Fifth Committee to review the amount comprehensively. She hoped that the spirit of generosity that prevailed in the negotiations on the draft resolution would also prevail in the financing of other peacekeeping missions.
Mr. BURLEIGH (United States) said he regretted that the initial request for $200 million by the Secretary-General had not been accepted. He hoped that the $125 million would be a sufficient amount for the start-up of the United Nations mission in Kosovo. He also hoped that the Fifth Committee would take action on urgent basis when the budget was submitted. His delegation looked forward to reviewing the detailed United Nations budget when it was submitted, as well. He commended the tireless efforts of the Fifth Committee Chairman in getting the resolution to the Assembly.
YUMAIRA RODRIGUEZ DE MENDEZ (Venezuela) said that, although her delegation had joined the consensus on the draft, it was concerned at the lack of information in the Secretary-General's report and hoped that would be corrected so as to meet the concerns of Member States.
LUIS RAUL ESTEVEZ-LOPEZ (Guatemala) said the draft resolution did not fit into categories with which delegations were familiar. In the first place, its purpose was to finance an operation that was the result of an event whose origin had raised many questions, some of them unprecedented in the field of international relations. Secondly, the object of the expenditure -- the establishment of a provisional administration virtually to take over the civil administration of a territory or province, raised other types of questions relating to the content, scope and viability of what was undertaken by the United Nations through peacekeeping activities.
Thirdly, he said, the magnitude of the effort undertaken, as well as the risk of drawing human and financial resources away from other activities, also made it unusual. Fourthly, the size and characteristics of the operation, conceived as a contribution to the maintenance of peace, raised renewed uncertainties about the timely provision of the financial means required for operations of that type -- uncertainties arising from the delay in the payment of contributions already assessed. Finally, from the perspective of equity, the matter was closely bound up with the imperative that other unsettled areas, primarily in Africa, should receive a similar degree of attention from Member States.
He said that the huge expense that was about to occur might have been avoided. That statement was not to attribute blame for the outbreak of the conflict that had led to the present situation, but to state the obvious: whatever investment Member States collectively decided to make in order to ward off conflicts, or to safeguard peace after a conflict had flared up, was financially a wise decision. It was in that spirit that Guatemala supported the resolution.
EDUARDO GALLARDO APARICIO (Bolivia) said his delegation supported the resolution, considered the Mission to be of great importance and would in no way wish to obstruct it. But there was a need for the United Nations system to reflect differential treatment when financing peacekeeping and peace-building activities that had been considered in the Security Council, as opposed to those that had not been considered by the Council. The proliferation of peacekeeping operations had a greater impact on small and poor States as the costs of contributing to them diverted resources for development. When donor countries could not meet their obligations because peace missions were too expensive, Member States which respected their obligations would be penalized.
Action on Reform Measures
The Assembly then took up a draft resolution on the report of the Secretary-General on environment and human settlements (document A/53/L.78).
That draft was adopted without a vote.
After action, Ms. RASI (Finland) spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Norway.
She said the resolution completed the work which had started during last autumn's session of the fifty-third General Assembly. It took into account and complemented those decisions which had been taken during the twentieth session of the Governing Council of UNEP in February and the seventeenth session of the Commission for Human Settlements in May.
She said that only the spirit of compromise and willingness to listen to each other's concerns had made it possible to arrive at a consensus on a subject which was not only very acute, but also difficult and requiring special attention. The environment was one of those resources which should be used wisely and in a sustainable way for the benefit of the present and future generations.
ALISON DRAYTON (Guyana), on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that in view of the increasing importance of environmental issues, the Group of 77 and China were committed to the reform, strengthening and revitalization of institutions involved in that area.
NIKOLAI TCHOULKOV (Russian Federation) said he was grateful for the good organization of and balanced approach to the consultations. The Russian delegation was convinced that the document would facilitate further progress in enhancing work on the environment and on human settlements.
JENNIFER K. BERGERON (United States) said her country believed the resolution marked yet another step forward in efforts to improve programme quality and delivery in the field of environment and human settlements and was also an important piece in the overall process of United Nations reform. It was a necessary statement from the Assembly endorsing continued efforts at streamlining and enhancing the efforts of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, UNEP, and Habitat.
She said the United States had also been pleased to note that those organizations had taken other appropriate steps within their respective mandates, to improve coordination of their activities. "We realize that improving and strengthening the United Nations system in the field of environment and human settlements will be an ongoing process, and we hope that our efforts will continue to focus on those areas where real efficiencies can be achieved", she added.
JONGSOO YOON (Republic of Korea) said the resolution represented an important milestone for setting a new course of action in the fields of environment and human settlements. In view of the ever-deteriorating state of the global environment and human settlements, and the growing need to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system in that area, his delegation believed that the text should not be underestimated, as it contained important elements to promote the reform and strengthening of the Organization's activities in the fields of environment and human settlements.
With regard to the reform of UNEP and Habitat, he said the resolution did not contain all the elements originally expected. His delegation felt, however, that the decision to establish the Environmental Management Group would be considered as a major step forward to improve coordination among agencies. Furthermore, it attached importance to the institutions of the new ministerial forum, which would strengthen the governance mechanism of UNEP. Those new institutional arrangements would transform and better the current structure of the United Nations system of deliberations.
BAGHER ASADI (Iran), Coordinator of the draft resolution, thanked the representatives of Finland, Guyana and the Russian Federation, as well as all those who had participated in the informal consultations, for their goodwill and cooperation. He said the text of the resolution was a step forward in the reform process and that the next step would be to move even further forward.
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