GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTS TO STRENGTHEN UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH FOUR REGIONAL, RELATED ORGANIZATIONS

GA/10520
20 October 2006

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTS TO STRENGTHEN UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH FOUR REGIONAL, RELATED ORGANIZATIONS

20 October 2006
General Assembly
GA/10520
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-first General Assembly

Plenary

38th & 39th Meetings (AM & PM)


General Assembly acts to strengthen United Nations cooperation


with four regional, related organizations

 


Aim Is to Take Advantage of Global Alliances, Partnerships

For Effective Responses to New Challenges of Twenty-First Century


Advancing efforts to ensure that the United Nations continued to promote and take advantage of global alliances and partnerships for an effective tackling of the intertwined challenges of the twenty-first century, the General Assembly today adopted four resolutions aimed at enhancing the Organization’s ability to cooperate with regional and other organizations.


The resolutions covered, respectively, cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization; the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization; the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and the International Organization of la Francophonie.  All aimed to consolidate the ties of the United Nations system and the organizations towards the furtherance of shared objectives and the promotion of cooperation in resolving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems.


By all four drafts, adopted unanimously, the Assembly decided to continue its biennial consideration of cooperation issues and to include relevant items on the provisional agenda of the sixty-first session.


The resolution on the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization was introduced by the representative of the Russian Federation; on the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization by the representative of India; on the Inter-Parliamentary Union by the representative of Italy; and on the International Organization of la Francophonie by the representative of Romania.


The Assembly’s action capped a day-long joint debate, in which nearly 40 speakers urged the world body to take advantage of the expertise and on-the-ground experience of regional and local actors to assist in key areas such as promoting equitable development, in line with the Millennium Development Goals; monitoring environmental degradation and the use of natural resources; and even conflict resolution and peacebuilding, a particular concern for speakers from Africa, the Pacific island States, and the wider developing world.


Egypt’s representative said regional cooperation was the cornerstone of development.  He noted that the world’s Muslims were joined through the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and said peace efforts in the Middle East could benefit from the greater involvement and strengthened cooperation between the OIC and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.


Pakistan’s representative said the close relationship between the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States had led to the prompt issuance of a joint statement by them, and statements by other States, following the publication of the Prophet Mohammed caricatures.


The representative of China said the United Nations was the world’s most representative organization, and it must strengthen and expand its cooperation with regional and other international organizations in an increasingly closer world of globalization.


Making statements on behalf of regional groups were the representative of:  Ukraine, on behalf of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine); Papua New Guinea, for the Pacific Island Forum; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Belgium, for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Azerbaijan, for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); and Guinea-Bissau, for the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.


Also speaking today were the representatives of Switzerland, Sudan, Iran, Turkey, Solomon Islands, Togo, Uganda, Tunisia, Marshall Islands, Ethiopia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Serbia, Singapore, Armenia and Chile.


Also addressing the Assembly were high-level officials of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the League of Arab States, the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.


A major focus of today’s meeting was the need for coordination at all levels on issues related to nuclear matters.


The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization addressed the Assembly and said the international reaction in response to the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it had conducted a nuclear test was a demonstration of international commitment to establishing a universal and verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test ban.


In his address, the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons underscored the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and his organization.  He said the close relations helped ensure the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.


Ukraine’s representative made a statement in his capacity as Chair of the Preparatory Commission.


In other action today, the Assembly decided to heed the recommendation of its General Committee and enter two new items on its agenda for the current session, one on commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the other on renewing the terms of office of the ad litem judges on the Rwanda Tribunal.  Both items would be considered directly in the plenary.


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 October, when it will continue the process of electing a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the group of South American and Caribbean States.

Background


The General Assembly met today to consider the matter of cooperation between the United Nations and other organizations, as well as to consider a report of its General Committee.


Before the Assembly was the General Committee’s second report (document AIDS/61/250/Add.1), which recommends two items to be added to the Assembly’s agenda for the sixty-first session with both to be considered directly in the plenary.  One concerns the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  The other is on the extension of the terms of ad litem judges of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.


Also before the Assembly was a report by the Secretary-General on a regional-global security partnership:  challenges and opportunities (document A/61/204-S/2006/590*), compiled in response to a 2005 Security Council request on the matter.  In the report, the Secretary-General makes note of the growing interaction between the United Nations and partner organizations, including through annual high-level meetings with regional organizations and through the Council’s meetings with them.  The World Summit Outcome had been one culmination of that growing interaction.


That development, he continues, offers the opportunity to establish a more effective partnership based on a clear division of labour reflecting the comparative advantage of each organization.  A programme of action for capacity-building across the globe was another equally important opportunity.  Among the challenges were to clarify the identity and role of each member of the partnership and to elaborate that programme of action for capacity-building through recommendations such as the establishment of data banks and roundtables. 


Another report by the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations (document A/61/256) is based on high-level meetings with the heads of world regional and intergovernmental organizations dealing with peace, security, development and economic cooperation, as called for by the 2005 World Summit Outcome.  The meetings were held to strengthen direct contacts between some organizations, to collaborate in capacity-building and to create the coordinating framework for the implementation of United Nations policy and programme support.


The groups included were the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), Council of Europe, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Organization of American States (OAS), International Organization of la Francophonie, Pacific Islands Forum, Southern African Development Community (SADC), BSEC, Economic Cooperation Organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.


Two notes by the Secretary-General transmit relevant reports to the Assembly.  One is the 2005 report of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Committee for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/61/184).  The other is the 2005 report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (document A/61/185), which also contains the Organization’s 2004 report on implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction.


Finally before the Assembly were a number of draft resolutions.  By a draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the BSEC (document A/61/L.4), the Assembly would encourage that organization’s activities aimed at carrying out regional projects in the field of transport and energy infrastructure, focused on security of supply to the economies of the region.  The Assembly would appeal for greater cooperation between the organization and international financial institutions in co-financing feasibility and pre-feasibility studies of projects in the Black Sea area.  It would also take note of the organization’s strengthening relations with the European Union, and its cooperation with other bodies such as the World Bank and the World Tourism Organization aimed at promoting sustainable development.  The Assembly would invite parties to strengthen dialogues and to coordinate activities through secretariats.


A draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (document A/61/L.5) would have the Assembly take note of the work of that organization to strengthen United Nations efforts in respect of issues such as combating corruption and taking actions against terrorism and trafficking.  The Assembly would recommend that the Assembly’s consideration of the organization’s work should be scheduled to coincide with deliberations of the Sixth Committee (Legal) on the work of the International Law Commission so as to promote close interaction between the two bodies. 


A draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (document A/61/L.6) would have the Assembly encourage the Union to strengthen its contribution to the Assembly’s work, and to that of the Economic and Social Council, including in the area of revitalization.  The IPU was also encouraged to strengthen its role in newly-established bodies such as the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.  The Assembly would welcome the recently concluded partnership agreement between the Union and the United Nations Democracy Fund, and would look forward to growing cooperation in the realm of democracy and good governance.  The Assembly would call for further development of the annual parliamentary hearing at the United Nations and for closer involvement of the Union in elaborating system-wide strategies for involving parliaments in the work of the United Nations.  


And finally, by a draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie (document A/61/L.7), the Assembly would take note of the organization’s initiatives in the areas of conflict prevention, the promotion of peace and support for democracy, rule of law and human rights as set out and reaffirmed at the Ministerial Conference of la Francophonie on Conflict Prevention and Human Security (held in Canada in May).


The Assembly would also welcome the initiation of cooperation between the organization and the United Nations Peacekeeping Department, as well as the organization’s activities in implementing outcomes of United Nations Summits.  Specialized agencies and others in the United Nations system would be invited to work with the la Francophonie organization and regional commissions, to identify new synergies in favour of development in areas such as the elimination of poverty and training.


TIBOR TOTH, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, said the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it had conducted a nuclear test on 9 October had resulted in global expressions of concern and condemnation.  States signatories to the Preparatory Commission had expressed their deep concern and regret over the test at a special session of the Commission on 13 October.  The action of conducting the test went against the spirit of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  Support for the Treaty, in the light of that action, demonstrated the international commitment to establishing a universal and verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test ban.


Continuing, he said the announcement of the test meant the global moratorium on nuclear tests that had been observed since 1998 was presumably broken.  The action also brought the Commission under sharp scrutiny as to its organization, technical capabilities, work procedures and potential value for States signatories.  For the past 10 years, the Commission and its Provisional Technical Secretariat had focused on promoting the entry into force and the establishment of the verification regime and there had been progress.


To date, he said, 176 States had signed the treaty and 135 had ratified it.  The ratifying States included 34 of the 44 States whose ratification was required for the Treaty to enter into force.  In the two years since the last report to the Assembly, 3 States had signed and 16 had ratified the Treaty.  In addition to its monitoring activities, the Provisional Secretariat offered additional benefits related to research on the earth and climate. Altogether, 90 countries were hosting monitoring stations and contributing to verification capabilities.  Training programmes and workshops were ongoing to support enhancement of national capabilities in implementing the Treaty.  Since the June 2000 agreement between the United Nations and the Commission, joint activities between the two had intensified.  The Commission should now be granted full membership in the United Nations System’s Chief Executive Board, to contribute its essential expertise in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to the work of the United Nations family.


ROGELIO PFIRTER, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), briefed the Assembly on its activities and programmes, and underscored the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and his Organization.  He said both of them continued to seek support and guidance in ensuring the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.


He said his organization had 180 member countries and had carried out more than 2,600 inspections at over 1000 sites in 76 countries.  It had used 85 per cent of its resources to verify the destruction of chemical weapons and had certified that 15,094 metric tons -— 21 per cent of the declared worldwide stockpiles -— of Category 1 and 2 chemical weapons had been destroyed.  The Organization had 12 destruction facilities operating around the world and was planning to open more in the next three years.


In the United States, despite enormous financial and technical difficulties, more than 37 per cent of the stockpiles had been destroyed.  He applauded the United States for its dedication to the Convention’s purpose.  He said the Russian Federation had pledged to fulfil its obligations under the Convention, and his organization had destroyed over 6 per cent of the declared chemical stockpiles.  The remaining tonnage of chemical warfare agents was scheduled to be destroyed by 2012, as new destruction facilities became available.


Renewing the situation in other countries, he praised India’s elimination of 67 per cent of its declared stockpile, and said it signalled the country’s dedication to the area of multilateral disarmament.  Libya had destroyed its Category 3 weapons, had begun to destroy its Category 2 stockpiles and was set to complete the elimination by 2010.  Albania was expected to completely destroy its stockpiles by the end of April 2007.


He said requests by five possessor States for extensions of their destruction deadlines, some until 2012, would be considered by the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention at its eleventh session in December.


Applauding the support his organization had received from the world’s chemical industry, he said the preventative efforts of the Organization had continued, and 1,200 chemical industry inspections had been finished.  He noted that over 98 per cent of the world’s chemical industry was located in States parties to the Convention.  A majority of those States parties had created a national authority for domestic implementation of the Convention.  However, some countries were lagging behind in implementing national requirements, which included the introduction of legislation forbidding their nationals or entities from engaging in activities proscribed by the Convention.  His organization had helped more than 130 State Parties with their national efforts.


Programmes of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had been made possible by the contributions from a number of States and the European Union.  The Organization was operating with zero-nominal budgetary growth and hoped to achieve the same for the 2007 budget.  Fiscal discipline was achieved without affecting the Organization’s activities.


He said that, despite the progress made under the Convention, much needed to be done in the coming years.  The final deadline to destroy every chemical weapon by States parties was 29 April 2012 and attaining this singular landmark was central to the Convention’s success.  Requests for extensions deserved consideration but possessor States parties had to respect the Convention requirements.


Obtaining full implementation of article VII by all States parties was another challenge, he said, urging that key provisions, including systematic declarations, industry monitoring and regulatory measures to track chemicals of concern, had to be implemented by every State party.


He observed that only 15 United Nations Member States had failed to endorse the Convention.  Some States were taking steps to become members, but there was a small group of Member States, which were reluctant to join, citing regional conflicts.  Not joining the Convention was unacceptable and illegal under international law.  He said one remaining State reluctant to join was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a disturbing fact, given the concern that that country could have chemical weapons stockpiles.


He appealed to some key countries in the Middle East to become party to the Convention, and mentioned one upcoming avenue for dialogue between reluctant States and the Organization in Rome next week, at a workshop on the universality of the Convention in the Mediterranean Basin.  He congratulated Israel, Lebanon and Syria for accepting the invitation to attend the workshop, and said he hoped to have other opportunities to continue the dialogue with Egypt.


He said his organization would continue its assistance and support to States parties, on capacity building and economical and technological development.  Continued training on emergency assistance would also continue.


Introduction of Drafts


VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), introducing a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/61/L.4), said that one of the best ways to effectively address the threats and challenges of the day was to increase cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional groups and organizations, focusing on the advantages of both.  The reach and breadth of the United Nations was well known, and regional and subregional organizations often had a clearer picture of what was happening on the ground and they often had better equipment and even their own financing mechanisms.


The Russian Federation, he said, would like to see deepened cooperation between the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as groups such as the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, and Economic Community of West African States.  He also called for more cooperation with bodies, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), when mechanisms for crisis reaction were being set up.  Still, Russia believed that the potential for mutual advantageous cooperation between the United Nations and mechanisms established within the Commonwealth of Independence States had far from been exhausted, and indeed should be enhanced.


He said Russia also believed that cooperation should be enhanced between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, which was working at the regional level to “build a Europe without any dividing lines,” by protecting and promoting human rights, encouraging human rights education, and promoting cultural diversity.  Under Russia’s chairmanship, he continued, the Council had also expanded its active involvement in regional and global anti-terrorism efforts, including working with civil society in that area.


He said his delegation would shortly introduce another draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe.  On cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), of which Russia was the current Chair, he said the relevant draft under consideration stressed, among other things, the priorities of the work of that organization.  The text would give impetus to further cooperation between the two important organizations.


TARIQ ANWAR ( India) introduced a draft text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (document A/61/L.5).  He said that his country, which was president of that organization for the year, would stress the need for it to expand its activities.  He cited, in particular; promotion, teaching and advising on matters related to international law and education; the offering of fellowships to Asian and African students for higher learning in the international law field and the publication of books devoted to international law.


ALDO MANTOVANI ( Italy) introduced a draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU (document A/61/L.6).  He said the text had been based largely on the Secretary-General’s relevant report, and highlighted the current important role world Parliaments were playing in international affairs, as well as in the work of the United Nations.  He hoped the text could be adopted by consensus.


MIHNEA MOTOC ( Romania), on behalf of the International Organization of la Francophonie, then introduced a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and that organization (document A/61/l.7).  He said that his delegation supported the text on the BSEC, but would stress that political and economic development in that region was being hampered by lingering conflicts.  While the potential for the Black Sea Basin region was huge, it could not participate fully in the international community while dealing with political and economic instability.  Therefore, international cooperation with organizations in the region and the wider international community would be welcomed.


He said that, speaking as chair of the latest Conference of Heads of State of la Francophonie, the current text had already received strong support, even beyond the French-speaking world. It reflected the importance of regional cooperation and cultural and linguistic diversity. It also stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation between the United Nation in areas of democracy, security, equitable development and other areas of interest, including placing new communication technologies at the service of development and education.


VOLODYMYR KHANDOGY (Ukraine), speaking for the countries of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development -- GUAM (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), expressed support for cooperation between the United Nations, to OSCE and the BSEC (BSEC).  He said the GUAM countries believed that peacekeeping was an integral part of the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, and it remained crucially important that the international community, in particular the OSCE and the United Nations, took steps to settle protracted conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan.


He called for the implementation of resolutions by the Security Council and the decisions of the OSCE, to settle conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  He said the GUAM countries attached great importance to stronger cooperation between the United Nations and OSCE, and welcomed growth in cooperation between the United Nations and the BSEC.  The GUAM States remained ready to take an active part in the promotion of energy projects in the Black-Sea Caspian region within the framework of economic cooperation organization.


ROBERT G. AISI (Papua New Guinea), speaking for the Pacific Islands Forum, said cooperative activities between the United Nations and the Forum had been gaining momentum in recent years.  However, there was still room for strengthening that relationship and shoring up the partnership even further, particularly by expanding cooperation with regional partners such as the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme and the Forum Fisheries Agency.  He stressed that certain Pacific nations, such as the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, had minimal or no United Nations presence on the ground, which made it difficult for those nations to get the support necessary for making progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development commitments.


He noted the proactive engagement of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies, and as the Secretary-General’s decision to establish a United Nations presence in those countries as well as an expanded presence in the Solomon Islands.  “Our people”, he said, “must see activities on the ground that give practical effect to the Pacific leaders’ vision of a region that is respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, the full observance of democratic values and for its defence of human rights.”


He said the undertaking of programmes that improved the livelihoods of the people of the region was a litmus test for the validity of such partnerships; his delegation would shortly submit a draft text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Forum for action by the Assembly.


MARGARET HUGHES FERRARI, ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking for the Countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), called on the United Nations and the international community to assist Haiti in its development efforts.  She said the Caribbean countries continued to utilize a variety of approaches for interaction between the United Nations and the region.  They sought support of the United Nations and its specialized agencies in a number of priority areas, including the further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action.


A top priority, she said, was crime and security, because of the use of small arms and light weapons in illegal activities throughout the Caribbean, as well as narcotic drugs and money laundering.  As a result, it was necessary to retain the offices of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the region.  The Community hoped that pleas to the United Nations would not go unheard.  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) continued to provide technical support to CARICOM and the region intended to enhance cooperation with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.  The region also enjoyed continued collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and United Nations Environment Programme.


She said collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization in food security led to the development of preventive measures against the Avian Flu and a three-year project had been developed.  Another effective relationship was between the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the CARICOM-Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS.  The region also looked forward to developing similar partnerships with other relevant agencies to address non-communicable diseases.


JOHAN VERBEKE ( Belgium), Chairman-in-Office of OSCE, said he reiterated the commitment for close cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization, which was demonstrated through participation in Security Council debates, and the attendance of many United Nations high-level representatives at OSCE meetings and seminars.  On 16 March 2006, the Permanent Council of the OSCE declared its readiness to continue its role as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, as enhanced under the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit and Security Council resolution 1631 (2005).


He said the Permanent Council of the OSCE called on the Secretary-General to take steps to strengthen cooperation in this regard; in order to underpin the close cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations, a resolution of the General Assembly on their relations would be welcome.  It had not been possible at the 59th and 60th Sessions:  Belgium remained strongly committed to such a resolution in the current Session.


ILGAR MAMMADOV (Azerbaijan), speaking for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said a draft text on cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC had already been distributed among United Nations Member States and that his delegation would shortly begin informal consultations on that resolution.  It highlighted the efforts of the OIC leadership in strengthening the Conference’s role in conflict prevention, confidence-building, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation among its Member States, as well as in conflict situations involving Muslim communities.


He said the text also stressed the need for continued cooperation between the two organizations in post-conflict resolution and conflict prevention, among others.  It encouraged the United Nations system to continue to