22 December 2010

General Assembly, Edging towards Year’s End, Acts on Outstanding Items, Filling Seats on Peacebuilding Commission, Mapping Population, Development Follow-Up

22 December 2010
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


72nd Meeting (AM)

General Assembly, Edging Towards Year’s End, Acts on Outstanding Items, Filling

Seats on Peacebuilding Commission, Mapping Population, Development Follow-Up

Acting on a number of outstanding plenary-generated decisions and administrative matters, the General Assembly this morning elected members to the Peacebuilding Commission, adopted resolutions on cooperation between the United Nations and regional entities, and outlined its plans for a major four-year push to assess, strengthen and reaffirm support for the world body’s historic 1994 action plan on population and development.

Adopting a consensus resolution, the Assembly emphasized the need for Governments to recommit, “at the highest political level”, to achieving the goals and objectives of the Programme of Action of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development.  The Assembly acknowledged that while the action plan was set to formally end in 2014, its goals and objectives would remain valid beyond that date.  And since many Governments might not have met the goals by that time, it decided to extend the Programme of Action and the key actions for implementation beyond 2014, and ensure follow-up to achieve that end.

At that landmark Conference, held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994, world leaders had agreed on the inextricable links between population and development, and that empowering women and meeting people’s needs for education and health, including reproductive health, were necessary for balanced and sustainable development.  That Conference’s 20-year Programme of Action focused on providing universal education; reducing infant, child and maternal mortality; and ensuring universal access by 2015 to reproductive health care.

The Assembly’s new resolution recalled that implementation of the action plan required adequate mobilization of resources at the national and international levels, as well as new and additional resources for developing countries from all available funding mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources.  Governments are not expected to meet the goals and objectives of the Programme of Action single-handedly, the resolution states.

Stressing the importance of protecting the achievements made at Cairo, responding to new population and development-related challenges and to the changing development environment, the Assembly also decided to convene a special session on the topic at its sixty-ninth session “in order to assess the status of implementation of the Programme of Action and to renew political support for actions required for the full achievement of its goals and objectives”.

Further by the text, the Assembly decided that the Commission on Population and Development, which was scheduled to hold, at its forty-fourth session, a general debate on the further implementation of the Programme of Action in the light of the twentieth anniversary of the Conference, should convene an interactive discussion during its forty-seventh session on the assessment of the status of implementation of the Programme of Action.

Explaining her position after action, Kenya’s representative said her Government was pleased to join consensus.  “The adoption of this resolution is indeed historic,” she said, as it recognized the nexus between the Programme of Action objectives and the Millennium Development Goals.  It also was noteworthy that the Programme of Action was being extended in part because its goals had not been achieved, and likely would not be by 2015.

She urged Governments to achieve those goals by adhering to the principles set forth at the Conference.  Countries must also integrate population and development strategies into national planning, and put in place others to alleviate poverty and empower women.  With the extension, States gained time to pursue targets pertaining to maternal health and child mortality.  Genuine progress would only be made by pursuing meaningful international cooperation.

In other action, the Assembly adopted three resolutions on cooperation between the United Nations and regional entities, including a text on cooperation with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was introduced by the representative of Viet Nam.  The resolution recognized the value of partnership between the two in providing timely and effective responses to global issues of mutual concern.  It also encouraged effective cooperation between ASEAN member States and the appropriate United Nations agencies in the delivery of operational activities in the area of development at the country level, “particularly efforts to close the development gaps”.

Adopting a resolution introduced by the representative of Trinidad and Tobago on cooperation between the United Nations and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Assembly expressed its deep concern that the vulnerabilities of Caribbean countries were being “seriously exacerbated” by persistent challenges posed by, among others, the ongoing crises in food and energy security, the impact of global warming, the loss of biodiversity, and a fragile and uneven international financial system.

Noting the devastating 12 January earthquake in Haiti, and the severe impacts on Haiti, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines of Hurricane Tomas in October and November, the Assembly called for “vastly increased efforts by developed countries” to strengthen the multilateral development framework to enable the United Nations development system to respond more effectively to the needs of programme countries, so that they, including the countries of CARICOM, could pursue their development efforts on the basis of secure and predictable funding.

By a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, introduced by the representative of the Netherlands, the Assembly took note of that organization’s 2008 and 2009 annual reports, and welcomed the decision of the fourteenth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) to appoint Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü as the Director-General of the organization’s Technical Secretariat.

Also this morning, the Assembly elected five members to the Organizational Committee of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission for two-year terms beginning on 1 January 2011.  Those States were:   Benin, Brazil, Indonesia, Tunisia and Uruguay.  [In a meeting on 22 December 2009, the Assembly elected Czech Republic and Peru as members of the Organizational Committee, in line with the Commission’s founding resolution, which charges the Assembly with the election of seven members “giving due representation from all regional groups” in the Committee’s overall representation.]

In a related move, the Assembly took note of a 16 December letter (document A/65/635) to its President from the Facilitator of the group of leading financial contributors to the Organization, informing him that that group of States had decided that Canada, Japan, Norway and Sweden would serve full two-year terms on the Commission’s Organizational Committee in 2011 and 2012; and Germany and the Netherlands would each serve a one-year term in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The Assembly took note of another 16 December letter (document A/65/653) to its President from the Facilitator of the Organization’s main troop contributing countries, informing him that that group had decided that the terms of office of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Nigeria and Pakistan on the Commission’s organizational Committee would begin on 1 January 2011 and end on 31 December 2012.

The draft resolution on follow-up to the International Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014 was introduced by the representative of Yemen (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China).

The General Assembly will reconvene at a time and date to be announced.

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