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GA/11602
12 December 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 70th & 71st Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly Adopts, without Vote, Resolution Focused on Breaking Link Between Trade of Illicit Diamonds, Armed Conflict

Five Additional Resolutions Adopted Address Humanitarian Assistance, Landlocked Developing Countries Programme of Action

The General Assembly today adopted, without a vote, six resolutions covering humanitarian assistance, the Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries and the role of diamonds in conflict.

The representative of China, introducing the text on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict, underscored the importance of breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts.  He further noted the enormous responsibility of the Kimberley process on the livelihood of millions of people around the world, and called for strengthening the implementation of the peer review system, as well as promoting research and the traceability of diamonds.

The Assembly, by the text, recognized the devastating impact of conflicts fuelled by the trade in conflict diamonds on the peace, safety and security of people in affected countries and the systematic and gross human rights violations perpetrated in such conflicts.  It also reaffirmed its strong and continuing support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Kimberley Process as a whole.  That process, launched in 2000 as a joint initiative of Governments, industry and civil society, aimed at stemming the flow of “conflict diamonds” — rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate Governments.

In addition, the Assembly welcomed Security Council resolution 2153 (2014) and encouraged the Friends of Côte d’Ivoire to continue to provide support to that country for the implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, as well as for its continued participation in regional cooperation and law enforcement activities, such as the Mano River Basin initiative, as requested by the Council.

The Head of the European Union Delegation, also speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Kimberley Process Working Group on Monitoring, pointed to the success of the Kimberley Process engagement in Côte d’Ivoire as well, saying it had played a positive role in a situation where production and trade of diamonds might affect peace and security.

The Russian Federation’s representative noted the dynamic growth and authority of the Kimberley Process and the collective prevention of the appearance of conflict diamonds on the market.  However, the legal basis of the Process needed to be further developed.  New administrative decisions needed to be adopted, as well as timely decisions, taking into account how diamonds were handled in the mining sector.

The representative of Botswana stated that, as a founding member of the Kimberley Process, his country placed a high premium on the legitimate exploitation, sale and trade of rough diamonds.  Diamonds had transformed the lives of his country’s communities, bringing food to tables, and sending children to school.  Botswana was committed to working with the international community and stakeholders, he emphasized, and would continue to aim at “doing good with diamonds while using the industry to invest in our people”.

Before taking action on the resolutions addressing humanitarian assistance, delegates further discussed strategies that could better help people in need.  The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) noted that 2014 was witnessing the greatest number of displaced persons by conflict and other violence since the Second World War.  For that reason, States had a duty to not only better prevent and resolve conflicts, but to improve the protection of people impacted by them.

The representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) also linked the efforts to reduce disaster risk with progress in reducing climate change.  As the international community prepared for many humanitarian events, including the very first World Humanitarian Summit, policies and recommendation were needed on strengthening resilient communities that had the capacity to resist shocks and bounce back from disasters.

Following adoption of the related resolution, the representative of Zambia, and Chair of the Bureau of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries said that the successful adoption of the Vienna Programme Action for Landlocked Developing Countries had demonstrated a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those countries, and voiced his expectation that such concerns would be meaningfully reflected in the post-2015 agenda.

Also speaking today were representatives of Canada, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Syria, Ukraine, New Zealand, United States, Japan, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Cuba, Singapore, Israel, Australia, Bolivia (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China), Nepal, Paraguay, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Japan.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of Israel, Russian Federation and Syria.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 15 December to consider a range of items on its agenda.

Background

The General Assembly met today to take action of four draft resolutions on Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance; The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict; and strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (document A/69/L.40); and the organization of work, adoption of the agenda and allocation of items and draft resolution on the Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024.  For background, see Press Release GA/11601.

Statements

GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) noted that the 2014 United Nations coordinated appeal for humanitarian aid requested a record total of US$ 16.9 billion.  The growing gap between needs and available resources meant that strengthened coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance was integral.  Despite welcoming the General Assembly resolutions on humanitarian issues, he said it was unacceptable that Member States did not recognize the capacity of local communities to participate in their own recovery.  To face growing challenges, including the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Iraq, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to convene the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV (Russian Federation) said his Government was increasing its scope in humanitarian operations with the United Nations.  Because the 2016 first Humanitarian World Summit would allow States to share best practices, it was important that the process be transparent and inclusive.  Adding that the Russian Federation was putting together a multilateral crisis and disaster reaction centre, he emphasized the growing role of Governments in lending assistance on their territories during crises.  However, that principle was not always being carried out, voicing concern about the situation in Southwest Ukraine with the approaching winter, especially given the scope of destruction of key industry there.  The bans on Kyiv’s financial institutions had left many of the most vulnerable people in a difficult situation.  The Russian Federation had announced financial assistance to all areas of Ukraine, as well as sending food, aid, and materials.  Every case of use of force against humanitarian workers had to be carefully investigated, including incident involving the United Nations official in Donetsk, who on evidence had been shot by Ukrainian forces.

FARAH T A S H ALGHARABALLY (Kuwait) commended Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and her personnel who had worked so hard in providing humanitarian assistance efforts during emergencies.  Itemizing the funds that were outlined in the relevant report, she noted that Africa was one of the major beneficiaries, receiving about 59 per cent of the fund.  She commended the strengthening of assistance through prompt financing from States.  Regarding relief for crisis, she agreed with the approach outlined in the reports that would pre-empt the crises.  Because the Israeli Government had entered its eighth year of a blockade in Palestine, she asked that it should cease immediately.  Kuwait had adopted a principled approach in providing humanitarian assistance. International partnerships were important, she said, underscoring the importance of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.  In an effort to provide assistance to the most affected areas her Government had decided to double its contributions.

AKAN RAKHMETULLIN (Kazakhstan) called for a timely implementation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Action Plan to bring about a transformative agenda towards improving humanitarian leadership and cooperation.  As well, the Common Framework for Capacity building for Emergency Preparedness should be optimized to synergize efforts of humanitarian development organization for better country readiness Humanitarian financing was the key to effective aid.  The Consolidated Appeals Processes, the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Humanitarian Fund needed to increase their focus on humanitarian action for all.  His country supported the successful operation of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) Central Emergency Response Fund as an important tool to ensure predictable and timely funding of international humanitarian operations.  Transforming itself from a recipient to a donor country, Kazakhstan had established its own agency for the provision of international development assistance which also engaged in humanitarian assistance and funding.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said his country required a solution as a matter of urgency, beginning with addressing the root causes of the ongoing conflict.  One could not deal with humanitarian assistance without dealing with countries that were aiding and abetting terrorist groups.  The Security Council had, to date, adopted two resolutions recognizing terrorist groups attacking Syrians.  However, some believed terrorists were members of the Syrian opposition, which had only exacerbated the situation.  The anti-terrorism Council resolutions must be implemented so that humanitarian assistance not be seized by those armed terrorist groups.  As long as terrorism was being fuelled from abroad, the crisis would be a humanitarian and political one that amounted to a vicious cycle of violence.  Countries assisting terrorism in Syria were mocking the suffering of peoples and were pushing forward their own agenda to “break” the Syrian Government, he said.  When Doctors Without Borders visited the north of Syria, its director had entered the country illegally.  The Syrian Government had shown its willingness towards cooperation and coordination regarding the humanitarian response plan and was expecting from OCHA and other organizations that they abided by their mandates and respected relevant Security Council resolutions.

YAROSLAV GOLITSYN (Ukraine) said Ukraine’s peaceful life and development has been fundamentally disrupted by the illegal annexation of Crimea.  Despite a number of ceasefire agreements, there were serious violations daily.  The displacement of persons was on the rise and 5.1 million Ukrainian citizens were living in conflict-affected areas.  He called for international expert and technical support to help meet the basic humanitarian needs in Ukraine.  Although his Government had decided to deliver gas and electricity to civilians in the militant-controlled areas, there were obvious obstacles in delivery and distribution due to militants’ interference.  The sole responsibility for depriving the local population of social benefits rested with the illegal armed groups who had seized funds from the Ukrainian Government’s social allocations to the region.  The eight humanitarian convoys sent by the Russian Federation from August to November had illegally crossed Ukraine’s border and were not coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  Furthermore, the contents were largely unknown.  He called on Ukraine’s partners to support the launch of the Strategic Response Plan and the fulfilment of the Preliminary Response Plan, a joint venture between his Government and the United Nations humanitarian community.

JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said there had been a stark rise in humanitarian need across the globe due to armed conflict.  Respect for international humanitarian law was paramount to protecting civilians from armed conflict and he urged parties to allow humanitarian aid to get through to those who need it.  It was heartening that the international community had taken steps to promote humanitarian access, including by authorizing cross-border aid delivery into Syria.  He was also pleased that this year’s humanitarian resolutions included the need to protect medical personnel.  Because New Zealand was at the forefront of adapting to climate change, he called on nations to engage in the Sendai Third World Conference Disaster Risk Reduction.  Regarding the Ebola outbreak, although the international response was encouraging, much work remained.

TERRI ROBL (United States) said her country was deeply committed to working with the United Nations and other organizations to address the world’s current crises.  Ongoing conflicts, more than 50 million people forcibly displaced and the Ebola virus outbreak had shown that more humanitarian actors were needed to be included in responses.  Attacks against health centres and personnel were a grave concern and emergencies in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic must be addressed through sustained funding.  Efforts must better include non-governmental organizations in responses, she said, noting that almost 100 Members States were contributing of assistance efforts.  The United States looked forward to discussing the humanitarian system and the reforms needed to keep pace with realities.  She urged the United Nations to continue its efforts regarding a needs-based approach in crisis responses.

HIROSHI MINAMI (Japan) said as the international community faced unprecedented crises, United Nations humanitarian mechanisms were “woefully over-stretched”.  For its part, Japan was providing assistance to a range of countries and regions, including the Middle East, to prevent extremism from taking root.  It was also providing humanitarian response and efforts to fight Ebola.  Welcoming the draft resolutions being considered, he said the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 would be a chance for actors to gather and discuss challenges ahead.  His country would be hosting the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and would be sharing its national experience from the 2011 earthquake, including the build-back-better concept.

MAY-ELIN STENER (Norway), noting the challenges faced by the humanitarian system, said a better fit was for the future, based on principled and effective action.  That could be achieved only through accountability to affected populations, as well as by ensuring access to life saving assistance for those who needed it.  International humanitarian law set clear obligations for the parties to armed conflicts to protect the civilian population, she continued, calling for humanitarian actors to address those needs and provide protection where States failed to do so.  In practical terms, it meant for States and parties to conflict to grant rapid and unimpeded access to affected populations.  Expressing concern over attacks on schools and schoolchildren, she also called for efforts to ensure continued education for children in conflict and crises.  Voicing concern over attacks faced by medical facilities and health workers, she underscored that their protection was set out in international humanitarian law.

Y. HALIT ҪEVIK (Turkey) noting that his country would host the first World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, said the preparatory process currently underway enabled Member States and all relevant stakeholders to address issues of aid effectiveness, serving people in need, innovation and risk management, with the aim of sharing best practices and broadening partnerships in the humanitarian field.  A comprehensive approach was needed.  Turning to the crisis in Syria, he said increased support was needed from the international community.  Since the beginning of the crisis Turkey had spent more than $4.5 billion from its national budget for Syrians in Turkey, also continuing support to other humanitarian emergencies, from Central African Republic to Ukraine.  Indeed, the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report indicated that Turkey had become the third largest Government donor in 2013.  Furthermore, its contributions to the Central Emergency Response Fund had reached $2.25 million since the Fund’s inception.  Turkey had also co-sponsored the HOPEFOR initiative, which aimed to strengthen coordination of civil and military assets in natural disaster relief operations.

OLIVIER ZEHNDER (Switzerland) noted that due to the intransigence of some States, it was impossible to progress at the normative level on central issues such as humanitarian access and accountability to affected populations.  He expressed his concern that the level of funding for humanitarian appeals continued to fall, while needs increased, impacting negatively on effectiveness of humanitarian aid.  Narrowing that gap required better risk prevention, the development of new partnerships and closer cooperation between development and humanitarian actors, he added.  He also reminded all parties to conflict that rapid, unhindered access to civilian populations in need must be guaranteed.  In addition, further action must be taken to align planning and context and risk analysis processes on both the humanitarian aid and development sides.  The World Humanitarian Summit scheduled for 2016 was a unique opportunity to response to the challenges faced by the humanitarian community, he emphasized, calling for a profound shift from a reactive approach to crises to one that was preventative, collaborative and inclusive.

OSCAR LEÓN GONZÁLEZ (Cuba) said his country supported the humanitarian relief system of the United Nations, but that efforts needed to be redoubled to put an end to the injustices facing the Palestinian people.  He reaffirmed Cuba’s firm and resolute support for the Palestinian State to be recognized with pre-1967 borders and call for their full membership at the United Nations.  Children, women and old people had been affected in the crisis there, with over 11,000 injured and more than a third forced from their homes.  He also called for the immediate withdrawal of Israel from Palestine, the cessation of the blockade, and the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people.  Expressing his full support for the setting of a deadline for the withdrawal of Israel from the territories, he also demanded that an immediate end be put to all the illegal practices in the region.  Syria’s sovereignty needed to be respected amidst their conflict.

ANNE CHRISTENSEN of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), noting the recent typhoon in the Philippines, said that efforts to adapt to climate change and efforts to reduce disaster risk were closely interlinked.  It required coordinate and comprehensive integration of those considerations in private and public planning and investment, and in the humanitarian and development agendas.  The Ebola epidemic had provided important lessons to invest in the health care systems of the affected countries, focusing on the countries’ recovery.  As the international community prepared for many humanitarian events, including the very first World Humanitarian Summit, the focus was to work with Member States and partners to adopt policies and recommendations that strengthen resilience in communities with the capacity to resist shocks, manage risks and bounce back from disasters and emergencies which had been lost between humanitarian and development agendas.

PHILIP SPOERRI of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said improved coordination mechanisms, the development of guidelines and the adoption of new technologies had made it easier to better address the needs and aspirations of vulnerable groups.  However, 2014 had seen the highest number of displaced people by conflict and other forms of violence for the first time since the Second World War.  To reverse that negative trend, States had a duty to better prevent and resolve conflicts, and improve protection and assistance for those caught up in armed violence.  Further, States should demonstrate political commitment by incorporating humanitarian rules in domestic law.  Over the last two and half years, the ICRC had recorded 2,400 violent incidents against health-care workers and facilities in twenty three countries around the world.  States had the duty to investigate and bring to justice the suspected perpetrators.  Additionally, they must seek to avoid the line between political and military initiatives, and humanitarian action.  The ICRC insisted on upholding its unique identity as a strictly neutral humanitarian organization, and stood ready to take an active part in the discussions aimed at clarifying the purpose and relevancy of humanitarian action.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The General Assembly turned to several draft resolutions relating to humanitarian issues.  The representative of the Secretariat read out an oral statement of financial implications arising from the draft resolution, the strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (document A/69/L.40), saying that in the absence of the modalities of the organization of the World Humanitarian Summit, the adoption of the draft text would not give rise to any financial implications.

Turning to the draft resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/69/L.33), the draft resolution was then adopted without a vote, after which the representative of the Secretariat read out additional co-sponsors of the draft resolution.  

By the terms of that text, the Assembly condemned in the strongest possible terms the alarming increase in threats to and deliberate targeting of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel and the unprecedented increase in the scale and the increasingly complex nature of threats faced by such personnel, such as the disturbing trend of politically and criminally motivated attacks, including extremist attacks, against them.

The Assembly adopted without a vote a draft resolution on the twentieth anniversary of the participation of volunteers, “White Helmets”, in the activities of the United Nations in the field of humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and technical cooperation for development (document A/69/L.37).  The representative of the Secretariat read out additional co-sponsors of the draft resolution.

By its terms, the Assembly recalled its resolution 49/139 B, in which it welcomed the establishment of a national volunteer corps called “White Helmets”.  The Assembly also recognized in the light of the increasing number and growing magnitude and complexity of natural disasters and other emergencies, the need to utilize fully the national potential of countries to provide the United Nations system, on a standby basis, with support for its activities in the area of humanitarian emergency assistance, as well as in the promotion of a smooth transition from relief to rehabilitation, reconstruction and development, which should contribute to more coordinated responses in these fields.

Also adopted without a vote was the draft resolution on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (document A/69/L.40), followed by the representative of the Secretariat reading out additional co-sponsors.  By that text, the Assembly urged Member States, the United Nations and other relevant organizations to take further steps to provide a coordinated emergency response to the food and nutrition needs of affected populations, while aiming to ensure that such steps are supportive of national strategies and programmes aimed at improving food security, among other things.

Right of Reply

Exercising the right of reply, a representative of Israel said that every year they were forced to listen to lectures from the Palestinian “delegate”, which were “long and wrong”.  Listening to them, it appeared they had no responsibility for the wellbeing of their people, or their economy.  The reconstruction of Gaza was not high on [Mahmoud] Abbas’ agenda.  He had not set foot in the Gaza strip in the last three months because he was far too consumed with dreaming up new ways to blame Israel for their problems.  Thousands of tons of cement and construction materials had been made available by Israel for the reconstruction.  Every year 4 per cent of the Palestinian Authority budget was used to pay salaries of people in jail.  “The more you slay, the more we pay”, he said of the Authority, adding that maybe they could start paying their debt of $430 million dollars to Israel for electricity.  He also recalled the financial scandals of some Fatah leaders, European aid monies had been shown to be missing and 64 per cent of Palestinians thought that Hamas was corrupt.  The Palestinian Authority was grounded in impunity, and it had to stop blaming Israel and start being accountable.  Israel was committed to the two-State solution.

A representative of Russian Federation, also in exercise of the right of reply, recalled that in regards to the convoys of humanitarian assistance being sent to Donbas, the word illegal had been used.  He called on the Ukrainian customs’ officers to check the convoys.  In fact, the last two convoys had been examined by border and customs officials, and nothing inside was found except aid materials.  He said he regretted that the International Committee of the Red Cross had been unable to coordinate schedules to participate in the handling of the Russian Federation’s aid.

In exercise of the right of reply, a representative of Syria said that allegations by the representative of Turkey were based on nothing.  The Government of Turkey had refused to use the Nusaybin border for the crossing of humanitarian reasons.  The United Nations officials and even the Central Intelligence Agency official recognized that terrorists were being trained in Turkey.  In Syria there were 14,000 fighters who had entered Syria either by the northern border with Turkey or they fell from the sky from Mars, with the help of NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States].  According to Turkish reports there were practices by the Justice Party in Turkey that allowed the borders to be open so that terrorists could cross into Syria.  In addition, the Global Research had written that Turkey was protecting the Daesh combatants and providing everything they needed.

Procedural Matters

Making a point of order, the representative of Singapore said that, according to General Assembly rules of procedure, the representative of the European Union Delegation should speak after all regional and major groupings unless the representative was speaking also in representation of a Member State.  She then requested that the representative of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) speak before the European Union Delegation.

The Vice-President of the General Assembly said he had been informed by the Secretariat of issues raised by the representative of Singapore and that her statement had been noted.

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

WEI CHUANZHONG (China) introduced the draft resolution, the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict: breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts (document A/69/L.39).  Reading out a list of co-sponsors, he said it was a consensus text.  He then recalled that since the inception of the Kimberley Process, the certification of diamonds had been endorsed by representatives of 81 countries, including 28 member States of the European Union.  Civil society representatives had also shown interest in participating in the Kimberley Process, he added, saying that also the diamond producers had been participating in the process.  Noting the enormous responsibility of the Kimberley Process on the livelihood of millions of people around the world, he called for strengthening the implementation of the peer review system, as well as to promote research and traceability of diamonds, among others.

Statements

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, said that as Chair of the Kimberley Process Working Group on Monitoring, he welcomed the Guidance Document for a new template for annual reporting, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding between the Union, Belgium and the People’s Republic of China on bilateral electronic exchange of Kimberley Process certificates.  The data-sharing platform on which it was based could serve as a good practice example, particularly for international diamond trading centres, to enhance transparency and information sharing.  He also called for all participants to host a review visit every three years and commended the agreement by the Kimberley Process plenary to assess the relevant recommendations of the Financial Action Task force report related to risks in the diamond supply chain in the context of further strengthening implementation.

Offering a detailed summary of engagement with other West African countries and regions, he singled out the Kimberley Process engagement with Côte d’Ivoire, as an illustration of the positive role the scheme could play in situations where production and trade of diamonds might affect peace and security.  Expressing regret that Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea had been unable to send delegates to the plenary due to the Ebola crisis, he said that the Kimberley Process continued to provide technical assistance to all diamond mining communities affected by the disease.

Pointing out that the determination of the international community to act collectively through the Kimberley Process would prevent diamonds from fuelling conflict, and contribute to economic and social development, he also noted that in recent years that process had also assisted Governments in responding to new situations of conflict and violence.  Furthermore, stressing that industry and civil society were essential to the process, he said that a close working relationship with the Civil Society Coalition should be relied upon, and supported Angola’s vision as Chair of the Kimberley Process for 2015 to strengthen dialogue with civil society and to promote respect for human rights.

DAVID YITSHAK ROET (Israel) said there had been many achievements in the curbing of trade in conflict diamonds in the past year, including the strengthening of the peer review system, enhanced transparency and accuracy of statistics, and increased involvement by all parties in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.  Just 14 years ago diamonds obtained under the most terrible human conditions had been used to fund wars.  Blood diamonds had undermined legitimate Governments, and had led to the enslavement and death of millions of innocent people.  The Process was created 11 years ago to oversee the mining, refining, and merchandising of diamonds, and to create a transparent certification process, and as a result, 99 per cent of diamonds today were certified conflict-free.  As the leading exporter of diamonds and the third largest trading centre, Israel was one of the first countries to play a part in establishing the Process.  He congratulated Cote d’Ivoire for implementing the requirements of the Security Council resolutions, and acknowledged progress made by the Central African Republic.  He also strongly encouraged the Central African Republic’s further cooperation with the African Union and relevant Organization bodies.

DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV (Russian Federation) noting that his country had been active in the Kimberley Process since 2000, underscored the Process’s dynamic growth and authority in the collective prevention of the appearance of conflict diamonds on the market.  He voiced support for the further involvement in the Process of other countries.  However, further development of its legal basis was also necessary. New administrative decisions needed to be adopted, as well as timely decisions, taking into account how diamonds were handled in the mining sector.  Checking rough diamond producers and distributors was part of that.  He stated his conviction that they should continue working towards constructive development in the Kimberley Process.

NKOLOI NKOLOI (Botswana) said that, as a founding member of the Kimberley Process, his country placed a high premium on the legitimate exploitation, sale and trade of rough diamonds.  Diamonds had transformed the lives of his country’s communities, bringing food to tables, and sending children to school.  His Government would continue to work with the international community and stakeholders to commit to “doing good with diamonds while using the industry to invest in our people,” he added.  Recognizing that in many parts of the world diamonds had been used to fuel conflict, he also said his country stood ready to share lessons and best practices with willing producers and manufacturers.  The Chair’s report on the Kimberley Process demonstrated the urgent need for reforms, and he welcomed potential participants to it.  Although he was delighted to welcome back Cote d’Ivoire to the Process, he remained deeply concerned about the ensuing conflict in the Central African Republic, noting that militias had brought about instability and insecurity to its citizens.

CAROL HAMILTON (United States) welcomed the agenda set by Angola, as the 2015 Chair of the Kimberley Process, including industrial mining, and respecting peace and human rights.  She then underscored her support to the work of the Process; it was important that diamonds did not contribute to conflicts.  Calling for increased and greater cooperation with civil society and the industry, she also said there was a need to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds.

PETER SCOTT (Australia) said the Kimberley Process had been very successful in accomplishing its objectives, including bringing forth valuable information and transparency through statistics.  Australia was the sixth largest diamond producer.  The Process should continue to seek opportunities for sharing best practices, as evidenced in Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Sierra Leone among other countries.  Participants had expanded best practices in mining, resulting in the production of guidance materials.  He also applauded the World Diamond Institute for their training initiative.  Civil society continued to be critical to the Process.  Referring to best practices in mining, he noted that those practices also contributed to an early warning system as well.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Assembly first considered the note verbale from the Permanent Mission of China transmitting the Report of the Kimberley Process (document A/69/622). 

It then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution titled the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict:  breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts (document A/69/L.39), reaffirming the importance of the tripartite nature of the Kimberley Process, and welcoming the commitment of the plenary meeting to continue its constructive engagement with civil society in recognition of the important role that civil society plays in the Kimberley Process.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution on the Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024 (document A/69/L.28).  By terms of that text, the Assembly endorsed the Vienna Declaration and the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024 adopted by the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, contained in annexes I and II.

Statements

THERESAH CHIPULU LUSWILI CHANDA (Zambia), Chair of the Bureau of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, thanked all Member States for their commitment and dedication in negotiations, which had resulted in successful adoption of the Vienna Programme Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the 2014-2024 Decade.  The Action demonstrated a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by landlocked and drew upon lessons learned from the Almaty Programme of Action.  The document contained specific, realistic yet time-bound objectives and targets aimed at addressing the special development needs and challenges that arose from landlockedness, remoteness and geographical constraints.

She said she was confident that the concerns of landlocked countries would be meaningfully reflected in the post-2015 development agenda, as well as in the Financing for Development discussions.  Furthermore, the successful implementation of the new Programme of Action was dependent on the depth and reach of many important partnerships.  In that regard, she said she was grateful for the financial and technical support extended to landlocked countries by their development partners in the context of North-South, and South-South and triangular cooperation.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, reiterated the importance of implementing the commitments made during the Second Conference in its six priorities areas and called on development partners to ingrate those priorities into their respective national cooperation policy frameworks, programs and activities.  He also urged developing countries to offer support for the effective implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action in mutually agreed areas of cooperation within the framework of South-South cooperation.  The only way to address the special challenges faced by landlocked countries and help them overcome their geographical disadvantages, unlock their potential and become active and successful participation in the international economy was through genuine engagement and cooperation of all the international community, he said.

AMERICO BEVIGLIA ZAMPETTI of the European Union Delegation underscored his support in addressing the serious constraints of landlocked developing countries’ sustainable development posed by their remoteness, lack of territorial access to the sea and limited access to world markets.  Current and future cooperation with landlocked countries was geared towards those areas to ensure that partnerships translated into transformational policies and programmes on the ground.  Stressing that the private sector contribution would be fundamental, he said that the creation of an enabling environment for increasing such investment and fostering inclusive and sustainable growth remained critical.

SEWA LAMSAL ADHIKARI (Nepal) said her delegation was grateful for the draft resolution.  Those countries constituted one the most vulnerable segments of the international community.  Not only were they vulnerable to climate change, they were also a long distance from international markets, making transport difficult and expensive.  It was imperative to address their challenges in terms of structural capacity and demand in a coordinated manner.  The specific needs of landlocked developing countries should be integrated in the new post-2015 development effort.

ENRIQUE JOSÉ MARÍA CARRILLO GÓMEZ (Paraguay) thanked the Government and the people of Austria for their generosity and hospitality, and congratulated them for successfully hosting the important conference.  He said that he strongly believed that the Vienna Programme of Action sought to promote economic and trade competitiveness for a sustained and inclusive growth.  Due to its geographical location, Paraguay was a transit developing country.  Accordingly, he welcomed the initiative for containing six key priority areas including fundamental transit policy issues, infrastructure development and maintenance regional cooperation.

FORTUNA DIBACO CIZARE (Ethiopia), associating herself with the Group of 77, said the Vienna Programme of Action reaffirmed the special needs of landlocked developing countries and the unique challenge they faced due to their geographic disadvantage.  It was important to undertake structural economic changes that would help grow jobs, reduce poverty, and lead to economic growth.  Partnerships were vital for implementation, and to be effective financing, capacity-building and technology transfer was necessary.  The landlocked developing country priorities should be included in the future outcome of the 2015 Third International Conference on Financing and Development.  Also needed was a robust system that would assure accountability and follow-up in the Programme.  Improved accountability and delivery of commitments were necessary.

KARMA CHOEDA (Bhutan) said the Vienna Programme of Action provided a roadmap for landlocked developing countries in the coming decade, with additional priorities for pursuing robust economic steps.  Diversifying economies and enhancing capacities were part of those goals and objectives.  The Programme also provided an opportunity for the international community to take on the priorities of landlocked developing countries.  In that regard, the use of full partnerships was indispensable.  Most of such efforts in the future would be measured by how far the Programme of Action was implemented.

KHIANE PHANSOURIVONG (Lao People's Democratic Republic) expressed gratitude to all delegations for their commitment and dedication in negotiations.  However, the successful implementation was dependent on the goodwill and commitment of all stakeholders.  Calling on all Member States to take concrete measures for the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action, he expected all other development partners to be part of the implementation process.

NOBORU SEKIGUCHI (Japan) said his country was committed to supporting the efforts of the landlocked developing countries in achieving their sustainable development goals, including the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action.  Japan had worked with those countries for years and had enhanced regional interconnectivity based on the 2012 Tokyo Strategy for Mekong-Japan Cooperation.  The priorities of the Vienna Programme of Action, along with his country’s expertise, was focused on assisting in the creation of new jobs and the development of new industries, both possible effective means of growth.  The Programme of Action was the beginning of a new decade of a bright future for those countries, and Japan would continue to work with them for their development and growth.

TLEUZHAN S. SEKSENBAY (Kazakhstan) expressing support for the Vienna Programme of Action, said that in conjunction with other global platforms and processes, the Vienna document would shape the post-2015 development phase.  The challenge was to synthesize those parallel actions into an interconnected stream of development that would “Deliver as One”, to promote infrastructure development, economic diversification, structural transformation, connectivity to global value chains and regional coordination.  The follow-up conference in Zambia next year was an opportunity to deliberate on how to assess and monitor implementation and to propose appropriate tools and mechanisms.  His country had already considered measures to overcome the disadvantages deriving from a landlocked state, in a “road map” called “Nurly Zhol”.  He said he was prepared to share lessons learned and also to gain from strategies of other landlocked countries “since we all share similar challenges”.  He also stressed that while the primary responsibility to implement the Vienna Programme lay with national Governments, the support of development partners was critical.

For information media. Not an official record.