26 February 2015
Sixty-ninth Session, 80th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Adopts Resolutions on Global Geospacial Information Management, Seventieth Anniversary of End of World War II

Covering diverse ground, delegates in the General Assembly today adopted two consensus resolutions by which they first addressed global geospacial information management, and then commemorated the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, a historic event that had brought “untold sorrow” to humanity.

Under its agenda item on the follow-up to outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, the Assembly adopted a text entitled “A global geodetic reference frame for sustainable development” (document A/69/L.53).  By its terms, it urged States to voluntarily implement open sharing of geodetic data, standards and conventions, inviting them to improve national geodetic infrastructure and engage in multilateral cooperation that addressed infrastructure gaps and duplications, towards the development of a more sustainable geodetic reference frame.

Introducing the text, Fiji’s representative said the text broadly dealt with global geospacial information management.  Its implementation would enable the sharing of geospacial data, capacity-building and the integration of international standards and conventions.  Information derived from such work would be important for the development community, in terms of tracking changes in populations, ice caps and the atmosphere.  Such a common framework would provide a sound basis for multilateral cooperation.

Prior to the adoption, Economic and Social Council President Martin Sajdik (Austria) and General Assembly President Sam K. Kutesa (Uganda) addressed delegates ahead of a short joint debate on the Council’s 2014 annual report, in which several speakers commended the Council’s work during the reporting period and efforts to promote greater efficiency. 

Introducing the annual report, Mr. Sajdik called this year an “historic time” in which the global community was expediting progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and crafting the post-2015 development agenda.  The principle of integration would be at the core of that framework, as well as the Council’s work — both at the conceptual and analytical levels of policy, and implementation.

Noting that 2014 was the first year of the “new” Council, following the Assembly’s strengthening of the 54-member body, he said that today, it was the most important inter-governmental body for pursuing poverty eradication and the integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.  Such work was being pursued in a range of ways, notably through the Development Cooperation Forum, as well as the Council’s functional commissions and expert bodies.  All instruments had distinct roles to play and, taken together, were ready to advance ownership, engagement, implementation and follow-up in the post-2015 era.

The Council had the potential to “break new ground” for the entire United Nations system, he said, noting that it was a global platform for bringing together stakeholders and advancing an integrated approach to a unified agenda.  “We need to ensure that individual follow-up processes are aligned and facilitate a coherent implementation in terms of analysis and policy,” he said.  Common resources and energy must be mobilized.  To offer strategic guidance, the United Nations needed a strong Assembly and Council system.  Today’s dialogue, informed by the 2014 Council report, was a step in the quest towards a world without poverty.

In his remarks, Mr. Kutesa said the Council’s 2014 session had yielded several important outcomes, including the decision to enhance global cooperation for providing technical aid to develop a global reference frame which could contribute to more accurate measuring of the changing planet, with potential economic and environmental benefits.

The body also had held the first meeting of its “integration segment” last year, focusing on sustainable urbanization, he said, adding that the joint meetings of the Council and the Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) had provided useful insights on several topics and promoted a “spirit of coherence” in their work.

He said the Council had provided an invaluable contribution to efforts to formulate an integrated development framework and advance links among the various activities of the United Nations system.  Going forward, greater emphasis would be needed on the role of the High-Level Political Forum in the follow-up and review of the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, and possibly the outcome of the upcoming Third Conference on Financing for Development.  That would require even strong coordination and cooperation between the Assembly and the Council.

The Assembly then turned to its resolution on the seventieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War (document A/69/L.52), introduced by the representative of the Russian Federation, who recalled that collective resolve not to witness a recurrence of the untold grief and suffering inflicted by the War had built today’s system of international relations.  The world could not forget the tremendous sacrifices made and the horrendous atrocities committed.

By that text, the Assembly recalled that 8 and 9 May had been declared “a time of remembrance and reconciliation” and invited all States, United Nations bodies, non-governmental organizations and individuals to observe those days to pay tribute to all victims of the War.  The Assembly asked its President to hold a special solemn meeting in the second week of May 2015 in commemoration of all victims.

Speaking before action, the European Union’s representative said the resolution was a fitting way to ensure the world never forgot the horrors and cruelties of the past as well as the sacrifices made.  It was regrettable that many current crises remained unresolved.  The anniversary must provide a reminder of the responsibility to adhere to the core principles of the Charter, such as non-use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes.

Along similar lines, Israel’s delegate said that, after the unparalleled magnitude of destruction of the Second World War, the world stood together to reaffirm that the responsibility for preventing atrocities rested on its shoulders.  Today the values at the very heart of the United Nations were being threatened by extremist ideologies and actions.  The Second World War taught that the costs of inaction were simply too high.

As such, said Japan’s representative, it was important to reaffirm that all Charter principles were equally important.  Based on feelings of deep remorse for the Second World War, and by upholding the Charter principles, Japan had firmly walked on the path of a peace-loving nation, consistently respecting freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Also today, the Assembly, through an advisory vote conducted by secret ballot, selected Morocco as the country from the African States Group that would propose a candidate for the seat in the Joint Inspection Unit allocated to that group.  With 131 votes in favour, Morocco was selected over Ethiopia, which had obtained 53 votes.

Prior to that action, Mr. Kutesa recalled that on 18 November 2014, the Assembly had selected Canada, Germany and Romania to propose candidates for appointment to the Unit for a five-year office term beginning on 1 January 2016.  At the request of the Chair of the African Group for the month of November 2014, it had postponed the selection of the country to propose a candidate for the seat allocated to the African States.

Also speaking today were representatives of Belarus, Croatia, Republic of Korea, China, Armenia and Iran.

For information media. Not an official record.