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GA/12398
24 December 2021
Seventy-sixth Session, 54th Meeting (Resumed) (AM)

Approving $3.12 Billion Programme Budget, General Assembly Adopts 26 Resolutions, 2 Decisions, as Main Part of Seventy-Sixth Session Concludes

Texts on Outer Space, Humanitarian Support, International Trade Also Adopted

Concluding the main part of its seventy-sixth session, the General Assembly adopted 26 resolutions and 2 decisions recommended by its main Committees, including a $3.12 billion regular budget for 2022.

Adopting a wide-range of draft texts recommended by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly approved resources for 2022 supporting, among other things, the United Nations common system; Financing of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals; Financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur; and Administration of Justice at the United Nations.

In that raft of resolutions, the Assembly also approved, without a vote, two resolutions regarding its scale of assessments, one on the apportionment of expenses of the United Nations and the other for the special political missions.  The scale is a complex methodology used to calculate how much each Member State pays into the United Nations regular and peacekeeping budgets. 

However, a number of Members States decried the decision to include financing for the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria in the regular budget, even as the resolution as a whole was adopted by the General Assembly without a vote.  Delegates from the Russian Federation, Syria, Cuba and Iran, among others, disassociated from the provisions in the resolution that related to the Mechanism, with the representative of Syria reminding the Assembly that the Mechanism was of no concern for his country.

At the outset, the Assembly also took up several draft resolutions contained in the reports of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) that had been pending due to their budget implications.  It adopted a text on “Reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours” by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 8 against (China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela) with 7 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Central African Republic, India, Israel, Pakistan and Tajikistan).  By the text, the Assembly said that all States must conduct their activities in the exploration and use of outer space in conformity with international law.

As well, the Assembly took up several drafts at the recommendation of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) that were also awaiting budgetary implications, including one on the “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic”, which was passed by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to 16 against, with 52 abstentions.  By the text, the Assembly demanded that Syria’s regime and all other parties to the conflict not hinder humanitarian access and called for the continuation of cross-border humanitarian support beyond July 2022.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly also adopted a draft resolution of the Sixth Committee (Legal) on the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade.  By the text, the Assembly commended the Commission for the finalization and adoption of, inter alia, the Legislative Guide on Limited Liability Enterprises and the Legislative Recommendations on Insolvency of Micro- and Small Enterprises, stressing the importance of promoting the use of texts for the harmonization of international trade law.

Also speaking were the representatives of the Philippines, Tunisia, Eritrea, Guyana (as Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee), China, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus, Syria, Venezuela, Israel and Sri Lanka, as well as a representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer. 

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

Action Draft Resolutions

The General Assembly turned first to the report of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on “Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (document A/76/460) to take action on draft resolution II, “A global call for concrete action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action”.

The Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 112 in favour to 16 against, with 37 abstentions.  The text’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) are contained in a related report (document A/76/627).

The text contains various provisions related to:  the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the International Decade for People of African Descent; the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Group of Independent Eminent Experts on the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; the trust fund for the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; and for follow-up and implementation activities.

Among them, the Assembly called on States that have not done so to accede to and/or ratify the International Convention, and on States Parties to consider making the declaration under article 14, withdrawing reservations to article 4 and withdrawing all reservations that are incompatible with the International Convention.  It also strongly appealed to Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals, as well as donors to contribute to the trust fund.

The Assembly next took up the report of the Third Committee on "Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms" (document A/76/462/Add.2) in order to take action on draft resolution XIX, “Countering disinformation and promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”, as orally revised.

The Assembly adopted it without a vote.  The draft’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, are contained in a related report (document A/76/626).

By the text, the Assembly affirmed the responsibility of States to counter the dissemination of disinformation, which undermines the promotion of peace and cooperation.  It expressed concern about the spread of disinformation and propaganda, including on the Internet, which can be designed and implemented to mislead, violate human rights — including those to privacy and free expression — and to spread hate.

It also called on Member States and all relevant actors to promote inclusion and unity in response to COVID‑19 and to prevent, speak out and take strong action against disinformation, racism, xenophobia, hate speech, violence, discrimination, including on the basis of age, and stigmatization.  It urged social media companies to review their business models and ensure that their operations, data collection and data processing practices comply with international human rights standards, and to conduct human rights impact assessments of their products, particularly of the role of algorithms and ranking systems in amplifying disinformation or misinformation.

The Assembly next took up the report of the Third Committee on "Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives  (document A/76/462/Add.3) with a view to taking action on resolution V, “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to 16 against, with 52 abstentions.  The draft’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, are contained in a related report (document A/76/628).

By the text, the Assembly demanded that Syria’s regime and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Da’esh, immediately desist from any further use of chemical weapons.  It also demanded that Syria’s regime adheres fully to its international obligations, including the requirement that it declare in full its chemical weapons programme.

By other terms, the Assembly requested that the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) consider additional procedures for stringent verification to ensure the complete destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.  At the same time, the Assembly demanded that Syria’s regime and all other parties to the conflict not hinder humanitarian access, calling for the continuation of cross-border humanitarian support beyond July 2022.  In addition, it requested that Syria’s regime immediately cease any attacks on civilians, recalling the obligation to respect international humanitarian law in all circumstances.

The General Assembly then turned to the Sixth Committee (Legal) “Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its fifty-fourth session” and the resolution contained within(document A/76/471).

The Assembly adopted the text without a vote.  The draft’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, are contained in a related report (document A/76/629).

By its terms, the General Assembly commended the Commission for the finalization and adoption of the Legislative Guide on Limited Liability Enterprises, the Legislative Recommendations on Insolvency of Micro- and Small Enterprises, the Mediation Rules, the Notes on Mediation and the Guide to Enactment and Use of the Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation and the Expedited Arbitration Rules.  It also stressed the importance of promoting the use of texts for the global unification and harmonization of international trade law and urged States that have not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to conventions; enacting model laws; and encouraging the use of other relevant texts.

The Assembly next took up the report of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/76/442) with a view to taking action on draft resolutions III and IV, titled “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” and “Reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours”, respectively.

By a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 9 against (Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Japan, Marshall Islands, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States), with 44 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft resolution III.

Prior to adoption, the Assembly held separate recorded votes focusing on two of its paragraphs.  The Assembly retained a preambular paragraph concerning the contribution of all States — particularly those with major space capabilities — to the prevention of an arms race in outer space by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to 46 against, with 6 abstentions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland and Turkey). It also retained an operative paragraph requesting the Secretary-General to seek Member States’ views and proposals on the provision of guarantees for the prevention of an arms race in outer space by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 18 against, with 35 abstentions.

The budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, for draft resolution III and IV are contained in related reports (documents A/76/624 and A/76/623, respectively).

By the text, the Assembly stressed that the exploration of outer space should be carried out exclusively for peaceful purposes for the benefit of mankind.  It further declared that the exclusion of outer space from the sphere of the arms race and the preservation of outer space for peaceful purposes should become a mandatory norm of State policy and called upon all States, and above all those with major space capabilities, to this end to take urgent measures to prevent for all time the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force in outer space, from space against Earth and from Earth against objects in outer space, among other things.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution IV by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 8 against (China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela) with 7 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Central African Republic, India, Israel, Pakistan and Tajikistan).

Prior to adoption, the Assembly decided to retain several operative paragraphs, including an operative paragraph concerning Member States’ desire to reach a common understanding of how best to act to reduce threats to space systems by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 4 against (Central African Republic, India, Iran and Syria), with 13 abstentions.

It also retained an operative paragraph deciding to convene, beginning in 2022, an open-ended working group to take stock of existing international, legal and other normative frameworks concerning threats arising from State behaviours with respect to outer space by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 9 against (China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela), with 6 abstentions (Belarus, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Israel, Madagascar and Pakistan).

Further, it retained an operative paragraph deciding such a working group will consider current and future threats by States to space systems by a recorded vote of 140 in favour to 9 against (China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela), with 7 abstentions (Belarus, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Guinea, Israel, Madagascar and Pakistan).

In addition, it retained an operative paragraph deciding that such working group will make recommendations on possible norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours relating to threats by States to space systems by a recorded vote of 139 in favour to 9 against (China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela), with 7 abstentions (Belarus, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Guinea, Israel, Madagascar and Pakistan).

By the text, the Assembly said that all States must conduct their activities in the exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, in conformity with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, and urges Member States to take this into account when formulating their space policies.  It encouraged those States that have not yet become parties to the international treaties governing the exploration and use of outer space to consider ratifying or acceding to those treaties in accordance with their national law, as well as incorporating them into their national legislation, among other things.

The Assembly then turned to the report of the First Committee on “General and complete disarmament” (document A/76/444) with a view to taking action on draft resolutions XXV, XXVIII and XXX, “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects”, “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” and “Promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security”, respectively.

It adopted draft resolution XXV without a vote after deciding — by a recorded vote of 144 in favour to none against, with 16 abstentions — to retain a preambular paragraph welcoming the inclusion of small arms and light weapons in the scope of the Arms Trade Treaty.  The draft’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, are contained in a related report (document A/76/621).

Among other things, the Assembly recognized the urgent need to maintain and enhance national controls, in accordance with the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, including their diversion to illicit trade, illegal armed groups, terrorists and other unauthorized recipients.  It also emphasized the need for States to redouble national efforts to provide for the safe, secure, comprehensive and effective management of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons held by Governments to prevent, combat and eradicate the diversion of those weapons.

The Assembly also adopted draft resolution XXVIII by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to none against, with 9 abstentions (Bolivia, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria and Venezuela).  The draft resolution’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, are contained in a related report (document A/76/622).

By the text, the Assembly appealed to all interested States to determine the size and nature of their surplus stockpiles of conventional ammunition, whether they represent a security or safety risk, their preferred means of destruction, if appropriate, and whether external assistance is needed to eliminate this risk.  Further, it encouraged States in a position to do so to assist interested States within a bilateral framework or through international or regional organizations, including through activities conducted under the umbrella of the SaferGuard knowledge resource management programme, among other things.

By a recorded vote of 78 in favour to 53 against, with 32 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft resolution XXX.  The draft’s budget implications, as considered by the Fifth Committee, are contained in a related report (document A/76/625).

Prior to adoption, the Assembly retained an operative paragraph requesting the Secretary-General to seek Member States’ views and recommendations on all aspects of promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security by a recorded vote of 75 in favour to 52 against, with 27 abstentions.

The Assembly also retained an operative paragraph requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report containing such views and recommendations to the Assembly at its seventy-seventh session by a recorded vote of 74 in favour to 53 against, with 27 abstentions.

By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly called on all Member States, without prejudice to their non-proliferation obligations, to take concrete measures to promote international cooperation on materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.  It also, among other things, requested the Secretary-General to seek the views and recommendations of all Member States on all aspects of promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security, including identifying undue restrictions on exports to developing countries of materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes, possible measures to achieve a balance between non-proliferation and peaceful uses, and the way forward.

The representative of the Philippines, recalling the vote on draft resolution II contained in the Third Committee’s report titled “Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, corrected her delegation’s vote from “abstention” to “in favour”.

The representative of Tunisia, recalling the votes on draft resolution XXX, titled “Promoting international cooperation on peaceful uses in the context of international security” corrected his delegation’s votes on operative paragraphs and the resolution as a whole from “abstention” to “in favour”.

The representative of Eritrea, recalling the vote on preambular paragraph 22 of draft resolution XXV, titled “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects”, corrected his delegation’s vote from “in favour” to “abstention”.

MEGAYLA ULANA AUSTIN (Guyana), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), introduced the reports of the Fifth Committee to the General Assembly and provided an overview of its work.  During the main part of the session, the Fifth met both formally and remotely owing to the COVID‑19 pandemic, holding nine plenary meetings and numerous informal consultations in person and remotely.  (For background, see Press Release GA/AB/4378 of 23 December).

The General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Fifth Committee, first considered the draft contained in the report of the Committee on "Financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors” (document A/76/617).  The Assembly adopted the resolution without a vote.

The Assembly next took up the draft contained in the report entitled “Programme Planning” (document A/76/615).

The representative of Russian Federation, speaking in explanation of position before the vote, proposed an amendment to the resolution on programme planning, in regard to mentions of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism which he said was not legitimate.  The oral amendment proposed excluding all references to the Mechanism.

The representative of Syria voiced his rejection of the Mechanism for the reasons his delegation mentioned in the recent Fifth Committee meeting.

The Assembly rejected the proposed oral amendment by a recorded vote of 85 against to 22 in favour, with 42 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution as a whole without a vote.

The representative of Cuba, speaking in explanation of vote after action, said that his delegation disassociated itself from mentions of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

The representative of China said that his delegation disassociated from consensus on the Mechanism.

The representative of Iran said that his delegation disassociated itself from the mention of the Mechanism in the resolution.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation disassociated from the provision on the Mechanism.

The representative of Nicaragua said she disassociated from the provisions on the illegal Mechanism against Syria.

The representative of Bolivia said that her delegation disassociated itself from the paragraph referring to the Mechanism.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that his delegation disassociated itself from the provisions on the Mechanism.

The representative of Belarus said his delegation disassociated from all provisions on the Mechanism.

The representative of Syria said that his delegation disassociated itself from the inclusion of the Mechanism and reminded the Assembly that the Mechanism is of no concern for his country.

The representative of Venezuela said that his country disassociated from the provisions on the Mechanism.

The General Assembly next turned to the draft resolution contained in the report on “Pattern of conferences” (document A/76/616), adopting it without a vote.

The Assembly adopted without a vote the draft resolution contained in the report of the Committee on “Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations” (document A/76/383/Addendum.1).

The Assembly then turned to the draft resolution contained in the report of the Committee entitled "Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of United Nations peacekeeping operations” (document A/76/618).  By the text, on an exceptional basis for the 2022-2024 scale period only, three countries in Level B — the Bahamas, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia — will be afforded discounts of 7.5 per cent to their assessment rates, and that those discounts shall be borne on a pro rata basis by the permanent members of the Security Council.  The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

The Assembly next adopted without a vote the draft resolution contained in the report of the Committee entitled “United Nations common system” (document A/76/630).

The Assembly then adopted without a vote the draft resolution contained in the report entitled “Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations” (document A/76/631).

The Assembly next adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution contained in the report of the Committee entitled "Administration of Justice at the United Nations” (document A/76/620).

Taking up the report of the Committee entitled "Financing of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals" (document A/76/632), the Assembly adopted the draft resolution contained therein without a vote.

The Assembly then went on to adopt the draft resolution contained in the report entitled "Financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur" (document A/76/619), also without a vote.

The Assembly next took up the report of the Committee entitled "Proposed programme budget for 2022" (document A/76/633), which contained five draft resolutions.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in explanation of position before action, introduced an oral amendment to draft resolution I (A/C.5/76/L.10), which proposed that all mentions and descriptions relating to the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism be deleted from the United Nations regular budget.

The representative of Cuba said his delegation wished to propose oral amendments to resolution II (document A/C.5/76/L.17), particularly the section on special political missions.  His delegation proposed the deletion of any reference to the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect since there is a lack of intergovernmental understanding of the concept.

The representative of Israel also requested an oral amendment on draft resolution II, on the special subject related to the proposed programme budget 2022 and suggested that a paragraph be inserted into the resolution that states “decides not to approve resources related to resolution S-30/1”.

The representatives of the United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Moldovia took to the floor on points of order and requested clarification as to whether the General Assembly would follow the same order of voting that was followed in the Fifth Committee.  The Secretariat said that the General Assembly follows the order of the report, which contains five draft resolutions.

The meeting was then suspended for ten minutes.

The Assembly, resuming the meeting, then turned to draft resolution I, “Questions relating to the proposed programme budget for 2022” (document A/C.5/76/L.10), as orally amended in the Fifth Committee.

The representative of Iran, speaking in explanation of position before action and recalling his country’s explanation in the Fifth Committee, said that his delegation was not in a position to join consensus on the resolution and requested a recorded vote on the resolution.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Iran and Syria).

The Assembly next considered draft resolution II, “Special subjects relating to the proposed programme budget 2022” (document A/C.5/76/L.17).

Prior to considering the resolution as a whole, the Assembly took action on two oral amendments.  It rejected Cuba’s oral amendment to Section X of draft resolution II by a recorded vote of 80 against to 19 in favour, with 48 abstentions.

It then rejected Israel’s oral amendment to Section IX of draft resolution II by a recorded vote of 107 against to 9 in favour (Belarus, Hungary, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, United States), with 35 abstentions.

The representative of Belarus corrected his delegation’s vote on Israel’s amendment to a vote of “against”.

The representative of the Russian Federation noted for the record that his delegation voted against the amendment.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution II without a vote.

Next, the Assembly adopted without a vote draft resolution III, “Programme budget for 2022” (document A/C.5/76/L.18); draft resolution IV, “Unforeseen and extraordinary expenses for 2022” (document A/C.5/76/L.19); and draft resolution V, “Working Capital Fund for 2022” (document A/C.5/76/L.20).

The representatives of the Russian Federation, Syria, Cuba and Iran, speaking in explanation of vote, disassociated from provisions in the regular budget related to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

The representatives of China and Belarus also disassociated from such provisions and noted their delegations’ support for Cuba’s oral amendment to draft resolution II.

The representative of Israel disassociated from a number of paragraphs in draft resolution III, as well as from provisions in draft resolution II, expressing opposition to the creation and funding of the latest commission of inquiry against Israel established by the Human Rights Council.

The representative of Sri Lanka disassociated from provisions in draft resolution II pertaining to resource allocation to the Human Rights Council for reasons her delegation explained in the Fifth Committee.

The representative of Venezuela disassociated from any references to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

The representatives of Bolivia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea disassociated from provisions relating to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism in the program budget and expressed support for the Cuban delegation’s proposals.

The representative of Belarus disassociated from mentions of his country in the document relating to the program budget for Human Rights Council mandates.

The representative of Syria expressed reservation over resource allocation for the Human Rights Council in relation to the human-rights situation in Syria and expressed support for the Cuban delegation’s proposal.

Closing

The General Assembly next adopted without a vote the draft decision “Questions deferred for future consideration” in the report of the Fifth Committee “Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations” (document A/76/634).

PHILIPPE KRIDELKA (Belgium), Vice-President of the General Assembly, speaking on behalf of the General Assembly, thanked the Chair of the Fifth Committee, Mher Margaryan (Armenia) and members of the Bureau, as well as all delegations for the work accomplished during the session.

“The decisions and resolutions adopted by the General Assembly address the most important global issues, including the impact and consequences of the global pandemic,” he said, underscoring that the continued focus and tireless efforts of all in their implementation is key to inspire hope and deliver for the peoples of the world.

Turning to the programme of work and the items retained on the agenda of the current session, the General Assembly decided to take note of those items that remain open for consideration or have not yet been considered during the seventy-sixth session of the Assembly.

For information media. Not an official record.