39th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

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26-Nov-2018 03:20:09
General Assembly adopts 8 resolutions promoting cooperation with regional groups, 1 on impact of rapid technological change on 2030 agenda goals at 39th plenary meeting.

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The General Assembly adopted nine resolutions today, eight of which focused on promoting cooperation between the United Nations and myriad regional and international organizations, as Member States repeatedly stressed the need for countries to work together to achieve common goals and targets.

The texts ranged from cooperation with regional organizations such as the Council of Europe and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization to cooperation with international organizations such as the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty Organization. Speakers underscored the importance of coordination and collaboration in dealing with modern and emerging challenges, including peace and security.

Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Test‑Ban Treaty Organization, said that if the international community is serious about its commitment to achieve a world free from nuclear tests, it must be prepared to act upon every opportunity to promote the instrument and advance its entry into force. There is no greater threat to peace and security than the use of weapons of mass destruction. While the Treaty is not universal in nature, it already enjoys 184 signatories and 167 ratifications. The Assembly later adopted the related resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for Comprehensive Nuclear‑Test‑Ban Treaty Organization”.

In the ensuing discussion, Member States expressed strong support for the Test‑Ban Treaty, adding that its verification regime is a critical element of the global nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament architecture. Australia’s representative said it is both reassuring and unfortunate how effective monitoring and verification has become as he recalled that Australian stations were among those to have detected recent tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Under the terms of the resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)”, the Assembly emphasized the importance of coordination in countering terrorism and fighting transnational crime. The resolution particularly underscored the threat posed by the travel of foreign terrorist fighters, including those who return or relocate, emphasizing the need to strengthen international efforts to ensure that refugee status is not abused by the perpetrators, organizers and facilitators of terrorist acts. It also reaffirmed the importance of close cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL to provide complementary support to peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts, including through training and technical assistance.

Several Member States expressed strong support for boosting cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL, including Singapore’s delegate who, on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations welcomed the resolution’s timely updates to address such issues as the use of information and communication technologies for terrorist purposes. Spain’s delegate said that fighting terrorism and transnational crime requires sufficient cooperation among various stakeholders. Meanwhile, the representative of the United States voiced concerns about the disappearance of former INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei, calling for the organization’s leaders to promote the principles that make INTERPOL so vital.

Adopting the draft resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe” (document A/73/L.27) as a whole without a vote, the Assembly first decided to retain, by a recorded vote of 71 in favour to 9 against (Bahrain, Belarus, China, Oman, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen), with 27 abstentions, operative paragraph 4.

By the terms of that provision, the Assembly would recognize the important role of the Council of Europe in upholding the rule of law and fighting impunity, including by strengthening the capacity of the national judiciaries of its member States to carry out their work consistent with the relevant international obligations of the member States in particular, and where applicable, those defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Sudan’s representative, explaining his delegation’s position, rejected the mention in operative paragraph 4 of the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court. He said the Court unfairly targets African leaders, undermines peace and security on the continent and has become an obstacle to justice, rather than a promoter of it. As such, the resolution should not be used to carve out space for the Court at the United Nations, he said.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the following resolutions: “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Central European Initiative”; “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization”; “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization”; “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development — GUAM”; and “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States”. Action on the draft resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States” was postponed to a later date.

The Assembly also adopted the resolution “Impact of rapid technological change on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets”, by which terms it encouraged Member States to consider how rapid technological change is impacting implementation of the 2030 Agenda. By the text, the Assembly requested the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development to present their updated findings on the impact of key technological changes. It also invited the Commission on Science and Technology for Development and the Technology Facilitation Mechanism to strengthen synergies and mutually reinforce their work on science, technology and innovation.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Croatia, Brazil, Italy, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, Kuwait, Turkmenistan, Austria, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Norway, Guinea, Ethiopia, Malaysia, United Republic of Tanzania, Sudan, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, as well as the Holy See, League of Arab States and INTERPOL.

The representative of Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The General Assembly will reconvene again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 November, to appoint judges to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and United Nations Appeals Tribunal.

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