106th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

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12-Sep-2019 03:12:37
General Assembly adopts 5 resolutions, including texts on revitalizing its own work, designating 2021 ‘International Year of Peace and Trust’ at 106th plenary meeting.

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The General Assembly adopted five resolutions today — including one aiming to revitalize the 193-member organ and another designating 2021 as the “International Year of Peace and Trust” — while concluding its debate on the annual report of the Security Council.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly first adopted the draft resolution “Consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2030” (document A/73/L.109). By that text, the Assembly called for increased support for the implementation of international commitments and goals pertaining to the fight against malaria — including Goal 3, target 3.3, of the Sustainable Development Goals — as well as related targets outlined in the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016‑2030 of the World Health Organization (WHO).

By other terms, the Assembly urged the international community, United Nations agencies, as well as private organizations and foundations, to support the implementation of the WHO Strategy, including by supporting the complementary Action and Investment to Defeat Malaria 2016‑2030 plan, and for the Organization’s country-level programmes and activities to meet internationally agreed targets on malaria.

Also by the text, the Assembly urged malaria-endemic countries to work towards financial sustainability, to increase national resources allocated to malaria control and to create favourable conditions for working with the private sector to improve access to quality malaria services, while building on synergies with other development priorities, including the strengthening of health systems and engagement with development partners on implementing an effective vector‑control response.

Presenting the draft resolution for action, Eswatini’s representative said the 2019 text retains the language of the 2018 version, with the exception of a few technical updates and new paragraphs highlighting current developments.

After the adoption, the representative of the United States said that his delegation joined the consensus but disassociated itself from operative paragraph 33, which reaffirms the right to use the provisions contained in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Whereas the United States is ready to work with WHO in the fight against malaria, he said, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda emanating from the third International Conference on Financing for Development — the text refers to both — are non‑binding and do not create new obligations for Member States.

Acting again without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution “International Year of Peace and Trust, 2021” (document A/73/L.110), declaring 2021 as such. It underlined that the International Year constitutes a means of mobilizing international efforts to promote peace and trust among nations on the basis of political dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation in order to build sustainable peace, solidarity and harmony.

Turkmenistan’s representative presented the text, emphasizing that it can help to advance the culture of peace.

The Assembly also adopted, again without a vote, the draft resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries” (document A/73/L.111). By its terms, the Assembly took note, with appreciation, of the final declaration of the twelfth Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, held in Santa Maria, Cabo Verde, on 17 and 18 July 2018.

Further by the text, the Assembly stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries and United Nations specialized agencies and other entities and programmes.

Submitting the text for action, Cabo Verde’s representative said it aims to deepen the partnership between the Community and the United Nations in pursuit of common objectives, particularly in the areas of human rights, poverty eradication, sustainable development and sustaining peace.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution “Scope, modalities, format and organization of the high-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fourth World Conference on Women” (document A/73/L.115). By it’s the terms of that text, the Assembly decided to convene, in New York on 23 September 2020, a day-long high-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fourth World Conference on Women under the theme “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

Before the adoption, the representative of the United States described civil society actors as “the eyes and ears” on the ground protecting human rights. While the United States welcomes the draft’s reference to civil society participation during the high-level meeting, it remains concerned about the trend among some States of restricting civil society participation at the United Nations. Expressing disappointment with the handling of negotiations, he said that his delegation sought to retain language, “human rights defenders”, which somehow was removed from the final text due to the preference of a small number of States.

The President of the General Assembly then called attention to operative paragraph 6 of the text, saying it was agreed in the spirit of consensus. The modalities provide a solid base from which to review implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as remaining gaps, she added, emphasizing that gender equality and the empowerment of women are preconditions for a fair and just society and for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

Following the adoption, the European Union’s Deputy Head of Delegation spoke on behalf of the bloc’s member States, as well as a group of other countries, emphasizing that civil society and human rights defenders play a major role in protecting and promoting human rights. While welcoming the participation of civil society at the high-level event, those countries remain concerned about the growing trend of restricting that participation at the United Nations, he said.

The Assembly then went on to adopt, without a vote, the draft resolution “Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly”, contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly (document A/73/956). By its terms, the Assembly decided to establish, at its seventy-fourth session, an ad hoc working group open to all Member States, with the aim of identifying further ways to enhance the organ’s role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency by building on the progress achieved in past sessions, and on previous resolutions.

Tabling the draft resolution, the Assembly President noted that the Ad Hoc Working Group achieved tangible results, including the streamlining of text in the resolution by reducing the number of operative paragraphs to 62, as opposed to 101 in 2018. It also made progress by including language on the need to limit the proliferation of high-level and side events held in the margins of the General Assembly’s general debate, she said.

After the adoption, an observer for the State of Palestine spoke on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noting that the alignment of the Assembly’s work with the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals require more in-depth analysis and elaboration. It is also premature to identify duplications and overlaps, she said, emphasizing that a set of criteria must first be elaborated.

Costa Rica’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, commented on the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General, stressing the crucial need to define a clear timeline, from the submission of candidates, through their interactive dialogues with Member States, to the Security Council’s recommendation and the General Assembly’s appointment resolution. Collective discussions within the Council on the merit, skill and experience of individual candidates would enhance the organ’s decision-making, he said, calling for regular public briefings by the Council on developments in the nomination process and open communication of straw poll results.

Slovakia’s representative, Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group, emphasized the importance of multilateralism, mutual respect and compromise in revitalizing the General Assembly.

Jordan’s representative, the other Co-Chair, stressed that the Assembly’s revitalization is critical to the success of overall United Nations reform. The 2019 resolution is action-oriented and less repetitive, reflecting the commitment of Member States to a stronger and more efficient Assembly, he said.

In other business, the Assembly took note of the “Report of the Security Council for 2018” (document A/73/2), following the conclusion of its debate on that document.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 16 September, to continue its work.

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