48th Plenary Meeting (Resumed) - General Assembly 75th Session

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31-Dec-2020 02:22:37
Approving $3.21 billion budget, General Assembly adopts 25 resolutions, decisions from its main committees, concluding main part of seventy-fifth session.

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Concluding the main part of its seventy-fifth session, the General Assembly approved $3.21 billion for 2021 and adopted 22 resolutions and 3 decisions recommended by its Main Committees.

Adopting a range of drafts recommended by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly approved resources for 2021, the Organization’s second annual budget in nearly 50 years, by a recorded vote of 168 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) and no abstentions. The 2021 budget was greater than the $2.99 billion budget proposal unveiled by Secretary-General António Guterres in mid-October. Up slightly from last year’s $3.07 billion appropriation, the 2021 budget keeps the Organization’s doors open and its staff working amid a global pandemic and ongoing funding challenges.

The Assembly also adopted a wide-ranging, 26‑part text on special subjects related to the 2021 programme budget. It earmarked $728.21 million for the 40 continuing special political missions authorized by the Assembly and/or Security Council. The massive document also allocated more than $25 million for Umoja, the Organization’s enterprise resource planning project, and set deadlines and funding for renovations to keep historic United Nations structures in Geneva and Addis Ababa open and operating safely while making the Organization’s regional commission in Bangkok a safer, more efficient working space for more than 600 employees.

In other business, the Assembly, acting on the recommendation of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), adopted the draft resolution “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” by recorded vote of 106 in favour to 14 against, with 44 abstentions.

In doing so, it decided to hold a one-day high-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, at the level of Heads of State and Government, on the second day of the general debate of the seventy-sixth session, on the theme “Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent”.

Taking up another Third Committee text, it adopted the draft resolution “Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar”, by a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 9 against (Belarus, Cambodia, China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Philippines, Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe), with 25 abstentions. In an explanation of position after the vote, Myanmar’s representative said that his country and its democratically elected Government has taken strides in addressing human rights.

The Assembly’s 56-page omnibus draft resolution “Oceans and the law of the sea” was adopted by a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 1 against (Turkey), with 4 abstentions (Colombia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Venezuela). Among other things, it reaffirmed the unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the vital importance of preserving its integrity.

Delegates also took up several draft resolutions and draft decisions submitted by its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

By a recorded vote of 92 in favour to 50 against, with 21 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution on “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security”. By its terms, the Assembly decided to convene a new open-ended working group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021-2025. Prior to approval, the Assembly held separate votes focusing on two of its paragraphs.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted two draft decisions that sketched out timeframes for two bodies: the Open-Ended Working Group on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security and the Group of Governmental Experts on Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security.

It adopted the draft resolution “The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects” without a vote, after deciding — by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Angola, Guyana, Madagascar) to retain a preambular paragraph welcoming the successful conclusion of the third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, held in 2018.

Adopting the draft decision “Problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus” without a vote, the Assembly took note of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of the related Group of Governmental Experts to meet in 2020 and requested the Secretary-General to convene it in 2021 so it can complete its work.

Finally, and without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution “Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia — residual functions”. By its terms, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue his consultations with the Government of Cambodia to finalize a proposed framework for completing the work of the Extraordinary Chambers, established in 1997 to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity and other offences.

Volkan Bozkir (Turkey), President of the General Assembly, in closing remarks, said that much work remains in advancing the key priorities of the seventy-fifth session, including multilateralism, the humanitarian agenda, empowering people in the most vulnerable situations, and gender equality. “I believe in the power of humanity to create a better future for all,” he said, calling on Member States to commit to the United Nations Charter and underscoring their “solemn duty” to engage in constructive dialogue.

The General Assembly will reconvene at a date and time to be announced in the United Nations Journal.

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