59th Plenary Meeting - General Assembly 75th Session

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16-Apr-2021 01:05:39
Taking up Fifth Committee reports, General Assembly adopts texts on common system, Joint Inspection Unit, special subjects related to 2021 programme budget.

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Resolutions on Ecosystem Restoration, Central Asia Preventive Diplomacy Centre also Adopted as Speakers Pay Tribute to United Republic of Tanzania’s Late President

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions and five decisions today, all without a vote, including four texts referred to it by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), as its President, the Secretary-General and representatives of regional groups paid tribute to John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who passed away on 17 March at the age of 61.

In adopting the resolution titled “Joint Inspection Unit”, the Assembly took note of the Joint Inspection Unit’s report for 2020 and programme of work for 2021. It also stressed the need for the Unit to continuously update and improve its strategic framework for 2020-2029, taking into account dynamics and challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Organization’s ongoing reform efforts.

Through the resolution titled “United Nations common system”, the Assembly, among other things, requested the Secretary-General to provide, in his next report, updated information on the divergence of jurisprudence of the common system’s two tribunals on matters relating to the International Civil Service Commission, together with an assessment of its impact on the common system.

Through the resolution titled “Special subjects relating to the programme budget for 2021”, the Assembly decided, among other things, to appropriate $494,000 from the contingency fund to address the deteriorating conditions and limited capacity of conference service facilities at the United Nations Office at Nairobi. It also appropriated an additional $15.50 million from the 2021 programme budget to supplement the voluntary financial resources of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Additionally, it requested the Secretary-General to do more to encourage those who qualify for first-class or business‑class air travel funded by the Organization to voluntarily downgrade from their entitled class.

Adopting the decision titled “Questions deferred for future consideration”, the Assembly deferred, to the second part of its resumed seventy-fifth session, consideration of 41 reports from the Secretary-General and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) dealing with human resources management, some of which date back to its seventy-third session. It deferred consideration of the Secretary-General’s reports on active-duty military and police personnel and on the review of the experience of the utilization of the contingency fund.

Under the terms of the resolution titled “Nature knows no borders: transboundary cooperation — a key factor for biodiversity conservation, restoration and sustainable use”, introduced by the representative of Kyrgyzstan, the Assembly encouraged Member States — and invited international organizations and other relevant stakeholders — to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030).

Through the resolution titled “Role of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia”, introduced by Turkmenistan’s delegate, the Assembly encouraged the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia to continue to liaise with the Governments of the region and with other parties concerned on issues relevant to preventive diplomacy. It also noted the Regional Centre’s cooperation with Central Asian countries to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopting a set of procedural decisions prompted by the pandemic’s impact on its work, the Assembly postponed an informal interactive hearing with indigenous peoples to its seventy-sixth session. It also decided to allow pre-recorded statements to be made during its special session on corruption from 26 to 28 April and its high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS from 8 to 10 June.

Finally, the Assembly, acting on a note from the Secretary-General, appointed Claudia Angélica Bueno Reynaga (Mexico) as a member of the International Civil Service Commission to fill, until 31 December 2021, the vacancy that arose from the resignation of Luis Mariano Hermosillo Sosa (Mexico) from that body.

Volkan Bozkir (Turkey), President of the General Assembly, who invited the Assembly to stand for a moment of silence in memory of President Magufuli, paid tribute to the late Head of State for his commitment to multilateralism. His achievements will long be remembered at the United Nations, he said, noting in particular the United Republic of Tanzania’s deployment of “Blue Helmets” to the Organization’s peacekeeping operations.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noted that, during the President’s term in office, the United Republic of Tanzania achieved middle‑income country status four years ahead of its 2025 goal. Going forward, the Organization will work closely with his successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, the country’s first female President, he added.

Congo’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, called President Magufuli a Pan-Africanist who was often described as a “bulldozer” with the power to move mountains. His commitment to his country was reflected in his ambitious programme to eradicate poverty, fight corruption, build infrastructure and lift economic growth.

The United Republic of Tanzania’s representative, thanking all speakers for their tributes and condolences, said that President Magufuli was a hard worker and a visionary leader who spoke truth to power through both tough love and humility. He was an ardent Pan-Africanist “who believed that Tanzanians, Africans and the entire humanity deserved the best”, he added.

Also speaking in tribute were representatives of Kuwait (on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Group), Romania (on behalf of the Eastern European Group), Chile (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group), Netherlands (on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group) and United States (as the Host Country).

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 21 April, to consider the Secretary-General’s report titled “International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011” (document A/75/311).

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