General Assembly: 84th plenary meeting.

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22-Jun-2021 02:32:29
Adopting 3 texts, General Assembly encourages more United Nations-Pacific Islands Forum cooperation, decides to continue intergovernmental talks on Security Council reform.

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Delegates Postpone until 2022 Fourth Session of Conference to Negotiate Marine Biological Diversity Treaty

The General Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted one resolution and two decisions today which addressed the United Nations cooperation with the Pacific Islands Forum, intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform and the next round of talks for a treaty regarding marine biological diversity.

In adopting the resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum”, introduced by Tuvalu’s representative, the Assembly welcomed progress towards enhancing cooperation between the Organization and the 18-member regional group.

It acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Pacific region and the need for urgent action to address climate change. It also encouraged the Secretary-General to meet with Forum leaders on the margins of the Assembly’s next general debate in September.

Adopting a draft decision presented by its President, as orally amended by Qatar’s representative, the Assembly decided that intergovernmental negotiations on enlarging the 15-member Security Council will continue during its upcoming seventy-sixth session.

Routinely adopted by consensus every year, the text was the focus of robust debate when it was introduced on 16 June after Brazil, also on behalf of Germany, India and Japan, proposed an amendment that would recall the commitment of world leaders, made at the start of the Assembly’s seventy-fifth session in September 2020, to “instil new life” into the long-running negotiations.

The so-called Group of Four also sought, through the amendment, to make an “elements paper” on areas of divergence and convergence — drafted by the representatives of Poland and Qatar in their capacity as Co-Chairs of the negotiations — a basis for future discussions.

Qatar’s representative proposed an oral amendment to include a reference to the commitment by Heads of State and Government made in their Declaration of the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations. In doing so, it opened the way for the 193-member Assembly to overcome deadlock and proceed by consensus.

In explanations of position, delegates from African Member States reasserted the African Union’s common position — set out in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration — that an enlarged Council must include at least two permanent members from the continent. African issues dominate the Council’s agenda, yet never has Africa had a permanent Council seat.

Germany’s delegate agreed with his counterpart from South Africa that negotiations should be text-based going forward. However, he disputed claims that putting the Group of Four’s draft amendment to a vote would have been a disaster. The members of the Group of Four support each other’s bid for permanent Council seats.

Finally, the Assembly decided to postpone until 2022 the fourth session of the intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. It had initially postponed the fourth session on 11 March 2020 in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 23 June, to consider its annual draft resolution titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
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